Book and Periodical Studies
Comics and Graphic Novel Culture
Literary Criticism | Modern | 19th Century
Literary Criticism | Subjects & Themes | General
Literary Criticism, Africa
Literary Criticism, African American
Literary Criticism, Asia
Literary Criticism, Australia
Literary Criticism, Caribbean
Literary Criticism, Eastern Europe
Literary Criticism, Feminist
Literary Criticism, France
Literary Criticism, Germany
Literary Criticism, Latin America
Literary Criticism, Poetry
Literary Criticism, Religion
Literary Criticism, Short Stories
Literary Criticism, Theater
Literary Criticism, UK
Literary Criticism, US
Literary Criticism, Women
Literary Criticism, Women Authors
“If you really want to understand South Africa, read black African writers. Read Es‘kia Mphahlele,” is the advice proffered to diplomats and scholars by professor and publisher Donald Herdeck.The irony is that in the past, many of Mphahlele’s works were out of print or banned under censorship laws in South Africa from the early 1950s on.
John Ruskin’s prominence as the author of “Of Queen’s Gardens,” his principal statement of Victorian gender opposition, makes him an ideal example for analyzing the power of mythic discourse to undermine gender division. Here, Ruskin creates a vision of feminine authority that draws simultaneously upon several sources (including the goddess Athena and Queen Victoria herself) to empower women in a worldwide arena redefined as a broader version of their domestic realm.
The Depression that follows the 1929 stock market crash is emptying Paris of many American expatriates. Two exceptions are Dorothy and James T. Farrell, the naïve young couple who have fled their home in Chicago for the fabled liberation that Paris seems to offer.In this telling account drawn from interviews, diaries, and letters home, Edgar Marquess Branch presents a composite view of the life of a young author yet to complete his masterpiece, Studs Lonigan.
Shakespeare in Production examines a number of plays in context. Included are the 1936 Romeo and Juliet, unpopular with critics of filmed Shakespeare, but very much a “photoplay” if its time; the opening sequences of filmed Hamlets which span more than seventy years; The Comedy of Errors on television, where production of this script is almost impossible; and the Branagh Much Ado About Nothing, a “popular” film discussed in the context of comedy as a genre.In
José María Arguedas (1911–1969) is one of the most important authors to speak to issues of the survival of native cultures. José María Arguedas: Reconsiderations for Latin American Cultural Studies presents his views from multiple perspectives for English-speaking audiences for the first time.The
American literary life has been enriched over the past generation by habits of criticism practiced at Amherst College during the tenure of William H. Pritchard. These essays, which were commissioned as a tribute to Pritchard, celebrate his fortieth year at Amherst and demonstrate the breadth of his influence in the fields of theory, criticism, and pedagogy.The
Four essential questions: Why does one fish? How should one properly fish? What relations are created in fishing? And what effects does fishing have on the future? Haunted by Waters is a self-examination by the author as he constructs his own narrative and tries to answer these questions for himself. But it is also a thorough examination of the answers he uncovers in the course of reading what’s been written on the subject.As
Writing in Disguise is a series of increasingly personal essays that both discuss and dramatize through firsthand experience the significance of subordination in academic life, in terms of issues and structures but above all in terms of texts. Some are written: memos, rejection letters, even resignation letters. Some are not: anecdotes, protests, jokes, parodies.All
America’s Sketchbook recaptures the drama of nineteenth-century American cultural life, placing at its center a genre—the literary sketch—more available than the novel, less governable by the critical establishment, and shot through with the tensions and types of local and national culture-making.
When James Lane Allen defined the “Feminine Principle” and the “Masculine Principle” in American fiction for the Atlantic Monthly in 1897, he in effect described local color fiction and naturalism, two branches of realism often regarded as bearing little relationship to each other.
Since the publication of The Moral Trollope by Ruth apRoberts in 1971, literary critics have generally agreed that Trollope’s morality is worthy of study. apRoberts sees Trollope as an early exponent of “situation ethics,” a liberal moralist who believes that traditional principles must always bend to the circumstances of the particular case.
Browning’s Fra Lippo Lippi says that we may pass things a hundred times and never see them. One thing that Browning’s readers have passed without seeing, or at least without remarking upon, is the circular conclusion in so many of his poems. Some sixty poems (almost a third of them) have such conclusions. These sixty span his entire career and include both well-known and neglected poems.The
Goslee’s study maintains that Newman’s Anglican writing, although widely considered irrelevant to the main currents of the post-Enlightenment, in fact reinterprets Romantic transcendence within a uniquely dialogic paradigm. It is this paradigm, he argues, that critics need to explore as a link between sacred and secular domains within Victorian culture.Goslee’s own exploration is accomplished in three parts.
In Sight Unseen radio drama, a genre traditionally dismissed as popular culture, is celebrated as high art. The radio plays discussed here range from the conventional (John Arden’s Pearl) to the docudramatic (David Rudkin’s Cries from Casement), from the curtly conversational (Harold Pinter’s A Slight Ache) to the virtually operatic (Robert Ferguson’s Transfigured Night), testifying to radio drama’s variety and literary stature.
Many of Wilson’s writings have been anthologized. But there is another body of work — over fifty fine essays on aspects of contemporary literature and ideas — that have been scattered in a variety of magazines, including The New Yorker, The New Republic, Vanity Fair, and The Nation.
The crucial point of Brill’s study is that of fit: which critical methods prove most useful towards opening up which texts? Close investigations into the parameters of the language games of texts, critics, and methods enable us to determine which paths to take towards more complete descriptive analyses and critique.
Wuthering Heights at once fascinates and frustrates the reader with the highly charged, passionate and problematic relationships it portrays. This study provides a key to the text by examining the temporal and narrative rhythms through which Brontë presents the dualities by which we commonly define our selfhood: child and adult, female and male, symbiosis and separateness, illogic and common sense, classlessness and classboundedness, play and power, free will and determinism.
George J. Stack traces the sources of ideas and theories that have long been considered the exclusive province of Friedrich Nietzsche to the surprisingly radical writings of the American essayist and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson.Nietzsche and Emerson makes us see Emerson’s writings in a new, more intensified light and presents a new perspective on Nietzsche’s philosophy.
How does the language of poetry conspire with the language of power? This question is at the heart of this volume which deals with Indonesia and the Philippines in the early modern and post-1945 periods. These two nations have been shaped by the forces of nationalism, revolution, and metropolitan hegemony. Whether written in Malay, Tagalog, English, or Dutch the writings coming from them carry the contradictions of their time and place in the milieu of race and class.
Slavery fascinated Thackeray. For him, the essence of slavery consisted of treating people like things. Thomas examines relationships in Thackeray’s fiction in which people have been reduced to objects and power is an end. These relationships include not only actual slaves and blacks, but also servants, dependents of all races, upper-class women sold into marriage, and children struggling to escape parental domination.Thomas also clarifies Thackeray’s view of black slavery.
Author of such feats of storytelling as The Woman in White and The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins has traditionally been recognized far more than for his accomplishments as a serious novelist. In this study of The Moonstone, Peter Thoms argues for a new appreciation of this early master of detection and intrigue.
William Dean Howells has long been recognized as the chief spokesman for post-1880s American Realism. Most of his writing appeared in popular magazines, however, and has been lost to us. This collection brings together for the first time his most significant essays about American drama written between 1875 and 1919 and a full bibliography of his writings on drama and theatre.
Novelist and critic Alexander Blackburn credits Waters’s novels such as The Man Who Killed the Deer, Pike’s Peak, People of the Valley, and The Woman at Otowi Crossing with creating a worldview that transcends modern materialism and rationalism. Central to Waters’s vision, he suggests, is the individual in whom are concentrated the creative powers of the universe.
“I here and there o’heard a Coxcomb cry, Ah, rot—’tis a Woman’s Comedy.”Thus Aphra Behn ushers in a new era for women in the British Theatre (Sir Patient Fancy, 1678). In the hundred years that were to follow—and exactly those years that Curtain Calls examines—women truly took the theater world by storm.For each woman who chose a career in the theater world of the eighteenth century, there is a unique tale of struggle, insult, success, good or bad fortune, disaster, seduction, or fame.
Does the artist have a responsibility to mirror the conflicts and problems of society in his or her work? Perhaps more than most, the Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, has been faced with this question. Living in Belfast since 1957, Heaney decided to leave Northern Ireland altogether in 1972, his residency there spanning fifteen years of social upheaval and violence.
John R. Reed, author of Victorian Conventions, The Natural History of H.G. Wells, and Decadent Style, has published a new critical study examining nineteenth-century British attitudes toward free will, determinism, providence, and fate. His new book, Victorian Will, argues for the need to understand a body of literature in its broadest historical and intellectual context.
In the course of a career that spanned five decades, Edmund Wilson’s literary output was impressive. His life’s work includes five volumes of poetry, two works of fiction, thirteen plays, and more than twenty volumes of social commentary on travel, politics, history, religion, anthropology, and economics. It is, however, his criticism for which Wilson is best known. To note a few of his accomplishments as a critic, Wilson furthered the understanding and appreciation of the poetry of W.B.
Although some critics have identified two phases in the poetry of James Wright and have isolated particulars of his movement from traditional to more experimental forms, few have noted also the elements of constancy in the evolution of his poetry.
Among modernist critics Wyndham Lewis stands out because of the energy and drama of his “aggressive partisan pen—made to hurl epithets, or of the sort to use, in controversy, as a dangerous polemical lance.” With this pen Lewis created the Enemy, a flamboyant, hostile, solitary figure whose voice and stance vividly embodied the principles structuring his criticism. The frontiers of this criticism—the Enemy criticism—are best marked by the comments of his two long-time friends, T.S.
The hazy settings and amorphous auditors of Tennyson’s dramatic monologues are often contrasted—at Tennyson’s expense—with Browning’s more vivid, concrete realizations. Hughes argues that Tennyson’s achievements in the genre are, in fact, considerable, that his influence can be traced in such major figures as T. S. Eliot, and that the monologue occupies a far more central position in Tennyson’s poetic achievement than has hitherto been acknowledged.Hughes’
Yvor Winters has here collected, with an introduction, the major critical works—Primitivism and Decadence, Maule’s Curse, and The Anatomy of Nonsense—of the period in which he worked out his famous and influential critical position. The works together show an integrated position which illuminates the force and importance of the individual essays. With The Function of Criticism, a subsequent collection, In Defense of Reason provides an incomparable body of critical writing.The
Traditional literary theory holds that women writers of the Restoration and eighteenth century produced works of limited range and value: simple tales of domestic conflict, seduction, and romance. Bringing a broad range of methodologies (historical, textual, post-structuralist, psychological) to bear on the works of Eliza Haywood, Charlotte Smith, Sarah Fielding, Fanny Burney, Jane Austen, and others. Fetter’d or Free?
In Decadent Style, John Reed defines “decadent art” broadly enough to encompass literature, music, and the visual arts and precisely enough to examine individual works in detail. Reed focuses on the essential characteristics of this style and distinguishes it from non–esthetic categories of “decadent artists” and “decadent themes.”Like the natural sciences and psychology, the arts in the late nineteenth century reflect an interest in the process of atomization.
Shakespeare’s King Lear appears twice in the records of dramatic performances before the closing of the theaters in 1642. The King’s Men played it before the King’s Majesty in Whitehall on December 26, 1606. The Lord Cholmeley’s Players gave it at Gowthwaite, a manor house of Sir John and Dame Julyan Yorke, Nidderdale, West Riding, in Candlemas, 1610.
Convivial Dickens, carefully researched yet presented in a lively, popular style, provides those interested in the lore of drinks and drinking with a dependable and authoritative guide to the creation of Victorian potables such as would have been enjoyed by Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Micawber.Alongside its many exuberant period illustrations by Cruikshank, Dicky Doyle, John Leech, and others, a leading feature of the book is over 130 authentic Victorian drink recipes.
The Romance of William Morris traces the intellectual, emotional, and literary development of Morris, a representative Victorian, as he explores the classic themes of love, fate, and death — chiefly through the genre of romance. Professor Silver points out the ways in which Morris’s personal and social vision, interwoven in his literary work, contributes to his art, design, and social theory, as well as to some of the major intellectual and artistic movements of his time.Exploding
With Forms of Discover, Yvor Winters completes his critical canon. The distinguished poet-critic defines by analysis and example the development of the method that he has called “post-Symbolist.”Starting with the styles of the English Renaissance, Winters discusses at length the felicities and shortcomings of these traditions, the main defect being that sensory imagery was little more than ornament.