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Unpublished in book form during her lifetime, the poems of Emily Dickinson were nonetheless shared with those she trusted most—through her letters.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


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


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


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


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


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


Reading with the Senses in Victorian Literature and Science


David Sweeney Coombs

The nineteenth-century sciences cleaved sensory experience into two separate realms: the bodily physics of sensation and the mental activity of perception. This division into two discrete categories was foundational to Victorian physics, physiology, and experimental psychology. As David Sweeney... More


The Dark Thread
From Tragical Histories to Gothic Tales

Edited by John D. Lyons

In The Dark Thread, scholars examine a set of important and perennial narrative motifs centered on violence within the family as they have appeared in French, English, Spanish, and American literatures. Over fourteen essays, contributors highlight the connections between works from early modernity... More


Goodness and the Literary Imagination
Harvard's 95th Ingersoll Lecture with Essays on Morrison's Moral and Religious Vision

Toni Morrison. Edited by David Carrasco, Stephanie Paulsell, and Mara Willard

What exactly is goodness? Where is it found in the literary imagination? Toni Morrison, one of American letters’ greatest voices, pondered these perplexing questions in her celebrated Ingersoll Lecture, delivered at Harvard University in 2012 and published now for the first time.Perhaps because it... More


Transfusion
Blood and Sympathy in the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination

Ann Louise Kibbie

"England may with justice claim to be the native land of transfusion," wrote one European physician in 1877, acknowledging Great Britain’s crucial role in developing and promoting human-to-human transfusion as treatment for life-threatening blood loss. As news of this revolutionary medical... More


The Field of Imagination
Thomas Paine and Eighteenth-Century Poetry

Scott M. Cleary

One of America’s Founding Fathers, Thomas Paine is best remembered as the pamphleteer who inspired the American Revolution. Yet few also know him as an eighteenth-century poet of considerable repute. In The Field of Imagination, Scott Cleary offers the first book on Paine’s poetry, exploring how... More


The Problem of Profit
Finance and Feeling in Eighteenth-Century British Literature

Michael Genovese

Attacks against the pursuit of profit in eighteenth-century Britain have been largely read as reactions against market activity in general or as critiques of financial innovation.  In  The Problem of Profit, however, Michael Genovese contends that such rejections of profit derive not from a... More


The Alchemy of Conquest
Science, Religion, and the Secrets of the New World

Ralph Bauer

The Age of the Discovery of the Americas was concurrent with the Age of Discovery in science. In The Alchemy of Conquest, Ralph Bauer explores the historical relationship between the two, focusing on the connections between religion and science in the Spanish, English, and French literatures about... More


Without the Novel
Romance and the History of Prose Fiction

Scott Black

No genre manifests the pleasure of reading—and its power to consume and enchant—more than romance. In suspending the category of the novel to rethink the way prose fiction works,  Without the Novel demonstrates what literary history looks like from the perspective of such readerly excesses and... More


Women Warriors in Early Modern Spain
A Tribute to Bárbara Mujica

Edited by Susan L. Fischer and Frederick A. de Armas

Although scholars often depict early modern Spanish women as victims, history and fiction of the period are filled with examples of women who defended their God-given right to make their own decisions and to define their own identities. The essays in Women Warriors in Early Modern Spain examine... More


Character and Mourning
Woolf, Faulkner, and the Novel Elegy of the First World War

Erin Penner

In response to the devastating trauma of World War I, British and American authors wrote about grief. The need to articulate loss inspired moving novels by Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner. Woolf criticized the role of Britain in the "war to end all wars," and Faulkner recognized in postwar... More


Anecdotes of Enlightenment
Human Nature from Locke to Wordsworth

James Robert Wood

Anecdotes of Enlightenment is the first literary history of the anecdote in English. In this wide-ranging account, James Robert Wood explores the animating effects anecdotes had on intellectual and literary cultures over the long eighteenth century. Drawing on extensive archival research and... More


Mourning El Dorado
Literature and Extractivism in the Contemporary American Tropics

Charlotte Rogers

What ever happened to the legend of El Dorado, the tale of the mythical city of gold lost in the Amazon jungle? Charlotte Rogers argues that El Dorado has not been forgotten and still inspires the reckless pursuit of illusory wealth. The search for gold in South America during the colonial period... More


Public Vows
Fictions of Marriage in the English Enlightenment

Melissa J. Ganz

In eighteenth-century England, the institution of marriage became the subject of heated debates, as clerics, jurists, legislators, philosophers, and social observers began rethinking its contractual foundation. Public Vows argues that these debates shaped English fiction in crucial and previously... More


A World of Disorderly Notions
Quixote and the Logic of Exceptionalism

Aaron R. Hanlon

From Jonathan Swift to Washington Irving, those looking to propose and justify exceptions to social and political norms turned to Cervantes’s notoriously mad comic hero as a model. A World of Disorderly Notions examines the literary and political effects of Don Quixote, arguing that what makes this... More


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