5 Fictional literature: Gawain in a Middle English miscellany 1 Popular reading in English c. 1400–1600 Fictional literature: Gawain The purpose of this chapter is to examine the nature of some popular fictional literature with the intention of understanding more about reading experience. There is a lot of popular fiction to choose from.2 In order to provide a focus for the chapter, I am taking the set of surviving stories centred on one of the knights of King Arthur’s round table: Gawain. I use the surviving Gawain stories to address a set of issues
This is the first edited collection of essays which focuses on the incest taboo and its literary and cultural presentation from the 1950s to the present day; it considers a number of authors rather than a single author from this period. This study discusses the impact of this change in attitudes on literature and literary adaptations in the latter half of the twentieth century, and early years of the twenty-first century. Although primarily concerned with fiction, the collection includes work on television and film. This collection will enhance the growing academic interest in trauma narratives and taboo-literature, offering a useful contribution to a fast-evolving field of artistic criticism which is concerned with the relationship between social issues and creativity. Authors discussed include Iain Banks, A.S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Simone de Beauvoir, Ted Hughes, Doris Lessing, Ian McEwan Iris Murdoch, Vladimir Nabokov, Andrea Newman and Pier Pasolini and Sylvia Plath.
This book explores the intimate relationship between literature and class in England (and later Britain) from the Peasants’ Revolt at the end of the fourteenth century to the impact of the French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth. It demonstrates how literary texts are determined by class relations and how they represent the interaction of classes in profound and apparently trivial ways. The book argues throughout that class cannot be seen as a modern phenomenon that occurred after the Industrial Revolution but that class divisions and relations have always structured societies and that it makes sense to assume a historical continuity. The book explores a number of themes relating to class: class consciousness; class conflict; commercialization; servitude; the relationship between agrarian and urban society; rebellion; gender relations; and colonization. After outlining the history of class relations in England and, after the union of 1707, Scotland, five chapters explore the ways in which social class consciously and unconsciously influenced a series of writers including Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, John Taylor, Robert Herrick, Aphra Behn, John Wilmot, earl of Rochester, Daniel Defoe, Stephen Duck, Mary Collier, Frances Burney, Robert Burns, William Blake and William Wordsworth. The book concludes with Percy Bysshe Shelley’s An Address to the Irish People (1812), pointing to the need to explore class relations in the context of the British Isles and Ireland, as well as the British Empire, which a future work will analyse.
Not only did Sigmund Freud know literature intimately, and quote liberally from literatures of several languages, he has also inspired twentieth-century writers and philosophers, and created several schools of criticism, in literary and cultural studies. Freud was not just practising psychotherapy on his patients, helping them in difficult situations, but helping them by studying the unconscious as the basis of their problems. This book deals with Freud and psychoanalysis, and begins by analysing the 'Copernican revolution' which meant that psychoanalysis decentres the conscious mind, the ego. It shows how Freud illuminates literature, as Freud needs attention for what he says about literature. The book presents one of Freud's 'case-histories', where he discussed particular examples of analysis by examining obsessional neurosis, as distinct from hysteria. It analyses Freud on memory, in relation to consciousness, repression and the unconscious. Guilt was one of his central topics of his work, and the book explores it through several critical texts, 'Criminals from a Sense of Guilt', and 'The Ego and the Id'. The book discusses Melanie Klein, a follower of Freud, and object-relations theory, while also making a reference to Julia Kristeva. One of the main strands of thought of Jacques Lacan was the categories of the Imaginary, the Symbolic, and the Real, as well as paranoia and madness, which are linked to literature here. The book finally returns to Freud on hysteria, and examines him on paranoia in Daniel Paul Schreber, and the psychosis of the 'Wolf Man'.
This book offers a comprehensive account of the absurd in prose fiction. As well as providing a basis for courses on absurdist literature (whether in fiction or in drama), it offers a broadly based philosophical background. Sections covering theoretical approaches and an overview of the historical literary antecedents to the ‘modern’ absurd introduce the largely twentieth-century core chapters. In addition to discussing a variety of literary movements (from Surrealism to the Russian OBERIU), the book offers detailed case studies of four prominent exponents of the absurd: Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Daniil Kharms and Flann O'Brien. There is also wide discussion of other English-language and European contributors to the phenomenon of the absurd.
1 Orphans and American literature: texts, intertexts, and contexts The word ‘orphan’ suggests being cut off from society, abandoned and alone; its opposite conjures visions of family, connectedness, roots, belonging – all subsumed in the image of home. (Porter, 2003: 101) Orphans in contemporary US novels gain significance in relation to earlier American literature and the history of orphanhood in the USA. This chapter therefore situates our study in both literary and socio-historical contexts, focusing on earlier discussions of the American orphan figure in
‘The conveyance of thought’ in the wonderful century of science In this chapter, I critically reflect on the interface between literature and science in the long nineteenth century. I map trends in the field suggesting that, methodologically, literature and science paradigms are quite fundamental to the understanding of interdisciplinary nineteenth-century studies: in so far as the literature-science field has been characteristically concerned with the transmission of thought and its conveyance by
What is this – dream in literature ? The phrase might be construed in at least three ways: the role and importance of dreams in literary works (in a short story, such as Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Ligeia’; a poem, such as Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘The Question’; a play, such as Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream ; or a novel, such as Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights ); the impulse or compulsion to dream, to fall into reverie, to lose oneself in a dream or dreamlike state while reading a work of literature, the experience of
9 From Film to literature: theoretical debates and the critical erasure of Beckett’s cinema Matthijs Engelberts In an age in which belief in metanarratives and the stark oppositions upon which they tend to rely is thought to be dwindling in postmodern societies, and identities are increasingly perceived as constructed, heterogeneous and porous, it is no wonder that contemporary theory no longer forcefully opposes word and image as two radically distinct entities. The study of the relations between literature and film, for instance, no longer seeks to find new
’The Purloined Letter’ How do literature and psychoanalysis relate? The first produces the second; the second interprets the first, the first interrogates the second. Psychoanalysis, as an instance of critical theory, associates with Marx and Nietzsche in analysing modernity, while Marxism and Nietzschean philosophy both question psychoanalysis