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Chapter 2 is concerned with the role of the writer as artist. It focuses on three auto/biographical texts which document the ugly difficulties of writing the self: Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother? (2012), Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be? (2012), and Kate Zambreno’s Heroines (2012). None of these texts is a pure autobiography: Bechdel’s graphic memoir follows her psychotherapeutic unravelling of her relationship with her mother; Heti’s ‘novel from life’ recounts a crucial friendship between Sheila and her artist friend Margaux; and Kate Zambreno’s Heroines is part memoir, part biographical essay about female writers such as Virginia Woolf, Vivien(e) Eliot, and Zelda Fitzgerald, who she dubs the ‘mad wives’ of modernism. All three texts are interested in female genius and tell of the unravelling of the self from others en route to becoming an artist. I argue that ugliness is crucial to their aesthetic projects: the ugliness of the self and its secrets, the ugliness of writer’s block, the ugliness of betrayal, and the ugly terrain of genius.
This chapter examines the variety of ways in which women poets in early eighteenth-century Ireland negotiated expectations of gender. It focuses on Mary Barber’s Poems on Several Occasions (1735), a volume containing work by several other writers, most notably six poems by Constantia Grierson (c. 1705–1732). Female poets tempered the appearance of poetic ambition by means of several strategies. In Barber’s case the best known of these is ventriloquism, in the various poems she wrote to be spoken by her young son. Both Barber and Grierson firmly place their work in the context of decorous female sociability by emphasising its occasional nature: particularly noteworthy being the ruse of presenting poems not as distinguished artefacts, but as supplementary objects, in the several poems taking the form of ‘lines written’ in books. Ambition can, however, be discerned. Barber sought and gained significant patrons in Jonathan Swift and the Earl of Orrery, and successfully raised an impressive subscription list. More subtly, the volume as a whole also shows each poet help to secure the poetic reputation of the other through an elaborate poetics of compliment, reflecting self-consciously on female authorship.
Copyright embraces a vast range of authors and is intended to be neutral about the nature of authorship save for the requirement of originality. Nevertheless, the description author can be illusory and even unhelpful. Great visual arts masters have for centuries practised their art through the directed hand of others. Are they authors? Should conductors of music, stage directors or curators of art exhibitions be deemed authors? What would ‘the show’ be without them? And what of authorship in the modern computer age of the creation of works where the human hand is significantly or even completely removed? On the other hand, indigenous cultures typically eschew notions of private ownership and the individual as author. The age-old concept of authorship in copyright is open to serious reflection and review.
“Hesiod” and “Homer” are biographical constructs that differentially serve functions peculiar to their respective poetic traditions. Whereas Homer’s persona remains external to Homeric poetry, Hesiod’s biography is integrated with Hesiodic poetry to frame its interpretation and guide its reception.
Drawing together all the previous chapters, Chapter 6 explicates the ways in which forensic linguistics can continue to provide support to the work of undercover online officers. Breaking down traditional constraints that have seen the work of the forensic linguist in this area limited to authorship analysis tasks, we sustain the argument here that we can usefully contribute to the strategy of authorship synthesis. While there is enormous potential for linguistic contributions to these policing tasks of identity assumption and infiltration, there are, of course, limitations. Both are discussed in detail in this chapter.
The chapter analyzes how Don DeLillo’s novel Mao II critically refracts TV’s immediacy effects to explore the cultural function that literature performs within the increasingly commodified market dynamics of mass media communication. The chapter argues that DeLillo accomplishes a paradoxical feat: he tells the story of a retrograde writer who loses his life in a futile attempt to resist the commercialization of his work; yet DeLillo suffuses this allegorical tale about the death of an author in the age of mass media and consumer culture with detailed ekphrastic descriptions of TV news footage, photographs, and pop art that ultimately confirm the capacity of literature to respond in innovative ways to the predominance of visual media, the misapprehension of televisual images as real, and the increasing commodification of literature and art. Published as American culture was turning digital, the novel provides an apt terminus for my study of how American writers reworked the immediacy effects of analog new visual media to renew literary culture.
This chapter investigates modernist biofictions, with a particular focus on Hermann Broch’s Der Tod des Vergil (The Death of Virgil, 1945). Engaging with Virgil’s texts and the ancient biographical traditions about him, Broch’s novel neatly foregrounds the interactions between biofiction, classical reception and the literary, intellectual and political preoccupations of the first half of the twentieth-century. The novel’s title proleptically echoes Roland Barthes’ famous essay on the modern ‘Death of the Author’, self-consciously bringing techniques of intertextuality to bear on the biofictional reception of Roman poetry, as, in Broch’s words, Virgil’s text and biography are ‘continuously interwoven’ (‘fortlaufend eingewoben’) with his own. It is steeped in the author’s reading of Freud, engaging with contemporary psychoanalytical techniques to construct Virgil as a biofictional subject. Finally – written partly in a Gestapo prison – the novel puts biofiction at the heart of twentieth-century political concerns. As the ostensible biofictional entity ‘Virgil’ merges in an interauthorial dialogue with ‘Hermann Broch’, biofictional reading of Roman poetry becomes a medium for interrogating the role of art at a time of cultural and political crisis.
The introduction makes the case for fictional biography (or ‘biofiction’) as fundamental to understanding the reception of Roman poetry. Bringing together developments in life-writing studies and recent work on ancient biography and poets’ Lives, it develops a concept of biofictional reading as a key mode of the reception of Latin poetry. Aware of ancient habits of reading poetry ‘for the life’, Roman poets wrote autofictional versions of their Lives for later readers to pick up, creating a body of literature that demands to be read in terms of Lives in reception.
What connections might be found between those who write history and the different kinds of histories they write? An emphasis on gender often focuses on the dynamics of women’s collaborative authorship, whether produced anonymously or in the form of patron and client relationships. But it also highlights the fact that sole authorship is often associated with male writers; with masculinity. Beginning with the Earliest Life of Gregory the Great, an anonymous Life that may have been composed by a woman, the chapter next addresses Æthelweard’s Latin Chronicle, written by a secular, elite male author for and in collaboration with a female patron and family relation, Abbess Matilda of Essen. It concludes with another kind of history, that of the anonymous Old English poem, Widsith, and the insight that the sheer variety of early medieval historiography is also suggestive of the different uses of gender by its authors.
In a continuation of the previous chapter, Chapter 3, which seals the book’s first section, explores how Iranian women’s magazines of the late Pahlavi era sought to co-opt new readership—culturally, socially and economically—and how circumstances of their production, cultural trends, technological innovations, and ensuing developments in the media industry affected their efforts. Understanding the circumstances under which these magazines developed and operated contributes to the assessment not only of their content, but also their approach to various categorizations of the woman of modernity. It reveals the complex structure and process of the magazines’ representation of women, the cultural and economic formations that supported it, and the social relations involved in the production of the gendered discourse and identity in the late Pahlavi era.
The introduction explores the challenges that periodicity poses to literary history. We argue that a self-conscious awareness of how periods are inevitably implicated in expanded networks of temporality and geography nevertheless allows us to explore how particular moments of literary history (in this case the 1880s) might exhibit specific and characteristic formal, thematic or cultural forms. The 1880s is a decade that has been too readily overlooked in the rush to embrace end-of-century decadence and aestheticism. The contributors to this book explore the case for the 1880s as both a discrete point of literary production, with its own pressures and provocations, and as part of a series of broader networks of affilation and contestation. The essays address a wide variety of authors, topics and genres, offering incisive readings of the diverse forces at work in the shaping of the literary 1880s.
Critics have often recognized George Gissing’s New Grub Street (1891) for its rich treatment of late-Victorian authorship and publishing. Moreover, it is particularly notable for its self-consciousness about the social and cultural determinants of its own production as a three-volume novel and a work in print. This chapter argues that the novel’s bracing and disenchanted account of print culture emerges from the prospect of a media ecology in which print becomes just another -graphy. In this world of mediated distraction and disposability, print’s material dimensions would become intrusively noticeable, even as different formats tweak the affordances of print to target different readerships. The vision of print among other media haunts New Grub Street, but it was fully embraced by George Newnes’s wildly successful Tit-Bits, the real-life journal that (as “Chit-Chat”) inspires the novel’s most cutting satire of mass publishing.
Marie Corelli wrote bestselling supernatural romances and detested the New Woman, while George Paston wrote realistic New Woman novels that cultivated a small, intellectual readership. Yet in the wake of the three-volume novel, both authors produced fiction about the writing life that makes the case for the codex book and the single-volume novel as bulwarks against the circular, self-contained system of other media—a system maintained by men. Corelli’s The Sorrows of Satan (1895) puts forward the bestselling novel as a means of direct, sanctified connection between celebrity author and adoring audience. Paston’s A Writer of Books (1898) looks to the future work, the novel unwritten, as a repository of truth and meaning. Together, they suggest that in the wake of the three-volume novel, the problem of the novel’s relationship to media systems could be approached as a problem of how and whether the novel mediates.
Although Alexander Graham Bell introduced the electric telephone to Britain soon after its invention, it was not quickly adopted there and remained less than ubiquitous in Victorian daily life and literature. But in the 1890s, three fictional tales of young writers—Rudyard Kipling’s “The Finest Story in the World” (1891), Ella Hepworth Dixon’s The Story of a Modern Woman (1894), and George Paston’s A Writer of Books (1898)—all invoke the telephone as they treat the obstacles to literary production. These texts highlight not the device’s technical properties so much as its unexpected ability to embody a new concept: the idea of a media system that fused new communication technologies with print forms created for a mass audience—a version of what would later be called mass media.
This article examines the alleged author, or first-person narrator, of the tenth pseudonymous letter in the Corpus Aeschineum. It argues that the forger, in a short epistolary novel that describes the seduction of a certain Callirhoe in Troy, uses puns (αἰσχύνειν, ἀναισχυντία, etc.) on the name of the fourth-century BC orator Aeschines. It notes that αἰσχρός-words recur in ancient works and, as a rhetorical device, are attested in Demosthenes. The forger’s aims are, first, to serialize the ‘Aeschinean’ letters as a whole by relating them to the same author and, second, to create an ‘aischrologic’ counterpart of the Callirhoe, which is attributed to Chariton (Χαρίτων/‘The Graceful’). Thus there is less likelihood of suggesting other figures such as the eponymous Aeschines Socraticus.
It is a common notion among modern biblical scholars that Origen doubted Paul's authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews. This article offers an examination of Origen's writings on this question, and shows that the evidence is wildly misrepresented in contemporary discussions. It does this by beginning with Origen's Letter to Africanus, continuing with an overview of his Hebrews citations across his writing career, and concluding with an analysis of his oft-cited comments in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History. This examination shows that while Origen suspects Hebrews’ composition to involve more than Paul alone, his surprisingly consistent testimony is that the epistle is indeed Paul's.
This short conclusion reflects on the book’s overarching themes and arguments, asking how we should characterise Flodoard and understand his place in the history of medieval historical writing. Several implications for the study of tenth-century political history and the cultural development of the Latin West are re-emphasised. In a concluding discussion of audience, I suggest that the readership of Flodoard’s works may have been quite narrow because he was a ‘liminal’ author of types of history that no longer met the interests or expectations of post-Carolingian audiences.