Recent Submissions

  • 'fancys or feelings': John Clare's hypochondriac poetics

    Lafford, Erin; University of Derby (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020-09-18)
    Clare’s mental and physical health has long been a source of interest and contention in his critical reception. Approaches to his ‘madness’ have ranged from retroactive diagnoses of bipolar disorder, to interrogations of insanity as a discourse of clinical power. If the result of these debates is that critics are more willing to read pathology as performance, or even to suggest that Clare’s disorder might not have been straightforwardly ‘real’, then this essay asks what can be gained from returning to some fleeting claims about the poet’s mental and physical health that express a struggle between reality and imagination, but have not yet received sufficient attention. I refer here to suggestions, both from his contemporary moment and from his subsequent critical reception, that Clare was a hypochondriac. Clare has been overlooked in critical conversations that discuss the significance of hypochondria as a facet of the Romantic medical imagination and cultivation of ‘fashionable disease’ but, as I hope to show, hypochondria should be taken seriously as a conceptual lens through which to read his poetic imagination in relation to illness and disorder. Hypochondria occupies a distinct interpretative space of uncertainty and of literary associations that, this essay argues, is better able to approach Clare on his own terms. I consider hypochondria in two interrelated ways: as a social and literary culture that Clare wanted to participate in and that also framed some of his writing, and as a form of poetic imagination and attention that emerged from Clare’s anxious scrutiny of his own body and mind. I also explore, through a final reading of a sonnet Clare published in the London Magazine in 1821, how hypochondria can become an important lens through which to consider his lyric subjectivity, uncovering as it does the ambiguously pathological experiences or registers that might disrupt his observation of the natural world.
  • Palgrave advances in John Clare studies

    Kovesi, Simon; Lafford, Erin; Oxford Brookes University; University of Derby (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020-09-18)
    Contributes to ongoing conversations about John Clare's work while offering new perspectives and directions on Clare scholarship, in an accessible writing style Serves as both a useful introduction to Clare and his work for students that are new to it, and a rich resource for scholars already working in the area Essays look at interdisciplinary topics including ecocriticism, environmental humanities, medical humanities, and posthumanism Features essays from established and early career scholars Is comprehensive in its coverage of popular and new topics in Clare studies.
  • Blasphemy and politics in romantic literature

    Whickman, Paul; University of Derby (Springer International Publishing, 2020-06-07)
    This book argues for the importance of blasphemy in shaping the literature and readership of Percy Bysshe Shelley and of the Romantic period more broadly. Not only are perceptions of blasphemy taken to be inextricable from politics, this book also argues for blasphemous ‘irreverence’ as both inspiring and necessitating new poetic creativity. The book reveals the intersection of blasphemy, censorship and literary property throughout the ‘Long Eighteenth Century’, attesting to the effect of this connection on Shelley’s poetry more specifically. Paul Whickman notes how Shelley’s perceived blasphemy determined the nature and readership of his published works through censorship and literary piracy. Simultaneously, Whickman crucially shows that aesthetics, content and the printed form of the physical text are interconnected and that Shelley’s political and philosophical views manifest themselves in his writing both formally and thematically.
  • After the Holocaust: Facing the Nazi past in British and international perspective—an interview with David Cesarani

    Allwork Larissa; University of Derby (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019-11-25)
    This chapter focuses on Gerhard Richter’s Uncle Rudi (1965) and Mr Heyde (1965) and Gustav Metzger’s Historic Photographs series (1995–1998) in order to present a new interpretation of how these artists perform the photograph in order to provoke cultural rather than legal confrontations with Nazi criminality. Rejecting Holocaust representational pieties in favour of the reinterpretation of the Duchampian ‘Readymade’ in the case of Richter, and Dada’s anti-aesthetics of destruction and revulsion in Metzger’s, this chapter will argue that Richter’s oblique pose of the ‘anti-ideological artist’ and Metzger’s more overt performance of the ‘subversive social activist’ are part of important social and cultural processes of confronting Nazi criminality. These types of cultural reckonings were recognized as important in David Cesarani’s edited collection, After Eichmann: Collective Memory and the Holocaust after 1961 (2005).
  • Introduction: the lives and legacies of David Cesarani

    Allwork Larissa; Pistol, Rachel; University of Derby; Kings College London (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019-11-25)
    This introduction to the edited collection ‘The Jews, the Holocaust and the Public’ focuses on David Cesarani as autobiographer and biographer. It comprises a brief introduction to Cesarani’s life in academia, his own autobiographical essay and his interest in biography as an academic form, via his studies of Benjamin Disraeli, Arthur Koestler and Adolf Eichmann. This chapter will present the new argument that these three figures can be interpreted as emblematic of three key overlapping themes in Cesarani’s broader research interests: Anglo-Jewish history; migration, minorities and nationalisms; and the Holocaust its history, the prosecution of the perpetrators and its ongoing legacies. It is these themes that comprise a uniquely ‘Cesaranian’ interdisciplinary approach to the Holocaust. It is also these themes, sometimes separately, and at other times in combination, that will animate the considerations of the chapters in this volume for the ‘Holocaust and its Contexts’.
  • Twenty-first century book studies: the state of the discipline

    Noorda, Rachel; Marsden, Stevie; University of Leicester (Project Muse, 2019-05-16)
  • The first rule of judging club…: inside the saltire society literary awards

    Marsden, Stevie; Squires, Claire; University of Leicester; University of Stirling (Lectito BV, 2019-12-11)
    Book awards are a pervasive aspect of contemporary book culture, attracting both substantial media and scholarly attention. They confer prestige, create marketing opportunities, push sales, and contribute to the early stages of canon formation. Yet, beyond occasional media splashes when judges break ranks and disagree, there is little insight into the administrative and decision-making processes inside book awards. This article draws on the autoethnographic experiences of two academic researchers, who were simultaneously participants (as administrator and judge) for the Saltire Society Literary Awards. In so doing, the article gives insight into particular moments within the administration and judging of the awards, such as changes instigated by research findings and debates surrounding gender imbalance in Scottish literary award culture. It also examines some of the challenges of operating as embedded researchers. The article analyses what autoethnographic methods can bring to an understanding of the Saltire Society’s Literary Awards and other cultural awards, and the implications of embedded research and collaborative autoethnography for 21st century book culture scholarship more widely. It reflects upon modes of embedded research by making evident the challenges and dilemmas of researching from the ‘inside’. The ethical framework for such research is far from simple, but in exploring particular moments with perspectives from both inside and outside the judging processes, and in interrogating the practices of literary consecration, the article casts light upon this particular ‘judging club’ and its practices, and illuminates ways in which researchers might consider, orientate, and carry out further research into processes of cultural consecration.
  • Diversity and opportunity in the UK media industries

    Marsden, Stevie; University of Leicester (2019-01-14)
  • ‘I didn’t know you could read': questioning the legitimacy of Kim Kardashian-West’s status as a cultural and literary intermediary

    Marsden, Stevie; University of Leicester (Brill, 2018-11-17)
    This paper considers the reactions to the announcement of the Kim Kardashian-West Book Klub and explores how this episode illustrated the perceived illegitimacy of celebrities like Kardashian-West, who are commonly associated with ‘lowbrow culture’, engaging with and discussing literature, an activity that has traditionally been seen as a middlebrow endeavour. The reactions to the Kardashian-West Book Klub not only reflect issues around the status of celebrities as cultural intermediaries but also bring to the fore historical principles that have questioned the intelligence and capabilities of women readers. This paper positions the Kim Kardashian-West Book Klub within the wider historical context of women readers and book clubs and considers the prestige, or lack thereof, of celebrities who try to be cultural and literary intermediaries. The paper also considers the Kardashian-West Book Klub in relation to other major celebrity book clubs and argues that such forays into literary culture are used by some celebrities to bolster their social and cultural capital, acting first and foremost as a branch of their personal brand identity, rather than as altruistic enterprises.
  • Why women don’t win literary awards: the saltire society literary awards and implicit stereotyping

    Marsden, Stevie; University of Leicester (Taylor and Francis, 2019-02-01)
    The purpose of this analysis is to consider the Saltire Society’s Book of the Year and First Book of the Year Awards in relation to wider issues pertaining to media representations of Scottish literary and publishing culture. Through a statistical analysis of the Society’s Book of the Year and First Book of the Year shortlists and winners between 1988 and 2014, this examination shows the extent to which the Society’s Literary Awards reflect, as opposed to subvert, historic and existing gender imbalances in Scottish literary and publishing culture. Indeed, despite critics arguing that there was a change in tide in the late 1980s and early 1990s regarding the balance in gender representation in Scottish literature, this analysis suggests that Scotland’s book award culture, and in turn, literary culture more widely, remains dominated by men. Perceptions of the apparent ‘balancing’ of the gender disparity in Scottish writing do not align with the statistics discussed here, a fact further evidence by misconceptions held by members of the Society’s own Literary Awards judging panels. Accordingly, this article contends that such inconsistencies lend credence to the argument that the Society’s judges have participated in implicit stereotyping based upon culturally pervasive stereotypes’ that Scottish women writers play a ‘minor’ role in Scottish literary and publishing culture.
  • ‘Eating, sleeping, breathing, reading’: the zoella book club and the young woman reader in the 21st Century

    Branagh-Miscampbell, Maxine; Marsden, Stevie; University of Stirling; University of Leicester (Participations, 2019-05-01)
    This article considers the development and promotion of WH Smith’s Zoella Book Club and its success in developing an online community who share a reading experience through their engagement with the club. The Zoella Book Club is considered in relation to contemporary celebrity book club culture, as well as within an historical context that appraises the Zoella Book Club in terms of the construction and promotion of ideal(ised) notions of the young woman reader. Through its aesthetic, choice of books and rhetoric, the Zoella Book Club propagated, commodified, and ultimately perpetuated, highly feminised and domestic imagery to construct an image of the ideal woman reader in the twenty-first century.
  • The beating heart of the system: the health of postal workers in Victorian London

    Brown, Douglas; Green, David; McIlvenna, Kathleen; Shelton, Nicola; Kingston University; Kings College, London; University of Derby; University College London (Elsevier, 2020-05-10)
    In the later decades of the nineteenth century, the United Kingdom experienced a shift in the causes of mortality, from infectious diseases to those more associated with ageing. This epidemiological transition from acute to chronic conditions was accompanied by an increase in longevity and a corresponding increase in morbidity, measured by rising rates of sickness absence. As longevity improved, the period between the onset of ill health and death lengthened. If we are to understand the daily lived experiences of health in different places during the epidemiological transition, it is necessary to explore the complex causes of morbidity rather than just focus on mortality. We argue that other reasons need to be considered alongside age as important influences on the incidence and duration of ill health, including urbanisation, occupational risks and cultural and institutional factors. Using evidence drawn from a sample of pension records of postal workers, we examine a variety of different factors that could have accounted for the changing pattern of morbidity observed in other studies. We conclude that age alone cannot account for the greater incidence of sickness absence and ill health and that other factors relating to the residential and working environment, as well as institutional arrangements for sick pay, need to be taken into account.
  • The internet science fiction theatre database

    Callow, Christos Jr; University of Derby (2018)
    The Internet Science Fiction Theatre Database (ISFTDB) of Cyborphic primarily consists of contemporary plays, i.e. published and/or produced in the 21st Century. Some key texts of sci-fi theatre from the 20th Century are included in a separate section. For a more complete list of 20th Century science fiction plays, see Ralph Willingham’s appendix in his 1993 book Science Fiction and the Theatre. The database is created by Christos Callow Jr, playwright and lecturer at the University of Derby.
  • In advance of the broken image: Gerhard Richter and Gustav Metzger’s confrontations with Nazi criminality

    Allwork Larissa; University of Derby (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019-11-25)
    This chapter focuses on Gerhard Richter’s Uncle Rudi (1965) and Mr Heyde (1965) and Gustav Metzger’s Historic Photographs series (1995–1998) in order to present a new interpretation of how these artists perform the photograph in order to provoke cultural rather than legal confrontations with Nazi criminality. Rejecting Holocaust representational pieties in favour of the reinterpretation of the Duchampian ‘Readymade’ in the case of Richter, and Dada’s anti-aesthetics of destruction and revulsion in Metzger’s, this chapter will argue that Richter’s oblique pose of the ‘anti-ideological artist’ and Metzger’s more overt performance of the ‘subversive social activist’ are part of important social and cultural processes of confronting Nazi criminality. These types of cultural reckonings were recognized as important in David Cesarani’s edited collection, After Eichmann: Collective Memory and the Holocaust after 1961 (2005).
  • John Clare, herbalism, and elegy

    Lafford, Erin; University of Derby (Edinburgh University Press, 2020)
    Discussions of Clare’s engagement with botany often trace his fraught relationship with taxonomy, exploring his admiration for common names over the ‘dark system’ of Linnaean classification. This essay expands understanding of Clare’s botanical imagination by considering how he brings his botanical ‘taste’ to bear on the flower as a key figure of elegiac consolation. I refocus attention on his formative preference for pre-Linnaean herbalism and explore how it informs his engagement with elegiac tradition and imagery, especially in relation to Gray’s ‘Elegy’. I attend to how herbalism is brought into relationship with poetic representations of the floral, focussing especially on the connection between Clare’s preference for herbals and Elizabeth Kent’s Flora Domestica. I then discuss ‘Cauper Green’ and ‘The Village Doctress’ (Clare’s most sustained poetic discussions of herbalism) as elegies that try to reconcile the finite temporality of human life with the regenerative life cycles of plants and their flowers.
  • The structure and workings of a publishing house

    Barker, David; University of Derby (Routledge, 2020-01-16)
    Contemporary Publishing and the Culture of Books is a comprehensive resource that builds bridges between the traditional focus and methodologies of literary studies and the actualities of modern and contemporary literature, including the realities of professional writing, the conventions and practicalities of the publishing world, and its connections between literary publishing and other media. Focusing on the relationship between modern literature and the publishing industry, the volume enables students and academics to extend the text-based framework of modules on contemporary writing into detailed expositions of the culture and industry which bring these texts into existence; it brings economic considerations into line alongside creative issues, and examines how employing marketing strategies are utilized to promote and sell books. The text covers: The standard university-course specifications of contemporary writing, offering an extensive picture of the social, economic, and cultural contexts of these literary genres. The impact and status of non-literary writing, and how this compares with certain literary genres as an index to contemporary culture and a reflection of the state of the publishing industry. The practicalities and conventions of the publishing industry. Contextual aspects of literary culture and the book industry, visiting the broader spheres of publishing, promotion, bookselling, and literary culture. Carefully linked chapters allow readers to tie key elements of the publishing industry to the particular demands and features of contemporary literary genres and writing, offering a detailed guide to the ways in which the three core areas of culture, economics, and pragmatics intersect in the world of publishing. Further to being a valuable resource for those studying English or Creative Writing, the volume is a key text for degrees in which Publishing is a component, and is relevant to those aspects of Media Studies that look at interactions between the media and literature/publishing.
  • Norfolk pauper inventories, c.1690-1834

    Harley, Joseph; University of Derby (Oxford University Press/British Academy, 2020-02-27)
    Pauper inventories were made by poor law officials to record the possessions that people on poor relief owned. These inventories have been known to exist for decades, yet they are notoriously difficult to find and have been under-utilised by generations of historians. For the first time, this book contains transcriptions of 230 pauper inventories from Norfolk. The sources are fully contextualised and indexed, alongside four comprehensive chapters which outline the source's importance and usefulness to readers. Pauper inventories are powerful documents which reveal new insights into the living conditions of the destitute and show that being poor did not necessarily equate to owning very little. The sources will be of use to economic, social and cultural historians who study a wide range of topics including consumption, material culture, production, everyday life, poverty and welfare.
  • The rise of the comics künstlerroman, or, the limits of comics acceptance: the depiction of comics creators in the work of Michael Chabon and Emily St. John Mandel

    King, Daniel; University of Derby (Open Library of the Humanities, 2018-12-28)
    The künstlerroman is a genre with a long and celebrated past. From Bret Easton Ellis’ Lunar Park (2005) to John Irving’s The World According to Garp (1978) and Saul Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift (1975), the genre has occupied a prominent place in bestseller lists and awards shortlists. The enduring popularity and continued critical celebration of the künstlerroman makes it all the more striking that, since the turn of the millennium a new kind of author-protagonist has emerged — the graphic-novelist-protagonist. This move not only inducts graphic novelists into this existing — and prestigious — literary genre, it also draws them into the same struggle for recognition in which other novelist-protagonists have long been involved. Drawing on the recent examples of Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000) and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven (2014), in this article I argue that there is a clear move toward the serious discussion of comics and comics creators in contemporary literature, an increasing willingness to talk about comics and their makers that is marked by a surprising faith in the fitness of comics as a mode of self-expression and a recognition of the clear kinship between prose authors and graphic novelists.
  • Cormac McCarthy’s literary evolution editors, agents, and the crafting of a prolific American author

    King, Daniel; University of Nottingham (University of Tennessee Press, 2016-09-13)
    In Cormac McCarthy’s Literary Evolution, Daniel Robert King traces McCarthy’s journey from cult figure to literary icon. Drawing extensively on McCarthy’s papers and those of Albert Erskine, his editor and devoted advocate at Random House, as well as the latest in McCarthy scholarship, King investigates the changes that McCarthy’s work as a novelist, his writing methods, and the reception of his novels have undergone over the course of his career. Taking several of McCarthy’s major novels as case studies, King explores the lengthy process of their composition through multiple drafts and revisions, the signal contributions of the author’s agents and publishers, and McCarthy’s growing confidence as a writer who is strongly attentive to tone and repeated metaphors and images. This work also reveals the wide range of McCarthy’s reading and research, especially of historical and scientific materials, as well as key intertextual connections between the novels.
  • The crafting of queer domestic space in Jaime Hernandez’s love and rockets

    King, Daniel; University of Nottingham (International Journal of Comic Art, 2014-11-01)
    This article brings together archival research and existing critical approaches to the study of Hernandez’s work. Using critical perspectives on Chicano/a home spaces in conjunction with draft and archival material I interrogate the depiction of alternative homes and families in Jaime Hernandez’s contributions to the comic book series Love and Rockets, arguing not just for their centrality to the narrative of the comic, but to Hernandez’s conception of his characters and their world. This article has two objectives. The first is to update existing critical conceptions of Hernandez’s work. The second is to apply an awareness of the importance of Hernandez’s draft material to these critical readings of his work, demonstrating the importance and sophistication of the “home” spaces within the comic.

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