Susan I. Gatti
A bold, imaginative work, The Star Rover demonstrates Jack London’s inventive approach to the social-protest genre. London mixes in the typical problem-novel ingredients: gritty, realistic details; sympathetic, downtrodden victims; greedy capitalist villains and their muscle-headed henchmen; brisk, often violent, action; outraged invective; individual and collective resistance; and radical action for precipitating change. But, in the process of exposing conditions within American prisons, London deviates sharply and creatively in The Star Rover—not only from the conventions of protest writing but also from the type of writing that normally assured him of good sales and positive reviews.
‘A Sly, Mid-Atlantic Appropriation’: Ireland, the United States, and Transnational Fictions of Spain
This chapter seeks to dislodge Irish America as the dominant referent in discussions of Irish transnationalism and investigate a substantial tradition that positions Spain as an important space in the Irish transnational imagination. The analysis is divided into two sections. The first provides an overview of some of the existing and emerging critical voices relating to Irish transnational fictions. It emphasizes the centrality of Irish America in extant discussions of transnationalism and points to alternative ways of conceptualizing how Ireland’s cultural, historical, economic, and environmental circumstances are enmeshed, literally and imaginatively, with those of other spaces and places. The second part focuses on how Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn (2009) might be read in relation to Kate O’Brien’s Mary Lavelle (1936) and Maura Laverty’s No More Than Human (1944) as a work that re-routes the iconic Irish-American transatlantic relationship through a much more capacious cis-Atlantic frame of reference.
This chapter surveys Woolf’s posthumous career. Initially, Woolf’s reception was mixed at best. Her own friend, E.M. Forster, spoke of her feminism in a disparaging fashion, and she was seen as an elitist highbrow. However, by the early 1970s, Woolf was on the rise. Her work was integrated into academia, and Quentin Bell’s biography of his aunt and the steady publication of Woolf’s letters and diaries buttressed Woolf’s reception. Jane Marcus’s scholarship shaped American academia. Brenda R. Silver’s 1999Virginia Woolf Icon on Woolf’s status in popular culture and dedicated publications such as the Virginia Woolf Miscellany (1973–present), Woolf Studies Annual (2005–present), and the annual conferences and selected essays on Woolf (1991–present) furthered Woolf’s status. Edited and annotated editions of Woolf’s work (including those from Shakespeare Head Press and Cambridge University Press) have brought Woolf fully into focus as a major modernist and feminist. This chapter explores these trends in Woolf’s evolving critical and cultural reception.
This article examines George Gascoigne's prose writing. Gascoigne's modern reputation rests principally upon four works: the prose fiction A Discourse of the Adventures passed by Master F.J., one of the earliest important texts in the history of the novel in English; his prose play Supposes, a source for Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew; his frequently anthologised poem, ‘Gascoignes wodmanship’; and ‘Certayne Notes of Instruction concerning the making of verse or ryme in English’, the earliest essay on English composition. Three of these have significant prose elements: Master F.J. is partly prose and partly verse; Supposes is a prose comedy; and ‘Certayne Notes of Instruction’ is a prose essay on the art of versification. The sheer range of Gascoigne's prose work is extraordinary, but his longest prose works are all translations.
This article examines the features of African American naturalism. As a literary approach, naturalism attempts to represent and explore the themes, questions, and tensions associated with the explosive growth of science and social science in the late nineteenth century, as well as the limits and consequences of formal and philosophical determinism, and few writers or readers had more at stake regarding these issues than did African Americans. If naturalist fiction often chronicles the limitations and restrictions imposed on individual freedom, there can be no stronger example of the denial of free will than that imposed by the system of chattel slavery in the United States and the concurrent linkage of a slave's ontological status with legal subservience and inferiority. Beginning in the 1890s, the most prominent and influential African American intellectuals and artists, including W. E. B. Du Bois, Charles Chesnutt, Pauline Hopkins, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Sutton Griggs, and James Weldon Johnson, participated in the creation of seminal naturalist texts that responded to immanent social and political conditions and that together offer a more diverse and inclusive portrait of naturalism itself.
This chapter examines the development of the novel in Algeria within the context of the country’s history. Much Algerian literature functions as a means of political expression. The social status of women has been an important theme, addressed either as a critique of patriarchy or through the notion of women’s voice. Since the early 1990s, literary publishing has increased in scope and diversity; while the different trajectories of the French and Arabic novel have come closer together, the range of political perspectives reflected in the novels has widened. This chapter provides an overview of Arabic literature and the French-language novel published in Algeria up to 1962 before turning to a discussion of the period 1962–1992. It then considers the novel since 1993, including the work of authors in exile who have established and gained international recognition for the Algerian Arabic novel.
This article examines sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century dialogue. It considers why so many writers chose to convey opinions or explore ideas in works laid out as conversations. The pervasiveness of the form is apparent in the sheer gamut of topics discussed ‘dialogue-wise’: subjects range from worshipping saints to the proper behaviour of women; from music to the art of warfare. Dialogue comes in many guises: descriptors on printed title-pages range from the neutral ‘colloquy’ or ‘discourse’ to the more formal ‘debate’ and ‘dispute’. In choosing to convey their ideas and opinions in a dialogue, early modern writers selected a form that had ideological resonances; it was a form which gestured towards the debate and verbal interaction that they believed should lie at the heart of successful governance and a healthy society — for many dialogues, the very solution lies in talking.
Jane de Gay
This chapter demonstrates that Woolf’s allusive practice involved transforming and interrogating texts rather than invoking the authority of earlier texts or their scholarly interpretations. It shows how Woolf’s allusions are often supported by metaphors that draw attention to the longevity of past literature that is essential to the act of allusion. These include organic metaphors such as the growth of seeds, plants, and flowers; familial metaphors of conception, birth, and reproduction; and the ethereal metaphor of haunting. The chapter examines how Woolf uses allusion and metaphor to articulate relationships with the literary past in A Room of One’s Own and in her representation of characters who are female writers in Night and Day, Orlando, and Between the Acts.
One of the major expressions of American literary naturalism occurred in the cycle of Hollywood films made during the 1940s and 1950s commonly referred to as film noir. These films revisit and adapt nineteenth-century naturalist narratives via characters constrained by the forces of material environments, past experiences, instinctual urges, and mysterious fates. This article presents a close analysis of two of the most central and critically acclaimed films noirs, The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Double Indemnity (1944). These films blend naturalist narrative conventions with key cinematic devices: environmental constraints, emphasized through staging, high-contrast lighting, and low-angle cinematography; instinctual urges, emphasized through dialogue, costuming, blocking, and close-ups; and fate as a determining force, emphasized through dialogue, voiceover, and flashbacks. These conventions and devices find concrete expression in the thoughts and actions of the films' protagonists, who negotiate their desires for money and sex in the contexts of harsh environments, such as the criminal underworld, the private-detective business, an unsatisfying job, or a failed marriage. These negotiations often conclude with the characters succumbing to their greed and sinking into depravity or death; on rare occasions, however, these negotiations end with a hazy yet significant glimmer of hope. In each case, these movies attest not only to the power of film noir but also to the richness of cinematic naturalism.
Stephen C. Brennan
This article considers five important naturalistic works, published between 1895 and 1925, that reveal the diversity of psychological themes during naturalism's classical age. These are Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage (1895) and Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie (1900) for the pre-Freudian period and Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio (1919), Ellen Glasgow's Barren Ground (1925), and Dreiser's An American Tragedy (1925) for the early Freudian period. If there is an implicit thesis in the discussions that follow, it is that America's naturalists read psychology not to depict mindless puppets in the hands of implacable forces or animals snared in the trap of circumstances but to portray convincingly the often undecided struggle for dignity at that intersection of inner and outer reality, the human consciousness.
This article examines the relationship between American literary naturalism and sexuality. By the close of the 1890s, American literary naturalism had established itself decisively as the first American genre committed to the direct representation of heterosexuality and its discontent. Defying conventions governing the depiction of sexuality in public discourse, naturalist writers emphasized the power of sexual desire to shape human experience. The complexity of naturalism's engagement with sexual issues during the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century period derives from the heated debate over the social meanings of sexuality between feminist and masculinist factions taking place then in the American progressive movement. Entering this polemical fray, naturalist writers produced works of fiction emphatically inflected toward either masculinist or feminist sexual politics and thereby created a genre divided along its authors' gender lines.
Jeff P. Turpin
This article focuses on how writers seemed to anticipate developments that science would not “discover” for another half-century. Modern studies of sexual selection and reciprocal altruism, when applied to works like Edith Wharton's Roman Fever (1934) and John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men (1937) and The Grapes of Wrath (1939), reveal some surprising, prescient aspects of the works. These authors were not just dramatizing the theories handed to them by evolutionary science, but they were extending the evolutionary hypotheses well beyond the reach of their contemporaries. In Wharton's case, retrospective evolutionary analysis shows that, contrary to traditional criticism, some of her more famous female characters were radically empowered, subtle, and competent survivors. In Steinbeck's case, that the author cut directly across contemporary ideas about altruism to both complicate theories of human morality and advocate for true morality and true selflessness.
Juan Moreno Blanco
García Márquez is the only novelist of the so-called Latin American Boom whose origins lie in the rural world. Does this bear on his personal upbringing, and does it project onto his literary fabulation/storytelling? This article attempts to reply in the affirmative to these questions, recognizing the intercultural and regional context whence the author comes and carrying out a perspectivist reading that will compare the highly frequent images of the supernatural in his stories and novels to the hierophantic images of Wayúu-Amerindian narrative tradition—to which the domestic servants who accompanied his childhood in the home of his maternal grandparents in Aracataca belonged. Among the author’s narratives, the first explicit mention of the Wayúu people (the Guajiros) occurs in “Monologue of Isabel Watching It Rain in Macondo.” And his intercultural childhood, which can be read as an autobiographical trait, is noticeable in the character Ulises’s heteroglossia in “Eréndira,” in the Buendía children in One Hundred Years of Solitude, and in Sierva María in Of Love and Other Demons. The article argues that the intercultural childhood of the novelist is the source of the co-presence of the natural and the supernatural as unfolded in these writings, which had Colombian culture and history almost as their exclusive subjects. To this innovative reinvention of the Colombian nation, the article attributes two larger cultural consequences: first, the subversion of national literary tradition, and second, the change in Colombia’s self-image brought about by its reception.
This chapter focuses on the impact of the Andes and its cultures on a genre that more solidly belonged to the written European tradition: the novel. Motivated by a long literary history, this chapter aims at reflecting on the multiple and rich elements that construct the literary imaginary of the Andes, delving into works in which the Andes are the driving force shaping their aesthetics and narrative discourse. It also explores the writings in which the Andes are the pillar that structurally disrupts and reformulates the very genre of the novel. It likewise looks into novels in which the Andes are only a mere reference. Special attention is given to one of the most prolific narrative trends of the region: the indigenista novel. Part of a broader movement addressing the colonial heritage of oppression and exploitation from an external, often paternalistic perspective, the indigenista novel has captured since the late nineteenth century the struggles and hardship of indigenous peoples. In conclusion, this chapter studies the multifaceted novelistic elements that construct the written imaginary of the Andes and determine the Andeanness of novels associated with the region’s physical and symbolic spaces.
M. O. Grenby
This essay investigates the conservative, loyalist fiction published in Britain during the French Revolution and its aftermath. A substantial number and a wide variety of these novels were published: long and short, propagandistic and philosophical, for adults and children and by obscure and well-known authors. The essay identifies and analyses the principal structures and themes of anti-Jacobin fiction, and closely examines a representative sample. It assesses their contribution to the ‘war of ideas’ and considers how they fit into larger histories of the novel.
This article examines the works of Washington Irving within the broad framework of global narratives. It analyzes how geographical variables enter into the writings of Irving and how as an author he played self-consciously with the contours of cultural mapping. The article suggests that the reflexive nature of Irving's work speaks to a meta-geographical dimension which was common to many American writers in the antebellum period, who were concerned in one way or another with how the national domain might be mapped.
Sandra Harbert Petrulionis
Transcendentalism has a very deep history in antislavery activism. As the article goes, Radical abolitionism gained momentum as an organized effort centered in Transcendentalist New England with the Boston publication of William Lloyd Garrison's “Liberator,” which began in 1831. The article takes on Garrison as a great antislavery activist as in contrast to using gradual methods Garrison insisted on the immediate and peaceful abolition of slavery. Bronson Alcott alone among the Transcendentalists locked arms with Garrison, attending his lectures even before the “Liberator” began publication. However, later on, by the late 1850s, nearly all of the Transcendentalists regarded themselves as abolitionists. Instead of whether to act, they deliberated how to do so. Many women in the Transcendentalist circle responded to Garrison, empowered by his insistence that women take leadership roles in his movement, though the principal female Transcendentalist Fuller, however, played little to no active role in antislavery reform.
This chapter examines the relationship between the Arabic novel and history within the context of the Arabic-speaking world, and in particular the process of producing a literary history of the novel genre written in Arabic. It first considers the early development of the novel genre in Arabic as part of a cultural movement that gained impetus in the nineteenth century, with particular emphasis on the interplay of two cultural forces: the importation of Western ideas (including literary genres) and the role of the premodern Arab-Islamic cultural heritage in each subregion. It then discusses examples of narrative from the premodern heritage of Arabic literature before turning to the history of the Arabic novel. The chapter also presents examples of the Arabic historical novel, one of which is Sālim Ḥimmīsh’s Al-‘Allāma (2001, The Polymath).
Heba El Attar
In 2014, newspapers across the Spanish-speaking world covered how the international press paid tribute to García Márquez. Particular attention was given to the extensive eulogies in the Arab press. A special homage was paid to the author’s memory in Saudi Arabia, where the Third South American-Arab Countries Summit was being held at the time. This was not Naguib Mahfuz; this was García Márquez. How was it possible for a Latin American author to become that popular across the Arab world? How was it possible for his novels to be referenced naturally in popular Arab films such as The Embassy in the Building (2005)? Was all this simply due to the fact that in postindependence Latin America, particularly since the 1940s, there has been a growing de-orientalist discourse? Or did García Márquez craft a particular dialogue with the internal and external Arabs? With all this in mind, and by drawing on Latin American (de)orientalism in the works of Kushigian, Nagy-Zekmi, and Tyutina, among others, this article analyzes the dimensions and implications of García Márquez’s depiction of the internal Arab (immigrant in Latin America) in some of his novels as well as his dialogue with the external Arab (the Arab world) in some of his press articles.
Jordan Alexander Stein
This article examines the American novel and the problem of boring books. It investigates what would happen if the assumption about the existence of novel as a literary genre were treated as a critical problem. The article analyzes Herman Melville's 1849 novel Mardi and a Voyage Thither to demonstrate that in order to make sense of “bad” novels, one might be well served to suspend the categories required for deductive conclusions.