Readers and critics alike, for the past sixty years, generally agree that Baldwin is a
major African-American writer. What they do not agree on is why. Because of his artistic
and intellectual complexity, Baldwin’s work resists easy categorization and Baldwin
scholarship, consequently, spans the critical horizon. This essay provides an overview of
the three major periods of Baldwin scholarship. 1963–73 is a period that begins with the
publication of The Fire Next Time and sees Baldwin grace the cover of Time magazine. This
period ends with Time declaring Baldwin too passé to publish an interview with him and
with critics questioning his relevance. The second period, 1974–87, finds critics
attempting to rehabilitate Baldwin’s reputation and work, especially as scholars begin to
codify the African-American literary canon in anthologies and American universities.
Finally, scholarship in the period after Baldwin’s death takes the opportunity to
challenge common assumptions and silences surrounding Baldwin’s work. Armed with the
methodologies of cultural studies and the critical insights of queer theory, critics set
the stage for the current Baldwin renaissance.
A Roundtable Conversation at the
2014 American Studies Convention
Brian Norman, Aliyyah I. Abdur-Rahman, John E. Drabinski, Julius Fleming, Nigel Hatton, Dagmawi Woubshet and Magdalena Zaborowska
Six key Baldwin scholars converged at the 2014 American Studies Association to consider
the question of privacy, informed by their own book-length projects in process. Key topics
included Baldwin’s sexuality and the (open) secret, historical lack of access to privacy
in African-American experience, obligations for public representation in African-American
literary history, Baldwin’s attempts to construct home spaces, public access to Baldwin’s
private documents, and ethical matters for scholars in creating and preserving Baldwin’s
legacy, including his final home in St. Paul-de-Vence.
Relationships change people. Intimate encounters with poems do too. This chapter considers Beowulf’s closest relation – in very literal terms – in literary history, the Old English poem Andreas. Dumitrescu argues that this other long Old English poem, sometimes maligned for what critics have characterized as heavy and clumsy borrowing from Beowulf, is ‘Beowulf’s most loving reader’. Revealing the entangled and reciprocal logics of intertextual intimacies, the chapter explores how Andreas’s borrowings of Beowulf’s style lead us to changed encounters with both poems. Indeed, literary influence does not always travel just in one direction; Beowulf, too, despite being senior in the couple, is transformed through Andreas’s imitation. Its pagans become monstrous. Andreas thus reveals the darker side of Beowulf: the blindness of heroes, the tenuous distinctions between monsters and men, and the deathly potential of history and its artefacts. Modern scholars have recognized these too, but Andreas, Beowulf’s first and most loving reader, saw them first.
This book is about science in theatre and performance. It explores how theatre and performance engage with emerging scientific themes from artificial intelligence to genetics and climate change. The book covers a wide range of performance forms from the spectacle of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony to Broadway musicals, from experimental contemporary performance and opera to educational theatre, Somali poetic drama and grime videos. It features work by pioneering companies including Gob Squad, Headlong Theatre and Theatre of Debate as well as offering fresh analysis of global blockbusters such as Wicked and Urinetown. The book offers detailed description and analysis of theatre and performance practices as well as broader commentary on the politics of theatre as public engagement with science. It documents important examples of collaborative practice with extended discussion of the Theatre of Debate process developed by Y Touring theatre company, exploration of bilingual theatre-making in East London and an account of how grime MCs and dermatologists ended up making a film together in Birmingham. The interdisciplinary approach draws on contemporary research in theatre and performance studies in combination with key ideas from science studies. It shows how theatre can offer important perspectives on what the philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has called ‘cosmopolitics’. The book argues that theatre can flatten knowledge hierarchies and hold together different ways of knowing.
have been largely ignored by literary criticism. Like Roche, then, Cuthbertson represents the migration of Irish literary production at the start of the nineteenth century and is indicative of the systematic erasure of so much popular fiction from the annals of (Irish) Romantic literature. The relegation of gothic romance writers such as Roche, Cuthbertson, and many of the other authors included in this study to the margins of literaryhistory not only denies the significance of their long-lasting, transnational appeal, but it also emphasises the limitations of
Nolan, who have initiated a recuperation of gothic works by Irish Catholic writers, tracing the ways in which gothic techniques could be harnessed to very different cultural and political ends in Romantic-era Ireland. 16 Like my reading of Griffith's ‘Conjugal fidelity’, such scholarship forcefully queries the normative limits of ‘Irish Gothic’, inviting us to engage in what Anne Williams calls ‘[a] thoughtful analysis of “Gothic” ’ that ‘challenges the kind of literaryhistory that organizes, delineates, and defines’. 17 To do so, this study proposes to widen and
Sarah Orne Jewett, The Tory Lover, and Walter Scott, Waverley
Kammer, Season of Youth, pp. 33–75.
Amy Kaplan, ‘Romancing the Empire: The Embodiment of American
Masculinity in the Popular Historical Novel of the 1890s’, American LiteraryHistory, 2 (1990), 659–90, pp. 662, 682. See also Beverly Seaton, ‘A Pedigree
for a New Century: The Colonial Experience in Popular Historical Novels,
1890–1910’, in Alan Axelrod (ed.), The Colonial Revival in America, New
York, Norton, 1985, pp. 278–93; and Kammer, Season of Youth, pp. 145–220.
See Dekker, American Historical Romance, pp. 275–8; and W.D. Howells,‘The
geographies. Progress in Human Geography, 34(6): pp. 777–798.
Ash, J. (2013) Rethinking affective atmospheres: Technology, perturbation and space-times
of the non-human. Geoforum, 49: pp. 20–28.
Batty, M. (2013) Big data, smart cities and city planning. Dialogues in Human Geography, 3(3):
Bennett, J. (2004) The force of things: Steps toward an ecology of matter. Political Theory,
32: pp. 347–372.
Bennett, J. (2012) Systems and things: A response to Graham Harman and Timothy Morton.
New LiteraryHistory, 43(2): pp. 223–233.
Jayne Elisabeth Archer, Howard Thomas and Richard Marggraf Turley
). This desertion perhaps also results from the fact that for
much of British history (and English literaryhistory), the physical structure
of the watermill itself appeared resistant to change: in the period 1300–1850,
the basic machinery and processes used in the watermill remained much
the same (Reynolds 1983: 3). We see the unquestioning acceptance of
traditional custom and practice in the lack of a definitive answer to, or
even curiosity about, whether and to what degree overshot waterwheels
deliver more power than undershot. It was not until 1759 that the engineer
of her protagonist in Oryx and Crake. It also will help us to understand
the historical character of Atwood’s trilogy if we take a long and somewhat
jaundiced view of the relevant chapters of literaryhistory. We have to
acknowledge that in even the most classic of historical novels – the ones,
that is, which are cited regularly in definitions of the genre – historicity
does not provide an anchorage in time and place, except in the most
general terms. Indeed, historicity is often one of the things such a novel
takes not as foundational and therefore for granted