Abstracts for Volume 75 | 2014
|Volume 75, Issue 1|
|Matthew Wickman||Robert Burns and Big Data; or, The Pests That Dwell between Shape and Number|
This essay addresses the relationship between shape and number that is implicit to the conversion of statistics into forms of visual display. It does so by way of the work and legacy of Robert Burns, particularly the well-known poems “To a Louse” and “To a Mouse.” Bearing the reputation of Scotland’s national bard, a figure resolving a multiplicity of citizens into the image of unity, Burn’s poems nevertheless present complex, creaturely subjects that seemingly consist in more and less than themselves, in more and less than “one.” The poems thus make a narrow case for the breakdown of sympathy and a broader one for the irreducible complexity of being. Such complexity inflects the very structure of what scholars, after Franco Moretti, call the quantitative analysis of literature (in the conversion of texts to countable units: one, two, three, etc.). It also reveals how texts from literary history both complement and undercut the practices that partly convert those texts into bytes of information.
|Jesse Molesworth||Gothic Time, Sacred Time|
The manipulation of local time, or clock time, constitutes a vital aspect of gothic storytelling, as seen in Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto, Matthew Lewis’s Monk, and Ann Radcliffe’s novels. Several concepts emerge: the importance of the hour as a temporal unit, the meticulous marking of events in reference to their time of occurrence, and the personification of individual hours. Such effects promote a secular mysticism: gothic novels translate and reinvent an older liturgical reverence for the hour. Gothic time is, moreover, remade by Charles Brockden Brown and Jane Austen, whose Northanger Abbey formulates one aspect of novelistic realism precisely through the avoidance of gothic temporality.
|Kent Puckett||Hardy’s 1900|
This essay follows several changes in the dating of “The Darkling Thrush” to ask what the number 1900 might have meant to Thomas Hardy. Although Hardy did not make many edits to the poem itself, he did change the way that it was dated at every opportunity: in manuscript, the date appears as “The Century’s End
|Simon Kemp||Postpsychoanalytic Proust|
A la recherche du temps perdu, the last great pre-Freudian novel of the mind, has attracted much attention from psychoanalytic critics since its publication. This article explores the analysis of Proust’s novel by critics, with a particular focus on the representation of the conscious and unconscious mind. It follows the history of such criticism through the rise of psychoanalysis in the humanities to the waning of its influence in the early years of the present century. The article argues that our postpsychoanalytic present is the ideal moment to reexamine the parallels and divergences between Proust’s and Freud’s understandings of consciousness and to measure them against the rival philosophical and psychological theories developed during the twentieth century. The current pluralism in the humanities’ approach to analyzing representations of the mind allows the literary author’s implicit understanding of mental life to assert itself more clearly.
|top Volume 75, Issue 2|
|Andrew Elfenbein||The United States of Raveloe|
|Heather Murray||Alexander and After: Browning Culture, Natural Method, and National Education, 1889-1914|
|Nancy Glazener||The Browning Society in U.S. Public Literary Culture|
|Jennifer McDonell||“The Fascination of What’s Difficult”: Browning and MacCallum’s Classroom|
|Robert Dingley||Coming Back for Seconds: Professing English Literature in British Universities, 1880-1914|
|Leigh Dale||T.H. Green and the Modern Novel: English at Oxford|
|Alison Wood||Secularity and the Uses of Literature: English at Cambridge, 1890-1920|
|Angela Dunstan||The Shelley Society, Literary Lectures and the Global Circulation of English Literature and Scholarly Practice|
|Herbert Tucker||A Field of Magpies: Disciplinary Emergence as Modus Vivendi in English Studies|