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John Henry Gray (1866-1934) is best remembered as the possible original of Oscar Wilde's famous fable The Picture of Dorian Gray. But Gray was himself poet, short story writer, novelist and translator of some distinction as well as an exquisite, a working class dandy, not to mention a person of singular personal beauty. His poetry and prose have again begun to attract attention beyond a small circle. Such critics as Geoffrey Grigson, Bernard Bergonzi, Ruth Z. Temple and Isobel Murray have praised his work, while the devoted labor of Father Brocard Sewell on Gray's biography has also assisted in once more bringing this gifted and attractive figure to presence. One reason for such a delayed fame is that much of Gray's verse was published in severely limited editions or remains fugitive. As a consequence, his work is not merely difficult to obtain, but it is impossible to see whole. Reader should take note: the print edition of The Poems of JOhn Gray is out of print.
Over the years, Pilgrimage (1915-1967) has been viewed as early Modernism's great documentary novel, as daring experimental fiction, as spiritual autobiography and pioneer of cinematographic technique. No matter what critical viewpoint readers use, Pilgrimage's reputation as a demanding text persists. Like James Joyce's Ulysses, Richardson's 2000 intricately woven pages have challenged readers for decades. Reader's Guide meets these difficulties with a detailed account of the time scheme of the narrative, and a precise chronology of events keyed to the novels by page number for easy reference. Relationships among the principal persons of the story are followed throughout, and all the characters are placed in context in an alphabetically arranged descriptive directory. The book concludes with a select annotated secondary bibliography.
Poet, Architect, Typographer, Art Historian
Herbert Horne (1864-1916) was a figure of alarming versatility: poet, architect, editor, essayist, typographer, designer of books, and the first scientific historian of art from the British Isles. is great book on Botticelli has been called by John Pope-Hennessy "the best monograph in English on an Italian painter." Horne's splendid editorship of the Century Guild Hobby Horse led Bernard Berenson and others to hail him as the successor of William Morris. Horne the connoisseur also gathered a choice selection of drawings and paintings which await closer appreciation. They are housed in his residence, now the Museo Horne, Florence, Italy. In spite of his achievements he passes unmentioned in the Dictionary of National Biography, and aside from distinguished but brief discussions of his art activities by Fritz Saxl and Frank Kermode, no book-length study has been devoted to him until this volume. Readers should note: the 1990 print edition of Rediscovering Herbert Horne is out of prnt.
Life, Love, and Art
This is William Dillingham’s third book studying the relationship between Rudyard Kipling’s inner life and his writings. The focus is on major short stories, mainly from Kipling’s later period, beginning with an earlier work, “‘The Finest Story in the World,’” and concluding with the last story he wrote, “‘Teem’—a Treasure Hunter.” Rudyard Kipling: Life, Love, and Art analyzes stories that are not only among Kipling’s most accomplished but also demonstrably in need of a fresh, thorough reassessment, furnishing insights into how such intricately complex works as “‘Wireless,’” “Mrs. Bathurst,” “The Bull That Thought,” and “The Wish House” were conceived and how they reflect Kipling’s most cherished beliefs, including his commitments and his fears. As Professor Dillingham says, “we find that frequently at their core are matters that deal with the heart of his craft and subjects that pervade his writings: life, how it should and should not be lived; love, what is healthy about it and what is perilous; and Art, what it is in broad terms ‘proper work’ and how crucially important it is to one’s sense of identity.”
A Second Book of Words
A Book of Words, Kipling’s own selection of his speeches published in 1928, reflects a variety of topics and audiences. He spoke to schoolboys about literature, to Brazilians about “the spirit of the Latin,” to the Royal Geographical Society about travel, to navy men about sailors, to ship owners about shipping, to university students about independence. Many of his speeches have remained uncollected and virtually unknown. A Second Book of Words collects what Kipling left uncollected. The speeches in this new book date from 1884 to 1935. We see Kipling at different moments before different audiences. We hear how he talked to his Sussex neighbors, or how he addressed a parliamentary committee, or a South African election meeting, or a club of London doctors, or his fellow honorary degree recipients at Cambridge. The more substantial, formal speeches are equally various, marked by Kipling’s mastery of language, a few passing over into a violent extravagance of feeling—the attack on the Liberal government in the speech of 16 May 1914 or the speech on war aims of 15 February 1918. Usually, however, the tone is urbane, the artistic aim to instruct through delight. Kipling knew that the maker of speeches and the poet were subject to the same law: “Unless they please they are not heard at all.” A Second Book of Words adds another forty-eight speeches to the thirty-eight that Kipling chose to make public, printing all the known uncollected speeches—long or short, carefully meditated or spontaneous, tendentious or diplomatic. Another twenty-five for which no text has so far been found are identified, as are the speeches that he is known to have written for members of the royal family.
"Tho' with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been to arrive where I am." So Bernard Shaw quoted Valiant-for-Truth, "with his foot on the brink of the river," from John Bunyan's |The Pilgrim's Progress|, in a letter to the actress Elizabeth Robins. It was the 1890s. G.B.S. was on the brink of fame. He had overcome limited schooling, Irish origins, unemployment and near-poverty, and a series of false starts as a writer, but he resolved to succeed on his own terms. He abandoned a striking "Passion Play" in Shakespearean blank verse. He conceded that the first of his failed novels was titled |Immaturity| "with merciless fitness." The British Museum Reading Room became his university. He taught himself everything from Pitman shorthand to books, music, and the arts—becoming in succession the leading music critic in England, then the leading drama critic. His goal was the stage itself. All that he wrote would be fodder for his theatrical future. His first completed play, |Widowers' Houses|, ran only two performances, but he knew he was on his way. Stanley Weintraub’s latest book evokes Bernard Shaw's formative decades as novelist, diarist, polemicist, memoirist, critic of music and the arts, and aspiring playwright. The fourteen segments about Shaw’s pre-playwright beginnings (from “Passion Without ‘Passion’: Shaw’s Abortive Jesus Play” to “Shaw Becomes a Playwright: July–December 1892”) have been written and edited over more than half a century. When not completely new they are much augmented. Readers of Shaw will appreciate having them updated and available together in this new volume.
Tales of Unrest
The life of the Anglo-African writer Ernest Glanville (1855–1925) was the stuff of fiction. As a young colonist he took long, lonely treks in the border country of the Eastern Cape, absorbing the superstitions and folklore of the Xhosa. He served as a war correspondent for the London Daily Chronicle in the Zulu War, riding with Basutos, Boers, colonials, mounted infantry, and regular cavalry scouts. After the war the venturesome Glanville wrote for and edited several London-based and South African publications, most notably the oldest newspaper in that part of the British empire, Cape Argus. Throughout his seventeen adventure novels and several collections of short fiction he wrote of what he had seen, done, or heard from eyewitnesses. Historical facts are mixed with supernatural elements of local myth and magic not merely to give his tales a powerful exoticism but to explore the borderland spaces of his time and place.
History, Criticism, and Myth
Studying Oscar Wilde: History, Criticism, and Myth takes issue with many assumptions current in Wilde scholarship. It sets an engaging course in exploring Wilde’s literary reputation. In particular, Professors Guy and Small are interested in the tension between Wilde’s enduring popularity with the general reading public as a perennially witty entertainer and his status among academics as a complex, politicized writer attuned to the cultural and philosophical currents associated with modernity. Their argument focuses initially on the prominence of biographical readings of Wilde’s literary works, drawing attention to the contradictions in the ways biographers have described his life and to the problems of seeing his writing as a form of self-disclosure. Subsequent chapters assess the usefulness of other forms of academic scholarship to understanding works that are not, on the surface, “difficult.” Here a number of commonly held views are challenged. To what extent is De Profundis autobiographical? How sophisticated is the learning exhibited in Intentions? In what ways are the society comedies “about” homosexuality? And how does The Picture of Dorian Gray relate to Wilde’s “mature” style? The volume also examines some of Wilde’s lesser-known, unfinished works and scenarios, including The Cardinal of Avignon, La Sainte Courtisane, and A Florentine Tragedy (all printed as appendices), arguing that these “failed” works provide important insight into the reasons for Wilde’s popular success. Since Guy and Small have authored numerous articles and books on Wilde, Studying Oscar Wilde: History, Criticism, and Myth will be a must read for scholars, but it is also written in a jargon-free language that will speak to that wider audience of readers who enjoy Oscar Wilde.
Transparencies of Desire
The "Conclusion" to The Renaissance advises the responsive critic to consider carefully "the various forms of intellectual activity which together make up the culture of an age." Transparencies of Desire brings together twenty-one varied, contentious, informative essays that confirm Pater's ongoing power to captivate and challenge readers. The interdisciplinary breadth of the collection demonstrates that the critical culture of Pater studies is always multifaceted--inviting diverse theoretical perspectives yet also demanding that any paradigm of analysis (feminist, new historicist, aesthetic, queer theory, formalist, biographical, Foucauldian) be tested and redefined. Scholars from five different countries reconsider Pater's career and canon, the reception of his works, the intersections of genre, gender, and aesthetics, and the implications of Pater's writings--in aesthetics, fiction, philosophy, archaeology, art history--for contemporary cultural studies.