Legenda Conference: Adapting the Canon (10 October 2014)

Legenda books are regularly reviewed in scholarly journals across the world, and sometimes also in literary papers such as the Times Literary Supplement. From time to time, our books also appear in Europe’s newspapers, from The Independent and the Daily Telegraph to El Imparcial and Gazeta Shqiptare. The following excerpts are from the 20 most recently received reviews:

  • Transformative Change in Western Thought: A History of Metamorphosis from Homer to Hollywood — Edited by Ingo Gildenhard and Andrew Zissos:  ‘This audacious volume is concerned with nothing less than the almost 3000-year metamorphosis of the concept of metamorphosis in the Western imaginary... A most compelling entry in the history of ideas.’ — Dan Curley, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2014.09.41
  • Stendhal’s Less-Loved Heroines: Fiction, Freedom, and the FemaleMaria C. Scott:  ‘It is literally impossible to imagine the current state of European literary studies in this country without the achievements of Legenda. And within that output, its Research Monographs in French Studies, sponsored by the Society for French Studies, has played a particularly cherished role... The thirty-seventh volume in the series, by Maria Scott, follows in the wake of some excellent nineteenth-century volumes by the likes of Christopher Prendergast, Diana Knight and Jennifer Yee; and it sits well among such company.’ — Nicholas White, Journal of European Studies 44, 2014, 293-94
  • Narrative Responses to the Trauma of the French RevolutionKatherine Astbury:  ‘Astbury’s account of ‘The English Novel and the Literary Press in France during the Revolutionary Decade’ is the center and triumph of her book. In this chapter, she makes a ‘systematic examination of editors’ and translators’ choices’ that reveal a dynamic, cross-Channel conversation about the convulsions in France and their consequences.’ — Gina Luria Walker, European Romantic Review 25.4, 2014, 522-27
  • Maryse Condé and the Space of LiteratureEva Sansavior:  ‘An eloquent and welcome addition to Condé scholarship and to efforts to rethink, rather than rule out, the possibilities for a re-engaged literary practice today.’ — Nicole Simek, New West Indian Guide 88, 2014, 207-09
  • Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of ExileCarmen Bugan:  ‘Bugan’s book demonstrates just how productive cultural exchange between poets East and West can be. She shows how Heaney borrows the concept of exile — a Cold War topos par excellence — and successfully recasts it in the Irish context, imbuing his work with an ethical complexity and self-awareness that continues to resonate with readers from all corners of the globe.’ — Connor Doak, Slavic and East European Journal 58.2, Summer 2014, 166-67
  • Borges and Joyce: An Infinite ConversationPatricia Novillo-Corvalán:  ‘This is an ambitious and satisfying book that illuminates, through the prism of Borges, the work of Joyce and, through Joyce, the work of Borges... It is a very welcome and important addition to our libraries.’ — Lucia Boldrini, James Joyce Quarterly 49.3/4, May 2014, 689-92
  • Taboo: Corporeal Secrets in Nineteenth-Century FranceHannah Thompson:  ‘With such an array of taboo subjects, it struck me that it would have been hard to know where to begin, but one of the things I like best about this book is its craftsmanship... I think scholars and students will find much to discuss in Taboo.’ — Holly Christine Woodson, H-France 14.101, June 2014
  • Goethe’s Visual WorldPamela Currie:  ‘Goethe himself would surely have found this volume impressive, spanning as it does a multitude of disciplines with equal facility... The impression one carries away on closing the book is of the immense sense of intellectual ferment which characterised Goethe’s age, and a search for ways of reappraising human beings’ relationship to their environment in both spiritual and physical terms.’ — Susan Halstead, The Brown Book (Lady Margaret Hall) 2014, 132-34
  • Selected Essays of Malcolm Bowie II: Song ManMalcolm Bowie:  ‘These two volumes can only add to our sense of [Bowie’s] importance... Criticism like this is clearly so much more than criticism: it is an engagement with the act of creation that is brought back to creation itself. These two volumes are full of brilliance and insight and deftly communicated and thus infectious pleasure.’ — Patrick McGuinness, Times Literary Supplement 5805, 4 July 2014, 21
  • Selected Essays of Malcolm Bowie I: Dreams of KnowledgeMalcolm Bowie:  ‘These two volumes can only add to our sense of [Bowie’s] importance... Criticism like this is clearly so much more than criticism: it is an engagement with the act of creation that is brought back to creation itself. These two volumes are full of brilliance and insight and deftly communicated and thus infectious pleasure.’ — Patrick McGuinness, Times Literary Supplement 5805, 4 July 2014, 21
  • Octavio Paz and T. S. Eliot: Modern Poetry and the Translation of InfluenceTom Boll:  ‘What has been missing from Paz scholarship so far are comparative studies that take a larger international approach to a poet who prided himself on his intellectual cosmopolitanism... Tom Boll’s Octavio Paz and T. S. Eliot is a welcome contribution in this direction. It presents a careful and impressively researched study of young Paz’s reflections on Eliot’s poetry, which the former repeatedly acknowledged as one of the most important influences on his early work and on his vision of modernity.’ — Rubén Gallo, Modernism/modernity 21.2, April 2014, 564-65
  • Selected Essays of Malcolm Bowie II: Song ManMalcolm Bowie:  ‘Only someone with Bowie’s exquisite powers of expression and formidably focused, well-stocked mind could home in so closely on the multilevelled play of thought in some of the most difficult modern writers, and especially on the places where their work crosses aesthetic boundaries... It is therefore a huge treat to be able to revel in the publication of his Selected Essays, impeccably edited by Alison Finch and beautifully produced by Legenda... Even in the space of a short review, Bowie’s writing offers both pleasure and intense mental stimulation. For readers old and new, there are marvels in store in these two magnificent volumes.’ — Michael Sheringham, French Studies 68.3, July 2014, 422-23
  • Selected Essays of Malcolm Bowie I: Dreams of KnowledgeMalcolm Bowie:  ‘Only someone with Bowie’s exquisite powers of expression and formidably focused, well-stocked mind could home in so closely on the multilevelled play of thought in some of the most difficult modern writers, and especially on the places where their work crosses aesthetic boundaries... It is therefore a huge treat to be able to revel in the publication of his Selected Essays, impeccably edited by Alison Finch and beautifully produced by Legenda... Even in the space of a short review, Bowie’s writing offers both pleasure and intense mental stimulation. For readers old and new, there are marvels in store in these two magnificent volumes.’ — Michael Sheringham, French Studies 68.3, July 2014, 422-23
  • The Realist Author and Sympathetic ImaginationSotirios Paraschas:  ‘The arguments are based throughout on meticulous research, close attention to textual detail, and an adroit engagement with literary theory. They are also conveyed with notable elegance and clarity. Paraschas is not afraid to contest claims made by such influential theorists as Paul de Man, whose view of realism as a regression from the ironic novel of the eighteenth century is here neatly reversed. Undergraduates would find his admirably succinct introductory discussion of the ‘realist author’ a source of elucidation and stimulus.’ — Michael Tilby, French Studies 68.3, July 2014, 405-06
  • Stendhal’s Less-Loved Heroines: Fiction, Freedom, and the FemaleMaria C. Scott:  ‘In this well-documented and cogently argued study Scott seeks to redress the balance [of Stendhal criticism] in favour of a female point of view, citing in her defence Stendhal’s own belief in the inevitable partiality of the reader... Her book should help to make these figures better understood and loved than they have sometimes been in the past.’ — Sheila M. Bell, French Studies 68.3, July 2014, 400-01
  • Furetière’s Roman bourgeois and the Problem of Exchange: Titular EconomiesCraig Moyes:  ‘Although this highlighting of the connection between Le Roman bourgeois and the Dictionnaire universel is not new, it provides a stream of stimulating insights, taking the argument far beyond the intertextuality that is usually the limit of critical concern in this area. A chapter on ‘Numismatics’, for instance, moves easily from Furetière’s satire of bourgeois marriage as a model of social and financial exchange, encapsulated in the ‘Tariffe des partis sortables’, by way of the décri of monetary (but also literary) value, to the linguistic ‘gold standard’ that the Acadé́mie intended to establish with its dictionary, so alien to Furetière’s own aims.’ — Mark Bannister, French Studies 68.3, July 2014, 394-96
  • The Truth of Realism: A Reassessment of the German Novel 1830-1900John Walker:  ‘Cultural studies, systems theory, postcolonial studies, gender studies, media history, and a number of other more recent approaches have given new impetus to research into nineteenth-century Realism and initiated a reassessment of German Realism within the overarching European development from Romanticism to Modernism. Walker’s study of a small number of selected novels by Keller, Raabe, and Fontane makes an interesting contribution to this reassessment by arguing that ‘the distinguishing capacity of German narrative realism, and the source of that realism’s unique contribution to the European tradition’ is the critique of internalized ideology.’ — Dirk Göttsche, Modern Language Review 109.3, July 2014, 847-48
  • Giraffes in the Garden of Italian Literature: Modernist Embodiment in Italo Svevo, Federigo Tozzi and Carlo Emilio GaddaDeborah Amberson:  ‘In conclusion, this is a very interesting book, which not only brings together three exceptional authors, but also focuses on original and stimulating perspectives. The work makes a very valid critical contribution, by dealing with a fascinating topic in a manner which is original and insightful.’ — Giuseppe Stellardi, Modern Language Review 109.3, July 2014, 828-29
  • The Printed Media in Fin-de-siècle Italy: Publishers, Writers, and Readers — Edited by Ann Hallamore Caesar, Gabriella Romani, and Jennifer Burns:  ‘This excellent collection of essays (thirteen in all, five written in Italian, eight in English) focuses on the context in which printed media (books, magazines, news- papers, journals) were shaped and appeared at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. The text as material object is privileged, while the approach is interdisciplinary. The end result is a different, and more complete, appreciation of the various texts considered here than would be afforded by an analysis confined to content or style.’ — Ursula A. Fanning, Modern Language Review 109.3, July 2014, 824-26
  • Dante and Epicurus: A Dualistic Vision of Secular and Spiritual FulfilmentGeorge Corbett:  ‘George Corbett writes with great clarity and logic, drawing on a wide range of resources from early commentators (among whom he moves with ease) and the whole of Dante’s œuvre to a host of modern Dante critics. Points of comparison and continuity rather than of palinodic rewriting are sought between the Commedia and the ‘minor works’, and the author is bold and confident in his challenges to various prevalent critical assumptions. The ambiguities surrounding Epicurus before and during Dante’s day are persuasively elucidated, with good, nuanced background on mediators such as Cicero, Augustine, and Albert the Great.’ — Jennifer Rushworth, Modern Language Review 109.3, July 2014, 821-22