Philippe Desan (ed.)
In 1580, Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592) published a book unique in its title and in its content: Essays. A literary genre was born. At first sight, the Essays resemble a patchwork of personal reflections, but they engage with questions that animate the human mind, and they tend toward a single goal: to live better in the present and to prepare for death. For this reason, Montaigne’s thought and writings have been a subject of enduring interest across disciplines. This Handbook brings together essays by prominent scholars, who examine Montaigne’s literary, philosophical, and political contributions and who assess his legacy and relevance today in a global perspective. The chapters of this Handbook offer a sweeping study of Montaigne across different disciplines and in a global perspective. One section covers the historical Montaigne, situating his thought in his own time and space, notably the Wars of Religion in France. The political, historical, and religious context of Montaigne’s Essays requires a rigorous presentation to inform the modern reader of the issues and problems that confronted Montaigne and his contemporaries in his own time. In addition to this contextual approach to Montaigne, the Handbook establishes a connection between Montaigne’s writings and issues and problems directly relevant to our modern times, that is to say, our age of global ideology. Montaigne’s considerations, or essays, offer a point of departure for the modern reader’s own assessments. The Essays analyze what can be broadly defined as human nature, the seemingly never-ending process by which the individual tries to impose opinions upon others through the production of laws, policies, or philosophies. Montaigne’s motto—“What do I know?”—is a simple question yet one of perennial significance. One could argue that reading Montaigne today teaches us that the angle by which we view our lives defines the world we see, or, as Montaigne wrote: “What matters is not merely that we see the thing, but how we see it.”
Carlos Rojas and Andrea Bachner (eds)
Rather than attempt to offer a definition of modern Chinese literature or provide a comprehensive survey of all that the category might entail, this volume instead uses a series of strategic interventions to illustrate the structural conditions out of which modern Chinese literature has emerged, how it is viewed, and how it may be interpreted. Our goal, in other words, is to showcase a set of methodologies that one may use to approach modern Chinese literature, while in the process offering different ways of reassessing what modern Chinese literature is in the first place. We contend that modern Chinese literature is not a static category but rather it is a dynamic entity whose significance and limits are continually being reshaped through the process of interpretation itself. Similarly, modern Chinese literature is not a singular, unitary category, but rather a plurality of overlapping categories—of modern Chinese literatures. Divided into three parts, on “structure,” “taxonomy,” and “methodology,” this volume contains 46 original articles that examine unfamiliar texts and literary phenomena and offer new perspectives on more familiar ones.
Thomas Leitch (ed.)
This collection of forty original essays reflects on the history of adaptation studies, surveys the current state of the field, and maps out possible futures that mobilize its unparalleled ability to bring together theorists and practitioners in different modes of discourse. Grounding contemporary adaptation studies in a series of formative debates about what adaptation is, whether its orientation should be scientific or aesthetic, and whether it is most usefully approached inductively, through close analyses of specific adaptations, or deductively, through general theories of adaptation, the volume, not so much a museum as a laboratory or a provocation, aims to foster, rather than resolve, these debates. Its seven parts focus on the historical and theoretical foundations of adaptation study, the problems raised by adapting canonical classics and the aesthetic commons, the ways different genres and presentational modes illuminate and transform the nature of adaptation, the relations between adaptation and intertextuality, the interdisciplinary status of adaptation, and the issues involved in professing adaptation, now and in the future. Embracing an expansive view of adaptation and adaptation studies, it emphasizes the area’s status as a crossroads or network that fosters interactive exchange across many disciplines and advocates continued debate on its leading questions as the best defense against the possibilities of dilution, miscommunication, and chaos that this expansive view threatens to introduce to a burgeoning field uniquely responsive to the contemporary textual landscape.
Laura Marcus, Michèle Mendelssohn, and Kirsten E. Shepherd-Barr (eds)
This volume opens up, in new and innovative ways, a range of dimensions, some familiar and some more obscure, of late Victorian and modern literature and culture, primarily in British contexts. Our volume’s title, Late Victorian into Modern, emphasises the in-between: the gradual changeover from one period to the next. This approach enables us to examine shared developments and to point out continuities rather than ruptures. The volume explores and exploits an understanding of the late 19th to the early 20th centuries as a cultural moment in which new knowledges were forming with particular speed and intensity. Our contributors include both established and emerging scholars of the literature and culture of the period. The organising principle of this book is to retain a key focus on literary texts, broadly understood to include familiar categories of genre as well as extra-textual elements such as press and publishing history, performance events and visual culture, while remaining keenly attentive to the inter-relations between text and context in the period. Individual chapters explore such topics as Celticism, the New Woman, popular fictions, literatures of empire, aestheticism, periodical culture, political formations, avant-garde poetics, and theatricality.
Nicholas Grene and Chris Morash (eds)
The familiar narrative in this field has focused on playwrights: from the foundational work of W. B. Yeats, Augusta Gregory, and J. M. Synge of the early twentieth-century national theatre movement to contemporary figures such as Martin McDonagh, Marina Carr, and Enda Walsh, sometimes including Oscar Wilde, Bernard Shaw, and Samuel Beckett. These playwrights are all given detailed analysis in this volume, while extending the conspectus to the full phenomenon of modern Irish theatre. Two sections of the book are devoted to performance, examining the neglected work of directors and designers, as well as exploring acting styles and playing spaces. While the Abbey, as Ireland’s national theatre, has been of central importance, individual chapters bring out the contesting voices of women in a male-dominated arena, the position of Irish-language theatre, and ‘little theatres’ that challenged the hegemony of the Abbey. The middle of the twentieth century saw what amounted to a new revival of Irish drama with the emergence of a generation of playwrights responding in innovative ways to a modernizing Ireland, again diversified by the establishment of regional companies and alternative dramaturgical directions from the 1970s. The contemporary period in Irish theatre has featured a movement beyond scripted plays to more experimental work. The impact and interactions of Irish theatre are finally placed within the wider world of the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. The forty-one chapters of the volume offer the most comprehensive analysis to date of modern Irish theatre.
Michael Neill and David Schalkwyk (eds)
The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Tragedy is a collection of fifty-four essays by a range of scholars from all parts of the world, bringing together some of the best-known writers in the field with a strong selection of younger Shakespeareans. Together these essays offer readers a fresh and comprehensive understanding of Shakespeare tragedies as both works of literature and as performance texts written by a playwright who was himself an experienced actor. The collection is organized in five sections. The opening section places the plays in a variety of illuminating contexts, exploring questions of genre, and examining ways in which later generations of critics have shaped our idea of ‘Shakespearean’ tragedy. The second section is devoted to current textual issues; while the third offers new critical readings of each of the tragedies. This is set beside a group of essays that deal with performance history, with screen productions, and with versions devised for the operatic stage, as well as with twentieth and twenty-first century re-workings of Shakespearean tragedy. The book’s final section seeks to expand readers’ awareness of Shakespeare’s global reach, tracing histories of criticism and performance across the world. Offering the richest and most diverse collection of approaches to Shakespearean tragedy currently available, the Handbook will be an indispensable resource for students, both undergraduate and graduate levels, while the lively and provocative character of its essays will make it a required reading for teachers of Shakespeare everywhere.
James Simpson and Brian Cummings (eds)
This title is part of the the Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to Literature series, edited by Paul Strohm. This book examines cultural history and cultural change in the period between the fourteenth and the seventeenth centuries, a period spanning the medieval and Renaissance. It takes a dynamically diachronic approach to cultural history and brings the perspective of a longue durée to literary history. It redraws historical categories and offers a fresh perspective on historical temporality by challenging the stereotypes that might encourage any iconographic division between medieval and Renaissance modes of thinking. It also discusses the concept of nation in relation to three issues that have particular relevance to cross-period “cultural reformations”: modernity, language, and England and Englishness. The book is organized into nine sections: Histories, Spatialities, Doctrines, Legalities, Outside the Law, Literature, Communities, Labor, and Selfhood. Each contributor focuses on a theme that links pre- and post-Reformation cultures, from anachronism and place to travel, vernacular theology, conscience, theater, monasticism, childbirth, passion, style, despair, autobiography, and reading. The essays highlight the creative and destructive anxieties as well as the legacy of the Reformation.
Paul Strohm (ed.)
This title is part of the the Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to Literature series, edited by Paul Strohm. This book evaluates different approaches to Middle English literature, with special emphasis on the new, promising, and previously unexplored. It focuses on works of “major authors” such as Geoffrey Chaucer and William Langland, but also on many little-known and neglected texts. It looks at general conditions of textual production and reception, and explores how medieval processes of textual transmission have affected the reception and interpretation of medieval literature. It also discusses the relationship, both symbiotic and challenging, between medieval manuscripts and the modern canon, covering such subjects as multilinguality, the role of audience, translation, transmission, and periodization itself in considering the literature of previous eras. The book is organized into four sections: Conditions and Contexts, Vantage Points, Textual Kinds and Categories, and Writing and the World. Each essay focuses on a theme ranging through such matters as authority, form, imaginative theory, liturgy, drama, incarnational (auto)biography, vernacular theology, heresy, gossip, authorship, and humanism. Contributors tackle topics such as form, genre, the movement from script to print, the orality and aurality of medieval culture, and relationships between beauty, aesthetics, and literary genre.
Jay Williams (ed.)
Robert Scholes and Clifford Wulfman define modernism and modernity this way: “Modernity is a social condition. Modernism was a response to that condition.” Modernity “is an urban condition” “reached in certain parts of the world in the late nineteenth century … a mass phenomenon” characterized by the rise of technology, print culture, and material consumption. Jack London, who is routinely categorized as a naturalist and realist, can also be called a modernist. The word modern appears often in the pages of this handbook, and though it is not new to call London a modernist, the breadth of scholarship in this present volume gives the categorization new meaning. This isn’t to deny London’s status as a realist/naturalist but only a way to recognize he was much more than that. London called his era the Machine Age and created his role of political artist to respond to it. Thus the other emphasis in the handbook is on the intersection of his politics and his art. London was concerned with instigation and shock. He wasn’t a propagandist, he was a troublemaker. In both fiction and nonfiction—a binary he did not recognize—he exposed the fallacies of capitalist society. As both a nationally recognized public figure and a citizen of the world, he chose to instruct his audience in novels, short stories, essays, speeches, and newspaper reports. This handbook ultimately emphasizes the artist Jack London bringing change to the world.
Eugene Giddens (ed.)
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