Volume 77, Issue 2 | June 2016

Author Title
Ottmar Ette Toward a Polylogical Philology of the Literature of the World  
As the world cannot be adequately understood from the vantage point of a single language, the literatures of the world can no longer be trimmed to a single world literature in the Goethean sense. This recognition bodes well for the future of philology and of literary production. Through multiperspectival writing, knowledge of life may be attainable without being reduced to a single political, medial, cartographical, geocultural, or aesthetic logic. As a laboratory for polylogical thinking, literature does not represent reality, as Erich Auerbach put it. Rather, it represents multiple lived, experienced, or relivable realities. Whoever is open to a polylogical reception of the literatures of the world can perceive and experience how life knowledge transforms into lived knowledge and how knowledge for survival turns into knowledge for living together. However, literature can be more than it is only if it stays aware of the void, of lack, of privation, of the interminable: aware of the end that never is an end. Such a planetary concept of the literatures of the world offers valuable opportunities to all those who do not fall into the trap of contenting themselves with a supposed abundance of text.
Doris Sommer Lessons Learned from Latin America  
During the US Cold War boom in area studies, scholars would sometimes innocently support homeland economic and political interests. In Latin America and elsewhere, the fact-finding focus often morphed into the look of love, as objects of investigation turned out to be more charming than alarming. Inevitably, interrogations led to lessons in sociability and wit to derail some missions promoted by private and public Cold Warriors. Ethical quandaries would soon turn new North American lovers of Latin America toward ironies related to the metaphor of cannibalism that Brazil’s Oswald de Andrade formulated in his 1928 “Manifesto antropófago.” “Who eats whom?” they asked. And, “Is it bad?” For humanists, thanks to theoretical contributions in literary studies by Jorge Luis Borges, and for the range of arts by Luis Camnitzer, scholars north and south have been learning that the vital processes of ingestion and appropriation give flesh and blood to art and to life in general. Reformulating ethical questions, scholars now ask about levels of collaboration and mutual admiration. Interest need not disappear when love arrives. That’s why teachers today (through Pre-Texts, for example) can appropriate the art processes they love in the hope of developing student skills and civility.
Samuel Fallon Robert Greene's Ghosts  
After the popular Elizabethan writer Robert Greene died in 1592, a series of pamphlets appeared with stories of his ghost’s haunting returns. These pamphlets—Henry Chettle’s Kind-Harts Dreame (1592), Barnabe Riche’s Greenes Newes both from Heauen and Hell (1593), and John Dickenson’s Greene in Conceipt (1598)—played on the striking persona that Greene had fashioned for himself, premised on a mode of self-disclosure at odds with his romances’ fictional surfaces and crafted to remedy the impersonality of print circulation. The ghost pamphlets both appropriated and demystified the charisma of Greene’s persona, their acts of ventriloquism exposing the fiction behind his performance of sincerity. At the same time, they confronted the fictionality at the heart of public discourse itself—the imaginary presence that grounded the increasingly diffuse readerships of the early modern book trade.
Sylvaine Guyot Opacity of Theater: Reading Racine with and Against Louis Marin  
Emphasizing the crucial role played by the bodily medium in Racinian theater, this essay challenges the long critical tradition that has reduced Jean Racine’s dramaturgy to the poetic effects of its language, and French neoclassical tragedy to a transcoding of royal ceremonies. The omission of Racine’s tragic corpus is a gaping hole in Louis Marin’s discussion of the seventeenth-century theory of representation. Marin sees a perfect correlation between Pierre Corneille’s theater and the theatricality of power, conceived of as a force constructed through a dialectic between the hidden and the shown. Quite the opposite, Racine’s plays dramatize and reflect on two opposing regimes of theatricality. Each in its own way, Bérénice, Mithridate, and Phèdre contrast the political force of the “portrait of the king” and the emotional efficiency of theater as an art of the body. In resonance with the period’s debates in the visual arts, and within the overlapping contexts of the developing culture of galanterie and the quarrel of the ancients and the moderns, Racinian drama calls attention in a striking and unprecedented reflexive manner to the opacity of the theatrical body, whose effects reveal themselves to be both stronger and more unruly than those of monarchical representations.
Author Title
Jessica Campbell Kevin Pask, The Fairy Way of Writing: Shakespeare to Tolkien
Juliet Shields Melissa Sodeman, Sentimental Memorials: Women and the Novel in Literary History
Ashley Marshall Claude Rawson, Swift and Others
Noel Jackson Robert Mitchell, Experimental Life: Vitalism in Romantic Science and Literature
Vivian Pollak Gary Smidgall, Containing Multitudes: Walt Whitman and British Literary Tradition
J. Hillis Miller Henry Staten, Spirit Becomes Matter
Jon Klancher Ted Underwood, Why Literary Periods Mattered

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