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Late Victorian Novels and the Fantasy of the State
Scholars have long argued that nations, as imagined communities, are constituted through the incitement of feelings and the operations of fantasy. Can we say the same about the set of disciplinary and regulatory institutions that we call the state? Can we think of it as constituted by feelings and fantasies, too? Zarena Aslami argues that late Victorian novels certainly did. Revisiting major works by Olive Schreiner, Thomas Hardy, and George Gissing, among others, Aslami shows how novels dramatized the feelings and fantasies of a culture that was increasingly optimistic, as well as increasingly anxious, about the state's capacity to "step in" and help its citizens achieve the good life. In this study of late Victorian culture, Aslami reveals how a historically specific and intriguing fantasy of the state was thought to animate citizens' psychic lives. This fantasy starred the modern state as a heroic actor with whom one has a relationship and from whom one desires something. While she tracks fantasies of the state in political writing, Aslami argues that novels were a privileged site for meditating on its more tragic implications.
No. 1 (2008) through current issue
Dublin James Joyce Journal is a co-publication of the James Joyce Research Centre at University College Dublin and the National Library of Ireland. It appears annually in December. It showcases the research activities of the Joyce Research Centre at University College Dublin and gives particular prominence to historicist, archival, genetic, and textual scholarship. It especially aims to feature interpretations of Joyce's work that make use of archival resources.
The Goddess Beckons
Like many men of his generation, poet Robert Graves was indelibly marked by his experience of trench warfare in World War I. The horrific battles in which he fought and his guilt over surviving when so many perished left Graves shell-shocked and disoriented, desperately seeking a way to bridge the rupture between his conventional upbringing and the uncertainties of postwar British society. In this study of Graves’s early poetry, Frank Kersnowski explores how his war neurosis opened a door into the unconscious for Graves and led him to reject the essential components of the Western idea of reality—reason and predictability. In particular, Kersnowski traces the emergence in Graves’s early poems of a figure he later called "The White Goddess," a being at once terrifying and glorious, who sustains life and inspires poetry. Drawing on interviews with Graves’s family, as well as unpublished correspondence and drafts of poems, Kersnowski argues that Graves actually experienced the White Goddess as a real being and that his life as a poet was driven by the purpose of celebrating and explaining this deity and her matriarchy.
Hellenism and Orientalism in the Writings of E. M. Forster and C. P. Cavafy
What is the relationship between E. M. Forster’s quintessentially British novels, stories and essays and the abstrusely historical and erotic musings of the Greek poet C. P. Cavafy? The answer is both complex and illuminating.The apparent differences are bridged by Forster’s penchant for antiquities and interest in matters Oriental, by Cavafy’s Anglophilia and British education. While these facts have generated comparative criticism that places novelist and poet in a Hellenistic continuum, the scholarly discussion to date has overlooked the ideological tensions that separate these two important modernists along a cultural divide. Hellenism is a way into their shared interests in the classical past, yet it also marks a point of dissension regarding the essence of Greek civilization. Similarly, their Orientalist visions led them to radically diverse configurations of the East. Dr. Jeffreys’s parallel reading of Forster and Cavafy explains not only how Forster and Cavafy were both rooted in Western Hellenism, but also how their suppositions about it diverged significantly and how the two confronted the Orient in quite different ways. New light is also cast on their friendship; their different political views may have impeded its development. Eastern Questions: Hellenism and Orientalism in the Writings of E. M. Forster and C. P. Cavafy makes use of unpublished documents, newly edited unfinished poetry (here made available for the first time to an English readership), and lesser-known texts, both fictional and nonfictional. The exchange between literary and non-literary texts, prose and poetry, focuses the ideological center of Forster’s lifelong engagement with Greece and India and identifies the essence of Cavafy’s prolonged fixation on matters Hellenic. In the process Jeffreys’s New Historicist study applies contemporary critical trends in modern Greek studies to Forster criticism, producing an incisive, fresh reading of the relationship and the Cavafy and Forster canons.
Essays on Desire and Dispossession in Nineteenth-Century British Culture
Economic Women: Essays on Desire and Dispossession in Nineteenth-Century British Culture, edited by Lana L. Dalley and Jill Rappoport, showcases the wide-ranging economic activities and relationships of real and fictional women in nineteenth-century British culture. This volume’s essays chronicle the triumphs and setbacks of women who developed, described, contested, and exploited new approaches to economic thought and action. In their various roles as domestic employees, activists fighting for free trade, theorists developing statistical models, and individuals considering the cost of marriage and its dissolution, the women discussed here were givers and takers, producers and consumers. Bringing together leading and emerging voices in the field, this collection builds on the wealth of interdisciplinary economic criticism published in the last twenty years, but it also challenges traditional understandings of economic subjectivity by emphasizing both private and public records and refusing to identify a single female corollary to Economic Man. The scholars presented here recover game-changing stories of women’s economic engagement from diaries, letters, ledgers, fiction, periodicals, and travel writing to reveal a nuanced portrait of Economic Women. Offering new readings of works by George Eliot, Bram Stoker, Willkie Collins, Charlotte Riddell, and Ellen Wood, and addressing political economy, consumerism, and business developments alongside family finances and the ethics of exchange, Economic Women tells a story of ambivalence as well as achievement, failure as well as forward motion.
Harry Furniss's 'A Sketch of Boz'
Harry Furniss (1854–1925) was a well-known if somewhat abrasive figure in English literary, artistic and political circles during the half century either side of 1900. In March 1905, at the invitation of the Dickens Fellowship, he delivered in London’s Memorial Hall a platform lecture on Dickens and his illustrators, “A Sketch of Boz,” illuminated by some sixty magic lantern slides. Over the next two years Furniss toured the provinces with an enlarged version of this lecture. An Edwardian’s View of Dickens and His Illustrators is an edited and annotated transcription of the unpublished manuscript of this engaging lecture, together with the original illustrations, some of which are Furniss’s own. Few complete texts of oral lectures have survived and, coming from the pen (and pencil) of a professional book illustrator and keen Dickensian, “A Sketch of Boz” is an important document in the culture of Edwardian England. Professor Cordery’s substantial introduction discusses how the lecture sheds light on a number of fields: Dickens’s reputation and that of his illustrators in the early twentieth century; the cultural significance of the platform lecture; the changing style of illustration and caricature; the commercial and ideological exploitation of Dickens at the turn of the century. He summarizes the main illustrators surveyed by Furniss and includes more than 170 annotations. The book thus engages a variety of readers interested in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British literature and culture.
Vol. 1 (1988) through current issue
Eighteenth-Century Fiction publishes articles in both English and French on all aspects of imaginative prose in the period 1700–1800, but will also examine papers on late 17th-century or early 19th-century fiction, particularly when the works are discussed in connection with the eighteenth century.
Vol. 60, no. 4 (1993) through current issue
Since 1934, ELH has published superior studies that interpret the conditions affecting major works in English and American literature. The importance of historical continuity in the discipline of letters remains a central concern for ELH but the journal does not seek to sponsor particular methods or aims. ELH has consistently maintained its high standards, publishing articles with an intelligent mix of historical, critical, and theoretical concerns.
Elizabeth Singer Rowe and the Development of the English Novel is the first in-depth study of Rowe’s prose fiction. A four-volume collection of her work was a bestseller for a hundred years after its publication, but today Rowe is a largely unrecognized figure in the history of the novel. Although her poetry was appreciated by poets such as Alexander Pope for its metrical craftsmanship, beauty, and imagery, by the time of her death in 1737 she was better known for her fiction. According to Paula R. Backscheider, Rowe's major focus in her novels was on creating characters who were seeking a harmonious, contented life, often in the face of considerable social pressure. This quest would become the plotline in a large number of works in the second half of the eighteenth century, and it continues to be a major theme today in novels by women. Backscheider relates Rowe’s work to popular fiction written by earlier writers as well as by her contemporaries. Rowe had a lasting influence on major movements, including the politeness (or gentility) movement, the reading revolution, and the Bluestocking society. The author reveals new information about each of these movements, and Elizabeth Singer Rowe emerges as an important innovator. Her influence resulted in new types of novel writing, philosophies, and lifestyles for women. Backscheider looks to archival materials, literary analysis, biographical evidence, and a configuration of cultural and feminist theories to prove her groundbreaking argument.
Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350-1700
In The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350–1700, Nancy Bradley Warren expands on the topic of female spirituality, first explored in her book Women of God and Arms, to encompass broad issues of religion, gender, and historical periodization. Through her analyses of the variety of ways in which medieval spirituality was deliberately and actively carried forward to the early modern period, Warren underscores both continuities and revisions that challenge conventional distinctions between medieval and early modern culture. The early modern writings of Julian of Norwich are an illustrative starting point for Warren’s challenge to established views of English religious cultures. In a single chapter, Warren follows the textual and devotional practices of Julian as they influence two English Benedictine nuns in exile, and then Grace Mildmay, a seventeenth-century Protestant gentry woman, “to shed light on the ways in which individual encounters of the divine, especially gendered bodily encounters expressed textually, signify for others both personally and socio-historically.” In subsequent chapters, Warren discusses St. Birgitta of Sweden’s imitatio Christi in the context of the importance of Spain and Spanish women in shaping a distinctive form of early modern Englishness strongly aligned with medieval religious culture; juxtaposes the fifteenth-century mystic Margery Kempe with the life and writings of Anna Trapnel, a seventeenth-century Baptist; and treats Catherine of Siena together with the Protestant Anne Askew and Lollard and Recusant women. In the final chapters she focuses on the interplay of gender and textuality in women’s textual representations of themselves and in works written by men who used the traditions of female spirituality in the service of competing orthodoxies.