Volume 63, Issue 1 | March 2002

Author Title
Dennis Kezar Law, Form, History: Shakespeare's Verdict in All Is True  
This essay considers a long-running institutional antagonism between law and theater as a concern (on the side of the law) about formal contagion -- a fear that drama's modes of representation and interpretation can somehow infect the legal process of finding fact and constituting truth. Shakespeare's All is True (or Henry VIII) presents this antagonism not only as a contest between theatrical and legal modes, but also as a contest between two conceptions of history (form and content). The play is finally committed to collapsing these binaries -- to delivering verdicts (speaking truths) that take their authority from the law and historical particularity, as well as from the protocols of drama.
Colin Jager Mansfield Park and the End of Natural Theology  
This essay argues that Mansfield Park critically examines the argument from design, the most widespread and important theological tenet among England's educated classes. The heroine Fanny Price reaches toward an imaginative reinterpretation of eighteenth-century latitudinarian ecclesiastical history, but this possible history can appear only as a fantasy world. Meanwhile, the naturalized status of latitudinarian orthodoxy to which the hero Edmund Bertram is heir begins to look less natural as various allegories for the narrative-improvement, acting, and slavery-are introduced. This instability becomes clear, finally, in several conversations about nature itself, in which it turns out that some people, Mary Crawford especially, are simply resistant to the argument from design's persuasive powers. Mary's negative presence achieves formal recognition when the narrative shatters its own easy-going procedures in order to expel her and bring Edmund and Fanny together. In thus ambivalently turning away from design as a narrative device, Austen highlights its developing inability to reliably narrate a life.
Andrew H. Miller Perfectly Helpless  
This essay studies the aesthetic experience of readerly helplessness before the suffering of characters in novels, and in the novels of Jane Austen in particular. The first half of the essay attempts both to evoke this experience of helplessness; the second half attempts to situate it historically and conceptually within nineteenth century perfectionism.
Kang Liu The Short-lived Avant-Garde Literary Movement and Its Transformation: The Case of Yu Hua
Author Title
Margarita Zamora Unrequited Conquests: Love and Empire in the Colonial Americas by Roland Greene
Murakishi Esei The Anthology and the Rise of the Novel: From Richardson to George Eliot by Leah Price
Lorna Martens Rilke, Modernism and Poetic Tradition by Judith Ryan
Brian M. Reed Untwisting the Serpent: Modernism in Music, Literature, and OtherArts by Daniel Albright
Bill Krajewski The Language of the Third Reich: LTI, Lingua Tertii Imperii: A Philologist's Notebook by Victor Klemperer
Bruce Robbins Outlandish: Writing Between Exile and Diaspora by Nico Israel

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