Book and Periodical Studies
Comics and Graphic Novel Culture
Literary Criticism | Modern | 19th Century
Literary Criticism | Subjects & Themes | General
Literary Criticism, Africa
Literary Criticism, African American
Literary Criticism, Asia
Literary Criticism, Australia
Literary Criticism, Caribbean
Literary Criticism, Eastern Europe
Literary Criticism, Feminist
Literary Criticism, France
Literary Criticism, Germany
Literary Criticism, Latin America
Literary Criticism, Poetry
Literary Criticism, Religion
Literary Criticism, Short Stories
Literary Criticism, Theater
Literary Criticism, UK
Literary Criticism, US
Literary Criticism, Women
Literary Criticism, Women Authors
William Blake’s reputation as a staunch individualist is based in large measure on his repeated attacks on institutions and belief systems that constrain the individual’s imagination. Blake, however, rarely represents isolation positively, suggesting that the individual’s absolute freedom from communal pressures is not the ideal.
Of the many literary phenomena that sprang up in eighteenth-century England and later became a staple of Victorian culture, one that has received little attention until now is the “Family Bible with Notes.” Published in serial parts to make it affordable, the Family Bible was designed to enhance the family’s status and sense of national and imperial identity.Imperial
The subject of renewed interest among literary and cultural scholars, Vernon Lee wrote more than forty books, in a broad range of genres, including fiction, history, aesthetics, and travel literature. Early on, Lee established her reputation as a public critic whose unconventional viewpoints stood out among those of her contemporaries.To
John Reed (1887-1920) is best known as the author of Ten Days That Shook the World and as champion of the communist movement in the United States. Still, Reed remains a writer almost systematically ignored by the literary critical establishment, even if alternately vilified and lionized by historians and by films like Warren Beatty’s Reds.John
We are a century removed from Queen Victoria’s death, yet the culture that bears her name is alive and well across the globe. Not only is Victorian culture the subject of lively critical debate, but it draws widespread interest from popular audiences and consumers.Functions of Victorian Culture at the Present Time addresses the theme of the Victorians’ continuing legacy and its effect on our own culture and perception of the world.
Music was at once one of the most idealized and one of the most contested art forms of the Victorian period. Yet this vitally important nineteenth-century cultural form has been studied by literary critics mainly as a system of thematic motifs. Angelic Airs, Subversive Songs positions music as a charged site of cultural struggle, promoted concurrently as a transcendent corrective to social ills and as a subversive cause of those ills.
Among the major writers of the Hemingway and Fitzgerald generation, Edmund Wilson defied categorization. He wrote essays, stories and novels, cultural criticism, and contemporary chronicles, as well as journals and thousands of letters about the literary life and his own private world. Here for the first time in print is Wilson’s personal correspondence to his parents, lovers and wives, children, literary comrades, and friends from the different corners of his life.
Latin American intellectuals have traditionally debated their region’s history, never with so much agreement as in the fiction, commentary, and scholarship of the late twentieth century. Collisions with History shows how “fictional histories” of discovery and conquest, independence and early nationhood, and the recent authoritarian past were purposeful revisionist collisions with received national versions.
Valuable and timely in its long historical and critical perspective on the legacy of romanticism to Victorian art and thought, The Rescue of Romanticism is the first book-length study of the close intellectual relationship between Walter Pater and John Ruskin, the two most important Victorian critics of art.
Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, America was captivated by a muddled notion of “etymology.” New England Transcendentalism was only one outcropping of a nationwide movement in which schoolmasters across small-town America taught students the roots of words in ways that dramatized religious issues and sparked wordplay.Shaped by this ferment, our major romantic authors shared the sensibility that Friedrich Schlegel linked to punning and christened “romantic irony.”
Metaphysical, agnostic, and ironic with a modernist voice.
The widely divergent voices in this collection are united by their common interest in the American literary heritage and by their intention to redefine that heritage by altering our angle of vision or forcing us to re-examine some traditional values.
In the two decades that have passed since Robert Lowell’s death, Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors is the first critical survey of the poet’s aesthetic efforts to make personal vision and public exhortation cohere and thus combine poetic genres that have been historically discrete.Rather
The story of “Shakespeare’s sister” that Virginia Woolf tells in A Room of One’s Own has sparked interest in the question of the place of the woman writer in the Renaissance. By now, the process of recovering lost voices of early modern women is well under way. But Woolf’s engagement with the Renaissance went deeper than that question indicates, as important as it was.
“If you really want to understand South Africa, read black African writers. Read Es‘kia Mphahlele,” is the advice proffered to diplomats and scholars by professor and publisher Donald Herdeck.The irony is that in the past, many of Mphahlele’s works were out of print or banned under censorship laws in South Africa from the early 1950s on.
John Ruskin’s prominence as the author of “Of Queen’s Gardens,” his principal statement of Victorian gender opposition, makes him an ideal example for analyzing the power of mythic discourse to undermine gender division. Here, Ruskin creates a vision of feminine authority that draws simultaneously upon several sources (including the goddess Athena and Queen Victoria herself) to empower women in a worldwide arena redefined as a broader version of their domestic realm.
The Depression that follows the 1929 stock market crash is emptying Paris of many American expatriates. Two exceptions are Dorothy and James T. Farrell, the naïve young couple who have fled their home in Chicago for the fabled liberation that Paris seems to offer.In this telling account drawn from interviews, diaries, and letters home, Edgar Marquess Branch presents a composite view of the life of a young author yet to complete his masterpiece, Studs Lonigan.
Shakespeare in Production examines a number of plays in context. Included are the 1936 Romeo and Juliet, unpopular with critics of filmed Shakespeare, but very much a “photoplay” if its time; the opening sequences of filmed Hamlets which span more than seventy years; The Comedy of Errors on television, where production of this script is almost impossible; and the Branagh Much Ado About Nothing, a “popular” film discussed in the context of comedy as a genre.In
José María Arguedas (1911–1969) is one of the most important authors to speak to issues of the survival of native cultures. José María Arguedas: Reconsiderations for Latin American Cultural Studies presents his views from multiple perspectives for English-speaking audiences for the first time.The
American literary life has been enriched over the past generation by habits of criticism practiced at Amherst College during the tenure of William H. Pritchard. These essays, which were commissioned as a tribute to Pritchard, celebrate his fortieth year at Amherst and demonstrate the breadth of his influence in the fields of theory, criticism, and pedagogy.The
Four essential questions: Why does one fish? How should one properly fish? What relations are created in fishing? And what effects does fishing have on the future? Haunted by Waters is a self-examination by the author as he constructs his own narrative and tries to answer these questions for himself. But it is also a thorough examination of the answers he uncovers in the course of reading what’s been written on the subject.As
Writing in Disguise is a series of increasingly personal essays that both discuss and dramatize through firsthand experience the significance of subordination in academic life, in terms of issues and structures but above all in terms of texts. Some are written: memos, rejection letters, even resignation letters. Some are not: anecdotes, protests, jokes, parodies.All
America’s Sketchbook recaptures the drama of nineteenth-century American cultural life, placing at its center a genre—the literary sketch—more available than the novel, less governable by the critical establishment, and shot through with the tensions and types of local and national culture-making.
When James Lane Allen defined the “Feminine Principle” and the “Masculine Principle” in American fiction for the Atlantic Monthly in 1897, he in effect described local color fiction and naturalism, two branches of realism often regarded as bearing little relationship to each other.
Since the publication of The Moral Trollope by Ruth apRoberts in 1971, literary critics have generally agreed that Trollope’s morality is worthy of study. apRoberts sees Trollope as an early exponent of “situation ethics,” a liberal moralist who believes that traditional principles must always bend to the circumstances of the particular case.
Browning’s Fra Lippo Lippi says that we may pass things a hundred times and never see them. One thing that Browning’s readers have passed without seeing, or at least without remarking upon, is the circular conclusion in so many of his poems. Some sixty poems (almost a third of them) have such conclusions. These sixty span his entire career and include both well-known and neglected poems.The
Goslee’s study maintains that Newman’s Anglican writing, although widely considered irrelevant to the main currents of the post-Enlightenment, in fact reinterprets Romantic transcendence within a uniquely dialogic paradigm. It is this paradigm, he argues, that critics need to explore as a link between sacred and secular domains within Victorian culture.Goslee’s own exploration is accomplished in three parts.
In Sight Unseen radio drama, a genre traditionally dismissed as popular culture, is celebrated as high art. The radio plays discussed here range from the conventional (John Arden’s Pearl) to the docudramatic (David Rudkin’s Cries from Casement), from the curtly conversational (Harold Pinter’s A Slight Ache) to the virtually operatic (Robert Ferguson’s Transfigured Night), testifying to radio drama’s variety and literary stature.
Many of Wilson’s writings have been anthologized. But there is another body of work — over fifty fine essays on aspects of contemporary literature and ideas — that have been scattered in a variety of magazines, including The New Yorker, The New Republic, Vanity Fair, and The Nation.