Medievalists have long been interested in the "abandoned woman," a figure historically used to examine the value of traditional male heroism. Moving beyond previous studies which have focused primarily on Virgil's Dido, Suzanne Hagedorn focuses on the vernacular works of Dante, Bocaccio, and Chaucer, arguing that revisiting the classical tradition of the abandoned woman enables one to reconsider ancient epics and myths from a female perspective and question assumptions about gender roles in medieval literature.
In Anime’s Media Mix, Marc Steinberg convincingly shows that anime is far more than a style of Japanese animation. Beyond its immediate form of cartooning, anime is also a unique mode of cultural production and consumption that led to the phenomenon that is today called “media mix” in Japan and “convergence” in the West.
According to Steinberg, both anime and the media mix were ignited on January 1, 1963, when Astro Boy hit Japanese TV screens for the first time. Sponsored by a chocolate manufacturer with savvy marketing skills, Astro Boy quickly became a cultural icon in Japan. He was the poster boy (or, in his case, “sticker boy”) both for Meiji Seika’s chocolates and for what could happen when a goggle-eyed cartoon child fell into the eager clutches of creative marketers. It was only a short step, Steinberg makes clear, from Astro Boy to Pokémon and beyond.
Steinberg traces the cultural genealogy that spawned Astro Boy to the transformations of Japanese media culture that followed—and forward to the even more profound developments in global capitalism supported by the circulation of characters like Doraemon, Hello Kitty, and Suzumiya Haruhi. He details how convergence was sparked by anime, with its astoundingly broad merchandising of images and its franchising across media and commodities. He also explains, for the first time, how the rise of anime cannot be understood properly—historically, economically, and culturally—without grasping the integral role that the media mix played from the start. Engaging with film, animation, and media studies, as well as analyses of consumer culture and theories of capitalism, Steinberg offers the first sustained study of the Japanese mode of convergence that informs global media practices to this day.
From Frederick Douglass to the present, the preoccupation of black writers with manhood and masculinity is a constant. Black Manhood in James Baldwin, Ernest J. Gaines, and August Wilson explores how in their own work three major African American writers contest classic portrayals of black men in earlier literature, from slave narratives through the great novels of Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison.
Keith Clark examines short stories, novels, and plays by Baldwin, Gaines, and Wilson, arguing that since the 1950s the three have interrupted and radically dismantled the constricting literary depictions of black men who equate selfhood with victimization, isolation, and patriarchy. Instead, they have reimagined black men whose identity is grounded in community, camaraderie, and intimacy.
Delivering original and startling insights, this book will appeal to scholars and students of African American literature, gender studies, and narratology.
In Blood Relations, Janet Adelman confronts her resistance to The Merchant of Venice as both a critic and a Jew. With her distinctive psychological acumen, she argues that Shakespeare’s play frames the uneasy relationship between Christian and Jew specifically in familial terms in order to recapitulate the vexed familial relationship between Christianity and Judaism.
Adelman locates the promise—or threat—of Jewish conversion as a particular site of tension in the play. Drawing on a variety of cultural materials, she demonstrates that, despite the triumph of its Christians, The Merchant of Venice reflects Christian anxiety and guilt about its simultaneous dependence on and disavowal of Judaism. In this startling psycho-theological analysis, both the insistence that Shylock’s daughter Jessica remain racially bound to her father after her conversion and the depiction of Shylock as a bloody-minded monster are understood as antidotes to Christian uneasiness about a Judaism it can neither own nor disown.
In taking seriously the religious discourse of The Merchant of Venice, Adelman offers in Blood Relations an indispensable book on the play and on the fascinating question of Jews and Judaism in Renaissance England and beyond.
The Book of Hulga
Rita Mae Reese, Illustrations by Julie Franki University of Wisconsin Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3618.E4424A6 2016 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
The Book of Hulga speculates—with humor, tenderness, and a brutal precision—on a character that Flannery O’Connor envisioned but did not live long enough to write: “the angular intellectual proud woman approaching God inch by inch with ground teeth.” These striking poems look to the same sources that O’Connor sought out, from Gerard Manley Hopkins to Edgar Allan Poe to Simone Weil. Original illustrations by Julie Franki further illuminate Reese’s imaginative verse biography of a modern-day hillbilly saint.
Here is a look at Water in a Sieve and Blackkerchief Dick and twenty-two other books by Margery Allingham featuring Albert Campion. Campion, the fictional hero, was a man of action, who appears to be a "guileless-looking nonentity whom it is almost obligatory to underestimate." Any fan of Campion or Ms. Allingham's mysteries will enjoy comparing their judgments to Pike's.
Detective, monk, father, herbalist, Crusader, sailor, Celt, friend—author Ellis Peters bestows all these attributes on her twelfth-century Benedictine monk-detective Brother Cadfael. As a detective, Cadfael uses his analytic mind to solve crimes and administer justice. As a man of God, he also dispenses mercy along with his famous cordials.
Why, essays ask, is a cloistered monk solving murders? How can an author combine a valid detective and an effective healer?
A significant and innovative contribution to Austin studies. How did an Illinois Methodist homesteader in the West come to create one of the most significant cosmological syntheses in American literature? In this study, Hoyer draws on his own knowledge of biblical religion and Native American cultures to explore Austin's creation of the "mythology of the American continent" she so valued. Austin lived in and wrote about "the land of little rain," semiarid and arid parts of California and Nevada that were home to the Northern Paiute, Shoshone, Interior Chumash, and Yokut peoples. Hoyer makes new and provocative connections between Austin and spiritual figures like Wovoka, the prophet of the Ghost Dance religion, and writers like Zitkala-sa and Mourning Dove, and he provides a particularly fine reading of Cogowea.
A distinguished physician and professor of medicine at Edinburgh University, and a forensic expert for the British Crown, Joseph Bell was well known for his remarkable powers of observation and deduction. In what would become true Sherlockian fashion, he had the ability to deduce facts about his patients from otherwise unremarkable details. In one instance recounted by Arthur Conan Doyle himself—and similar to Sherlock Holmes's own observations in "The Greek Interpreter"—Bell took little time to determine that one of his patients had recently served in the army, a non-commissioned officer discharged from his Highland regiment stationed in Barbados:
“The man was a respectful man, but did not remove his hat. They do not in the army, but he would have learned civilian ways had he been long discharged. He has an air of authority and he is obviously Scottish. As to Barbados, his complaint is elephantitis, which is West Indian and not British.”
Based on extensive research into the life of Bell and including tantalizing accounts of the connections between Bell and Conan Doyle, this biography is required reading for anyone interested in Victorian medicine, in the history of detective fiction, and in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
Jacqueline O’Connor examines how Tennessee Williams portrayed society’s treatment of the mentally ill. The critical approach is eclectic and the author draws on a variety of psychological, literary, and biographical sources.
Born in Costa Rica in 1940, Quince Duncan has penned an impressive body of work, including novels, short stories, essays, and literary and cultural criticism. Despite his reputation as Costa Rica’s leading novelist, Duncan remains one of the least studied writers. Dellita Martin-Ogunsola seeks to remedy this inequity with The Eve/Hagar Paradigm in the Fiction of Quince Duncan.
In this first book-length study in English devoted to Duncan’s work, Martin-Ogunsola explores the issues of race, class, and gender in five of Duncan’s major works published during the 1970s. Focusing primarily on the roles of women, Martin-Ogunsola uses the figures of Eve and the Egyptian slave Hagar to provide, through metaphor, an in-depth analysis of the female characters portrayed in Duncan’s prose. Specifically, the Eve/Hagar paradigm is employed to examine how the essential characteristics of femininity play out in the context of ethnicity and caste. The book begins with Dawn Song (1970), the story of Antillean immigrants struggling with migration, oppression, and resistance while adapting to a new environment, and continues through Dead-End Street (1979), a novel exploring the ramifications of the myth, perpetrated through history, that defines Costa Rica in terms of Euro-Hispanic culture.
Martin-Ogunsola illustrates Duncan’s use of a female presence that challenges the traditional treatment of women in literature. Spanning the period between the initial settlement of the Atlantic region of Costa Rica during the early years of the twentieth century to the 1948 Costa Rican Civil War, Martin-Ogunsola’s book invites the reader to view the world through the eyes of Duncan’s female characters.
TheEve/Hagar Paradigmin the Fiction of Quince Duncan examines some of the most compelling issues of contemporary Latin American literature and illustrates how a prominent Costa Rican writer deconstructs the stereotype of woman as wife/lover/slave. In the process, Duncan finds his own voice. Exposing aspects of Costa Rican society that have historically been kept in the shadows, this volume makes a significant contribution to our knowledge of the Latin American literary canon.
Cross-dressing, sexual identity, and the performance of gender are among the most hotly discussed topics in contemporary cultural studies. A vital addition to the growing body of literature, this book is the most in-depth and historically contextual study to date of Shakespeare's uses of the heroine in male disguise--man-playing-woman-playing-man--in all its theatrical and social complexity.
Shapiro's study centers on the five plays in which Shakespeare employed the figure of the "female page": The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, and Cymbeline. Combining theater and social history, Shapiro locates Shakespeare's work in relation to controversies over gender roles and cross-dressing in Elizabethan England.
The popularity of the "female page" is examined as a playful literary and theatrical way of confronting, avoiding, or merely exploiting issues such as the place of women in a patriarchal culture and the representation of women on stage. Looking beyond and behind the stage for the cultural anxieties that found their way into Shakespearean drama, Shapiro considers such cases as cross-dressing women in London being punished as prostitutes and the alleged homoerotic practices of the apprentices who played female roles in adult companies. Shapiro also traces other Elizabethan dramatists' varied uses of the cross-dressing motif, especially as they were influenced by Shakespeare's innovations.
"Shapiro's engaging study is distinguished by the scope of interrelated topics it draws together and the balance of critical perspectives it brings to bear on them." --Choice
Michael Shapiro is Professor of English, University of Illinois, Urbana.
Huckleberry Finn dressing as a girl is a famously comic scene in Mark Twain’s novel but hardly out of character—for the author, that is. Twain “troubled gender” in much of his otherwise traditional fiction, depicting children whose sexual identities are switched at birth, tomboys, same-sex married couples, and even a male French painter who impersonates his own fictive sister and becomes engaged to another man.
This book explores Mark Twain’s extensive use of cross-dressing across his career by exposing the substantial cast of characters who masqueraded as members of the opposite sex or who otherwise defied gender expectations. Linda Morris grounds her study in an understanding of the era’s theatrical cross-dressing and changing mores and even events in the Clemens household. She examines and interprets Twain’s exploration of characters who transgress gendered conventions while tracing the degree to which themes of gender disruption interact with other themes, such as his critique of race, his concern with death in his classic “boys’ books,” and his career-long preoccupation with twins and twinning.
Approaching familiar texts in surprising new ways, Morris reexamines the relationship between Huck and Jim; discusses racial and gender crossing in Pudd’nhead Wilson; and sheds new light on Twain’s difficulty in depicting the most famous cross-dresser in history, Joan of Arc. She also considers a number of his later “transvestite tales” that feature transgressive figures such as Hellfire Hotchkiss, who is hampered by her “misplaced sex.”
Morris challenges views of Twain that see his work as reinforcing traditional notions of gender along sharply divided lines. She shows that Twain depicts cross-dressing sometimes as comic or absurd, other times as darkly tragic—but that even at his most playful, he contests traditional Victorian notions about the fixity of gender roles.
Analyzing such characteristics of Twain’s fiction as his fascination with details of clothing and the ever-present element of play, Morris shows us his understanding that gender, like race, is a social construction—and above all a performance. Gender Play in Mark Twain: Cross-Dressing and Transgression broadens our understanding of the writer as it lends rich insight into his works.
Trollope’s mother, wife, and a friend he loved platonically most of his life provided him three very different views of the Victorian woman. And, according to Jane Nardin, they were responsible for the dramatic shift in his treatment of women in his novels.
This is the first book in Sandra Gilbert’s Ad Feminam series to examine a male author. Nardin initially analyzes the novels Trollope wrote from 1855 to 1861, in which male concerns are central to the plot and women are angelic heroines, submissive and self-sacrificing. Even the titles of his novels written during this period are totally male oriented. The Three Clerks, Doctor Thorne, and The Bertrams all refer to men. Shortly after meeting Kate Field, Trollope wrote Orley Farm, which refers to the estate an angry woman steals from her husband and which marks a change in the attitudes toward women evident in his novels.
His next four books, The Small House at Allington, Rachel Ray, Can You Forgive Her?, and Miss Mackenzie, prove that women’s concerns had become central in his writing. Nardin examines specific novels written from 1861 to 1865 in which Trollope, with increasing vigor, subverts the conventional notions of gender that his earlier novels had endorsed.
Nardin argues that his novels written after 1865 and often recognized as feminist are not really departures but merely refinements of attitudes Trollope exhibited in earlier works.
In The Heart of Achilles, Graham Zanker addresses the task of reconstructing the ethical thought-world in which the characters of the Iliad live and move. It is only against this background, Zanker argues, that we can convincingly place the ethical status of the heroes and their actions. This in turn helps us to form a comprehensive view of the Iliad'scharacterization of its people, especially that of Achilles, by examining all his responses to the question of allegiance, the value of heroic prowess, and of life itself.
"[Zanker] investigates altruistic behavior in the epic with professional sophistication but in a way that makes his investigation available to a wide audience from undergraduates to advanced scholars. . . . [A] very useful interpretative study." --Choice
Graham Zanker is Senior Lecturer in Classics, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
Female scholars reevaluate gender and the female presence in the life and work of one of America’s foremost writers.
Ernest Hemingway has often been criticized as a misogynist because of his portrayal of women. But some of the most exciting Hemingway scholarship of recent years has come from women scholars who challenge traditional views of Hemingway and women. The essays in this collection range from discussions of Hemingway’s famous heroines Brett Ashley and Catherine Barkley to examinations of the central role of gender in his short stories and in the novel The Garden of Eden. Other essays address the real women in Hemingway’s life—those who cared for him, competed with him, and, ultimately, helped to shape his art. While Hemingway was certainly influenced by traditional perceptions of women, these essays show that he was also aware of the struggle of the emerging new woman of his time. Making this gender struggle a primary concern of his fiction, these critics argue, Hemingway created women with strength, depth, and a complexity that readers are only beginning to appreciate.
"The authors focus on women connected to Hemingway in life, specific female characters, and issues of gender and sexual ambiguities and crossings embodied or enacted by male and female characters. Topics range from reading the feminine in nature to expanding the concept of the code hero to include major female characters."
"Exceptionally thorough . . . this collection is impressive and unflinching in its exploration."
—Ruth Prigozy, Hofstra University
Lawrence Broer is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of South Florida and author of a number of books on American literature, including Sanity Plea: Schizophrenia in the Novels of Kurt Vonnegut and Rabbit Tales: Poetry and Politics in John Upike’s Rabbit Novels. Gloria Holland is Adjunct Instructor in English at Hillsborough Community College and has coauthored papers with Lawrence Broer on Hemingway, Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
From the mortal maidens of 1817 to the omnipotent goddesses of 1819, Keats uses successive female characters as symbols portraying the salvation and destruction, the passion and fear that the imagination elicits. Karla Alwes traces the change in these female figures—multidimensional and mysteriously protean—and shows that they do more than comprise a symbol of the female as a romantic lover. They are the gauge of Keats’s search for identity. As Keats’s poetry changes with experience, from celebration to denial of the earth, the females change from meek to threatening to a final maternal and conciliatory figure.
Keats consistently maintained a strict dichotomy between the flesh-and-blood women he referred to in his letters and the created females of his poetry, in the same way that he rigorously sought to abandon the real for the ideal in his poetry. In her study of Keats’s poetry, Alwes dramatizes the poet’s struggle to come to terms with his two consummate ideals—women and poetry. She demonstrates how his female characters, serving as lovers, guides, and nemeses to the male heroes of the poems, embody not only the hope but also the disappointment that the poet discovers as he strives to reconcile feminine and masculine creativity. Alwes also shows how the myths of Apollo, which Keats integrated into his poetry as early as February 1815, point up his contradictory need for, yet fear of, the feminine. She argues that Keats’s attempt to overcome this fear, impossible to do by concentrating solely on Apollo as a metaphor for the imagination, resulted in his eventual use of maternal goddesses as poetic symbols.
The goddess Moneta in "The Fall of Hyperion" reclaims the power of the maternal earth to represent the final stage in the development of the female. In combining the wisdom of the Apollonian realm with the compassion of the feminine earth, Moneta is more powerful than Apollo and able to show the poet who does not recognize both realms that he is only a "dreamer," one who "venoms all his days, / Bearing more woe than all his sins deserve."
Because of Moneta’s admonishment, Keats becomes the poet capable of creating "To Autumn." In this final ode, Keats taps the transcendent power inherent in the temporal beauty of the earth. His imagination, once attempting to leave the earth, now goes beyond the Apollonian ideal into the realm of salvation—the human heart—that connects him to the earth. And because of his poetic reconciliation between heaven and earth, Keats is ultimately able to portray an earthly timelessness in which "summer has o’er-brimmed" the bees’ "clammy cells," making for "warm days [that] will never cease."
In the only critical examination of all of Jack Kerouac's published prose, James T. Jones turns to Freud to show how the great Beat writer used the Oedipus myth to shape not only his individual works but also the entire body of his writing.
Like Balzac, Jones explains, Kerouac conceived an overall plan for his total writing corpus, which he called the Duluoz Legend after Jack Duluoz, his fictional alter ego. While Kerouac's work attracts biographical treatment—the ninth full-length biography was published in 1998—Jones takes a Freudian approach to focus on the form of the work. Noting that even casual readers recognize family relationships as the basis for Kerouac's autobiographical prose, Jones discusses these relationships in terms of Freud's notion of the Oedipus complex.
After establishing the basic biographical facts and explaining Freud's application of the Oedipus myth, Jones explicates Kerouac's novels of childhood and adolescence, focusing on sibling rivalry. Supporting his contention that the Beat writer worked according to a plan, Jones then shows how Kerouac revised The Town and the City (1950), his first published novel, in Vanity of Duluoz, the last novel published in his lifetime, to de-emphasize the death of the father. He treats three versions of Kerouac's road novel—including On the Road—as versions of Oedipus's fateful journey from Corinth to Thebes. And he argues that Pic, often considered peripheral to the Duluoz Legend, replicates the Oedipal themes.
Jones demonstrates that Maggie Cassidy, The Subterraneans, and Tristessa share a form that results from Kerouac's unresolved rivalry with his father for the love of his mother. He discusses Kerouac's replacement of the destructive brother figures in On the Road and Visions of Cody with the constructive hero of The Dharma Bums. He also shows how the Oedipal structure of the Duluoz Legend applies to Kerouac's nonfiction.
In the penultimate chapter, Jones explains how Big Sur, Kerouac's story of his alcohol-induced nervous breakdown, actually marks the climax of the Duluoz Legend. The alcoholism, Jones insists, is not the cause but a symptom of a breakdown brought on by his attachment to his mother. He shows how Kerouac's obsession with his family repeats Oedipal themes throughout the Duluoz Legend. Finally, he deals with Oedipal themes in Kerouac's nonnarrative work, including Old Angel Midnight, Some of the Dharma, The Scripture of the Golden Eternity, and several poems.
Early in his career, John Updike announced his affinity with the Christian existentialism of Soren Kierkegaard, Paul Tillich, Karl Barth, and others. Because of this, many of Updike's critics have interpreted his work from within a Christian existentialist context. Yet Kierkegaard and Barth provide Updike with much more than a mere context, for their dialectical thinking serves as the springboard for Updike's own unique dialectical vision, a complex matrix of ethical precepts, theological beliefs, and aesthetic principles that governs nearly all of his literary output. Nowhere else in his immense corpus is this vision more clearly and thoroughly expressed than in his four Rabbit novels, which were gathered into the single volume Rabbit Angstrom in 1995. However, because Updike's critics have chosen to read the Rabbit novels as discrete, freestanding texts, they have by and large failed to extract the precepts of this private vision.
In John Updike's Rabbit Tetralogy, Marshall Boswell redresses this imbalance by treating the Rabbit tetralogy as a single, unified "mega-novel." He demonstrates that, taken together as a single work, the four discrete sections of the tetralogy not only provide a coherent and complete articulation of Updike's unique existential vision but also compose a unified work of remarkable formal complexity. Boswell brings to Updike's work the concept of "mastered irony," a term coined by Kierkegaard to describe the presentation of two legitimate but contradictory sides of an issue. In the Rabbit novels, these issues range from adultery to drug addiction, from race to redemption, with each issue examined through the refracting lens of Updike's own ironic method. Boswell shows that although each of the four individual Rabbit novels confirms this dialectical strategy in a unique way, the completed tetralogy comprises an additional series of dialectical pairs that sustain, rather than resolve, thematic and formal tension. Ultimately, the structure of the finished "mega-novel" echoes the work's thematic rationale.
To help readers who are interested in a particular Rabbit novel, Boswell devotes a chapter to each individual section of the tetralogy. At the same time, he treats each novel as an integral part of the more comprehensive whole. Honoring the full complexity of Updike's provocative thinking without losing sight of the tetralogy's popular appeal, John Updike's Rabbit Tetralogy makes a valuable addition to the study of Updike's work.
In an effort to define what constitutes a feminist reading of literary works, Ann C. Hall offers an analytic technique that is both a feminist and a psychoanalytic approach, applying this technique to her study of women characters in the modern dramatic texts of Eugene O’Neill, Harold Pinter, and Sam Shepard.
This is the first study to treat these three writers in tandem, and while Hall uses the work of Jacques Lacan, Luce Irigaray, and other psychoanalytic feminist critics in her close readings of specific dramatic texts, she also brings in commentaries by critics, directors, performers, and historians. Her technique thereby provides us with a new and significant method for addressing female characters as written by male playwrights, a task that she argues is not only a valid and necessary part of feminist dramatic criticism but a part of theatrical production as well.
From Pinter’s play A Kind of Alaska, Hall extracts a metaphor for the patriarchal oppression of women, contextualizing such oppression through an examination of O’Neill’s madonnas, Pinter’s whores, and Shepard’s female saviors as they are represented in O’Neill’s Iceman Cometh, Long Day’s Journey into Night, and A Moon for theMisbegotten; Pinter’s Homecoming, No Man’s Land, Betrayal, and A Kind of Alaska; and Shepard’s Buried Child, True West, and A LieoftheMind.
Since the works of O’Neill, Pinter, and Shepard continue to be performed to popular acclaim, Hall hopes that a better understanding of the female characters in these plays will influence the performances themselves.
Bradley's stunning volume offers a surprising and delightful glimpse behind the scenes of New York history, and invites readers into the world of Diedrich Knickerbocker, the antihero who surprised everyone by becoming the standard-bearer for the city's exceptional sense of self, or what we now call a New York "attitude."
A 2010 AAUP Best of the Best title
“A briskly engaging book.” —Christopher Benfey, New York Review of Books
“This is cultural history at its best.” —Journal of American Culture
“Elizabeth L. Bradley sorts, catalogues and deciphers the shifting Knickerbocker currents in a metropolis constantly reinventing itself. She does the sturdy Dutchman proud in a scholarly and polished rendition.” —Star-Ledger
“Bradley creates an engaging account of the city through the fictional Knickerbocker, who was a steady presence ‘over two centuries of wrenching urban transformation, from the post-colonial to the postmodern.’ Bradley is a perceptive and lively writer and does a superb job of tracing the many strands of the Knickerbocker myth. She provided the historical context necessary to illustrate the ways the Knickerbocker brand was invoked and provides deft analysis of the cultural meanings it accrued.” —Bookforum
How do men imagine women? In the poetry of Petrarch and his English successors—Wyatt, Donne, and Marvell—the male poet persistently imagines pursuing a woman, Laura, whom he pursues even as she continues to deny his affections. Critics have long held that, in objectifying Laura, these male-authored texts deny the imaginative, intellectual, and physical life of the woman they idealize. In Laura, Barbara L. Estrin counters this traditional view by focusing not on the generative powers of the male poet, but on the subjectivity of the imagined woman and the imaginative space of the poems she occupies. Through close readings of the Rime sparse and the works of Wyatt, Donne, and Marvell, Estrin uncovers three Lauras: Laura-Daphne, who denies sexuality; Laura-Eve, who returns the poet’s love; and Laura-Mercury, who reinvents her own life. Estrin claims that in these three guises Laura subverts both genre and gender, thereby introducing multiple desires into the many layers of the poems. Drawing upon genre and gender theories advanced by Jean-François Lyotard and Judith Butler to situate female desire in the poem’s framework, Estrin shows how genre and gender in the Petrarchan tradition work together to undermine the stability of these very concepts. Estrin’s Laura constitutes a fundamental reconceptualization of the Petrarchan tradition and contributes greatly to the postmodern reassessment of the Renaissance period. In its descriptions of how early modern poets formulate questions about sexuality, society and poetry, Laura will appeal to scholars of the English and Italian Renaissance, of gender studies, and of literary criticism and theory generally.
This is the first study of Russian writer Mikhail Lermontov (1814-41) that attempts to integrate the in-depth interpretations of all his major texts--including his famous A Hero of Our Time, the novel that laid the foundation for the Russian psychological novel.
Lermontov's explorations of the virtues and limitations of heroic, self-reliant conduct have subsequently become obscured or misread. This new book focuses upon the peculiar, disturbing, and arguably most central feature of Russian culture: its suspicion of and hostility toward individual achievement and self-assertion. The analysis and interpretation of Lermontov's texts enables Golstein to address broader cultural issues by exploring the reasons behind the persistent misreading of Lermontov's major works and by investigating the cultural attitudes that shaped Russia's reaction to the challenges of modernity.
In Many Gods and Many Voices distinguished scholar Louis L. Martz addresses works by Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, H. D., and D. H. Lawrence, with brief treatment of the relation of Pound's Cantos to Joyce's Ulysses. In a graceful, lucid style, Martz argues that a prophetic tradition is represented in the Cantos, The Waste Land, Paterson, and H. D.'s Trilogy and Helen in Egypt, along with Lawrence's Plumed Serpent and the second version of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Pound's often- cited view that an epic is a poem that "includes history" does not define epic alone, for the books of biblical prophecy also contain history: the history of Israel's misdeeds and continuous redemption.
On the other hand, Martz suggests that the term prophecy should not be limited to works that foretell the future, arguing that the biblical prophet is concerned primarily with the present. The prophet is a reformer, a denouncer of evil, as well as a seer of possible redemption. He hears "voices" and transmits the message of those voices to his people, in the hope of moving them away from wickedness and toward the ways of truth. According to Martz, such was the mission that inspired Walt Whitman and that Whitman passed on to Pound, Eliot, Williams, and Lawrence. (H. D. found her own sources of inspiration in Greek and Egyptian lore.)
Martz's premise is that biblical prophecy, with its mingling of poetry and prose, its abrupt shifts from violent denunciation to exalted poetry, provides a precedent for the texture of these modernist works that will help readers to appreciate the mingling of "voices" and the complex mixture of elements. Examining their interrelationships and their common themes, Many Gods and Many Voices offers fresh insights into these modern writers.
In Masculinist Impulses, Nathan Grant begins his analysis of African American texts by focusing on the fragmentation of values of black masculinity—free labor, self-reliance, and responsibility to family and community—as a result of slavery, postbellum disfranchisement, and the ensuing necessity to migrate from the agrarian South to the industrialized North. Through examinations of novels that deal with black male selfhood, Grant demonstrates the ways in which efforts to alleviate the most destructive aspects of racism ultimately reproduced them in the context of the industrialized city.
Grant’s book provides close readings of Jean Toomer (Cane and Natalie Mann) and Zora Neale Hurston (Moses, Man of the Mountain, Seraph of the Suwanee, and Their Eyes Were Watching God), for whom the American South was a crucial locus of the African American experience. Toomer and Hurston were virtually alone among the Harlem Renaissance writers of prose who returned to the South for their literary materials. That return, however, allowed their rediscovery of key black masculine values and charted the northern route of those values in the twentieth century to their compromise and destruction.
Grant then moves on to three more recent writers—John Edgar Wideman, Gloria Naylor, and Toni Morrison—who expanded upon and transformed the themes of Toomer and Hurston. Like Toomer and Hurston, these later authors recognized the need for the political union of black men and women in the effort to realize the goals of equity and justice.
Masculinist Impulses discusses nineteenth- and twentieth-century black masculinity as both a feature and a casualty of modernism. Scholars and students of African American literature will find Grant’s nuanced and creative readings of these key literary texts invaluable.
Throughout human history, motherhood and maternal experience have been largely defined and written by patriarchal culture. Religion, art, medicine, psychoanalysis, and other bastions of male power have objectified the maternal and have disregarded female subjectivity. As a result, maternal perspectives have been ignored and the mother’s voice silenced. In recent literary texts, however, more substantial attention has been given to motherhood and to the physical, psychological, social, and cultural dynamics affecting maternal experience. In Maternal Body and Voice in Toni Morrison, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Lee Smith, Paula Gallant Eckard examines how maternal experience is depicted in selected novels by three American writers, emphasizing how they focus on the body and the voice of the mother. These novels include: The Bluest Eye, Sula, and Beloved by Morrison; In Country, Spence + Lila, and Feather Crowns by Mason; and Oral History, Fair and Tender Ladies, and Saving Grace by Smith.
By employing this focus, these writers lessen the objectification the maternal has received and restore a rich subjectivity that foregrounds the mother’s perspective. Moreover, their fiction reflects a deep concern for history and culture and for a woman’s experience of her world. They challenge the traditional representations of black and white motherhood that have appeared in southern literature and society, rendering complex portrayals of motherhood that defy cultural stereotypes.
Eckard incorporates historical perspectives on African American and southern motherhood, utilizing the works of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Sally McMillen, Deborah White, Jacqueline Jones, and others. She draws upon the feminist criticism of Adrienne Rich, Elaine Showalter, Naomi Schor, Tillie Olsen, Karla F. C. Holloway, Barbara Christian, and others, and the linguistic and psychoanalytic theories of Julia Kristeva, Hélène Cixous, and Luce Irigaray. The author also addresses the cross-cultural connections shared by Morrison, Mason, and Smith, showing that, despite their racial and cultural differences, striking similarities can be found in their renderings of maternity.
The three women writers employ related image patterns, metaphors, and symbols involving the maternal body. By centering maternity so strongly in their novels, Morrison, Mason, and Smith establish the primacy of the mother and obviate the neglect to which maternal perspectives have been subjected. They restore the mother’s lost voice and her diminished subjectivity. Together they depict the maternal as a powerful force that shapes human lives and communities.
Stendhal, George Sand, Rachilde, Georges Bataille: Forgoing the patronym, with its weight of meaning, these modern French writers renamed themselves in their work. Their use of pseudonyms, as Maryline Lukacher demonstrates in this provocative study, is part of a process to subvert the name of the father and explore the suppressed relation to the figure of the mother. Combining psychoanalytic criticism, feminist theory, and literary analysis, Maternal Fictions offers a complex psychological portrait of these writers who managed at once to challenge patriarchal authority and at the same time attempt to return to the maternal. Through readings of Armance, Le Rouge et le noir, La Vie de Henry Brulard, and Les Cenci, Lukacher exposes Stendhal's preoccupation with his dead mother, who is obsessively retrieved throughout his work. George Sand's identity is, in effect, divided between two mothers, her biological mother and her grandmother, and in Histoire de ma vie,Indiana, and Mauprat, we see the writer's efforts to break the impasse created by this divided identity. In the extraordinary but too little known work of Rachilde (Marguerite Eymery), Lukacher finds the maternal figure identified as the secret inner force of patriarchal oppression. This resistance to feminism continues in the pseudonymous work of Georges Bataille. In Ma mère, Le coupable, and L’Expérience intérieure Lukacher traces Bataille’s representation of the mother as a menacing, ever subversive figure who threatens basic social configurations. Maternal Fictions establishes a new pseudonymous genealogy in modern French writing that will inform and advance our understanding of the act of self-creation that occurs in fiction.
Eberhard Happel, German Baroque author of an extensive body of work of fiction and nonfiction, has for many years been categorized as a “courtly-gallant” novelist. In Mediating Culture in the Seventeenth-Century German Novel, author Gerhild Scholz Williams argues that categorizing him thus is to seriously misread him and to miss out on a fascinating perspective on this dynamic period in German history.
Happel primarily lived and worked in the vigorous port city of Hamburg, which was a “media center” in terms of the access it offered to a wide library of books in public and private collections. Hamburg’s port status meant it buzzed with news and information, and Happel drew on this flow of data in his novels. His books deal with many topics of current interest—national identity formation, gender and sexualities, Western European encounters with neighbors to the East, confrontations with non-European and non-Western powers and cultures—and they feature multiple media, including news reports, news collections, and travel writings. As a result, Happel’s use of contemporary source material in his novels feeds our current interest in the impact of the production of knowledge on seventeenth-century narrative. Mediating Culture in the Seventeenth-Century German Novel explores the narrative wealth and multiversity of Happel’s work, examines Happel’s novels as illustrative of seventeenth-century novel writing in Germany, and investigates the synergistic relationship in Happel’s writings between the booming print media industry and the evolution of the German novel.
Focusing on the works of Grau, Tyler, and Godwin, Susan S. Kissel shows how these writers portray their white southern women protagonists as “moving on,” with their heroines not only renouncing southern patriarchal tradition but actually establishing independent lives and caring communities. These authors are beginning to close the gap that has existed between themselves and black Southern women writers, whose protagonists have long shown that the strength and independence of female maturity must be synonymous with complete character development.
By focusing on the story of Hector, James M. Redfield presents an imaginative perspective not only on the Iliad but also on the whole of Homeric culture. In an expansive discussion informed by a reinterpretation of Aristotle's Poetics and a reflection on the human meaning of narrative art, the analysis of Hector leads to an inquiry into the fundamental features of Homeric culture and of culture generally in its relation to nature. Through Hector, as the "true tragic hero of the poem," the events and themes of the Iliad are understood and the function of tragedy within culture is examined. Redfield's work represents a significant application of anthropological perspectives to Homeric poetry. Originally published in 1975 (University of Chicago Press), this revised edition includes a new preface and concluding chapter by the author.
The "Simple" stories, Langston Hughes's satirical pieces featuring Harlem's Jesse B. Semple, have been lauded as Hughes's greatest contribution to American fiction. In Not So Simple, Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper provides the first full historical analysis of the Simple stories.
Harper races the evolution and development of Simple from his 1943 appearance in Hughes's weekly Chicago Defender column through his 1965 farewell in the New York Post. Drawing on correspondence and manuscripts of the stories, Harper explores the development of the Simple collections, from Simple Speaks His Mind (1950) to Simple's Uncle Sam (1965), providing fresh and provocative perspectives on both Hughes and the characters who populate his stories.
Harper discusses the nature of Simple, Harlem's "everyman", and the way in which Hughes used his character both to teach fellow Harlem residents about their connection to world events and to give black literature a hero whose "day-after-day heroism" would exemplify greatness. She explores the psychological, sociological, and literary meanings behind the Simple stories, and suggests ways in which the stories illustrate lessons of American history and political science. She also examines the roles played by women in these humorously ironic fiction. Ultimately, Hughes's attitudes as an author are measured against the views of other prominent African American writers.
Demonstrating the richness and complexity of this Langston Hughes character and the Harlem he inhabited. Not So Simple makes an important contribution to the study of American literature.
The Pooh Perplex
Frederick Crews University of Chicago Press, 2003 Library of Congress PR6025.I65W65 2003 | Dewey Decimal 823.912
In this devastatingly funny classic, Frederick Crews skewers the ego-inflated pretensions of the schools and practitioners of literary criticism popular in the 1960s, including Freudians, Aristotelians, and New Critics. Modeled on the "casebooks" often used in freshman English classes at the time, The Pooh Perplex contains twelve essays written in different critical voices, complete with ridiculous footnotes, tongue-in-cheek "questions and study projects," and hilarious biographical notes on the contributors. This edition contains a new preface by the author that compares literary theory then and now and identifies some of the real-life critics who were spoofed in certain chapters.
Emerging mass culture in nineteenth-century America was in no small way influenced by the Yellow Kid, one of the first popular, serial comic figures circulating Sunday supplements. Though comics existed before, it was through the growing popularity of full-color illustrations printed in such city papers as Inter Ocean (Chicago) and the World (New York) and the implementation of regular, weekly publications of the extra sections that comics became a mass-produced, mass-distributed staple of American consumerism. It was against this backdrop that one of the first popular, serial comic figures was born: the Yellow Kid.
Producing Mass Entertainment: The Serial Life of the Yellow Kid offers a new take on the emergence of the Yellow Kid comic figure, looking closely at the mass appeal and proliferation of the Yellow Kid across different media. Christina Meyer identifies the aesthetic principles of newspaper comics and examines the social agents—advertising agencies, toy manufacturers, actors, retailers, and more—responsible for the Yellow Kid’s successful career. In unraveling the history of comic characters in capitalist consumer culture, Meyer offers new insights into the creation and dissemination of cultural products, reflecting on modern artistic and merchandising phenomena.
This revised and expanded edition of Beidler and Barton’s indispensable A Reader’s Guide to the Novels of Louise Erdrich builds on the sellout success of the first edition. Every serious reader of Erdrich’s fiction will want access to this comprehensive new edition, which includes valuable new material.
• Completely updated with information on four new novels published since the first edition: The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, The Master Butchers Singing Club, Four Souls, and The Painted Drum
• Easy-to-use genealogical charts for the various families
• A map and geographical details about the settings for the novels
• A detailed composite dictionary of characters (even including the minor characters)
• A glossary of all of the Ojibwe words, phrases, and sentences that Erdrich, an astoundingly versatile and energetic Native American author, uses in her panoply of novels
Rediscovering Nancy Drew
Carolyn Stewart Dyer University of Iowa Press, 1995 Library of Congress PS3545.I774Z87 1995 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
"Rediscovering Nancy Drew is a rich collection of literary memories and insightful cultural comments."--Journal of Children's Literature
"Nancy, especially the Nancy of the original story, is our bright heroine, chasing down the shadows, conquering our worst fears, giving us a glimpse of our brave and better selves, proving to everybody exactly how admirable and wonderful a thing it is to be a girl. Thank you, Nancy Drew."--Nancy Pickard
"Nancy Drew belongs to a moment in feminist history; it is a moment, I suggest, that we celebrate, allowing ourselves the satisfaction of praising her for what she dared and forgiving her for what she failed to undertake or understand."--Carolyn G. Heilbrun
"Rediscovering Nancy Drew lights up the territory. It informs, delights, and acknowledges through love and scholarship a debt long overdue."--Dale H. Ross
In 1991, women staff and faculty at the University of Iowa discovered that the pseudonymous author of the original Nancy Drew books, Carolyn Keene, was none other than Mildred Wirt Benson, the first person to earn a master's degree in journalism at Iowa. The excitement caused by their discovery led to the 1993 Nancy Drew Conference, which explored the remarkable passion for Nancy Drew that spans a wide spectrum of American society. The result: a lively collaboration of essays by and interviews with mystery writers, collectors, publishers, librarians, scholars, journalists, and fans which presents a spirited, informative, totally enjoyable tribute to the driver of that blue roadster so many readers have coveted.
Ronald D. Lankford has written the definitive history of this iconic and much-loved Christmas character. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was the creation of Robert May, a staff copywriter who wrote the original poem as a Montgomery Ward Christmas giveaway in 1939. More than 2.4 million copies were printed and given away that holiday season. Thus the legend began. Johnny Marks adapted the poem into what would become the Gene Autry hit “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” which instantly became—and still remains—one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time. The legend of Rudolph soared even higher with the Rankin/Bass stop-motion television special in 1964, which has gone on to inspire a cottage industry of toys and decorative items. In this festive and informed look at the most famous reindeer of all, Lankford discusses all of Rudolph’s iterations, including comic books, sequels, advertising tie-ins, movies, and much more. Lankford has produced the first complete history of Rudolph that both celebrates and explains the undying popularity of Rudolph and his friends. The result is both a glowing tribute and a rigorously researched biography that will appeal to fans and lovers of classic American holiday culture.
In this book, Robin Hackett examines portrayals of race, class, and sexuality in modernist texts by white women to argue for the existence of a literary device that she calls “Sapphic primitivism.” The works vary widely in their form and content and include Olive Schreiner’s proto-modernist exploration of New Womanhood, The Story of an African Farm; Virginia Woolf’s high modernist “play-poem,” The Waves; Sylvia Townsend Warner’s historical novel, Summer Will Show; and Willa Cather’s Southern pastoral, Sapphira and the Slave Girl. In each, blackness and working-class culture are figured to represent sexual autonomy, including lesbianism, for white women. Sapphic primitivism exposes the ways several classes of identification were intertwined with the development of homosexual identities at the turn of the century. Sapphic primitivism is not, however, a means of disguising lesbian content. Rather, it is an aesthetic displacement device that simultaneously exposes lesbianism and exploits modern, primitivist modes of self-representation. Hackett’s revelations of the mutual interests of those who study early twentieth-century constructions of race and sexuality and twenty-first-century feminists doing anti-racist and queer work are a major contribution to literary studies and identity theory.
Though one of America’s best known and loved novels, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has often been the object of fierce controversy because of its racist language and reliance on racial stereotypes. This collection of fifteen essays by prominent African American scholars and critics examines the novel’s racist elements and assesses the degree to which Twain’s ironies succeed or fail to turn those elements into a satirical attack on racism. Ranging from the laudatory to the openly hostile, these essays include personal impressions of Huckleberry Finn, descriptions of classroom experience with the book, evaluations of its ironic and allegorical aspects, explorations of its nineteenth-century context, and appraisal of its effects on twentieth-century African American writers. Among the issues the authors contend with are Twain’s pervasive use of the word “nigger,” his portrayal of the slave Jim according to the conventions of the minstrel show “darky,” and the thematic chaos created by the “evasion” depicted in the novel’s final chapters. Sure to provoke thought and stir debate, Satire or Evasion? provides a variety of new perspectives on one of this country’s most troubling classics.
Contributors. Richard K. Barksdale, Bernard W. Bell, Mary Kemp Davis, Peaches M. Henry, Betty Harris Jones, Rhett S. Jones, Julius Lester, Donnarae MacCann, Charles H. Nichols, Charles H. Nilon, Arnold Rampersad, David L. Smith, Carmen Dubryan, John H. Wallace, Kenny Jackson Williams, Fredrick Woodard
Advice on sex and marriage in the literature of antiquity and the middle ages typically stressed the negative: from stereotypes of nagging wives and cheating husbands to nightmarish visions of women empowered through marriage. Satiric Advice on Women and Marriage brings together the leading scholars of this fascinating body of literature. Their essays examine a variety of ancient and early medieval writers' cautionary and often eccentric marital satire beginning with Plautus in the third century B.C.E. through Chaucer (the only non-Latin author studied). The volume demonstrates the continuity in the Latin tradition which taps into the fear of marriage and intimacy shared by ancient ascetics (Lucretius), satirists (Juvenal), comic novelists (Apuleius), and by subsequent Christian writers starting with Tertullian and Jerome, who freely used these ancient sources for their own purposes, including propaganda for recruiting a celibate clergy and the promotion of detachment and asceticism as Christian ideals.
Warren S. Smith is Professor of Classical Languages at the University of New Mexico.
Although many writers blend autobiography and fiction, few have been so forthright in admitting it as Gustave Flaubert. In reference to his legendary novel and protagonist, he wrote: "Madame Bovary, c'est moi." Madame Bovary has become an icon for casual readers and feminists alike, but, as Dacia Maraini argues, she is one of the most problematic, though fascinating, female protagonists in modern literature. In this lively, learned, and very personal study, Maraini explores the profound and contradictory relationship between the writer Flaubert and the character his readers have grown to love.
Maraini argues that in their desire to claim Emma Bovary as a standard-bearer of revolt, women have often overlooked the bitter, pitiless way in which Flaubert evokes Emma's insignificance and vulgarity. Searching for Emma guides the reader through Flaubert's novel and many of his letters, seeking out the sources of his obsessive cruelty toward Emma. Maraini relates Flaubert's contempt for Emma to his relationship with his mistress, Louise Colet, to his general terror of women, and to his own self-loathing. It was entirely in spite of himself, Maraini writes, that Flaubert created the female Don Quixote so admired for her restlessness and determination.
Searching for Emma offers a novelist's insight into the complex relationship between author and character, and into the deepest motivations of fiction.
Over a century after its first stage performance, Peter Pan has become deeply embedded in Western popular culture, as an enduring part of childhood memories, in every part of popular media, and in commercial enterprises.
Since 2003 the characters from this story have had a highly visible presence in nearly every genre of popular culture: two major films, a literary sequel to the original adventures, a graphic novel featuring a grown-up Wendy Darling, and an Argentinean novel about a children's book writer inspired by J. M. Barrie. Simultaneously, Barrie surfaced as the subject of two major biographies and a feature film. The engaging essays in Second Star to the Right approach Pan from literary, dramatic, film, television, and sociological perspectives and, in the process, analyze his emergence and preservation in the cultural imagination.
The Secret Marriage of Sherlock Holmes is about reading, a process that we take for granted. But Sherlock Holmes, the cultural icon to whose exploits Michael Atkinson gives new readings, became famous by taking nothing for granted. Holmes's adventures can be read in new ways, including ways that he himself would have found startling, but which can give contemporary readers satisfaction. In clear, accessible prose that will engage specialists and lay readers alike, Atkinson engages in "a series of flirtations" with nine of Arthur Conan Doyle's favorite detective fictions, using the tools of modern literary theory, from depth psychology to deconstruction. Bluebeard, the kundalini serpent, and Conan Doyle's mother pop up alongside Jung, Nietzsche, and Derrida as guides to new understandings of these classic stories. Just as Holmes uses treatises on tobacco ash and tattoos to give fresh readings to puzzling facts, Atkinson employs widely different critical strategies to unravel the mysteries of reading itself.
"What a delightful book! This is surely the most interesting writing you will ever read about Sherlock Holmes, but it is much more. Michael Atkinson gives us literary criticism at its best: the sheer fun of watching a bold and imaginative reader breathe into well-loved, but well-worn, fictions new and enchanting life. Atkinson's mind races as nimbly as Holmes's own, and he makes the stories our hansom cab through human nature itself. A tour de force!"
---Norman N. Holland, author of Murder in a Dephi Seminar
"A book that speaks directly to readers. . . Atkinson sees far beneath the surface of the Sherlock stories to provide fascinating commentary."
"Atkinson demonstrates a love and knowledge of the Holmes stories. . . I would recommend The Secret Marriage of Sherlock Holmes enthusiastically to any lover of the Canon who is prepared to have their perceptions widened."
---Mystery Writers of America
Michael Atkinson is Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Cincinnati.
The author of the Hardy Boys Mysteries was, as millions of readers know, Franklin W. Dixon. Except there never was a Franklin W. Dixon. He was the creation of Edward Stratemeyer, the savvy founder of a children's book empire that also published the Tom Swift, Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew series.
The Secret of the Hardy Boys: Leslie McFarlane and the Stratemeyer Syndicate recounts how a newspaper reporter with dreams of becoming a serious novelist first brought to life Joe and Frank Hardy, who became two of the most famous characters in children’s literature.
Embarrassed by his secret identity as the author of the Hardy Boys books, Leslie McFarlane admitted it to no one-his son pried the truth out of him years later. Having signed away all rights to the books, McFarlane never shared in the wild financial success of the series. Far from being bitter, however, late in life McFarlane took satisfaction in having helped introduce millions of children to the joys of reading.
Commenting on the longevity of the Hardy Boys series, the New York Times noted, “Mr. McFarlane breathed originality into the Stratemeyer plots, loading on playful detail.”
Author Marilyn Greenwald gives us the story of McFarlane’s life and career, including for the first time a compelling account of his writing life after the Hardy Boys. A talented and versatile writer, McFarlane adapted to sweeping changes in North American markets for writers, as pulp and glossy magazines made way for films, radio, and television. It is a fascinating and inspiring story of the force of talent and personality transcending narrow limits.
In this book, Emily Wilbourne boldly traces the roots of early opera back to the sounds of the commedia dell’arte. Along the way, she forges a new history of Italian opera, from the court pieces of the early seventeenth century to the public stages of Venice more than fifty years later.
Wilbourne considers a series of case studies structured around the most important and widely explored operas of the period: Monteverdi’s lost L’Arianna, as well as his Il Ritorno d’Ulisse and L’incoronazione di Poppea; Mazzochi and Marazzoli’s L’Egisto, ovvero Chi soffre speri; and Cavalli’s L’Ormindo and L’Artemisia. As she demonstrates, the sound-in-performance aspect of commedia dell’arte theater—specifically, the use of dialect and verbal play—produced an audience that was accustomed to listening to sonic content rather than simply the literal meaning of spoken words. This, Wilbourne suggests, shaped the musical vocabularies of early opera and facilitated a musicalization of Italian theater.
Highlighting productive ties between the two worlds, from the audiences and venues to the actors and singers, this work brilliantly shows how the sound of commedia performance ultimately underwrote the success of opera as a genre.
For the Renaissance, all the world may have been a stage and all its people players, but Shakespeare was also an actor on the literal stage. Meredith Anne Skura asks what it meant to be an actor in Shakespeare's England and shows why a knowledge of actual theatrical practices is essential for understanding both Shakespeare's plays and the theatricality of everyday life in early modern England.
Despite the obvious differences between our theater and Shakespeare's, sixteenth-century testimony suggests that the experience of acting has not changed much over the centuries. Beginning with a psychoanalytically informed account of acting today, Skura shows how this intense and ambivalent experience appears not only in literal references to acting in Shakespearean drama but also in recurring narrative concerns, details of language, and dramatic strategies used to engage the audience. Looking at the plays in the context of both public and private worlds outside the theater, Skura rereads the canon to identify new configurations in the plays and new ways of understanding theatrical self-consciousness in Renaissance England. Rich in theatrical, psychoanalytic, biographical, and historical insight, this book will be invaluable to students of Shakespeare and instructive to all readers interested in the dynamics of performance.
Shylock Is Shakespeare
Kenneth Gross University of Chicago Press, 2006 Library of Congress PR2825.G763 2006 | Dewey Decimal 822.33
Shylock, the Jewish moneylender in The Merchant of Venice who famously demands a pound of flesh as security for a loan to his antisemitic tormentors, is one of Shakespeare’s most complex and idiosyncratic characters. With his unsettling eloquence and his varying voices of protest, play, rage, and refusal, Shylock remains a source of perennial fascination. What explains the strange and enduring force of this character, so unlike that of any other in Shakespeare’s plays? Kenneth Gross posits that the figure of Shylock is so powerful because he is the voice of Shakespeare himself.
Marvelously speculative and articulate, Gross’s book argues that Shylock is a breakthrough for Shakespeare the playwright, an early realization of the Bard’s power to create dramatic voices that speak for hidden, unconscious, even inhuman impulses—characters larger than the plays that contain them and ready to escape the author’s control. Shylock is also a mask for Shakespeare’s own need, rage, vulnerability, and generosity, giving form to Shakespeare’s ambition as an author and his uncertain bond with the audience. Gross’s vision of Shylock as Shakespeare’s covert double leads to a probing analysis of the character’s peculiar isolation, ambivalence, opacity, and dark humor. Addressing the broader resonance of Shylock, both historical and artistic, Gross examines the character’s hold on later readers and writers, including Heinrich Heine and Philip Roth, suggesting that Shylock mirrors the ambiguous states of Jewishness in modernity.
A bravura critical performance, Shylock Is Shakespeare will fascinate readers with its range of reference, its union of rigor and play, and its conjectural—even fictive—means of coming to terms with the question of Shylock, ultimately taking readers to the very heart of Shakespeare’s humanizing genius.
"[Heitman] provides a sensitive critical study of the Odyssey in which he strives to better appreciate the poem by focusing on the familial interactions in Ithaca . . . Heitman's interpretations . . . are unfailingly clear and thought-provoking. Highly recommended."
"It is an example of a neat and valuable contribution which is both intelligible to non-specialists and inspiring for psychologists and classicists. It demonstrates that research into Homer still is . . . capable of extracting ever-new exciting ideas from Homer's texts."
---Bryn Mawr Classical Review
Taking Her Seriously is a reevaluation of Penelope, one of the most universally admired female characters in Western classical literature. Casting her in a new light, Richard Heitman emphasizes the courage, steadfastness, and integrity of this iconic figure while she faces potentially tragic decisions.
Homer's treatment of events in Ithaca and the motivations of Penelope throughout the denser books of the Odyssey reveals a complicated, serious, independent, and insightful thinker whose actions are crucial to guaranteeing the well-being of her home and a safe future for her son, and for Odysseus as well.
Through this thematic approach to the text, Penelope comes into focus as a loving wife whose role is far more important than passive fidelity to a wandering husband. Her integrity and wisdom in Odysseus' absence set the stage for his violent and triumphant return, and secure her place as a female role model in even the most modern of contexts.
Richard Heitman is Assistant Professor of Classics and Philosophy at Carthage College.
Scholars since Paden have commented on the anxieties embedded in Tennyson's poetry, but this is the first study to examine them systematically. Within each poem Goslee discovers a vulnerable authorial presence threatened by some Other—a personification of divine, sexual, or natural power—which encroaches upon it from the fringes of the poem's imaginative universe. This Other is always interpreted, humanized, or conciliated by some mediating figure, yet the more effectively the mediator confronts an otherwise alien cosmos, the more alien he or she becomes to the authorial presence.
Goslee's approach toward understanding the conflict between Tennyson and the characters he creates includes elements of formalism, psychodynamics, and literary history without being narrowly confined to any one of these. His subtle, elegant reading mediates between those critics who stress authorial intention (e.g., Reed's Perception and Design) and the growing number of critics who follow E. D. H. Johnson in claiming that Tennyson wrote more subversively than he wanted to admit. This original, highly suggestive volume will be important for all Victorian scholars and literary critics.
Mary O’ Connell examines the role of socially constructed masculinity in John Updike’ s Rabbit tetralogy— Rabbit Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, and Rabbit at Rest— which comprises the longest and most comprehensive representation of masculinity in American literature and places Updike firmly with the precursors of the contemporary movement among men to reevaluate their cultural inheritance.
A disturbing element exists, O’ Connell determines, in both the texts of the Rabbit novels and in the critical community that examines them. In the novels, O’ Connell finds substantial evidence to demonstrate patterns of psychological and physical abuse toward women, citing as the culminating example the mounting toll of literally or metaphorically dead women in the texts. Critics who characterize Updike as a nonviolent writer who strangely overlooks Rabbit’ s repressive and violent behaviors avoid a discomforting but crucial aspect of Updike’ s portrait.
Because the critical verdict of nonviolence in Updike’ s novels contrasts sharply with the string of female corpses, O’ Connell deems that something within the text or culture— or both— is seriously amiss.
Although she examines negative aspects of Rabbit’ s behavior, O’ Connell avoids the oversimplification of labeling Updike a misogynist. Instead, she looks closely at the forces shaping Rabbit’ s gender identity as well as at the ways he experiences masculinity and the ways his gender identity affects his personal and spiritual development, his relationships, and, ultimately, his society. She shows how Updike challenges stereotypical masculinity, revealing its limitations and proscriptions as the source of much unhappiness for both men and women. Further, she substantiates the relation between gender, form, structure, perspective, and language use in the novels, alerting the reader to the ambivalence arising from the male author’ s examination of masculinity.
O’ Connell maintains that Updike does more than write Rabbit as a stereotypical male; he instead explores in depth his character’ s habitually flawed ways of seeing and responding to the world. As she discusses these issues, O’ Connell uses the term patriarchy in its broadest sense to refer to the practice of centralizing the male and marginalizing the female in all areas of human life. Patriarchal ideology— the assumptions, values, ideas, and patterns of thought that perpetuate the arrangement— is written as hidden text, permeating every aspect of culture, particularly language, from which it spreads to other signifying systems.
Contrary to conventional critical wisdom, Updike is not a straightforward writer; the Rabbit novels create meaning by challenging, undermining, and qualifying their own explicit content. Updike claims that his novels are "moral debates with the reader," and according to O’ Connell, the resisting reader, active and skeptical, is the one most likely to discover what Rabbit conceals and to register the nuances of layered discourse.
A historian hoping to reconstruct the social world of all-black towns or the segregated black sections of other towns in the South finds only scant traces of their existence. In Zora Neale Hurston and a History of Southern Life, Tiffany Ruby Patterson uses the ethnographic and literary work of Zora Neale Hurston to augment the few official documents, newspaper accounts, and family records that pertain to these places hidden from history. Hurston's ethnographies, plays, and fiction focused on the day-to-day life in all-black social spaces as well as "the Negro farthest down" in labor camps. Patterson shows how Hurston's work complements the fragmented historical record, using the folklore and stories to provide a full description of these people of these towns as active human subjects, shaped by history and shaping their private world. Beyond the view and domination of whites in these spaces, black people created their own codes of social behavior, honor, and justice. In Patterson's view Hurston renders her subjects faithfully and with respect for their individuality and endurance, enabling all people to envision an otherwise inaccessible world.