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Literary Criticism


Literature and Culture Collection

"Clotel" by William Wells Brown: An Electronic Scholarly Edition

The first African American novel, Clotel was published in 1853 in London, when its author was still legally a slave in the United States. The work's stature derives not only from its remarkable origin but from its explosive content, which is freely based on the relationship between... More


Emily Dickinson's Correspondences: A Born-Digital Textual Inquiry

Unpublished in book form during her lifetime, the poems of Emily Dickinson were nonetheless shared with those she trusted most—through her letters. This XML-based archive brings together seventy-four poems and letters from Emily’s correspondence with her sister-in-law and primary... More


Herman Melville's "Typee": A Fluid Text Edition

This innovative work represents the most advanced, and accessible, approach to the study of a "fluid text" (a work existing in multiple versions). Analyzing Melville's working draft manuscript of Typee, John Bryant establishes three layered versions of the heavily revised text and... More


The Digital Temple: A Documentary Edition of George Herbert's English Verse

A public orator at Cambridge and later a priest in the Church of England, George Herbert (1593–1633) balanced a vigorous intellectual life with a passionate devotion to his faith. These two important strands in his life informed his great work, The Temple: Sacred Poems and Private... More


The Letters of Christina Rossetti: A Digital Edition

Christina Rossetti has come to be considered one of the major poets of the Victorian era.This digital edition incorporates the complete text of the 4-volume print edition, The Letters of Christina Rossetti, edited by Antony H. Harrison. All 2124 letters may be read in chronological order... More


The Letters of Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold was the preeminent poet/critic of the second half of the nineteenth century. Including nearly 4,000 letters, this work represents the most comprehensive and assiduously annotated collection of his correspondence available.


Beyond 1776

Edited by Maria O'Malley and Denys Van Renen

In Beyond 1776, ten humanities scholars consider the American Revolution within a global framework. The foundation of the United States was deeply enmeshed with shifting alliances and multiple actors, with politics saturated by imaginative literature, and with ostensible bilateral negotiations that... More


Reading Contagion

Annika Mann

Eighteenth-century British culture was transfixed by the threat of contagion, believing that everyday elements of the surrounding world could transmit deadly maladies from one body to the next. Physicians and medical writers warned of noxious matter circulating through air, bodily fluids, paper,... More


Parting Words

Justin A. Sider

Valedictory addresses offer a way to conceptualize the relation of self to others, private to public, ephemeral to eternal. Whether deathbed pronouncements, political capitulations, or seafaring farewells, "parting words" played a crucial role in the social imagination of Victorian writing. In this... More


Guilty Pleasures

Hugh McIntosh

Guilty pleasures in one’s reading habits are nothing new. Late-nineteenth-century American literary culture even championed the idea that popular novels need not be great. Best-selling novels arrived in the public sphere as at once beloved and contested objects, an ambivalence that reflected and... More


The Physics of Possibility

Michael Tondre

The Physics of Possibility traces the sensational birth of mathematical physics in Victorian literature, science, and statistics. As scientists took up new breakthroughs in quantification, they showed how all sorts of phenomena—the condition of stars, atoms, molecules, and nerves—could be... More


A Literary Guide to Washington, DC

Kim Roberts

The site of a thriving literary tradition, Washington, DC, has been the home to many of our nation’s most acclaimed writers. From the city’s founding to the beginnings of modernism, literary luminaries including Walt Whitman, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Henry Adams, Langston Hughes,... More


How Borges Wrote

Daniel Balderston

A distinguished poet and essayist and one of the finest writers of short stories in world letters, Jorge Luis Borges deliberately and regularly altered his work by extensive revision. In this volume, renowned Borges scholar Daniel Balderston undertakes to piece together Borges's creative process... More


Stranger America

Josh Toth

Contradictory ideals of egalitarianism and self-reliance haunt America’s democratic state. We need look no further than Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and victory for proof that early twentieth-century anxieties about individualism, race, and the foreign or intrusive "other" persist... More


Women Writers of the Beat Era

Mary Paniccia Carden

The Beat Generation was a group of writers who rejected cultural standards, experimented with drugs, and celebrated sexual liberation. Starting in the 1950s with works such as Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, and William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch, the Beat Generation defined an... More


Shakespeare's Ocean

Dan Brayton

Study of the sea--both in terms of human interaction with it and its literary representation--has been largely ignored by ecocritics. In Shakespeare’s Ocean, Dan Brayton foregrounds the maritime dimension of a writer whose plays and poems have had an enormous impact on literary notions of nature... More


Recomposing Ecopoetics

Lynn Keller

In the first book devoted exclusively to the ecopoetics of the twenty-first century, Lynn Keller examines poetry of what she terms the "self-conscious Anthropocene," a period in which there is widespread awareness of the scale and severity of human effects on the planet. Recomposing Ecopoetics... More


Pirating Fictions

Monica F. Cohen

Two distinctly different meanings of piracy are ingeniously intertwined in Monica Cohen's lively new book, which shows how popular depictions of the pirate held sway on the page and the stage even as their creators were preoccupied with the ravages of literary appropriation. The golden age of... More


Willful Submission

Amanda Paxton

Victorian England: a Jesuit priest writes of wrestling with God at night, limbs entangled; an Anglican sister begs Jesus, her divine lover, to end her aching anticipation of their union; a clergyman exhorts nuns to study the example of medieval women who suffered on the rack in order to become "... More


Imitation Nation

Jason Richards

How did early Americans define themselves? The American exceptionalist perspective tells us that the young republic rejected Europeans, Native Americans, and African Americans in order to isolate a national culture and a white national identity. Imitativeness at this time was often seen as... More


The Pragmatist Turn

Giles Gunn

In The Pragmatist Turn, renowned scholar of American literature and thought Giles Gunn offers a new critical history of the way seventeenth-century religion and the eighteenth-century Enlightenment influenced the formation of subsequent American writing. This shaping was dependent on their... More


Building Natures

Julia Daniel

In Building Natures, Julia Daniel establishes the influence of landscape architecture, city planning, and parks management on American poetry to show how modernists engaged with the green worlds and social playgrounds created by these new professions in the early twentieth century. The modern poets... More


The Illiberal Imagination

Joe Shapiro

The Illiberal Imagination offers a synthetic, historical formalist account of how—and to what end—U.S. novels from the late eighteenth century to the mid-1850s represented economic inequality and radical forms of economic egalitarianism in the new nation. In conversation with intellectual, social... More


Genre Theory and Historical Change

John Rowlett

Ralph Cohen was highly regarded as the visionary founding editor of New Literary History, but his own theoretical essays appeared in such a scattering of publications that their conceptual originality, underlying coherence, and range of application have not been readily apparent. This new selection... More


East-West Exchange and Late Modernism

Zhaoming Qian

In East-West Exchange and Late Modernism, Zhaoming Qian examines the nature and extent of Asian influence on some of the literary masterpieces of Western late modernism. Focusing on the poets William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, and Ezra Pound, Qian relates captivating stories about their... More


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