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Literary Criticism


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, reverberates in surprising corners of twentieth- and twenty-first-century culture. Establishing this character as a kind of shorthand for a diverse range of traits and... 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-... 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


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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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 in book form... 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... 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... 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... More


Creole Drama

Theatre and Society in Antebellum New Orleans 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


A New Continent of Liberty

Eunomia in Native American Literature from Occom to Erdrich Geoff Hamilton

Beginning with the writings of Samson Occom, and extending through a range of fiction and nonfiction works by William Apess, Sarah Winnemucca, Zitkala-Ša, N. Scott Momaday, Gerald Vizenor, and Louise Erdrich, Geoff Hamilton sketches a movement of gradual but resolute ascent in Native... More


Novel Cultivations

Plants in British Literature of the Global Nineteenth Century Elizabeth Hope Chang

Shortlisted for the Best Book Prize from the British Society of Literature and Science 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... More


Terrible Beauty

The Violent Aesthetic and Twentieth-Century Literature 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... More


Twice-Divided Nation

National Memory, Transatlantic News, and American Literature in the Civil War Era Samuel Graber

The first thoroughly interdisciplinary study to examine how the transatlantic 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... More


Parting Words

Victorian Poetry and Public Address 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.... More


Women Fight, Women Write

Texts on the Algerian War 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... More


Guilty Pleasures

Popular Novels and American Audiences in the Long Nineteenth Century 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... More


The Physics of Possibility

Victorian Fiction, Science, and Gender 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

Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston 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... 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... More


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