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Showing posts from March, 2013

40 Monograph Challenge #7: Maturin - Authorship, Authenticity and the Nation

A treat this week, because not only did I get to read a monograph about an area of Romantic scholarship with which I have only fleeting acquaintance, but it's by an esteeméd colleague with whom I go to the pub most weeks.

Title: Jim Kelly, Charles Maturin: Authorship, Authenticity and the Nation (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011)

Methodology: historicist, materialist, interested in issues of intertextuality and cultural transmission
Critical Context: Gothic studies (insofar as Maturin has been treated largely as a gothicist); Irish Studies (e.g. Claire Connolly, Seamus Deane); theories of authorial production, especially Pierre Bourdieu; Ina Ferris' The Romantic National Tale and the Question of Ireland
Thesis: I hope Jim thinks this is an adequate précis of his intentions. Maturin, in repeatedly interrogating the possibility of literary 'authenticity' in a modern commercial marketplace, by extension interrogates the possibility of an authentic national identity.

In a Nutshe…

Evelina and Double Narration

Thanks to the kind people at Norton, I now have two edition of Frances Burney's Evelina: an Oxford UP one edited by Vivien Jones, and an inspection copy of the Norton Critical Edition. Unfortunately, both of them are lying uselessly in my office in Cornwall, but I'd like to write a brief blog post on seminar discussions around Evelina from this week anyway.

Comparisons with Richardson's Pamela, as one might expect, were particularly effective. Pamela uses the epistolary genre to create a kind of sincerity-effect. Through devices like the tear-stained letter or breaking off because someone is at the door, Richardson played with writing to the moment. The letters in Pamela, symbolically sewn at one point into the heroine's undergarments, aspire to represent intimacy and immediacy. The letters are Pamela. Indeed, it would appear that if Pamela ceases to write, she in one sense ceases to exist - which is why she continues to scribble her every act and thought even when she…

40 Monograph Challenge #6: Literary Magazines and British Romanticism

Falling a little behind on this, but, hey, it's nearing the end of semester! Hope to have another one up at the end of this week.

Title: Mark Parker, Literary Magazines and British Romanticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)

Methodology: Certainly historicist, but also interested in questions of genre, form and reflexivity
Critical Context: Parker claims there is no current theory of the Romantic magazine. He plays off work on readership (e.g. Jon Klancher) as well as historians of the periodical press (e.g. Bauer, Graham). More broadly, Bakhtin's notion of the dialogic stands over much of the study.
Thesis: Literary magazines were the 'preeminent literary form' (p. 1) of the 1820s and 1830s, operating in an experimental and self-reflexive manner in regards to their own genre, and to the wider question of how politics and literature were supposed to relate.

In a nutshell: Parker seeks to re-open the question asked so pointedly by New Historicism, which is the…

Option Modules

Sadly, I was unable to attend the 'module fair' at Tremough today, and therefore couldn't give more detail about the two third-year options I shall be running next academic year. Here is a bit more on what you could be looking forward to.

Please excuse any typos: I had to write this in something of a hurry when I realised that information on the modules at the module fair itself had been rather limited.

Inventing the Body (TRU3036)


How did it feel to be ill in the seventeenth century? That might seem a strange question, but it is the kind of question this module wants to ask. How does the context of the body (the state of science, the modes of medicine, the politics of gender and race) affect how bodies are conceived, experienced and regulated (emotion, sensation, health, illness, pain)?

I've chosen to focus on the period 1600-1830, because it is when some key revolutions in the way bodies were understood got underway. We study a range of different genres of literature …