Category Archives: Twentieth-Century Literature

Response to Fabio Akcelrud Durão, “Responsible Reading of Theory”

By | December 7, 2021

Fabio Akcelrud Durão’s essay “Responsible Reading of Theory” engages with a number of large and fundamental questions regarding the identity, purpose, and future of theory. The answers that it offers are so rich and complex that a responsible reading of the entirety of that essay would require a monograph. For that reason, this response will focus on just the first paragraph of the first of the essay’s three sections and consider how that paragraph defines the relationship between theory and literature.

Response to “The Positive of the Negative: Joycean Post-Structuralism as Felskian Critique” by Robert Baines

By | November 24, 2021

Robert Baines starts his essay with a vivid analytical presentation of the last five decades of research in the field of Joyce Studies, emphasizing the context and stakes of the shift from (a) post-structuralist criticism to (b) a focus on “Joyce’s engagements with the history, politics, and culture of his age” (Baines xx), and later to (c) genetic criticism. Baines’ account of the last 50 years of criticism and his suggestions for extended forms of dialogue between supposedly divergent critical/ theoretical orientations can easily be transposed, mutatis mutandis, to Beckett studies.

Finding the Experimentalists

By | November 23, 2021

After pouring over dozens of conference papers and journal articles, public lectures, a PhD thesis, a Fellowship, and spending hundreds of hours in archives around the world, I carefully constructed the case for the Experimentalists not only being a movement but perhaps being one of the most important British literary movements of the twentieth century.

Shirley Jackson and “Safer at Home”

By | December 14, 2020

Guest post by Jill E. Anderson December 14, 2020 would have been Shirley Jackson’s 104th birthday, and for those of us in the U.S., this day also marks about six months under some version of a forced quarantine. A thought has crossed my mind a number of times that time: what would Shirley Jackson have… Read More »

Learning and Connecting with Lili Elbe

By | November 18, 2020

Guest post by Sabine Meyer Sometimes, someone that has been incredibly important to you, that has penetrated your very way of thinking and being becomes an indispensable thread of your own fabric, sneaking back into your life, again and again, reminding you of the role they play in your never-ending evolution. To me, Lili Ilse… Read More »

Writing and Editing The Tough Alchemy of Ben Okri

By | September 29, 2020

Guest post by Rosemary Alice Gray The publication of my monograph entitled, The Tough Alchemy of Ben Okri: The writer as conceptual artist fell about a week before my 80th birthday, auspiciously 20 August 2020. Since I discovered the works of Nigerian-born Londoner, Ben Okri (OBE), who has invested his lifeblood at the rock face of… Read More »

Preparing to Explore Weird Fiction in Lovecraft Country

By | August 13, 2020

Based on a novel by the same name, Lovecraft Country is a drama-horror series set to premiere on HBO this weekend. The story will take you back to the 1950s as you follow Atticus Black (Jonathan Majors), his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) through Jim Crow America in search of Atticus’s missing father (Michael Kenneth Williams). But as the characters embark on an unexpected road trip, they encounter a… Read More »

Samuel Beckett and the Politics of Closed Space

By | June 4, 2020

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about confinement.

How many steps from my desk to the fridge? (seven) How many from the fridge to the bathroom? (twelve) How many times per day do I track this route?

In October 1954, Samuel Beckett too was thinking of confinement. He was reading a letter from German prisoner Karl-Franz Lembke, who had translated, rehearsed and staged Beckett’s debut play, Waiting for Godot, behind bars. Beckett was clearly moved, as we can see in his response:

The Unbearable Lightness of Anti-Fascism

By | February 10, 2020

Guest post by Tom Kuhn Bertolt Brecht was born on February 10, 1898. To celebrate the 122nd anniversary of his birth, Tom Kuhn explores a side of his work that is often less appreciated. The most recent volume in the Bloomsbury Methuen Drama Brecht list may come as a surprise. Bertolt Brecht’s Refugee Conversations is… Read More »

Happy birthday, Flannery O’Connor!

By | March 25, 2019

Guest post by Jordan Cofer This March 25th marks Flannery O’Connor’s 94th birthday and if you’re near Savannah, Georgia, Flannery O’Connor’s birth place, you could join the Flannery O’Connor enthusiasts who line up each year in Lafayette Square for the Annual Flannery O’Connor Birthday Parade. They dress up as their favorite O’Connor characters and take… Read More »