Seeds of Rebellion in Plantation Fiction: Victor Séjour’s ‘The Mulatto’

Through its representation of physical and psychological effects, Séjour’s story inaugurated the literary delineation of slavery’s submission-rebellion binary. By Dr. Ed PiacentinoProfessor Emeritus of EnglishHigh Point University Overview This essay examines Victor Séjour’s “The Mulatto” (1837), a short story acknowledged as the first fictional work by an African American. Through its representation of physical and[…]

Rambling Reflections: On Summers in Switzerland and Sheffield

In the footsteps of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Philipp Moritz — from the peace of Lake Biel to the rugged Peaks — Seán Williams considers the connection between walking and writing. In late summer and early autumn of 1765, Rousseau was on the run. He was always fleeing some sort of persecution: at times very[…]

The Double World: One Man’s Search for Meaning in the Seattle Public Library

Reality had always been viewed as a single unfolding history.  Stapp postulated another physical, not spiritual, world. I knew Orrill Stapp before I met him. The thin man with the wire-rimmed glasses, battered briefcase, and scuffed shoes. The black woman with the long tweed coat, red lipstick, and bulging shoulder bags. The elderly man who looked like John Bolton, only with[…]

J. W. Waterhouse’s ‘Ulysses and the Sirens’: Breaking Tradition and Revealing Fears

Waterhouse’s images of Circe, sirens and sorceresses raise a number of questions. By Michelle Bonollo Mr Waterhouse selected for illustration the well-known passage in the twelfth book of the ‘Odyssey’ of Homer, in which the poet has described the passage of the wanderer’s vessel through the Strait of Messina, with Scylla on the one side[…]

Whose Odyssey Is It Anyway?

The only possible response can be that it is no one’s and everyone’s. The death of Martin Bernal in June attracted less media attention than one might have hoped for the man who brought an unprecedented attention to the contemporary study of classics. His 1987 work, Black Athena, was not the first to argue for[…]

A Tiny Village in Vermont Was the Perfect Spot to Hide Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Without distractions, he produced some of his best writing there in exile. By Ted Lawrence, J.D. Some writers are so effective at capturing the places they write about that the two become forever linked. Think of Balzac and Paris. Faulkner and Mississippi. Thoreau and Walden Pond. Solzhenitsyn and . . . Vermont? Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn didn’t actually write[…]

The Man Who Made American Modernism and Modernism American

Jame’s Laughlin’s life amalgamated many seemingly dissonant strains in twentieth-century America into a coherent whole. The American poet-critic Ezra Pound believed that present throughout history are nodes of energy, bundles of power and expression that meld together many diverse and even conflicting forces and ideas into a harmonious whole. These nodes of energy could be[…]

Made in Taiwan?: An Eighteenth-Century Frenchman’s Fictional Formosa

Fictional characters, unlike laudanum-addicted impostors, never really die. A handsome youth with shoulder-length golden hair sits in a London garret, pondering. He is composing his first book—a work he believes will transform him from a penniless foreigner into a literary cause celebré. But first he must answer a self-imposed question: what do Taiwanese aristocrats eat for[…]

Quests for Fire: Neanderthals and Science Fiction

By 1914, paleoanthropology recognized five species of human ancestors, two sub-species, and the tangible evidence of humanity’s antiquity proved utterly captivating. The Quest Begins: Neanderthals Meet Science Fiction In 1856, workers at a limestone quarry in the Neander Valley of Germany turned over a curious set of skeletal remains to a local amateur naturalist, Johann[…]

Russian Nihilists and the Prehistory of Spy Fiction

In the 1880s and 90s, the age-old literary figure of the spy underwent a number of transformations that would establish its new meanings for the new century. Spy fiction has invariably proved to be an accurate barometer of political anxieties, at times even a potent fomenter of public paranoia in its own right, and it[…]

On G.H. Lewes’s ‘Problems of Mind’, 1874-1879

Positioning Problems Problems into its nineteenth-century psychological and philosophical tradition, as understood by Lewes. By Scott C. ThompsonPhD Student in LiteratureTemple University Abstract In Problems of Life and Mind (1874—79), George Henry Lewes posits his theory of “Scientific psychology,” which is founded on a synthesis between the objective study of the mind practiced in physiology[…]

How Charles Dickens Set the American Christmas Dinner Table

How did a religious celebration turn into a holiday that is all about home, family, and Christmas dinner? Turns out Charles Dickens has a lot to do with it. By Ellen C. Caldwell / 12.25.2016 How did a smaller religious celebration—once shunned by many American Christians—turn into a holiday season that is all about home, family,[…]

The Greatness of Gatsby in ‘The Great Gatsby’

Oheka Castle on Long Island served as one of the inspirations for Jay Gatsby’s estate in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. / Photo by Gryffindor, Wikimedia Commons By Qin Li (Baoding University, China) and Lili Zheng (Send School of Linxi, China) Abstract The Great Gatsby is the masterpiece of Fitzgerald, the representative of “Jazz Age”.[…]

What We Can Learn from Reading Sylvia Plath’s Copy of ‘The Great Gatsby’

For centuries, readers have written in the margins of their books to indicate admiration, disagreement or inspiration. Plath was no different. As a rare books curator, I get to interact with first editions of novels I love, illustrated versions of my favorite poets’ works, and lavish editions of historical engravings. In 2015, I started using the University[…]

The Poetry of Mary, Queen of Scots

She was known not only for her political status, but also for her textual skill – whether authentic or imagined. Think Mary, Queen of Scots and a few key facts probably come to mind: she was Catholic, she was imprisoned and she had her head chopped off. But a poet who offers insight into 16th-century[…]