of Byatt’s oeuvre thus do well to consider not only her fiction,
in all its narrative forms, but also the vast range of essays,
interviews and art and literary criticism Byatt has produced over the
past five decades. In doing so, however, one ought to be mindful not to
mistake Byatt’s critical writings as some sort of Rosetta Stone to
translate or index her fiction; rather, Byatt’s essays and
This book is about Thomas Hood, a nineteenth-century writer and illustrator whose work is characterized by play. It argues that looking closely at Hood illuminates three areas of nineteenth-century cultural production that modern scholarship has yet fully to explore: the output of the years 1824-40; comic poetry; and the grotesque. These three areas of discomfort are linked, each of them threatens boundaries that are convenient for literary criticism. The book explores Hood's early career at the London Magazine, restoring the dynamic context in which he began experimenting with voice and genre. It examines the connection between the London's liberal politics and its culture of play. The book concerns with the effects of Hood's remarkably pluralistic approach to words, texts, and readers, both as material entities and as imaginative projections. It considers Hood's puns, their effects, their detractors, and the cultural politics of punning in the nineteenth century. The book examines the politics of Hood's play in relation to nineteenth-century debate about labour and leisure. Hood's work in relationship to the so-called 'minor' or 'illegitimate' theatre of the 1820s and 1830s is analyzed. Hood's work plays out the possibilities of an emergent cultural democracy: his poetry is practically and ideologically allied with the forms, subjects, and modes of illegitimate theatre. Hood's upbringing in a changing print culture makes him unsually alert to and appreciative of the play of language, the serendipitous intertextuality of the street where signs are in constant dialogue with one another.
This book explores key critical debates in the humanities in recent times in the context of the legitimation crisis widely felt to be facing academic institutions, using Derrida's idea of leverage in the university. In particular, it concerns an account for the malaise in the university by linking critical developments, discourses and debates in the modern humanities to a problem of the institution itself. The book finds within these discourses and debates the very dimensions of the institution's predicament: economic, political, ideological, but also, inseparably, intellectual. It looks at some of the recurring themes arising in the early key texts of new historicism and cultural materialism. The book also argues that these approaches in a number of ways orient their critical strategies according to certain kinds of logics and structures of reflection. It instances disorientation and leverage in the university by exploring the problematic doubleness of economics as indeterminately both inside and outside contemporary cultural theory. The book also argues that the interdisciplinary approach of cultural analysis has a certain amount of difficulty positioning economics as either simply an outside or an inside. The orientation and leverage within the university apparently offered by the development of cultural studies and by certain forms of interdisciplinarity comes at the cost of an irresolvable disorientation between the object and the activity of criticism.
comments in the
visitors’ log book. Nature, apparently untouched and undisturbed
by the holidaymaker’s presence, is all around.
St Winifred’s Well encapsulates many of the paradoxical
elements that cluster together in environmentalist thinking and
ecocriticism alike and epitomises my own interests in bringing
current green literary criticism to bear on late medieval texts. The
cottage occupies a geographical, environmental and commercial
position made up of many of the contradictions inherent in our
human relations with the
Algernon Charles Swinburne is acknowledged to be one of the most important Victorian poets, a founding figure for British aestheticism, and the dominant influence for many fin-de-siècle and modernist poets. This book is a collection of essays that re-evaluate his literary contribution. It brings together some of the best new scholarship on Swinburne, resituating him in the light of current critical work on cosmopolitanism, politics, print culture, form, Victorian Hellenism, religious controversy, gender and sexuality, the arts, and aestheticism and its contested relation to literary modernism. The first section lays emphasis on Swinburne's embeddedness and centrality in a culture from which he has been partly written out. It examines Swinburne's involvement in the history of cosmopolitanism, a field of enquiry that is attracting growing attention among literary critics. This section provides complementary accounts of the difficult and often invisible dynamics behind influence and marginalisation, unveiling narratives of problematic acceptance and problematic rejection, by a female and a male poet respectively. Through a detailed examination of Swinburne's unpublished flagellatory poem 'The Flogging-Block', the book discovers a web of connections between the nineteenth-century culture of metrical discipline and the pedagogic discipline of minors portrayed through sexual fantasy. The last section of the book examines Swinburne's own influence on his modernist successors. The twin mechanics of poetic dialogue and cultural polemic is also discussed. T. S. Eliot's ambivalence towards Swinburne left a strong mark on twentieth-century criticism.
irritating and obstructive
of development’. He criticised the plan in Draft B, arguing that it was impossible ‘at this moment to say that any distinct form of Executive will best suit the
national character’. He felt that it was imperative that the executive ‘should not
be fixed in a rigid and unalterable mould’ and particularly not ‘in a cumbersome
and unwieldy form’.6
A number of pages follow, which analyse the provisions of Draft B in detail
and contain stinging criticism of that Draft. Figgis also made the case for his own
executive proposal, distancing it from the
This book offers a cross-disciplinary approach to pain and suffering in the early modern period, based on research in the fields of literary studies, art history, theatre studies, cultural history and the study of emotions. Part I of the book discusses, inter alia, the different forms of how suffering was staged, how that staging anticipated certain affects of the onlooker. The focus is on early modern French tragedy and how theatre chose to represent violence, the shocking events of infanticide, and the representation of the enslaved body, where suffering and exoticism go hand in hand. Part II deals with the question of how the availability (both physically and conceptually) of a beholder affects the pain of a victim. It reaffirms the role that words that stand in for pain can have in consolidating the harrowing experience of watching 'King Lear'. It explores the motif of the captivating power of the woman's gaze as part of a wider discourse of male anxiety, and deals with the issue of a (neo-) Epicurean image criticism. The case of Irish Rebellion is used to discuss several forms of witnessing horror, pain and torture in the context of religious and colonial massacres. Part III of the book discusses the executions of Palermo and the role pain played in stock trade discourses in the early modern Dutch Republic. The different forms of punishment at stake, whether in a theatrical or a dramatic scene, imply modes of subjection that were deeply coloured theologically.
form certainly sheds additional light on the process of genre formation. When Stephen Greenblatt notes that ‘the study of genre is an
exploration of the poetics of culture’,1 he addresses a crucial aspect.
Thus emanating in a sense from themselves, cultural products are
both the result and the creator of their environment.2 Admitting that
any full description of that cultural background is far beyond the
present study, this chapter will at least offer some comments on how
genre criticism can contribute to literary history.
The idea of genre in itself relies on
that can be made about Mistry’s women, who often tend to be
either lonely eccentrics – like Miss Kutpitia, Korshedbai, Daisy
Ichaporia, and Villie Cardmaster – or domestic goddesses, like
Dilnavaz, Yasmin and Roxana, whose ‘power’ consists in
keeping the household together and putting food on the table
despite the follies of their respective husbands. In fact, Dina
Dalal in A Fine Balance escapes these fates. She is, as John Ball
rightly claims, ‘easily Mistry’s most fully developed female
character … a person of dynamic agency, possessive of a
occasions about her
personal as well as intellectual dislike of the kind of literary
criticism that places too heavy an emphasis on a writer’s life,
neglecting the text, the work of fiction, in the process. In her essay
‘Reading, Writing, Studying’, she describes such
‘biographical emphasis’ as downright