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Constance Naden

Scientist, Philosopher, Poet

Clare Stainthorp

Constance Naden (1858–1889) is a unique voice in Victorian literature and science. This book, the first full-length critical account of her life and works, brings into focus the reciprocal nature of Naden’s poetry, philosophical essays and scientific studies. The development of Naden’s thinking is explored in detail, with newly discovered unpublished poems and notes from her adolescence shedding important light upon this progression.

Close readings of Naden’s wide-ranging corpus of poetry and prose trace her commitment to an interdisciplinary world-scheme that sought unity in diversity. This book demonstrates how a rigorous scientific education, a thorough engagement with poetry and philosophy of the long nineteenth century, an involvement with the Victorian radical atheist movement, and a comic sensibility each shaped Naden’s intellectual achievements. Naden sought to show how the light of reason is made even brighter by the spark of poetic creation and how the imagination is as much a tool of the scientist and the philosopher as the artist.

Taking a comprehensive approach to this complex and overlooked figure of the Victorian period, Stainthorp demonstrates how Naden’s texts provide a new and important vantage point from which to consider synthetic thinking as a productive and creative force within nineteenth-century intellectual culture.

This book was the winner of the 2017 Peter Lang Young Scholars Competition in Nineteenth-Century Studies.

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Sci-Fi

A Companion

Edited by Jack Fennell

What is Sci-Fi?

Science fiction is a non-realist genre that foregrounds a sense of material plausibility, insisting that despite seeming outlandish, it is consonant with history and the laws of nature. By turns subtle and bombastic, sci-fi revels in discovery and revelation, whether through human ingenuity or world-altering paradigm shifts. The same impulse informs both the idealism of Star Trek and the existential terror of Frankenstein.

Each chapter of this book examines a specific trope or theme through a different critical lens – including eco-criticism, feminism and historicism – while also providing a historical overview of the genre, from its disputed origins to the pulp era, the New Wave, and the exponential growth of Afrofuturism and Indigenous Futurisms. Revered masters such as Isaac Asimov, Octavia Butler and Iain M. Banks are considered alongside newer talents, including Rebecca Roanhorse and N. K. Jemisin. Other chapters provide overviews of different media, from television (Doctor Who, Westworld) to comics/manga (2000AD, Métal Hurlant), video games (Deus Ex: Human Revolution) and theatre (Alistair McDowall’s X).

Sci-Fi: A Companion not only provides an accessible introduction to sci-fi for general readers and researchers alike, but also illuminates new approaches to a familiar genre.

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Edited by Lucyna Harmon and Dorota Osuchowska

Language as an essential and constitutive part of national identity is what obviously gets lost in translation, being substituted by the language of another nation. For this reason, one could perceive national identity and translation as contradictory and proclaim a total untranslatability of the former. However, such a simplified conclusion would clearly deny the actual translation practice, where countless successful attempts to preserve the element of national identity can be testified. The authors of the book focus on the possibilities of various approaches to national identity as a research subject within Translation Studies. The authors hope that the variety of topics presented in this book will inspire further research.

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R. C. De Prospo

Poe’s Difference argues that Edgar Allan Poe has much more in common with early American, medieval, and ancient writers than with the modern and post-modern ones with whom the writer is so often associated. This book emphasizes Poe’s anachronisms to make a number of theoretical, pedagogical, literary historical, and political claims about the backwardness of antebellum U.S. culture. Some time ago Michael Colacurcio issued the challenge that "the full case for the Puritan character of Poe’s ‘horror’ remains to be made." Although going back a good deal further than just to the "Puritans," Poe’s Difference aspires fully to make precisely this case.

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Voss: An Australian Geographical and Literary Exploration

History and Travelling in the Fiction of Patrick White

Elena Ungari

This study of Voss by the Anglo-Australian Patrick White analyses the historical novel, set in the 1850s and concerning Voss’s exploration of the interior of Australia, as a parable of the writer’s exploration of the Australian historical, social and cultural context of the 1950s. The study employs a variety of critical apparatus including a post-structuralist and postcolonial approach, which also encompasses linguistics, sociolinguistics and comparative studies. This multi-level critical aid allows the examination of four levels of exploration utilised by the author.

Following an analysis of the protagonist’s geographical movement into the desert and his personal transformation, the study moves on to an exploration of the narrative itself. It explores how the novel becomes subject to change, absorbing and contesting a variety of literary genres ranging from the ‘chronicle’ to the parable. Through this multi-level approach, the study demonstrates the variety of readings the novel stimulates and displays its rich intertextual and subtextual elements and links.

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Grounded Visionary

The Mystic Fictions of Gerald Murnane

Brendan McNamee

Grounded Visionary: The Mystic Fictions of Gerald Murnane is a reading of Australian writer Gerald Murnane’s fiction in the light of what is known as the Perennial Philosophy, a philosophical tradition that positions itself as the mystical foundation of all the world’s religions and spiritual systems. The essential tenet of that philosophy is that at a fundamental level all of life is a unity—consciousness and world are the same thing—and that it is possible, if extremely difficult, for the discriminating individual mind to experience this wholeness. Murnane’s work can be seen not to take its lead from writings in this philosophical tradition but rather to resonate with many of them through Murnane’s unique artistic expression of his experience of the world. The crux of the argument is that beneath their yearnings for landscapes and love, Murnane’s narrators and chief characters are all in search of the essential unity that the Perennial Philosophy postulates.

Taking its cue from Murnane’s self-description as a "technical writer," this book examines each of the author’s works in detail to reveal how structures and themes are seamlessly woven together to create artworks that shimmer with mystery while at the same time remaining thoroughly grounded in the actual.

Grounded Visionary is the first full-length study of Gerald Murnane’s work to tackle head-on his underlying mystical sensibility and is also the first to deal comprehensively with the author’s complete fictional output from Tamarisk Row to Border Districts. This book will be of interest to all lovers of modern literature and will be of special interest to students of Australian literature and those concerned with the interface between art and spirituality.

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Current Explorations in Middle English

Selected papers from the 10th International Conference on Middle English (ICOME), University of Stavanger, Norway, 2017

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Edited by Merja Stenroos, Martti Mäkinen, Kjetil Vikhamar Thengs and Oliver Martin Traxel

This volume is a selection of papers presented at the 10th International Conference on Middle English held at the University of Stavanger, Norway from 31 May to 2 June 2017. The collection bridges the gap between traditional ‘linguistic’ and ‘literary’ topics and provides a holistic view of current research within Middle English studies. The papers are organized under four main headings: The transmission of Middle English texts, Syntax and morphology, Genre and discourse and Textual afterlives. The contributions deal with materials ranging from canonical works such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to little-studied texts such as administrative documents and scientific treatises.

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History of English Literature, Volume 4

Early and Mid-Victorian Prose and Poetry, 1832–1870

Franco Marucci

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Edited by Julia Nikiel and Izabella Kimak

The essays included in this collection offer an overview of literary works, films, TV series, and visual art which reflect the current (post-)millennial fascination with theorizing ends and beginnings. The contributions intend to x-ray the most crucial aspects of contemporary North-American literature and culture. Addressing a variety of media, the authors of the essays gathered in the book wonder at the ongoing spectacle of exhaustion and regeneration which is playing itself out on the American stage.

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Strange Vistas

Perspectives on the Utopian

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Edited by Justyna Galant and Marta Komsta

The volume demonstrates the scope of utopian thinking and the enduring significance of past utopian fictions and historical events as potentially contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of the contemporary reality. The essays examine the concept of utopia in a variety of contexts, such as philosophy, translation, music, social and political issues, like workers’ movements and ideology, exploring global utopian fiction from medieval Persian poetry, through late 19th- and early 20th-century narratives, to contemporary Russian and British dystopian novels. Taken together, the texts attest to the lasting allure of the hopeful utopian visions as well as to the pertinence of the dystopian warnings contained in the darker fictive scenarios and social speculations.