Past Issues

Fall 2005, Volume 38, Number 2

"Never the Less”: Art and Religion in the Medieval Dream-Vision Pearl

Heather Maring

The written state of Pearl as an art-manuscript adorned in gold and the spoken state of Pearl—its lush acoustic presence—are the “material,” sensory features necessary to the experiential performance of gift-exchange.

Social Variation and Grammatical Patterns in 1770s Virginia: Evidence from Robert Munford’s The Candidates

Susan Garzon

This study of Munford’s satirical farce about colonial politics examines the links between the social distribution of grammatical forms in the eighteenth century and their future functions and vitality. Their appearance in The Candidates also provides a linguistic benchmark for the development of southern English on the eve of the new American republic.

Of Tricks, Tropes, and Trollops: Revisions to the Seduction Novel in E. D. E. N. Southworth’s The Hidden Hand

H. Jordan Landry

Like the women of the subplots, Capitola is caught between the rake and the patriarch. This traditional triangle of seduction does not delimit Capitola though. Instead, it urges her to become a gender, race, and class trickster in order to claim freedom.

Performance Anxiety, or the Production of Class in Anthony Trollope’s The Claverings

Kevin R. Swafford

In showing us the performative aspects of class identification and distinction, Trollope compromises his overall project of solidifying the idea of natural distinctions between the classes, and the “return of the repressed” (i.e., the performative nature of class) transforms the novel into an ironic exposé of social desire and anxiety.

Problems of Community and Freedom in George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda

Mark M. Freed

The cultural theoretical resources in Eliot’s fiction become evident when her effort to recover a lost sense of community is compared with T. H. Green’s concern to secure the material conditions necessary for individual moral development.

Irish Museums and the Rhetoric of Nation

Amy K. Levin

When museums attempt to focus on marginalized populations, their exhibitions gain inflection from three inextricable and commanding forces: the institution’s past and present relationship to dominant groups; the politics of control inherent in spectatorship and display; and the evolving economics of marketing “culture” as a commodity.

The Loop

A column that reveals how the scholarship of M/MLA members has transformed syllabi for the courses that departments require of their majors

Who’s Who and What’s What: Identity and Values in a European Film Class

Daniel A. MacLeay

Over the past five years, “European Film” has actually produced a forum for challenging the students’ and my own understanding of the construction of meaning and identity in film; in fact, my guiding principle has been conflict/disruption in the classroom. Metaphorically, the idea has been smashing atoms to produce energy.

The Loop’s Fellow Traveler

Building a graduate program with $600 and active collaboration

A Model for Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies

Linda Ray Pratt and Laura Mooneyham White

Without the rigors of the scientific method to test research results and without major grants to support the research, interdisciplinary projects in the humanities are more often a matter of borrowing than collaborating. The humanities are as rich an area for interdisciplinary study as the sciences, but finding affordable ways for faculty to collaborate in research and teaching is not easy.

Book Reviews

The Cambridge Companion to the Spanish Novel: From 1600 to the Present. Edited by Harriet Turner and Adelaida López de Martínez. (Kathleen Doyle)

This skillfully articulated volume provides to the informed reader a real sense of the Spanish novel’s evolution, as seen through the lenses of multiple approaches, and firmly grounded in the historical, cultural, and artistic contexts that produced its development.

Americans on Fiction, 1776-1900. Edited by Peter Rawlings. (Beth A. Fisher)

To read this collection of essays, reviews, and authorial prefaces is to have the pleasure of listening in on a series of American conversations about fiction during the first century and a quarter of the country’s development.

Rhetorical Education in America. Edited by Cheryl Glenn, Margaret M. Lyday, and Wendy B. Sharer. (Chris Bell)

While the unfavorable position rhetoric occupies in contemporary university curricula is the subject of several essays, whose authors simply urge refocusing and thus abandoning a primarily literary-studies-based inquiry, other essays identity and explore recent innovations within the field—for example, methodologies centered on identity politics or analyses of place and space.

Writing and Rewriting National Theatre Histories. Edited by S. E. Wilmer. (Kimberly M. Jew)

This volume reveals that nationalism, with its ever-changing balance between cultural inclusiveness and exclusivity, poses unique problems to the development and historiography of the distinctly public art form of theatre.

Writing for Immortality: Women Writers and the Emergence of High Literary Culture in America. By Anne E. Boyd. (Annamaria Formichella Elsden)

Boyd’s study achieves an admirable synthesis, bringing together issues that are too often conceptualized as distinct and separate, blurring lines and transitions between nineteenth-century masculine and feminine spheres, romanticism and realism, True Woman and New Woman, and artist and wife/mother.

Medical Women and Victorian Fiction. By Kristine Swenson. (Beth Torgerson)

Swenson weaves together Victorian anxieties about sexuality, disease, and moral corruption with Victorian concerns about the changing roles of women both at home and abroad, which, she argues effectively, are best represented through these medical women.

Modern French Literary Studies in the Classroom: Pedagogical Strategies. Edited by Charles J. Stivale. (Tammy Berberi)

The adoption of a consumer model in higher education means that we as French scholars must prove the market value of French and literary study—to say nothing of literary study in French—to students and administrators alike.

Mark Twain and the American West. By Joseph L. Coulombe. “Hatching Ruin,” or Mark Twain’s Road to Bankruptcy. By Charles H. Gold. (Colin Irvine)

Like many of those who arrived in the frontier West too late to get rich quick, critics Joseph Coulombe and Charles H. Gold appear to have arrived on the Mark Twain scholarly scene after the getting was good.

Would Poetry Disappear?: American Verse and the Crisis of Modernity. By John Timberman Newcomb. (Mike Chasar)

Coming on the heels of the nineteenth century’s genteel “Fireside” poets, yet before the “New” poetry of the twentieth century, the threshold generation of 1890-1910 has been all but written out of American literary history.

Utopias of Otherness: Nationhood and Subjectivity in Portugal and Brazil. By Fernando Arenas.(Thomas Waldemer)

In the wake of the postmodern collapse of grand narratives and the impact of globalization, particularly the emergence of communication and information technologies and the growth of mass consumer culture, traditional narratives of national identity and utopia have given way to new modes of cultural definition.

Women, Modernism, and Performance. By Penny Farfan. (Kate Egerton)

Farfan’s view of Virginia Woolf as performer is particularly eclectic, encompassing both Woolf’s infrequent appearances behind a lectern and a very early and elaborate practical joke.

Modernism and the Culture of Market Society. By John Xiros Cooper.

The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce. Edited by Derek Attridge. (Janine Utell)

A key critical claim of New Modernism is that the forces of cultural production, the swirling dynamics of the marketplace, have a crucial place in the study of modernist texts. Modernism is thus producer and product.

A Historical Guide to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Edited by Kirk Curnutt. (Kathleen Drowne)

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s name and literary corpus will forever be linked to the Jazz Age, a moniker for the 1920s that he himself coined.

Differentials: Poetry, Poetics, Pedagogy. By Marjorie Perloff. (Glenn J. Freeman)

As the field of literary studies has become increasingly dominated by theories and “isms,” the literary work itself has become secondary at best or a mere prop to support particular theoretical perspectives at worst. Marjorie Perloff insistently reminds us of the pleasure of the individual text and the importance of attentive line-by-line, word-by-word reading, an art far too often neglected in today’s academic climate.

Conversaciones literarias con novelistas contemporáneos. By Katarzyna Olga Beilin. (Jeffrey Oxford)

The contemporary Spanish novel has, at least to this point, escaped a defining characterization.

Humoring Resistance: Laughter and the Excessive Body in Contemporary Latin American Women’s Fiction. By Dianna C. Niebylski. (Hiram Aldarondo)

By framing controversial new models for representing female power, Niebylski intends to counter both the critical and, to some extent, the popular tendency to frame Latin American women’s writings either within a rhetoric of victimization or within the production of an exotic but disempowered

Virtual Peer Review: Teaching and Learning about Writing in Online Environments. By Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch. (Andrea Muldoon)

Virtual peer review, by not privileging oral communication and face-to-face interaction and instead focusing on written communication, which is often synchronous and done completely online, constitutes an “abnormal,” unconventional discourse which pushes disciplinary boundaries.