Volume 65, Issue 4 | December 2004

Author Title
Virginie Greene Shakespeare, Women, and French Romanticism  
The essay explores how writings from the 1820s and 30s on Shakespearean heroines reveal the conflicting literary, political and gendered ideologies of French Romanticism. Whereas the literary history of Shakespeare in France has been mostly concerned with the contributions of male Romantics, I examine how three women poets­two of whom pioneered French Romanticism's appropriation of Shakespeare­responded to the idealization of the charms and purity of "English" womanhood typical of Shakespearean character criticism, exemplified in the compilation Galerie des femmes de Shakspeare. Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, Amable Tastu and Louise Colet imitated Shakespeare in different ways, but each imitation underscores the poets' scholarly and public voices at a time when women, like Shakespeare's heroines themselves, were being sequestered in domesticity.
Mary A. Favret War in the Air  
This essay examines the metaphor of war as weather, and the implications of imagining the sky and its meteorological fluctuations as a register for history. Tracing on the one hand, changes in weather science in the course of the long eighteenth-century, and georgic models of prognostication and mediation, it argues that the emergence of a global, aerial meteorology in late century allowed poets (such as Cowper, Barbauld, and numerous popular poets publishing in journals and newspapers) to turn to the skies to communicate something affecting about distant, global war.
Thomas F. Haddox Elizabeth Spencer, the White Civil Rights Novel, and Postsouthern  
This essay argues that the emergence of what I call the white civil rights novel--a genre whose most famous example is Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)--in the 1940s and 1950s in the U.S South should be understood as a mark of the new "postsouthern" literary culture. While the monuments of southern modernist literature of the 1920s and 1930s had characterized the South as an authentic community, possessed of a tragic sensibility and metaphysical depth, the newer postsouthern texts ironically deploy southern tropes that are fast becoming simulacra. Using Lewis Simpson and Michael Kreyling's theories of the postsouthern, I develop this argument through a reading of one of the most important white civil rights novels, Elizabeth Spencer's The Voice at the Back Door (1956). Spencer's novel, like other white civil rights novels, adopts a highly personalized politics of liberal gradualism and mocks the drama and metanarrative gravity of southern identity that earlier novels had celebrated. Yet precisely because its ironic effect depends on familiarity with an earlier model of southern identity, it does not mark a decisive break with the southern past that some admirers of the postsouthern might wish to see in it. Finally, through its depiction of Beckwith Dozer, The Voice at the Back Door suggests that African-American men possess whatever dignity, depth, and potential for agency postsouthern culture may retain.
Review essay
Author Title
Garrett Stewart Metallusion: the Used, the Renewed, and the Novel  
This review-essay of Christopher Ricks's magisterial Allusion to the Poets honors the critic's method by turning the lens of verbal analysis on his own self-allusive style to draw out the unspoken implications of its sometimes hermetic effects. Though Ricks offers no term for the frequently treated allusion that alludes to its own referencing within the orbit of canonical deference and revision, a concept of "metallusion" lets us probe further (according to an inevitably more Bloomian model) the implied contest, rather than just testimony, of literary inheritance and advance. The essay moves out from the center of Ricks's evidence, culminating in Wordsworth and Tennyson, to the novels of George Eliot as a way of exposing the power plays as well as homage of cross-generic allusion.
Author Title
Brian M. Reed Modern Enchantments: The Cultural Power of Secular Magic by Simon During
Huston Diehl Shakespeare's Tribe: Church, Nation, and the Theater in Renaissance England by Jeffrey Knapp
Theodora Jankowski The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England by Valerie Traub
Sara Melzer Orientalism in French Classical Drama by Michele Longino
George W. Pigman, III Excess and the Mean in Early Modern English Literature by Joshua Scodel
Paul Giles Fragments of Union: Making Connections in Scottish and American Writing by Susan Manning
Vivian Liska The Difficulties of Modernism by Leonard Diepeveen
Timothy Materer Twenty-first Century Modernism: The New Poetics by Marjorie Perloff

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