Literary Criticism

Miguel de Cervantes's Novelas ejemplares, a collection of short stories in the tradition of Boccaccio, has a solid foundation in the history of Golden Age Spain. Joseph V Ricapito studies Cervantes's work from the point of view of "novelized history" or "history novelized." In line with current New Historical thought, he argues that literary production is largely from life and experience, and that Cervantes was acutely aware of the problems of his day.The novelas offer us a glimpse of Cervantes's Spain and include a cataloguing of the social, political, and historical problems of the time. Ricapitc shows how Cervantes fictionalizes the problems of unpopular minorities like Gypsies and conversos (Jewish converts to Catholicism); the difficulties of social mobility in a Christian setting; the presence in society of differing and even outlandish individuals; and the oppressive role of honor, which was popularized by Lope de Vega and later formed a leitmotiv of Spanish drama. In his analysis of Cervantes's creative response to history, Ricapito relates the novelas to the works of Lope de Vega and Mateo Aleman and shows how Cervantes brings to life many literary topoi and places them in a realistic, credible framework in which the historical presence is strongly felt. In Cervantes's treatment of Spain's waning prestige in Europe, we see his vision of human behavior. His view is stern, his critique is sharp, and he is sensitive to external stimuli.
While Victor Hugo's lasting appeal as a novelist can in large part be attributed to the unforgettable characters that he created, character has been paradoxically the most criticized and least understood element of his fiction. Character and Meaning in the Novels of Victor Hugo provides readers with a deeper understanding of the complexities and nuances that characterize both Hugo's novel writing and the nineteenth-century French novel, and will thus appeal to the specialist and non-specialist alike.
Modern poetry on ruins performs an awakening call to the lurking real, to the violence of history in the making. The attacks in New York on September 11, 2001, and in Madrid on March 11, 2004, provoked diverse political reactions, but the imminence of the ruins triggered a collective historical awakening. The awakening can take the shape of bombs in Kabul and Baghdad, or political change in government policies, but it is also palpable when poetry voices a critique of the technological warfare and its versions of progress.   Contemporary events and the modern ruins are reminiscent of the political impact that the Spanish Civil War and the two World Wars had on poetry. In Cities in Ruins: The Politics of Modern Poetics, Cecilia Enjuto Rangel argues that the portrayal in poetry of the modern city as a disintegrated, ruined space is part of a critique of the visions of progress and the historical process of modernization that developed during the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. Enjuto Rangel analyzes how Charles Baudelaire, Luis Cernuda, T. S. Eliot, Octavio Paz, and Pablo Neruda poeticized ruins as the cornerstones of cultural and political memory, and used the imagery of ruins to reinterpret their historical and literary traditions.
This volume contains selected papers of conferences organized by the editor, Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek, in 1999 and 2000 in Canada and the U.S. on various topics of culture and literature in Central and East Europe. Based on the (contested) notion of the existence of a specific cultural context of the region defined as "Central Europe," contributors to the volume discuss comparative cultural studies as a theoretical framework for the study of Central and East European culture(s) (Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek), modernism in Central European literature (Andrea Fábry), Central European Holocaust poetry (Zsuzsanna Ozsváth), gender in Central European literature and film (Anikó Imre), Austroslovakism in the work of Slovak writer Anton Hykisch (Peter Petro), Kundera and the identity of Central Europe (Hana Pichova), public intellectuals in Central Europe after 1989 (Katherine Arens), contemporary Austrian and Hungarian cinema (Catherine Portuges), the notion of peripherality in contemporary East European culture (Roumiana Deltcheva), and Central European Jewish family history in the film Sunshine (Susan Rubin Suleiman). The volume includes a bibliography for the study of Central European culture (Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek).
The scholarship in the volume Comparative Cultural Studies and Latin America represents the proposition that, given its vitality and excellence, Latin American literature deserves a more prominent place in comparative literature publications, curricula, and disciplinary discussions. The editors of the volume argue that there still exists, in some quarters, a lingering bias against literature written in Spanish and Portuguese and that by embracing Latin American literature more enthusiastically, comparative literature in the context of comparative cultural studies would find itself reinvigorated, placed into productive discourse with a host of issues, languages, literatures, and cultures that have too long been paid scant attention in its purview. Following an introduction by the editors, the volume contains papers by Gene H. Bell-Villada on the question of canon, by Gordon Brotherston and Lúcia de Sá on the First Peoples of the Americas and their literature, by Elizabeth Coonrod Martínez on the Latin American novel of the 1920s, by Román de la Campa on Latin American Studies, by Earl E. Fitz on Spanish American and Brazilian literature, by Roberto González Echevarría on Latin American and comparative literature, by Sophia A. McClennen on comparative literature and Latin American Studies, by Alberto Moreiras on Borges, by Julio Ortega on the critical debate about Latin American cultural studies, by Christina Marie Tourino on Cuban Americas in New York City, by Mario J. Valdés on the comparative history of literary cultures in Latin America, and by Lois Parkinson Zamora on comparative literature and globalization. The volume also contains a bibliography of scholarship in comparative Latin American culture and literature and biographical abstracts of the contributors to the volume.
The papers in this volume represent recent scholarship about Booker Prize Winner Michael Ondaatje's oeuvre by scholars working on English-Canadian literature and culture in Canada, England, Japan, New Zealand, and the USA. Papers in the volume are Victoria Cook, "Exploring Transnational Identities in Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost"; Beverley Curran, "Ondaatje's The English Patient and Altered States of Narrative"; Marlene Goldman, "Representations of Buddhism in Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost," Stephanie M. Hilger, "Ondaatje's The English Patient and Rewriting History"; Hsuan Hsu, "Post-Nationalism and the Cinematic Apparatus in Minghella's Adaptation of Ondaatje's The English Patient"; Glen Lowry, "The Representation of 'Race' in Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion"; Jon Saklofske, "The Motif of the Collector and Implications of Historical Appropriation in Ondaatje's Novels"; Sandeep Sanghera, "Touching the Language of Citizenship in Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost"; Eluned Summers-Bremner, "Reading Ondaatje's Poetry"; Winfried Siemerling, "Oral History and the Writing of the Other in Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion"; Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek, "Ondaatje's The English Patient and Questions of History"; Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek, "Selected Bibliography of Critical Work about Michael Ondaatje's Texts" and "A List of Michael Ondaatje's Works"; Bioprofiles of Contributors and Index.
Articles in this volume focus on theories and histories of comparative literature and the emerging field of comparative cultural studies. Contributors are Kwaku Asante-Darko on African postcolonial literature, Hendrik Birus on Goethe's concept of world literature, Amiya Dev on comparative literature in India, Marián Gálik on interliterariness, Ernst Grabovszki on globalization, new media, and world literature, Jan Walsh Hokenson on the culture of the context, Marko Juvan on literariness, Karl S.Y. Kao on metaphor, Kristof Jacek Kozak on comparative literature in Slovenia, Manuela Mourão on comparative literature in the USA, Jola Skulj on cultural identity, Slobodan Sucur on period styles and theory, Peter Swirski on popular and highbrow literature, Antony Tatlow on textual anthropology, William H. Thornton on East/West power politics in cultural studies, Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek on comparative cultural studies, and Xiaoyi Zhou and Q.S. Tong on comparative literature in China. The articles are followed by a bibliography of scholarship in comparative literature and cultural studies, compiled by Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek, Steven Aoun, and Wendy C. Nielsen.
In this book the author gets to the very core of what makes a successful and dynamic enterprise. Building upon his earlier work, The Ascendant Organization, and slaying a number of business fads and sacred cows along the way, he shows how to energize the enterprise in key areas such as leadership, teamwork, and innovation. With the use of many examples and cases and building upon considerable experience he shows the way forward for companies to achieve a sense of purpose and to energize their organizations. If you are tired of the latest business fad, then this will be the book for you.
This book constitutes an attempt to theorize the process of the emergence, in eighteenth-century New Spain, of a position of intellectual subjectivity differentiated from that established by the regime of Spanish imperial authority. The principal concern has been to trace how certain groups of criollo intellectuals try to construct such discourses, paradoxically, out of the framework of available European systems of knowledge and representation. In this fashion, it was sought to discern the outline of an ideological program for criollo political and cultural hegemony in the eighteenth century
Stanley Fish opens the collection with a persuasive argument for the role of intention and biography. Michael McKeon, Gordon Turnbull, and Jerome Christensen are concerned with the late eighteenth--and early nineteenth-century English cultural discourse that gave rise to the nearly simultaneous emergence of literary biography, Romantic sensibility, and reflexive human consciousness. The essays by Alison Booth, Cheryl Walker, and Sharon O'Brien reveal that the recognition or lack thereof the biographical subject has received and remains both a problem and an opportunity for women writers and readers. The essays by Valerie Ross, Rob Wilson, Steven Weiland, and William Epstein pursue the question of difference and cultural reification in the theory and practice of a specifically American biography and biographical criticism.
Both accessible and insightful, this collection of personal critical essays employs a formal study of literature as framework for the consideration of universal issues, including grief management, death, and acceptance of, and benefit from, traumatic change. These topics offer Brackett the opportunity to reflect upon the joys and rigors of scholarship as she considers professional issues, such as academic advancement through publication. They stand as testimony to one professional's belief that academia should not only embrace but encourage a number of approaches to self-expression on the part of its scholars. Her personal commentary draws from the work and life stories of many writers, including Elizabeth Cary, Anne Bradstreet, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Rabindranath Tagore, Leo Tolstoy, Katherine Anne Porter, and V.S. Naipaul. Critical and philosophical commentary by notables such as Richard Rorty, Michel Foucault, Jane Tompkins, Lois McNay, Diane P. Freeman, Olvia Frey, Frances Murphy Zauhar, Janice Radway and Patricia Waugh interlace and advance Brackett's own speculations. The book makes clear Brackett's belief that no reasonable explanation exists for the necessity some scholars see in withholding results of literary study from a broader audience, unless it be a reluctance to write with the clarity necessary to make digestible and enjoyable the fruits of their profession.
This study is about the aporia between cosmopolitanism as a sign of justice and cosmopolitanism as the consumption and display of international luxury items and cultural production. Turn-of-the-century Pan-American cosmopolitanism described international aesthetic culture and fashion drawn from major world cities, but it was also implicitly political, it held a promise of justice in the acceptance and coexistence of difference. Although unrepentantly elitist, the cosmo-modernists transcended the genetic link between nationalisms and heteronormative versions of family often by turning to the classical model of a male homosocial. Fojas engages the work of Guatemalan Enrique Gómez Carrillo, the travel writings from the Chicago World's Fair of Cuban Aurelia Castillo de González, the Venezuelan journal Cosmópolis, and Rodó's infamous Ariel, all of which share a common principle of the practical application of cosmopolitanism. They revisit the failures of Eurocentric cosmopolitanism by rewriting them, recasting them for a new audience, and generally making use of them for their own purposes. But, above all, they grapple with cosmopolitanism, sometimes conceptualizing new models of hospitality and sometimes failing, nonetheless keeping the broken promise of utopic spaces and their imagined cities. These texts activate a cosmopolitan attitude by persuading the reader to be more open, more modern, and more amenable to difference.
This book examines contemporary French society's relationship with violence in an era of increased media dominance. The study's innovative and interdisciplinary approach integrates media, cinema, and literary studies to analyze how crime news (faits divers) function as a site of discursive struggle. Reisinger focuses on the sensational Paulin and Succo affairs that became mobile signifiers about crime, insecurity, and the Other in France in the 1980s. By situating these crime stories in a larger historical and political context, she analyzes how media and politicians use the crime story as a tool for upholding dominant ideology. Yet, rather than conclude that the crime story has become an absolute banality, as Jean Baudrillard has maintained, Reisinger shows how these crime stories attest to the public's renewed fascination with violence. Her analysis of the artistic rewritings of these stories reveal alternative, complex readings of the fait divers that subvert the media's sensationalized discourse on crime effectively. Through an analysis of the complex processes of production, reception, and re-articulation that contribute to the representation of crime in media and on the stage, the study concludes that the fait divers is an important location of social and political resistance for readers and artists alike in contemporary France.
By analyzing a varied body of writing- hagiographies, histories, treatises, and correspondence- in the context of religious colonial culture and European mercantilism, Mario Cesareo shows how Portuguese and Spanish missionaries created a Christian understanding of the colonial process. The material excess of the colonial world, experienced as a capricious parade of signs, masks, objects, races, languages, and bodies subjected to European exploitation, presented a problem of the first magnitude for Christian missionaries. In order to render intelligible the incongruities of the colonial experience, the missionary turned the materiality of the Indian and the black body of the slave into God's privileged instruments for revelation. Materiality, in its remotest minutiae, became understood as an enigmatic system of signs, as a divine riddle to be discerned. The attempts to recognize, elaborate, and synthesize this new experience constitute the Christian herme-neutics that is the focus of the study. The book posits the existence of a repertoire of stances through which the missionary was able to represent, perform, and theorize the colonial experience. In this social sensibility, the body emerges as a privileged locus for the aesthetic, theoretic, and practical experimentation that allowed the missionary to carry on his utopian ideals within the imperialist workings of European mercantilism.
The Current in Criticism is meant to provide the reader with a wide spectrum of current thinking, a sampling of some of the arguments, attitudes, and perspectives, which participate in the swirl of intense speculative energy that is so characteristic of contemporary theory. The editors describe this collection of 14 essays as "a tentative assessment of where we are and where we might be going in literary study, of what is current in criticism and of where the critical current might be tending."
This collection of eleven original essays each by a different scholar outlines the rich body of imaginative and devotional literature which has the biblical poet-warrior-king as its subject or primary focus, showing David to have as strong an imaginative appeal for Western writers as such better-known mythic heroes as Orpheus, Oedipus, Samson, and Ulysses. The introduction to the volume surveys the development of the David myth particularly in British and American literature. The essays represent a variety of critical approaches to the myth as literature, treating in detail such works as Shakespeare's Hamlet, Cowley's Davideis, Christopher Smart's "A Song to David," and Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom and examining the complex uses made of David in the Midrash, Talmud, and Patristic writings; medieval sermons and Reformation devotional treatises; and American Puritan sermons.
Directed chiefly toward scholars in literary criticism and theory, Peircean semiotics, and, more generally, philosophy, this book is, by the nature of its broad focus, more descriptive than critical, synthetic rather than overtly prescriptive. Beginning with a brief discussion of Peirce and deconstruction, the author then turns to the relevance of current concepts in science and the philosophy of science as well as mathematics -- especially Godel's theorems. Subsequently, a series of "thought experiments" is used to illustrate that some concepts propounded by deconstruction are compatible with certain aspects of the "new physics." The notion of "writing" is compared to Karl Popper's philosophy of science, and finally, a discussion of Beckett rounds out the author's general thesis.
The book has four parts. The first provides a lengthy explication and critique of Derrida, a service still much needed by today's philosophers and literary theorists. The second part locates a recension of Heideggerian thought at a site the author calls centric mysticism. Throughout this section, there are original applications to literature. The third part presents the full-scale analysis of Nagarjunist technique, and then goes on to develop a "differential" Zen contrasting very much with the "centric" Zen of Suzuki. Replete with treatments of Buddhist poetry, it is bound to be of great interest to Buddhologists. The fourth part applies "differentialism" to monotheism and Christian theology and develops a non-entitative trinitarianism, which will revise, it is hoped, contemporary theology significantly. Two appendices, in a concrete way, apply to literary theory and criticism what the author has worked out in the body of the book
The history of exile literature is as old as the history of writing itself. Despite this vast and varied literary tradition, criticism of exile writing has tended to analyze these works according to a binary logic, where exile either produces creative freedom or it traps the writer in restrictive nostalgia. The Dialectics of Exile: Nation, Time, Language and Space in Hispanic Literatures offers a theory of exile writing that accounts for the persistence of these dual impulses and for the ways that they often co exist within the same literary works. Focusing on writers working in the latter part of the 20th century who were exiled during a historical moment of increasing globalization, transnational economics and the theoretical shifts of postmodernism, Sophia A. McClennen proposes that exile literature is best understood as a series of dialectic tensions about cultural identity. Through comparative analysis of Juan Goytisolo (Spain), Ariel Dorfman (Chile) and Cristina Peri Rossi (Uruguay), this book explores how these writers represent exile identity. Each chapter addresses dilemmas central to debates over cultural identity such as nationalism versus globalization, time as historical or cyclical, language as representationally accurate or disconnected from reality, and social space as utopic or dystopic. McClennen demonstrates how the complex writing of these three authors functions as an alternative discourse of cultural identity that not only challenges official versions imposed by authoritarian regimes, but also tests the limits of much cultural criticism.
Earthly Treasures maps the presence, position and use in the narrative of a variety of material objects in Marguerite de Navarre's Heptameron. There is a wide selection of objects, ranging from tapestries with scripture passages woven into the borders, fine arts paintings, chalices incised with proverbs, emblems, table linens, copies of Bibles or manuscripts, clothing, masks, stage props, jewelry, furniture and foodstuffs. Although the presence of such material objects seems paradoxical, given the scriptural mandate to disregard things of this world, and to "store up treasure", rather, in heaven, Marguerite found license to use such objects both in the Bible and in the daily life-oriented and artifact-studded sermons and writings collected in the Table Talk of Martin Luther.
In her book Fantasies of Gender and the Witch in Feminist Theory and Literature, Justyna Sempruch analyses contemporary representations of the "witch" as a locus for the cultural negotiation of genders. Sempruch revisits some of the most prominent traits in past and current perceptions in feminist scholarship of exclusion and difference. She examines a selection of 20th century US-American, Canadian, and European narratives to reveal the continued political relevance of metaphors sustained in the archetype of the "witch" widely thought to belong to pop-cultural or folkloristic formulations of the past. Through a critical re-reading of the feminist texts engaging with these metaphors, Sempruch develops a new concept of the witch, one that challenges traditional gender-biased theories linking it either to a malevolent "hag" on the margins of culture or to unrestrained "feminine" sexual desire. Sempruch turns, instead, to the causes for radical feminist critique of "feminine" sexuality as a fabrication of logocentric thinking and shows that the problematic conversion of the "hag" into a "superwoman" can be interpreted today as a therapeutic performance translating fixed identity into a site of continuous negotiation of the subject in process. Tracing the development of feminist constructs of the witch from 1970s radical texts to the present, Sempruch explores the early psychoanalytical writings of Cixous, Kristeva, and Irigaray and feminist reformulations of identity by Butler and Braidotti together with fictional texts from different political and cultural contexts.
According to Rogers, the nineteenth century was incapable of managing the feminine question and preferred to mythicize it. Everything that was related to it, especially feminine sexuality, was transformed into fiction. Thus women were saddled with the role of scapegoat.
Gatsby's Party contributes to the ongoing research on, and application of systems theory and information theory to, literary texts. White applies current research toward an architectural understanding of narrative structure, moving beyond interpretations (and applications) of systems theory that have been largely thematic or author-centered. it uses the fist as a device for unlocking or revealing narrative systematization and contributes to the debate on the order/ disorder apposition and to an understanding of the functioning of the fist itself. Finally, it synthesizes a number of information-based theories and sets up a theory of relations as a critical methodology that widens the field of approaches to narrative dynamics.
This study by Cristina Ferreira-Pinto explores the poetic and narrative strategies twentieth-century Brazilian women writers use to achieve new forms of representation of the female body, sexuality, and desire. Female writers discussed include: Gilka Machado, Lygia Fagundes Telles, Marcia Denser, and Marina Colasanti. While creating new forms, these writers are also deconstructing cultural myths of femininity and female behavior. In order to understand these myths, the book also presents new readings of some male-authored canonical novels by Jose de Alencar, Machado de Assis, Manuel Antonio de Almeida, and Aluisio Azevedo. The specific focus on female sexuality and desire acknowledges the intrinsic link between sexuality and an individual's sense of identity, and its importance for female identity, given the historical repression of women's bodies and the double standard of morality still pervasive in many Western cultures. In the discussion of the strategies Brazilian female poets and fiction writers employ, Ferreira-Pinto addresses some social and cultural issues that relate to a woman's sense of her own body and sexuality: the characterization of women based on racial features and class hierarchy; marriage; motherhood; the silencing of the lesbian subject; and aging. Ferreira-Pinto's analysis is informed by the works of various and diverse critics and theoreticians, among them Helene Cixous, Teresa De Lauretis, Adrienne Rich, Gloria Anzaldua, Georges Bataille, and Wilhelm Reich.
The Gendered Lyric argues that gender difference contributes to the definition of aesthetic values and, indeed, shaped the representation of masculine and feminine subjectivity in nineteenth-century French poetry. Gretchen Schultz analyzes works by the leaders of the Romantic, Parnassian, and Symbolist schools to show that their implicit conceptions of gender were central to the formulation of their aesthetics. Prominent Romantic poets (Hugo, Lamartine, Musset) appropriated feminine cultural attributes to construct an empathetic male poet, while the Parnassians of the following generation, including Leconte de Lisle and Gautier, repudiated Romanticism for a more "muscular" and masculinist poetic practice.Women poets writing in the shadows of these great men devised varying strategies, ranging from assimilation to satire, to gain access to poetic subjectivity. Schultz devotes chapters to the Romantic Desbordes-Valmore, as well as several lesser-known Parnassian women, and through close readings explores their accommodations of, and revolts against, the dominant movements. Schultz's appendix of works by women poets provides the reader with a valuable source of heretofore unavailable texts. Symbolists readmitted femininity with a broader, more fluid definition of lyric subjectivity. Even the notoriously misogynist Bauldelaire contributed to the representation of otherness. And in different ways, Verlaine's gay male poetry and Marie Krysinska's innovative free verse battled poetic conventions to fulfill the promises of Symbolism's open poetic stance. The Gendered Lyric is recommended for scholars and students of nineteenth-century French studies, poetry and poetics, and gender studies.