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Concept, text and culture

Sustainability is a notoriously fraught and slippery term, and yet one that is now well-established in mainstream usage across the contemporary world. While sustainability is widely discussed and theorised across range of disciplines, this book sets out to consider what innovations literary scholarship might bring to the sustainability debate, and indeed what sustainability as a concept might bring to literary scholarship. Putting forward a range of essays by leading and upcoming scholars, this book takes a non-prescriptive and critically reflective stance towards the problem of sustainability – a stance we describe as critical sustainability. Essays in this collection accordingly undertake a range of approaches, from applying tools of literary enquiry in order to interrogate sustainability’s paradoxes, to investigating the ways in which literature envisages sustainability or plays out its tropes. Overall, this book seeks to demonstrate how sustainability’s difficulties might open up a productive opportunity for interrogation and exploration of the kind that literary scholars and ecocritics are ideally placed to carry out.

The Show from street to print
Tracey Hill

ascertain, what the relationship of the printed text to the actual event tended to be.5 These mostly unanswered – even largely unasked – questions reflect another important aspect of the Shows where scholarship has let us down. Even Peter Blayney excludes ‘all masques, pageants and entertainments’ from his account of printed playbooks, on the basis that the former were not really plays.6 Blayney’s view, which is not atypical, is part of the problem, for as hybrid cultural productions the Shows do not fit neatly into any of the categories habitually used within literary

in Pageantry and power
Bringing the Shows to life
Tracey Hill

3 ‘A day of well Compos’d Variety of Speach and shew’: bringing the Shows to life Given their predominantly visual appeal to the original audiences it is perhaps surprising that relatively little attention has yet been paid within literary and historical scholarship to how the visual and aural spectacle of the Lord Mayors’ Shows would have been experienced on the day of the performance. This is partly down to the general dominance within literary scholarship of printed texts, and it is also, of course, due to the elusive nature of pageantry, which would seem

in Pageantry and power
Open Access (free)
Rachel E. Hile

pursuit becomes self-serving, a pointless exercise in scholarly ingenuity” (Dunseath, Spenser’s Allegory, 6). Surely he was reacting, entirely consistently with New Critical scholarly fashion, against the worst excesses of what came to be known—once the New Historicism had been born—as the “old historicism,” the often entirely too ingenious searching after point-for-point correspondences between MUP_Hile_SpenserSatire_Printer.indd 1 14/10/2016 15:35 2 Spenserian satire poem and history. The approach characterized literary scholarship of the early twentieth century

in Spenserian satire
The sense of an ending in Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods
Adeline Johns-Putra

, it represents openness in terms of plot and practises openness in terms of structure; for another, it makes explicit comments throughout on the illusory nature of conventional narrative continuity and closure. The yoking of narrative closure with social convention is not new, of course. Literary scholarship abounds with analyses that sometimes celebrate and sometimes critique our desire for plot resolution. The germinal text here is Frank Kermode’s Sense of an Ending, which first appeared in 1967. According to Kermode, we render human existence and time significant

in Literature and sustainability