Author: Nicholas Dames
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2001-06-14
Genre: Literary Criticism
With Joyce, Proust, and Faulkner in mind, we have come to understand the novel as a form with intimate ties to the impulses and processes of memory. This study contends that this common perception is an anachronism that distorts our view of the novel. Based on an investigation of representative novels, Amnesiac Selves shows that the Victorian novel bears no such secure relation to memory, and, in fact, it tries to hide, evade, and eliminate remembering. Dames argues that the notable scarcity and distinct unease of representations of remembrance in the nineteenth-century British novel signal an art form struggling to define and construct new concepts of memory. By placing nineteenth-century British fiction from Jane Austen to Wilkie Collins alongside a wide variety of Victorian psychologies and theories of mind, Nicholas Dames evokes a novelistic world, and a culture, before modern memory--one dedicated to a nostalgic evasion of detailed recollection which our time has largely forgotten.
How did the Victorians read novels? Nicholas Dames answers that deceptively simple question by revealing a now-forgotten range of nineteenth-century theories of the novel, a range based in a study of human physiology during the act of reading, He demonstrates the ways in which the Victorians thought they read, and uncovers surprising responses to the question of what might have transpired in the minds and bodies of readers of Victorian fiction. His detailed studies of novel critics who were also interested in neurological science, combined with readings of novels by Thackeray, Eliot, Meredith, and Gissing, propose a vision of the Victorian novel-reader as far from the quietly immersed being we now imagine - as instead a reader whose nervous system was addressed, attacked, and soothed by authors newly aware of the neural operations of their public. Rich in unexpected intersections, from the British response to Wagnerian opera to the birth of speed-reading in the late nineteenth century, The Physiology of the Novel challenges our assumptions about what novel-reading once did, and still does, to the individual reader, and provides new answers to the question of how novels influenced a culture's way of reading, responding, and feeling.
'One of the funniest, most riotously inventive and enjoyable novels you'll read this year' - Observer Roland Barthes is knocked down in a Paris street by a laundry van. It's February 1980 and he has just come from lunch with Francois Mitterrand. Barthes dies soon afterwards. History tells us it was an accident. But what if it were an assassination? What if Barthes was carrying a document of unbelievable, global importance? A document explaining the seventh function of language - an idea so powerful it gives whoever masters it the ability to convince anyone, in any situation, to do anything. Police Captain Jacques Bayard and his reluctant accomplice Simon Herzog set off on a chase that takes them from the corridors of power to backstreet saunas and midnight meetings. What they discover is a worldwide conspiracy involving the President, murderous Bulgarians and a secret international debating society.
Author: Rachel Ablow
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Release Date: 2010
Genre: Literary Criticism
"This gathering of state-of-the-art work generates a convincing and compelling vision of the emerging state of the field." ---Daniel Hack, University of Michigan Through discussions of an array of materials ranging from diaries to critical essays to cartoons, the collected writings in The Feeling of Reading explore the wide range of ways in which Victorian readers thought about the act of reading. With innovative examinations of well-known works by authors such as George Eliot, Lewis Carroll, and Lord Alfred Tennyson, the essays in this collection demonstrate that in the latter half of the 19th century, reading was commonly regarded as much as an affective experience as a way to convey information or increase understanding. By virtue of renewed attention to the experience of reading, rather than the information gained by the act, The Feeling of Reading demonstrates reading's intriguing and mysterious nature---not just because of the individuality of the experience but because the consequences of that experience can never be fully determined in advance. In addition to its obvious interest to Victorian historians and literary critics, this collection should find a readership among historical and literary scholars interested in the history and theory of reading. Rachel Ablow is Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.
Author: Stephen Jarvis
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: 2015-06-23
Death and Mr. Pickwick is a vast, richly imagined, Dickensian work about the rough-and-tumble world that produced an author who defined an age. Like Charles Dickens did in his immortal novels, Stephen Jarvis has spun a tale full of preposterous characters, shaggy-dog stories, improbable reversals, skulduggery, betrayal, and valor-all true, and all brilliantly brought to life in his unputdownable book. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, featuring the fat and lovable Mr. Pickwick and his Cockney manservant, Sam Weller, began as a series of whimsical sketches, the brainchild of the brilliant, erratic, misanthropic illustrator named Robert Seymour, a denizen of the back alleys and grimy courtyards where early nineteenth-century London's printers and booksellers plied their cutthroat trade. When Seymour's publishers, after trying to match his magical etchings with a number of writers, settled on a young storyteller using the pen name Boz, The Pickwick Papers went on to become a worldwide phenomenon, outselling every other book besides the Bible and Shakespeare's plays. And Boz, as the young Charles Dickens signed his work, became, in the eyes of many, the most important writer of his time. The fate of Robert Seymour, Mr. Pickwick's creator, a very different story-one untold before now. Few novels deserve to be called magnificent. Death and Mr. Pickwick is one of them.
How did realist novelists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries hint at sex while maintaining a safe distance from pornography? Metaphors helped: waves, oceans, blooms, and illuminations were all deployed in respectable realist novels to allude to the sexual act, allowing writers to portray companionate marriage while avoiding graphic description. But in Exquisite Masochism, Claire Jarvis argues that some Victorian novelists went even further, pushing formal boundaries by slyly developing scenes of displaced erotic desire to suggest impropriety, perversion, and danger. Through close readings of canonical works by Emily Brontë, Anthony Trollope, Thomas Hardy, and a modernist outlier, D. H. Lawrence, Jarvis reveals how writers’ varied use of specific character types—the dominant woman and the submissive man—in conjunction with decadent, descriptive scenes of sexual refusal creates a strong counter-narrative hinting at relationships beyond patriarchal and companionate marriage structures. By focusing on the exquisitely masochistic pleasure brought about by freezing, or suspending, the sexual charge, and by depicting quasi-contractual states on the periphery of marriage, including engagement, adultery, and widowhood, novelists disrupted the marriage plot’s insistence that erotic drives remain unfulfilled and that sexual connection could be satisfied only by genital act. Complicating our understanding of Victorian marriage ideology’s more well-trodden focus on a productive, nation-building ideal, Exquisite Masochism offers fascinating insight into our own culture’s debates around illicit sexuality, marriage, reproduction, and feminism.
Author: Grace Paley
Release Date: 2017-04-04
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
An essential book for all Grace Paley fans Grace Paley is best known for her inimitable short stories, but she was also an enormously talented essayist and poet. A Grace Paley Reader collects the best of Paley’s writing, showcasing her breadth of work and her extraordinary insight and empathy. With an introduction by George Saunders and an afterword by the writer’s daughter, Nora Paley, A Grace Paley Reader is sure to become an instant classic.
"For the past seven years, the Stanford Literary Lab, founded by Franco Moretti and Matthew Jockers, has been a leading site of literary scholarship aided by computers and algorithmic methods. This landmark volume gathers the collective research of the group and its most remarkable experiments. From seemingly ineffable matters such as the "loudness" of thousands of novels, the geographic distribution of emotions, the nature of a sentence and a paragraph, and the evolution of bureaucratic doublespeak, descriptions emerge. The Stanford Literary Lab lets the computers provide new insights for questions from the deep tradition of two centuries of literary inquiry. Rather than, like the rest of us, letting the computers lead. The results are adventurous, witty, challenging, profound. The old questions can finally get new answers--as the prelude to new big questions. Canon/Archive is the fulfillment and further development of "distant reading," adding a rare, full-length monument to the piecemeal progress of the digital humanities. No student, teacher, or inquisitive reader of literature will want to be without this book--just as no one interested in the new data-attentive methods in history, criticism, and the social sciences can afford to evade its summons"--Back cover.
Author: Adrian Poole
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2009-12-10
Genre: Literary Criticism
In this Companion, leading scholars and critics address the work of the most celebrated and enduring novelists from the British Isles (excluding living writers): among them Defoe, Richardson, Sterne, Austen, Dickens, the Brontës, George Eliot, Hardy, James, Lawrence, Joyce, and Woolf. The significance of each writer in their own time is explained, the relation of their work to that of predecessors and successors explored, and their most important novels analysed. These essays do not aim to create a canon in a prescriptive way, but taken together they describe a strong developing tradition of the writing of fictional prose over the past 300 years. This volume is a helpful guide for those studying and teaching the novel, and will allow readers to consider the significance of less familiar authors such as Henry Green and Elizabeth Bowen alongside those with a more established place in literary history.
How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain asks how our culture came to frown on using books for any purpose other than reading. When did the coffee-table book become an object of scorn? Why did law courts forbid witnesses to kiss the Bible? What made Victorian cartoonists mock commuters who hid behind the newspaper, ladies who matched their books' binding to their dress, and servants who reduced newspapers to fish 'n' chips wrap? Shedding new light on novels by Thackeray, Dickens, the Brontës, Trollope, and Collins, as well as the urban sociology of Henry Mayhew, Leah Price also uncovers the lives and afterlives of anonymous religious tracts and household manuals. From knickknacks to wastepaper, books mattered to the Victorians in ways that cannot be explained by their printed content alone. And whether displayed, defaced, exchanged, or discarded, printed matter participated, and still participates, in a range of transactions that stretches far beyond reading. Supplementing close readings with a sensitive reconstruction of how Victorians thought and felt about books, Price offers a new model for integrating literary theory with cultural history. How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain reshapes our understanding of the interplay between words and objects in the nineteenth century and beyond.
Author: Ben Lerner
Publisher: Coffee House Press
Release Date: 2011-08-23
Adam Gordon is a brilliant, if highly unreliable, young American poet on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid, struggling to establish his sense of self and his relationship to art. What is actual when our experiences are mediated by language, technology, medication, and the arts? Is poetry an essential art form, or merely a screen for the reader's projections? Instead of following the dictates of his fellowship, Adam's "research" becomes a meditation on the possibility of the genuine in the arts and beyond: are his relationships with the people he meets in Spain as fraudulent as he fears his poems are? A witness to the 2004 Madrid train bombings and their aftermath, does he participate in historic events or merely watch them pass him by? In prose that veers between the comic and tragic, the self-contemptuous and the inspired, Leaving the Atocha Station is a portrait of the artist as a young man in an age of Google searches, pharmaceuticals, and spectacle. Born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1979, Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path. He has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book Award, a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, and the recipient of a 2010-2011 Howard Foundation Fellowship. In 2011 he became the first American to win the Preis der Stadt Münster für Internationale Poesie. Leaving the Atocha Station is his first novel.
Just how did Jane Austen become the celebrity author and the inspiration for generations of loyal fans she is today? Devoney Looser’s The Making of Jane Austen turns to the people, performances, activism, and images that fostered Austen’s early fame, laying the groundwork for the beloved author we think we know. Here are the Austen influencers, including her first English illustrator, the eccentric Ferdinand Pickering, whose sensational gothic images may be better understood through his brushes with bullying, bigamy, and an attempted matricide. The daring director-actress Rosina Filippi shaped Austen’s reputation with her pioneering dramatizations, leading thousands of young women to ventriloquize Elizabeth Bennet’s audacious lines before drawing room audiences. Even the supposedly staid history of Austen scholarship has its bizarre stories. The author of the first Jane Austen dissertation, student George Pellew, tragically died young, but he was believed by many, including his professor-mentor, to have come back from the dead. Looser shows how these figures and their Austen-inspired work transformed Austen’s reputation, just as she profoundly shaped theirs. Through them, Looser describes the factors and influences that radically altered Austen’s evolving image. Drawing from unexplored material, Looser examines how echoes of that work reverberate in our explanations of Austen’s literary and cultural power. Whether you’re a devoted Janeite or simply Jane-curious, The Making of Jane Austen will have you thinking about how a literary icon is made, transformed, and handed down from generation to generation.
Author: Pierre Bayard
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Release Date: 2010-08-10
Genre: Literary Collections
In this delightfully witty, provocative book, literature professor and psychoanalyst Pierre Bayard argues that not having read a book need not be an impediment to having an interesting conversation about it. (In fact, he says, in certain situations reading the book is the worst thing you could do.) Using examples from such writers as Graham Greene, Oscar Wilde, Montaigne, and Umberto Eco, he describes the varieties of "non-reading"-from books that you've never heard of to books that you've read and forgotten-and offers advice on how to turn a sticky social situation into an occasion for creative brilliance. Practical, funny, and thought-provoking, How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read-which became a favorite of readers everywhere in the hardcover edition-is in the end a love letter to books, offering a whole new perspective on how we read and absorb them.