Literary Criticism


Women in Wartime

Paula R. Backscheider
During the long eighteenth century, Great Britain was almost continuously at war. As the era unfolded, the theatre gradually discovered the potential in having actresses, recently introduced to the stage in the 1660s, perform as wartime women characters. As playwrights and managers began casting women in transformative roles to meet each major national need, female characters came to be central figures in bringing the war home to the nation,...

Apocalypse and Golden Age

Christopher Star
What is the long-term future of the human race? Will the world always remain as it is or will it undergo a catastrophic change? What role do the gods, human morality, and the forces of nature play in bringing about the end of the world? In Apocalypse and Golden Age, Christopher Star reveals the answers that Greek and Roman authors gave to these questions. The first large-scale investigation of the various scenarios for the end of the world in classical...

Occasional Views, Volume 2

Samuel R. Delany
More essays and interviews from one of literature's iconic voices Samuel R. Delany is an acclaimed writer of literary theory, queer literature, and fiction. His works have fundamentally altered the terrain of science fiction (SF) through their formally consummate and materially grounded explorations of difference. This anthology of essays, talks, and interviews addresses topics such as sex and sexuality, race, power, literature and genre, as well as Herman Melville, John...

Material Ambitions

Rebecca Richardson
Stories of hardworking characters who lift themselves from rags to riches abound in the Victorian era. From the popularity of such stories, it is clear that the Victorians valorized personal ambition in ways that previous generations had not. In Material Ambitions, Rebecca Richardson explores this phenomenon in light of the under-studied reception history of Samuel Smiles's 1859 publication, Self-Help: With Illustrations of Character, Conduct, and Perseverance. A compilation...

Behaviorism, Consciousness, and the Literary Mind

Joshua Gang
If inanimate objects such as novels or poems have no mental properties of their own, then why do we talk about them as if they do? Why do we perceive the minds of characters, narrators, and speakers as if they were comparable to our own? In Behaviorism, Consciousness, and the Literary Mind, Joshua Gang offers a radical new approach to these questions, which are among the most challenging philosophical problems faced by literary study today. Recent cognitive criticism has tried...

Baroque Modernity

Joseph Cermatori
Baroque style—with its emphasis on ostentation, adornment, and spectacle—might seem incompatible with the dominant forms of art since the Industrial Revolution, but between 1875 and 1935, European and American modernists connected to the theater became fascinated with it. In Baroque Modernity, Joseph Cermatori argues that the memory of seventeenth-century baroque stages helped produce new forms of theater, space, and experience around the turn of the twentieth century. In response, modern...

Making Liberalism New

Ian Afflerbach
In Making Liberalism New, Ian Afflerbach traces the rise, revision, and fall of a modern liberalism in the United States, establishing this intellectual culture as distinct from classical predecessors as well as the neoliberalism that came to power by century's end. Drawing on a diverse archive that includes political philosophy, legal texts, studies of moral psychology, government propaganda, and presidential campaign...

The Obsolete Empire

Philip Tai-Hang Tsang
The waning British empire left behind an abundance of material relics and an inventory of feelings not easily relinquished. In The Obsolete Empire, Philip Tsang brings together an unusual constellation of writers—Henry James, James Joyce, Doris Lessing, and V. S. Naipaul—to trace an aesthetics of frustrated attachment that emerged in the wake of imperial decline. Caught between an expansive Britishness and an exclusive Englishness, these writers...

Approaches to Teaching the Works of Cormac McCarthy

edited by Stacey Peebles, Benjamin West
In the decades since his 1992 breakout novel, All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy has gained a reputation as one of the greatest contemporary American authors. Experimenting with genres such as the crime thriller, the post-apocalyptic novel, and the western, his work also engages with the aesthetics of cinema, and several of his novels have been adapted for the screen. While timely and relevant, his works' idiosyncratic language and intense,...

Be Brave to Things

Jack Spicer, edited by Daniel Katz
Indispensable volume of previously unavailable poetry by an American master Be Brave to Things shows legendary San Francisco Renaissance poet Jack Spicer at the top of his form, with his blistering intelligence, painful double-edged wit, and devastating will to truth everywhere on display. Most of the poetry here has never before been published, but the volume also includes much out-of-print or hard to find work, as well as Spicer's three major...

Becoming T. S. Eliot

Jayme Stayer
T. S. Eliot's juvenilia were written by an adolescent who showed little inclination to question the social, cultural, religious, or domestic values he had inherited. By contrast, the poems of his early maturity were written by a roiling, divided self—enraged and poised, sarcastic and self-conscious, urbane and anguished. How did a young man who wrote uninspired doggerel about wilting flowers transform himself—in a mere twenty months—into the...

Approaches to Teaching the Works of Karen Tei Yamashita

edited by Ruth Y. Hsu, Pamela Thoma
Structurally innovative and culturally expansive, the works of Karen Tei Yamashita invite readers to rethink conventional paradigms of genres and national traditions. Her novels, plays, and other texts refashion forms like the immigrant tale, the postmodern novel, magical realism, apocalyptic literature, and the picaresque and suggest new transnational, hemispheric, and global frameworks for interpreting Asian American literature. Addressing...

Finding the Right Words

Cindy Weinstein
with Bruce L. Miller, MD
In 1985, when Cindy Weinstein was a graduate student at UC Berkeley, her beloved father, Jerry, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. He was fifty-eight years old. Twelve years later, at age seventy, he died having lost all of his memories—along with his ability to read, write, and speak. Finding the Right Words follows Weinstein's decades-long journey to come to terms with her father's dementia as both a daughter and...

The Past

Wendy Xu
Elegiac and searching, poems written in the long shadow of immigration The poems in Wendy Xu's third collection, The Past, fantasize uneasily about becoming a palatable lyric record of their namesake, while ultimately working to disrupt this Westernized desire. Born in Shandong, China, in 1987, Wendy Xu immigrated to the United States in 1989, three days ahead of the events of Tian'anmen Square. The Past probes the multi-generational binds of family, displacement, and immigration as an ongoing psychic experience without end. Moving...

Automatic

Timothy Wientzen
The advent of the twentieth century famously brought about new personal and political freedoms, including radical changes in voting rights and expressions of gender and sexuality. Yet writers and cultural critics shared a sense that modern life reduced citizens to automatons capable of interacting with the world in only the most reflexive ways. In Automatic, Timothy Wientzen asks why modernists were deeply anxious about the role of reflexive behaviors—and the susceptibility of...

New Horizons for Early Modern European Scholarship

edited by Ann Blair and Nicholas Popper
The study of early modern Europe has long been one of the most dynamic fields in the historical profession. Many of the most creative and influential movements in historical scholarship originated as methods for examining the puzzle of Europe between 1450 and 1750, when the compelling paradoxes and features of the world we now inhabit began to coalesce. The essays in New Horizons in Early Modern Scholarship examine recent developments in...

The Blue Split Compartments

Andrea Brady
An innovative suite of poems for the drone age The Blue Split Compartments is a complex and powerful sequence of lyric poems exploring the relationships between military drone operators and their victims. Drawing on chatroom logs, military policy manuals, pattern of life archives, and accounts by witnesses around the world, these poems document the consequences of the perpetual and 'everywhere war.' With its sophisticated interplay of diction, rhetoric, syntax, positioning, allusion, and sonic quality, this...

Estranging the Novel

Katarzyna Bartoszyńska
For centuries, the standard account of the development of the novel focused on the rise of realism in English literature. Studies of early novels connected the form to various aspects of British life across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including the burgeoning middle class, the growth of individualism, and the emergence of democracy and the nation-state. But as the push for teaching and learning global literature grows, this narrative is...

Teaching Anglophone South Asian Women Writers

edited by Deepika Bahri, Filippo Menozzi
Global and cosmopolitan since the late nineteenth century, anglophone South Asian women's writing has flourished in many genres and locations, encompassing diverse works linked by issues of language, geography, history, culture, gender, and literary tradition. Whether writing in the homeland or in the diaspora, authors offer representations of social struggle and inequality while articulating possibilities for resistance. In this volume experienced...

Teaching Modernist Women's Writing in English

edited by Janine Utell
As authors and publishers, individuals and collectives, women significantly shaped the modernist movement. While figures such as Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein have received acclaim, authors from marginalized communities and those who wrote for mass, middlebrow audiences also created experimental and groundbreaking work. The essays in this volume explore formal aspects and thematic concerns of modernism while also challenging rigid notions of what constitutes literary...