Volume 80, Issue 3 | September 2019

Author Title
Robert Hudson Vincent Baroco: the Logic of English Baroque Poetics  
As many scholars, including the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary, continue to cite false etymologies of the Baroque, this article returns to a scholastic syllogism called Baroco to demonstrate the relevance of medieval logic to the history of aesthetics. In particular, the syllogism is connected to early modern artforms that Enlightenment critics considered excessively complicated or absurdly confusing. Focusing on the emergence of baroque logic in Neo-Latin rhetoric and English poetics, this article traces the development of increasingly outlandish rhetorical practices of copia during the sixteenth century that led to similarly far-fetched poetic practices during the seventeenth century. John Stockwood’s Progymnasma scholasticum (1597) is read alongside Richard Crashaw’s Epigrammatum sacrorum liber (1634) and Steps to the Temple (1646) to reveal the effects of Erasmian rhetorical exercises on English educational practices and the production of English baroque poetry. In the end, the conceptual unity of the Baroque is demonstrated by showing the consistency between critiques of Baroco, critiques of English metaphysical poetry, and critiques of baroque art during the Enlightenment.
Joshua Branciforte Pope’s Perversity: Tastemaking in Liberal Culture  
Pope envisioned his poetry as conducive to a social order shaped and guided by taste. However, unlike later models of taste based on the projection of idealized norms, Pope used techniques that were oppositional, individualized, materialist, and perverse. His aesthetic strategies aimed at achieving homogeneity across diverse populations without normative prescriptions. Pope drew on the skeptical notion of the “ruling passion” to model his understanding of taste as a social process. Construed solely as a model of personality, Pope’s theory of the ruling passion is frequently dismissed by critics; it becomes intelligible when read as a model for tastemaking. While Pope's classicizing moral and aesthetic values can seem quite distant from the assumptions of our late liberal culture, the techniques he makes use of to “rule” tastes indirectly remain fundamental imperatives in liberal aesthetic culture.
Scott Hess The Romantic Work of Genius: Author, Nature, Nation and the ‘Genial Criticism’ of Samuel Taylor Coleridge  
This essay explores how “genius” in the nineteenth century simultaneously constituted both individual and collective national identity, thus helping to produce new forms of liberal democratic nationalist culture. It offers a Latourian interpretation of genius, in terms of the kind of social work and connections that the term enabled. Genius became associated in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries with author, nature, and nation in ways that grounded new models of literature and identity in the supposedly transcendental truth of nature and in specific landscapes as “sites of memory.” This discourse of genius played a keystone role in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s aesthetic and social criticism, or “genial criticism,” which exerted deep influence on nineteenth-century Anglophone culture. The essay concludes by assessing the overall cultural politics of genius in relation to various categories of identity, especially gender, and by suggesting how the “romantic work of genius” continues to operate and hold power in our (post)modern societies today.
Morgan Day Frank Fourth and Long  
Literary scholars in recent years have endowed institutions with tremendous explanatory power, insisting that these social formations exercise a determining influence on cultural production. The fiction that institutions can impose themselves as coherent subjects on cultural activity has its origins in the Progressive Era and persists today across a variety of social contexts beyond literary studies, surfacing even (and especially) in moments of institutional precarity. This essay examines three such moments of institutional precarity: the losing football games in Owen Johnson’s early campus novel Stover at Yale (1912) and Don DeLillo’s postwar experimental novel End Zone (1972), and Jay M. Smith and Mary Willingham’s exposé of the college athletics scandals at the University of North Carolina, Cheated (2015). The fact that the institutional analysis of End Zone and the institutional critique of Cheated both so closely resemble the celebration of institutions in Stover at Yale – the fact that the progressive fiction of institutional subjecthood has historically reasserted itself even when writers like DeLillo, Smith and Willingham set out to denaturalize it – reflects the fundamental inadequacy of recent critical attempts to fathom literary history at the scale of the institution.
Author Title
Orrin N. C. Wang Jonathan Crimmins, The Romantic Historicism to Come
Matthew Garrett Colin Wells, Poetry Wars: Verse and Politics in the American Revolution and Early Republic
Adam Barrows John Plotz, Semi Detached
Robert Deam Tobin Robert Block, Echoes of a Queer Messianic: from Frankenstein to Brokeback Mountain
Emily K. Bald Giles Gunn, The Pragmatist Turn: Religion, the Enlightenment, and the Formation of American Literature
Omaar Hena Nathan Suhr-Sytsma, Poetry, Print, and the Making of Postcolonial Literature

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