|Cynthia Nazarian||Du Bellay’s Petrarchan Politics: Violence and Imitation in the Olive and Deffence |
This essay examines images of violence in the first French sonnet sequence, Joachim Du Bellay’s Olive, alongside his protonationalist manifesto, the Deffence et illustration de la langue françoyse. Through the omnipresent imagery of violence that links these texts, Nazarian explores the wider political stakes of imitation in Du Bellay’s works. The Olive showcases French poetic and cultural superiority through bloody images of mutilation and consumption of Italian sources, reshaping Petrarchism into an attack on Italy as beloved. The sonnets and manifesto jointly target the Holy Roman Empire of Charles V through shared metaphors of imperial conquest, looting, and war.
|Michael B. Prince||“Religio Laici” v. Religio Laici: Dryden, Blount, and the Origin of English Deism |
This essay reopens the case of two identically titled works that appeared within twelve months of each other, a preface and poem by John Dryden (1682) and a philosophical treatise published by Charles Blount (1683). It argues that the latter was written before the former and not by Blount but by the founder of modern deism, Lord Herbert of Cherbury. It further argues that both Blount and Dryden were probably aware of Herbert’s English manuscript of Religio Laici before 1682. Dryden wrote his Religio Laici in a hurry to preempt the deists’ Religio Laici; Blount then used Dryden’s poem to avoid censorship, masking the first English manifesto of deism as an adulatory letter to Dryden. This argument solves several long-standing problems in the interpretation of Dryden’s poem and in the historiography of early English deism.
|Beth Blum||Ulysses as Self-Help Manual?: James Joyce’s Strategic Populism |
This essay uses “self-help” guides to James Joyce as an occasion to illuminate the buried history of modernism’s engagement with popular morality. It suggests that the birth of Joyce’s aesthetic — and, by extension, of modernism more broadly — is attributable to early twentieth-century debates over literature’s social use, debates that had far-reaching political and national implications. As a corollary, the essay undermines idealized portraits of “oracular” Joyce by showing Ulysses to be firmly a product of the contentions of its day. Far from a source of alienation, didacticism offers a means of reclaiming literature for popular readers.
|Bruce Ronda||Re-thinking Transcendentalism: Perry Miller, Truman Nelson, and Thoreau’s “Lost Journal” |
Perry Miller’s 1958 edition of Henry David Thoreau’s “lost journal” for 1840 – 41, with its long and condescending introduction, prompted the leftist novelist Truman Nelson to engage in a bitter correspondence with Van Wyck Brooks and others, critiquing Miller’s approach to Thoreau and transcendentalism and offering a reading that emerged from Nelson’s Marxist outlook. This essay explores Miller’s penchant for existentialist readings of historical-literary figures and movements, which clashed with Nelson’s materialist interpretation of antebellum culture. Although these two approaches seem incommensurate, a more holistic view of transcendentalism results from acknowledging both: Miller’s preference for accounts of individual struggle, self-doubt, and ambiguity and Nelson’s insistence on the transcendentalists’ embrace of movements for social change.
|Ross Hamilton||Jesse Molesworth, Chance and the Eighteenth-Century Novel: Realism, Probability, Magic|
|Herbert Tucker||Christopher M. Keirstead, Victorian Poetry, Europe, and the Challenge of Cosmopolitanism|
|Ambreen Hai||Alan Johnson, Out of Bounds: Anglo-Indian Literature and the Geography of Displacement|
|Jesse Matz||Max Saunders, Self-Impression: Life-Writing, Autobiografiction, and the Forms of Modern Literature|
|Brian Lennon||Joshua L. Miller, Accented America: The Cultural Politics of Multilingual Modernism|
|Louis Chude-Sokei||Yogita Goyal, Romance, Diaspora, and Black Atlantic Literature|
|Will Montgomery||Mark Silverberg, The New York School Poets and the Neo-Avant-Garde: Between Radical Art and Radical Chic|
Modern Language Quarterly | Department of English, Box 354330 |
University of Washington | Seattle, WA 98195-4430