(Arthur Rose, Edinburgh University Press, 2022)
Few modern materials have been as central to histories of environmental toxicity, medical ignorance, and legal liability as asbestos. A naturally occurring mineral fibre once hailed for its ability to guard against fire, asbestos is now best known for the horrific illnesses it causes. This book offers a new take on the established history of asbestos from a literary critical perspective, showing how literature and film during and after modernism responded first to the material’s proliferation through the built environment, and then to its catastrophic effects on human health. Starting from the surprising encounters writers have had with asbestos—Franz Kafka’s part ownership of an asbestos factory, Primo Levi’s work in an asbestos mine, and James Kelman’s early life as an asbestos factory worker—the book looks to literature to rethink received truths in historical, legal and medical scholarship. In doing so, it models an interdisciplinary approach for tracking material intersections between modernism and the environmental and health humanities. Asbestos – The Last Modernist Object offers readers a compelling new method for using cultural objects when thinking about how to live with the legacies of toxic materials.
(Michael Greaney, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022)
Jane Austen's richly textured worlds have enchanted readers for centuries and this neatly organised, playful book provides Austen enthusiasts and students alike with a unique insight into the much-loved writer's way with words.
Using a lively A-Z structure, Greaney provides fresh angles on familiar Austen themes (D is for dance; M is for matchmaking), casts light on under-examined corners of her imagination (R is for risk; S is for servant), and shows how current social and cultural concerns are re-shaping our understanding of her work (Q is for queer; W is for West Indies). Through this approach, we learn how attention to the tiniest linguistic detail in Austen's work can yield rewarding new perspectives on the achievements of one of our most celebrated authors.
Sharply focused on textual detail but broad in scope it broaches questions that, like Austen's work, will intrigue, delight and inspire: Why are children so marginal in her storylines? Who is the best exponent of matchmaking in her fiction? Why are many of her female characters – but none of her heroines – called Jane? Providing a new close-up encounter with one of our most celebrated writers, this book invites a renewed appreciation of the infinite subtlety and endless re-readability of a body of writing in which every word counts.
(Curtis Runstedler, Palgrave Macmilan, 2023)
This book explores the different functions and metaphorical concepts of alchemy in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Middle English poetry and bridges them together with the exempla tradition in late medieval English literature. Such poetic narratives function as exemplary models which directly address the ambiguity of medieval English alchemical practice. This book examines the foundation of this relationship between alchemical narrative and exemplum in the poetry of Gower and Chaucer in the fourteenth century before exploring its diffusion in lesser-known anonymous poems and recipes in the fifteenth century, namely alchemical dialogues between Morienus and Merlin, Albertus Magnus and the Queen of Elves, and an alchemical version of John Lydgate’s poem The Churl and the Bird. It investigates how this exemplarity can be read as inherent to understanding poetic narratives containing alchemy, as well as enabling the reader to reassess the understanding and expectations of science and narrative within medieval English poetry.
(Sophie Franklin, Saraband, 2016)
Everybody knows Charlotte Brontë. World-famous for her novel Jane Eyre, she’s a giant of literature and has been written about in reverential tones in scores of textbooks over the years. But what do we really know about Charlotte?
Charlotte Brontë Revisited looks at Charlotte through 21st-century eyes. Discover her private world of convention, rebellion and imagination, and how they shaped her life, writing and obsessions – including the paranormal, nature, feminism and politics. It’s a celebration of all things Charlotte, and emphatically shows why she’s as relevant today as she ever was
(Arya Aryan, Palgrave Macmilan, 2020)
The premise of the book is underpinned by the medical humanities: an exploration of the body and madness in relation to authorship and agency in writings by authors including Muriel Spark, Doris Lessing, John Fowles, Samuel Beckett, Salman Rushdie, J. M. Coetzee and Hilary Mantel. This book not only discloses and examines different functions and concepts of authorship in fiction and theory from the 1950s and 1960s to the present but it also reveals, at least implicitly, a trajectory of some of the modes and functions of the novel as a genre in the last few decades. It argues that the explicit terms of much of the theoretical and philosophical debate surrounding the concept of authorship in the moment of High Theory in the 1980s had already been engaged, albeit often more implicitly, in literary fictions by writers themselves. This book examines the fortunes of the authorship debate and the conceptualisations and functions of authorship before, during, and after the Death of the Author came to prominence as one of the key foci for the moment of High Theory in the 1980s.