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The Acoustic World of Early Modern England
Attending to the O-Factor
Bruce R. Smith
University of Chicago Press, 1999
We know how a Shakespeare play sounds when performed today, but what would listeners have heard within the wooden "O" of the Globe Theater in 1599? What sounds would have filled the air in early modern England, and what would these sounds have meant to people in that largely oral culture?

In this ear-opening journey into the sound-worlds of Shakespeare's contemporaries, Bruce R. Smith explores both the physical aspects of human speech (ears, lungs, tongue) and the surrounding environment (buildings, landscape, climate), as well as social and political structures. Drawing on a staggeringly wide range of evidence, he crafts a historical phenomenology of sound, from reconstructions of the "soundscapes" of city, country, and court to detailed accounts of the acoustic properties of the Globe and Blackfriars theaters and how scripts designed for the two spaces exploited sound very differently.

Critical for anyone who wants to understand the world of early modern England, Smith's pathbreaking "ecology" of voice and listening also has much to offer musicologists and acoustic ecologists.

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Affective Communities
Anticolonial Thought, Fin-de-Siecle Radicalism, and the Politics of Friendship
Leela Gandhi
Duke University Press, 2006
“If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” So E. M. Forster famously observed in his Two Cheers for Democracy. Forster’s epigrammatic manifesto, where the idea of the “friend” stands as a metaphor for dissident cross-cultural collaboration, holds the key, Leela Gandhi argues in Affective Communities, to the hitherto neglected history of western anti-imperialism. Focusing on individuals and groups who renounced the privileges of imperialism to elect affinity with victims of their own expansionist cultures, she uncovers the utopian-socialist critiques of empire that emerged in Europe, specifically in Britain, at the end of the nineteenth century. Gandhi reveals for the first time how those associated with marginalized lifestyles, subcultures, and traditions—including homosexuality, vegetarianism, animal rights, spiritualism, and aestheticism—united against imperialism and forged strong bonds with colonized subjects and cultures.

Gandhi weaves together the stories of a number of South Asian and European friendships that flourished between 1878 and 1914, tracing the complex historical networks connecting figures like the English socialist and homosexual reformer Edward Carpenter and the young Indian barrister M. K. Gandhi, or the Jewish French mystic Mirra Alfassa and the Cambridge-educated Indian yogi and extremist Sri Aurobindo. In a global milieu where the battle lines of empire are reemerging in newer and more pernicious configurations, Affective Communities challenges homogeneous portrayals of “the West” and its role in relation to anticolonial struggles. Drawing on Derrida’s theory of friendship, Gandhi puts forth a powerful new model of the political: one that finds in friendship a crucial resource for anti-imperialism and transnational collaboration.

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After Grenfell
Violence, Resistance and Response
Edited by Dan Bulley, Jenny Edkins and Nadine El-Enany
Pluto Press, 2019

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The Afterlife of Pope Joan
Deploying the Popess Legend in Early Modern England
Craig M. Rustici
University of Michigan Press, 2010
Amid the religious tumult of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, English scholars, preachers, and dramatists examined, debated, and refashioned tales concerning Pope Joan, a ninth-century woman who, as legend has it, cross-dressed her way to the papacy only to have her imposture exposed when she gave birth during a solemn procession.

The legend concerning a popess had first taken written form in the thirteenth century and for several hundred years was more or less accepted. The Reformation, however, polarized discussions of the legend, pitting Catholics, who denied the story’s veracity, against Protestants, who suspected a cover-up and instantly cited Joan as evidence of papal depravity. In this heated environment, writers reimagined Joan variously as a sorceress, a hermaphrodite, and even a noteworthy author.

The Afterlife of Pope Joan examines sixteenth- and seventeenth-century debates concerning the popess’s existence, uncovering the disputants’ historiographic methods, rules of evidence, rhetorical devices, and assumptions concerning what is probable and possible for women and transvestites. Author Craig Rustici then investigates the cultural significance of a series of notions advanced in those debates: the claim that Queen Elizabeth I was a popess in her own right, the charge that Joan penned a book of sorcery, and the curious hypothesis that the popess was not a disguised woman at all but rather a man who experienced a sort of spontaneous sex change.

The Afterlife of Pope Joan draws upon the discourses of religion, politics, natural philosophy, and imaginative literature, demonstrating how the popess functioned as a powerful rhetorical instrument and revealing anxieties and ambivalences about gender roles that persist even today.

Craig M. Rustici is Associate Professor of English at Hofstra University.
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Alchemy Tried in the Fire
Starkey, Boyle, and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry
William R. Newman and Lawrence M. Principe
University of Chicago Press, 2002
Winner of the 2005 Pfizer Prize from the History of Science Society.
 
What actually took place in the private laboratory of a mid-seventeenth century alchemist? How did he direct his quest after the secrets of Nature? What instruments and theoretical principles did he employ?

Using, as their guide, the previously misunderstood interactions between Robert Boyle, widely known as "the father of chemistry," and George Starkey, an alchemist and the most prominent American scientific writer before Benjamin Franklin as their guide, Newman and Principe reveal the hitherto hidden laboratory operations of a famous alchemist and argue that many of the principles and practices characteristic of modern chemistry derive from alchemy. By analyzing Starkey's extraordinary laboratory notebooks, the authors show how this American "chymist" translated the wildly figurative writings of traditional alchemy into quantitative, carefully reasoned laboratory practice—and then encoded his own work in allegorical, secretive treatises under the name of Eirenaeus Philalethes. The intriguing "mystic" Joan Baptista Van Helmont—a favorite of Starkey, Boyle, and even of Lavoisier—emerges from this study as a surprisingly central figure in seventeenth-century "chymistry." A common emphasis on quantification, material production, and analysis/synthesis, the authors argue, illustrates a continuity of goals and practices from late medieval alchemy down to and beyond the Chemical Revolution.

For anyone who wants to understand how alchemy was actually practiced during the Scientific Revolution and what it contributed to the development of modern chemistry, Alchemy Tried in the Fire will be a veritable philosopher's stone.
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Alfred the Great
The King and His England
Eleanor Shipley Duckett
University of Chicago Press, 1958
Filled with drama and action, here is the story of the ninth-century life and times of Alfred—warrior, conqueror, lawmaker, scholar, and the only king whom England has ever called "The Great." Based on up-to-date information on ninth-century history, geography, philosophy, literature, and social life, it vividly presents exciting views of Alfred in every stage of his long career and leaves the reader with a sharply-etched picture of the world of the Middle Ages.
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All Manners of Food
Eating and Taste in England and France from the Middle Ages to the Present
Stephen Mennell
University of Illinois Press, 1985
So close geographically, how could France and England be so enormously far apart gastronomically? Not just in different recipes and ways of cooking, but in their underlying attitudes toward the enjoyment of eating and its place in social life. In a new afterword that draws the United States and other European countries into the food fight, Stephen Mennell also addresses the rise of Asian influence and "multicultural" cuisine.
Debunking myths along the way, All Manners of Food is a sweeping look at how social and political development has helped to shape different culinary cultures. Food and almost everything to do with food, fasting and gluttony, cookbooks, women's magazines, chefs and cooks, types of foods, the influential difference between "court" and "country" food are comprehensively explored and tastefully presented in a dish that will linger in the memory long after the plates have been cleared.
     
 
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Alt-Finance
How the City of London Bought Democracy
Marlène Benquet
Pluto Press, 2022

Powerful financial forces have supported the neoliberal project since the 1980s to advance their interests, but there are now signs that these forces have a new face and a new strategy.

The majority of the British finance sector threw its support behind Britain leaving the European Union, a flagship institution of neoliberalism. Beyond this counterintuitive move, what was really happening and why? Alt-Finance examines a new authoritarian turn in financialised democracies, focusing on the City of London, revealing a dangerous alternative political project in the making.

In a clash with traditional finance, the new behemoths of financial capital - hedge funds, private equity firms, and real estate funds - have started to cohere around a set of political beliefs, promoting libertarian, authoritarian, climate-denying, and Eurosceptic views. Protecting investments, suppressing social dissent, and reducing state interference is at the core of their mission for a new world order.

By following the money, the authors provide indisputable evidence of these worrying developments. Through a clear analysis of the international dealings of this new authoritarian-libertarian regime, not just in Britain but in the US and Brazil, we can understand how our world is being shaped against our will by struggles between dominant groups.

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America Lost and Found
An English Boy's Wartime Adventure in the New World
Anthony Bailey
University of Chicago Press, 2000
In 1940 seven-year-old Tony Bailey was evacuated to the United States—one of more than 16,000 children sent overseas at a time when a Nazi invasion of England seemed inevitable. He spent four years with the wealthy Spaeth family in Dayton, Ohio, before returning to his parents in Southampton. Evocative, heartfelt, and charming, this is a story of a double childhood—of a boy who became American while never ceasing to be British.

"An original, sensitively told story in which the perspectives of the child are carefully remembered. . . . Bailey's book speaks, with gentle eloquence, not only to those who remember being boys, but to everyone who would seek to protect children from the hurts and ravagings that ordinary life can inflict, to say nothing of war." —Richard Montague, Newsday

"No doubt Tony Bailey owed America something for its hospitality during those anxious years, and with this book he has amply repaid the debt." —Joseph McLellan, Washington Post

"An exquisitely controlled, quietly amusing and moving story." —Publishers Weekly

"As tender as it is truthful, and as amusing as it is unpretentious." —John Russell, New York Times Book Review
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A/MORAL ECONOMICS
CLASSICAL POLITICAL ECONOMY AND CULTURAL AUTHORITY IN NINETEENTHTH-CENTURY ENGLAND
CLAUDIA C. KLAVER
The Ohio State University Press, 2003

A/Moral Economics is an interdisciplinary historical study that examines the ways which social “science” of economics emerged through the discourse of the literary, namely the dominant moral and fictional narrative genres of early and mid-Victorian England. In particular, this book argues that the classical economic theory of early-nineteenth-century England gained its broad cultural authority not directly, through the well- known texts of such canonical economic theorists as David Ricardo, but indirectly through the narratives constructed by Ricardo’s popularizers John Ramsey McCulloch and Harriet Martineau.

By reexamining the rhetorical and institutional contexts of classical political economy in the nineteenth century, A/Moral Economics repositions the popular writings of both supporters and detractors of political economy as central to early political economists’ bids for a cultural voice. The now marginalized economic writings of  McCulloch, Martineau, Henry Mayhew, and John Ruskin, as well as the texts of Charles Dickens and J. S. Mill, must be read as constituting in part the entities they have been read as merely criticizing. It is this repressed moral logic that resurfaces in a range of textual contradictions—not only in the writings of Ricardo’s supporters, but, ironically, in those of his critics as well.

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Amy Levy
Critical Essays
Naomi Hetherington
Ohio University Press, 2010

Amy Levy has risen to prominence in recent years as one of the most innovative and perplexing writers of her generation. Embraced by feminist scholars for her radical experimentation with queer poetic voice and her witty journalistic pieces on female independence, she remains controversial for her representations of London Jewry that draw unmistakably on contemporary antisemitic discourse.

Amy Levy: Critical Essays brings together scholars working in the fields of Victorian cultural history, women’s poetry and fiction, and the history of Anglo-Jewry. The essays trace the social, intellectual, and political contexts of Levy’s writing and its contemporary reception. Working from close analyses of Levy’s texts, the collection aims to rethink her engagement with Jewish identity, to consider her literary and political identifications, to assess her representations of modern consumer society and popular culture, and to place her life and work within late-Victorian cultural debate.

This book is essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students offering both a comprehensive literature review of scholarship-to-date and a range of new critical perspectives.

Contributors:
Susan David Bernstein,University of Wisconsin-Madison
Gail Cunningham,Kingston University
Elizabeth F. Evans,Pennslyvania State University–DuBois
Emma Francis,Warwick University
Alex Goody,Oxford Brookes University
T. D. Olverson,University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Lyssa Randolph,University of Wales, Newport
Meri-Jane Rochelson,Florida International University

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Amy Levy
Critical Essays
Linda Hunt Beckman
Ohio University Press, 2000
After a century of critical neglect, poet and writer Amy Levy is gaining recognition as a literary figure of stature. This definitive biography accompanied by her letters, along with the recent publication of her selected writings, provides a critical appreciation of Levy’s importance in her own time and in ours. As an educated Jewish woman with homoerotic desires, Levy felt the strain of combating the structures of British society in the 1880s, the decade in which she built her career and moved in London’s literary and bohemian circles. Unwilling to cut herself off from her Jewish background, she had the additional burden of attempting to bridge the gap between communities. In Amy Levy: Her Life and Letters Linda Hunt Beckman examines Levy’s writings and other cultural documents for insight into her emotional and intellectual life. This groundbreaking study introduces us to a woman well deserving of a place in literary and cultural history.
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Anglicanus ortus
A Verse Herbal of the Twelfth Century
Henry of Huntingdon
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2012

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The Animal Estate
The English and Other Creatures in Victorian England
Harriet Ritvo
Harvard University Press, 1989

When we think about the Victorian age, we usually envision people together with animals: the Queen and her pugs, the sportsman with horses and hounds, the big game hunter with his wild kill, the gentleman farmer with a prize bull. Harriet Ritvo here gives us a vivid picture of how animals figured in English thinking during the nineteenth century and, by extension, how they served as metaphors for human psychological needs and sociopolitical aspirations.

Victorian England was a period of burgeoning scientific cattle breeding and newly fashionable dog shows; an age of Empire and big game hunting; an era of reform and reformers that saw the birth of the Royal SPCA. Ritvo examines Victorian thinking about animals in the context of other lines of thought: evolution, class structure, popular science and natural history, imperial domination. The papers and publications of people and organizations concerned with agricultural breeding, veterinary medicine, the world of pets, vivisection and other humane causes, zoos, hunting at home and abroad, all reveal underlying assumptions and deeply held convictions—for example, about Britain’s imperial enterprise, social discipline, and the hierarchy of orders, in nature and in human society.

Thus this book contributes a new new topic of inquiry to Victorian studies; its combination of rhetorical analysis with more conventional methods of historical research offers a novel perspective on Victorian culture. And because nineteenth-century attitudes and practices were often the ancestors of contemporary ones, this perspective can also inform modern debates about human–animal interactions.

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Animalia
An Anti-Imperial Bestiary for Our Times
Antoinette Burton and Renisa Mawani, editors
Duke University Press, 2020
From yaks and vultures to whales and platypuses, animals have played central roles in the history of British imperial control. The contributors to Animalia analyze twenty-six animals—domestic, feral, predatory, and mythical—whose relationship to imperial authorities and settler colonists reveals how the presumed racial supremacy of Europeans underwrote the history of Western imperialism. Victorian imperial authorities, adventurers, and colonists used animals as companions, military transportation, agricultural laborers, food sources, and status symbols. They also overhunted and destroyed ecosystems, laying the groundwork for what has come to be known as climate change. At the same time, animals such as lions, tigers, and mosquitoes interfered in the empire's racial, gendered, and political aspirations by challenging the imperial project’s sense of inevitability. Unconventional and innovative in form and approach, Animalia invites new ways to consider the consequences of imperial power by demonstrating how the politics of empire—in its racial, gendered, and sexualized forms—played out in multispecies relations across jurisdictions under British imperial control.

Contributors. Neel Ahuja, Tony Ballantyne, Antoinette Burton, Utathya Chattopadhyaya, Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller, Peter Hansen, Isabel Hofmeyr, Anna Jacobs, Daniel Heath Justice, Dane Kennedy, Jagjeet Lally, Krista Maglen, Amy E. Martin, Renisa Mawani, Heidi J. Nast, Michael A. Osborne, Harriet Ritvo, George Robb, Jonathan Saha, Sandra Swart, Angela Thompsell 
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Anna Trapnel’s Report and Plea; or, A Narrative of Her Journey from London into Cornwall
Anna Trapnel
Iter Press, 2016

In 1654, Anna Trapnel — a Baptist, Fifth Monarchist, millenarian, and visionary from London — fell into a trance during which she prophesied passionately and at length against Oliver Cromwell and his government. The prophecies attracted widespread public attention, and resulted in an invitation to travel to Cornwall. Her Report and Plea, republished here for the first time, is a lively and engaging firsthand account of the visit, which concluded in her arrest, a court hearing, and imprisonment. Part memoir, part travelogue, and part impassioned defense of her beliefs and actions, the Report and Plea offers vivid and fascinating insight into the life and times of an early modern woman claiming her place at the center of the tumultuous political events of mid-seventeenth-century England.

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The Annotated Importance of Being Earnest
Oscar Wilde
Harvard University Press, 2015

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple,” declares Algernon early in Act One of The Importance of Being Earnest, and were it either, modern literature would be “a complete impossibility.” It is a moment of sly, winking self-regard on the part of the playwright, for The Importance is itself the sort of complex modern literary work in which the truth is neither pure nor simple. Wilde’s greatest play is full of subtexts, disguises, concealments, and double entendres. Continuing the important cultural work he began in his award-winning uncensored edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Nicholas Frankel shows that The Importance needs to be understood in relation to its author’s homosexuality and the climate of sexual repression that led to his imprisonment just months after it opened at London’s St. James’s Theatre on Valentine’s Day 1895.

In a facing-page edition designed with students, teachers, actors, and dramaturges in mind, The Annotated Importance of Being Earnest provides running commentary on the play to enhance understanding and enjoyment. The introductory essay and notes illuminate literary, biographical, and historical allusions, tying the play closely to its author’s personal life and sexual identity. Frankel reveals that many of the play’s wittiest lines were incorporated nearly four years after its first production, when the author, living in Paris as an exiled and impoverished criminal, oversaw publication of the first book edition. This newly edited text is accompanied by numerous illustrations.

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Anonymous Connections
The Body and Narratives of the Social in Victorian Britain
Tina Young Choi
University of Michigan Press, 2016
Anonymous Connections asks how the Victorians understood the ethical, epistemological, and biological implications of social belonging and participation. Specifically, Tina Choi considers the ways nineteenth-century journalists, novelists, medical writers, and social reformers took advantage of spatial frames-of-reference in a social landscape transforming due to intense urbanization and expansion. New modes of transportation, shifting urban demographics, and the threat of epidemics emerged during this period as anonymous and involuntary forms of contact between unseen multitudes. While previous work on the early Victorian social body have tended to describe the nineteenth-century social sphere in static political and class terms, Choi’s work charts new critical terrain, redirecting attention to the productive—and unpredictable—spaces between individual bodies as well as to the new narrative forms that emerged to represent them. Anonymous Connections makes a significant contribution to scholarship on nineteenth-century literature and British cultural and medical history while offering a timely examination of the historical forebears to modern concerns about the cultural and political impact of globalization.

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The Anonymous Renaissance
Cultures of Discretion in Tudor-Stuart England
Marcy L. North
University of Chicago Press, 2003
"The Anonymous Renaissance offers a paradigm-shifting look at print culture in early modern England. North demonstrates through sound historical discussions and readings that anonymity was one of the defining practices of Renaissance authorship. It is difficult to overstate the originality and importance of this new study."-Jennifer Summit, Stanford University

The Renaissance was in many ways the beginning of modern and self-conscious authorship, a time when individual genius was celebrated and an author's name could become a book trade commodity. Why, then, did anonymous authorship flourish during the Renaissance rather than disappear? In addressing this puzzle, Marcy L. North reveals the rich history and popularity of anonymity during this period.

The book trade, she argues, created many intriguing and paradoxical uses for anonymity, even as the authorial name became more marketable. Among ecclesiastical debaters, for instance, anonymity worked to conceal identity, but it could also be used to identify the moral character of the author being concealed. In court and coterie circles, meanwhile, authors turned name suppression into a tool for the preservation of social boundaries. Finally, in both print and manuscript, anonymity promised to liberate an authentic female voice, and yet made it impossible to authenticate the gender of an author. In sum, the writers and book producers who helped to create England's literary culture viewed anonymity as a meaningful and useful practice.

Written with clarity and grace, The Anonymous Renaissance will fill a prominent gap in the study of authorship and English literary history.
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Anthropologists in the Stock Exchange
A Financial History of Victorian Science
Marc Flandreau
University of Chicago Press, 2016
Uncovering strange plots by early British anthropologists to use scientific status to manipulate the stock market, Anthropologists in the Stock Exchange tells a provocative story that marries the birth of the social sciences with the exploits of global finance. Marc Flandreau tracks a group of Victorian gentleman-swindlers as they shuffled between the corridors of the London Stock Exchange and the meeting rooms of learned society, showing that anthropological studies were integral to investment and speculation in foreign government debt, and, inversely, that finance played a crucial role in shaping the contours of human knowledge.
           
Flandreau argues that finance and science were at the heart of a new brand of imperialism born during Benjamin Disraeli’s first term as Britain’s prime minister in the 1860s. As anthropologists advocated the study of Miskito Indians or stated their views on a Jamaican rebellion, they were in fact catering to the impulses of the stock exchange—for their own benefit. In this way the very development of the field of anthropology was deeply tied to issues relevant to the financial market—from trust to corruption. Moreover, this book shows how the interplay between anthropology and finance formed the foundational structures of late nineteenth-century British imperialism and helped produce essential technologies of globalization as we know it today. 
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Arab Americans in Michigan
Rosina J. Hassoun
Michigan State University Press, 2003

The state of Michigan hosts one of the largest and most diverse Arab American populations in the United States. As the third largest ethnic population in the state, Arab Americans are an economically important and politically influential group. It also reflects the diversity of national origins, religions, education levels, socioeconomic levels, and degrees of acculturation. Despite their considerable presence, Arab Americans have always been a misunderstood ethnic population in Michigan, even before September 11, 2001 imposed a cloud of suspicion, fear, and uncertainty over their ethnic enclaves and the larger community. In Arab Americans in Michigan Rosina J. Hassoun outlines the origins, culture, religions, and values of a people whose influence has often exceeded their visibility in the state.

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Arc of the Journeyman
Afghan Migrants in England
Nichola Khan
University of Minnesota Press, 2021

A monumental account of one migrant community’s everyday lives, struggles, and aspirations 

Forty years of continuous war and conflict have made Afghans the largest refugee group in the world. In this first full-scale ethnography of Afghan migrants in England, Nichola Khan examines the imprint of violence, displacement, kinship obligations, and mobility on the lives and work of Pashtun journeyman taxi drivers in Britain. Khan’s analysis is centered in the county of Sussex, site of Brighton’s orientalist Royal Pavilion and the former home of colonial propagandist Rudyard Kipling. Her nearly two decades of relationships and fieldwork have given Khan a deep understanding of the everyday lives of Afghan migrants, who face unrelenting pressures to remit money to their struggling relatives in Pakistan and Afghanistan, adhere to traditional values, and resettle the wives and children they have left behind. 

This kaleidoscopic narrative is enriched by the migrants’ own stories and dreams, which take on extra significance among sleep-deprived taxi drivers. Khan chronicles the way these men rely on Pashto poems and aphorisms to make sense of what is strange or difficult to bear. She also attests to the pleasures of local family and friends who are less demanding than kin back home—sharing connection and moments of joy in dance, excursions, picnics, and humorous banter. Khan views these men’s lives through the lenses of movement—the arrival of friends and family, return visits to Pakistan, driving customers, even the journey to remit money overseas—and immobility, describing the migrants who experience “stuckness” caused by unresponsive bureaucracies, chronic insecurity, or struggles with depression and other mental health conditions. 

Arc of the Journeyman is a deeply humane portrayal that expands and complicates current perceptions of Afghan migrants, offering a finely analyzed description of their lives and communities as a moving, contingent, and fully contemporary force.

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Archetypes and Ancestors
Palaeontology in Victorian London, 1850-1875
Adrian Desmond
University of Chicago Press, 1982
"The social construction of scientific knowledge, clearly one of the most exciting trends in the history of science in the 1890's, has made a solid stride forward with the publication of Archetypes and Ancestors. . . . Adrian Desmond set out to determine how much light might be shed on the mid-Victorian controversies over fossil reconstruction by an investigation of the ideological commitments and political programs of London paleontologists. The answer is: a great deal of light. The resulting book is thoroughly fascinating."—Philip Rehbock, American Historical Review

"A sophisticated study of the colonization of scientific territory—specifically of rival attempts to design the dinosaur—and of the constructive (not just obstructive) role of social pressures in the making of 'lasting contributions' to science. Not least it is a joy to read, perkily irreverent at times and full of nice vignettes and memorable turns of phrase."—Roy Porter, Times Higher Education Supplement

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Architectural Involutions
Writing, Staging, and Building Space, c. 1435-1650
Mimi Yiu
Northwestern University Press, 2014

Winner of the MLA Prize for Independent Scholars

Taking the reader on an inward journey from façades to closets, from physical to psychic space, Architectural Involutions offers an alternative genealogy of theater by revealing how innovations in architectural writing and practice transformed an early modern sense of interiority. The book launches from a matrix of related “platforms”—a term that in early modern usage denoted scaffolds, stages, and draftsmen’s sketches—to situate Alberti, Shakespeare, Jonson, and others within a landscape of spatial and visual change.

As the English house underwent a process of inward folding, replacing a logic of central assembly with one of dissemination, the subject who negotiated this new scenography became a flashpoint of conflict in both domestic and theatrical arenas. Combining theory with archival findings, Mimi Yiu reveals an emergent desire to perform subjectivity, to unfold an interior face to an admiring public. Highly praised for its lucid writing, comprehensive supplementary material, and engaging tone, Architectural Involutions was the winner of the 2016 MLA Prize for Independent Scholars.

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Architecture and Suburbia
From English Villa to American Dream House, 1690-2000
John Archer
University of Minnesota Press, 2008

The American suburban dream house-a single-family, detached dwelling, frequently clustered in tight rows and cul-de-sacs-has been attacked for some time as homogeneous and barren, yet the suburbs are home to half of the American population. Architectural historian John Archer suggests the endurance of the ideal house is deeply rooted in the notions of privacy, property, and selfhood that were introduced in late seventeenth-century England and became the foundation of the American nation and identity.

Spanning four centuries, Architecture and Suburbia explores phenomena ranging from household furnishings and routines to the proliferation of the dream house in parallel with Cold War politics. Beginning with John Locke, whose Enlightenment philosophy imagined individuals capable of self-fulfillment, Archer examines the eighteenth-century British bourgeois villa and the earliest London suburbs. He recounts how early American homeowners used houses to establish social status and how twentieth-century Americans continued to flock to single-family houses in the suburbs, encouraged by patriotism, fueled by consumerism, and resisting disdain by disaffected youths, designers, and intellectuals. Finally, he recognizes “hybridized” or increasingly diverse American suburbs as the dynamic basis for a strengthened social fabric.

From Enlightenment philosophy to rap lyrics, from the rise of a mercantile economy to discussions over neighborhoods, sprawl, and gated communities, Archer addresses the past, present, and future of the American dream house.

John Archer is professor of cultural studies and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota. His book The Literature of British Domestic Architecture, 1715-1842, is the standard reference on the subject, and he also contributed to the Encyclopedia of Urban America and the Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Architecture.

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Art & Language International
Conceptual Art between Art Worlds
Robert Bailey
Duke University Press, 2016
In Art & Language International Robert Bailey reconstructs the history of the conceptual art collective Art & Language, situating it in a geographical context to rethink its implications for the broader histories of contemporary art. Focusing on its international collaborations with dozens of artists and critics in and outside the collective between 1969 and 1977, Bailey positions Art & Language at the center of a historical shift from Euro-American modernism to a global contemporary art. He documents the collective’s growth and reach, from transatlantic discussions on the nature of conceptual art and the establishment of distinct working groups in New York and England to the collective’s later work in Australia, New Zealand, and Yugoslavia. Bailey also details its publications, associations with political organizations, and the internal power struggles that precipitated its breakdown. Analyzing a wide range of artworks, texts, music, and films, he reveals how Art & Language navigated between art worlds to shape the international profile of conceptual art. Above all, Bailey underscores how the group's rigorous and interdisciplinary work provides a gateway to understanding how conceptual art operates as a mode of thinking that exceeds the visual to shape the philosophical, historical, and political.
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Art of Death
Visual Culture in the English Death Ritual c.1500 - c.1800
Nigel Llewellyn
Reaktion Books, 1991
How did our ancestors die? Whereas in our own day the subject of death is usually avoided, in pre-Industrial England the rituals and processes of death were present and immediate. People not only surrounded themselves with memento mori, they also sought to keep alive memories of those who had gone before. This continual confrontation with death was enhanced by a rich culture of visual artifacts. In The Art of Death, Nigel Llewellyn explores the meanings behind an astonishing range of these artifacts, and describes the attitudes and practices which lay behind their production and use.

Illustrated and explained in this book are an array of little-known objects and images such as death's head spoons, jewels and swords, mourning-rings and fans, wax effigies, church monuments, Dance of Death prints, funeral invitations and ephemera, as well as works by well-known artists, including Holbein, Hogarth and Blake.
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Ashes Taken for Fire
Aesthetic Modernism and the Critique of Identity
Kevin M. Bell
University of Minnesota Press, 2007
For years critics have held that literary modernism was both apolitical and solipsistic. While the former charge began to give way with the recession of New Criticism, the latter has grown in strength as a lead-in to the claim that postmodernism is apolitical and solipsistic. Against this backdrop, Kevin Bell surveys fiction by Conrad, Woolf, Faulkner, West, Ellison, and Himes to show that modernism is a sharply philosophical archive. In Ashes Taken for Fire, he argues that modernism exposes cultural identities such as blackness as mere strategies of conforming the self into belonging. Bell’s examination pursues the question of nonidentity through sound, silence, and gesture, treating these as technologies of reading the contradictions, breakdowns, and erasures that constitute subjectivity. His analysis of these texts reveals that the aesthetic investigations they perform undo the logic of cultural identity, devastating such reductive rubrics as “race” or “gender.”Ashes Taken for Fire explores the experience of blackness in both its chromatic/ocular and “racial” registers. For while blackness operates as a standard figural expression for disorientation, its presumably “voided” character is reprojected in this work as an immanent force of possibility and experimentation.Kevin Bell is assistant professor of English and comparative literary studies at Northwestern University.
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front cover of The Author's Due
The Author's Due
Printing and the Prehistory of Copyright
Joseph Loewenstein
University of Chicago Press, 2002
The Author's Due offers an institutional and cultural history of books, the book trade, and the bibliographic ego. Joseph Loewenstein traces the emergence of possessive authorship from the establishment of a printing industry in England to the passage of the 1710 Statute of Anne, which provided the legal underpinnings for modern copyright. Along the way he demonstrates that the culture of books, including the idea of the author, is intimately tied to the practical trade of publishing those books.

As Loewenstein shows, copyright is a form of monopoly that developed alongside a range of related protections such as commercial trusts, manufacturing patents, and censorship, and cannot be understood apart from them. The regulation of the press pitted competing interests and rival monopolistic structures against one another—guildmembers and nonprofessionals, printers and booksellers, authors and publishers. These struggles, in turn, crucially shaped the literary and intellectual practices of early modern authors, as well as early capitalist economic organization.

With its probing look at the origins of modern copyright, The Author's Due will prove to be a watershed for historians, literary critics, and legal scholars alike.
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Authors in Court
Scenes from the Theater of Copyright
Mark Rose
Harvard University Press, 2016

Through a series of vivid case studies, Authors in Court charts the 300-year-long dance between authorship and copyright that has shaped each institution’s response to changing social norms of identity, privacy, and celebrity.

“A literary historian by training, Rose is completely at home in the world of law, as well as the history of photography and art. This is the work of an interdisciplinary scholar at the height of his powers. The arguments are sophisticated and the elegant text is a work of real craftsmanship. It is superb.”
—Lionel Bently, University of Cambridge

Authors in Court is well-written, erudite, informative, and engaging throughout. As the chapters go along, we see the way that personalities inflect the supposedly impartial law; we see the role of gender in authorial self-fashioning; we see some of the fault lines which produce litigation; and we get a nice history of the evolution of the fair use doctrine. This is a book that should at least be on reserve for any IP–related course. Going forward, no one writing about any of the cases Rose discusses can afford to ignore his contribution.”
—Lewis Hyde, Kenyon College

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