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Literary Criticism

Literary Criticism Book List

Cover of 'Isak Dinesen'

Isak Dinesen
Critical Views
Edited by Olga Anastasia Pelensky

This historical overview of criticism of the famous Danish writer is the first such collection available in English.

Cover of 'Text/Politics in Island Southeast Asia'

Text/Politics in Island Southeast Asia
Essays in Interpretation
By David M. E. Roskies

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.

Cover of 'Thackeray and Slavery'

Thackeray and Slavery
By Deborah A. Thomas

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.

Cover of 'Windings of the Labyrinth'

Windings of the Labyrinth
Quest and Structure in the Major Novels of Wilkie Collins
By Peter Thoms

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.

Cover of 'A Realist in the American Theatre'

A Realist in the American Theatre
Selected Drama Criticism of William Dean Howells
Edited by Brenda Murphy

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.

Cover of 'Brothers Grimm and Their Critics'

Brothers Grimm and Their Critics
Folktales and the Quest for Meaning
By Christa Kamenetsky

Critics of the Grimms' folktales have often imposed narrow patriotic, religious, moralistic, social, and pragmatic meanings of their stories, sometimes banning them altogether from nurseries and schoolrooms. In this study, Kamenetsky uses the methodology of the folklorist to place the folktale research of the Grimms within the broader context of their scholarly work in comparative linguistics and literature.

Cover of 'The  Tension of Paradox'

The Tension of Paradox
Jose Donoso's the Obscene Bird of Night As Spiritual Exercises
By Pamela May Finnegan

Pamela Finnegan provides a detailed criticism of a major novel written by one of Chile’s leading literary figures. She analyzes the symbolism and the use of language in The Obscene Bird of Night, showing that the novel’s world becomes an icon characterized by entropy, parody, and materiality.

Cover of 'Sunrise Brighter Still'

Sunrise Brighter Still
The Visionary Novels of Frank Waters
By Alexander Blackburn
· Foreword by Charles L. Adams

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.

Cover of 'Victorian Authors and Their Works'

Victorian Authors and Their Works
Revision Motivations and Modes
By Judith Kennedy

These essays address a broad variety of issues faced by editors, textual critics, and others who are interested in the writing and revision processes involved in the development of literary texts.

Cover of 'Isak Dinesen'

Isak Dinesen
The Life and Imagination of a Seducer
By Olga Anastasia Pelensky

Born into a Victorian Danish family, Karen Christentze Dinesen married her second cousin, a high-spirited and philandering baron, and moved to Kenya where she ran a coffee plantation, painted, and wrote. She later returned to Denmark, lived through the German occupation during World War II, and became a pivotal figure in Heretica, a major literary movement that flourished in Denmark after the war. By the time of her death, Dinesen was an international figure.

Cover of 'Curtain Calls'

Curtain Calls
British and American Women and the Theater, 1660–1820
Edited by Mary A. Schofield and Cecilia Macheski

“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.

Cover of 'The  Poetry of Resistance'

The Poetry of Resistance
Seamus Heaney and the Pastoral Tradition
By Sidney Burris

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.

Cover of 'Victorian Will'

Victorian Will
By John Robert Reed

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.

Winner of the 1998 NEMLA-Ohio University Press Book Award
A Choice Outstanding Academic Book
Cover of 'Edmund Wilson'

Edmund Wilson
A Critic For Our Time
By Janet Groth

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.