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Decadent Genealogies
The Rhetoric of Sickness from Baudelaire to D'Annunzio
Barbara Spackman
Barbara Spackman here examines the ways in which decadent writers adopted the language of physiological illness and alteration as a figure for psychic...



The Other Side of the Story
Structures and Strategies of Contemporary Feminist Narratives
Molly Hite
According to Molly Hite, a number of influential contemporary women novelists—notably Jean Rhys, Doris Lessing, Alice Walker, and Margaret Atwood—attempt innovations in narrative form that are more radical in their implications than the dominant modes of fictional experimentation characterized as postmodernist. In The Other Side of the Story...



Franz Kafka
The Necessity of Form
Stanley Corngold
In Stanley Corngold’s view, the themes and strategies of Kafka’s fiction are generated by a tension between his concern for writing and his growing sense of its arbitrary character. Analyzing Kafka’s work in light of "the necessity of form," which is also a merely formal necessity, Corngold uncovers the fundamental paradox of Kafka’s art and...



Signature Pieces
On the Institution of Authorship
Peggy Kamuf
Some contemporary approaches to literature still accept the separation of historical, biographical, external concerns from formal, internal ones. On the borderline that lends this division between inside and outside its apparent coherence is signature. In Peggy Kamuf’s view, studying signature will help us to rediscover some of the stakes of...



The Expense of Spirit
Love and Sexuality in English Renaissance Drama
Mary Beth Rose
The Expense of Spirit integrates feminist and historicist critical approaches to explore the dynamics of cultural conflict and change in English Renaissance...



The Ethics of Criticism
Tobin Siebers
Tobin Siebers asserts that literary criticism is essentially a form of ethics. The Ethics of Criticism investigates the moral character of contemporary literary theory, assessing a wide range of theoretical approaches in terms of both the ethical presuppositions underlying the critical claims and the attitudes fostered by the approaches...



The Challenge of Bewilderment
Understanding and Representation in James, Conrad, and Ford
Paul B. Armstrong
The Challenge of Bewilderment treats the epistemology of representation in major works by Henry James, Joseph Conrad, and Ford Madox Ford, attempting to explain how the novel turned away from its traditional concern with realistic representation and toward self-consciousness about the relation between knowing and...



Telling the Truth
The Theory and Practice of Documentary Fiction
Barbara C. Foley
Barbara Foley here focuses on the relatively neglected genre of documentary fiction: novels that are continually near the borderline between factual and fictive discourse. She links the development of the genre over three centuries to the evolution of capitalism, but her analyses of literary texts depart significantly from those of most current...



The Cosmic Web
Scientific Field Models and Literary Strategies in the Twentieth Century
N. Katherine Hayles, Katherine Hayles
From the central concept of the field—which depicts the world as a mutually interactive whole, with each part connected to every other part by an underlying field— have come models as diverse as quantum mathematics and Saussure’s theory of language. In The Cosmic Web, N. Katherine Hayles seeks to establish the scope of the field concept and to...



Novels, Readers, and Reviewers
Responses to Fiction in Antebellum America
Nina Baym
This book describes and characterizes responses of American readers to fiction in the generation before the Civil War. It is based on close examination of the reviews of all novels—both American and European—that appeared in major American periodicals during the years 1840–1860, a period in which magazines, novels, and novel reviews all...



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