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Amity Reading

Reading the Anglo-Saxon Self Through the Vercelli Book explores conceptions of subjectivity in Anglo-Saxon England by analyzing the contents and sources of the Vercelli Book, a tenth-century compilation of Old English religious poetry and prose. The Vercelli Book’s selection and arrangement of texts has long perplexed scholars, but this book argues that its organizational logic lies in the relationship of its texts to the performance of selfhood. Many of the poems and homilies represent subjectivity through "soul-and-body," a popular medieval literary motif that describes the soul’s physical departure from the body at death and its subsequent addresses to the body. Vercelli’s soul-and-body texts, together with its exemplary narratives of apostles and saints, construct a model of selfhood that is embodied and performative, predicated upon an interdependent relationship between the soul and the body in which the body has the potential for salvific action. The book thus theorizes an Anglo-Saxon conception of the self that challenges modern assumptions of a rigid soul/body dualism in medieval religious and literary tradition. Its arguments will therefore be of interest to students and scholars of literature, history, philosophy, and religious studies and would be appropriate for upper-level courses on Old English literature, Anglo-Saxon history, sermons and preaching in medieval England, and medieval religious practice.

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Muslim Indian Women Writing in English

Class Privilege, Gender Disadvantage, Minority Status

Elizabeth Jackson

In Muslim Indian Women Writing in English: Class Privilege, Gender Disadvantage, Minority Status, Dr. Elizabeth Jackson conducts a study of the literary fiction of the four best-known Muslim Indian women writing in English during the postcolonial period: Attia Hosain (1913–1998), Zeenuth Futehally (1904–1992), Shama Futehally (no relation, 1952–2004), and Samina Ali (b. 1969). As elite Muslim women in India, the literary vision of these authors is influenced by their paradoxical position of class privilege, gender disadvantage, and minority status. Accordingly, there are recurring thematic concerns central to the fiction of all four writers, each of which forms a chapter in the book: "Religion and Communal Identity," "Marriage and Sexuality," "Gender and Social Class," and "Responding to Patriarchy." The first chapter, "Form and Narrative Strategy," provides an initial framework by examining the literary techniques of each writer.

Much has been written about literature in English by Indian women, about Muslim literature in general, about the Muslim minority in India, and about Muslim women all over the world. However, until now there has been no major academic study of literature in English by Muslim Indian women. Aimed at researchers, students, and general readers, this book aims to fill that gap in the critical scholarship.

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Joseph D. Rockelmann

When reading Ludwig Tieck’s texts, the reader becomes aware that dreams, the unconscious, and art play a key role. This study posits that Ekphrasis and dream interpretation are similar due to both analyzing a visual image and attempting to translate the visual into the verbal in order to gain a better and more complete understanding of it. This book discusses Tieck’s texts—Franz Sternbalds Wanderungen, "Die Gemälde," "Die Freunde," "Die Elfen," "Der Runenberg," "Liebeszauber," and "Das alte Buch und die Reise ins Blaue hinein"—and how Ekphrasis and dream interpretations are essential for gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the visual and dream image, resulting in new readings and insights. Furthermore, this book demonstrates that Tieck made major contributions to Ekphrasis studies by integrating notional, dynamic, and static prose Ekphrasis into his fictional works and thus should play a more important role in the current Ekphrasis debate.

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The Country of the Blind

A New Interpretation of the Plays of Henrik Ibsen


Burton Blistein

The Country of the Blind challenges the reigning conception of Ibsen as social critic. It offers new and unique interpretations stressing his preoccupation with the limitations and failings of humankind that do not change, in particular one’s reluctance or inability to confront unpleasant truths about one’s self and the consequent attempts to conceal those truths from self and from others. The result, in the plays considered, is that his personae are not what they appear to be. We shall observe that Mrs. Alving is not an heroic figure who has sacrificed all for her beloved son; that the "virtuous" parson Manders may in fact be the father of Oswald; that neither Gregers Werle nor Dr. Thomas Stockmann are the idealists they profess to be; that Hedda Gabler and Halvard Solness are the very antitheses of the persons they imagine themselves. This gulf between illusion and actuality is evident even in the case of secondary agents, confirming the supposition that Ibsen believed self-deception inseparable from the human condition. The protagonists’ stratagems necessarily interact, forbidding each knowledge of each and all knowledge of the meaning of external circumstance. They are, and they remain, ignorant of their own nature, and of the character of their closest associates, imprisoned by the maze they have jointly fashioned. The book should be of interest to the general reader, to companies interested in performing the plays analyzed, to Ibsen scholars, and as a text for courses in Ibsen.

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Enrique Sánchez-Costa

From 1890 to 1945, Europe was shaken by political, social, and cultural revolutions brought about by the crisis of modernity. Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud stoked the yearnings of a convulsed era, devastated by the First World War. It was a time when all kinds of alternative and radical models of modernity were erected in pursuit of a new world: from the exasperation of communist and fascist totalitarianism to the frenzy of the artistic avant-gardes and biopolitics.

Hungry for transcendence and tormented by hope, this passionate age also gave rise in Europe to a Catholic revival in literature. Writers such as G. K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, and Graham Greene in England; Charles Péguy, Paul Claudel, and Georges Bernanos in France; and Ramiro de Maeztu and José Bergamín in Spain found that Catholicism was the key to coping with the enigmas and paradoxes of modern man. At the same time, by injecting the political and artistic principles of modernity into the Christian tradition, they transformed a reactionary Catholicism into the paradigm of ultramodernity.

This book explores the intellectual history of a European cultural phenomenon that has thus far been left out of most works of criticism, despite its magnitude. Moreover, it does so through vibrant prose that makes this work of research read like a novel.

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Somnambulistic Lucidity

The Sleepwalker in the Works of Gustav Meyrink


Eric J. Klaus

Gustav Meyrink (1868–1932), best known as the author of The Golem (1915), experimented with the occult in a time rife with occult experimentation. As a seeker of esoteric truth, he practiced and wrote about elements of Western Esotericism—alternative religious movements that pursued methods of tapping into secret spiritual wisdom that helped define the age. In doing so, Meyrink developed his own theories of salvation, which featured yoga as a means to open the door to supernatural and paranormal experience. In this way, his life, as well as his fiction, exemplifies liminality, existence on the margins. The core symbol of this liminal experience is the somnambulist: a figure existing between material and spiritual states of consciousness, having access to both yet belonging to neither. His oeuvre features characters entering trances, wandering the borders between "waking" and "metaphysical" worlds, gaining access to secret truths, and realizing salvation via a unio mystica. Meyrink, therefore, has much to say about the cultural climate of the fin de siècle: by viewing the turn of the twentieth century as a time defined by searches for certitude, by locating Western Esotericism as a meaningful movement of the age, by situating Meyrink on the periphery of social and spiritual spheres, and by identifying the sleepwalker as a seminal figure of the period as well as in Meyrink’s work, this study echoes Meyrink’s own attempts to find lucidity in the ambiguity of somnambulism.

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The Reimagining Ireland Reader

Examining Our Past, Shaping Our Future


Eamon Maher

To mark the fact that the Reimagining Ireland series will soon have one hundred volumes in print, this book brings together a selection of essays from the first fifty volumes, carefully chosen to give a flavour of the diversity and multidisciplinary nature of the series. Following a chronological order, it begins with an essay by Luke Gibbons tracing the roots of modernity from the middle decades of the nineteenth century and concludes with Michael Cronin’s discussion of time and place in global Ireland. In between, the reader will find a rich variety of essays on literary criticism, poetry, drama, photography, modernity, advertising, visual culture, immigration and feminism.

This is a collection that will appeal to anyone with a scholarly or personal interest in the cultural forces that have shaped modern Ireland. It is also a testament to the rude good health of contemporary Irish studies, showcasing the work of a talented array of established and emerging scholars currently working in the area.

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Poetry in Pre-Raphaelite Paintings

Transcending Boundaries

Sophia Andres and Brian Donnelly

Poetry in Pre-Raphaelite Paintings is an international collection of essays written by seasoned and emerging scholars. This book explores, discusses, and provides new perspectives on Pre-Raphaelite paintings inspired by poems and poems inspired by Pre-Raphaelite paintings, ranging from the inauguration of the movement in 1848 until the end of the nineteenth century. Through a textual and visual journey, this work reflects an innovative approach to Pre-Raphaelite art and Victorian poetry. The rationale in collating this collection of essays is to suggest new approaches for studies in Victorian visual and verbal art. This collection urges new ways of looking at Pre-Raphaelite art and poetry and its dynamic impact on the changing face of Victorian artistic practices through the second half of the nineteenth century, re-evaluating the extent to which this relatively short-lived movement influenced diverse writers and artists and their work. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of Pre-Raphaelites, Victorian poetry and painting, and the intersection between them.

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Landscapes of Irish and Greek Poets

Essays, Poems, Interviews

Joanna Kruczkowska

Landscapes of Irish and Greek Poets juxtaposes two countries on the margins of Europe that display many affinities: Ireland and Greece. It investigates the ways in which contemporary poetry from both countries engages with external and internal landscapes, bringing together essays by poets and scholars, poems in English and Greek and interviews with the Irish poets Paula Meehan and Theo Dorgan. The topics explored include travel, nature, suburban areas, cultural and political landscapes, the perception of wilderness and the influence of technology in the digital age. Especially relevant at a time of ecological and social crisis, the correlation of external landscapes with the landscapes of the mind, mediated by poetry, offers a powerful insight into the world in which we live.

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Geoff Rodoreda

This is the first in-depth, broad-based study of the impact of the Australian High Court’s landmark Mabo decision of 1992 on Australian fiction. More than any other event in Australia’s legal, political and cultural history, the Mabo judgement – which recognised indigenous Australians’ customary «native title» to land – challenged previous ways of thinking about land and space, settlement and belonging, race and relationships, and nation and history, both historically and contemporaneously. While Mabo’s impact on history, law, politics and film has been the focus of scholarly attention, the study of its influence on literature has been sporadic and largely limited to examinations of non-Aboriginal novels.

Now, a quarter of a century after Mabo, this book takes a closer look at nineteen contemporary novels – including works by David Malouf, Alex Miller, Kate Grenville, Thea Astley, Tim Winton, Michelle de Kretser, Richard Flanagan, Alexis Wright and Kim Scott – in order to define and describe Australia’s literary imaginary as it reflects and articulates post-Mabo discourse today. Indeed, literature’s substantial engagement with Mabo’s cultural legacy – the acknowledgement of indigenous people’s presence in the land, in history, and in public affairs, as opposed to their absence – demands a re-writing of literary history to account for a “Mabo turn” in Australian fiction.