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The writings of Samuel Taylor Coleridge are crucial to the literature of European Romanticism. As well as the early poems such as The Ancient Mariner and Frost at Midnight, for which he is probably best known, they comprise lectures, periodical essays, letters, notebooks and marginalia, and records of his conversation. Now that those texts are more widely available we can see a different Coleridge whose writings make a vital intervention in aesthetic and political theory as well as literature. The breadth and variety of those writings can be bewildering, and this book provides a lively and accessible guide to the whole of Coleridge's writing career. It traces from Coleridge's early poems to his late theory of a Christian state a continuous preoccupation with an audience, with education, and with the idea of a Church which reveals a surprising Coleridge with much to say to the present.
Lord Byron (1788-1824) was a poet and satirist, as famous in his
time for his love affairs and questionable morals as he was for his
poetry. Looking beyond the scandal, Byron leaves us a body of work
that proved crucial to the development of English poetry and
provides a fascinating counterpoint to other writings of the
Herman Melville in Context provides the fullest introduction in one volume to the multifaceted life and times of Herman Melville, a towering figure in nineteenth-century American and world literature. The book grounds the study of Herman Melville's writings to the world that influenced their composition, publication and recognition, making it a valuable resource to scholars, teachers, students and general readers. Bringing together contributions covering a wide range of topics, the collection of essays covers the geographical, social, cultural and literary contexts of Melville's life and works, as well as its literary reception. Herman Melville in Context will enable readers to approach Melville's writings with fuller insight, and to read and understand them in a way that approximates the way they were read and understood in his time.
Charlotte Yonge, a best-seller admired by her greatest literary contemporaries in the mid-nineteenth century, but ignored or vilified by critics for the next hundred years, has recently received some attention from biographers, from historians of the Oxford Movement and of children's literature, and from feminist critics; but her literary art, as novelist, historian and critic, has not enjoyed much recognition. Alethea Hayter's book appraises her as a writer, not simply as a symptom of her times, surveying her non-fictional studies in history, onomastics and wild-life as well as her family chronicles, historical novels and children's books.
Barbara Hardy has concentrated on the late period from 1900 to 1916, observing language and theme in close readings of The Ambassadors, The Wings of the Dove, The Golden Bowl, The Sacred Fount, the great ghost-story, The Jolly Corner and other tales, autobiography, travel and the influential criticism. She has been writing about James since the fifties and draws on long experience of teaching James - to addicts, hostile parodists, and persevering fiction-lovers fascinated by a demandingly extravagant and original novelist. She offers new readings of the major novels, and revaluation of the literary criticism in the context of later ideas, which James's theory and practice anticipate. Her close analysis traces generative imaging-making and reflexive story-telling, following two dominant and complementary themes, the social construction of character, and creative imagination: James dramatises the power of environment, to dismiss essentialism and ask the key question 'What shall we call the self?'; and he is a disturbing analyst of inner life, catching its fantasies, revisions, and speculations in self-referential language. This study of the most innovative of Victorian and Edwardian novelists will interest new and old Jamesians, novel-readers and students at all levels.
After the War of 1812, Americans belatedly realized that they lacked national identity. The subsequent campaign to articulate nationality transformed every facet of culture from architecture to painting, and in the realm of letters, literary jingoism embroiled American authors in the heated politics of nationalism. The age demanded stirring images of U.S. virtue, often achieved by contriving myths and obscuring brutalities. Between these sanitized narratives of the nation and U.S. social reality lay a grotesque discontinuity: vehement conflicts over slavery, Indian removal, immigration, and territorial expansion divided the country. Authors such as Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Catharine M. Sedgwick, William Gilmore Simms, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Lydia Maria Child wrestled uneasily with the imperative to revise history to produce national fable. Counter-narratives by fugitive slaves, Native Americans, and defiant women subverted literary nationalism by exposing the plight of the unfree and dispossessed. And with them all, Edgar Allan Poe openly mocked literary nationalism and deplored the celebration of "stupid" books appealing to provincial self-congratulation. More than any other author, he personifies the contrary, alien perspective that discerns the weird operations at work behind the facade of American nation-building.
In 1857 the French poet Charles Baudelaire, who was fascinated by lesbianism, created a scandal with Les Fleurs du Mal [The Flowers of Evil]. This collection was originally entitled "The Lesbians" and described women as "femmes damnees," with "disordered souls" suffering in a hypocritical world. Then twenty years later, lesbians in Paris dared to flaunt themselves in that extraordinarily creative period at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries which became known as the Belle Epoque. Lesbian Decadence, now available in English for the first time, provides a new analysis and synthesis of the depiction of lesbianism as a social phenomenon and a symptom of social malaise as well as a fantasy in that most vibrant place and period in history. In this newly translated work, praised by leading critics as "authoritative," "stunning," and "a marvel of elegance and erudition," Nicole G. Albert analyzes and synthesizes an engagingly rich sweep of historical representations of the lesbian mystique in art and literature. Albert contrasts these visions to moralists' abrupt condemnations of "the lesbian vice," as well as the newly emerging psychiatric establishment's medical fury and their obsession on cataloging and classifying symptoms of "inversion" or "perversion" in order to cure these "unbalanced creatures of love." Lesbian Decadence combines literary, artistic, and historical analysis of sources from the mainstream to the rare, from scholarly studies to popular culture. The English translation provides a core reference/text for those interested in the Decadent movement, in literary history, in French history and social history. It is well suited for courses in gender studies, women's studies, LGBT history, and lesbianism in literature, history, and art.
Sinister histories is the first book to offer a detailed exploration of the Gothic's response to Enlightenment historiography. It uncovers hitherto-neglected relationships between fiction and prominent works of eighteenth-century history, locating the Gothic novel in a range of new interdisciplinary contexts. Drawing on ideas from literary studies, history, politics and philosophy, the book demonstrates the extent to which historical works influenced and shaped Gothic fiction from the 1760s to the early nineteenth century. Through a series of detailed readings of texts from The Castle of Otranto (1764) to Maria, or The Wrongs of Woman (1798), this book offers an alternative account of the Gothic's development and a sustained revaluation of the creative legacies of the French Revolution. -- .
Scholars of the Gothic have long recognised Blake's affinity with the genre. Yet, to date, no major scholarly study focused on Blake's intersection with the Gothic exists. William Blake's gothic imagination seeks to redress this disconnect. The papers here do not simply identify Blake's Gothic conventions but, thanks to recent scholarship on affect, psychology, and embodiment in Gothic studies, reach deeper into the tissue of anxieties that take confused form through this notoriously nebulous historical, aesthetic, and narrative mode. The collection opens with papers touching on literary form, history, lineation, and narrative in Blake's work, establishing contact with major topics in Gothic studies. Then refines its focus to Blake's bloody, nervous bodies, through which he explores various kinds of Gothic horror related to reproduction, anatomy, sexuality, affect, and materiality. Rather than transcendent images, this collection attends to Blake's 'dark visions of torment'. -- .
This is a concise yet comprehensive treatment of the American short story that includes an historical overview of the topic as well as discussion of notable American authors and individual stories, from Benjamin Franklin s The Speech of Miss Polly Baker in 1747 to The Joy Luck Club . * Includes a selection of writers chosen not only for their contributions of individual stories but for bodies of work that advanced the boundaries of short fiction, including Washington Irving, Sarah Orne Jewett, Stephen Crane, Jamaica Kincaid, and Tim O Brien * Addresses the ways in which American oral storytelling and other narrative traditions were integral to the formation and flourishing of the short story genre * Written in accessible and engaging prose for students at all levels by a renowned literary scholar to illuminate an important genre that has received short shrift in scholarly literature of the last century * Includes a glossary defining the most common terms used in literary history and in critical discussions of fiction, and a bibliography of works for further study
Modernism and the Materiality of Texts argues that elements of modernist texts that are meaningless in themselves are motivated by their authors' psychic crises. Physical features of texts that interest modernist writers, such as sound patterns and anagrams, cannot be dissociated from abstraction or made a refuge from social crisis; instead, they reflect colonial and racial anxieties of the period. Rudyard Kipling's fear that he is indistinguishable from empire subjects, J. M. Barrie's object-relations theater of infantile separation, and Virginia Woolf's dismembered anagram self are performed by the physical text and produce a new understanding of textuality. In readings that also include diverse works by Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas, P. G. Wodehouse and Conan Doyle, J. M. Barrie, George Herriman, and Sigmund Freud, this study produces a new reading of modernism's psychological text and of literary constructions of materiality in the period.
This genealogy of the 'odd woman' compares representations of spinsters, lesbians and widows in British women's fiction and auto/biography from the 1850s to the 1930s. Women outside heterosexual marriage in this period were seen as abnormal, superfluous, incomplete and threatening, yet were also hailed as 'women of the future'. Before 1850 odd women were marginalised, minor characters in British women's fiction, yet by the 1930s spinsters, lesbians and widows had become heroines. This book examines how women writers, including Charlotte Bronte, Elisabeth Gaskell, Ella Hepworth Dixon, May Sinclair, E. H. Young, Radclyffe Hall, Winifred Holtby and Virginia Woolf, challenged dominant perceptions of singleness and lesbianism in their novels, stories and autobiographies. Drawing on advice literature, medical texts and feminist polemic, it demonstrates how these narratives responded to contemporary political controversies around the vote, women's work, sexual inversion and birth control, as well as examining the impact of the First World War. -- .
D.L. Macdonald and Kathleen Scherf's edition of Frankenstein has been widely acclaimed as an outstanding edition of the novel-for the general reader and the student as much as for the scholar. The editors use as their copy-text the original 1818 version, and detail in an appendix all of Shelley's later revisions. They also include a range of contemporary documents that shed light on the historical context from which this unique masterpiece emerged. New to this edition is a discussion of Percy Shelley's role in contributing to the first draft of the novel. Recent scholarship has provoked considerable interest in the degree to which Percy Shelley contributed to Mary Shelley's original text, and this edition's updated introduction discusses this scholarship. A new appendix also includes Lord Byron's "A Fragment" and John William Polidori's The Vampyre, works that are engaging in their own right and that also add further insights into the literary context of Frankenstein.
This brilliant outline of Blake's thought and commentary on his poetry comes on the crest of the current interest in Blake, and carries us further towards an understanding of his work than any previous study. Here is a dear and complete solution to the riddles of the longer poems, the so-called "Prophecies," and a demonstration of Blake's insight that will amaze the modern reader. The first section of the book shows how Blake arrived at a theory of knowledge that was also, for him, a theory of religion, of human life and of art, and how this rigorously defined system of ideas found expression in the complicated but consistent symbolism of his poetry. The second and third parts, after indicating the relation of Blake to English literature and the intellectual atmosphere of his own time, explain the meaning of Blake's poems and the significance of their characters.
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was one of the most influential and controversial women of her age. No writer, except perhaps her political foe, Edmund Burke, and her fellow reformer, Thomas Paine, inspired more intense reactions. In her brief literary career before her untimely death in 1797, Wollstonecraft achieved remarkable success in an unusually wide range of genres: from education tracts and political polemics, to novels and travel writing. Just as impressive as her expansive range was the profound evolution of her thinking in the decade when she flourished as an author. In this collection of essays, leading international scholars reveal the intricate biographical, critical, cultural, and historical context crucial for understanding Mary Wollstonecraft's oeuvre. Chapters on British radicalism and conservatism, French philosophes and English Dissenters, constitutional law and domestic law, sentimental literature, eighteenth-century periodicals and more elucidate Wollstonecraft's social and political thought, historical writings, moral tales for children, and novels.
The Ordnance Survey and Modern Irish Literature offers a fresh new look at the origins of literary modernism in Ireland, tracing a history of Irish writing through James Clarence Mangan, J.M. Synge, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, and Samuel Beckett. Beginning with the archives of the Ordnance Survey, which mapped Ireland between 1824 and 1846, the book argues that one of the sources of Irish modernism lies in the attempt by the Survey to produce a comprehensive archive of a land emerging rapidly into modernity. The Ordnance Survey instituted a practice of depicting the country as modern, fragmented, alienated, and troubled, both diagnosing and representing a landscape burdened with the paradoxes of colonial modernity. Subsequent literature returns in varying ways, both imitative and combative, to the complex representational challenge that the Survey confronts and seeks to surmount. From a colonial mapping project to an engine of nationalist imagining, and finally a framework by which to evade the claims of the postcolonial nation, the Ordnance Survey was a central imaginative source of what makes Irish modernist writing both formally innovative and politically challenging. Drawing on literary theory, studies of space, the history of cartography, postcolonial theory, archive theory, and the field Irish Studies, The Ordnance Survey and Modern Irish Literature paints a picture of Irish writing deeply engaged in the representation of a multi-layered landscape.
How does Dickens make his readers laugh? What is the distinctive character of Dickensian humour? These are the questions explored in this book on a topic that has been strangely neglected in critical studies over the last half century. Dickens's friend and biographer John Forster declared that: 'His leading quality was Humour.' At the end of Dickens's career he was acclaimed as 'the greatest English Humourist since Shakespeare's time.' In 1971 the critic Philip Collins surveyed recent decades of Dickens criticism and asked 'from how many discussions of Dickens in the learned journals would one ever guess that (as Dickens himself thought) humour was his leading quality, his highest faculty?' Forty years later, that rhetorical question has lost none of its force. Why? Perhaps Dickens's genius as a humourist is simply taken for granted, and critics prefer to turn to his other achievements; or perhaps humour is too hard to analyse without spoiling the fun? Whatever the reason, there has been very little by way of sustained critical investigation into what for most people has constituted Dickens's special claim to greatness. This book is framed as a series of essays examining and reflecting on Dickens's techniques for making us laugh. How is it that some written incident, or speech, or narrative 'aside' can fire off the page into the reader's conciousness and jolt him or her into a smile, a giggle, or a hearty laugh? That is the core question here. His first novel, Pickwick Papers, was acclaimed at the time as having 'opened a fresh vein of humour' in English literature: what was the social nature of the humour that established this trademark 'Dickensian' method of making people laugh? And how many kinds of laughter are there in Dickens? What made Dickens himself laugh? Victorian and contemporary theories of laughter can provide useful insights into these processes - incongruity theory or the 'relief' theory of laughter, laughter's contagiousness (laughter as a 'social glue'), the art of comic timing, the neuroscience of laughter. These and other ideas are brought into play in this short book, which considers not only Dickens's novels but also his letters and journalism. And to that end there are copious quotations. The aim of the book is to make readers laugh and also to prompt them to reflect their laughter. It should have an interest not only for Dickensians but for anyone curious about the nature of laughter and how it is triggered.
This special edition of The Oxford Companion to the Brontes commemorates the bicentenary of Emily Bronte's birth in July 1818 and provides comprehensive and detailed information about the lives, works, and reputations of the Brontes - the three sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, their father, and their brother Branwell. Expanded entries surveying the Brontes' lives and works are supplemented by entries on friends and acquaintances, pets, literary and political heroes; on the places they knew and the places they imagined; on their letters, drawings and paintings; on historical events such as Chartism, the Peterloo Massacre, and the Ashantee Wars; on exploration, slavery, and religion. Selected entries on the characters and places in the Bronte juvenilia provide a glimpse into their early imaginative worlds, and entries on film, ballet, and musicals indicate the extent to which their works have inspired others. A new foreword to the text has been also penned by Claire Harman, award-winning writer and literary critic, and recent biographer of Charlotte Bronte. This is a unique and authoritative reference book for the research student and the general reader. The A-Z format, extensive cross-referencing, classified contents, chronologies, illustrations, and maps, both facilitate quick reference and encourage further exploration. This Companion is not only invaluable for quick searches, but a delight to browse, and an inspiration to further reading.
In Forms of Empire, Nathan K. Hensley shows how the modern state's anguished relationship to violence pushed writers to expand the capacities of literary form. The Victorian era is often imagined as an "age of equipoise," but the period between 1837 and 1901 included more than two hundred separate wars. What is the difference, though, between peace and war? Forms of Empire unpacks the seeming paradoxes of the Pax Britannica's endless conflict, showing that the much vaunted equipoise of the nineteenth-century state depended on physical force to guarantee it. But the violence hidden in the shadows of all law -the violence of sovereign power itself-shuddered most visibly into being at the edges of law's reach, in the Empire, where emergency was the rule and death perversely routinized. This book follows some of the nineteenth century's most astute literary thinkers-George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, A.C. Swinburne, H. Rider Haggard, and Robert Louis Stevenson among them-as they wrestled with the sometimes sickening interplay between order and force, and generated new formal techniques to account for fact that an Empire built on freedom had death coiled at its very heart. In contrast to the progressive idealism we have inherited from the Victorians, the writers at the core of Forms of Empire moved beyond embarrassment and denial in the face of modernity's uncanny relation to killing. Instead they sought effects-free indirect discourse, lyric tension, and the idea of literary "character" itself-that might render thinkable the conceptual vertigoes of liberal violence. In the process, they touched up to the dark core of our post-Victorian modernity. Drawing on archival work, literary analyses, and a theoretical framework that troubles the distinction between "historicist" and "formalist" approaches, Forms of Empire links the Victorian period to the present and articulates a forceful vision of why literary thinking matters now.
At the heart of Wordsworth's concerns is the question of how travel - both foreign and everyday - might also become an adventure into philosophy itself. This is an art of travel both as an approach to experience - one that draws on habits in order to revise them in the shock of new - and as a poetic approach that gives voice to the singular and foreign through the unique shapes of verse. Close readings of Wordsworth's 'pictures of Nature, Man, and Society' show how the natural is entangled with - and not simply opposed to, as many critics have suggested - the social, the political and the historical in this verse. This book draws on both eighteenth-century anthropology and travel literature, and debates in modern critical theory, to highlight Wordsworth's remarkable originality and his ongoing ability to transform our theoretical prejudgements in the unknown territory of the travel encounter.
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