Volume 65, Issue 2 | June 2004

Author Title
Aaron Kunin Other Hands in Pepys' Diary  
This essay argues that reading, for Pepys, is a two-person activity, and usually means reading to someone (his wife, his patron, or a friend) or being read to (by his wife, a servant, or a friend). Historians of reading have long recognized the crowdedness of such scenes, but nonetheless have reduced them to one figure: the man of letters achieving, as Roger Chartier puts it, "intimacy with his book," while the servants who do the physical work of reading and writing are written out of the history of reading and writing. The essay focuses primarily on Pepys's reading of pornographic novels and poems, and suggests that these scenes may be collaborative rather than solitary. The essay finally raises questions about the use of Pepys as a representative figure for seventeenth-century history: why should Pepys be typical?
Joep Leerssen Literary Historicism: Romanticism, Philologists, and the Presence of the Past
Paul Gilmore Mechanical Means: Emersonian Aesthetic Transcendence and Antebellum Technology  
"Mechanical Means: Emersonian Aesthetic Transcendence and Antebellum Technology" argues against both New Critical and New Historicist readings of Emerson's idealist aesthetics by contending that he conceived of aesthetics less as a withdrawal into an ideal realm than an attempt to transform society by challenging notions of the self and the self's material relations to the world. In particular, I trace Emerson's allusions to and metaphors of new technologies to suggest how he attempted to figure aesthetic practice in terms of the human capacity to re-make both the material world and consciousness. Connecting this element of Emerson's thought to his anti-slavery activity, I argue that his delineation of the power of aesthetic experience in terms of technologies enables him to imagine aesthetics both as detached from specific political causes and as essential to liberatory practice.
Michael Harrawood Shakespeare in the Caribbean: The Morant Bay Massacre, Jamaica, 1865  
This essay considers the ways in which commentaries on the West Indies, specifically those by Thomas Carlyle and his literary executor James Anthony Froude, used Shakespeare's plays and poetry to advance colonial projects and the racial theories that fueled them. Carlyle's literary aesthetics, which borrowed heavily from Kant, ran close alongside his theories of labor and race, and provided the theoretical foundation for the ideologies of empire in place at the time of the peasant uprising at Morant Bay, Jamaica. Beginning in the 1820s, colonists in Jamaica had noted that lines from Shakespeare plays were turning up in ritual slave "Joncanoe" performances, an unauthorized and unexplained borrowing that provoked both amusement and anxiety. At stake in these borrowings were colonial notions of culture, representation and mimesis, all of which came together in the way Shakespeare's plays were invested with their particular cultural capital. The essay examines the cultural and political force that was generated by Bardologists who thought of Shakespeare as a figure of primordiality, silence and nature, the national poet who both transcended and created history.
Author Title
Wilson T. Bell and Thomas Lahusen The Making of the State Writer: Social and Aesthetic Origins of Soviet Literary Culture by Evgeny Dobrenko
Richard P. Martin The Modern Construction of Myth by Andrew von Hendy
Lewis C. Seifert Twice Upon a Time: Women Writers and the History of the Fairy Tale by Elizabeth Wanning Harries
Donald Wesling Poetry and the Fate of the Senses by Susan Stewart
Pamela Cheek Libertines and Radicals in Early Modern London: Sexuality, Politics, and Literary Culture, 1630-1685 and Schooling Sex: Libertine Literature and Erotic Education in Italy, France, and England, 1534-1685 by James Grantham Turner
Melanie Micir How to Write the History of the New World: Historiographies, Epistemologies, and Identities in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World by Jorge Caņizares-Esguerra
Elisa Tamarkin Transatlantic Insurrections: British Culture and the Formation of American Literature, 1730-1860 by Paul Giles
Claire F. Fox Ambassadors of Culture: The Transamerican Origins of Latino Writing by Kirsten Silva Gruesz

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