Literary Criticism

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.
Drawing on the groundbreaking Spanish scholarship and editions of earlier generations and relying on research conducted in Spanish archives, this pioneering group of English-speaking scholars offers a new treatment of familiar material. The editors yoke together widely varying critical practices, including incisive New Critical readings and far-reaching explorations that draw on the most current European critical thought. In addition to these more strictly literary studies, there are interdisciplinary essays focusing on seventeenth- and twentieth-century reception and the social makeup of the comedia audience. The whole thus presents a balanced picture of the many ways in which the comedia can be viewed, and the contributors complement each other's work in often surprising ways, illuminating the same corpus from a number of perspectives.
"...Unamuno often entertains a view of the universe as an enormous system of embedded and embedding forms, structures nested within other structures in seemingly endless series." -From The Great Chiasmus In The Great Chiasmus, Paul R. Olson explores the use of the chiasmus in the work of Miguel de Unamuno. The chiasmus, a reversal in the order of words or parts of speech in parallel phrases, appears on a variety of levels, from brief microstructures ("blanca como la nieve y como la nieve fria"), to the narrative structures of entire novels, and even, Olson suggests, to encompass the stages in Unamuno's novelistic work. Olson's close readings of the texts in terms of this structure lead to observations on Spanish history, events in Unamuno's life, the psychological dimensions of his characters, and the authorial self found within his texts. The Great Chiasmus shows us how Unamuno uses grammar to reflect apparent contraries as freely reversible and thus identical. In this connection, Unamuno explores concepts usually considered opposites-spirit and matter, word and flesh.
Marko Juvan's History and Poetics of Intertextuality is a revised and updated translation of his 2000 book Intertekstualnost (Intertextuality). In his book, Juvan argues that while intertextuality is constitutive of all textuality it may be grounded in certain literary works, genres, or styles (e.g., parody or allusion as forms of citationality). He surveys the field in order to ground the poetics of intertextuality in the history of its idea from Kristeva to New Historicism and citationality from Genette's late structuralism to text theory. In humanities scholarship literary studies have transformed the notion of intertextuality from its transgressive content into a detailed descriptive methodology. However, by bringing citationality into focus, they also stressed that literature is an autopoetic system, living on cultural memory, and interacting with other social discourses. The poetics of intertextuality proposed here, based mainly on semiotics, elucidates factors determining the socio-historically elusive border between general intertextuality and citationality (encyclopaedic literary competence, paratext, etc.) and explores modes of intertextual representation, stressing that pre-texts evoked or re-written in post-texts figure as interpretants of the latter and vice versa. Intertextual derivations and references, which have become common in literary culture, are finally explained as intertextual figures and genres.
This wide-ranging and interdisciplinary study draws on sociology, anthropology, history, and literary theory to examine the practice and the literary re-presentation of hospitality. Palmer offers an original synthesis of dramatic texts from early modern England that gives place to Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The literary texts Palmer uses cover a diverse field, from Shakespearean drama to royal progresses, from court entertainment to pamphlet literature. The genre of pageantry, a more ubiquitous form of entertainment than the more-studied public theater, takes over the heart of the study. Through these various genres, Palmer investigates the notion of mediation, the relationship between aesthetic objects and the culture that produced them.
Dewey focuses on seven novels that touch the variety of generic experiments and postures of the post-World War 11 American novel. These novels by Vonnegut, Coover, Percy, Pynchon, Gaddis, and DeLillo represent a significant argument concerning the American literary response to living within the oppressive technologies of the Nuclear Age. Departing from other studies that veer toward speculative fiction or toward the more narrowly defined religious angles, In a Dark Time defines the apocalyptic temper as a most traditional literary genre that articulates the anxieties of a community in crisis, a way for that community to respond to the perception of a history gone critical by turning squarely to that history and to find, in that gesture, the way toward a genuine hope.
In this revisionist study of the poetics of tragedy during the French classical age, John Lyons challenges prevailing notions of a coherent, unified, and widely accepted "classical doctrine."
This study of the social content of the only surviving Spanish epic provides a means of assessing the motives and intentions of the protagonist and of other characters. Chapters are devoted to such themes as the multifarious significance of kinship and lineage, with special attention to the role of fathers, uncles, and cousins in the world of clan loyalties; amity as a system of fictive kinship, personal honor, and public organization; the importance of women, and the meaning and function of marriage, dowry, and related practices; the emergence of the polity as a rivalry of social, legal, and economic systems; and the implications, within an essentially kin-ordered world, of the poem's notions of shame, honor, status, and social inequality.
This text explores the literary, cultural and political relationships of Francisco de Quevedo (1580–1645), one of the major writers of the Spanish Golden Age. It establishes the birth and development of the first Spanish literary field circa 1600 then focuses on the relationship between the literary field and the field of power (the King, the court at large and the Catholic Church hierarchy).
Francisco de Quevedo, the Spanish poet and satirist whose books were by far the most widely read in Spain in the 17 th century, died unaware that his genius had created modern satire in Spanish, and that for the ensuing five centuries, as we now know, his name would be a household word wherever Spanish was spoken. Between 1605 and 1621, Quevedo wrote a sequence of five "Dreams" or "Visions" ( Suenos y discursos ), in each of which he hilariously envisions Spanish society as populated by people rightfully condemned to Hell. These astonishingly witty and irreverent satires of contemporary Spanish culture, morality, prejudice and religious fanaticism, were composed in a style so allusive, elliptical and equivocal as to successfully entertain both those who barely understood their full range and import, and others who celebrated the poet's rebellious insinuations. Censorship prohibited the publication of such satire in its original form, but hundreds of copies were made by hand and circulated widely. In 1993 a critical edition of all of the surviving manuscripts was published. Today the Suenos are commonly read in modern editions of the first censored version, printed in 1627. The present book ( La tradicion. . . ), compares this version with all of the 43 extant manuscripts, and for the first time identifies those groups of manuscripts from which the publishers of the first edition derived their text. This text can now be seen as a version not only censored, but corrupted successively by copyists and editors who did not understand Quevedo's satire, and did not hesitate to add entire clauses, omit others and transfer sentences from one place to another.
Rereading canonic Spanish texts from Renaissance humanism to modernist literature, Read deploys a theoretical basis of post-structuralist thinking to offer a critique of traditional Hispanism in the light of its assumption of a transcendental subject and its corresponding insistence on the autonomy of the literary text.
The study of biography has leaped from surveys of biographical writing and statements of biographical, practice to semiotic and poststructaralist discussions of, the modality of biography without adequate consideration of what has already been done to the theory of biography. Professor Novarr has closed that gap with a comprehensive and judicious historical survey and assessment of a I the major (and many of the minor) statements made about biography in the crucial period 188D-1970. The Lines of Life describes the diversity and complexity of theories of biography in the thirty years prior to the publication of Eminent Victorians and makes clear the importance of the ideas of Lesile Stephen, Sidney Lee, Edmund Gosse, and William Roscoe Thayer. It provides for the exciting decade after Eminent Victorians, rigorous assessments of the work of Harold Nicolson, Andre Maurois, Virginia Woolf, and Hesketh Pearson. It shows how theorists and critics in the fifties hedged on the question of biography as art. It traces, in the work of writers like David Cecil, Leon Edel, Mark Schorer, Paul Murray Kendall, and others, the nature of the relation between biographer and subject, the concept that biography is essentially the interpretation of one mind by another, and the idea that the biographer's angle of vision is both inevitable and important
This book is a very nuanced, meticulously researched and vividly written study of a series of important debates in German literary circles since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rapid political transformations that have accompanied German unification. Rosellini not only offers trenchant interpretations of major controversies of the last decade in Germany, but he also provides the necessary background information needed to make sense of these important public debates. An Open Access PDF version of this book has also been made available at the request of the author.
Machado de Assis (1839-1908) is Brazil's greatest writer and the most important Latin American writer of the nineteenth century. His subtle criticism of cherished institutions is evident to all readers, and critics have often mentioned his skepticism. In Machado de Assis, the Brazilian Pyrrhonian, however, a philosopher seriously examines Machado's philosophical position for the first time. Jose' Raimundo Maia Neto traces Machado's particular brand of skepticism to that of the ancient philosopher Pyrrho of Elis and reveals the sources through which he inherited that line of thought. He then shows how Machado's own philosophical development follows the stages proposed by Pyrrho for the development of a skeptical worldview.
Adler's intent here is not to read the American experience through its theatre, but to approach American drama through a considerable body of representative, and oftentimes critically acclaimed, popular plays. He analyzes each of these plays-including such classics as O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, Wilder's Our Town, Miller's Death of a Salesman, and Williams's Streetcar Named Desire-in a brief interpretive essay, focusing on themes and theatrical techniques
The book is a collection of fourteen essays by Abel on Hawthorne's fiction. The essays were published over a span of about thirty-five years in various scholarly journals. The author has revised some of these essays considerably and has added seven chapters to give the book continuity and unity.
"Hinds's study makes an important contribution to studies on the early-seventeenth-century novel. His analysis of the two novels is carried out in two broad and important contexts: sixteenth- and early-seventeenth-century French literature in general (Baroque esthetic theory, the literary controversies of the time, etc.) and modern critical theory (Bakhtin, Kristeva, Benjamin, Foucault, etc.). The author brings all of these elements together in a coherent, intelligent, and thought-provoking manner
In his book Nation and Region in Modern American and European Fiction, Thomas O. Beebee analyzes fictional texts as a "discursive territoriality" that shape readers' notions of (and ambivalence about) national and regional belonging. Several canonical works of literary fiction have provided their readers with verbal maps that in their depictions of boundary spaces construct indirect images of national territory and geography. Beebee analyzes the historical and cultural diversity in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's, Nikolai Gogol’s, and Ivan Turgenev's competing geographies of Russia and its empire, Euclides da Cunha's ambivalent nomination of the sertanejo (backlander) as the "bedrock of the Brazilian race," William Faulkner's and Jose Lins do Rego's cultural memories of the plantation, Jose Maria Arguedas's novelistic ethnogeographies of Andean culture, Juan Benet's construction of region as both metaphor and metonym for Francoist Spain, and the "utopian" North American (U.S. and Canada) desert landscapes of Mary Austin, Nicole Brossard, and Joy Harjo.
This collection of essays grew out of the first Conference on American Culture held at Purdue University in 1965. The papers are by Leo Stoller, Louis J. Budd, Louis Filler, David Sanders, Edwin H. Cady, Russel B. Nye, Ray B. Browne, Tristram P. Coffin, Am6rico Paredes, Bruno Nettl, C. E. Nelson, and Donald M. Winkelman
Jin Feng proposes that representation of the "new woman" in Communist Chinese fiction of the earlier twentieth century was paradoxically one of the ways in which male writers of the era explored, negotiated, and laid claim to their own emerging identity as "modern" intellectuals. Previous scholarship on fiction of the period occasionally probed the thematic implications of female characters in specific works but has not engaged in systematic study of the "new woman" as a figure through a discussion of the politics of the narrative form. Feng addresses both the general and the specialized audience of fiction in early-twentieth-century Chinese fiction in three ways: for scholars of the May Fourth period, Feng redresses the emphasis on the simplistic, gender-neutral representation of the new women by re-reading selected texts in the light of marginalized discourse and by an analysis of the evolving strategies of narrative deployment; for those working in the area of feminism and literary studies, Feng develops a new method of studying the representation of Chinese women through an interrogation of narrative permutations, ideological discourses, and gender relationships; and for studies of modernity and modernization, the author presents a more complex picture of the relationships of modern Chinese intellectuals to their cultural past and of women writers to a literary tradition dominated by men.  
Araceli Tinajero's Orientalismo en el modernismo hispanoamericano falls within the present revisionist trend with respect to Spanish American modernism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The text's uniqueness stems from its focus on allusions to images, artifacts, and thought from the East—primarily Japan—found in central and peripheral writings within the Spanish American movement. The author knows the Japanese language and culture and brings her knowledge to bear in her discussion of modernist writers who, chiefly as chroniclers and correspondents, made their way to the East and there invented/constructed a form of exoticism (Orientalism, following but diverging from Edward Said) while discovering affinities between non-European tendencies within their own American environment and Eastern culture. The result of this encounter was a unique, non-European Orientalism. Drawing on ethnography, postcolonial studies, literary theory, art history, and travel theory, Tinajero analyzes a selection of modernist texts to show how writing at the "margin" of Western modernism-modernity is at once within and without the main­stream. The examination of Oriental cultural artifacts in modernista texts contributes to our understanding of modernism, of the East-West encounter, and of the culturally specific configurations of these phenomena in South America . Tinajero's concept of Orientalism focused on Spanish American modernism is a fresh approach. It represents a valuable contribution to Spanish American modernist scholarship.
The "unkindest post-colonial cut of all," the Irish poet Seamus Heaney once noted, consists in appropriating, as opposed to expropriating, the language of one's former colonial masters. The author of The Other Writing and the authors studied here do just that, which makes this book doubly cutting. Fully conversant with the critical issues of the current cultural debates, Djelal Kadir goes to great pains to articulate and exercise the scruples with which critical reading and cultured scrutiny might proceed without unduly compromising otherness or capitulating the congeniality of reading and writing as civilizing activities. From Borges's wry speculations on the nature of writing and literary interpretation to Diamela Eltit's wrenching confrontation with the language of gender in a literary tradition that has been as relentlessly patriarchal as its politics, Kadir traces the ways through which writing holds a mirror to itself. Major works of Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jose Donoso, and Diamela Eltit are scrutinized with an eye to unveiling the writing ghosts that haunt in the writing of these new masters of literary language. Scrupulous in facing the risks involved in engaging one's colonial language and in representing other people's cultures, The Other Writing explores the ways in which these contemporary authors countenance their predicaments as writers who are obliged to pass through the language of their own colonial legacy and literary traditions. The result of these engagements is the impossibility of an unambiguous "self-identity," the impossibility of a writing culture's ever becoming identical to itself. This disjunction, sometimes aesthetically engendered, sometimes historically, socially, and politically imposed, is the crossroads where Kadir's endeavors meet up with the compelling enterprise of the subjects' writing in The Other Writing.
George Orwell's novels and essays are known to millions, but his character is an enigma: an intellectual, he continually damned intellectuals; a leading political writer, he was disgusted with politics; a combatant in the Spanish Civil War, he despised violence; and an ardent believer in socialism, he had contempt for most socialists. In this skillful study, an insightful picture of this paradoxical figure emerges