Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Publisher's Paradise: Expatriate Literary Culture in Paris, 1890-1960

By Collette Colligan

From 1890 to 1960, some of Anglo-America’s most heated cultural contests over books, sex, and censorship were staged not at home, but abroad in the City of Light. Paris, with its extraordinary liberties of expression, became a special place for interrogating the margins of sexual culture and literary censorship, and a wide variety of English language “dirty books” circulated through loose expatriate publishing and distribution networks.

A Publisher’s Paradise explores the political and literary dynamics that gave rise to this expatriate cultural flourishing, which included everything from Victorian pornography to the most daring and controversial modernist classics. Colette Colligan tracks the British and French politicians and diplomats who policed Paris editions of banned books and uncovers offshore networks of publishers, booksellers, authors, and readers. She looks closely at the stories the “dirty books” told about this publishing haven and the smut peddlers and literary giants it brought together in transnational cultural formations. The book profiles an eclectic group of expatriates living and publishing in Paris, from relatively obscure figures such as Charles Carrington, whose list included both The Picture of Dorian Gray and the pornographic novel Randiana, to bookshop owner Sylvia Beach, famous for publishing James Joyce’s Ulysses in 1922.

A Publisher’s Paradise is a compelling exploration of the little-known history of foreign pornography in Paris and the central role it played in turning the city into a modernist outpost for literary and sexual vanguardism, a reputation that still lingers today in our cultural myths of midnight in Paris.

"With creative researching techniques, wit, and skill, Colligan brings to life the little known, understudied world of booklegging and book laundering, based in the French capital, but central to the development of Anglo-American modernist writing at large. A Publisher’s Paradise makes a significant scholarly contribution by taking ‘dirty books’ seriously and showing their significance to larger political and cultural conflicts, and by connecting dots that others have not connected."—Brooke Blower, author of Becoming Americans in Paris: Transatlantic Politics and Culture between the World Wars

This book is regularly available through University of MassachusettsPress. However, the University of MassachusettsPress is offering a special discount for the new year.  Please use promo code S545 when ordering directly through UMass Press to receive a New Year Special Discount of 30% now through the end of February.

Representing the National Landscape in Irish Romanticism

By Julia M. Wright

Ireland as a nation has come to be defined in part by an ideology which conflates national identity with the land. From the Irish Revival’s idealization of Irish peasants close to the land to the long history of disputes over ownership and rule of the land, notions of the land have become particularly bound up with conceptions of what Ireland is and what it is to be Irish. In this book, Wright considers this fraught relationship between land and national identity in Irish literature. In doing so, she presents a new vision of the Irish national landscape as one that is vitally connected to larger geographical spheres. By exploring issues of globalization, international radicalism, trade routes, and the export of natural resources, Wright is at the cutting edge of modern global scholarly trends and concerns. In considering texts from the Romantic era such as Leslie’s Killarney, Edgeworth’s "Limerick Gloves," and Moore’s Irish Melodies, Wright undercuts the nationalist myth of a "people of the soil" and explores instead nationalist ideas of an international Ireland. Reigniting the field of Irish Romanticism, Wright presents original readings which call into question politically motivated mythologies while energizing nationalist conceptions that reflect transnational networks and mobility.

"A major contribution to Irish literary and intellectual history. Wright’s astute and incisive analysis presents original perspectives on Irish literary history, reveals significant new tropes and connections within and beyond Irish literary tradition, traces the textual genealogies of iconic sites like Glendalough and Killarney, and explores neglected works by and interconnections among writers such as Charlotte Brooke, William Drennan, William Preston, Thomas Moore, Alicia Lefanu, John and Michael Banim, Lady Morgan, Denis Florence MacCarthy, and lesser known writers."—Mary Helen Thuente, author of The Harp Re-Strung: The United Irishmen and the Rise of Irish Literary Nationalism

"The book combines incredible archival research with theoretical nous. It deals with many texts that have not been substantially written about before, and draws fascinating links between texts previously not fully noticed."—James Kelly, editor of Ireland and Romanticism: Publics, Nations, and Scenes of Cultural Production

Available through Syracuse University Press

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Reform Acts: Chartism, Social Agency, and the Victorian Novel, 1832–1867

By Chris R. Vanden Bossche

Reform Acts offers a new approach to prominent questions raised in recent studies of the novel. By examining social agency from a historical rather than theoretical perspective, Chris R. Vanden Bossche investigates how particular assumptions involving agency came into being. Through readings of both canonical and noncanonical Victorian literature, he demonstrates that the Victorian tension between reform and revolution framed conceptions of agency in ways that persist in our own time.

Vanden Bossche argues that Victorian novels sought to imagine new forms of social agency evolving from Chartism, the dominant working-class movement of the time. Novelists envisioned alternative forms of social agency by employing contemporary discourses from Chartism's focus on suffrage as well as the means through which it sought to obtain it, such as moral versus physical force, land reform, and the cooperative movement.

Each of the three parts of Reform Acts begins with a chapter that analyzes contemporary conversations and debates about social agency in the press and in political debate. Succeeding chapters examine how novels envision ways of effecting social change, for example, class alliance in Barnaby Rudge; landed estates as well as finely graded hierarchy and politicians inConingsby and Sybil; and reforming trade unionism in Mary Barton andNorth and South. By including novels written from a range of political perspectives, Vanden Bossche discovers patterns in Victorian thinking that are easily recognized in today's assumptions about social hierarchy.

"At once boldly revisionist and meticulously argued, Reform Acts re-orients our approach to class politics and ideological criticism. Asking how the Victorians themselves understood the concept of agency, Vanden Bossche traces dynamic interchanges among class antagonists across multiple genres to delineate the shape of social change in the nineteenth century."—Ellen Rosenman, University of Kentucky