“This is a collection that will vastly enhance our understanding of Victorian culture, the nuances of Anglo-Jewish identity, the struggles of Victorian feminism, and the singular achievement of a writer whose complexity is finally coming into focus.”
Karen Weisman, Department of English and Center for Jewish Studies, University of Toronto
“This splendid collection of essays will contribute to the ongoing reassessment of Amy Levy as a complex and challenging writer…. (A) rich and complex portrait of a writer who…might just be representative rather than marginal, and who certainly complicated her own meditation on what it means to be a minor writer.”
“Thoughtful in selection and rigorous in scholarship, this volume introduces new readers to Levy’s life and works, refines and expands on the major themes of extant criticism, and considers entirely new ways of analyzing Levy’s work…. Amy Levy: Critical Essays is a powerful argument for the value of Amy Levy to our understanding of late Victorian literature.”
Nineteenth Century Gender Studies
“Collectively, these essays demonstrate that Levy was fully engaged in dominant discourses around politics, feminism, aesthetics and Jewish identity of her day. For undergraduates and advanced scholars of Levy's work and historical moment, therefore, this volume will prove an invaluable resource.”
New Books on Literature 19
Amy Levy has risen to prominence in recent years as one of the most innovative and perplexing writers of her generation. Embraced by feminist scholars for her radical experimentation with queer poetic voice and her witty journalistic pieces on female independence, she remains controversial for her representations of London Jewry that draw unmistakably on contemporary antisemitic discourse.
Amy Levy: Critical Essays brings together scholars working in the fields of Victorian cultural history, women’s poetry and fiction, and the history of Anglo-Jewry. The essays trace the social, intellectual, and political contexts of Levy’s writing and its contemporary reception. Working from close analyses of Levy’s texts, the collection aims to rethink her engagement with Jewish identity, to consider her literary and political identifications, to assess her representations of modern consumer society and popular culture, and to place her life and work within late-Victorian cultural debate.
This book is essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students offering both a comprehensive literature review of scholarship-to-date and a range of new critical perspectives.
Susan David Bernstein, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Gail Cunningham, Kingston University
Elizabeth F. Evans, Pennslyvania State University–DuBois
Emma Francis, Warwick University
Alex Goody, Oxford Brookes University
T. D. Olverson, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Lyssa Randolph, University of Wales, Newport
Meri-Jane Rochelson, Florida International University
Naomi Hetherington teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature at Birkbeck College, University of London. More info →
Nadia Valman is a senior lecturer in English at Queen Mary, University of London. More info →
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After a century of critical neglect, poet and writer Amy Levy is gaining recognition as a literary figure of stature. This definitive biography accompanied by her letters, along with the recent publication of her selected writings, provides a critical appreciation of Levy's importance in her own time and in ours.
During the nineteenth century, geography primers shaped the worldviews of Britain’s ruling classes and laid the foundation for an increasingly globalized world. Written by middle-class women who mapped the world that they had neither funds nor freedom to traverse, the primers employed rhetorical tropes such as the Family of Man or discussions of food and customs in order to plot other cultures along an imperial hierarchy.
In 1837, when Queen Victoria came to the throne, no institution of higher education in Britain was open to women. By the end of the century, a quiet revolution had occurred: women had penetrated even the venerable walls of Oxford and Cambridge and could earn degrees at the many new universities founded during Victoria's reign. During the same period, novelists increasingly put intellectually ambitious heroines students, teachers, and frustrated scholars—at the center of their books.
Heretical Hellenism examines sources such as theater history and popular journals to uncover the ways women acquired knowledge of Greek literature, history, and philosophy and challenged traditional humanist assumptions about the uniformity of classical knowledge and about women’s place in literary history.