|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.
|Jacob Vance||Marc Bizer, Homer and the Politics of Authority in Renaissance France|
|Gordon Braden||Christopher D. Johnson, Hyperboles: The Rhetoric of Excess in Baroque Literature and Thought|
|Cassidy Picken||Edward Adams, Liberal Epic: The Victorian Practice of History from Gibbon to Churchill|
|David Wilson-Okamura||Judith Ryan, The Novel after Theory|
Modern Language Quarterly | Department of English, Box 354330 |
University of Washington | Seattle, WA 98195-4430