57941717722f6_gbooks

Modernism and Colonialism

This collection of essays by renowned literary scholars offers a sustained and comprehensive account of the relation of British and Irish literary modernism to colonialism. Bringing postcolonial studies into dialogue with modernist studies, the contributors move beyond depoliticized appreciations of modernist aesthetics as well as the dismissal of literary modernism as irredeemably complicit in the evils of colonialism. They demonstrate that the modernists were not unapologetic supporters of empire. Many were avowedly and vociferously opposed to colonialism, and all of the writers considered in this volume were concerned with the political and cultural significance of colonialism, including its negative consequences for both the colonizer and the colonized.

Ranging over poetry, fiction, and criticism, the essays provide fresh appraisals of Joseph Conrad, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence, Wyndham Lewis, E. M. Forster, W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Hugh MacDiarmid, and Evelyn Waugh, as well as Robert Louis Stevenson and H. Rider Haggard. The essays that bookend the collection connect the modernists to their Victorian precursors, to postwar literary critics, and to postcolonial poets. The rest treat major works written or published between 1899 and 1939, the boom years of literary modernism and the period during which the British empire reached its greatest geographic expanse. Among the essays are explorations of how primitivism figured in the fiction of Lawrence and Lewis; how, in Ulysses, Joyce used modernist techniques toward anticolonial ends; and how British imperialism inspired Conrad, Woolf, and Eliot to seek new aesthetic forms appropriate to the sense of dislocation they associated with empire.

Contributors. Nicholas Allen, Rita Barnard, Richard Begam, Nicholas Daly, Maria DiBattista, Ian Duncan, Jed Esty, Andrzej Gąsiorek, Declan Kiberd, Brian May, Michael Valdez Moses, Jahan Ramazani, Vincent Sherry

579416a2c985c_gbooks

Literature in Society

The essays in this volume focus on the text-world dichotomy that has been a pivotal problem since Plato, implicating notions of mimesis and representation and raising a series of debatable issues. Do literary texts relate only to the fictional world and not to the real one? Do they not only describe but also perform and thus create and transform reality? Is literature a mere reflection/expression of society, a field and a tool of political manipulations, a playground to exercise ideological and social power?

Herbert Grabes’ seminal essay “Literature in Society/Society and Its Literature”, which opens this volume, perfectly captures the essential functions of literature in society, whether it be Derridean belief in a revolutionary potential of literature, “the power of literature to say everything”, or Hillis Miller’s view of literature having the potential to create or reveal alternative realities; or, according to Grabes, the ability of literature “to offer to society a possibility of self-reflection by way of presenting a double of what is held to be reality”; and, last but not least, the ability of literature “to considerably contribute to the joy of life by enabling a particular kind of pleasure” – the pleasure of reading literature.

The subsequent essays collected in this volume deal with complex relations between Literature and Society, approaching this issue from different angles and in various historical epochs. They are on diverse thematics and written from diverse theoretical perspectives, differing in scope and methodology.

5794164234dbf_gbooks

Global Appetites

Global Appetites explores how industrial agriculture and countercultural food movements underpin U.S. conceptions of global power in the century since the First World War. Allison Carruth’s study centers on what she terms the “literature of food” – a body of work that comprises literary realism, late modernism, and magical realism along with culinary writing, food memoir, and advertising. Through analysis of American texts ranging from Willa Cather’s novel O Pioneers! (1913) to Novella Carpenter’s nonfiction work Farm City (2009), Carruth argues that stories about how the United States cultivates, distributes, and consumes food imbue it with the power to transform social and ecological systems around the world. Lively and accessible, this interdisciplinary study will appeal to scholars of American literature and culture as well as those working in the fields of food studies, food policy, agriculture history, social justice, and the environmental humanities.

5794155c4d490_gbooks

The Child and the Book

Children’s responses to literature are equally fascinating from the psychological and the literary point of view. Nicholas Tucker’s exploratory study traces the relationship between the child and the book using both these perspectives, from the baby’s first picture book to the moment when the adolescent reader takes up adult literature. In addition, it examines critically arguments for extra care and censorship in the selection of books for children, and conversely looks at what children’s books can offer the adult reader. Ranging from nursery rhymes and fairy stories to comics, popular best-sellers and modern children’s writing, the author’s acute criticism offers a balanced view of a stimulating and sometimes controversial subject.

5794145e60e72_gbooks

The Death of Literature

A distinguished writer and scholar explores literature’s ‘crisis of confidence’. Writing in an anecdotal and witty style, Alvin Herman relates the death of literature to a variety of agents – among them television, computer technology, legal issues of copyright and plagiarism, faculty politics, and literary criticism itself – and ponders whether literature’s vitality can be restored in the changing circumstances of late twentieth-century culture.

5794145d54ab3_gbooks

Critical Assumptions

This book is an historical survey of some important theories of literary criticism, which is designed to introduce more advanced students of English and other European literature to the nature and origin of these theories and ultimately to help them clarify their own attitudes to literature. Professor Ruthven’s approach is to bring together and analyse examples of the way in which major writers and critics have dealt with the critical issues raised by different kinds of writing. He emphasizes throughout the variety of critical stances taken at different times in response to the challenge posed by highly original works and he draws on a large number of instances from all the major periods of English literature. The examination of the historical material presented here should encourage students of English, as well as other modern European literatures, to recognise and re-appraise their own critical assumptions.

5794145c63a5e_gbooks

Debating the Canon

Over the past two decades, the debate over the ‘Great Books’ has been one of the key public controversies concerning the cultural content of higher education. Debating the Canon provides a primary-source overview of these ongoing arguments. Many of these contributions to this debate have achieved ‘canonical’ status themselves; through the focus on the canon, the full spectrum of approaches to literary studies can be seen in the essays. Therefore, this collection places the recent debate within a larger context of literary criticism’s development of a canon, going back to the eighteenth century.

57941318b56e5_gbooks

Fictionality and Reality in Narrative Discourse

This dissertation is an attempt to define a Chinese “modernism,” exemplified by the narrative practices of four major writers in Taiwan today, from the perspective of comparative literature and recent development of literary theory. I propose that modernity of Taiwanese fiction is not so much a result of Western influences as an evolution of Chinese narrative tradition itself. To argue my point I delineate a poetics of Chinese narrative, from which I devise a method of reading and a criterion of evaluation for contemporary Taiwanese fiction in defining its achievement and historical significance. This study of Taiwanese fiction also aims at providing a better understanding of fundamental aesthetic assumptions of Western “modernism” in the context of its own literary tradition. Chapter One, “Introduction,” investigates the theoretical foundation and its line of development in Western and Chinese poetics respectively. It first examines the Platonic view of mimesis and Aristotelian aesthetic view of fictionality and their influence on the critical tradition, the continuity of the ancient battle between philosophy and poetry as seen in the structuralist and deconstructionist theories, then the relationship between subjective fictionality and ironic objectivity in Chinese poetics, the continuity of the dilemma in the Chinese novelists in their dual allegiance to the ideal and the real. A final section gives a critical overview of the literary scene in Taiwan. The following four chapters provide examples of the internal tension between fictionality and ironic awareness in the Taiwanese modernist texts. I suggest that instead of stretching the metaphorical potential of fiction to a highly intellectualized abstraction or playing down the interpretive claims of fiction by dramatizing its vulnerability like their Western counterpart, the Taiwanese modernists create their texts on the borderline between the high and the low. Self-assertive as well as self-denying, each of them confronts his own intellectual vision with paradox and ambivalence. In Ch’en Ying-chen, this is expressed as a battle between a lyrical vision of ideological values and an instinctive self-clowning, in Ch’i-teng Sheng, as a form of competition between pattern and contingency, in Wang Chen-ho, as a celebration and abuse of the fictionality of fiction, and in Wang Wen-hsing, an intense self-parody. I conclude that the sensitivity to the irrational and contradiction, inherent with a resistance to didacticism, constitutes the best part of the Chinese humanistic tradition, which is continuously enriched with new dimensions by the contemporary Taiwanese writers.