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Literary Criticism

Spirituality as Ideology in Black Women's Film and Literature

Judylyn S. Ryan

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The Material Interests of the Victorian Novel

Daniel Hack

Taking as his point of departure the competing uses of the critical term the materiality of writing, Daniel Hack turns to the past in this provocative new book to recover the ways in which the multiple aspects of writing now conjured by that term were represented and related to one another... More

Behind Her Times

Transition England in the Novels of Mary Arnold Ward Judith Wilt

From 1890 to 1905, Mary Arnold Ward was the best-selling novelist in the English language. As the Edwardian age came to an end, however, she became a target of scorn for modernists such as Virginia Woolf, and today most of her books have fallen out of print. But in her novels we can vividly... More

Christina Rossetti

The Patience of Style Constance W. Hassett

Although the cultural and literary influence of Christina Rossetti has recently been widely acknowledged, the belatedness of this critical attention has left wide gaps in our understanding of her poetic contribution. Often focusing solely on her early work and neglecting her later volumes,... More

The Circus and Victorian Society

Brenda Assael

It was during the Victorian era that the circus, whose origins lay in the fairground world, emerged as a commercialized entertainment that we would recognize today. This development was intricately tied to a widespread demand for circus acts by a broad range of classes. In The Circus and... More

The Poor Man's Son

Mouloud Feraoun. Translated by Lucy McNair with an Introduction by James D. Le Sueur

Like the autobiographical hero of this, his classic first novel, Mouloud Feraoun grew up in the rugged Kabyle region of French-controlled Algeria, where the prospects for most Muslim Berber men were limited to shepherding or emigrating to France for factory work. While Feraoun escaped such a... More

The Woman Within

Ellen Glasgow and Pamela R. Matthews

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Character and Conversion in Autobiography

Augustine, Montaigne, Descartes, Rousseau, and Sartre Patrick Riley

What happens, asks Patrick Riley, when a life transformed becomes an autobiography? What is the relationship between the subjective upheaval of conversion and the representation of character? Who, then, is this "self" writing the narrative of a life? Thinking of conversion as a radical... More

Acting Naturally

Victorian Theatricality and Authenticity Lynn M. Voskuil

In Acting Naturally Lynn Voskuil argues that Victorian Britons saw themselves as "authentically performative," a paradoxical belief that focused their sense of vocation as individuals, as a public, and as a nation. Rather than confirming the customary view of Victorian England as... More

A Passionate Usefulness

The Life and Literary Labors of Hannah Adams Gary D. Schmidt

In a literary environment dominated by men, the first American to earn a living as a writer and to establish a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic was, miraculously, a woman. Hannah Adams dared to enter—and in some ways was forced to enter—a sphere of literature that had, in eighteenth-... More

Frances Power Cobbe

Victorian Feminist, Journalist, Reformer Sally Mitchell

Frances Power Cobbe (1822–1904) is the most important nineteenth-century British writer and activist not heretofore treated in a full-length biography. An independent professional woman, she worked to improve conditions for delinquent girls and for the sick poor, promoted university degrees... More

Rhetorical Investigations

Studies in Ordinary Language Criticism Walter Jost

In Rhetorical Investigations Walter Jost juxtaposes problems and questions in philosophy and literature, using rhetoric as the middle term and common ground between them. Drawing on the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Stanley Cavell, among others, Jost joins a small band of contemporary... More

Emily Davies

Collected Letters, 1861-1875 Emily Davies. Edited by Ann B. Murphy and Deirdre Raftery

Sarah Emily Davies (1830–1921) lived and crusaded during a time of profound change for education and women’s rights in England. At the time of her birth, women’s suffrage was scarcely open to discussion, and not one of England’s universities (there were four) admitted women. By the time of... More

The Romance of Authenticity

The Cultural Politics of Regional and Ethnic Literatures Jeff Karem

To what extent has the growing popular demand for a vicarious experience of other cultures fueled the expectation that the most important task for regional and ethnic writers is to capture and convey authentic cultural material to their readers? In The Romance of Authenticity, Jeff Karem... More

Manufacturing Culture

Vindications of Early Victorian Industry Joseph Bizup

From Robert Southey to William Morris, British social critics in the Romantic tradition consistently stigmatized industry as a threat to aesthetic or humanistic "culture." Joseph Bizup argues that early Victorian advocates of industry sought to resist the power inherent in this opposition by... More

Social Stories

The Magazine Novel in Nineteenth-Century America Patricia Okker

Largely ignored in American literary history, the magazine novel was extremely popular throughout the nineteenth century, with editors describing the form as a virtual "necessity" for magazines. Unlike many previous studies of periodicals that focus often exclusively on elite literary... More

The Serious Pleasures of Suspense

Victorian Realism and Narrative Doubt Caroline Levine

Scholars have long recognized that narrative suspense dominates the formal dynamics of nineteenth-century British fiction, both high and low. But few have asked why suspense played such a crucial role in the Victorian novel—and in Victorian culture more broadly. The Serious Pleasures of... More

Violent Adventure

Contemporary Fiction by American Men Marilyn C. Wesley

As the mother of young sons, Marilyn Wesley became increasingly concerned about the conflicting messages they received in a world where "Han Solo replaced John Wayne as a national hero and the lost war in Vietnam was mediated by GI Joe dolls and Rambo movies." What, she wondered, do the... More

Victorian Poetry As Cultural Critique

The Politics of Performative Language E. Warwick Slinn

In recent cultural studies, poetry has become something of a neglected genre. Warwick Slinn seeks to reverse that trend and argues that a fundamental continuity between the meaning of a poetic trope and the social function of language can be established through speech act theory—specifically... More

Turning To Earth

Stories of Ecological Conversion F. Marina Schauffler

Turning to Earth offers a window into the heart of environmental change, moving beyond the culture’s traditional reliance on policy reforms and technological measures. It charts the course of "ecological conversion," a dynamic inner process by which people come to ally themselves with the... More

Vernon Lee

A Literary Biography Vineta Colby

Vernon Lee, born Violet Paget in 1856 to English parents who lived on the Continent, bridged two worlds and many cultures. She was a Victorian by birth but lived into the second quarter of the twentieth century. Her chosen home was Italy, but she spent part of every year in England, where... More

Poetry, Symbol, and Allegory

Interpreting Metaphorical Language from Plato to the Present Simon Brittan

Dealing with poetry is frequently problematic for the university teacher and student: although undergraduates are usually responsive to discussions about drama and prose, poetry often silences the classroom. Unless a poem provides references easily applicable to their own lives, many... More

Forest and Garden

Traces of Wildness in a Modernizing Land, 1897–1949 Melanie Simo

"In wildness is the preservation of the world," wrote Henry David Thoreau. But how the wild and the managed or artificially arranged environments co-exist has been a matter of intense debate among foresters and landscape professionals at least since the era of Frederick Law Olmsted Sr... More

The Long Day

The Story of a New York Working Girl. Dorothy Rlchardson. Introduction by Cindy Aron

The Long Day is a wonderfully readable personal narrative of the trials and tribulations of an "unskilled, friendless, almost penniless girl of eighteen, utterly alone in the world" who arrives in New York City in 1905 to earn her livelihood. The book reveals much about the lives of... More

The Modernist Response to Chinese Art

Pound, Moore, Stevens Zhaoming Qian

What role did Chinese art play in the poetic development of Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, and Wallace Stevens? How could they share Chinese artists’ Dao, an aesthetic held to be beyond verbal representation? In this sequel to his critically acclaimed study Orientalism and Modernism, Zhaoming... More