Volume 62, Issue 2 | June 2001

Author Title
Steven Dillon Victorian Interior  
The essay attempts to contribute to the developing field of visual studies by attending carefully to the social spaces figured forth by Victorian interior design and exterior architecture. The limitations of important theorists of nineteenth-century visuality--Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Jonathan Crary--are argued, and an alternative sense of boundaries and transparency is claimed for English culture (in contrast to French). The essay discusses examples of visual culture from the London club scene, Thackeray's writings, pictures from the Illustrated London News, and The Crystal Palace. Instead of looking at nineteenth-century visuality as pre-cinematic, anticipates D.W. Griffith, it is suggested that we treat nineteenth-century visual culture through the history of architecture, looking instead towards Whistler. The final part of the essay examines the idea of the "empty room" in fiction, book illustration, and painting.
Mark Goble Cameo Appearances; or, When Gertrude Stein Checks In to the Grand Hotel  
This essay looks at both Stein's autobiographical writings of the 1930s and the larger iconography of celebrity that patterns her work in this period. It suggests that this iconography overlaps in several ways with the particular modernity captured by MGM's 1932 blockbuster Grand Hotel, chiefly in the profusion of cameo appearances which mark the film's primary innovation as a product of the Hollywood studio system, but which also contribute to its representation of modern life as an experience of overwhelming publicity and social motion. It traces a remarkably similar emphasis throughout The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and Everybody's Autobiography, paying close attention to the way both the film and Stein's texts seem to project the implications of their stars' sexualities--Garbo, Stein, Toklas--onto a curious circuitry of moments involving dogs and telephones.
Nancy Vogeley How Chivalry Formed the Myth of California  
Edward Everett Hale is generally credited with discovering the origins of the name California in the Spanish romance of chivalry, Sergas de Esplandian (1510). Writing in 1862, Hale detected in the name of the Amazon queen, Calafia, and in her island's name, California, the source for that state's naming. Neither scholars of American literature nor Hispanists have paid attention to that find. This article agrees with previous research that reading did inspire Spanish soldiers and mariners, but argues that these romances of chivalry, rather than drawing marvelous worlds as critics have thought, tell of contemporary events in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Near East. Political, religious and racial realities inform their chivalric conflicts and love interests. The books' stories, therefore, could be applied to the newness Spanish explorers were discovering in the Americas. After his initial linkage of California's name to a Spanish source, Hale took the book's symbolism to suggest contemporary realities of the Civil War in the United States. He thus confirmed chivalry's capacity for realistic statement. The existence of a political party in California in the 1860s, whose members were called "the chivs" and which worked to bring Southern practices of slavery to the state, also shows how chivalry's idealism could be stretched.
Author Title
Robert Weimann Shakespeare After Theory by David Scott Kastan
Brook Thomas Still the New World: American Literature in a Culture of Creative Destruction by Philip Fisher
Rita Felski Reading 1922: A Return to the Scene of the Modern by Michael North
Maria DiBattista The Novel in England 1900 - 1950, History and Theory by Robert Caserio

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