Past Issues

Spring 2002, Volume 35, Number 1

Double Crossing: Female Impersonation in Gasparo Gozzi's Gazzetta veneta

Rebecca Messbarger

Gozzi's female impersonation represents an overt manifestation of a more evasive practice of ventriloquism among members of the Literary Republic of the Settecento, who so often claimed to speak for the interests and well-being of women while in fact reinforcing women's traditional social and moral functions and domestic containment.

The Gospel According to Jane Eyre: The Suttee and the Seraglio

Maryanne C. Ward

The anti-colonial thrust of the novel and the cry for gender equality signaled by emancipation rhetoric are subtexts, masked by the Gothic romance and heroic Christian missionary plots they subvert.

"By Degrees Regain[ing] Cool Peaceful Air in Wonder": Wilfred Owen's War Poetry as Psychological Therapy

Daniel Hipp

Although the war threatened to reduce Owen to psychological ruin after his four months of combat duty, it was the writing of poetry about the war which functioned as his most effective therapy and which enabled Owen to reconstruct a coherent voice that allowed for his return to the front, where he met his death in November 1918.

Is There Sex After Gender? Ungendering/The Unnameable

Judith Roof

In Beckett's work, the subject is not a set of categories, but rather the constant performance of a narrative process by which the subject unravels itself in time and space. In some works, such as The Unnameable and Not I, this stripping has progressed to the point where gender is something already lost, a memory, shed like a skin.

Ethnic Irony and the Question of Reading: Joyce, Erdrich, and Chivalry in the Introductory Literature Classroom

Karen R. Smith

Like "Araby," Erdrich's story lifts the veil from the face of chivalry to expose it as self-destructive, unfulfilled desire; she compares the frustrated chivalric hero to "a mad dog biting itself" for the sympathy and connection he desires from others.

The Loop

A new spring column foregrounding the intersection of scholarly enterprise and pedagogical responsibility.

The Roil of Contemporary Debate: Uncovering Literature and Culture in Nineteenth-Century America

Kathleen Diffley

A quickening interest in literature's context, in the tumble of events as well as the volley of contemporary response, might foreground the tumble and volley of nineteenth-century periodicals with remarkable results.

Book Reviews

The Shock of Medievalism. By Kathleen Biddick. (Michelle M. Sauer)

Those of us who exist within the discipline today have been left traumatized -- left in shock -- because of our abrupt dissociation from the historical tradition. Biddick's essays individually examine reverberations felt as a result of this trauma.

Medieval Literature, Style and Culture. By Charles Muscatine.

Medieval Lyric: Genres in Historical Context. Edited by William D. Paden. (Thomas Chase)

To paraphrase Muscatine, we fail to ensure that literary texts stay more important than our critical vocabularies and the conceptual frames that follow, clattering, behind them.

Ungentle Shakespeare: Scenes from His Life. By Katherine Duncan-Jones. (Terri Bourus)

This is not the "immortal bard" long celebrated and revered. This Shakespeare is also a shrewd, calculating, and ruthless businessman, accumulating and investing money in order to create a new identity for himself: that of a landed and financially secure "gentleman."

Literary Culture and U.S. Imperialism: From the Revolution to World War II. By John Carlos Rowe. (Harilaos Stecopoulos)

Rowe's anti-formal close reading resembles a variety of contemporary approaches to literary analysis in its refusal to celebrate the inspirational power of the aesthetic or indeed affirm the author as an artist who exceeds the limitations of her period and context.

Novels of Everyday Life: The Series in English Fiction, 1850-1930. By Laurie Langbauer. (Kevin Swafford)

Part of what interests Langbauer is the grafting of the feminine with the serial, the everyday, and mass culture; and how cultural critics often make women the scapegoats for "capitalism's idiocy."

Criminal Conversations: Sentimentality and Nineteenth-Century Legal Stories of Adultery. By Laura Hanft Korobkin. (J. P. Spicer-Escalante)

The concept of "criminal conversation" -- a civil tort in which a jilted husband appealed to the Court for damages against his wife's adulterous lover who, in essence, was accused of having appropriated for his own use the body of another man's wife -- was highly indicative of the appearance of sentimental literary discourse in the U.S. courtroom, something that had often been confined to romantic literature and continues to be naively relegated predominantly to the pages of romance novels.

The American 1890s: A Cultural Reader. Edited by Susan Harris Smith and Melanie Dawson. (Peter Rawlings)

Extracts from book-length interventions in the period, or indeed items from the press, do not figure here, for the editors believe that periodical production, circulation, and reading are the crucial constituents of 1890s American culture.

Reading Zoos: Representations of Animals in Captivity. By Randy Malamud. (Matt Senior)

Animals have a sort of culture, but they do not, like human subjects, aspire to nationhood and a literature of their own.

The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English. Edited by Lorna Sage. (Ellyn Lem)

The emphasis here is on a common language and not geography, which allows coverage of writers from a wide variety of places (e.g., Egypt, Nigeria, Jamaica, Sri Lanka) who have received little critical attention in previous scholarship.

Performing Television: Contemporary Drama and the Media Culture. By Elizabeth Klaver. (Kellie Bean)

Deploying notions of subjectivity gleaned from Lacan, Sartre, and Laclau and Mouffe, Klaver positions television as theatre's other and puts forth this intriguing notion of the theatre: "for drama, the very act of generating subject positions means circulating desire through some other."

The Derrida Reader: Writing Performances. Edited by Julian Wolfreys. (Gerardo Cummings)

Deconstruction requires a new, alternative logic; it is a game, a puzzle in which not all of the pieces fit but yet are somehow interconnected, leading one to the other.