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Early 20th-century literary critics Joseph Collins, Hermann Hesse, and Percy Lubbock concluded that the pages of a book present a succession of moments that the reader visualizes and reinterprets. They feared that few would actually commit themselves to memory, and that most were likely to soon disappear. As you turn these pages, you will (re)discover the value of the literary canon through the Self. My objective is to examine how the Self is formed, lost, and regained through creative strategies that confront and define its shapes and distortions on nearly every page of a canonical work. You can consider Confronting / Defining the Self: Formation and Dissolution of the ‘I’ from La Fayette to Grass as offering an apology for the study of literature and the humanities in an era when technology and commerce dominate our consciousness, drive our daily expectations, and shape our career goals.
Re-appropriating the Victorian and Medieval Pasts
Volume Editors: and
Bringing together neo-Victorian and medievalism scholars in dialogue with each other for the first time, this collection of essays foregrounds issues common to both fields. The Victorians reimagined the medieval era and post-Victorian medievalism repurposes received nineteenth century tropes, as do neo-Victorian texts. For example, aesthetic movements such as Arts and Crafts, which looked for inspiration in the medieval era, are echoed by steampunk in its return to Victorian dress and technology. Issues of gender identity, sexuality, imperialism and nostalgia arise in both neo-Victorianism and medievalism, and analysis of such texts is enriched and expanded by the interconnections between the two fields represented in this groundbreaking collection.
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Volume Editors: and
On account of Conrad’s tragic and fascinating life before he became a writer, critics have usually offered a historical account of his early Polish years. Less attention has been paid to the cultural and literary background of that period and its subsequent influence. In fact, initially that influence was largely ignored. My aim has been not only to rectify that deficiency but to broaden the scope of the issue. In addition to dealing with his Polish background, the book also relates Conrad’s writing to other European literary traditions, notably French and Russian. Exploring the extraordinary geographical and historical range of Conrad’s fictional world, the book examines the rhetorical and narrative strategies employed in its vividly dramatic as well as psychologically insightful depictions.
Debate in Early English Poetry and Drama
Series:  Ludus, Volume: 17
Performing Arguments: Debate in Early English Poetry and Drama proposes a fresh performance-centered view of rhetoric by recovering, tracing, and analyzing the trope and tradition of aestheticized argumentation as a mode of performance across several early ludic genres: Middle English debate poetry, the fifteenth-century ‘disguising’ play, the Tudor Humanist debate interlude, and four Shakespearean works in which the dynamics of debate invite the plays’ reconsideration under the new rubric of ‘rhetorical problem plays.’ Performing Arguments further establishes a distinction between instrumental argumentation, through which an arguer seeks to persuade an opponent or audience, and performative argumentation, through which the arguer provides an aesthetic display of verbal or intellectual skill with persuasion being of secondary concern, or of no concern at all. This study also examines rhetorical and performance theories and practices contemporary with the early texts and genres explored, and is further influenced by more recent critical perspectives on resonance and reception and theories of audience response and reconstruction.
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Exploring the metamorphoses of the body in the eighteenth-century Robinsonade as a crucial aspect of the genre’s ideologies, Castaway Bodies offers focused readings of intriguing, yet often forgotten, novels: Peter Longueville’s The English Hermit (1727), Robert Paltock’s Peter Wilkins (1751) and The Female American (1767) by an anonymous author. The book shows that by rewriting the myths of the New Adam, the Androgyne and the Amazon, respectively, these novels went beyond, though not completely counter to, the politics of conquest and mastery that are typically associated with the Robinsonade. It argues that even if these narratives could still be read as colonial fantasies, they opened a space for more consistent rejections of the imperial agenda in contemporary castaway fiction.
Parish Libraries and their Readers in Early Modern England, 1558–1709
This book provides an overview of the establishment and use of parish libraries in early modern England and includes a thematic analysis of surviving marginalia and readers' marks. This book is the first direct and detailed analysis of parish libraries in early modern England and uses a case-study approach to the examination of foundation practices, physical and intellectual accessibility, the nature of the collections, and the ways in which people used these libraries and read their books.
Materialities of the Mental in the Works of James Joyce
James Joyce’s evocations of his characters’ thoughts are often inserted within a commonplace that regards the mind as an interior space, referred to as the ‘inward turn’ in literary scholarship since the mid-twentieth century. Emma-Louise Silva reassesses this vantage point by exploring Joyce’s modernist fiction through the prism of 4E – or embodied, embedded, extended, and enactive – cognition. By merging the 4E framework with cognitive-genetic narratology, an innovative form of inquiry that brings together the study of the dynamics of writing processes and the study of cognition in relation to narratives, Modernist Minds: Materialities of the Mental in the Works of James Joyce delves into the material stylistic choices through which Joyce’s approaches to mind depiction evolved.