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Literary Criticism



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  • Censorship and the Limits of the Literary: A Global View

  • Censorship and the Limits of the Literary: A Global View
    Though literature and censorship have been conceived as long-time adversaries, this collection seeks to understand the degree to which they have been dialectical terms, each producing the other, coeval and mutually constitutive. On the one hand, literary censorship has been posited as not only inescapable but definitive, even foundational to speech itself. One the other, especially after the opening of the USSR's spekstrahn, those enormous collections of literature forbidden under the Soviets, the push to redefine censorship expansively has encountered cogent criticism. Scholars describing the centralised control of East German print publication, for example, have wanted to insist on the difference of pre-publication state censorship from more mundane forms of speech regulation in democracies. Work on South African apartheid censorship and book banning in colonial countries also demonstrates censorship's formative role in the institutional structures of literature beyond the metropole. Censorship and the Limits of the Literary examines these and other developments across twelve countries, from the Enlightenment to the present day, offering case studies from the French revolution to Internet China. Is literature ever without censorship? Does censorship need the literary? In a globalizing era for culture, does censorship represent the final, failed version of national control?
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  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism

  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism
    From Plato to Freud to ecocriticism, the book illustrates dozens of stimulating-and sometimes notoriously complex-perspectives for approaching literature and film. The book offers authoritative, clear, and easy-to-follow explanations of theories that range from established classics to the controversies of current theory. Each chapter offers a conversational, step-by-step explanation of a single theory, critic, or issue, accompanied by concrete examples for applying the concepts and engaging suggestions for related literary readings. Following a section on the foundations of literary theory, the book is organized thematically, with an eye to the best way to develop a real, working understanding of the various theories. Cross-references are particularly important, since it's through the interaction of examples that readers most effectively advance from basic topics and arguments to some of the more specialized and complicated issues. Each chapter is designed to tell a complete story, yet also to reach out to other chapters for development and debate. Literary theorists are hardly unified in their views, and this book reflects the various traditions, agreements, influences, and squabbles that are a part of the field. Special features include hundreds of references to and quotations from novels, stories, plays, poems, movies, and other media. Online resources could also include video and music clips, as well as high-quality examples of visual art mentioned in the book. The book a
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  • Containing Multitudes: Walt Whitman and the British Literary Tradition

  • Containing Multitudes: Walt Whitman and the British Literary Tradition
    Walt Whitman burst onto the literary stage raring for a fight with his transatlantic forebears. With the unmetered and unrhymed long lines of Leaves of Grass, he blithely forsook "the old models" declaring that "poems distilled from other poems will probably pass away." In a self-authored but unsigned review of the inaugural 1855 edition, Whitman boasted that its influence-free author "makes no allusions to books or writers; their spirits do not seem to have touched him." There was more than a hint here of a party-crasher's bravado or a new-comer's anxiety about being perceived as derivative. But the giants of British literature were too well established in America to be toppled by Whitman's patronizing "that wonderful little island," he called England-or his frequent assertions that Old World literature was non grata on American soil. As Gary Schmidgall demonstrates, the American bard's manuscripts, letters, prose criticism, and private conversations all reveal that Whitman's negotiation with the literary "big fellows" across the Atlantic was much more nuanced and contradictory than might be supposed. His hostile posture also changed over the decades as the gymnastic rebel transformed into Good Gray Poet, though even late in life he could still crow that his masterwork Leaves of Grass "is an iconoclasm, it starts out to shatter the idols of porcelain." Containing Multitudes explores Whitman's often uneasy embrace of five members of the British literary pantheon: Shakespeare,
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  • More Matter: Essays and Criticism

  • In his fiftieth book and fifth collection of prose, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist presents a rich range of essays, criticism, humorous observati
    In this collection of nonfiction pieces, John Updike gathers his responses to nearly two hundred invitations into print, each "an opportunity to make something beautiful, to find within oneself a treasure that would otherwise remain buried." Introductions, reviews, and humorous essays, paragraphs on New York, religion, and lust-here is "more matter" commissioned by an age that, as the author remarks in his Preface, calls for "real stuff. not for the obliquities and tenuosities of fiction." Still, the novelist's shaping hand, his gift for telling detail, can be detected in many of these literary considerations. Books by Edith Wharton, Dawn Powell, John Cheever, and Vladimir Nabokov are incisively treated, as are biographies of Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Queen Elizabeth II, and Helen Keller. As George Steiner observed, Updike writes with a "solicitous, almost tender intelligence. The critic and the poet in him. are at no odds with the novelist; the same sharpness of apprehension bears on the object in each of Updike's modes."
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  • A Critical Difference: T.S. Eliot and John Middleton Murry in English Literary Criticism, 1919-1928

  • A Critical Difference: T.S. Eliot and John Middleton Murry in English Literary Criticism, 1919-1928
    A Critical Difference is a valuable study of perhaps the most intriguing and important critical debate of the 1920s. The book offers a detailed introduction to the unjustly neglected criticism of Murry and sheds new light on T.S. Eliot's role as a polemicist and controversialist in the conflicts of literary-critical culture in the 1920s.
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  • The Philosophy of Enchantment: Studies in Folktale, Cultural Criticism, and Anthropology

  • The Philosophy of Enchantment: Studies in Folktale, Cultural Criticism, and Anthropology
    This is the long-awaited publication of a set of writings by the British philosopher, historian, and archaeologist R.G. Collingwood on critical, anthropological, and cultural themes only hinted at in his previously available work. At the centre of the book are six chapters of a study offolktale and magic, composed by Collingwood in the mid-1930s and intended for development into a book. Here Collingwood applies the principles of his philosophy of history to problems in the long-term evolution of human society and culture. This is preceded, in Part I, by a range of contextualizingmaterial on such topics as the relations between music and poetry, the nature of language, the value of Jane Austen's novels, the philosophy of art, and the relations between aesthetic theory and artistic practice. Part III of the volume consists of two essays, one on the relationship between artand mechanized civilization, and the second, written in 1931, on the collapse of human values and civilization leading up to the catastrophe of armed conflict. These offer a devastating analysis of the consequences that attend the desertion of liberal principles, indeed of all politics as such, inthe ultimate self-annihilation of military conquest. The volume opens with three substantial introductory essays by the editors, authorities in the fields of critical and literary history, social and cultural anthropology, and the philosophy of history and the history of ideas; they provide their explanatory and conte
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  • Ancient Literary Criticism: The Principal Texts in New Translations

  • Ancient Literary Criticism: The Principal Texts in New Translations
    Ancient literary criticism has always been a particularly inaccessible subject for the non-specialist student. This edition provides for the first time the principal texts in translation, giving the reader a full view of ancient literary criticism and its
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  • Ancient Literary Criticism: Oxford Readings in

  • Ancient Literary Criticism: Oxford Readings in
    The volume makes widely available some important scholarship on the canonical texts of ancient rhetoric and poetics. While there are numerous studies of general trends in classical criticism, this collection offers direct discussions of primary sources, which provide a useful companion to the Russell and Winterbottom anthology, Ancient Literary Criticism. The volume contains a chronology, suggestions for further reading, a new translation of Bernays' 1857 essay on katharsis, and an important introductory chapter addressing the tension in ancient literary criticism between its place in the classical tradition and its role in contemporary endeavors to reconstruct ancient culture.
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  • Berlioz on Music: Selected Criticism 1824-1837

  • Berlioz on Music: Selected Criticism 1824-1837
    The quintessential Romantic artist of his century, Hector Berlioz impressed Paganini and Liszt as "Beethoven's only heir" and dazzled the young Wagner as a composer, orchestra conductor, and critic. To Paris and all Europe, Berlioz was known as much for his writings as for his music, yet there has been no English-language anthology of his criticism available until now. Berlioz on Music plunges us into the Parisian music world during one of its most vibrant periods, the revolutionary years surrounding 1830, still resonant with memories of Napoleon and the French Revolution of only a few decades before. We follow Berlioz as he confronts the transition to a modern, commerce-driven society where music as high art has yet to find a place, using his pen to praise or scold, rouse or cajole performers, composers, managers, and the general public. The articles presented here-given in chronological order and, with a few exceptions, in their entirety-are accompanied by an introductory paragraph and notes that explain Berlioz's references to persons, musical and literary works, historical events, and more. The result is an engaging collection of Berlioz's lively prose, presented with scholarly rigor and rendered in accessible, graceful English. Scholars, lovers of Berlioz's music, history enthusiasts, and Francophiles will delight in this compelling introduction to one of the richest periods of French culture.
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  • Literary Murder: A Critical Case

  • Literary Murder: A Critical Case
    A shocking double murder at Israel's top academic institution brings Superintendent Michael Ohayon to the scene to probe the nature of creativity and unravel the mystery.
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  • The Essayistic Spirit: Literature, Modern Criticism, and the Essay

  • The Essayistic Spirit: Literature, Modern Criticism, and the Essay
    Despite the recognition of a "great tradition" of essayists who have been admitted to the literary canon, the genre remains underrated and somewhat neglected in literary studies. This wide-ranging book argues that to relegate the essay in such a way is to
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  • Inner Workings: Literary Essays: 2000-2008

  • Inner Workings: Literary Essays: 2000-2008
    In addition to being one of the most acclaimed and accomplished fiction writers in the world, Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee is also a literary critic of the highest caliber. In this collection of twenty essays, Coetzee examines the work of some of the
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  • Ordinary Language Criticism: Literary Thinking After Cavell After Wittgenstein

  • Ordinary Language Criticism: Literary Thinking After Cavell After Wittgenstein
    Marking a return of literary study from the remote reaches of abstraction to the realm of the immediate, the particular, and the real in which language and literature truly live, the essays in this volume articulate a productive, new critical approach: ordinary language criticism. With roots in the ordinary language philosophy derived especially from Wittgenstein in the early twentieth century, and in the ideas of American pragmatic philosophy propounded and extended by Stanley Cavell, this approach seeks to return criticism to its grounds in the natural language we all speak; to expose the terms of our engagement with narratives, arguments, and concepts-what Wittgenstein and Cavell call the "criteria" of our writing and reading. Resisting master formulations and overarching theories, Ordinary Language Criticism does not so much dismiss the excitement of the last two decades of literary theorizing as it reminds us of the excitement of the shared common enterprises to which theory may still contribute. In this, the volume and the model it offers have wide implications for the academy, in which a widespread ersatz-sophistication has shorted the circuit between literary works and the real lives of those reading and teaching them. With a definitive introduction by editors Kenneth Dauber and Walter Jost, and elaborations and practical examples by major figures such as Cavell himself, Martha Nussbaum, Marjorie Perloff, Anthony Cascardi, and Charles Altieri, among others, this volum
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  • Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics

  • Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics
    "Arguably the most distinctive feature of the early Christian literature," writes Bart Ehrman, "is the degree to which it was forged." The Homilies and Recognitions of Clement; Paul's letters to and from Seneca; Gospels by Peter, Thomas, and Philip; Jesus' correspondence with Abgar, letters by Peter and Paul in the New Testament-all forgeries. To cite just a few examples. Forgery and Counterforgery is the first comprehensive study of early Christian pseudepigrapha ever produced in English. In it, Ehrman argues that ancient critics-pagan, Jewish, and Christian-understood false authorial claims to be a form of literary deceit, and thus forgeries. Ehrman considers the extent of the phenomenon, the "intention" and motivations of ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish forgers, and reactions to their work once detected. He also assesses the criteria ancient critics applied to expose forgeries and the techniques forgers used to avoid detection. With the wider practices of the ancient world as backdrop, Ehrman then focuses on early Christian polemics, as various Christian authors forged documents in order to lend their ideas a veneer of authority in literary battles waged with pagans, Jews, and, most importantly, with one another in internecine disputes over doctrine and practice. In some instances a forger directed his work against views found in another forgery, creating thereby a "counter-forgery." Ehrman's evaluation of polemical forgeries starts with those of the New Testament (nearly
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  • Are You Not a Man of God?: Devotion, Betrayal, and Social Criticism in Jewish Tradition

  • Are You Not a Man of God?: Devotion, Betrayal, and Social Criticism in Jewish Tradition
    Are You Not a Man of God? challenges the accepted readings of several iconic supporting characters from canonical stories of Jewish tradition. These characters have been appropriated throughout history to represent and reinforce central cultural values: the binding of Isaac and the religious value of sacrificing relationship for a higher purpose; the biblical Hannah, appropriated by the rabbis as an archetype of the spirit and practice of prayer; the Talmudic Beruriah and the significance of women's learning and knowledge; and the struggle for intellectual autonomy of the rabbis of the Talmudic story known by its tag-line, "It is not in heaven " Tova Hartman and Charlie Buckholtz make use of religious, psychological, philosophical and literary perspectives to bring these characters to life in their multiple incarnations, examining their cultural impact and varied symbolic uses. These are texts that have been studied widely with characters that are known well. This study shows, however, that the dominant interpretations mask darker, more insightful, and ultimately more critical dimensions of these important figures. Hartman and Buckholtz discover muted voices of personal betrayal and criticism that resonate as damning social critiques of the rabbis themselves. These critiques often highlight the ways in which cultural authorities use, and abuse, their power; revealing the implications of these moral failings on their legitimacy as communal leaders. In these voices of social cr
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