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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Unpublished in book form during her lifetime, the poems of Emily Dickinson were nonetheless shared with those she trusted most—through her letters.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.


Victorians on Broadway

Literature, Adaptation, and the Modern American Musical


Sharon Aronofsky Weltman

Broadway productions of musicals such as The King and I, Oliver!, Sweeney Todd, and Jekyll and Hyde became huge theatrical hits. Remarkably, all were based on one-hundred-year-old British novels or memoirs. What could possibly explain their enormous success? Victorians on Broadway is a wide-ranging... More


Cultural Entanglements

Langston Hughes and the Rise of African and Caribbean Literature


Shane Graham

In addition to being a poet, fiction writer, playwright, and essayist, Langston Hughes was also a globe-trotting cosmopolitan, travel writer, translator, avid international networker, and—perhaps above all—pan-Africanist. In Cultural Entanglements, Shane Graham examines Hughes’s associations with a... More


Empire of Diamonds

Victorian Gems in Imperial Settings


Adrienne Munich

In 1850, the legendary Koh-i-noor diamond, gem of Eastern potentates, was transferred from the Punjab in India and, in an elaborate ceremony, placed into Queen Victoria’s outstretched hands. This act inaugurated what author Adrienne Munich recognizes in her engaging new book as the empire of... More


Love and Depth in the American Novel

From Stowe to James


Ashley C. Barnes

Love and Depth in the American Novel seeks to change how we think about the American love story and how we imagine the love of literature. By examining classics of nineteenth-century American literature, Ashley Barnes offers a new approach to literary theory that encompasses both New Historicism... More


Falling Short

The Bildungsroman and the Crisis of Self-Fashioning


Aleksandar Stevic

A paradox haunts the bildungsroman: few protagonists successfully complete the process of maturation and socialization that ostensibly defines the form. From the despondent endings of Dickens’s Great Expectations and Meredith’s The Ordeal of Richard Feverel to the suicide of Balzac’s Lucien de... More


Hostile Humor in Renaissance France



Bruce Hayes

In sixteenth-century France, the level of jokes, irony, and ridicule found in pamphlets and plays became aggressively hostile. In Hostile Humor in Renaissance France, Bruce Hayes investigates this period leading up to the French Wars of Religion, when a deliberately harmful and destructive form of... More


Bad Men

Creative Touchstones of Black Writers


Howard Rambsy II

How have African American writers drawn on bad men and black boys as creative touchstones for their evocative and vibrant art? This is the question posed by Howard Rambsy’s new book, which explores bad men as a central, recurring, and understudied figure in African American literature, and music.... More


The Sketch, the Tale, and the Beginnings of American Literature



Lydia G. Fash

Accounts of the rise of American literature often start in the 1850s with a cluster of "great American novels"—Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Melville’s Moby-Dick and Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. But these great works did not spring fully formed from the heads of their creators. All three relied on... More


Neoliberal Nonfictions

The Documentary Aesthetic from Joan Didion to Jay-Z


Daniel Worden

With the ascendancy of neoliberalism in American culture beginning in the 1960s, the political structures governing private lives became more opaque and obscure. Neoliberal Nonfictions argues that a new style of documentary art emerged to articulate the fissures between individual experience and... More


Art and Artifact in Austen



Edited by Anna Battigelli

Jane Austen distinguished herself with genius in literature, but she was immersed in all of the arts. Austen loved dancing, played the piano proficiently, meticulously transcribed piano scores, attended concerts and art exhibits, read broadly, wrote poems, sat for portraits by her sister Cassandra... More


The Life of William Faulkner

The Past Is Never Dead, 1897-1934


Carl Rollyson

William Faulkner emerged from the ravaged South—half backwoods, half defeated empire—transforming his corner of Mississippi into the fictional Yoknapatawpha County and bestowing on the world some of the most revolutionary and enduring literature of the twentieth century. The personal story behind... More


Milton among Spaniards



Angelica Duran

Firmly grounded in literary studies but drawing on religious studies, translation studies, drama, and visual art, Milton among Spaniards is the first book-length exploration of the afterlife of John Milton in Spanish culture, illuminating underexamined Anglo-Hispanic cultural relations. This study... More


Dandyism

Forming Fiction from Modernism to the Present


Len Gutkin

The "dandy," a nineteenth-century character and concept exemplified in such works as Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Proust’s Recherche, reverberates in surprising corners of twentieth- and twenty-first-century culture. Establishing this character as a kind of shorthand for a diverse range... More


Colonizing the Past

Mythmaking and Pre-Columbian Whites in Nineteenth-Century American Writing


Edward Watts

After the Revolution, Americans realized they lacked the common, deep, or meaningful history that might bind together their loose confederation of former colonies into a genuine nation. They had been conquerors yet colonials, now politically independent yet culturally subordinate to European... More


Letters from Filadelfia

Early Latino Literature and the Trans-American Elite


Rodrigo Lazo

For many Spanish Americans in the early nineteenth century, Philadelphia was Filadelfia, a symbol of republican government for the Americas and the most important Spanish-language print center in the early United States. In Letters from Filadelfia, Rodrigo Lazo opens a window into Spanish-language... More


A Language of Things

Emanuel Swedenborg and the American Environmental Imagination


Devin P. Zuber

Long overlooked, the natural philosophy and theosophy of the Scandinavian scientist-turned-mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) made a surprising impact in America. Thomas Jefferson, while president, was so impressed with the message of a Baltimore Swedenborgian minister that he invited him to... More


Erotic Citizens

Sex and the Embodied Subject in the Antebellum Novel


Elizabeth Dill

What is the role of sex in the age of democratic beginnings? Despite the sober republican ideals of the Enlightenment, the literature of America’s early years speaks of unruly, carnal longings. Elizabeth Dill argues that the era’s proliferation of texts about extramarital erotic intimacy manifests... More


Evangelical Gothic

The English Novel and the Religious War on Virtue from Wesley to Dracula


Christopher Herbert

Evangelical Gothic explores the bitter antagonism that prevailed between two defining institutions of nineteenth-century Britain: Evangelicalism and the popular novel. Christopher Herbert begins by retrieving from near oblivion a rich anti-Evangelical polemical literature in which the great... More


Children of the Raven and the Whale

Visions and Revisions in American Literature


Caroline Chamberlin Hellman

Taking its cue from Perry Miller’s 1956 classic of American literary criticism, The Raven and the Whale: The War of Words and Wits in the Era of Poe and Melville, Caroline Chamberlin Hellman’s new book examines ways in which contemporary multi-ethnic writers of the United States have responded to... More


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