|Elisabeth Helsinger||Just Beauty: Ovid and the Argument of Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" |
Readings of Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" either have focused exclusively on the text or have tried to identify the urn / vase that was the object of the ekphrasis. This essay identifies Ovid's Amores 3.13 and passages in his Metamorphoses as significant literary sources for the poem. Ovid's moving critique of animal sacrifice reinforced Keats's rejection of the sublime and option for the beautiful in the historical progress towards social justice.
|William West||Jacob Burckhardt's Untimely Observations |
This essay reexamines what is often taken as the core of Burckhardt's argument about the culture of the Renaissance: that Italy gave birth to a unique form of self-consciousness. Rather than challenging this claim head on by citing counterexamples either from early modern Italy or elsewhere, I set this claim into the broader contexts of Burckhardt's historical writings, historiographical lectures, and letters. I conclude that Burckhardt's theory of history does not imagine the location of a fact or event, in particular one as interior as subjectivity, as pre-existing its recognition by a historian. Rather, the past and the present have a mutually informing capability on one another, to the extent that it is inaccurate to speak of them as being distinct. In Burckhardt's most important image, they are like waves on a turbulent sea, connected, and history is their changing relation to one another. Burckhardt's concept of history can be profitably compared to Nietzsche's, and Burckhardt's work deserves the kind of careful reading that his younger colleague's has been given.
|Joseph Luzzi||Romantic Allegory, Postwar Film, and the Question of Italy |
This essay considers an ancient issue from the history of aesthetics that has been central to cinema's interdisciplinary debates: the relationship between symbol and allegory. I revisit this rhetorical crux in light of two crucial moments in the formation of Italian national identity, literary Romanticism and cinematic Neorealism. I aim to connect these two episodes by arguing on behalf of the pervasive influence of a distinctly Italian, and unfashionable and un-European, version of Romantic allegory that fused Christian and nationalist discourses in both the literary nineteenth century and postwar film. The argument traces the nationalist element of the symbol-allegory dialectic from its Romantic apotheosis in Alessandro Manzoni, through the naturalist author Giovanni Verga, and into the controversies over the status of the "literary" in postwar film. The concluding discussion examines the transformation of Neorealist nationalist discourse in the auteur directors Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni, with a focus on how Fellini negotiated a cinematic inheritance exemplified by Roberto Rossellini, the figure whose absorption of nationalist allegory within a religious vision recalls Manzoni.
|Andrea Goulet||Legacies of the Rue Morgue: Street Names and Private/Public Violence in Modern French Crime Fiction |
Recent re-writings of Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue support a long-lasting generic argument: that classic detective fiction fundamentally disavowed political violence in favor of bounded, domestic forms of private crime. But concerns of the State were never comfortably occluded, even in the drawing-room dramas of the late nineteenth century. My essay identifies a chain of French "street-name mysteries" ranging from Adolphe Belot's Le drame de la rue de la Paix (1866), through Léo Malet's 120, rue de la Gare (1943), to Didier Daeninckx's 12, rue Meckert (2001), in order to study the ways in which urban toponymics signal key shifts in the modern genre's attempts to dissociate personal crime from political context. While popular serials of the Second Empire unsuccessfully aim to quarantine street insurrections as external to its domestic criminal passions, WWII fiction re-inserts politics into the genre through the cartographic slippages of Occupied urban space. By the time the noir engagé of the late 20th century has explicitly linked private violence to State crimes, the ideological underpinnings of street nomenclature serve as anti-amnesiacs for the genre: from the Rue Morgue to the Rue Bonaparte, street names anchor urban crime in France's violent national history.
|Douglas Trevor||Humoring the Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage by Gail Kern Paster|
|Katharine Maus||The Poetics of Melancholy in Early Modern England by Douglas Trevor|
|Nicholas Paige||The Uses of Curiosity in Early Modern France and Germany by Neil Kenny|
|Suvir Kaul||Colonizing Nature: The Tropics in British Arts and Letters, 1760-1820 by Beth Fowkes Tobin|
|Langdon Hammer||Hart Crane: After His Lights by Brian M. Reed|
|Caroline Simpson||America's Asia: Racial Form and American Literature: 1893-1945 by Colleen Lye|
|Robert T. Tally, Jr.||Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History by Franco Moretti|
Modern Language Quarterly | Department of English, Box 354330 |
University of Washington | Seattle, WA 98195-4430