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Still Loitering

Australian Essays in Honour of Ross Chambers


Edited By Valentina Gosetti and Alistair Rolls

In late October 2017, the profoundly sad news of Ross Chambers’s passing reached Australia. Friends and colleagues scattered around the globe mourned the loss of a person of great ‘humanity and humility’, one of the most brilliant minds of his generation. This book is a tribute to Chambers’s life and work and to his legacy among scholars in the global French studies, comparative literature and cultural studies communities. It is also rooted in the Australian context he left behind but never really left, a context he indelibly marked and where he still lives on.

Loiterature, perhaps Chambers’s most famous book, prescribes slow and careful reading practices but also quick-witted analysis. This collection draws together tributes, essays and critical responses to his wide-ranging work from Romanticism to the present, all demonstrating, through practice, the generative value of ‘loitering’. While melancholy and nostalgia are inescapable themes in this collection, loitering is also about imminent departures. And his work encourages us to explore that unexpected turn, possibly leading us in unforeseeable directions. This book suggests a few ways in which he will travel with us into the future.

«This excellent collection engages with some of the major themes of Ross Chambers’s scholarly work, which spanned French studies, comparative literature, cultural studies, queer studies, and literary and narrative theory. By doing so, it is not just a fitting intellectual tribute to an inspiring colleague but serves as a useful introduction to his work.» (Brian Nelson, Monash University, Melbourne)

«In life and in death, Ross Chambers became a touchstone for many humanities scholars – on both sides of the Pacific. He had the kinds of abilities that could have made him an imperious intellectual authority, together with an extraordinary generosity, openness, and oppositional ethos that made him an ideal or inspiration to many a scholar and student [...]. Those to whom his work matters most, such as the authors of this collection, feel themselves summoned by it to what they consider best in their own intellectual calling and their profession – to forms of reading, teaching, and publication that combine critical sophistication and ethical commitment. These essays thus constitute a kind of collective self-portrait of the literary humanities [...].» (William Paulson, Nineteenth-Century French Studies 49.1-2, 2020)