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Shakespeare and the Politics of Music
Music was a subject of considerable debate during the Renaissance. The notion that music could be interpreted in a meaningful way clashed regularly with evidence that music was in fact profoundly promiscuous in its application and effects. Subsequently, much writing in the period reflects a desire to ward off music's illegibility rather than come to terms with its actual effects. In Broken Harmony, Joseph M. Ortiz revises our understanding of music's relationship to language in Renaissance England. In the process he shows the degree to which discussions of music were ideologically and politically charged.
Offering a historically nuanced account of the early modern debate over music, along with close readings of several of Shakespeare's plays (including Titus Andronicus, The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, and The Winter's Tale) and Milton's A Maske, Ortiz challenges the consensus that music's affinity with poetry was widely accepted, or even desired, by Renaissance poets. Shakespeare more than any other early modern poet exposed the fault lines in the debate about music's function in art, repeatedly staging disruptive scenes of music that expose an underlying struggle between textual and sensuous authorities. Such musical interventions in textual experiences highlight the significance of sound as an aesthetic and sensory experience independent of any narrative function.
The Art of Disclosure
Browning's Beginnings was first published in 1980. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Browning's Beginnings offers a fresh approach to the poet who, among major Victorians, has proved at once the most congenial and most inscrutable to modern readers. Drawing on recent developments in literary theory and in the criticism of romantic poetry, HerbertF. Tucker, Jr., argues that Browning's stylistic "obscurity" is the result of a principled poetics of evasion. This art of disclosure, in deferring formal and semantic finalities, constitutes an aesthetic counterpart to his open-ended moral philosophy of"incompleteness," Browning's poems, like his enormously productive career, find their motivation and sustenance in his optimistic love of the future—a love that is indistinguishable from his lifelong fear that there will be nothing left to say.
The opening chapters trace the workings of Browning's art of disclosure with extensive and original interpretations of the unduly neglected early poems, Pauline, Paracelsus, and Sordello, and place special emphasis on Browning's attitudes toward poetic tradition and language. A chapter on Browning's attitudes toward poetic tradition and language. A chapter on Browning's plays identifies dynamics of representation in Pippa Passes, Strafford,and King Victor and King Charles. Tucker discusses the pervasive analogy between Browning's ideas about poetic representation and about representation in its erotic and religious aspects, and shows how the early poems and plays illustrate correlative developments in poetics and in the exploration and dramatic rendering of human psychology. The remaining chapters follow the poetic psychology of Browning to its culmination in the great poems of his middle years; exemplary readings of selected dramatic lyrics and monologues suggest that the ways of meaning in Browning's mature work variously bear out the sense of endlessness or perpetual initiation that is central to his poetic beginnings.
Tucker thus contends that the "romantic" and the "Victorian" Browning have more in common than is generally supposed, and his book should appeal to students of both periods. Its discussion of general literary issues - poetic influence, closure, representation, and meaning - in application to particular texts should further recommend Browning's Beginnings to the nonspecialist reader interested in poetry and poetic theory.
Thomas Hoccleve and the Literature of Late Medieval England
Long neglected as a marginal and eccentric figure, Thomas Hoccleve (1367–1426) wrote some of the most sophisticated and challenging poetry of the late Middle Ages. Full of gossip and autobiographical detail, his work has made him immensely useful to modern scholars, yet Hoccleve the poet has remained decidedly in the shadow of Geoffrey Chaucer. In The Bureaucratic Muse, Ethan Knapp investigates the connections between Hoccleve's poetic corpus and his life as a clerk of the Privy Seal. The early fifteenth century was a watershed moment in the histories of both centralized bureaucracy and English vernacular literature. These were the decades in which Chaucer's experiments in a courtly English poetry were rendered into a stable tradition and in which the central writing offices at Westminster emerged from personal government into the full-blown modernity of independent civil service. Knapp shows the importance of Hoccleve's poetry as a site where these two histories come together. By following the shifting relationship between the texts of vernacular poetry and those of bureaucratic documents, Knapp argues that the roots of vernacular fiction reach back into the impersonal documentary habits of a bureaucratic class. The Bureaucratic Muse, the first full-length study of Hoccleve since 1968, provides an authoritative historical and textual treatment of this important but underappreciated writer. Chapters focus on Hoccleve's importance in consolidating key concepts of the literary field such as autobiography, religious heterodoxy, gendered identity, and post-Chaucer textuality. This book will be of interest to scholars of Middle English literature, autobiography, gender studies, and the history of literary institutions.
Vol. 37 (2009) through current issue
The Byron Journal is an international publication published twice annually by Liverpool University Press for The Byron Society. The journal publishes scholarly articles and notes on all aspects of Byron's writings and life, and on related topics. Since its inception in 1973, the journal has become widely read in many different countries. Apart from providing a forum for leading authorities on Byron and news of significant events and conferences in the Byron year, the journal also reviews all major works on the poet and prides itself on the speed with which new books are reviewed.
Reshaping the Image of the Cosmos
C. S. Lewis considered his novel Perelandra (1943) among his favorite works. A triumph of imaginative science fiction writing, Perelandra—part of Lewis’s “Space Trilogy”—is also theologically ambitious. C. S. Lewis’s Perelandra: Reshaping the Image of the Cosmos argues that point and also how the novel synthesizes the three traditions of cosmology, mythology, and Christianity. The first group of essays considers the cosmological implications of the world Lewis depicts in Perelandra while the second group examines the relationship between morality and meaning in Lewis’s created cosmology of the world of Perelandra.
This work brings together a world-class group of literary and theological scholars and Lewis specialists that includes Paul S. Fid-des, Monika B. Hilder, Sanford Schwartz, Michael Travers, and Michael Ward. The collection is enhanced by Walter Hooper’s reminiscences of his conversations with Lewis about Perelandra and the possible provenance of the stories in Lewis’s imagination.
C. S. Lewis scholars and devoted readers alike will find this volume indispensible to the understanding of this canonical work of speculative fiction.
Reginald Pecock's Books and Textual Communities
The Call to Read is the first full-length study to situate the surviving oeuvre of Reginald Pecock in the context of current scholarship on English vernacular theology of the late medieval period. Kirsty Campbell examines the important and innovative contribution Pecock made to late medieval debates about the roles of the Bible, the Church, the faculty of reason, and practices of devotion in fostering a vital, productive, and stable Christian community. Campbell argues that Pecock’s fascinating attempt to educate the laity is more than an effort to supply religious reading material: it is an attempt to establish and unite a community of readers around his books, to influence and thus change the ways they understand their faith, the world, and their place in it. The aim of Pecock’s educational project is to harness the power of texts to effect religious change. Combining traditional approaches with innovative thinking on moral philosophy, devotional exercises, and theological doctrine, Pecock’s works of religious instruction are his attempt to reform a Christian community threatened by heresy through reshaping meaningful Christian practices and forms of belief. Campbell’s book will be of interest to scholars and students of medieval literature and culture, especially those interested in fifteenth-century religious history and culture.
Thomas Rice uses the concept of cannibalism (what he calls "dismemberment, ingestion, and reprocessing") to describe Joyce's incorporation of so many literary and cultural allusions, both "high" and "popular." Beginning with examples of actual and symbolic cannibalism that fascinated Joyce--the Donner party, the Catholic Eucharist--Rice moves on to the ways Joyce appropriated language and elements of material culture into his work.
In Cannibal Joyce, Rice deftly offers a wide range of surprising connections and fascinating insights. A look at Berlitz's approach to teaching language leads to an examination of Joyce's aesthetic of disjunction in language. He compares Joyce and Joseph Conrad in light of the difficulties of modernism for readers through a startling and convincing discussion of the condom. And by focusing attention on colonial tales of cannibalism and Britain's treatment of the Irish, he provides a unique perspective on Joyce's politics.
A Critical Edition
Costello-Sullivan has compiled a student-friendly version of Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1872 vampire tale, “Carmilla.” This critical edition includes an introduction by the editor, a timeline, a short biographical sketch of the author, a selected bibliography, and four original, scholar-authored essays that explicate the novella for an undergraduate audience. This work situates “Carmilla” within its Irish cultural milieu and treats the text as self-standing rather than as a precursor to Dracula.
Although numerous critics and scholars have considered the influence of Joyce's Catholicism on his works, most seem to have concluded that Joyce's intention was to subvert the church's power. Mary Lowe-Evans argues, on the contrary, that the net result of Joyce's Catholic nostalgia is an entanglement in rather than a liberation from the labyrinthine ways of theological exposition and Catholic ritual and politics, which has inspired in his readers an enduring admiration for institutional Catholicism.
Lowe-Evans explores the ways in which specific Catholic rituals and devotions vigorously promoted by the Catholic Church during the "Crisis in Modernism" (1850-1960) caused a nostalgic reaction in Joyce that informs and permeates his work. She also traces the subtle and direct influence Joyce had on the Catholic thinking of a diverse group of subsequent writers. She demonstrates that Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald seem to effect this nostalgia in their work in spite of themselves, while Flannery O'Connor and Thomas Merton purposely elicit it. Lowe-Evans discusses Joyce's enduring belief in the immortal soul and the religious faith and doubt of Merton with great sensitivity, broadening the appeal of the study.
Lyric Poetry and Early Modern England
As a literary mode "lyric" is difficult to define precisely. While the term has conventionally been applied to brief, songlike poems expressing the speaker's interior thoughts critics have questioned many of the assumptions underlying this definition, calling into doubt the very possibility of self-expression in language. Whereas much recent scholarship on lyric has centered on the Romantic era, Heather Dubrow turns instead to the poetry of early modern England. The Challenges of Orpheus confronts widespread assumptions about lyric, exploring such topics as its relationship to its audiences, the impact of material conditions of production and other cultural pressures, lyric's negotiations of gender, and the interactions and tensions between lyric and narrative. Offering fresh perspectives on major texts of the period—from Wyatt's "My lute awake" to Milton's Nativity Ode—as well as poems by lesser-known figures, Dubrow extends her critical conclusions to poetry in other historical periods and to the relationship between creative writers and critics, recommending new directions for the study of lyric and of genre.