Literary Criticism

On Lightness in World Literature | ,

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Despite the apparent ubiquity of light literature, and despite the greater cultural prestige it has been afforded in recent decades, very little has been written on the adjective that actually defines this category. What, precisely, does it signify, and what are some of the key strategies by which the effect of lightness is achieved within literary discourse? In this original and engaging study, Bede Scott explores the aesthetic quality of lightness as demonstrated by a diverse range of narratives - spanning four different centuries and five different countries. In each case he focuses on a specific 'type' of lightness, whether it be the refined triviality of Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book, the ludic tendencies of Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis' Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas, or the 'exhilarating and primitive vitality' of Voltaire's Candide. By bringing together such disparate sources, Scott makes a strong case for the universality of this particular aesthetic value, while also subjecting to close critical scrutiny its underlying structural features..

Literary Criticism

The Routledge Companion to Literature and Religion | Mark Knight

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This unique and comprehensive volume looks at the study of literature and religion from a contemporary critical perspective. Including discussion of global literature and world religions, this Companion looks at: Key moments in the story of religion and literary studies from Matthew Arnold through to the impact of 9/11 A variety of theoretical approaches to the study of religion and literature Different ways that religion and literature are connected from overtly religious writing, to subtle religious readings Analysis of key sacred texts and the way they have been studied, re-written, and questioned by literature Political implications of work on religion and literature Thoroughly introduced and contextualised, this volume is an engaging introduction to this huge and complex field..

Literary Criticism

Affective Disorders | Bede Scott

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Situated at the intersection of postcolonial studies, affect studies, and narratology, Affective Disorders explores the significance of emotion in a range of colonial and postcolonial narratives. Through close readings of Naguib Mahfouz, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, and Upamanyu Chatterjee, among others, Bede Scott argues that literary representations of emotion need not be interpreted solely at the level of character, individual psychology, or the contingencies of plotting, but could also be related to broader sociopolitical forces. We thus find episodes of anger that serve as a collective response to the 'modernity' of wartime Cairo, feelings of jealousy that are inspired by the slave economy of imperial Brazil, and an overwhelming sense of boredom that emerges, in the late eighties, out of the bureaucratic procedures of the Indian Administrative Service. Affective Disorders also explores in some detail the formal consequences of these feelings - the way in which affective states such as anger or jealousy can often destabilize narratives, provoking crises of representation, generic ambivalence, and discursive rupture. By emphasizing the social origin of these emotions, and by analysing their influence on literary discourse, this study provides a deeper understanding of the relationship between various sociopolitical forces and the affective and aesthetic 'disorders' to which they give rise..

Literary Criticism

Strategic Occidentalism | Ignacio M. Sanchez Prado

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Strategic Occidentalism examines the transformation, in both aesthetics and infrastructure, of Mexican fiction since the late 1970s. During this time a framework has emerged characterized by the corporatization of publishing, a frictional relationship between Mexican literature and global book markets, and the desire of Mexican writers to break from dominant models of national culture. In the course of this analysis, Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado engages with theories of world literature, proposing that “world literature” is a construction produced at various levels, including the national, that must be studied from its material conditions of production in specific sites. In particular, he argues that Mexican writers have engaged in a “strategic Occidentalism” in which their idiosyncratic connections with world literature have responded to dynamics different from those identified by world-systems or diffusionist theorists. Strategic Occidentalism identifies three scenes in which a cosmopolitan aesthetics in Mexican world literature has been produced: Sergio Pitol’s translation of Eastern European and marginal British modernist literature; the emergence of the Crack group as a polemic against the legacies of magical realism; and the challenges of writers like Carmen Boullosa, Cristina Rivera Garza, and Ana García Bergua to the roles traditionally assigned to Latin American writers in world literature..

Literary Criticism

The Shapes of Early English Poetry | Eric Weiskott,Irina Dumitrescu

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This volume contributes to the study of early English poetics. In these essays, several related approaches and fields of study radiate outward from poetics, including stylistics, literary history, word studies, gender studies, metrics, and textual criticism. By combining and redirecting these traditional scholarly methods, as well as exploring newer ones such as object-oriented ontology and sound studies, these essays demonstrate how poetry responds to its intellectual, literary, and material contexts. The contributors propose to connect the small (syllables, words, and phrases) to the large (histories, emotions, faiths, secrets). In doing so, they attempt to work magic on the texts they consider: turning an ordinary word into something strange and new, or demonstrating texture, difference, and horizontality where previous eyes had perceived only smoothness, sameness, and verticality..

Literary Criticism

The Playful Air of Light(ness) in Irish Literature and Culture | Marta Goszczyńska,Katarzyna Poloczek

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While discussions in the field of Irish Studies traditionally gravitate towards themes of struggle, oppression and death, the present book originates from a contradictory impulse. Without losing sight of Ireland’s troubled history and the complexities that shape its present, it centres on instances of playfulness, light(ness) and air in Irish literature and culture. Refracted through the prism of contemporary philosophy (notably of Italo Calvino, Luce Irigaray and María Lugones), these categories serve as the basis for thirteen essays by academics from Poland, the UK, Germany and Spain. Some of these offer fresh readings of such seminal authors as W. B. Yeats, Louis MacNeice, Seamus Heaney and John Banville; others look at lesser-known figures, such as Eimar O’Duffy and Forrest Reid, who, before now, have received little scholarly attention..

Literary Criticism

Postmodern Traces and Recent Hindi Novels | Veronica Ghirardi

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Postmodernism is a notoriously elusive concept and still the object of critical debates among scholars across a range of different disciplines. In literature, in particular, these debates are complicated by “postmodern” styles emanating from outside the concept’s Western origins. By analyzing contemporary Hindi novels, and drawing on both Western and Hindi literary criticism, "Postmodern Traces and Recent Hindi Novels" aims to understand some of the manifestations of postmodernism in contemporary Hindi fiction, including ways the latter might challenge the traditional parameters of postmodern literature. This book is essential reading for scholars and students specializing in South Asian studies and both postcolonial and comparative literature. It will also interest the general reader curious to know more about one of the less explored areas of world literature..

Literary Criticism

Recognition and Ethics in World Literature | Vincent van Bever Donker

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Recognition and Ethics in World Literature is a critical comparative study of contemporary world literature, focusing on the importance of the ethical turn (or return) in literary theory. The book examines the ethical engagement of novels by Amitav Ghosh, Chimamanda Adichie, Caryl Phillips, Kazuo Ishiguro, Zadie Smith, and J. M. Coetzee, exploring the overlap and divergence between Levinasian/Derridean and Aristotelian ethics. Recognitions and emotional responses are integral to the unfolding of ethical concerns, and the ethics they explore are often marked by the complexity and impurity characteristic of the tragic. Recognition is particularly suitable for the concerns of world literature authors in its interconnection of the universal and the particular—a binary that has been crucial in postcolonialism and remains important for the wider field of world literature. This study builds its analysis around three broad themes: religion, the memory of violence, and the human..

Social Science

Heart of Lightness | Edith L. B. Turner

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"Edith and Victor Turner were among the most influential researchers and teachers and social and cultural anthropology in the twentieth century. Together they, and Edie alone after Vic's death, raised the idea of participant observation (and indeed of team learning) to heights and depth most anthropologists never achieve." [From the Foreword] This fascinating memoir is a lively testimony to a remarkable partnership and to Edie Turner's own achievements during more than two decades after Victor's untimely death..

Poetry

Iqbal: Poet, Philosopher, and His Place In World Literature | Zafar M. Iqbal

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For most Urdu speakers in the Indian subcontinent, Iqbal has long been one of the most loved and admired poets. Much has been written about his poetry and philosophy . This book stays away from his politics. Iqbal first received recognition in the West in 1920 when his translation of Asrar-e-Khudi by R. A. Nicholson (The Secrets of the Self) first appeared. Most of the recurring criticism was on his concept of Khudi which Iqbal addressed then and later, explaining the basic nature of influence of much older Sufi philosophy on khudi versus Nietzsche’s Übermensch. Several authors, both from the subcontinent and the West, have translated Iqbal’s poetry before, and in this book have highlighted the positive outcomes over some controversies and confusion. This book presents translation of well over 150 of Iqbal’s Urdu poems from Kuliyaath-e-Iqbal and about 30 or so from Payam-e-Mashriq (PM), in Persian. Iqbal offered PM as a response to Goethe’s West-östlicher Diwan, in German. Goethe had long been interested in Eastern (rather, Middle Eastern) culture and his Divan was inspired by the fourteenth-century Persian poet Hafez/Hafiz/Hafis, which also involved some literary traverse through a different religio-philosophical territory. Translation from Urdu or Persian to English across a vast cultural, prosodic, and linguistic gulf presents enormous problems. Section “On Translation” discusses some of these issues. Although Iqbal’s philosophy has been covered from by many others before, some of Iqbal’s own explanation of Khudi in a larger historical Sufi context are discussed here. In addition, Iqbal’s own contribution to what Goethe called Weltliteratur (or world literature), is recognized in PM (mostly) and elsewhere in his Urdu Kuliyaath. Iqbal not just brought various Western themes and figures to Urdu literature, but presented them, with his own comments and interpretation, to a readership that may have been largely unfamiliar with these Western themes. The Appendices include important recognition Iqbal received in Germany..

Literary Criticism

World Literature in Theory | David Damrosch

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World Literature in Theory provides a definitive exploration of the pressing questions facing those studying world literature today. Coverage is split into four parts which examine the origins and seminal formulations of world literature, world literature in the age of globalization, contemporary debates on world literature, and localized versions of world literature Contains more than 30 important theoretical essays by the most influential scholars, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Hugo Meltzl, Edward Said, Franco Moretti, Jorge Luis Borges, and Gayatri Spivak Includes substantive introductions to each essay, as well as an annotated bibliography for further reading Allows students to understand, articulate, and debate the most important issues in this rapidly changing field of study.

Literary Criticism

Transnationalism and German-Language Literature in the Twenty-First Century | Stuart Taberner

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This book examines how German-language authors have intervened in contemporary debates on the obligation to extend hospitality to asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants; the terrorist threat post-9/11; globalisation and neo-liberalism; the opportunities and anxieties of intensified mobility across borders; and whether transnationalism necessarily implies the end of the nation state and the dawn of a new cosmopolitanism. The book proceeds through a series of close readings of key texts of the last twenty years, with an emphasis on the most recent works. Authors include Terézia Mora, Richard Wagner, Olga Grjasnowa, Marlene Streeruwitz, Vladimir Vertlib, Navid Kermani, Felicitas Hoppe, Daniel Kehlmann, Ilija Trojanow, Christian Kracht, and Christa Wolf, representing the diversity of contemporary German-language writing. Through a careful process of juxtaposition and differentiation, the individual chapters demonstrate that writers of both minority and nonminority backgrounds address transnationalism in ways that certainly vary but which also often overlap in surprising ways..

Philosophy

New Essays in Japanese Aesthetics | A. Minh Nguyen

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This collection begins with an engaging historical overview of Japanese aesthetics and offers contemporary multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives on the artistic and aesthetic traditions of Japan and the central themes in Japanese art and aesthetics..

Literary Criticism

Italo Calvino's Architecture of Lightness | Letizia Modena

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This study recovers Italo Calvino's central place in a lost history of interdisciplinary thought, politics, and literary philosophy in the 1960s. Drawing on his letters, essays, critical reviews, and fiction, as well as a wide range of works--primarily urban planning and design theory and history--circulating among his primary interlocutors, this book takes as its point of departure a sweeping reinterpretation of Invisible Cities. Passages from Calvino's most famous novel routinely appear as aphorisms in calendars, posters, and the popular literature of inspiration and self-help, reducing the novel to vague abstractions and totalizing wisdom about thinking outside the box. The shadow of postmodern studies has had a similarly diminishing effect on this text, rendering up an accomplished but ultimately apolitical novelistic experimentation in endless deconstructive deferrals, the shiny surfaces of play, and the ultimately rigged game of self-referentiality. In contrast, this study draws on an archive of untranslated Italian- and French-language materials on urban planning, architecture, and utopian architecture to argue that Calvino's novel in fact introduces readers to the material history of urban renewal in Italy, France, and the U.S. in the 1960s, as well as the multidisciplinary core of cultural life in that decade: the complex and continuous interplay among novelists and architects, scientists and artists, literary historians and visual studies scholars. His last love poem for the dying city was in fact profoundly engaged, deeply committed to the ethical dimensions of both architecture and lived experience in the spaces of modernity as well as the resistant practices of reading and utopian imagining that his urban studies in turn inspired..

Literary Criticism

Afropolitanism and the Novel | Ashleigh Harris

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The place of the novel as a literary form in Africa is contested. Its colonial origins and its unaffordability for most Africans make it a bad fit for the continent, yet it was also central to the creation of most postcolonial African national literary canons. These bipolar traditions remain unresolved in recent debates about Afropolitanism and the novel in Africa today. This book extends this debate, arguing that Africa’s ‘de-realization’ in global representation and the global economy is reflected in the African novel becoming dominated by Afropolitan, rather than African, aesthetics, styles, and forms. Drawing on close readings of a variety of major African novels of the 2000s, the volume traces the tensions between the novel’s complicity with and resistance to such de-realization. The book argues that current trends and experiments in African non-realist genres, such as science fiction, magical and animist realism, Afro-futurism, and speculative environmentalism, are the result of a preoccupation with such de-realization. The volume is a significant exploration into literary form and its social, philosophical, political, and economic underpinnings. It will be a must-read for scholars, students, and researchers of African literature, politics, philosophy, and culture studies..

Literary Criticism

The Playfulness of Gerard Manley Hopkins | Joseph J. Feeney

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Renowned Hopkins expert Joseph J. Feeney, SJ, offers a fresh take on Gerard Manley Hopkins which shakes our understanding of his poetry and his life and points towards the next phase in Hopkins studies. While affirming the received view of Hopkins as a major poet of nature, religion, and psychology, Feeney finds a pervasive, rarely noticed playfulness by employing both the theory of play and close reading of his texts. This new Hopkins lived a playful life from childhood till death as a student who loved puns and jokes and wrote parodies, comic verse, and satires; as a Jesuit who played and organized games and had "a gift for mimicry;" and most significantly, as a poet and prose stylist who rewards readers with unexpected displays of whimsy and incongruity, even, strikingly, in "The Wreck of the Deutschland," "The Windhover," and the "Terrible Sonnets." Feeney convincingly argues that Hopkins's distinctive playfulness is inextricably bound to his sense of fun, his creativity, his style, and his competitiveness with other poets. In unexpected images, quirky metaphors, strange perspectives, puns, coinages, twisted syntax, wordmusic, and sprung rhythm, we see his playful streak burst forth to adorn those works critics consider his most brilliant. No one who absorbs this book's radical readings will ever see and hear Hopkins's poetry and prose quite the way they used to..

Literary Criticism

Asian Interventions in Global Shakespeare | Poonam Trivedi,Paromita Chakravarti,Ted Motohashi

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This volume critically analyses and theorises Asian interventions in the expanding phenomenon of Global Shakespeare. It interrogates Shakespeare’s ‘universality’ from Asian perspectives: how this has been modified or even replaced by the ‘global bard’ as a recognisable brand, and how Asian Shakespeares have contributed to or subverted this process by both facilitating the worldwide dissemination of the bard’s plays and challenging and resisting the very templates through which they become globally legible. Critically acclaimed Asian productions have prominently figured at premier Western festivals, and popular Asian appropriations like Bollywood, manga and anime have created new kinds of globally accessible Shakespeare. Essays in this collection engage with the emergent critical issues: the efficacy of definitions of the ‘local’, ‘global’, ‘transnational’ and ‘cosmopolitan’ and of the liminalities and mobilities in between. They further examine the politics of ‘West’ and ‘East’, the evolving markers of the ‘Asian’ and the equation of the ‘glocal’ with the ‘Asian’; they attend to performance and archiving protocols and bring the current debates on translation, appropriation, and world literature to speak to the concerns of global and transnational Shakespeare. These investigations analyse recent innovative Asian theatre productions, popular cinematic and manga appropriations and the increasing presence of Shakespeare in the Asian digital sphere. They provide an Asian standpoint and lens in rereading the processes of cultural globalisation and the mobilisation of Shakespeare..

Juvenile Fiction

Myth, Symbol, and Meaning in Mary Poppins | Giorgia Grilli

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The Mary Poppins that many people know of today--a stern, but sweet, loveable, and reassuring British nanny--is a far cry from the character created by Pamela Lyndon Travers in the 1930's. Instead, this is the Mary Poppins reinvented by Disney in the eponymous movie. This book sheds light on the original Mary Poppins, Myth, Symbol, and Meaning in Mary Poppins is the only full-length study that covers all the Mary Poppins books, exposing just how subversive the pre-Disney Mary Poppins character truly was. Drawing important parallels between the character and the life of her creator, who worked as a governess herself, Grilli reveals the ways in which Mary Poppins came to unsettle the rigid and rigorous rules of Victorian and Edwardian society that most governesses embodied, taught, and passed on to their charges..

Literary Criticism

Literature and the World | Stefan Helgesson,Mads Rosendahl Thomsen

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Literature and the World presents a broad and multifaceted introduction to world literature and globalization. The book provides a brief background and history of the field followed by a wide spectrum of exemplary readings and case studies from around the world. Amongst other aspects of World Literature, the authors look at: New approaches to digital humanities and world literature Ecologies of world literature Rethinking geography in a globalized world Translation Race and political economy Offering state of the art debates on world literature, this volume is a superb introduction to the field. Its critically thoughtful approach makes this the ideal guide for anyone approaching World Literature..

Literary Collections

The Reception of Classical German Literature in England, 1760-1860, Volume1 | John Boening

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The extensive scope of this collection means that this documentary record of the reception of German literature in England is a valuable scholarly resource. One of the most important features of British literary and intellectual history over the past 250 years is the influence of German literature. From the second half of the 18th Century, through the first decades of the 19th, German books and ideas attracted, then gained the attention of a nation. Despite the acknowledged importance of the influence on writers such as Coleridge and Carlyle the subject, though often alluded to, was rarely studied. This collection provides a guidebook through the masses of periodical and allows the English side of the Anglo-German literary relationship to be explored in detail. In order to make the collection useful to scholars with a wide range of interest, it has been divided into three parts: Part 1 is a chronological presentation of commentary on German literature in general. It also contains collective reviews of multiple German authors, notices of important anthologies and reactions to influential works about Germany and its culture. Part 2 collects reviews of 18th Century individual German authors and Part 3 is devoted to the English reception of Goethe and Schiller. Parts 2 & 3 contain cross-references to the collective reviews of Part 1. Containing over 200 British serials and articles and reviews from all the major English literary periodicals, the collection also includes a broad sampling of opinion from the more general magazines, including some popular religious publications..