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A milestone in literary scholarship, the publication of the Johns Hopkins edition of The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley makes available for the first time critically edited clear texts of all poems and translations that Shelley published or circulated among friends, as well as diplomatic texts of his significant incomplete poetic drafts and fragments. Edited upon historical principles by Donald H. Reiman and Neil Fraistat, the multi volume edition will offer more poems and fragments than any previous collective edition, arranged in the order of their first circulation. These texts are followed by the most extensive collations hitherto available and detailed commentaries that describe their contextual origins and subsequent reception. Rejected passages of released poems appear as supplements to those poems, while other poetic drafts that Shelley rejected or left incomplete at his death will be grouped according to either their publication histories or the notebooks in which they survive. Volume One includes Shelley's first four works containing poetry (all prepared for publication before his expulsion from Oxford), as well as "The Devil's Walk" (circulated in August 1812), and a series of short poems that he sent to friends between 1809 and 1814, including a bawdy satire on his parents and "Oh wretched mortal," a poem never before published. An appendix discusses poems lost or erroneously attributed to the young Shelley. "These early poems are important not only biographically but also aesthetically, for they provide detailed evidence of how Shelley went about learning his craft as a poet, and the differences between their tone and that of his mature short poetry index a radical change in his self-image . . . The poems in Volume I, then, demonstrate Shelley's capacity to write verse in a range of stylistic registers. This early verse, even in its most abandoned forays into Sensibility, the Gothic, political satire, and vulgarity—perhaps especially in these most apparently idiosyncratic gestures—provides telling access to its own cultural moment, as well as to Shelley's art and thought in general."—from the Editorial Overview
The Perfect Critic, 1919–1926
The Perfect Critic, 1919-1926, Volume 2 of The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot, documents Eliot's emergence as an authoritative and commanding critical voice in twentieth-century letters. The essays and reviews in this volume, most of which were never republished or collected after their first appearances in periodicals, trace the swift and astonishing arc of his rise to international prominence as an incisive critic of literature and culture, an avant-garde poet, and an editor of a successful and celebrated London journal. These seven years register the seismic shift in modern poetry that comes with the publication of The Waste Land (1922), and they witness the appearance of Eliot's first collected volume of verse, Poems, 1909-1925 (1925).
Eliot composed not less than 130 essays, reviews, and letters during this brief time, publishing in venues as various as The Athenaeum, The Times Literary Supplement, La Nouvelle Revue française, The Dial, and Vanity Fair. Such a period of intense creativity and prolific critical writing is all the more remarkable when considered against the backdrop of the extraordinary upheavals in his personal life: the unexpected deaths of his father and sister, the dismal mental and physical health of his wife Vivienne, and Eliot's own psychological breakdown and treatment. The volume features a thorough historical introduction that describes the dynamic and challenging circumstances, both personal and professional, that faced him as he began to establish his critical reputation in London literary circles and beyond.
The Perfect Critic gathers together an impressive and widely unknown body of work, but it includes also several of Eliot's most influential and enduring essays—“Tradition and the Individual Talent,” “Hamlet,” “The Metaphysical Poets,” and “Ulysses, Order, and Myth”—now edited and annotated by Anthony Cuda and Ronald Schuchard. These magisterial early works furnish us with the signal concepts and phrases that have made Eliot's criticism a permanent feature of monographs, syllabi, and anthologies, including the “extinction of personality,” the “objective correlative,” the “dissociation of sensibility,” and the “mythical method.”
The Perfect Critic includes a previously unpublished essay, “A Neglected Aspect of Chapman,” as well as the contents of two influential prose volumes published during the period, The Sacred Wood (1920) and Homage to John Dryden (1924). It also contains newly edited versions of the eight Clark Lectures that Eliot delivered in 1926 for the prestigious series at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Anthony Cuda, associate professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, is the author of The Passions of Modernism: Eliot, Yeats, Woolf and Mann (2010). He has published articles on Eliot, Yeats, and Heaney, and his reviews of contemporary poetry have appeared in The Washington Post Book World, The New Criterion, FIELD: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, and elsewhere. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the T. S. Eliot Society and a regular lecturer at the T. S. Eliot International Summer School.
Ronald Schuchard, the Goodrich C. White Professor of English, Emeritus, at Emory University, is the author of award-winning Eliot's Dark Angel (1999) and The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Arts (2008). The editor of Eliot's Clark and Turnbull lectures, The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry (1993), he is co-editor with John Kelly of The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats, Volume 3 (1994), Volume 4 (2005), winner of the MLA's Cohen Award for a Distinguished Edition of Letters, and Volume 5 (forthcoming). A former Guggenheim fellow and founder-director of the T. S. Eliot International Summer School (2009-2013), he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Apprentice Years, 1905–1918
Volume 1 of The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot, Apprentice Years, 1905-1918 includes all surviving prose from Eliot’s years as a student and from his first three years as a literary journalist. Spanning the most formative period in his life, the collection begins with a story composed when he was a sixteen-year-old student at the Smith Academy in St. Louis and ends with a review published when he was thirty and an established man of letters in London. The volume contains twenty-six previously unpublished essays in philosophy and nearly one hundred pieces published in periodicals but never collected. Scrupulously edited and annotated by Jewel Spears Brooker and Ronald Schuchard, this volume is the first scholarly edition of Eliot’s early prose.
Apprentice Years, 1905-1918 is divided into three parts. The first features stories and reviews written between 1905 and 1910 while Eliot was a day student at Smith Academy and an undergraduate at Harvard. The second consists of essays in philosophy and ethics written between 1912 and 1915 when he was a graduate student at Harvard and Oxford. The culmination of this work was his doctoral dissertation on F. H. Bradley, here published for the first time in a critical edition. Articles and reviews written between 1915 and 1918 constitute the third group, beginning with pieces related to Eliot’s credentials in philosophy and the social sciences and concluding with essays and reviews in little magazines and journals Eliot published while establishing himself in literary circles. Apprentice Years contains a detailed historical introduction that traces Eliot’s intellectual development from broad interests in language and literature to intensive study of F. H. Bradley and Aristotle to an informed synthesis of literature and philosophy in literary criticism.
Jewel Spears Brooker, Professor Emerita of Literature at Eckerd College, is the author or editor of eight books, including Approaches to Teaching Eliot's Poetry and Plays (1988), Reading 'The Waste Land': Modernism and the Limits of Interpretation (1990, coauthored with Joseph Bentley), The Placing of T. S. Eliot (1991), Mastery and Escape: T. S. Eliot and the Dialectic of Modernism (1994), Conversations with Denise Levertov (1998), T. S. Eliot and Our Turning World (2000), and T. S. Eliot: The Contemporary Reviews (2004). She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Knight Foundation, and Pew Charitable Trust. She has served as president of the T. S. Eliot Society and the South Atlantic Modern Language Association and as a member of the National Humanities Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Ronald Schuchard, the Goodrich C. White Professor of English, Emeritus, at Emory University, is the author of award-winning Eliot’s Dark Angel (1999) and The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Arts (2008). The editor of Eliot’s Clark and Turnbull lectures, The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry (1993), he is co-editor with John Kelly of The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats, Volume 3 (1994), Volume 4 (2005), winner of the MLA’s Cohen Award for a Distinguished Edition of Letters, and Volume 5 (forthcoming). A former Guggenheim fellow and founder-director of the T. S. Eliot International Summer School (2009-2013), he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Categories of Difference in Eighteenth-Century British Culture
In the 1723 Journal of a Voyage up the Gambia, an English narrator describes the native translators vital to the expedition's success as being "Black as Coal." Such a description of dark skin color was not unusual for eighteenth-century Britons—but neither was the statement that followed: "here, thro' Custom, (being Christians) they account themselves White Men." The Complexion of Race asks how such categories would have been possible, when and how such statements came to seem illogical, and how our understanding of the eighteenth century has been distorted by the imposition of nineteenth and twentieth century notions of race on an earlier period.
Wheeler traces the emergence of skin color as a predominant marker of identity in British thought and juxtaposes the Enlightenment's scientific speculation on the biology of race with accounts in travel literature, fiction, and other documents that remain grounded in different models of human variety. As a consequence of a burgeoning empire in the second half of the eighteenth century, English writers were increasingly preoccupied with differentiating the British nation from its imperial outposts by naming traits that set off the rulers from the ruled; although race was one of these traits, it was by no means the distinguishing one. In the fiction of the time, non-European characters could still be "redeemed" by baptism or conversion and the British nation could embrace its mixed-race progeny. In Wheeler's eighteenth century we see the coexistence of two systems of racialization and to detect a moment when an older order, based on the division between Christian and heathen, gives way to a new one based on the assertion of difference between black and white.
That the poet John Gower was a major literary figure in England at the close of the fourteenth century is no longer in question. Scholarly attention paid to him and to his work over the past twenty- five years has redeemed him from an undeserved obscurity imposed by the preceding two hundred. The facts of his life and career are now documented, and recent critical assessment has placed his achievement most accurately alongside Chaucer's, Langland's, and the Gawain- poet's.
Unique among his contemporaries, all of whom undoubtedly read and used French in some measure, Gower alone has left us a significant body of verse and prose in Anglo-Norman; chiefly, the twelve-stanza poem Mirour de l-Omme, the Cinkante Balades, and the Traitié pour les amantz marietz. We are offered in this concordance of his Anglo- Norman work a unique opportunity to view a poetic language as it was written and read in England until Gower's death in 1408 and beyond.
As seventeenth-century England wrestled with the aftereffects of the Reformation, the personal frequently conflicted with the political. In speeches, political pamphlets, and other works of religious controversy, writers from the reign of James I to that of James II unexpectedly erupt into autobiography. John Milton famously interrupts his arguments against episcopacy with autobiographical accounts of his poetic hopes and dreams, while John Donne's attempts to describe his conversion from Catholicism wind up obscuring rather than explaining. Similar moments appear in the works of Thomas Browne, John Bunyan, and the two King Jameses themselves. These autobiographies are familiar enough that their peculiarities have frequently been overlooked in scholarship, but as Brooke Conti notes, they sit uneasily within their surrounding material as well as within the conventions of confessional literature that preceded them.
Confessions of Faith in Early Modern England positions works such as Milton's political tracts, Donne's polemical and devotional prose, Browne's Religio Medici, and Bunyan's Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners as products of the era's tense political climate, illuminating how the pressures of public self-declaration and allegiance led to autobiographical writings that often concealed more than they revealed. For these authors, autobiography was less a genre than a device to negotiate competing political, personal, and psychological demands. The complex works Conti explores provide a privileged window into the pressures placed on early modern religious identity, underscoring that it was no simple matter for these authors to tell the truth of their interior life—even to themselves.
Vol. 39 (2007) through current issue
Since its founding in 1968, Conradiana has presented its audience with the newest and best in Conrad scholarship and criticism, including reminiscences of eminent Conradians, detailed textual studies, biographical finds, new critical readings, and exciting applications of the newer critical modes.
Provincial Belief and the Making of Joyce and Rushdie
In Conspicuous Bodies: Provincial Belief and the Making of Joyce and Rushdie, Jean Kane re-examines the literature of James Joyce and Salman Rushdie from a post-secularist perspective, arguing that their respective religions hold critical importance in their works. Though Joyce and Rushdie were initially received as cosmopolitans, both authors subsequently reframed their public images and aligned themselves instead with a provincial religious identity, which emphasized the interconnections between religious devotion and embodiment. At the same time, both Joyce and Rushdie managed to resist the doctrinal content of their religions. Conspicuous Bodies presents Joyce as a founder and Rushdie as an inheritor of a distinctive discourse of belief about the importance of physical bodies and knowledge in religious practice. In doing so, it moves the reception of Joyce and Rushdie away from what previous critics have emphasized—away from questions of aesthetics and from a narrow understanding of belief—and instead questions the assumption that belief should be segregated from matters of physicality and knowledge. Kane reintroduces the concept of spiritual embodiment in order to expand our understanding of what counts as spiritual agency in non-western and minority literatures.
Constancy and the Ethics of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park offers a rigorous philosophical examination of the novel, the first book-length, close reading to do so.
Shakespeare's England and the New Historical Fiction
Taking its title from Umberto Eco’s postscript to The Name of the Rose, the novel that inaugurated the New Historical Fiction in the early 1980s, Constructing the World provides a guide to the genre’s defining characteristics. It also serves as a lively account of the way Shakespeare, Marlowe, Raleigh, Queen Elizabeth I, and their contemporaries have been depicted by such writers as Anthony Burgess, George Garrett, Patricia Finney, Barry Unsworth, and Rosalind Miles. Innovative historical novels written during the past two or three decades have transformed the genre, producing some extraordinary bestsellers as well as less widely read serious fiction. Shakespearean scholar Martha Tuck Rozett engages in an ongoing conversation about the genre of historical fiction, drawing attention to the metacommentary contained in “Afterwords” or “Historical Notes”; the imaginative reconstruction of the diction and mentality of the past; the way Shakespearean phrases, names, and themes are appropriated; and the counterfactual scenarios writers invent as they reinvent the past.