Volume 62, Issue 1 | March 2001

Author Title
Manuel Martín-Rodríguez "A Net Made of Holes": Towards a Cultural History of Chicano Literature  
This essay argues that the traditional historiographical models currently employed to (re)construct Chicano literary history are not appropriate for the task. Because the history of Chicano letters is full of gaps and discontinuities (the "net made of holes" in the title), a chronological listing of authors and works would give a false impression of teleological progression from past to present. Furthermore, since Chicano literature is the product of a transnational, transcultural experience, its history should not be limited by national boundaries, as most traditional literary histories are. As an alternative, this essay advocates for a transnational, rhizomatic history of both production and reception that would benefit from recent theoretical advances in borderlands, feminist, postcolonial, and cultural studies.
Margaret Bruzelius "The King of England...Loved to Look upon a MAN": Melancholy and Masculinity in Scott's Talisman
Alan Fischler Guano and Poetry: Payment for Playwriting in Victorian England  
The absence of poetry--or, for that matter, quality--on the early 19th-century English stage has been frequently lamented, and many causes have been proposed to account for it: restrictive laws governing the theaters, enormous playhouses in which all but rant was lost, and the uneducated working-class audiences who were the only regular patrons of these establishments. All of these factors surely had their effect, but it may be argued that the impoverishing terms under which playwrights were paid for their work, which was commonly purchased outright by theatrical managers, constituted a still more decisive cause of the decline of the drama. For much of the era, dramatists who had to produce a vast quantity of work in order to earn a living had little time for quality; thus it was the case that, as Dion Boucicault said, "more money has been made out of guano than out of poetry." Boucicault himself took the most crucial step toward reform when, in 1860, he did not sell "The Colleen Bawn" to the manager of the Adelphi but rather negotiated a profit-sharing arrangement whereby the playwright retained for himself the rights to what proved to be an enormously successful piece. A few years later, Tom Robertson began receiving a fee from his managers for every performance of his plays, thus pioneering the modern royalty system. As pay-per-play rose, so did literary quality, as such late Victorian dramatists as W.S. Gilbert, Henry Arthur Jones, Oscar Wilde, and Arthur Wing Pinero now had the luxury of polishing the relatively few pieces they wrote to a very high gloss. Better compensation for playwrights, not better playwrights, was the prime cause of the displacement of guano from the English stage.
Matthew Curr Recuperating E. M. Forster's Maurice  
Maurice has long been read as a weak novel. Aestheticist readers regard it as technically weak. Even queer theorists sneer at it for being published posthumously. But once read as part of the social critique of all his novels, Maurice emerges as the key to Forster's work and not as the weak link. Maurice functions as a retrospective to the other novels and mirrors plainly the underlying ethical quotient of novels which are otherwise too easily cornered as beautiful portraits and not searing social satire. The biographical immediacy of the early novels is largely suppressed by cautious instinct whereas Maurice, when read in conjunction with longer or better-known texts, alerts the reader to a private pain and subtle articulation of suffering that has to be respected both as the significant impulse of his creativity and the high-water mark of his art.
Author Title
Srinivas Aravamudan Under Western Eyes: India from Milton to Macaulay by Balachandra Rajan
Balachandra Rajan Tropicopolitans: Colonialism and Agency, 1688-1804 by Srinivas Aravamudan
Anne Mellor Romantic Genius: The Prehistory of a Homosexual Role by Andrew Elfenbein

Modern Language Quarterly | Department of English, Box 354330 | University of Washington | Seattle, WA 98195-4430