Literary Criticism



The Age of Phillis

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
In 1773, a young, African American woman named Phillis Wheatley published a book of poetry that challenged Western prejudices about African and female intellectual capabilities. Based on fifteen years of archival research, The Age of Phillis, by award-winning writer Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, imagines the life and times of Wheatley: her childhood in the Gambia, West Africa, her life with her white American owners, her friendship with Obour Tanner, and her marriage to the enigmatic John Peters. Woven throughout are...

Defending Privilege

Nicole Mansfield Wright
As revolution and popular unrest roiled the final decades of the eighteenth century, authors, activists, and philosophers across the British Empire hailed the rise of the liberal subject, valorizing the humanity of the marginalized and the rights of members of groups long considered inferior or subhuman. Yet at the same time, a group of conservative authors mounted a reactionary attempt to cultivate sympathy for the privileged. In Defending...

French Guiana

Patrick Chamoiseau
Hailed by Milan Kundera as "an heir of Joyce and Kafka," Prix Goncourt winner Patrick Chamoiseau is among the leading Francophone writers today. With most of his novels having appeared in English, this book opens a new window on his oeuvre. A moving poetic essay that bears witness to the forgotten history of the French penal colony in French Guiana, French Guiana—Memory Traces of the Penal Colony accompanied by more than sixty evocative color photographs by Rodolphe Hammadi and...

North American Women Poets in the 21st Century

Lisa Sewell
North American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Beyond Lyric and Language is an important new addition to the American Poets in the 21st Century series. Like the earlier anthologies, this volume includes generous selections of poetry by some of the best poets of our time as well as illuminating poetics statements and incisive essays on their work. Among the insightful pieces included in this volume are essays by Catherine Cucinella on Marilyn Chin, Meg...

Prophets, Publicists, and Parasites

Adam Gordon
Print culture expanded significantly in the nineteenth century due to new print technologies and more efficient distribution methods, providing literary critics, who were alternately celebrated and reviled, with an ever-increasing number of venues to publish their work. Adam Gordon embraces the multiplicity of critique in the period from 1830 to 1860 by exploring the critical forms that emerged. Prophets, Publicists, and Parasites is...

Paradise Lost

Michael Cavanagh
A record of a teacher's lifelong love affair with the beauty, wit, and profundity of Paradise Lost, celebrating John Milton's un-doctrinal, complex, and therefore deeply satisfying perception of the human condition. After surveying Milton's recurrent struggle as a reconciler of conflicting ideals, this Primer undertakes a book-by-book reading of Paradise Lost, reviewing key features of Milton's "various style," and why we treasure that style. Cavanagh constantly revisits Milton the singer and maker, and the...

Mezzaluna

Michele Leggott
Mezzaluna gathers work from Michele Leggott's nine books of poetry. As reviewer David Eggleton writes: "Leggott shows us that the ordinary is full of marvels which . . . stitched, flow together into sequences and episodes that in turn form an ongoing serial, or bricolage: a single poem, then, rejecting exactness, literalism, naturalism in favor of resonance, currents, patterns of ebb and flow." In complex lyrics, sampling thought and song, voice and vision, Leggott creates lush textured soundscapes. Her poetry...

Avala Is Falling

Biljana Jovanovic
In Avala Is Falling, Jovanović's breakout success in 1978, a young woman challenges the expectations that teachers, parents, bus drivers and doctors have for her. The "Avala" of the title refers to a mountain south of Belgrade which is home to some of Serbia's most important nationalist monuments and shrines; it is also the site of the main mental hospital for the region, and its "falling" is the unexpected fulfillment of a prophecy from a traditional Serbian folk song. Jovanović's use of stream of consciousness in...

Slavery and the Post-Black Imagination

Bertram D. Ashe
From Kara Walker's hellscape antebellum silhouettes to Paul Beatty's bizarre twist on slavery in The Sellout and from Colson Whitehead's literal Underground Railroad to Jordan Peele's body-snatching Get Out, this volume offers commentary on contemporary artistic works that present, like musical deep cuts, some challenging "alternate takes" on American slavery. These artists deliberately confront and negotiate the psychic and representational legacies of slavery to imagine possibilities and...

Edges & Fray

Danielle Vogel
not the format on the page writing is the retrieval of material —— to produce a desired , shape as open : archiving the word architecture build within the space of this thought . sound , shaped into series becomes sentence and series Edges & Fray is an embodied meditation that cultivates receptivity and deep listening to the ways we inhabit language and its ethereal resilience. Combining close observation of birds' nests and the writing process, Danielle...

Odes and Elegies

Friedrich Hölderlin
Gladly the boatman turns home to the river's calm From his harvest on faraway isles; If only I too were homeward bound; Yet what harvest have I but sorrow?— O blessèd riverbanks that raised me, Can you ease the sorrows of love? Ah, when I come To you, woods of my youth, will you Grant me peace once again? —From "Home" For more than a century, Friedrich Hölderlin has been considered one of the key figures in modern European literature. The translations in Odes and Elegies, including poems never before...

Experimental

Natalia Cecire
In this bold new study of twentieth-century American writing and poetics, Natalia Cecire argues that experimental writing should be understood as a historical phenomenon before it is understood as a set of formal phenomena. This seems counterintuitive because, at its most basic level, experimental writing can be thought of as writing which breaks from established forms. Touching on figures who are not typically considered experimental, such as Stephen Crane, Jacob...

The Intimacy of Paper in Early and Nineteenth-Century American Literature

Jonathan Senchyne
The true scale of paper production in America from 1690 through the end of the nineteenth century was staggering, with a range of parties participating in different ways, from farmers growing flax to textile workers weaving cloth and from housewives saving rags to peddlers collecting them. Making a bold case for the importance of printing and paper technology in the study of early American literature, Jonathan Senchyne presents archival evidence...

"Theatricals of Day"

Sandra Runzo
In her own private ways, Emily Dickinson participated in the popular entertainments of her time. On her piano, she performed popular musical numbers, many from the tradition of minstrelsy, and at theaters, she listened to famous musicians, including Jenny Lind and, likely, the Hutchinson Family Singers. In reading the Atlantic Monthly, the Springfield Republican, and Harper's, she kept up with the roiling conflicts over slavery and took in current...

The Ruler's House

Harriet Fertik
The Julio-Claudian dynasty, beginning with the rise of Augustus in the late first century BCE and ending with the death of Nero in 68 CE, was the first ruling family of the Roman Empire. Elite Romans had always used domestic space to assert and promote their authority, but what was different about the emperor's house? In The Ruler's House, Harriet Fertik considers how the emperor's household and the space he called home shaped Roman conceptions of power and one-man...

Time for Childhoods

Rachel Conrad
Poems written by children are not typically part of the literary canon. Because of cultural biases that frame young people as intellectually and artistically immature, these works are often excluded or dismissed as juvenilia. Rachel Conrad contends that youth-composed poems should be read as literary works in their own right—works that are deserving of greater respect in literary culture. Time for Childhoods presents a selection of striking twentieth-and twenty-first-century...

"And there will be singing"

Jim Hicks
In celebration of its landmark sixtieth anniversary, the Massachusetts Review presents a collection of the best contemporary and emerging international writers and writers in translation, from MR's last decade. At a time when English-only readers too often know little about the rest of the world, this volume is a classroom in itself. This timely and essential anthology features fiction, essays, and poetry by Mia Couto,...

Four by Euripides

Robert Bagg
Robert Bagg's translations are prized for making ancient Greek dramas immediate and gripping. His earlier translations of the plays of Sophocles and Euripides have been performed over seventy times, across a wide array of stages. This edition includes accessible new translations of four plays by Euripides—the tragedies Medea, Bakkhai, and Hippolytos, and the satyr play Cyclops—all rendered in iambic pentameter, a meter wellsuited for the stage. They sustain the strengths that...

Minotaur, Parrot, and the SS Man

George Monteiro
Nov 2019 - Tagus Press
An undisputed giant of twentieth-century Portuguese letters, writer and literary critic Jorge de Sena (1919–1978) spent the most productive decades of his life away from Portugal, teaching at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of California, Santa Barbara. In the essays gathered in this collection, George Monteiro deftly weaves together his readings of Sena's poetry and prose, both literary and critical, with evidence drawn from the deep well of Sena's...

Pindar, Song, and Space

Richard Neer and Leslie Kurke
In this volume, Richard Neer and Leslie Kurke develop a new, integrated approach to classical Greece: a "lyric archaeology" that combines literary and art-historical analysis with archaeological and epigraphic materials. At the heart of the book is the great poet Pindar of Thebes, best known for his magnificent odes in honor of victors at the Olympic Games and other competitions. Unlike the quintessentially personal genre of modern lyric, these poems were destined...