Modern American literature began with a statement of enthusiasm from Emerson's writing in Nature. 'Enthusiasm', in Emerson, is a knowing word. Sometimes its use is as description, invariably approving, of a historic form of religious experience. Socrates' meaning of enthusiasm, and the image of the enthusiast it throws up, is crucial to this book. The book is a portrait of the writer as an enthusiast, where the portrait, as will become clear, carries more than a hint of polemic. It is about the transmission of literature, showing various writers taking responsibility for that transmission, whether within in their writing or in their cultural activism. Henry David Thoreau's Walden is an enthusiastic book. It is where enthusiasm works both in Immanuel Kant's sense of the unbridled self, and in William Penn's sense of the 'nearer' testament, and in Thoreau's own sense of supernatural serenity. Establishing Ezra Pound's enthusiasm is a fraught and complicated business. Marianne Moore composed poems patiently, sometimes over several years. She is a poet of things, as isolated things - jewels, curios, familiar and exotic animals, common and rare species of plant - are often the ostensible subjects of her poems. Homage to Frank O'Hara is a necessary book, because the sum of his aesthetic was to be found not just in his writing, but also in his actions to which only friends and contemporaries could testify. An enthusiastic reading of James Schuyler brings to the fore pleasure, the sheer pleasure that can come of combining, or mouthing, or transcribing.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, historians of England pioneered a series of new approaches to the history of economic policy. Commerce, finance and statecraft charts the development of these forms of writing and explores the role they played in the period's economic, political and historiographical thought. Through doing so, the book makes a significant intervention in the study of historiography, and provides an original account of early-modern and Enlightenment history. A broad selection of historical writing is discussed, ranging from the work of Francis Bacon and William Camden in the Jacobean era, through a series of accounts shaped by the English Civil War and the party-political conflicts that followed it, to the eighteenth-century's major account of British history: David Hume's History of England. Particular attention is paid to the historiographical context in which historians worked and the various ways they copied, adapted and contested one another's narratives. Such an approach enables the study to demonstrate that historical writing was the site of a wide-ranging, politically charged debate concerning the relationship that existed – and should have existed – between government and commerce at various moments in England’s past.
Afterword: enthusiasm and audit
This book has been about the transmission of literature. It has shown various
writers taking responsibility for that transmission, whether within their
writing or in their cultural activism. The word for both kinds of action has
been enthusiasm. Enthusiasm, it has been argued, is integral to what Modern
American literature, in particular, knows; enthusiasm being, as each of the
writers discussed here has one way or another understood it, the state of mind
in which composition is possible. It is also integral to the circulation of
of that documentary realism sometimes seen as symptomatic of
the author’s writing. It also uses a variety of literary tropes and
discourses as it weaves its narrative fabric, creating a quilt which
sustains and supports both characters and readers as they
experience the giddy fluctuations of a menacing, topsy-turvy
world. Even in the ostensibly more traditional Family Matters,
similar issues of corruption versus integrity are explored. Here,
notions of the multiple and sometimes conflicting demands of
duty are set alongside filial loyalty
Comparing and contrasting propaganda in Serbia and Croatia from 1986 to 1999, this book analyses each group's contemporary interpretations of history and current events. It offers a detailed discussion of Holocaust imagery and the history of victim-centred writing in nationalist theory, including the links between the comparative genocide debate, the so-called Holocaust industry, and Serbian and Croatian nationalism. There is a detailed analysis of Serbian and Croatian propaganda over the Internet, detailing how and why the Internet war was as important as the ground wars in Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina, and a theme-by-theme analysis of Serbian and Croatian propaganda, using contemporary media sources, novels, academic works and journals.
Rohinton Mistry is the only author whose every novel has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Such a Long Journey (1991), A Fine Balance (1995) and Family Matters (2002) are all set in India's Parsee community. Recognised as one of the most important contemporary writers of postcolonial literature, Mistry's subtle yet powerful narratives engross general readers, excite critical acclaim and form staple elements of literature courses across the world. This study provides an insight into the key features of Mistry's work. It suggests how the author's writing can be read in terms of recent Indian political history, his native Zoroastrian culture and ethos, and the experience of migration, which now sees him living in Canada. The texts are viewed through the lens of diaspora and minority discourse theories to show how Mistry's writing is illustrative of marginal positions in relation to sanctioned national identities. In addition, Mistry utilises and blends the conventions of oral storytelling common to the Persian and South Asian traditions, with nods in the direction of the canonical figures of modern European literature, sometimes reworking and reinflecting their registers and preoccupations to create a distinctive voice redolent of the hybrid inheritance of Parsee culture and of the postcolonial predicament more generally.
The origins of the concept in Enlightenment intellectual culture
use in an epic poem.1
This statement from Hugh Blair’s A Critical Dissertation on the Poems of
Ossian (1763) reflects an important reassessment of oral tradition among
scholars during the middle decades of the eighteenth century. It was during
this period that scholars began to acknowledge that a society without writing
could, as Blair indicates, function as an organized political culture with a
tradition of common values and practices. Such a culture, it was thought,
could also nourish a ‘poetical spirit’ that equalled and even excelled the
Ranting: Herman Melville
As he was writing Moby-Dick, from February 1850 to November 1851, as he
composed the book he felt certain was his greatest work, Herman Melville
understood himself to be inspired. This understanding – one might call it an
insight – is evident wherever during that period Melville catches himself in
the act of composition, whether in his barely containable excitement at the
prospect of the novel’s achievement, or as a metaphor articulating the writing
state. Here, for instance, is a passage from a letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne,
This book explores the pervasive influence of pacifism on Victorian feminism. It provides an account of Victorian women who campaigned for peace, and of the many feminists who incorporated pacifist ideas into their writing on women and gender. The book explores feminists' ideas about the role of women within the empire, their eligibility for citizenship, and their ability to act as moral guardians in public life. It shows that such ideas made use – in varying ways – of gendered understandings of the role of force and the relevance of arbitration and other pacifist strategies. The book examines the work of a wide range of individuals and organisations, from well-known feminists such as Lydia Becker, Josephine Butler and Millicent Garrett Fawcett to lesser-known figures such as the Quaker pacifists Ellen Robinson and Priscilla Peckover.
Caribbean literature, particularly admiring the Jamaican novelist Roger
Mais. But in teaching he was a follower of F. R. Leavis, committed to
the ‘great tradition’ of English writers. 6
I became a lecturer in English at Mona in September 1963.
It was my second university post. I had been drawn to the new writing
emerging from Africa and the Caribbean by a missionary childhood in what
was then Northern