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Forgot password? Don't have an account? As a very young man, one of the most celebrated English authors of the eighteenth century translated a tome about Ethiopia. This experience permanently marked Samuel Johnson, leaving traces of the This experience permanently marked Samuel Johnson, leaving traces of the African discourse he encountered in that text in his drama Irene;several of his short stories; and his most famous fiction, Rasselas. This book provides a much needed perspective in comparative literature and postcolonial studies on the power of the discourse of the other to infuse European texts.

This book illuminates how the Western literary canon is globally produced by developing the powerful metaphor of spirit possession to posit some texts in the European canon as energumens, texts that are spoken through. This experience permanently marked Samuel Johnson, leaving traces of the African discourse he encountered in that text in his drama Irene; several of his short stories; and his most famous fiction, Rasselas. This book illuminates how the Western literary canon is globally produced by developing the powerful metaphor of spirit possession to posit some texts in the European canon as energumens , texts that are spoken through.

This book analyzes how Africans have engaged with African American music and its representations in the long twentieth century — to offer a new cultural history that attests to The book argues that African American popular music appealed to continental Africans as a unit of cultural prestige, a site of pleasure, and most importantly an expressive form already encoded with strategies of creative resistance to racial hegemony. Ghana, Senegal, and South Africa are considered as three distinctive sites where longstanding pan-African political and cultural affiliations gave expression to transnational black solidarity.

The book shows how such transnational ties fostered expressions of what is theorized as stereomodernismalong axes counter to the colonizing process.

Selected Essays from the "Rambler," "Adventurer," and "Idler"

The book shows how such transnational ties fostered expressions of what is theorized as stereomodernism along axes counter to the colonizing process. Their realist tendencies are underlain with nationally symbolic and politically critical functions. This horizontal argument realigns novelistic modernity with a multipolar global context and reestablishes commensurabilities between Eastern and Western literary histories.

This book comprises sixteen essays from legal academics, literary experts, and influential judges. The book begins by investigating American Guys—the heroic nonconformists and rugged individualists The book begins by investigating American Guys—the heroic nonconformists and rugged individualists who populate American fiction. It then examines these manly men in relation to the law, while also highlighting the tensions underlying and complicating this type of masculinity.

A second set of chapters examines Outsiders—men on the periphery of the American Guys who proclaim a different way of being male. This book is the third in a series of volumes arising out of conferences at the University of Chicago Law School. Like its predecessors, this collection aims to reinvigorate the study of law and literature by broadening the range of methodological and disciplinary perspectives brought to bear on the subject.

The Selected Essays from the Rambler, Adventurer, and Idler

At the beginning of the twentieth century, many in Britain believed their nation to be a dominant world power that its former colony, the United States, could only hope to emulate. Yet by the Yet by the interwar years, the United States seemed to some to embody a different type of global eminence, one based not only on political and economic stature but also on new forms of mass culture like jazz and the Hollywood film. This book thus brings together two major areas of modernist scholarship, the study of nation and empire and the study of mass culture, by suggesting that Britain was reacting to a new type of empire, the American entertainment empire, in its struggles to redefine its national culture between the wars.

This book considers the impact of Australia and New Zealand on the formation of American literature, from the eighteenth century to the present day. It discusses how the antipodes, as both a It discusses how the antipodes, as both a philosophical idea and as a historical fact, came to influence how American writers in the nineteenth century conceived of Australasia after the settlement of this South Pacific region by the British. The book will also consider how and why the significance of Australia and New Zealand for American writers has for so long been overlooked, despite the fact that these regions attracted the attention of canonical figures such as Brockden Brown, Irving, Melville, Thoreau and many others.

It argues that American cultural critics have not traditionally been comfortable with considering how their literature engaged with the specters of British colonialism, and that this has produced a distorted understanding of American literature as committed primarily to a rhetoric of constitutional independence. It will continue to track the importance of Australasia to American writers during the twentieth and twenty-first century, taking into account the significance of both World Wars, Vietnam, and other forms of transnational cultural exchange. It suggests how the antipodean figure of a world upside down continues to haunt American writers through the beginning of the twenty-first century.

This book contributes to the study of South African literature, offering readings of writers such as Coetzee, Gordimer, Fugard, Tlali, and Mda. Focusing on the relationship between place, Focusing on the relationship between place, subjectivity, and literary form, the study examines our understanding of apartheid as a geographical form of control, and of its imagined and actual transformation.


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Love begets poetry; poetry begets love. These two propositions have seemed evident to thinkers and poets across the Western literary tradition.

Selected Essays

But why should this be so—what are the connections between poetry and erotic love that lead us to associate them so strongly with one another? An examination of different theories of both love and poetry across the centuries reveals that the connection between them is not merely an accident of cultural history—the result of our having grown up hearing, or hearing about, love poetry—but something more intrinsic.

Even as definitions of them have changed, the two phenomena have consistently been described in parallel terms. Love is characterized by paradox. Above all, it is both necessarily public, because interpersonal, and intensely private; hence it both requires expression and resists it. In poetry, especially lyric poetry, which features its own characteristic paradoxes and silences, love finds a natural outlet.

This study considers both the theories and the love poems themselves, bringing together a wide range of examples from different eras in order to examine the major structures that love and poetry share. It does not aim to be a comprehensive history of Western love poetry, but an investigation into the meaning and function of recurrent tropes, forms, and images employed by poets to express and describe erotic love.

This book maintains that the poetic texts examined here constitute an active process of composing history; they are not simply historicized. They give name to the nation and compose of a historical They give name to the nation and compose of a historical narrative for its denizens.


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  • The Selected Essays from the Rambler, Adventurer, and Idler.
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  • Category: Johnson’s Life and Literature.

They are literary artifacts, bearing the vestiges of the past while provoking new interpretations. The spectre of race and its particular performances of gender identities among afrodescendente peoples in the New World, informs these poetics but does not conform them to a monolithic body of national literature. Afrodescendente poetry in the Americas highlights the power of words to imagine new histories and new forms of identity. In their interplay, the poems tell us certain truths about how the concept of freedom can evolve. He used to say that Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy was the only book which ever got him out of bed two hours earlier than usual; another of his favourites was Sir Thomas Browne.

These studies could not but affect his style; they furnished to it an element which tempers the tradition of Addison and Pope; we see it in the lofty diction, the ampler periods, and, generally, in that tone which suggests the study rather than the drawing-room. To make this clearer, let us place side by side a short passage from Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy , and a like specimen of Addison. Horace has carried this thought a great deal further Sat.

Indeed, when Johnson enters upon the ground where the best writers of the preceding age were so peculiarly happy—the graceful treatment of light social themes—he is painfully elephantine; for instance, the defence of masquerades in the Rambler , in a letter addressed by a man of fashion to the lively Flirtilla, is an awful warning against ponderous levity. Nevertheless, Johnson is sometimes really good, even in a light vein, where he can bring his strong, though not very subtle, sense of humour to bear on some phase of life or character that he knows.

Take, for instance, this description of "Tom Steady" in the Idler :—. I was once mentioning a man of eminence, and after having recounted his virtues, endeavoured to represent him fully, by mentioning his faults, 'Sir,' said Mr Steady, 'that he has faults I can easily believe, for who is without them? No man, Sir, is now alive, among the innumerable multitudes that swarm upon the earth, however wise, or however good, who has not, in some degree, his failings and his faults.

Tell not me, Sir, of impeccability and perfection; such talk is for those that are strangers in the world: I have seen several nations, and conversed with all ranks of people: I have known the great and the mean, the learned and the ignorant, the old and the young, the clerical and the lay; but I have never found a man without a fault; and I suppose shall die in the opinion that to be human is to be frail.

I listened with a hanging head; Mr Steady looked round on the hearers with triumph, and saw every eye congratulating his victory. Before passing from Johnson's literary style, let me give one or two other examples of it, which, like the last, show him in an unfamiliar light. We know how devoted he was to the town: "A man who is tired of London," he said, "is tired of life"; again, he said, "No wise man will go to live in the country unless he has something to do which can be better done in the country.

For instance: if he is to shut himself up for a year to study a science, it is better to look out to the fields than to an opposite wall. Then, if a man walks out in the country, there is nobody to keep him from walking in again; but if a man walks out in London he is not sure when he shall walk in again. I had, indeed, no trees to whisper over my head, but a clear rivulet streamed at my feet.

Selected Essays from the Rambler, Adventurer, and Idler | Yale University Press

The day was calm, the air was soft, and all was rudeness, silence, and solitude. Before me, and on either side, were high hills, which, by hindering the eye from ranging, forced the mind to find entertainment for itself. Whether I spent the hour well, I know not; for here I first conceived the thought of this narration.

It was Edmund Burke who said, "Boswell's Life is a greater monument to Johnson's fame than all his writings put together. Let us remember, however, that this result would not have been attained by a mere record of Johnson's talk, however faithful. The triumph of his art is that it eludes notice; but take a typical instance—take his account of the dinner-party at Mr Dilly's, the bookseller in the Poultry, where Johnson, by Boswell's ingenious diplomacy, was brought to meet John Wilkes, whom he detested, and had handled severely in his political pamphlets, called The False Alarm and The Patriot ; the description shows Boswell's dramatic gift; and it is only one of a hundred scenes which do so.

When Johnson and Boswell entered Mr Dilly's drawing-room, and Johnson found that the gentleman in lace was Mr John Wilkes, he took up a book; but he was ashamed to let Boswell see that he was disconcerted, and had recovered his composure by the time dinner was announced. Boswell must tell the rest in his own words. No man eat more heartily than Johnson, or loved better what was nice and delicate. Mr Wilkes was very assiduous in helping him to some fine veal. Now, Johnson's talk itself profits somewhat, no doubt, in effect by Boswell's setting; this skilful dramatist nearly always contrives that the curtain shall fall on a victory of the hero.

Samuel Johnson (ENG)

We cannot always repress a suspicion that Johnson is allowed to score rather easily, and that a fairly good antagonist might have made a better fight of it; the bowling seems to collapse before his batting. However, there is no doubt at all as to his extraordinary impressiveness for his contemporaries. There are many other contemporary witnesses besides Boswell. Probably no one except Johnson was ever the recipient of a round-robin signed by four names of such varied lustre as those of Burke, Joshua Reynolds, Gibbon, and Sheridan. It was a small incident perhaps in itself, but what a position it implies for Johnson, what a command of admiring affection from the strongest and brightest minds of that day!

In Johnson's talk we seem to distinguish two leading aspects, which imply essentially different qualities; though of course the two are sometimes combined, or melt into each other. The first of these is controversial, or at least competitive; the other is didactic. When Johnson describes the delight of dining with friends at an inn, he says: "I dogmatise and am contradicted; and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight.

Indeed, it will always be a source of some reputation; for good debaters will always be rare. The other aspect of Johnson's talk may again be described in his own words: "that is the happiest conversation where there is no competition, no vanity, but a calm quiet interchange of sentiments. It has been said, not without justice, that he sometimes abuses the moralist's privilege of being commonplace; still—imbedded, it may sometimes be, in commonplace—the searcher will find many an acute remark, so pithily or forcibly worded as to be well worthy of remembrance.

This is ground on which his writings and his talk come into a single view; both alike exemplify this practical wisdom, and both must be laid under contribution, if we would appreciate its scope. Many of his shrewdest sayings concern social intercourse. Thus he observes that there are excellent people who have never done any wrong to their neighbours, and who cannot understand why they are not more popular; the reason being, as he puts it, that "they neglect all those arts by which men are endeared to one another.

But two Englishmen will probably go each to a different window, and remain in obstinate silence. Sir, we as yet do not enough understand the common rights of humanity. After this reproof, let us take a little crumb of comfort: Johnson defends—magnificently defends—our good old custom of talking about the weather; a custom which may languish, but which, we must earnestly hope, will never disappear. After pointing out the interesting uncertainty of our climate, and referring to some other available topics, such as gossip, the state of the stock-market, and continental wars, Johnson concludes:—"The weather is a nobler and more interesting subject; it is the present state of the skies and of the earth, on which plenty and famine are suspended, on which millions depend for the necessaries of life.

You love the one till you find reason to hate him; you hate the other till you find reason to love him. No man is always in a disposition to write; nor has any man at all times something to say. The volume features an introductory statement by Chinua Achebe, in which he comments on the responses his novel has elicited from readers around the world and offers advice on probing the significance of the story. Her writings span a variety of genres and address such themes as identity, Canadian nationalism, struggle for survival, sexual politics, and shamanism; this rich and diverse range has proved fertile ground for teachers and critics alike.

There were no reviews of Mansfield Park when it first appeared in Lionel Trilling praised Mansfield Park for exploring the difficult moral life of modernity; Edward Said brought postcolonial theory to the study of the novel; and twenty-first-century critics scrutinize these and other approaches to build on and go beyond them. It provides information about editions, film adaptations, and digital resources, and then nineteen essays discuss various aspects of Mansfield Park , including the slave trade, the theme of reading, elements of tragedy, gift theory, landscape design, moral improvement in the spirit of Samuel Johnson and of the Reformation, sibling relations, card playing, and interpretations of Fanny Price, the heroine, not as passive but as having some control.

Despite its enormous appeal—the novel has been in print almost continuously since its publication in —there are few scholarly works devoted to teaching it. The section also includes a handy biographical chronology and a map. This collection is an indispensable resource for teachers of courses ranging from introductory literature surveys and continuing-education classes to graduate-level seminars. The play, steeped in the racial issues of its time, continues to speak to racial violence and inequality today. This volume offers strategies for guiding students through this short but challenging text.

They help instructors ground the play artistically in the black arts movement, the beat generation, the theater of the absurd, pop music, and the blues. Background on civil rights, black power movements, the history of slavery, and Jim Crow laws helps contextualize the play politically and historically.