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Literary Criticism


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 natural... 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 she... 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 students feel... 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.In Forest and... 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 working women in... 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 Qian... More


Trauma and Survival in Contemporary Fiction

Laurie Vickroy

In an exploration of how contemporary fiction narratives represent trauma—that response to events so overwhelmingly intense that normal responses become impaired—Laurie Vickroy engages a wealth of the twentieth century’s most striking literature. Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Jazz, Marguerite Duras’s... More


The Victorian Illustrated Book

Richard Maxwell, ed.

Throughout the nineteenth century, but most intensely in the reign of Queen Victoria, England and Scotland produced an unprecedented range of extraordinary illustrated books. Images in books became a central feature of Victorian culture. They were at once prestigious and popular—a kind of... More


The Flirt's Tragedy

Desire without End in Victorian and Edwardian Fiction Richard A. Kaye

In the flirtation plots of novels by Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, and W. M. Thackeray, heroines learn sociability through competition with naughty coquette-doubles. In the writing of George Eliot and Thomas Hardy, flirting harbors potentially tragic consequences, a perilous game then adapted by... More


Going by Contraries

Robert Frost's Conflict with Science Robert Bernard Hass

One of the most vexing problems facing American modernist poets was how to find a place for poetry and religion in a culture that considered science its most reliable source of truth. By the time Robert Frost began writing, the Emersonian concept of nature as an analogue for a benevolent deity had... More


The Angel out of the House

Philanthropy and Gender in Nineteenth-Century England Dorice Williams Elliott

Was nineteenth-century British philanthropy the "truest and noblest woman’s work" and praiseworthy for having raised the nation’s moral tone, or was it a dangerous mission likely to cause the defeminization of its practitioners as they became "public persons"? In Victorian England, women’s... More


The Letters of Matthew Arnold

1829-1859 Matthew Arnold. Edited by Cecil Y. Lang

The University Press of Virginia edition of The Letters of Matthew Arnold, edited by Cecil Y. Lang, represents the most comprehensive and assiduously annotated collection of Arnold's correspondence available. When complete in six volumes, this edition will include close to four thousand letters,... More


The Complete Pamphlets of Lewis Carroll

The Political Pamphlets and Letters of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and Related Pieces: A Mathematical Approach Lewis Carroll. Edited by Francine Abeles

Charles L. Dodgson’s publications on political subjects offer a very different view of Lewis Carroll, the man made famous by his "Alice" books. Better known for whimsical and nonsense writings, Dodgson wrote on the entire spectrum of voting theory, applying it to issues of local governance at... More


Mapping the Ethical Turn

A Reader in Ethics, Culture, and Literary Theory Todd F. Davis and Kenneth Womack, eds.

Divided into four descriptive sections—"Theory and the Ethics of Literary Text," "Confronting the Difficult: The Ethics of Race and Power," "Making Darkness Visible: The Ethical Implications of Narrative as Witness," and "Ways of Seeing: The Diversity of Applied Ethical Criticism"—this... More


The Origins of African American Literature, 1680-1865

Dickson D. Bruce, Jr.

From the earliest texts of the colonial period to works contemporary with Emancipation, African American literature has been a dialogue across color lines, and a medium through which black writers have been able to exert considerable authority on both sides of that racial demarcation.Dickson D.... More


Radicals on the Road

The Politics of English Travel Writing in the 1930s Bernard Schweizer

In the 1930s, the discourse of travel furthered widely divergent and conflicting ideologies—socialist, conservative, male chauvinist, and feminist—and the major travel writers of the time revealed as much in their texts. Evelyn Waugh was a declared conservative and fascist sympathizer; George... More


Sites of Southern Memory

The Autobiographies of Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin, Lillian Smith, and Pauli Murray Darlene O'Dell

In southern graveyards through the first decades of the twentieth century, the Confederate South was commemorated by tombstones and memorials, in Confederate flags, and in Memorial Day speeches and burial rituals. Cemeteries spoke the language of southern memory, and identity was displayed in... More


Visions of the Maid

Joan of Arc in American Film and Culture Robin Blaetz

Representations of Joan of Arc have been used in the United States for the past two hundred years, appearing in advertising, cartoons, popular song, art, criticism, and propaganda. The presence of the fifteenth-century French heroine in the cinema is particularly intriguing in relation to the role... More


The Best and Worst Country in the World

Perspectives on the Early Virginia Landscape Stephen Adams

From its earliest days, the Virginia landscape has elicited dramatically contradictory descriptions. The sixteenth-century poet Michael Drayton exalted the land as "earth's onely paradise," while John Smith, in his reports to England, summarized the area around Jamestown as "a miserie, a ruine, a... More


American Women Writers and the Nazis

Ethics and Politics in Boyle, Porter, Stafford, and Hellman Thomas Carl Austenfeld

As expatriates in Germany and Austria in the 1930s, Kay Boyle, Katherine Anne Porter, Jean Stafford, and Lillian Hellman saw the rise of Nazi ideology firsthand. And while all four clearly realized—as their work demonstrates—that ethical behavior is the personal corollary of political conviction,... More


Traditions of Victorian Women's Autobiography

The Poetics and Politics of Life Writing Linda H. Peterson

Victorian women's autobiography emerged at a historical moment when the field of life writing was particularly rich. Spiritual autobiography was developing interesting variations in the heroic memoirs of pioneering missionary women and in probing intellectual analyses of Nonconformists, Anglicans,... More


Plotting Terror

Novelists and Terrorists in Contemporary Fiction Margaret Scanlan

Is literature dangerous? In the romantic view, writers were rebels--Shelley's "unacknowledged legislators of mankind"--poised to change the world. In relation to twentieth-century literature, however, such a view becomes suspect. By looking at a range of novels about terrorism, Plotting Terror... More


The Book of Numbers

Robert Deane Pharr. Afterword by Jabari Asim

In the hardboiled tradition of Chester Himes and Walter Mosely, Robert Deane Pharr's novel tells the tale of two black men, Dave and Blueboy, traveling waiters who establish themselves as numbers runners in a fictionalized Richmond of the 1930s. Published to great acclaim in 1969, The Book of... More


The Nature Fakers

Wildlife, Science, and Sentiment Ralph H. Lutts

In 1903 John Burroughs published an Atlantic Monthly article attacking popular nature writers—among them William J. Long and Jack London—as "sham naturalists." The spirited "nature fakers" controversy that ensued reveals much about public attitudes toward nature at the time. Burroughs's argument... More


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