|Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak||Why Study the Past? |
Why study the past? Because we must. The computer seems to offer us access to simultaneity. We must therefore study the past “broadly.” Primo Levi offers us an example. But the access to simultaneity is a simulacrum, for the computing (intending) subject is determined by computer programming. In earlier times theorists wrote of the determination of the intending subject. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari offer us an example. Such elite theory has not disappeared. Programming does empirically what they talked about sociologically, historically, psychologically. Yet we must study history broadly. Like all practice, it must ground itself on specific errors.
|Sharon Simmons||Milton’s Trifles: Lyric Disparagement in an Age of Walking Books |
Achinstein explores how lyric embarrassment becomes a figure for forms of obligation newly emergent, and under emergency, in historical conditions where uncontrolled reception and political uncertainty give rise to a new reflexiveness about the medium of lyric. The essay focuses on John Milton’s repeated gestures of lyric disparagement as well as his iconography of the anthropomorphized book. Both of these rhetorical features seem to constellate around the genre of the lyric during the early modern period.
|Sarah Ehlers||Making It Old: The Victorian/Modern Divide in Twentieth-Century American Poetry |
Focusing on the work of Harriet Monroe and Selma Walden, two Chicago writers who never fully identified with their literary milieus, this essay complicates the perceived divide between the Victorian and the modern, the old and the new. In his 1900 American Anthology, Monroe’s friend and mentor Edmund Clarence Stedman dubbed the turn of the century an “interval of twilight” for American poetry. Subsequent critics have perhaps read this narrative of decline too literally and regarded the supposed interregnum as a sign of progress toward modernism. This essay takes a different approach: understanding narratives of poetry’s twilight as strategic fictions that idealize, preserve, and recirculate the poetry of an earlier period. It views Monroe and Walden as productive symptoms of a critical tendency to incorporate narratives about Victorian poetry into narratives about modernism. Considered together, Monroe and Walden demonstrate how the Victorian had complex afterlives in twentieth-century America. Their works show how the tension between the Victorian and the modern reemerged during the twentieth century, playing out on different levels of culture.
|Matthew Eatough||Bowen’s Court and the Anglo-Irish World-System |
Bowen’s Court has most commonly been confronted through methodological paradigms stressing its affinity to traditional Irish generic and historiographical conventions. In contrast, this essay reassesses Anglo-Ireland’s contribution to early twentieth-century literature by rereading Elizabeth Bowen’s text within the context of an international cultural and economic world-system. It argues that two historical narratives inform Bowen’s Court: a gothic chronicle of decline and a protoprofessional story of detached expertise. These narratives correspond to two visions of Anglo-Ireland’s transnational position, the first conceiving of the Protestant Ascendancy as neofeudal landlords who transform Irish labor into capitalist wealth, the second characterizing the Anglo-Irish as a cosmopolitan class of professional managers. By regarding these socioeconomic roles as affective dispositions between which her class vacillated, Bowen creates a cyclical history in which the deficiencies of gothic hysteria and detached professionalism supplement each other in a dialectical exchange. Understanding the socioeconomic circumstances underlying Bowen’s Court provides an important insight into how Bowen and fellow Anglo-Irish writers used affect to legitimate their class position after Irish independence, as well as how they were able to envision an Anglo-Irish renaissance.
|Ernest B. Gilman||Paul Barolsky, A Brief History of the Artist from God to Picasso|
|Donald Gilbert-Santamaría||William Egginton, The Theater of Truth: The Ideology of (Neo)Baroque Aesthetics|
|Jacqueline George||Susan Wolfson, Romantic Interactions: Social Being and the Turns of Literary Action|
|Brian Goldberg||David Simpson, Wordsworth, Commodification, and Social Concern: The Poetics of Modernity|
|Michal Peled Ginsburg||Maurice Samuels, Inventing the Israelite: Jewish Fiction in Nineteenth-Century France|
|Wendy Larson||Yomi Braester, Painting the City Red: Chinese Cinema and the Urban Contract|
|Heather Love||Kathleen Woodward, Statistical Panic: Cultural Politics and Poetics of the Emotions|
|Sean Latham||Irr Caren, Pink Pirates: Contemporary American Women Writers and Copyright|
Modern Language Quarterly | Department of English, Box 354330 |
University of Washington | Seattle, WA 98195-4430