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Literary Criticism


On Endings

American Postmodern Fiction and the Cold War Daniel Grausam

What does narrative look like when the possibility of an expansive future has been called into question? This query is the driving force behind Daniel Grausam’s On Endings, which seeks to show how the core texts of American postmodernism are a response to the geopolitical dynamics of the... More


Postcolonial Francophone Autobiographies

From Africa to the Antilles Edgard Sankara

Bringing a comparative perspective to the study of autobiography, Edgard Sankara considers a cross-section of postcolonial francophone writing from Africa and the Caribbean in order to examine and compare for the first time their transnational reception. Sankara not only compares the ways in... More


Museum Trouble

Edwardian Fiction and the Emergence of Modernism Ruth Hoberman

By 1901, the public museum was firmly established as an important national institution in British life. Its very centrality led to its involvement in a wide range of debates about art, knowledge, national identity, and individual agency. Ruth Hoberman argues that these debates concerned... More


Chick Lit and Postfeminism

Stephanie Harzewski

Originally a euphemism for Princeton University’s Female Literary Tradition course in the 1980s, "chick lit" mutated from a movement in American women’s avant-garde fiction in the 1990s to become, by the turn of the century, a humorous subset of women’s literature, journalism, and advice... More


Contemporary Francophone African Writers and the Burden of Commitment

Odile Cazenave and Patricia Célérier

By looking at engagée literature from the recent past, when the francophone African writer was implicitly seen as imparted with a mission, to the present, when such authors usually aspire to be acknowledged primarily for their work as writers, Contemporary Francophone African Writers and the... More


Feeling for the Poor

Bourgeois Compassion, Social Action, and the Victorian Novel Carolyn Betensky

What if the political work of Victorian social-problem novels was precisely to make the reader feel as if reading them—in and of itself—mattered? Surveying novels by Charles Dickens, Frances Trollope, Benjamin Disraeli, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, and Henry James, Carolyn Betensky... More


The Science of Religion in Britain, 1860-1915

Marjorie Wheeler-Barclay

Marjorie Wheeler-Barclay argues that, although the existence and significance of the science of religion has been barely visible to modern scholars of the Victorian period, it was a subject of lively and extensive debate among nineteenth-century readers and audiences. She shows how an... More


The Complete Pamphlets of Lewis Carroll

The Logic Pamphlets of Lewis Carroll and Related Pieces Lewis Carroll. Edited by Francine Abeles

In the history of mathematics, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832–1898), better known as Lewis Carroll, stands out as the rare mathematician who also was an exceptional literary figure. In The Pamphlets of Lewis Carroll, each volume of a projected six volumes deals with a particular aspect... More


The Knowing Most Worth Doing

Essays on Pluralism, Ethics, and Religion Wayne Booth. Edited by Walter Jost

Throughout the second half of the twentieth century until his death in 2005, Wayne Booth was one of the most influential literary critics in America and beyond, known worldwide for The Rhetoric of Fiction (1961), and hailed as a progressive advocate for rethinking the concept of liberal... More


Written on the Water

British Romanticism and the Maritime Empire of Culture Samuel Baker

The very word "culture" has traditionally evoked the land. But when such writers as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, and, later, Matthew Arnold developed what would become the idea of modern culture, they modeled that idea on Britain's imperial command of the sea.... More


American Iconographic

National Geographic, Global Culture, and the Visual Imagination Stephanie L. Hawkins

In an era before affordable travel, National Geographic not only served as the first glimpse of countless other worlds for its readers, but it helped them confront sweeping historical change. There was a time when its cover, with the unmistakable yellow frame, seemed to be on every coffee... More


Semi-Detached Empire

Suburbia and the Colonization of Britain, 1880 to the Present Todd Kuchta

In the first book to consider British suburban literature from the vantage point of imperial and postcolonial studies, Todd Kuchta argues that suburban identity is tied to the empire’s rise and fall. He takes his title from the type of home synonymous with suburbia. Like the semi-detached... More


Reading for the Law

British Literary History and Gender Advocacy Christine L. Krueger

Taking her title from the British term for legal study, "to read for the law," Christine L. Krueger asks how "reading for the law" as literary history contributes to the progressive educational purposes of the Law and Literature movement. She argues that a multidisciplinary "historical... More


The Little Peul

Mariama Barry. Translated by Carrol F. Coates. Introduction by Irène Assiba d'Almeida

Born in Dakar but of Guinean origin, Mariama Barry claims both Senegal and Guinea as "her" countries. This dual background lends her significant and widespread visibility not only because she is the first woman writer of Guinea to have gained extensive international recognition but also... More


Romantic Writing and the Empire of Signs

Periodical Culture and Post-Napoleonic Authorship Karen Fang

Nineteenth-century periodicals frequently compared themselves to the imperial powers then dissecting the globe, and this interest in imperialism can be seen in the exotic motifs that surfaced in works by such late Romantic authors as John Keats, Charles Lamb, James Hogg, Letitia Landon, and... More


Traumatic Possessions

The Body and Memory in African American Women's Writing and Performance Jennifer L. Griffiths

Studies of traumatic stress have explored the challenges to memory as a result of extreme experience, particularly in relation to the ways in which trauma resonates within the survivor’s body and the difficulties survivors face when trying to incorporate their experience into meaningful... More


Spectacular Blackness

The Cultural Politics of the Black Power Movement and the Search for a Black Aesthetic Amy Abugo Ongiri

Exploring the interface between the cultural politics of the Black Power and the Black Arts movements and the production of postwar African American popular culture, Amy Ongiri shows how the reliance of Black politics on an oppositional image of African Americans was the formative moment in... More


Wanted

The Outlaw in American Visual Culture Rachel Hall

Assembling a rich archive of images and texts from the eighteenth century to the present, Rachel Hall offers a history of the "wanted" poster, examining its uses, patterns of circulation, and formal development as an iconic print genre. Her narrative covers a wide range of images: execution... More


Acts of Narrative Resistance

Women's Autobiographical Writings in the Americas Laura J. Beard

This exploration of women's autobiographical writings in the Americas focuses on three specific genres: testimonio, metafiction, and the family saga as the story of a nation. What makes Laura J. Beard’s work distinctive is her pairing of readings of life narratives by women from different... More


Above All, Don't Look Back

Maïssa Bey. translation by Senja L. Djelouah; introduction by Mildred P. Mortimer

Above All, Don't Look Back follows the path of a young woman—Amina—as she makes her way through a city, a life, and a sense of self that have been ravaged by an earthquake. In this powerful novel, inspired by a devastating earthquake in northern Algeria in 2003, the acclaimed Algerian... More


Something Understood

Essays and Poetry for Helen Vendler Stephen Burt,, and Nick Halpern, ed.

Helen Vendler may be America’s most important poetry critic. A winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Vendler has remained a key figure in the academy while also teaching a much larger public how to read and enjoy poems and poetry through her many articles for the New Yorker, the... More


Our Coquettes

Capacious Desire in the Eighteenth Century Theresa Braunschneider

Before 1660, English readers and theatergoers had never heard of a "coquette"; by the early 1700s, they could hardly watch a play, read a poem, or peruse a newspaper without encountering one. Why does British literature of this period pay so much attention to vain and flirtatious young women... More


The Power of Negative Thinking

Cynicism and the History of Modern American Literature Benjamin Schreier

Benjamin Schreier is suspicious of a simple equation of cynicism with quietism, nihilism, selfishness, or false consciousness, and he rejects the notion that modern cynicism represents something categorically different from the classical outlook of Diogenes. He proposes, instead, that... More


Text as Process

Creative Composition in Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Dickinson Sally Bushell

Text as Process is about the literary work before it becomes a completed work of art. It is concerned with draft materials, with the manuscripts that constitute text in a state of process. What is text as process? And what should we, as readers, try to do with it? Bushell’s aim in... More


"A God of Justice?"

The Problem of Evil in Twentieth-Century Black Literature Qiana J. Whitted

Focusing on the representations of spiritual crisis in twentieth-century African American fiction and autobiography, Qiana J. Whitted asks how some of the most distinguished writers of this tradition wrestle with the inexplicable nature of God and the experience of unmerited natural and... More


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