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Literary Criticism | European | English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

Literary Criticism | European | English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh Book List

Cover of 'A Room of His Own'

A Room of His Own
A Literary-Cultural Study of Victorian Clubland
By Barbara Black

In nineteenth-century London, a clubbable man was a fortunate man, indeed. The Reform, the Athenaeum, the Travellers, the Carlton, the United Service are just a few of the gentlemen’s clubs that formed the exclusive preserve known as “clubland” in Victorian London—the City of Clubs that arose during the Golden Age of Clubs. Why were these associations for men only such a powerful emergent institution in nineteenth-century London?

A 2005 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Cover of 'Music Hall and Modernity'

Music Hall and Modernity
The Late-Victorian Discovery of Popular Culture
By Barry J. Faulk

The late-Victorian discovery of the music hall by English intellectuals marks a crucial moment in the history of popular culture. Music Hall and Modernity demonstrates how such pioneering cultural critics as Arthur Symons and Elizabeth Robins Pennell used the music hall to secure and promote their professional identity as guardians of taste and national welfare. These social arbiters were, at the same time, devotees of the spontaneous culture of “the people.”In

Cover of 'Melodramatic Imperial Writing'

Melodramatic Imperial Writing
From the Sepoy Rebellion to Cecil Rhodes
By Neil Hultgren

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

Winner of the 2013 Sonya Rudikoff Award for best first book in Victorian Studies · Short-listed for the 2013 British Society for Literature and Science Book Prize.
Cover of 'Reading Victorian Deafness'

Reading Victorian Deafness
By Jennifer Esmail

Reading Victorian Deafness is the first book to address the crucial role that deaf people, and their unique language of signs, played in Victorian culture.

Cover of 'A Room of His Own'

A Room of His Own
A Literary-Cultural Study of Victorian Clubland
By Barbara Black

In nineteenth-century London, a clubbable man was a fortunate man, indeed. The Reform, the Athenaeum, the Travellers, the Carlton, the United Service are just a few of the gentlemen’s clubs that formed the exclusive preserve known as “clubland” in Victorian London—the City of Clubs that arose during the Golden Age of Clubs. Why were these associations for men only such a powerful emergent institution in nineteenth-century London?

Cover of 'Charity and Condescension'

Charity and Condescension
Victorian Literature and the Dilemmas of Philanthropy
By Daniel Siegel

Charity and Condescension explores how condescension, a traditional English virtue, went sour in the nineteenth century, and considers how the failure of condescension influenced Victorian efforts to reform philanthropy and to construct new narrative models of social conciliation.

Cover of 'Doctoring the Novel'

Doctoring the Novel
Medicine and Quackery from Shelley to Doyle
By Sylvia A. Pamboukian

If nineteenth-century Britain witnessed the rise of medical professionalism, it also witnessed rampant quackery. It is tempting to categorize historical practices as either orthodox or quack, but what did these terms really signify in medical and public circles at the time? How did they develop and evolve? What do they tell us about actual medical practices?Doctoring

Cover of 'Meter Matters'

Meter Matters
Verse Cultures of the Long Nineteenth Century
Edited by Jason David Hall

Across the nineteenth century, meter mattered—in more ways and to more people than we might well appreciate today. For the period’s poets, metrical matters were a source of inspiration and often vehement debate. And the many readers, teachers, and pupils encountered meter and related topics in both institutional and popular forms.

A 2012 Choice “Outstanding Academic Title“
Cover of 'Indian Angles'

Indian Angles
English Verse in Colonial India from Jones to Tagore
By Mary Ellis Gibson

Indian Angles is a new historical approach to Indian English literature. It shows that poetry, not fiction, was the dominant literary genre of Indian writing in English until 1860 and re-creates the historical webs of affiliation and resistance that writers in colonial India—writers of British, Indian, and mixed ethnicities—experienced.

Cover of 'Poetry, Pictures, and Popular Publishing'

Poetry, Pictures, and Popular Publishing
The Illustrated Gift Book and Victorian Visual Culture, 1855–1875
By Lorraine Janzen Kooistra

In Poetry, Pictures, and Popular Publishing eminent Rossetti scholar Lorraine Janzen Kooistra demonstrates the cultural centrality of a neglected artifact: the Victorian illustrated gift book. Turning a critical lens on “drawing-room books” as both material objects and historical events, Kooistra reveals how the gift book’s visual/verbal form mediated “high” and popular art as well as book and periodical publication.A

Cover of 'Amy Levy'

Amy Levy
Critical Essays
Edited by Naomi Hetherington and Nadia Valman

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

A Children’s Literature Association Book Award “Honor Book”
Cover of 'X Marks the Spot'

X Marks the Spot
Women Writers Map the Empire for British Children, 1790–1895
By Megan A. Norcia

During the nineteenth century, geography primers shaped the worldviews of Britain’s ruling classes and laid the foundation for an increasingly globalized world. Written by middle-class women who mapped the world that they had neither funds nor freedom to traverse, the primers employed rhetorical tropes such as the Family of Man or discussions of food and customs in order to plot other cultures along an imperial hierarchy.Cross-disciplinary

Cover of 'Dancing out of Line'

Dancing out of Line
Ballrooms, Ballets, and Mobility in Victorian Fiction and Culture
By Molly Engelhardt

Dancing out of Line transports readers back to the 1840s, when the craze for social and stage dancing forced Victorians into a complex relationship with the moving body in its most voluble, volatile form.By

Cover of 'Oscar Wilde and Modern Culture'

Oscar Wilde and Modern Culture
The Making of a Legend
Edited by Joseph Bristow

Oscar Wilde and Modern Culture: The Making of a Legend explores the meteoric rise, sudden fall, and legendary resurgence of an immensely influential writer’s reputation from his hectic 1881 American lecture tour to recent Hollywood adaptations of his dramas. Always renowned—if not notorious—for his fashionable persona, Wilde courted celebrity at an early age. Later, he came to prominence as one of the most talented essayists and fiction writers of his time.In

Cover of 'Heretical Hellenism'

Heretical Hellenism
Women Writers, Ancient Greece, and the Victorian Popular Imagination
By Shanyn Fiske

Heretical Hellenism examines sources such as theater history and popular journals to uncover the ways women acquired knowledge of Greek literature, history, and philosophy and challenged traditional humanist assumptions about the uniformity of classical knowledge and about women’s place in literary history.

Cover of 'Come Buy, Come Buy'

Come Buy, Come Buy
Shopping and the Culture of Consumption in Victorian Women’s Writing
By Krista Lysack

From the 1860s through the early twentieth century, Great Britain saw the rise of the department store and the institutionalization of a gendered sphere of consumption.

Cover of 'Cleansing the City'

Cleansing the City
Sanitary Geographies in Victorian London
By Michelle Allen

Cleansing the City: Sanitary Geographies in Victorian Londonexplores not only the challenges faced by reformers as they strove toclean up an increasingly filthy city but the resistance to their efforts.Beginning in the 1830s, reform-minded citizens, under the banner of sanitaryimprovement, plunged into London’s dark and dirty spaces and returned withthe material they needed to promote public health legislation and magnificentprojects of sanitary engineering.

Cover of 'The Victorians in the Rearview Mirror'

The Victorians in the Rearview Mirror
By Simon Joyce

Simon Joyce examines heritage culture, contemporary politics, and the “neo-Dickensian” novel to offer a more affirmative assessment of the Victorian legacy, one that lets us imagine a model of social interconnection and interdependence that has come under threat in today’s politics and culture.

Cover of 'The Cut of His Coat'

The Cut of His Coat
Men, Dress, and Consumer Culture in Britain, 1860–1914
By Brent Shannon

The English middle class in the late nineteenth century enjoyed an increase in the availability and variety of material goods. With that, the visual markers of class membership and manly behavior underwent a radical change.

Cover of 'The Wake of Wellington'

The Wake of Wellington
Englishness in 1852
By Peter W. Sinnema

Soldier, hero, and politician, the Duke of Wellington is one of the best-known figures of nineteenth-century England. From his victory at Waterloo over Napoleon in 1815, he rose to become prime minister of his country. But Peter Sinnema finds equal fascination in Victorian England’s response to the duke’s death.

Cover of 'Bleak Houses'

Bleak Houses
Marital Violence in Victorian Fiction
By Lisa Surridge

The Offenses Against the Person Act of 1828 opened magistrates’ courts to abused working-class wives. Newspapers in turn reported on these proceedings, and in this way the Victorian scrutiny of domestic conduct began. But how did popular fiction treat “private” family violence? Bleak Houses: Marital Violence in Victorian Fiction traces novelists’ engagement with the wife-assault debates in the public press between 1828 and the turn of the century.Lisa

Cover of 'The Fin-de-Siècle Poem'

The Fin-de-Siècle Poem
English Literary Culture and the 1890s
Edited by Joseph Bristow

Featuring innovative research by emergent and established scholars, The Fin-de-Siècle Poem throws new light on the remarkable diversity of poetry produced at the close of the nineteenth century in England. Opening with a detailed preface that explains why literary historians have frequently underrated fin-de-siècle poetry, the collection shows how a strikingly rich body of lyrical and narrative poems anticipated many of the developments traditionally attributed to Modernism.

Cover of 'Pictorial Victorians'

Pictorial Victorians
The Inscription of Values in Word and Image
By Julia Thomas

The Victorians were image obsessed. The middle decades of the nineteenth century saw an unprecedented growth in the picture industry. Technological advances enabled the Victorians to adorn with images the pages of their books and the walls of their homes. But this was not a wholly visual culture. Pictorial Victorians focuses on two of the most popular mid-nineteenth-century genres—illustration and narrative painting—that blurred the line between the visual and textual.Illustration

A 2005 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Cover of 'Music Hall and Modernity'

Music Hall and Modernity
The Late-Victorian Discovery of Popular Culture
By Barry J. Faulk

The late-Victorian discovery of the music hall by English intellectuals marks a crucial moment in the history of popular culture. Music Hall and Modernity demonstrates how such pioneering cultural critics as Arthur Symons and Elizabeth Robins Pennell used the music hall to secure and promote their professional identity as guardians of taste and national welfare. These social arbiters were, at the same time, devotees of the spontaneous culture of “the people.”In

Cover of 'Raising the Dust'

Raising the Dust
The Literary Housekeeping of Mary Ward, Sarah Grand, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman
By Beth Sutton-Ramspeck

Raising the Dust identifies a heretofore-overlooked literary phenomenon that author Beth Sutton-Ramspeck calls “literary housekeeping.” The three writers she examines rejected turn-of-the-century aestheticism and modernism in favor of a literature that is practical, even ostensibly mundane, designed to “set the human household in order.”To

Cover of 'Fortune’s Wheel'

Fortune’s Wheel
Dickens and the Iconography of Women’s Time
By Elizabeth A. Campbell

In the first half of the nineteenth century, England became quite literally a world on wheels. The sweeping technological changes wrought by the railways, steam-powered factory engines, and progressively more sophisticated wheeled conveyances of all types produced a corresponding revolution in Victorian iconography: the image of the wheel emerged as a dominant trope for power, modernity, and progress.In

Cover of 'Women, Work, and Representation'

Women, Work, and Representation
Needlewomen in Victorian Art and Literature
By Lynn M. Alexander

In Victorian England, virtually all women were taught to sew; needlework was allied with images of domestic economy and with traditional female roles of wife and mother- with home rather than factory. The professional seamstress, however, labored long hours for very small wages creating gowns for the upper and middle classes.

Cover of 'Signs of Their Times'

Signs of Their Times
History, Labor, and the Body in Cobbett, Carlyle, and Disraeli
By John M. Ulrich

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.

Cover of 'Dark Smiles'

Dark Smiles
Race and Desire in George Eliot
By Alicia Carroll

Although George Eliot has long been described as “the novelist of the Midlands,” she often brought the outer reaches of the empire home in her work. Dark Smiles: Race and Desire in George Eliot studies Eliot’s problematic, career-long interest in representing racial and ethnic Otherness.Placing

Cover of 'Christina Rossetti and Illustration'

Christina Rossetti and Illustration
A Publishing History
By Lorraine Janzen Kooistra

Readers do not always take into account how books that combine image and text make their meanings. But for the Pre-Raphaelite poet Christina Rossetti, such considerations were central.