Jane Eyre summary

Jane grows up in an abusive, unloving house with her aunt and cousins until she is sent to Lowood, a school and ‘charitable institution.’ There, she befriends Helen Burns, who dies of consumption, along with several other girls. After that, the school is improved and Jane is taught for six years and becomes a teacher Read More

Antigone summary

Laius received a prophecy that his son would kill him, so as soon as Oedipus was born, he ordered for his men to leave him on the mountain side to die, but a shepherd rescued him and gave him to the kin and queen of Corinth. He grew up not knowing he was adopted but Read More

The Lottery summary

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”¬†description   A haunting and powerful collection of stories from one of America’s finest writers, with a new Introduction by Patrick McGrath. Eerie, unforgettable, and by turns terrifying and hilarious, Shirley Jackson’s collection of stories plunges us into a unique, brilliantly etched world where the uncanny lurks in the everyday and where Read More

Sielke, Sabine. 2002. Reading Rape: the Rhetoric of Sexual Violence in American Literature and Culture, 1790-1990

In Reading Rape: The Rhetoric of Sexual Violence in American Literature and Culture, 1790-1990, Sabine Sielke traces the rhetoric of rape in the United States through four distinct periods of literary history, stretching from antebellum seduction narratives to postbellum realism to modernist texts “and their post modern refigurations” (2002, 7). Sielke establishes that talk about Read More

Maltby, Paul. 2002. The Visionary Moment. A Postmodern Critique

It has become rather difficult of late to make an impact with a book informed by postmodern theory and practice. The “horizon of expectations” for postmodern innovation has been significantly flattened both became postmodern theory seems to have settled into comfortable truisms and became readers in this age of growing insecurities have gravitated back to Read More

Irish Studies after the renaisance

In recent years, Irish Studies has developed significantly as a field in which literary theory has offered helpful new readings of canonical texts as well as foregrounded the works of writers who might not previously have been widely studied. Feminist theory and postcolonial theory in particular have been applied usefully to the study of Irish Read More

Haddad, Emily A. 2002. Orientalist Poetics: the Islamic Middle East in Nineteenth-Century English and French Poetry

Emily A. Haddad’s study of the influence of orientalism on European poetics is a timely reminder of the long-standing tendency of the West to stereo-type the Islamic Middle East. In this case, the stereotypes are seen to have what may be an unexpected effect: In Orientalist Poetics: The Islamic Middle East in Nineteenth-Century English and Read More

Wu, Duncan. 2002. Wordsworth: an Inner Life

Few readers will regard Duncan Wu’s Wordsworth: An Inner Life as an easy book. It is nevertheless an important one, written by a distinguished Wordsworthian whose earlier work on Wordsworth’s reading has become definitive. With this book Wu seems, to this reviewer at least, to be entering the developing field of religious critical discourse, although Read More

Marrouchi, Mustapha. 2002. Signifying with a Vengeance: Theories, Literatures, Storytellers

“Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)” Walt Whitman’s charmingly insouciant acknowledgment might well stand as an epigraph to Mustapha Marrouchi’s ambitious, frustrating, engaging new book, Signifying With A Vengeance. Marrouchi suggests that Signifying “is an attempt to arrive at a general theory of [postcolonial] literature” Read More

Grasso, Linda M. 2002. The Artistry of Anger: Black and White Women’s Literature in America, 1820-1860

“Tell all the Truth but tell it slant / Success in Circuit lies …” could well be the motto of Linda Grasso’s Artistry of Anger. These celebrated lines from Emily Dickinson’s poem (1129) summarize the fundamental assumption behind this sharply focused and illuminating analysis: that anger, as the driving force behind women’s literature of the Read More

Walt Whitman and new biographical criticism

Where is biographical criticism going? Studies of Walt Whitman could be excellent places to ask this question. The exemplary poet of the self, whose self moves so insistently out toward the world, arguably provides perfect grounds for rethinking how we might use biography as a portal for understanding literature, and perhaps culture, and perhaps the Read More

The Demon of the Continent: Indians and the Shaping of American Literature

Finding the intersections of cultures and determining influences is not an easy task but one that Joshua David Bellin undertakes in The Demon of the Continent: Indians and the Shaping of American Literature. In his “Introduction” he promises “to examine how processes of ‘mutual acculturation’ manifest themselves in American literature” (3). The “demon” is the Read More

Palace-Burner: The Selected Poetry of Sarah Piatt

In the Introduction to Nineteenth-Century American Women Poets: An Anthology (1998), Paula Bernat Bennett claims that the “heart” of nineteenth-century American women’s poetry lay “not in the poet but in the poem. I discovered’ she writes, “that while there might be very few major poets in the field, there were many, many ‘major’ (or, at Read More

Mining the law/literature enterprise

College Literature has provided updating reviews of new books in law and literature (1999, 26.2; 1994, 21.2) as well as a special issue on the topic of law and literature (1998, 25.1).The present review continues this service with four new books, representing only a limited part of a range of works that continue to issue Read More

Manifesto: A Century of Isms

The nineteenth-century drive to collect and name new species is, apparently, alive and well in Mary Ann Caws, idiosyncratic, infuriating, mesmerizing taxonomy of modernist aesthetic manifestos. Like all taxonomies, the one Caws constructs in Manifesto is both compelling and fragile; in the end, there is no cohesive argument in this book, no reliable principle of Read More

Prashad, Vijay. 2000. The Karma of Brown Folk

It has always seemed to me imminently obvious that a literary scholar whose interest focuses on nineteenth-century British industrial and social-problem novels–those most mundane of stories, in no demeaning sense of the word–should have as a corollary interest the relationships of the novels to the world outside literature. It seems only consistent that a fascination Read More

Johnson, Patricia E. 2001. Hidden Hands: Working-Class Women and Victorian Social-Problem Fiction

It has always seemed to me imminently obvious that a literary scholar whose interest focuses on nineteenth-century British industrial and social-problem novels–those most mundane of stories, in no demeaning sense of the word–should have as a corollary interest the relationships of the novels to the world outside literature. It seems only consistent that a fascination Read More