Volume 76, Issue 4 | December 2015

Author Title
Megan Heffernan Gathered by Invention: Additive Forms and Inference in Gascoigne’s Poesy  
From the perspectives of both literary form and the history of the book, volumes of gathered poetry illustrate the fundamental incoherence of hand-press era texts. This essay considers the flexible web of connections within poetic miscellanies as an imaginative response to that basic disorder. Reading the organization of two editions of George Gascoigne’s work, it explores the dynamic exchanges between poems and commercial textual features and finds in those feedback loops an ambitious projection of the larger form of the book. Far from a simple or inherent unity, this paratactic structure uses poetry to span the physical juxtapositions of books made by diverse agents of the press. By forging an inferential engagement with the design of the volume, Gascoigne resisted a system of publication bent on dispersing his writing and folded non-authorial devices into the most elemental workings of poetic form.
Barbara Fuchs Suspended Judgments: Scepticism and the Pact of Fictionality in Cervantes’ Picaresque Novellas  
While Cervantes’ playfulness with perspectivism and his scepticism in Don Quijote have been abundantly noted, the scepticism of the Novelas ejemplares is equally striking. This essay examines the tension between exemplarity and scepticism—the one offering models for behavior that presume belief, the other encouraging instead a productive doubt—to suggest that Cervantes offers a productive and fully engaged fictionality as an alternative to the exemplary text. Focusing on "Rinconete y Cortadillo" and the dyad of "El casamiento engañoso/El coloquio de los perros," I argue that the picaresque allows Cervantes to probe a broader readerly scepticism, extending beyond irony to epistemological questions of the truth of narratives and how they might be assessed.
Donal Harris Understanding Eliot: Mass Media and Literary Modernism in the American Century  
T.S. Eliot’s extraordinary popularity in the United States during the late 1940s and 1950s rests in part on how mass-market magazines like Time and Life re–interpreted his poetry from the 1920s as transparent, realistic, and, most strikingly, American. These magazines widely circulated Eliot’s pre-war poetry, especially The Waste Land, as an allegory of the crisis in national and nationalist culture during "The American Century," a term coined by Henry Luce in 1941. The articles about and reproductions of Eliot’s work leading up to his Nobel Prize in 1948 not only figure literary modernism as part of the "vital center" of Cold War politics, but also, improbably, position postwar nationalist anxiety as a version of modernist ennui. This unlikely picture of an American Eliot exposes a momentary reinterpretation of modernism as inherently nationalist in postwar periodical culture, while it also suggests the possible critical payoff of taking failed readings seriously.
Glyn Salton-Cox Boy Meets Camera: Christopher Isherwood, Sergei Tretiakov, and the Queer Potential of the First Five–Year Plan  
This article examines a particularly salient point of mutual constitution between queer and leftist literary production in the 1930s. It reads Christopher Isherwood’s The Berlin Stories (1935/9) through an important debate in the Marxist aesthetics of the period, between Sergei Tretiakov and Georg Lukács, arguing that Isherwood’s famous statement "I am a camera" should be reimagined as a declaration of radical anti–humanism with important implications for both Marxist and queer theory. In so doing it proposes that Isherwood’s literary praxis of self–instrumentalization offers a definition of the human that refuses both property ownership and heterosexual monogamy. In the light of this new reading Isherwood’s place in the leftist and queer canons must be reconstituted, as should the relationship between certain strains of Soviet Marxism and queer writing of the period. Far from being a lukewarm socialist in his youth who later became a middlebrow bourgeois figure in gay literature, Isherwood offers a queer Marxist contribution to radical literary history; reading Isherwood through Tretiakov reveals, moreover, a striking cultural-historical possibility: the queer potential of the collectivizing impulses of the First Five⏻Year Plan.
Author Title
Jeffrey Todd Knight William Kuskin, Recursive Origins: Writing at the Transition to Modernity
Catherine Gimelli Martin Mary Nyquist, Arbitrary Rule: Slavery, Tyranny, and the Power of Life and Death
David Loewenstein David Quint, Inside "Padadise Lost": Reading the Designs of Milton's Epic
Eric Lindstrom Forest Pyle, Art's Undoing: In the Wake of a Radical Aestheticism
Kurt Koenigsberger Nidesh Lawtoo, The Phantom of the Ego: Modernism and the Mimetic Unconscious
Shuang Shen Wang Xiaojue, Modernity with a Cold War Face: Reimagining the Nation in Chinese Literature across the 1949 Divide

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