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Moby Dick's Ishmael and Queequeg share a bed, Janie in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God imagines her tongue in another woman's mouth. And yet for too long there has not been a volume that provides an account of the breadth and depth of queer American literature. This landmark volume provides the first expansive history of this literature from its inception to the present day, offering a narrative of how American literary studies and sexuality studies became deeply entwined and what they can teach each other. It examines how American literature produces and is in turn woven out of sexualities, gender pluralities, trans-ness, erotic subjectivities, and alternative ways of inhabiting bodily morphology. In so doing, the volume aims to do nothing less than the revise the ways in which we understand the whole of American literature. It will be an indispensable resource for scholars, graduate students, and undergraduates.
Literature has experienced two great medium shifts, each with profound implications for its forms, genres, and cultures: that from orality to writing, and that from writing to printing. Today we are experiencing a third shift, from printed to digital forms. As with the previous shifts, this transformation is reconfiguring literature and literary culture. The Cambridge Companion to Literature in the Digital Age is organized around the question of what is at stake for literary studies in this latest transition. Rather than dividing its chapters by methodology or approach, this volume proceeds by exploring the major categories of literary investigation that are coming under pressure in the digital age: concepts such as the canon, periodization, authorship, and narrative. With chapters written by leading experts in all facets of literary studies, this book shows why all those who read, study, and teach literature today ought to attend to the digital.
From ancient influences on the essay as a form of rhetoric to the Irish essay as performance, from British imperial propaganda to African postcolonial resistance, from political pamphlets to the rise of literary professionalism, from gastronomy to ecocriticism, The Cambridge History of the British Essay offers the first authoritative single-volume history of the form's development within the British literary tradition. It restores to the contemporary understanding of the essay an appreciation of its true richness and diversity. The fifty contributors to this volume come from widely diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise that brings out neglected pockets of essayistic activity, by women, by persons of colour, by poets and pamphleteers. Together, they show how the form morphs to serve new contexts and concerns, remaining a vital genre of literary 'attempt' in the fields of journalism, academic study, autobiography and other forms of life writing, and online language arts.
The Cambridge Companion to Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Politics addresses the political contexts in which nineteenth-century American literature was conceived, consumed, and criticized. Individual chapters examine how US literature from this period engaged with broad political concepts and urgent political issues, such as liberalism, conservatism, radicalism, nationalism, communitarianism, sovereignty, religious liberty, partisanship and factionalism, slavery, segregation, immigration, territorial disputes, voting rights, gendered spheres, and urban/rural tensions. Chapters on literary genres and forms show how poetry, drama, fiction, oratory, and nonfiction participated in political debate. The volume's introduction situates these chapters in relation to two larger disciplines, the history of political thought and literary history. This Companion provides a valuable resource for students and instructors interested in Nineteenth-Century American literature and politics.
The term 'vegetarian' was coined in 1838 in response to the championing of 'Pythagoreanism' in the work of the Romantics and there has been no sustained analysis of the role that literature has played in reflecting and shaping the dietary debate. This book re-assesses both canonical and lesser well-known literary texts to illuminate how vegetarianism and veganism can be understood as literary phenomena, as well as dietary and cultural practises. It offers a broad historical span ranging from ancient thinkers and writers, such as Pythagoras and Ovid, to contemporary novelists, including Ruth L. Ozeki and Jonathan Franzen. The expansive historical scope is complemented by a cross-cultural focus which emphasises that the philosophy behind these diets has developed through a dialogic relationship between east and west. The book demonstrates, also, the way in which carnivorism has functioned as an ideology, one which has underpinned actions harmful to both human and non-human animals.
V. S. Naipaul is a major and controversial figure in postcolonial and world literature. This book provides a challenging and uncompromisingly honest study that engages with history, genre theory, aesthetics, and global literary culture, with close reference to Naipaul's published and archival material. In his fiction and creative histories, the definition of the modern idea of world literature is informed by the importance of an artistic ordering of perception. Although often expressing ideas that are prejudicial and morally repugnant, there is an honesty in his writings where one finds extraordinary insights into how life is experienced within colonial structures of power. These colonial structures provided no abstract unity to the field of literary expression and ignored vernacular cultures. The book argues that a universal ideology of the aesthetic, transcending time, regions, and languages, provides world literature with a unity which is possible only within a critical universal humanism attuned to heroic readings of texts and cultures.
In a radical and ambitious reconceptualization of the field, this book argues that global literary culture since the eighteenth century was fundamentally shaped by colonial histories. It offers a comprehensive account of the colonial inception of the literary sovereign – how the realm of literature was thought to be separate from history and politics – and then follows that narrative through a wide array of different cultures, multilingual archives, and geographical locations. Providing close studies of colonial archives, German philosophy of aesthetics, French realist novels, and English literary history, this book shows how colonialism shaped and reshaped modern literary cultures in decisive ways. It breaks fresh ground across disciplines such as literary studies, anthropology, history, and philosophy, and invites one to rethink the history of literature in a new light.
Race in Irish Literature and Culture provides an in-depth understanding of intersections between Irish literature, culture, and questions of race, racialization, and racism. Covering a vast historical terrain from the sixteenth century to the present, it spotlights the work of canonical, understudied, and contemporary authors in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and among diasporic Irish communities. By focusing on questions related to Black Irish identities, Irish whiteness, Irish racial sciences, postcolonial solidarities, and decolonial strategies to address racialization, the volume moves beyond the familiar frameworks of British/Irish and Catholic/Protestant binarisms and demonstrates methods for Irish Studies scholars to engage with the question of race from a contemporary perspective.
The experiences of health and illness, death and dying, the normal and the pathological have always been an integral part of literary texts. This volume considers how the two dynamic fields of medicine and literature have crossed over, and how they have developed alongside one another. It asks how medicine, as both science and practice, shapes the representation of illness and transforms literary form. It considers how literary texts across genres and languages of disease have put forward specific conceptions of medicine and impacted its practice. Taking into account the global, multilingual and multicultural contexts, this volume systematically outlines and addresses this double-sidedness of the literature-medicine connection. Literature and Medicine covers a broad spectrum of conceptual, thematic, theoretical, and methodological approaches that provide a solid foundation for understanding a vibrant interdisciplinary field.
At the height of literary nationalisms in the twentieth century, leftist internationalists from Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, India, and the Soviet East bonded over their shared love of the classical Persian verses of Hafiz and Khayyam. At writers' congresses and in communist literary journals, they affirmed their friendship and solidarity with lyric ghazals and ruba'iyat. Persianate poetry became the cultural commons for a distinctively Eastern internationalism, shaping national literatures in the Soviet Union, the Middle East, and South Asia. By the early Cold War, the literary entanglement between Persianate culture and communism had established models for cultural decolonization that would ultimately outlast the Soviet imperial project. In the archive of literature produced under communism in Persian, Tajik, Dari, Turkish, Uzbek, Azerbaijani, Armenian, and Russian, this book finds a vital alternative to Western globalized world literature.
Whereas previous books have explored how literature depicts or discusses scientific concepts, this book argues that literature is a technology. It shows how literature has been shaped by technological revolutions, and reveals the essential work that literature has done in helping to uncover the consequences of new technologies. Individual chapters focus on how specific literary technologies – the development of writing, the printing press, typewriters, the computer – changed the kinds of stories it was possible to tell, and how one could tell them. They also cover the way that literature has engaged with non-literary technologies – clocks, compasses, trains, telegraphs, cameras, bombs, computer networks – to help its readers to work through the new social configurations and new possibilities for human identity and imagination that they unveil. Human life is inescapably mediated through technology; literature demonstrates this, and thus helps its readers to engage consciously and actively with their technological worlds.
Nietzsche and Literary Studies tackles the literary implications of Nietzsche's philosophy and the philosophical implications of his approaches to style and expression. The book offers a complete guide to Nietzsche's writings, which in turn draw on two and a half millennia of literary and philosophical history, reaching back to Heraclitus, Plato, and the Cynics and from there to Diderot, the Schlegels, Stendahl, and Stifter, and have inspired a further century of responses from literary writers and philosophers, from Proust, Gide, and Thomas Mann to Derrida and Sarah Kofman. Individual chapters cover aphorism, the novel form, dialogue and dialogism, metaphor, truth, lies, and self-creation. Contributions are written by scholars from a wide range of fields, including classical studies, literary theory, history of literature and philosophy (including Nietzsche studies), theology and religion, and ecology.
Martin Heidegger is one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th Century, and a key philosophical resource for literary critics. Not only has he written about poetry, generations of poets have engaged his writings. And yet, for Heidegger poetry and literature are separate. An essential part of the project of this book therefore is to show how both the distinction and connection between literature and poetry is staged within Heidegger's thought. It offers Heidegger's perspective on a range of key themes, topics, poets, and writers, including Poetry and Poetics, Ancient Greek theatre and tragedies and then specifically Friedrich Hölderlin, Thomas Mann, Paul Celan, Euripides and Sophocles. As the Chapters comprising this book make clear, Heidegger's work remains indispensable for any serious engagement with either literature or poetry today.
Almost immediately after jazz became popular nationally in the United States in the early 20th century, American writers responded to what this exciting art form signified for listeners. This book takes an expansive view of the relationship between this uniquely American music and other aspects of American life, including books, films, language, and politics. Observing how jazz has become a cultural institution, widely celebrated as 'America's classical music,' the book also never loses sight of its beginnings in Black expressive culture and its enduring ability to critique problems of democracy or speak back to violence and inequality, from Jim Crow to George Floyd. Taking the reader through time and across expressive forms, this volume traces jazz as an aesthetic influence, a political force, and a representational focus in American literature and culture. It shows how Jazz has long been a rich source of aesthetic stimulation, influencing writers as stylistically wide-ranging as Langston Hughes, Eudora Welty, and James Baldwin, or artists as diverse as Aaron Douglas, Jackson Pollock, and Gordon Parks.
Black Women and Energies of Resistance in Nineteenth-Century Haitian and American Literature intervenes in traditional narratives of 19th-century American modernity by situating Black women at the center of an increasingly connected world. While traditional accounts of modernity have emphasized advancements in communication technologies, animal and fossil fuel extraction, and the rise of urban centers, Mary Grace Albanese proposes that women of African descent combated these often violent regimes through diasporic spiritual beliefs and practices, including spiritual possession, rootwork, midwifery, mesmerism, prophecy, and wandering. It shows how these energetic acts of resistance were carried out on scales large and small: from the constrained corners of the garden plot to the expansive circuits of global migration. By examining the concept of energy from narratives of technological progress, capital accrual and global expansion, this book uncovers new stories that center Black women at the heart of a pulsating, revolutionary world.
George Floyd's death on May 25th 2020 marked a watershed in reactions to anti-Black racism in the United States and elsewhere. Intense demonstrations around the world followed. Within literary studies, the demonstrations accelerated the scrutiny of the literary curriculum, the need to diversify the curriculum, and the need to incorporate more Black writers. Decolonizing the English Literary Curriculum is a major collection that aims to address these issues from a global perspective. An international team of leading scholars illustrate the necessity and advantages of reform from specific decolonial perspectives, with evidence-based arguments from classroom contexts, as well as establishing new critical agendas. The significance of Decolonizing the English Literary Curriculum lies in the complete overhaul it proposes for the study of English literature. It reconnects English studies, the humanities, and the modern, international university to issues of racial and social justice. This book is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Animals surveys the role of animals across literary history and opens conversations on what literature can teach us about more-than-human life. Leading international scholars comprehensively explore how engaging with creatures of various kinds alters our understanding of what it means to write and read, and why this is important for thinking about a series of cultural, ethical, political, and scientific developments and controversies. The first part of the book offers historically rooted arguments about medieval metamorphosis, early modern fleshiness, eighteenth-century imperialism, Romantic sympathy, Victorian racial politics, modernist otherness and contemporary forms. The second part poses questions that cut across periods, concerning habitat and extinction, captivity and spectatorship, race and (post-)coloniality, sexuality and gender, religion and law, health and wealth. In doing so, this companion places animals at the centre of literary studies and literature at the heart of urgent debates in the growing field of animal studies.