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Reading Shakespeare's Hamlet By John Lennard
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This book approaches Shakespeare as utterly a man of the theatre, a professional actor before he was a playwright and a resident dramatist who knew intimately the actors for whom he wrote. It... More > continues by ‘Approaching Hamlet’ in that light, and as a revenge tragedy deliberately overloaded with complications. The middle chapters look in detail at the ‘Actors and Players’ of the drama, starting with the Ghost and ending with ‘the best actors in the world’, and at Shakespeare’s favourite ‘Acts and Devices’ as deployed within it. A final chapter considers Hamlet and Twelfth Night, written and premiered in close succession, as an unexpectedly resonant pair, a surprisingly funny revenge tragedy and a surprisingly bleak revenge comedy that for the first audiences would have complemented one another. The annotated Bibliography includes the current major editions of Hamlet, the major film-adaptations, and a selection of both the best criticism and the most useful websites.< Less
Grasmere 2009 By Richard Gravil
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A selection of keynote lectures and conference papers from the 2009 Wordsworth Summer Conference, including Gillian Beer's remarkable address on Darwin and Romanticism, Richard Cronin on Wordsworth... More > and the Press, Paul H Fry on Wordsworth and Coleridge, Claire Lamont on the Romantic Cottage, and Nicholas Roe's illustrated talk on Keats and the Elgin marbles. Other essays address 'Tintern Abbey', the 'Intimations Ode', 'Peter Bell', Wordsworth on human suffering, matters of patronage, the editing of her father's 'Biographia' by Sara Coleridge and an 1850 journal by Wordsworth's niece, Sarah Hutchinson the younger.< Less
Francis Jeffrey's Highland and Continental Tours By Pamela Perkins
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Newly transcribed from manuscript, Francis Jeffrey's Highland Tour of 1800 and Continental Tour of 1823 offer a revealing insight into the sensibility of the arch critic of the Lake Poets. 244 pages,... More > with an introduction by Pamela Perkins.< Less
Wordsworth and Helen Maria Williams; or, the Perils of Sensibility By Richard Gravil
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This book examines the connection between William Wordsworth and the work of Helen Maria Williams and the effect this connection may have had on his reception by such hostile critics as Francis... More > Jeffrey. Why did Wordsworth write his first published poem to Helen Maria Williams? What role did she play in forming his views of poetry, and of the French Revolution? Why was Wordsworth able to recite in 1820 a poem by Miss Williams that he first read in 1790? Was his own poetical sensibility comparable with that of the older woman? Did the reception of Wordsworth’s Poems, in Two Volumes by Francis Jeffrey and others —as ‘puerile’, ‘namby-pamby’, ‘lisping’ and ‘affected’ — reflect a belief that manly sense and feminine sensibility, are not compatible? If so, why did Wordsworth run that risk? This little book attempts to suggest answers to some of those questions, and to provoke more systematic considerations of them all, and of Wordsworth's daring reconfiguration of 'manliness'.< Less
The Convention of Cintra By William Wordsworth
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This 304 page bicentennial critical edition of William Wordsworth's impassioned pamphlet on The Convention of Cintra is based on W J B Owen's scholarly edition, and includes all of Professor Owen's... More > commentary and notes. Wordsworth's essay is not merely one of the classic works about the peninsular war but widely cited as one of the first theorisations of guerrilla warfare. It is also a remarkable revelation of Wordsworth's philosophy of human life, and reveals the reanimation of his youthful radicalism by his shock at the British establishment's betrayal of Spanish and Portuguese patriots. The text is prefaced by a critical colloquium with essays by Simon Bainbridge, David Bromwich, Richard Gravil, Timothy Michael and Patrick Vincent.< Less
Reading 'Catch-22' By Paul McDonald
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Comic novelist and critic, Paul McDonald, provides an accessible, revealing guide to Joseph Heller’s seminal anti-war novel, Catch-22. McDonald succinctly contextualises the book both in... More > relation to the author’s life, and key developments in modern American literature. The book offers a thorough summary and analysis of the plot, addresses important characters such as Colonel Cathcart, Milo Minderbinder, Major Major, and Doc Daneeka, and explains the various ways in which Yossarian’s hilarious predicament has been interpreted. Among other things it considers Yossarian’s status as a mythic hero, an individualist hero, and a postmodern hero, assessing his relevance to contemporary America, and his re-emergence in the sequel to Catch-22, Closing Time, published in 1994. It also offers a descriptive bibliography of important secondary sources, and links to useful online texts. Paul McDonald is Senior Lecturer in American Literature and Course Leader for Creative Writing at the University of Wolverhampton.< Less
Letters of Mrs Gaskell's Daughters By Irene Wiltshire
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The letters of the four Gaskell daughters open a door into the social and cultural lives of a well-connected middle-class Victorian family. Events that impinged on the lives and the letters of these... More > women include the Indian Mutiny, the assassination of Lincoln, the Franco–Prussian War, the Boer Wars and Fenian agitation. They witnessed the effects in England of the American Civil War, and engaged in the religious controversies of the day. They take a close interest in the impact of Darwin’s discoveries, discuss the latest news, Ruskin’s lectures on Venice, the Pre-Raphaelites, and what it is like to play Beethoven’s piano pieces under Sir Charles Hallé’s tuition. They also shed light on the network of Unitarian friends and scholars who undertook the stewardship of Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing. This richly annotated edition will appeal to anyone interested in Transatlantic relations, in Mrs Gaskell, in women’s networking, in Victorian ideas and social life, and in the intellectual culture of dissenting circles.< Less
Reading Toni Morrison's 'Beloved' By Paul McDonald
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Toni Morrison’s ground-breaking novel, 'Beloved', is one of the most successful novels of all time, selling millions of copies internationally and inspiring critical commentary from scholars of... More > the highest distinction. Its influence is such that it is studied by students of literature around the world and is often cited as one of the most significant books of modern times. However, its popularity belies its difficulty: many find the novel hard to read, struggling with its structure and occasionally fragmented style. This guide accessible, illuminating guide is designed to help readers engage with this complex work and achieve a deeper understanding of its context, the literary strategies it employs, and the various ways in which it has been interpreted since its publication in 1987. Paul McDonald is Senior Lecturer in American Literature and Course Leader for Creative Writing at the University of Wolverhampton, and is the author of eleven books, including three poetry collections and three comic novels.< Less
Grasmere 2013 By Richard Gravil
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This selection of three lectures and eight papers from the 42nd Wordsworth Summer Conference, opens with Heidi Thomson's fresh approach to Wordsworth's Salisbury Plain narrative, and closes with... More > Deirdre Coleman's exploration of the Keats Circle's interest in Indian culture. Christopher Simons contributes a rare full-length treatment of Ecclesiastical Sketches vis-a-vis Wordsworth's oeuvre. The book also includes papers on Wordsworth by Peter Larkin, Tom Clucas, Simon Swift, Daniel Robinson, Rowan Boyson and Richard Gravil, and by Kimiyo Ogawa on Godwin and Hazlitt, Alexandra Paterson on Shelley, and by Richard Lansdown on 'Coralline history' in James Montgomery's remarkable 'Pelican Island'.< Less
Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Study of Selected Poems By John Gilroy
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the book offers a detailed commentary on the poetry of Hopkins, exploring the significance of contemporary cultural issues and the poet's life as Catholic convert and Jesuit priest. Part 1 traces... More > Hopkins's life from his early schooldays, his undergraduate years at Oxford and conversion to Catholicism, to his work as a Jesuit scholar and poet-priest. Part 2, explains the core principles of Hopkins's innovative and challenging poetry, including sections on inscape, instress and sprung rhythm. Part 3, provides a detailed critical commentary on most of the major poems, including The Wreck of the Deutschland, God's Grandeur, The Windhover, Pied Beauty, The Caged Skylark, Hurrahing in Harvest, Felix Randal, Spring and Fall, Inversnaid, the six 'Terrible Sonnets', and That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire. Part 4, explores the history of Hopkins criticism from that of his own contemporaries to twentieth century and current critical approaches. John Gilroy is also the author of Reading Philip Larkin: Selected Poms< Less