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Literary Criticism

Literary Criticism Book List

Cover of 'Ruskin’s Mythic Queen'

Ruskin’s Mythic Queen
Gender Subversion in Victorian Culture
By Sharon Aronofsky Weltman

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.

Cover of 'A  Paris Year'

A Paris Year
Dorothy and James T. Farrell, 1931–1932
By Edgar Marquess Branch

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.

Cover of 'Shakespeare in Production'

Shakespeare in Production
Whose History?
By H. R. Coursen

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.

Cover of 'José María Arguedas'

José María Arguedas
Reconsiderations for Latin American Studies
Edited by Ciro A. Sandoval and Sandra M. Boschetto-Sandoval

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.

Cover of 'Under Criticism'

Under Criticism
Essays for William H. Pritchard
Edited by David Sofield and Herbert F. Tucker

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.

Cover of 'Haunted by Waters'

Haunted by Waters
Fly Fishing in North American Literature
By Mark Browning

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.

Cover of 'Detection and Its Designs'

Detection and Its Designs
Narrative and Power in Nineteenth-Century Detective Fiction
By Peter Thoms

Detective fiction is usually thought of as genre fiction, a vast group of works bound together by their use of a common formula. But, as Peter Thoms argues in his investigation of some of the most important texts in the development of detective fiction in the nineteenth century, the very works that establish the genre's formulaic structure also subvert that structure.

Cover of 'Writing in Disguise'

Writing in Disguise
Academic Life in Subordination
By Terry Caesar

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.

Cover of 'America’s Sketchbook'

America’s Sketchbook
The Cultural Life of a Nineteenth-Century Literary Genre
By Kristie Hamilton

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.

Cover of 'Hired Pens'

Hired Pens
Professional Writers in America's Golden Age of Print
By Ronald Weber

Just as mass-market magazines and cheap books have played important roles in the creation of an American identity, those skilled craftsmen (and women) whose careers are the subjects of Ronald Weber's narrative profoundly influenced the outlook and strategies of the high-culture writers who are generally the focus of literary studies.

Cover of 'Resisting Regionalism'

Resisting Regionalism
Gender And Naturalism In American Fiction, 1885-1915
By Donna Campbell

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.

Cover of 'Trollope & Victorian Moral Philosophy'

Trollope & Victorian Moral Philosophy
By Jane Nardin

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.

Cover of 'Colonization, Violence, and Narration in White South African Writing'

Colonization, Violence, and Narration in White South African Writing
André Brink, Breyten Breytenbach, and J. M. Coetzee
By Rosemary Jane Jolly

The representation of pain and suffering in narrative form is an ongoing ethical issue in contemporary South African literature. Can violence be represented without sensationalistic effects, or, alternatively, without effects that tend to be conservative because they place the reader in a position of superiority over the victim or the perpetrator?

Cover of 'Robert Browning’s Rondures Brave'

Robert Browning’s Rondures Brave
By Michael Bright

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.

Cover of 'Romanticism and the Anglican Newman'

Romanticism and the Anglican Newman
By David Goslee

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.