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Author: Heather Walton

This book generates a critical framework through which to interrogate the way in which religious feminists have employed women's literature in their texts. This is in order that both the way we read literature and the literature we read might be subject to scrutiny, and that new reading practices be developed. Having both the critical and constructive agenda, this is a book in two parts. The first part locates the study of the use of women's writing by religious feminists in a much wider frame than has previously been attempted. In the past individual religious feminists have been criticised, often publicly and loudly, for the use they have made of particular literary texts. Having critically surveyed previously unacknowledged constraints under which religious feminists read women's literature, the second part of the book explores how the work of women poststructuralist thinkers and theorists can enrich the reading practices. It offers alternative models for an engagement between literature and theology. Julia Kristeva is best known within the academy for her unorthodox application of Lacanian theory to contemporary culture. Her work challenges religious feminists to reassess the utilitarian approaches to literary texts and enquire into whether these might have a more powerful political role when their status as literature is recognised and affirmed. The book elucidates Luce Irigaray's thinking on sexual difference and also demonstrates its significance for feminist religious readers.

Italian language learning and literary imitation in early modern England
Author: Jason Lawrence

This book offers a comprehensive account of the methods and practice of learning modern languages, particularly Italian, in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England. It suggests that there is a fundamental connection between these language-learning habits and the techniques for both reading and imitating Italian materials employed by a range of poets and dramatists, such as Daniel, Drummond, Marston and Shakespeare, in this period. The widespread use of bilingual parallel-text instruction manuals from the 1570s onwards, most notably those of the Italian teacher John Florio, highlights the importance of translation in the language-learning process. More advanced students attempt translation exercises from Italian poetry to increase their linguistic fluency, but even beginners are encouraged to use the translations in these manuals as a means of careful parallel reading. This study emphasises the impact of both aspects of language-learning translation on contemporary habits of literary imitation, in its detailed analyses of Daniel's sonnet sequence ‘Delia’ and his pastoral tragicomedies, and Shakespeare's use of Italian materials in Measure for Measure and Othello. By focusing on Shakespeare as a typical language-learner of the period (one who is certainly familiar with Florio's two manuals), it argues that the playwright was clearly influenced by these Italian reading practices.

Open Access (free)
Race and the Tragedy of American Democracy
Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

In this essay, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. addresses the historical and contemporary failures of American democracy. Using the metaphor of “the magician’s serpent,” Glaude brings Walt Whitman’s views on democracy into the full light of America’s failure to resolve the problem of race. Glaude places Whitman’s Democratic Vistas (1871) in conversation with James Baldwin’s No Name in the Street (1972) in order to construct a different sort of reading practice that can both engage with Whitman’s views on democracy and reckon with what George Hutchinson calls Whitman’s “white imperialist self and ideology” as an indication of the limits of a certain radical democratic imagining.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Reading practices and participation in digital and medieval media
Heather Blatt

Introduction: Reading practices and participation in digital and medieval media ‘Where is the moralizynge?’ So asked a friend of the early fifteenthcentury clerk and writer Thomas Hoccleve when shown a copy of Hoccleve’s newly translated poem ‘Jereslaus’ Wife’. Hoccleve describes this exchange in his long poem Dialogue, in which he explains that he had ‘endid’ the tale a ‘wike or two’ before his friend visited. Taking up the work, the friend read the poem eagerly, but objected to its ending. After storming home for his copy of Hoccleve’s source, the friend

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England
Author: Heather Blatt

Reorienting the narrative of digital media studies to incorporate the medieval, Participatory reading in late-medieval England traces affinities between digital and medieval media to explore how participation defined reading practices and shaped relations between writers and readers in England’s literary culture from the late-fourteenth to early sixteenth centuries. Traditionally, print operates as the comparative touchstone of both medieval and digital media, but Participatory reading argues that the latter share more in common with each other than either does with print. Working on the borders of digital humanities, medieval cultural studies, and the history of the book, Participatory reading draws on well-known and little-studied works ranging from Chaucer to banqueting poems and wall-texts to demonstrate how medieval writers and readers engaged with practices familiar in digital media today, from crowd-sourced editing to nonlinear apprehension to mobility, temporality, and forensic materiality illuminate. Writers turned to these practices in order to both elicit and control readers’ engagement with their works in ways that would benefit the writers’ reputations along with the transmission and interpretation of their texts, while readers pursued their own agendas—which could conflict with or set aside writers’ attempts to frame readers’ work. The interactions that gather around participatory reading practices reflect concerns about authority, literacy, and media formats, before and after the introduction of print. Participatory reading is of interest to students and scholars of medieval literature, book, and reading history, in addition to those interested in the long history of media studies.

Open Access (free)
The Orcherd of Syon, Titus and Vespasian, and Lydgate’s Siege of Thebes
Heather Blatt

2 Nonlinear reading: the Orcherd of Syon, Titus and Vespasian, and Lydgate’s Siege of Thebes Published in 1549, The book of common prayer for the first time presented the reformed services for worship as reconceived in the wake of English separation from the Church of Rome. In considering medieval reading practices, a passage from its preface deserves particular attention. The preface targets for condemnation the consequences of what it considers flawed Catholic practices of textual organization, stating that the Bible ‘hath be so altered, broken and neglected

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England
Zalfa Feghali

citizenship and community building, with Moure’s figure of the cidadán at its core. Embedded within Moure’s narrative are specific writing and 126 Crossing borders and queering citizenship reading practices that challenge the reader to act on the text, constituting the reader as a civic subject within this alternative narrative. Equally crucial in O Cidadán is Moure’s focus on destabilising language. The argument is structured along several intersecting lines. It begins by contextualizing Erín Moure, briefly considering O Cidadán within her larger oeuvre. It then

in Crossing borders and queering citizenship
Geoff Baker

sought to redress this, emphasising the significance of the commonplace book as a source for documenting reading practices and for understanding the political and cultural worlds of contemporaries.3 Indeed, Peter Beal has argued that the commonplace book is ‘a unique document, a unique witness to the tastes, values, and thinking of a specific person or group’, while Kenneth Lockridge claims they are ‘the ultimate source for the study of reading, the book, and identity’.4 This is certainly the case with Blundell’s commonplace books, where we find a very different

in Reading and politics in early modern England
Abstract only
Elisabeth Salter

6 Conclusion Popular reading in English c. 1400–1600 Conclusion This book uses four case study chapters to explore evidence for reading practice and experience c. 1400–1600. I focus on the nature of the evidence and attempt to propose a new method for assessing practice and experience. The novelty of the method is that it is based on detailed considerations of the material artefact of manuscript and printed book, rather than prioritising the additional evidence of reader annotation or marginalia (although these are not ignored on the occasions that they are

in Popular reading in English c. 1400–1600
Open Access (free)
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and John Lydgate’s Troy Book
Heather Blatt

1 Corrective reading: Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and John Lydgate’s Troy Book This chapter focuses on a trope, one so common in medieval English literature that its critical work in the construction of latemedieval reading practices has gone unnoticed. This rhetorical device, often simply referred to as the humility topos, flourishes in Middle English during the fifteenth century, although it has its roots in fourteenth-century French of England and was common in Latin hagiographies before that.1 In the humility topos, a writer draws attention to

in Participatory reading in late-medieval England