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Series: Series in Literary Studies

The Picturesque, The Sublime, The Beautiful: Visual Artistry in the Works of Charlotte Smith (1749-1806)

Valerie Derbyshire, University of Sheffield

ISBN: 978-1-62273-618-8
Availability: Pre-order
$63 £48 €54

This book considers the relationships between British Romantic-era novelist, poet and writer of educational works for children, Charlotte Smith (1749-1806), and a number of visual artists of the eighteenth century with whom she had connections. By exploring these associations with artists such as George Smith of Chichester, George Romney, James Northcote, John Raphael Smith and Emma Smith, the book demonstrates how the artwork of these individual artists influenced Charlotte Smith’s literary corpus. It also shows a mutual influence: how the literary works of Charlotte Smith impacted the corpora of these artists. This study uncovers information which was not heretofore known regarding these artists: it reveals a mistaken attribution of a sketch which accompanied the second volume of Smith’s Elegiac Sonnets (1797) and sheds light on a print, held by the British Museum, which was previously shrouded in mystery. The artworks also enhance the existing scholarly knowledge about Smith’s biography. This book analyses the tropes and motifs employed by Smith’s artist-associates in the context of the popular aesthetics of the period and undertakes parallel readings between such visual artistry and Smith’s literary works. The book deliberates on how Smith utilises these aesthetics as narrative devices, making use of the tropes of the picturesque, the sublime and the beautiful, as well as that of a national British heraldic artwork, in order to produce and enhance meaning in her literary oeuvre. Thus, Smith uses aesthetic structures as vehicles for social critique, commentating on political, gender, moral and class concerns in addition to enhancing the perceived authenticity of her own artistry. The scholarship aims to correct the common misperception that Smith was a lonely marginal figure of Romanticism and instead asserts her central position in an enormous network of key artistic figures of British Romanticism.

The Poetics of Fragmentation in Contemporary British and American Fiction

Edited by Vanessa Guignery, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France and Wojciech Drąg, University of Wrocław, Poland

February 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-616-4
Availability: In stock
252pp. ¦ $61 £46 €52

The last decades have seen a revival of fragmentation in British and American works of fiction that deny linearity, coherence and continuity in favour of disruption, gaps and fissures. Authors such as Ali Smith, David Mitchell and David Shields have sought new ways of representing our global, media-saturated contemporary experience which differ from modernist and postmodernist experimentations from which the writers nevertheless draw inspiration. This volume aims to investigate some of the most important contributions to fragmentary literature from British and American writers since the 1990s, with a particular emphasis on texts released in the twenty-first century. The chapters within examine whether contemporary forms of literary fragmentation constitute a return to the modernist episteme or the fragmented literature of exhaustion of the 1960s, mark a continuity with postmodernist aesthetics or signal a deviation from past models and an attempt to reflect today’s accelerated culture of social media and over-communication. Contributors theorise and classify literary fragments, examine the relationship between fragmentation and the Zeitgeist (influenced by globalisation, media saturation and social networks), analyse the mechanics of multimodal and multimedial fictions, and consider the capacity of literary fragmentation to represent personal or collective trauma and to address ethical concerns. They also investigate the ways in which the architecture of the printed book is destabilised and how aesthetic processes involving fragmentation, bricolage and/or collage raise ontological, ethical and epistemological questions about the globalised contemporary world we live in and its relation to the self and the other. Besides the aforementioned authors, the volume makes reference to the works of J. G. Ballard, Julian Barnes, Mark Z. Danielewski, David Markson, Jonathan Safran Foer, David Foster Wallace, Jeanette Winterson and several others.

Illness as Method: Beckett, Kafka, Mann, Woolf and Eliot

Jayjit Sarkar, Raiganj University, India

April 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-635-5
Availability: In stock
116pp. ¦ $39 £29 €33

This work questions the problematic connections between illness and modernity: the complicated negotiations involving the body both in its physicality and phenomenology and the poetics and praxiality of illness. The project, which is predominantly conceptual in nature, for it does not see illness solely as a clinical-physical category (leaning heavily on the medical sciences), but rather perspectivizes its phenomenology and pathographical limits and manifestations, lateralizing on its critical correspondences with a selection of modernist texts ranging from Virginia Woolf to Samuel Beckett. The book unearths different ‘possibilities’ of illness without denying its (quite natural) association with morbidity, pain, suffering, dying and death. It looks at illness and its effects on different bodies phenomenologically with the help of some twentieth-century philosophers, including Martin Heidegger, Jean Luc-Nancy, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre and Emmanuel Levinas. The book locates these phenomenological understandings in a reading of some of the important literary works of early twentieth-century Europe — five literary works from five different genres (poetry, drama, fiction, non-fiction and epistle) — critiquing the relevance of the phenomenological body in the literary and narrative world of the texts. The author deals with Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, Franz Kafka’s letters, Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, Virginia Woolf’s On Being Ill and T. S. Eliot’s The Wasteland within the aesthetico-philosophical space and the epistemic dialogism that modernist aesthetics implies and espouses.

(Beyond) Posthuman Violence: Epic Rewritings of Ethics in the Contemporary Novel

Claudio Murgia, University of Warwick

March 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-638-6
Availability: In stock
220pp. ¦ $60 £45 €51

Neuroscience tells us that the brain is nothing but a metaphor machine capable of extracting meaning from a chaotic reality. Following Agamben, Arendt, Benjamin and Žižek, a theory of violence can be established according to which violence is a reaction on the part of the individual to the frustration generated by having her metaphor machine suppressed by the mythic narrative of the Law. In opposition to mythic violence, Benjamin posits the justice of divine violence. Divine justice is an excess of life, the very uniqueness of the metaphor machine. The individual is affected by a difficulty to communicate her metaphor machine to the Other, as if it were inexpressible. This work explores how the characters in the works of David Foster Wallace, Cormac MacCarthy, J. G. Ballard, Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Maurice G. Dantec and China Mieville suffer from these limits of language and the constrictions of the Law. Through violence they look for their individual Voice, intended as their will-to-say, the ‘pure taking place of language’ (Agamben). In their struggle to be heard these characters are however deaf to the Voice of the Other. There is a need for a new Ethics of Narratives expressed through an Epic of the Voice founded on the will-to-listen, along the lines of the concept of the posthuman theorized by Rosi Braidotti. Here subjectivity is a process of constant autopoiesis dependent on the relationship the individual has with the Other and the environment around her, that is, in the reciprocal will-to-say and will-to-listen. Human beings can meet in the taking-place of language, in the place before the suppressive language of the Law is even born, in a meeting of Voices.

Poetic Inquiry as Social Justice and Political Response

Edited by Sandra L. Faulkner, Bowling Green State University, USA and Abigail Cloud, Bowling Green State University, USA

ISBN: 978-1-62273-649-2
Availability: Pre-order
$59 £44 €50

This volume presents refereed work from the 6th International Symposium on Poetic Inquiry (ISPI) and the 17th Annual Winter Wheat: The Mid-American Review Festival of Writing held at Bowling Green State University in 2017. The book speaks to the use of poetry in critical qualitative research and practice focused on social justice. In this collection, poetry is a response, a call to action, agitation, and a frame for future social justice work. The authors engage with poetry’s potential for connectivity, political power, and evocation through methodological, theoretical, performative, and empirical work. The poet-researchers consider questions of how poetry and Poetic Inquiry can be a response to political and social events, be used as a pedagogical tool to critique inequitable social structures, and how Poetic Inquiry speaks to our local identities and politics. The authors answer a question posed in previous ISPI gatherings: “What spaces can poetry create for dialogue about critical awareness, social justice, and re-visioning of social, cultural, and political worlds?” This volume adds to the growing body of Poetic Inquiry through the demonstration of poetry as political action, response, and reflective practice. We hope this collection inspires you to write and engage with political poetry to realize the power of poetry as political action, response, and reflective practice.

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