Literary criticism

Rebecca Maria DeWald
November 5, 2020

Reading creates imaginary worlds. Rather than merely contemplating this world, we establish links between the fictional world and the environment we live in. At the same time, the books we read form part of our daily lives, and contribute to the creation of a universe of possible worlds we inhabit. Taking Possible World Theory as a starting point, DeWald re-evaluates and overturns the assumed hierarchical relationship between original text and its translation. Focusing on the translations of Virginia Woolf and Franz Kafka by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, the author considers why we insist on maintaining borders between texts. DeWald examines marginal cases of translations and originals (pseudo-translations and...

Jerome J. McGann
July 10, 2020

In October 1869, Pre-Raphaelite painter and poet, Gabriel Dante Rossetti exhumed the grave of his former muse and wife, Elizabeth Siddal, to retrieve some earlier poetry he had buried with her. The collection was published as the Poems of D. G. Rossetti in 1870 to great controversy- for their eroticism and hedonism- and none received greater attention than the ‘House of Life’ sonnets, a ballad intimately describing a romantic relationship.

In this short essay, Professor Jerome J. McGann unpacks the origins and inspirations for the ‘House of Life’ sonnets, including the influence of Italian poet, Dante Alighieri; their shared traits of allegory and theatricality, Rossetti’s abstract concepts of life and love,...

Cornelia Wech
June 30, 2020

This study examines how the literary works of Elisabeth Reichart, Charlotte Roche and Elfriede Jelinek challenge normativity both in their engagement with gender and sexuality and with aesthetic choices. The comparative analysis of texts published over a twenty-year period provides insights into the socio-political and cultural dynamics at the time of publication. It reveals the continuing relevance of feminist authorial voices to the present day, challenging the stable, normative understanding of feminism and feminist writing itself, and showing how literature can function as a form of intervention that provides a reflective space for readers to question norms in their own lives and to take the initiative to change these...

David Crystal OBE
June 19, 2020

Professor David Crystal discusses Computer-Mediated Speech (CMC), or Netspeak. In this short book, he presents a discursive timeline of the linguistic quirks of digital interactivity. From framing to flaming, from emoticons to text speak, can we ever communicate effectively in our digital realms?

The book is based on a lecture given as part of the Hilda Hulme Memorial Lectures, established in 1985 following a donation from Mr Mohamed Aslam in memory of his wife, Dr Hilda Hulme. The lectures are on the subject of English literature and relate to one of ‘the three fields in which Dr Hulme specialised, namely Shakespeare, language in Elizabethan drama, and the nineteenth-century...

Rosemary Ashton
June 12, 2020

When the Victorian journalist and critic, George Henry Lewes invited George Eliot and Charles Dickens to dinner in 1859, few imagined it would lead to one of the greatest creative exchanges in literary history.

From the non-traditional ‘marriage’ of Eliot and Lewes, to the unconventional eye Lewes cast over Dickens’ work, this book throws fresh light on the chief subject of their critical interest by looking at the complex relationships between Dickens, Eliot and Lewes. It contends that Lewes saw something in Dickens and Eliot that his contemporaries could not grasp, and traces the birth of ‘psychological realism’ as a literary device in English literature.

The book is based on a...

Rebecca May Johnson
August 9, 2019

How has classical literature shaped culture, knowledge, the thinkable? What happens when a canonical text is translated from his gaze into her, and their, gaze(s)?  These are some of the questions Barbara Köhler pursues in her modern epic poem, Niemands Frau (2007), her response to The Odyssey. Translated and re-imagined over the centuries, Homer’s tale found critical resonance in intellectual traditions from Christianity through to Post-Colonialism. Odysseus has been viewed as an ideal, reputedly using reason rather than force to dominate, but in Niemands Frau Köhler takes inspiration from Penelope to weave a text that challenges the rationalist and patriarchal...

Elizabeth Brennan
June 19, 2019
This lecture was originally published by the Institute of English Studies, University of London in 1996.

The Hilda Hulme Memorial Lectures were established in 1985 following a donation from Mr Mohamed Aslam in memory of his wife, Dr Hilda Hulme. The lectures are on the subject of English literature and relate to one of ‘the three fields in which Dr Hulme specialised, namely Shakespeare, language in Elizabethan drama, and the nineteenth-century novel’.

Isobel Armstrong
March 31, 2019
This lecture was originally published by the Institute of English Studies, University of London in 1992.

The Hilda Hulme Memorial Lectures were established in 1985 following a donation from Mr Mohamed Aslam in memory of his wife, Dr Hilda Hulme. The lectures are on the subject of English literature and relate to one of ‘the three fields in which Dr Hulme specialised, namely Shakespeare, language in Elizabethan drama, and the nineteenth-century novel’.
Helen Vendler
August 20, 2018
This lecture was originally published by the Institute of English Studies, University of London in 1990.

The Hilda Hulme Memorial Lectures were established in 1985 following a donation from Mr Mohamed Aslam in memory of his wife, Dr Hilda Hulme. The lectures are on the subject of English literature and relate to one of ‘the three fields in which Dr Hulme specialised, namely Shakespeare, language in Elizabethan drama, and the nineteenth-century novel’.

Stanley Wells
July 31, 2018
This lecture was originally published by the Institute of English Studies, University of London in 1987.

The Hilda Hulme Memorial Lectures were established in 1985 following a donation from Mr Mohamed Aslam in memory of his wife, Dr Hilda Hulme. The lectures are on the subject of English literature and relate to one of ‘the three fields in which Dr Hulme specialised, namely Shakespeare, language in Elizabethan drama, and the nineteenth-century novel’.

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