While research on autism has sometimes focused on special talents or abilities, autism is typically characterized as impoverished or defective when it comes to language. Autistic Disturbances reveals the ways interpreters have failed to register the real creative valence of autistic language and offers a theoretical framework for understanding the distinctive aesthetics of autistic rhetoric and semiotics. Reinterpreting characteristic autistic verbal practices such as repetition in the context of a more widely respected literary canon, Julia Miele Rodas argues that autistic language is actually an essential part of mainstream literary aesthetics, visible in poetry by Walt Whitman and Gertrude Stein, in novels by Charlotte Brontë and Daniel Defoe, in life writing by Andy Warhol, and even in writing by figures from popular culture.
Autistic Disturbances pursues these resonances and explores the tensions of language and culture that lead to the classification of some verbal expression as disordered while other, similar expression enjoys prized status as literature. It identifies the most characteristic patterns of autistic expression-repetition, monologue, ejaculation, verbal ordering or list-making, and neologism-and adopts new language to describe and reimagine these categories in aesthetically productive terms. In so doing, the book seeks to redress the place of verbal autistic language, to argue for the value and complexity of autistic ways of speaking, and to invite recognition of an obscured tradition of literary autism at the very center of Anglo-American text culture.
In the last two decades, biographies have grown in popularity, often eclipsing the novel in sales and accessibility to specialists and the general public alike. Widely regarded as a distinctly modern form, today's biographies are marked by their willingness to "tell all" or to pursue overt political aims. But how new, how unprecedented, are today's biographies? Biographical Passages addresses this important question by juxtaposing Victorian and Modernist biography from diverse perspectives.
Challenging the view that modern biographies are radically different from the straitlaced and ponderous Victorian tomes, Joe Law and Linda K. Hughes illustrate that continuities in biographical practice do exist, proving, for example, that the "tell-all" biography is not the exclusive preserve of the twentieth century. Enlisting the talents of such acclaimed biographers and scholars as P. N. Furbank and Michael Holroyd, Biographical Passages is a true exploration of the art and craft of biography. Essays on the usefulness of biography in approaching late Victorian artists provide a detailed scrutiny of modern biography across disciplines and from a rich array of vantage points. Additional essays on E. M. Forster and the relations between England and India analyze the role of cultural difference in biography.
Law and Hughes conclude Biographical Passages with an epilogue in tribute to a scholar whose work is closely connected to all the essays in this collection—Mary Lago. Widely known for her important contributions to studies of late Victorian and Edwardian literature, art, music, and Anglo-Indian relations, Lago is the author of biographies of Christina Herringham and E. M. Forster.
Exploring the intersections of memory, gender, and the postcolonial, Colonial Memory explores the phenomenon of colonial memory through the specific genre of women’s travel writing. Building on criticism of memory and travel writing, Sarah De Mul seeks to open Dutch literature to postcolonial themes and concepts and to insert the history of the Dutch colonies and its critical recollection into the traditionally Anglophone-dominated field of postcolonial studies.
“A vividly conceived and theoretically astute reading of the complicated weavings between the past and present involved in memory work and the process of nostalgic return.”—Elleke Boehmer, University of Oxford
Though historians of English literature have long labeled the eighteenth century the golden age of letter writing, few have paid more than lip service to the unique epistolary craftsmanship of the period. Bruce Redford corrects this omission with the first sustained investigation of the eighteenth-century familiar letter as a literary form in its own right. His study supplies the reader with a critical approach and biographical perspective for appreciating the genre that defined an era.
Redford examines six masters of the "talking letter": Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, William Cowper, Thomas Gray, Horace Walpole, James Boswell, and Samuel Johnson. All seek the paradoxical goal of artful spontaneity. Each exploits the distinctive resources of the eighteenth-century letter writer: a flexible conversational manner, a repertoire of literary and social allusion, a flair for dramatic impersonation. The voices of these letter writers "make distance, presence," in Samuel Richardson's phrase, by devising substitutes for gesture, vocal inflection, and physical context, turning each letter into a performance—an act. The resulting verbal constructs create a mysterious tension between the claims of fact and the possibilities of art. Redford recovers a neglected literary form and makes possible a deeper understanding of major eighteenth-century writers who devoted much of their talent and time to "the converse of the pen."
"Dying to Know is the work of a distinguished scholar, at the peak of his powers, who is intimately familiar with his materials, and whose knowledge of Victorian fiction and scientific thought is remarkable. This elegant and evocative look at the move toward objectivity first pioneered by Descartes sheds new light on some old and still perplexing problems in modern science." Bernard Lightman, York University, Canada
In Dying to Know, eminent critic George Levine makes a landmark contribution to the history and theory of scientific knowledge. This long-awaited book explores the paradoxes of our modern ideal of objectivity, in particular its emphasis on the impersonality and disinterestedness of truth. How, asks Levine, did this idea of selfless knowledge come to be established and moralized in the nineteenth century?
Levine shows that for nineteenth-century scientists, novelists, poets, and philosophers, access to the truth depended on conditions of such profound self-abnegation that pursuit of it might be taken as tantamount to the pursuit of death. The Victorians, he argues, were dying to know in the sense that they could imagine achieving pure knowledge only in a condition where the body ceases to make its claims: to achieve enlightenment, virtue, and salvation, one must die.
Dying to Know is ultimately a study of this moral ideal of epistemology. But it is also something much more: a spirited defense of the difficult pursuit of objectivity, the ethical significance of sacrifice, and the importance of finding a shareable form of knowledge.
In 1837, when Queen Victoria came to the throne, no institution of higher education in Britain was open to women. By the end of the century, a quiet revolution had occurred: women had penetrated even the venerable walls of Oxford and Cambridge and could earn degrees at the many new universities founded during Victoria's reign. During the same period, novelists increasingly put intellectually ambitious heroines students, teachers, and frustrated scholars—at the center of their books. Educating Women analyzes the conflict between the higher education movement's emphasis on intellectual and professional achievement and the Victorian novel's continuing dedication to a narrative in which women's success is measured by the achievement of emotional rather than intellectual goals and by the forging of social rather than institutional ties.
Focusing on works by Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Anna Leonowens, and Thomas Hardy, Laura Morgan Green demonstrates that those texts are shaped by the need to mediate the conflict between the professionalism and publicity increasingly associated with education, on the one hand, and the Victorian celebration of women as emblems of domesticity, on the other. Educating Women shows that the nineteenth-century “heroines” of both history and fiction were in fact as indebted to domestic ideology as they were eager to transform it.
Edwardian Stories of Divorce
Harris, Janice H Rutgers University Press, 1996 Library of Congress PR808.D58H37 1996 | Dewey Decimal 306.89094109041
Much as abortion in the United States today is a contentious issue used for scripting women's roles and potential into the national agenda, divorce was an issue dividing England in the Edwardian era. According to Janice Harris, anything and everything, from illicit sex and family values to the Garden of Eden, wrath of children, poverty of women, nature of cruelty, scandal of America, threat of Germany, and future of England were part of the debate over divorce. Living under marriage laws far more restrictive than those of their Protestant neighbors, Edwardian women and men campaigned for reform with a barrage of compelling stories. Organizing her analysis around three major sources of narrative on divorce––the Sunday papers, the Report of the Royal Commission on Divorce and Matrimonial causes, and the novel––Harris uncovers a war of words and a competition of tales. In raising questions about the winners, losers, and spoils, Harris expands our understanding of the history of divorce, the wars between the sexes, and the political import of those wars.
In the end, she presents a complex and lively story herself, one that illuminates battles over marriage and divorce taking place in our own era as well. This humane book on a long-neglected subject marks an important contribution to narrative studies and Edwardian history.
Since the Renaissance, what has been considered the “best” style of writing has always been connected with the dominant cultural agenda of the time. In this book, Kathryn Flannery offers a demystifying perspective on theorists who have argued for an essential distinction between “content” and “style,” and focuses on the importance of understanding written prose style as a cultural asset. She addresses the development of prose criticism, the evolution of English teaching, the history of Francis Bacon and Richard Hooker's writing, and a modern discourse on stylistics.
In Grammars of Approach, Cynthia Wall offers a close look at changes in perspective in spatial design, language, and narrative across the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that involve, literally and psychologically, the concept of “approach.” In architecture, the term “approach” changed in that period from a verb to a noun, coming to denote the drive from the lodge at the entrance of an estate “through the most interesting part of the grounds,” as landscape designer Humphrey Repton put it. The shift from the long straight avenue to the winding approach, Wall shows, swung the perceptual balance away from the great house onto the personal experience of the visitor. At the same time, the grammatical and typographical landscape was shifting in tandem, away from objects and Things (and capitalized common Nouns) to the spaces in between, like punctuation and the “lesser parts of speech”. The implications for narrative included new patterns of syntactical architecture and the phenomenon of free indirect discourse. Wall examines the work of landscape theorists such as Repton, John Claudius Loudon, and Thomas Whately alongside travel narratives, topographical views, printers’ manuals, dictionaries, encyclopedias, grammars, and the novels of Defoe, Richardson, Burney, Radcliffe, and Austen to reveal a new landscaping across disciplines—new grammars of approach in ways of perceiving and representing the world in both word and image.
Kindred Hands, a collection of previously unpublished letters by women writers, explores the act and art of writing from diverse perspectives and experiences. The letters illuminate such issues as authorship, aesthetics, collaboration, inspiration, and authorial intent. By focusing on letters that deal with authorship, the editors reveal a multiplicity of perspectives on female authorship that would otherwise require visits to archives and special collections.Representing some of the most important female writers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including transatlantic correspondents, women of color, canonical writers, regional writers, and women living in the British empire, Kindred Hands will enliven scholarship on a host of topics, including reception theory, feminist studies, social history, composition theory, modernism, and nineteenth-century studies. Moreover, because it represents previously unpublished primary sources, the collection will initiate new discussions on race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, and gender with an eye to writing at the turn of the twentieth century.The WritersMary Elizabeth Braddon, Mary Cholmondeley, Mary Chavelita Dunne Bright [George Egerton], Rhoda Broughton, Marie Corelli, Rebecca Harding Davis, Mary Abigail Dodge [Gail Hamilton], Jessie Redmon Fauset, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Mary St. Leger Kingsley Harrison [Lucas Malet], Annesley Kenealy, Palma Pederson, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Henrietta Stannard, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Rosamund Marriott Watson [Graham R. Tomson]
Siegfried Wenzel's groundbreaking study seeks to describe and analyze the linguistically mixed, or macaronic, sermons in late fourteenth-century England. Not only are these works of considerable religious interest, they provide extensive information on their literary, linguistic, and cultural milieux.
Macaronic Sermons begins by offering a typology of such works: those in which English words offer glosses, or offer structural functions, or offer neither of the two but yet are syntactically integrated. This last group is then examined in detail: reasons are given for this usage and for its origins, based on the realities of fourteenth-century England.
Siefriend Wenzel draws valuable conclusions about the linguistic status quo of the era, together with the extent of education, the audiences' expectations, and the ways in which the authors' minds worked.
Obviously of interest to scholars and students of early English literature, Macaronic Sermons also contains much valuable information for specialists in language development or oral theory, and for those interested in multicultural societies.
Melodrama is often seen as a blunt aesthetic tool tainted by its reliance on improbable situations, moral binaries, and overwhelming emotion, features that made it a likely ingredient of British imperial propaganda during the late nineteenth century. Yet, through its impact on many late-Victorian genres outside of the theater, melodrama developed a complicated relationship with British imperial discourse.
Melodramatic Imperial Writing positions melodrama as a vital aspect of works that underscored the contradictions and injustices of British imperialism. Beyond proving useful for authors constructing imperialist fantasies or supporting unjust policies, the melodramatic mode enabled writers to upset narratives of British imperial destiny and racial superiority.
Neil Hultgren explores a range of texts, from Dickens’s writing about the 1857 Sepoy Rebellion to W. E. Henley’s imperialist poetry and Olive Schreiner’s experimental fiction, in order to trace a new and complex history of British imperialism and the melodramatic mode in late-Victorian writing.
Our Lady of Victorian Feminism is about three nineteenth-century women, Protestants by background and feminists by conviction, who are curiously and crucially linked by their extensive use of the Madonna in arguments designed to empower women.
In the field of Victorian studies, few scholars have looked beyond the customary identification of the Christian Madonna with the Victorian feminine ideal—the domestic Madonna or the Angel in the House. Kimberly VanEsveld Adams shows, however, that these three Victorian writers made extensive use of the Madonna in feminist arguments. They were able to see this figure in new ways, freely appropriating the images of independent, powerful, and wise Virgin Mothers.
In addition to contributions in the fields of literary criticism, art history, and religious studies, Our Lady of Victorian Feminism places a needed emphasis on the connections between the intellectuals and the activists of the nineteenth-century women's movement. It also draws attention to an often neglected strain of feminist thought, essentialist feminism, which proclaimed sexual equality as well as difference, enabling the three writers to make one of their most radical arguments, that women and men are made in the image of the Virgin Mother and the Son, the two faces of the divine.
Morgan, Susan Rutgers University Press, 1996 Library of Congress PR788.T72M67 1996 | Dewey Decimal 820.9355
"Morgan has written an important and original work that presents a well-substantiated challenge to many recent studies of 'colonial discourse'."--Nancy L. Paxton,
Susan Morgan's study of materials and regions, previously neglected in contemporary postcolonial studies, begins with the transforming premise that "place matters." Concepts derived from writings about one area of the world cannot simply be transposed to another area, in some sort of global theoretical move. Moreover, place in the discourse of Victorian imperialism is a matter of gendered as well as geographic terms. Taking up works by Anna Forbes and Marianne North on the Malay Archipelago, by Margaret Brooke and Harriette McDougall on Sarawak, by Isabella Bird and Emily Innes on British Malaya, by Anna Leonowens on Siam, Morgan also makes extensive use of theorists whose work on imperialism in Southeast Asia is unfamiliar to most American academics.
This vivid examination of a different region and different writings emphasizes that in Victorian literature there was no monolithic imperialist location, authorial or geographic. The very notion of a ‘colony’ or an ‘imperial presence’ in Southeast Asia is problematic. Morgan is concerned with marking the intersections of particular Victorian imperial histories and constructions of subjectivity. She argues that specific places in Southeast Asia have distinctive, and differing, masculine imperial rhetorics. It is within these specific rhetorical contexts that women’s writings, including their moments of critique, can be read.
The working classes, colonial subjects, European nationalists, and Roman Catholics—these groups generated intense anxiety for Victorian England’s elite public, which often responded by accusing them of being dangerous conspirators. Bringing together a wide range of literary and historical evidence, Albert D. Pionke argues that the pejorative meanings attached to such opportunistic accusations of conspiracy were undermined by the many valorized versions of secrecy in Victorian society.
After surveying England’s evolving theories of representative politics and individual and collective secretive practices, Pionke traces the intersection of democracy and secrecy through a series of case histories. Using works by Thomas Carlyle, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, John Henry Newman, and others, along with periodicals, histories, and parliamentary documents of the period, he shows the rhetorical prominence of groups such as the Freemasons, the Thugs, the Carbonari, the Fenians, and the Jesuits in Victorian democratic discourse.
By highlighting the centrality of representations of conspiracy in every case, Plots of Opportunity shows for the first time the markedly similar strategies of repression, resistance, and concealment used by competing agents in the democracy debate.
Virginia Woolf once commented that the central image in Robinson Crusoe is an object—a large earthenware pot. Woolf and other critics pointed out that early modern prose is full of things but bare of setting and description. Explaining how the empty, unvisualized spaces of such writings were transformed into the elaborate landscapes and richly upholstered interiors of the Victorian novel, Cynthia Sundberg Wall argues that the shift involved not just literary representation but an evolution in cultural perception.
In The Prose of Things, Wall analyzes literary works in the contexts of natural science, consumer culture, and philosophical change to show how and why the perception and representation of space in the eighteenth-century novel and other prose narratives became so textually visible. Wall examines maps, scientific publications, country house guides, and auction catalogs to highlight the thickening descriptions of domestic interiors. Considering the prose works of John Bunyan, Samuel Pepys, Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, David Hume, Ann Radcliffe, and Sir Walter Scott, The Prose of Things is the first full account of the historic shift in the art of describing.
The white man's burden, darkest Africa, the seduction of the primitive: such phrases were widespread in the language Western empires used to talk about their colonial enterprises. How this language itself served imperial purposes--and how it survives today in writing about the Third World--are the subject of David Spurr's book, a revealing account of the rhetorical strategies that have defined Western thinking about the non-Western world. Despite historical differences among British, French, and American versions of colonialism, their rhetoric had much in common. The Rhetoric of Empire identifies these shared features—images, figures of speech, and characteristic lines of argument—and explores them in a wide variety of sources. A former correspondent for the United Press International, the author is equally at home with journalism or critical theory, travel writing or official documents, and his discussion is remarkably comprehensive. Ranging from T. E. Lawrence and Isak Dineson to Hemingway and Naipaul, from Time and the New Yorker to the National Geographic and Le Monde, from journalists such as Didion and Sontag to colonial administrators such as Frederick Lugard and Albert Sarraut, this analysis suggests the degree to which certain rhetorical tactics penetrate the popular as well as official colonial and postcolonial discourse. Finally, Spurr considers the question: Can the language itself—and with it, Western forms of interpretation--be freed of the exercise of colonial power? This ambitious book is an answer of sorts. By exposing the rhetoric of empire, Spurr begins to loosen its hold over discourse about—and between—different cultures.
In recent criticism, Samuel Beckett's prose has been increasingly described as a labor of refusal: not only of what traditionally has made possible narrative and the novel but also of the major conventional suppositions concerning the primacy of consciousness, subjectivity, and expression for the artistic act. Beginning from the premise that Beckett never betrays his belief in "the impossibility to express," Saying I No More explores the Beckettian refusal. Katz posits that the expression of voicelessness in Beckett is not silence, that the negativity and negation so evident in the great writer's work are not simply affirmed, but that the valorization of abnegation, emptiness, impotence, or the "no" can all too easily become itself an affirmation of power or an inverted imposition of force.
From the 1820s through the 1840s, debate raged over what Thomas Carlyle famously termed “the Condition of England Question.” While much of the debate focused on how to remedy the material sufferings of the rural and urban working classes, for three writers in particular—William Cobbett, Thomas Carlyle, and Benjamin Disraeli–the times were marked by an even more pervasive crisis that threatened not only the material lives of workers, but also the very stability of meaning itself. At the root of this crisis lay industrial capitalism, and its impact was not only economic, but also cultural, bringing the nation to the very brink of a precipice.
In his provocative new study of these three fascinating but often misunderstood writers, John M. Ulrich challenges the commonly held notion that Cobbett, Carlyle, and Disraeli reacted to the crisis of their times out of a facile nostalgia for an idealized past; instead, Ulrich argues that each writer’s response was remarkably sophisticated and highly self-conscious in its attention to the complex interrelation between textual signs and material conditions.
Signs of Their Times reveals how these three very different writers shared a common conviction that their labor was not merely a resistance to change, but an active force for change, as each sought to refashion the currently unstable signs of the times—history, labor, and the body—into mutually dependent guarantors of social stability and meaning.
A revolution in clock technology in England during the 1660s allowed people to measure time more accurately, attend to it more minutely, and possess it more privately than previously imaginable. In Telling Time, Stuart Sherman argues that innovations in prose emerged simultaneously with this technological breakthrough, enabling authors to recount the new kind of time by which England was learning to live and work.
Through brilliant readings of Samuel Pepys's diary, Joseph Addison and Richard Steele's daily Spectator, the travel writings of Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, and the novels of Daniel Defoe and Frances Burney, Sherman traces the development of a new way of counting time in prose—the diurnal structure of consecutively dated installments—within the cultural context of the daily institutions which gave it form and motion. Telling Time is not only a major accomplishment for seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literary studies, but it also makes important contributions to current discourse in cultural studies.
The first extensive survey of contemporary travel writing, Tourists with Typewriters offers a series of challenging and provocative critical insights into a wide range of travel narratives written in English after the Second World War. The book focuses in particular on contemporary travel writers such as Jan Morris, Peter Matthiessen, V. S. Naipaul, Barry Lopez, Mary Morris, Paul Theroux, Peter Mayle, and the late Bruce Chatwin. It examines some of the reasons for travel writing's enduring popularity, and for its particular appeal to readers--many of them also travelers--in the present.
The book maps new terrain in a growing area of critical study. Although critical of travel writing's complacency and its often unacknowledged ethnocentrism, the book recognizes its importance as both a literary and cultural form. While travel writing at its worst emerges as a crude expression of economic advantage, at its best it becomes a subtle instrument of cultural self-perception, a barometer for changing views of "other" (i.e., foreign, non-Western) cultures, and a trigger for the information circuits that tap us into the wider world.
Tourists with Typewriters gauges both the best and worst in contemporary travel writing, capturing the excitement of this most volatile--and at times infuriating--of literary genres. The book will appeal to general readers interested in a closer examination of travel writing and to academic readers in disciplines such as literary/cultural studies, geography, history, anthropology, and tourism studies.
"An eminently readable and informative study. It breathes tolerance and intelligence. It is critically perceptive and very au courant. It raises issues (coloniality, postmodernity, gender. . . ) and discusses books that readers of many different stripes will want to find out about." --Ross Chambers, University of Michigan
Patrick Holland, Associate Professor of English, University of Guelph, was born in New Zealand and educated in England, Australia, and Canada. Graham Huggan, Professor of English, University of Munich, was born in Hong Kong and educated in England and in British Columbia.
Histories of autobiography in England often assume the genre hardly existed before 1600. But Tudor Autobiography investigates eleven sixteenth-century English writers who used sermons, a saint’s biography, courtly and popular verse, a traveler’s report, a history book, a husbandry book, and a supposedly fictional adventure novel to share the secrets of the heart and tell their life stories.
In the past such texts have not been called autobiographies because they do not reveal much of the inwardness of their subject, a requisite of most modern autobiographies. But, according to Meredith Anne Skura, writers reveal themselves not only by what they say but by how they say it. Borrowing methods from affective linguistics, narratology, and psychoanalysis, Skura shows that a writer’s thoughts and feelings can be traced in his or her language. Rejecting the search for “the early modern self” in life writing, Tudor Autobiography instead asks what authors said about themselves, who wrote about themselves, how, and why. The result is a fascinating glimpse into a range of lived and imagined experience that challenges assumptions about life and autobiography in the early modern period.
Every woman autobiographer is a daughter who writes and establishes her identity through her autobiographical narrative. In The Voice of the Mother, Jo Malin argues that many twentieth-century autobiographies by women contain an intertext, an embedded narrative, which is a biography of the writer/daughter’s mother.
Analyzing this narrative practice, Malin examines ten texts by women who seem particularly compelled to tell their mothers’ stories: Virginia Woolf, Sara Suleri, Kim Chernin, Drusilla Modjeska, Joan Nestle, Carolyn Steedman, Dorothy Allison, Adrienne Rich, Cherríe Moraga, and Audre Lorde. Each author is, in fact, able to write her own autobiography only by using a narrative form that contains her mother’s story at its core. These texts raise interesting questions about autobiography as a genre and about a feminist writing practice that resists and subverts the dominant literary tradition.
Malin theorizes a hybrid form of autobiographical narrative containing an embedded narrative of the mother. The textual relationship between the two narratives is unique among texts in the auto/biographical canon. This alternative narrative practice—in which the daughter attempts to talk both to her mother and about her—is equally an autobiography and a biography rather than one or the other. The technique is marked by a breakdown of subject/object categories as well as auto/biographical dichotomies of genre. Each text contains a “self” that is more plural than singular, yet neither.
In addition to being a theoretical and textual analysis, Malin’s book is also a mother-daughter autobiography and biography itself. She shares her own story and her mother’s story as a way to connect directly with readers and as a way to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
These essays offer readers vivid and varied evidence of the female response to recurring attempts by culture to artificially limit identity along the gendered lines of private and public experience. Calling on voices both familiar and little known, British and American, black and white, young and old, the essayists explore how women used life-writing as a means of both self-understanding and connection to a community of sympathetic others, real or imagined.