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Unpublished in book form during her lifetime, the poems of Emily Dickinson were nonetheless shared with those she trusted most—through her letters.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


Mourning El Dorado

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


Of Land, Bones, and Money

Emily McGiffin

The South African literature of iimbongi, the oral poets of the amaXhosa people, has long shaped understandings of landscape and history and offered a forum for grappling with change. Of Land, Bones, and Money examines the shifting role of these poets in South African society and the ways in which... More


Anecdotes of Enlightenment

AuthorJames 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


Public Vows

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

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


Circuit of Apollo

Edited by Laura L. Runge and Jessica Cook

Written by a combination of established scholars and new critics in the field, the essays collected in Circuit of Apollo attest to the vital practice of commemorating women’s artistic and personal relationships. In doing so, they illuminate the complexity of female friendships and honor as well as... More


Novel Cultivations

Elizabeth Hope Chang

Nineteenth-century English nature was a place of experimentation, exoticism, and transgression, as site and emblem of the global exchanges of the British Empire. Popular attitudes toward the transplantation of exotic species—botanical and human—to Victorian greenhouses and cities found anxious... More


Retelling the Siege of Jerusalem in Early Modern England

AuthorVanita Neelakanta

This compelling book explores sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English retellings of the Roman siege of Jerusalem and the way they informed and were informed by religious and political developments. The siege featured prominently in many early modern English sermons, ballads, plays, histories,... More


A New Continent of Liberty

Geoff Hamilton

The first book to chart autonomy’s conceptual growth in Native American literature from the late eighteenth to the early twenty-first century, A New Continent of Liberty examines, against the backdrop of Euro-American literature, how Native American authors have sought to reclaim and redefine... More


Creole Drama

Juliane Braun

The stages of antebellum New Orleans did more than entertain. In the city’s early years, French-speaking residents used the theatre to assert their political, economic, and cultural sovereignty in the face of growing Anglo-American dominance. Beyond local stages, the francophone struggle for... More


Terrible Beauty

Marian Eide

If art is our bid to make sense of the senseless, there is hardly more fertile creative ground than that of the twentieth century. From the trench poetry of World War I and Holocaust memoirs by Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel to the post-colonial novels of southern Asia and the anti-apartheid plays of... More


Twice-Divided Nation

Samuel Graber

The first thoroughly interdisciplinary study to examine how thetransatlantic relationship between the United States and Britain helped shape the conflicts between North and South in the decade before the American Civil War, Twice-Divided Nation addresses that influence primarily as a problem of... More


Evergreen Ash

Christopher Abram

Norse mythology is obsessed with the idea of an onrushing and unstoppable apocalypse: Ragnarok, when the whole of creation will perish in fire, smoke, and darkness and the earth will nolonger support the life it once nurtured. Most of the Old Norse texts that preserve the myths of Ragnarok... More


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


Women Fight, Women Write

Mildred Mortimer

Today, the "fight to write"—the struggle to become the legitimate chronicler of one’s own story—is being waged and won by women across mediums and borders. But such battles of authorship extend well beyond a single cultural moment. In her gripping study of unsung female narratives of the Algerian... 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


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


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


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