Volume 78, Issue 2 | June 2017

Author Title
Robert D. Hume Axiologies: Past and Present Concepts of Literary Value  
Verdicts concerning a work’s worth, “good,” “bad,” or “great,” vary wildly at any point and change radically over time. Much depends on what didactic or aesthetic rules are imposed and what modes of reading hold sway. Many critics see the purpose of literature as didactic; others subscribe to the principle of art for art’s sake. We need to know whether we are debating a text or disputing the evaluative criteria applicable to it. We need to ask how certain we are of what the author meant to accomplish. Henry Fielding and David Hume remind us that a range of judgments is unavoidable: people differ, and so do aesthetic and moral preferences. So if subjectivity is inescapable, we should accept chaotic diversity in a spirit of courteous toleration.
Catherine Nicholson Old Spelling and the Forging of Spenser's Readers  
Unlike the works of contemporaries like William Shakespeare and John Donne, Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene (1590 and 1596) is almost invariably reproduced by modern editors with its peculiar sixteenth-century spellings intact, on the grounds that orthographic modernization would violate the poem’s deliberately archaic style and obscure its densely encoded verbal wit. Drawing on the resources of traditional bibliography, intellectual history, and digital database analysis, this essay proposes that the “old spelling” Faerie Queene is as much an artifact of the mid-eighteenth century as it is of the late sixteenth—and that its relation to Spenser’s intentions is less clear than the role it has played in securing norms of scholarly rigor, historical accuracy, and textual precision. Despite what most modern editions imply, attending to “Spenser’s spelling” tells us less about the poet and his poem than it does about the history of our own disciplinary formation.
Jonah Siegel War and the Domestic Interior: Pater, Curtius, and Praz in the House of Life  
This essay is a study of two interrelated phenomena, the influence of Walter Pater on two notable postwar European critics, Ernst Robert Curtius and Mario Praz, and the place of war on the imagination of cultural continuity and rupture in the work of the later authors. The surprising presence of Pater in texts shaped by brutal military conflict not only demonstrates the power of models of cultural transmission he developed at a point when his reputation was at a far lower ebb in the English-speaking world than it was on a war-ravaged continent, but also opens up the possibility of recognizing elements that are still galvanizing and disturbing in his work.
Jordan Brower "Written with the Movies in Mind": Twentieth-Century American Literature and Transmedial Possibility  
In the early 1910s the extension of copyright protection to moving-picture adaptations of literary works resulted in the emergence of film rights, altering the economic and institutional constitution of the American literary field. In letters, industry documents, and journalistic articles, authors and studios alike reflected on the importance of preparing fiction for adaptation. The capacity of authors to imagine the afterlives of their prose works at the moment of composition may be called the “transmedial possibility” of fiction. Transmedial possibility, the theoretical complement to Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin’s concept of remediation, inflected the form of several works of the 1920s, including F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby.
Author Title
Kristina Mendicino Sike-Marie Weineck, The Tragedy of Fatherhood: King Laius and the Politics of Paternity in the West
Jeffrey Todd Knight Christopher Warley, Reading Class through Shakespeare, Donne, and Milton
Donald Gilbert-Santamaría Sofie Kluge, Diglossia: The Early Modern Reinvention of Mythological Discourse
Mary Loeffelholz Michael C. Cohen, The Social Lives of Poems in Nineteenth-Century America
Matthew Eatough Thomas S. Davis, The Extinct Scene: Late Modernism and Everyday Life

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