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A brief introduction to the horror of Enlightenment
David Ashford

The introduction will discuss the significance of the Prometheus myth, beginning with its most familiar manifestation in English literature, Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. Having noted that Promethean horror is relatively rare in English-language literature, where the term gothic is near synonymous with horror, the introduction will note the proliferation of Promethean tropes over the course of the twentieth century and suggest that changing perceptions towards Modernism are the primary reason for this shift, outlining some of the approaches developed in the chapters.

in A book of monsters
Sir Philip Sidney
in Sir Philip Sidney – The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia
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Spectres of Marx in Tolkien’s Middle-Earth
David Ashford

The fourth chapter shows how the tradition of Modernism in which one might place Lubetkin (with writers T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis) would itself be demonised by writers within the Romantic-Modern tradition, exploring how fear and hostility provoked by the Promethean energies of the USSR (and by the New Linguistic Doctrine of the Soviet linguist Nikolai Marr in particular) manifest themselves in perhaps the most memorable demonisation of a symbol of Enlightenment: the all-seeing Eye of Sauron on its pyramid. Deeply committed to the discipline of philology that had inspired Schopenhauer (and the radical empiricism that followed), J. R. R. Tolkien is revealed to be an unlikely combatant in the great culture war between these two estranged philosophies that defined the era of High Modernism.

in A book of monsters
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The insidious appeal of the Brutalist dystopia
David Ashford

The fifth chapter considers the third-quarter-century synthesis of the two rival “Freudian” and “Marxist” Modernisms considered in the preceding chapters, and ways in which post-war theory and practice designated “Late Modernist” would be (very successfully) demonised by successive waves of post-modernist critics, particularly in relation to architecture. This chapter will consider the profound reaction from Brutalist architecture that anticipated the general turn to post-modernisms in other disciplines and question many of the widespread assumptions that have developed with regard to this. The ferocity of the debate suggests that the issues at stake here are not merely practical. Those for and against seem to share an irrational faith in the power of the buildings to exert control over the communities they contain, whether for good or for ill, in a manner that must recall the fantastically weird responses to Hawksmoor’s baroque churches in psycho-geographical fiction of this era. The underlying causes of this uncanny effect are identified, analysed, and traced back to the architectural theory that designed such spaces and to the economic theory that required their production. Finally, a peculiar subgenre of the anti-socialist dystopia is defined that is, specifically, anti-Keynesian.

in A book of monsters
Prospects of atonement in twenty-first-century science fiction
David Ashford

The final chapter will examine twenty-first-century novels by Reza Negarestani, Stephen King and Nnedi Okorafor, in order to assess whether the “turn” towards Enlightenment horror identified in this book is likely to prove an enduring phenomenon or whether its moment might now already be passed, as memories of the hopes and fears provoked in equal measure by the Promethean ambitions of Modernist practitioners and theorists begin to fade with time, with the Golden Age of Western capitalism (as the historian Eric Hobsbawm termed it) receding ever further into the past.

in A book of monsters
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Sir Philip Sidney

The second book of the New Arcadia 

in Sir Philip Sidney – The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia
The New Arcadia, Second Revised Edition

The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, Sir Philip Sidney’s prose romance about the pastoral exploits of the princes Musidorus and Pyrocles (aka Zelmane the amazon) remains one of the defining works of English fiction. The New Arcadia – the revised, unfinished version first published in print in 1590 – differs from its more widely known cousin the Old Arcadia, which circulated in manuscript during Sidney’s lifetime, in two major points. The first of these is its ambitious, non-chronological approach to the narrative, resulting in crucial plot details (and even the true identities of the main protagonists) being initially withheld from the reader. The second difference is in the New Arcadia’s rhetorically elaborate style, which consolidated Sidney’s reputation most skilled prose stylists of the English Renaissance. This edition of the New Arcadia is the first in 37 years and combines the text of Victor Skretkowicz’s seminal 1987 edition with a substantially expanded commentary and additional long notes on the book’s history in print and Sidney’s use of rhetorical devices.

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Sir Philip Sidney

The third book of the New Arcadia 

in Sir Philip Sidney – The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia
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Genre and exile
Emma L. E. Rees

The author's perception of Cavendish's literary history is diachronic; her texts are inseparable from the very particular times in which they were written. Some critics have claimed that she swept away convention, both literary and social, in her eclecticism. The author foregrounds the literary implications of Cavendish's experience of the triple exile, probing still more its interconnectedness with both genre and politics. The central importance placed upon exile is evident not only in Cavendish's generic play but in the material and spatial configuration of the publications themselves. Cavendish is as manipulative of her readership or, perhaps more precisely, her public, in her peritextual material as she is in her intratextual use of genre. Taken into exile, the genre of drama had never gone away, and the rapidity of its reinstatement under the Restoration regime as a facet of cultural life emphasises the idea that it 'had never been totally suppressed'.

in Margaret Cavendish
Helen Smith

Francis Bacon's endorsement of the transformative power of print has been re-enacted in recent years by a number of historians of the book, who argue that the early modern period witnessed a profound shift from an oral to a literate, and particularly to a print-literate, culture. In line with a number of recent revisionist accounts which argue against any radical shift from an oral or manuscript culture to a putative 'age of print', this chapter seeks to test early modern understandings of print culture by asking whether Bacon's almost exact contemporary, William Shakespeare, shared his belief in the epoch-defining impact of the press. In his attention to textual matters, and to the detailed etymological heritage of the terms of the press, Shakespeare reveals himself to be a precise man, a neat man, an exact man: not necessarily a printed man, but certainly 'a man in print'.

in Shakespeare’s book