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Edited by Walter Bernhart

Ulrich Weisstein, an international authority in the fields of comparative literature and comparative arts, has been a pioneer paving the way for present-day intermedia studies. Among his broad intermedial interests opera has always held a central place. For the first time this volume makes available his major contributions to opera criticism in compact form, thus meeting a serious scholarly demand.
The necessarily stringent selection of essays from Professor Weisstein’s large output on opera, reflecting fifty years of involvement with the genre, is primarily governed by the wish to present texts that are representative of their author’s work and, at the same time, are unlikely to be readily available through other channels. The fourteen essays collected are arranged in chronological order, some of them showing Ulrich Weisstein as an initiator of librettology, others tracing adaptive processes extending from textual sources to final operas, or investigating writer/composer collaborations. Further topics are satirical reflections on operatic activities in early-eighteenth-century Italy and practices of opera censorship, artist operas or definitions of romantic and epic opera. The essays are written in an accessible, essentially non-technical language and are expected to make both a profitable and a pleasurable reading for literary scholars as well as musicologists and general art lovers.

Silences du roman

Balzac et le romanesque contemporain


Aline Mura-Brunel

Paradoxalement, le silence qui menace la parole et l’écriture, hante l’imagination des écrivains de la modernité et insuffle une dynamique renouveleée à leurs romans. Dans un parcours qui conduit de La Comédie humaine de Balzac aux écrits du XXIe siècle, le présent ouvrage tente pour la première fois le rapprochement insolite d’œuvres hétéroclites à la lumière de la puissance et de l’éloquence narrative du silence : conjoncturel ou structurel, thématique ou ontologique, celui-ci fonde en effet les textes relus et détient une valeur heuristique pour la redéfinition du romanesque d’un siècle à l’autre. Sans sacrifier la précision et la rigueur de l’analyse, cet essai lance un défi en explorant les ressources illimitées du roman pour atteindre les limites du langage. Ce faisant, il ouvre un champ d’investigation que la critique n’a pas fini d’interroger.


Edited by Karen Haddad-Wotling and Vincent Ferré

Proust était fasciné par l’étrange et par l’étranger, qui le lui a bien rendu. Sa notoriété de premier auteur « moderne » est née hors des frontières hexagonales. Son œuvre a été traduite très tôt. D’ailleurs, puisqu’elle est traduite, nous ne lisons sans doute plus de la même manière le texte français, lui aussi devenu « étrange et étranger ». Peut-on imaginer un Proust anglais, italien, américain, turc? Que deviennent les auteurs étrangers une fois entrés dans, et assimilés par l’univers proustien? Comment lire Dante, Cervantès, Ruskin après Proust, et avec lui? Ces questions et quelques autres sont au centre du présent volume. Le visage familier de l’auteur de La Recherche du temps perdu s’en trouvera sans doute transformé, comme un portrait cubiste, fait de facettes brisées et de profils inattendus.

Crossing Frontiers

Cultural Exchange and Conflict


Edited by Barbara Burns and Joy Charnley

This volume brings together two very popular and active research fields: Swiss Studies and Intercultural Studies. It includes contributions on the movement of ideas, literatures, and individuals from one culture to another or one language to another, and the ways in which they have been either assimilated or questioned. All of the writers explore this general theme; some come from a literary angle, some look at linguistic inventiveness and translation, whilst others study the problems faced when crossing geographical and cultural borders or presenting ideas which do not ‘travel’ well. By emphasising the connections, borrowings and mutual influences between Switzerland and other countries such as Germany, Hungary, France, the UK, and the Americas, the articles reaffirm the importance for Switzerland of intellectual openness and cultural exchange.

The Phaedra Syndrome

Of Shame and Guilt in Drama


Albert S. Gérard

Originating probably in some oral cautionary tale, the Phaedra story illustrates a peculiar pattern of transgression and retribution. This Phaedra syndrome provided inspiration for many major writers from Euripides to Gabriele d'Annunzio. The present book offers a close re-reading and a re-assessment of four acknowledged masterpieces - Euripides' Hippolutos, Seneca's Phaedra, Lope de Vega's Castigo sin venganza and Racine's Phèdre: together with Lope's Italian source. Matteo Bandello's Novella 44, they all deal with the old tale or none of its analogues. While paying minute comparative attention to the texts, it aims at clarifying the relevance of each work for the meandrous evolution of religious beliefs and ethical criteria in the history of European society, ranging from Democritus' effort to react against his contemporaries' archaic shame-culture attitudes to Latin Stoicism, to the syncretic Baroque outlook in siglo de oro drama and to the radical puritanical inwardness of French Jansenism. The last two chapters offer an original interpretation of Phèdre as the supreme poetic utterance of Racine's confusion and perplexity in front of the unresolved contradictions in his faith; a case is made in the Conclusion the view that the puzzled and puzzling mood of this mysterious play exemplifies the new mind-set that was paving the way for Enlightenment rationalism and the ensuing dechristianisation of the Western intelligentsia.

Echoes and Reflections

Memory and Memorials in Ovid and Marie de France


SunHee Kim Gertz

This study examines tales from The Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid (43 BC-18 AD) and from The Lais by the French poet Marie de France (fl. mid-to late twelfth century) to explore a paradox: how can a vibrant, complex, and timeless vision be conveyed in convention-informed and time-bound language? Marie plays against Ovid’s tales to probe the dilemma, thereby echoing Ovid who does the same to the canonical literary monuments of his day. Both poets suggest that poetry can avoid the flattening effect of monumental canonizing not only by the creative use of literary echoes, but also by shifting perspectives on the conventional, which in turn, can encourage readers to see reflections of many stories in any given tale. Ovid and Marie suggest and encourage in this manner by presenting literary love’s topoi and traditional lovers from a variety of metaliterary perspectives, thereby eliciting active readerly memory as well as providing the opportunity to see the conventional afresh, activity that allows even canonical texts to become living memorials.

Theory into Poetry

New Approaches to the Lyric


Edited by Eva Müller-Zettelmann and Margarete Rubik

At the beginning of the 21st century, there is still no generally accepted comprehensive definition of the lyric or differentiated modern toolkit for its analysis. The reception of poetry is largely characterised either by an empathetic identification of critics with the lyric persona or by exclusive interest in formal patterning.
The present volume seeks to remedy this deficit. All the contributors ‘theorise’ the lyric to overcome the impasse of an impressionistic and narrowly formalistic critical debate on the genre. Their papers focus on a variety of different questions: the problem of establishing a framework for definition and classification; the search for dynamic and potent critical approaches; investigations of poetry's cultural performance and its fundamental relevance for the construction of group cohesion.
The essays collected in this volume offer a consciously polyphonic range of theories and interpretations, suggesting to the reader a variety of theoretical frameworks and practical illustrations of how a discussion of poetry may be firmly grounded in modern literary theory.

Neue Sachlichkeit 1918-33

Unity and Diversity of an Art Movement


Steve Plumb

Neue Sachlichkeit is thought by many to have too many diverse elements to be a unified movement. Originally divided by G.F. Hartlaub into two ‘wings’, Neue Sachlichkeit has since been broken down by critics into more groups, sometimes with opposing styles or regional influences. However, the importance of these divisions has rarely been explored in depth. Unlike previous surveys, which accept Neue Sachlichkeit as a divided entity, this book shows for the first time that in spite of its divisions, it may still be regarded as a unified, coherent movement.
While different artists may have sought to express different specific concerns, what they all had in common was that they were uncomfortable with the world as it stood, and it is the way that this was expressed, making use of the object, that gave Neue Sachlichkeit its unity. This was just as true of the literature and photography of Neue Sachlichkeit, where the same themes as those found in the painting were frequently used. The fact that these are shared themes across different cultural media demonstrates that Neue Sachlichkeit reflected a mood of its time, and this book explores the ways in which this mood was expressed.


Christopher Lloyd

Fascination with creatures that challenge boundaries between humans and other species long predates Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. Narratives have evolved from the fabulous to the more scientifically grounded, and tend to follow either the regressive or relativistic model, established respectively by Swift and Voltaire: men as apes, debased, stinking brutes; or apes as men, as potential rivals and substitutes. My aim here is to sample and compare a select corpus of fictional texts in French and English ranging from the late nineteenth century to the present, which deal with monstrosity or the incursion into the human domain of threatening, rival primate species, in the context of human evolution, whether individual, social or biological. Stevenson, Zola, Maupassant and Hugo all present variations of the self dispossessed by some monstrous other, whether through physical deformity caused by a malicious external agent, or more subtly through some internal disturbance of ontological equilibrium. This unleashes creatures that devour their human host, but at the cost of their own extinction. H. G. Wells and Octave Mirbeau, on the other hand, adopt the perspective of the external observer who poses as a scientific witness of attempts to modify human and animal evolution. In conclusion, I discuss two twentieth-century novels which rewrite the whole course of primate evolution, Boulle’s La Planète des singes (1963) and Self’s Great Apes (1997).