Legenda Conference: Adapting the Canon (10 October 2014)

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Authorial Echoes: Textuality and Self-Plagiarism in the Narrative of Luigi Pirandello
Catherine O’Rawe

  • ‘A short review cannot do justice to this arresting critical work. A combination of bold ideas with a meticulous attention to detail and a broad theoretical foundation characterizes O’Rawe’s critical approach. Insights are always well substantiated with abundant evidence... Both a major contribution to Pirandello scholarship and a seminal challenge to narrative criticism.’ — Jennifer Lorch, Modern Language Review 103.4, October 2008, 1140-41

Biographies and Autobiographies in Modern Italy — A Festschrift for John Woodhouse
Edited by Martin McLaughlin and Peter Hainsworth

  • ‘Hainsworth and McLaughlin open the volume with a succinct, clear and meaty disquisition on the nature of biography and autobiography. Their Introduction furnishes, in lively prose, an overview of the state of such writing in Italy... A fascinating glimpse into the life histories, and the shaping of life histories, by an eclectic group of Italians. Its chapters provide useful information on the less-known and engrossing new insights into familiar canonical figures.’ — Risa Sodi, Biography 32.3, Summer 2009, pp. 562-65
  • ‘These pieces all share John Woodhouse’s sentiment that the life lived and written by an author are "mutually illuminating" and that writing loses much when "seen solely within the terms of a textual universe".’ — unsigned, Forum for Modern Language Studies 46.1, January 2010, 107-08

Childhood as Memory, Myth and Metaphor: Proust, Beckett, and Bourgeois
Catherine Crimp

  • ‘Challenging and original, this is a study that will appeal not just to specialists of these three creative figures but also to everyone interested in narrative, metaphors, and the ways in which the image of the child simultaneously enables and challenges creativity.’ — Rosemary Lloyd, French Studies 67.4, October 2013, 584-85

Consuming Autobiographies: Reading and Writing the Self in Post-War France
Claire Boyle

  • ‘Perhaps the most effective chapter is on Genet’s Miracle de la rose, Notre-Dame-des-Fleurs, and Journal du voleur, where resistance to a subjectification threatened by both social and literar y institutions (the prison and the confessional mode, respectively) is sought by tactics of abjection geared (not entirely successfully, Boyle argues) towards thwarting readerly identification.’ — Ian Maclachlan, Modern Language Review 104.4 (2009), 1154-55
  • ‘Attempts at writing autobiographies in the second half of the twentieth century, Claire Boyle shows in her concise, precise and deftly argued essay, have been subject to a curious paradox... The discrediting of autobiographical attempts has been paralleled by an increasing demand for first-person testimony narratives.’ — Karlis Racevskis, French Review 82.5, April 2009, 1065
  • ‘Une épreuve de force: le moi autobiographique, est-il contrôlé par l’autobiographe estimant que ce moi ne peut pas être entièrement connu, ou par le lecteur qui le ‘consomme’ afin de pouvoir s’identifier avec une personne supposée réelle?’ — Jeanette den Toonder, French Studies 65.2, April 2011, 269
  • ‘Boyle’s thoughtful and sophisticated study of autobiography brings an original focus on the role of the reader, and on the ways in which readers are interpellated and caricatured by, or even excluded from, certain forms of autobiographical writing... If we had thought that autobiography had had its day, Boyle demonstrates both that the genre itself is dynamic in ways we might not have previously imagined, and that the theory of autobiography continues to evolve in challenging and provocative ways.’ — Jane Hiddleston, Biography 31.4, Fall 2008, 763-65
  • ‘This is a well researched and broad-ranging work, and is a useful discussion of the survival of the autobiographical impulse despite the critical death of traditional autobiography... a stimulating study, which lucidly applies key theoretical concepts of 20th century French thought.’ — Dervila Cooke, Modern and Contemporary France 17.1, 2009, 83-121

German Women’s Writing of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: Future Directions in Feminist Criticism
Edited by Helen Fronius and Anna Richards

  • ‘The volume will be of great use to students and researchers alike, as a source of well-written critical scholarship and of pointers to severe deficits in current research. It offers productive methodologies for taking the enquiry forward in areas vital to a fuller, more nuanced understanding of the place of women writers as part of the whole picture of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century cultural history in the German-speaking lands.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 48.4 (October 2012), 489
  • ‘Thus the book’s structure, like its title, ultimately collapses: the future has not yet happened. Yet it is glimpsed here—and it will indeed necessarily entail killing off and reviving the female author and the female reader, undoing and redoing gender, sexuality, and herstory, embracing pluralism and firing the canon. And it will only have been achieved once the gatekeepers become contributors and all critics—including men—are doing feminist criticism.’ — Robert Gillett, Modern Language Review April 2014, 109.2, 547-48

Jorge Semprún: Writing the European Other
Ursula Tidd  

Journeys of Remembrance: Memories of the Second World War in French and German Literature, 1960-1980
Kathryn N. Jones

  • ‘A fascinating and well-structured approach to a complex subject, and its transnational focus not only provides an original insight into a range of European writers, but also shows how profitable it is to go beyond the more usual national studies of memory and war.’ — Hilary Footitt, Modern Language Review 103.3, July 2008, 817-17
  • ‘Jones departs unequivocally from Adorno’s dictat on the incompatibility of art and atrocity and, through her deft presentation of a succession of more or less metaphorical journeys, she makes a good case. This valuable book for all scholars of post-war French and Ger man culture will enhance the reader’s understanding of what Paul Ricoeur once termed ‘l’événement fondateur négatif’ of the last century.’ — David Platten, French Studies 63.3 (2009), 370-71
  • ‘An ambitious study that succeeds in bearing out its claims about diverse yet contemporaneous literary responses to WWII. Journeys of Remembrance is a valuable introduction to a body of post-WWII French and German writing concerned with the intergenerational transmission of memory and the relation between personal identity and cultural legacy.’ — Susan Derwin, Monatshefte 102.1, 2010, 118-20
  • ‘An illuminating comparative analysis... Offers much to consider concerning the development and transmission of memory, generational continuity and rupture, and fictional representation in Holocaust literature.’ — Homer B. Sutton, French Review 82.5, April 2009, 1066-67

Mediterranean Travels: Writing Self and Other from the Ancient World to Contemporary Society
Edited by Patrick Crowley, Noreen Humble and Silvia Ross

Photobiography: Photographic Self-Writing in Proust, Guibert, Ernaux, Macé
Akane Kawakami  

Proust, the One, and the Many: Identity and Difference in A la recherche du temps perdu
Erika Fülöp

  • ‘Il trouvera une bonne place parmi les livres cherchant à éclairer la complexité du roman de Proust à partir de l’approche philosophique.’ — Pascal Ifri, Nineteenth Century French Studies 41.3-4, 2013, 343-45
  • ‘Fülöp compellingly considers the narrator’s ‘Liminal states of consciousness’ (his experience of waking up, his observing Albertine sleeping, and his drunkenness at Rivebelle) as moments when the world’s challenging multiplicity—and that of the unknowable, plural Other as represented by his beloved Albertine—become, for a time, harmonious and manageable... Will reward readers interested in the overlap and lines of affinity between the domains of literature and philosophy.’ — Adam Watt, Modern and Contemporary France 21.2, 2013, 245-46
  • ‘This well-researched volume covers a vast territory and is a welcome contribution in a field of Proust studies that has long been exploited but is far from being exhausted.’ — Anna Magdalena Elsner, French Studies 67.3, July 2013, 428-29

Regarding Lost Time: Photography, Identity, and Affect in Proust, Benjamin, and Barthes
Katja Haustein

  • ‘Katja Haustein’s monograph charts new territory in the expanding study of autobiographical writing in the light of photography... this volume will no doubt be of great benefit to specialists of these three seminal authors, as well as to those working in comparative studies.’ — Kathrin Yacavone, French Studies 67.2 (April 2013), 271-72
  • ‘Katja Haustein undertakes a titanic task: to bring together three bulwarks of twentieth-century intellect, each one so seminal in their own right that even the thought of combining them in one study would seem quixotic. Haustein not only accomplishes the task, but manages to bring out a genuinely comparative account... it is a very useful book to have read, and one which, I am certain, I will return to again and again.’ — Eleni Papargyriou, Comparative Critical Studies 10, 2013, 407-09

Saturn’s Moons: W. G. Sebald — A Handbook
Edited by Jo Catling and Richard Hibbitt

  • ‘An erudite and deeply engrossing Sebald compendium. It fits his oeuvre that in place of a formal biography we have this border-crossing miscellany in which comment may be free but facts are indeed sacred. Michael Hulse, his equally gifted translator before Anthea Bell, reprints the correspondence in which he asked Sebald to confirm that the quartet of exiles’ testimonies so artfully braided into The Emigrants tell real stories about real people... The wonderful alchemy via which Sebald transmuted the found material of actual biography and history into fiction that kept faith with truth explains much of his appeal.’ — Boyd Tonkin, The Independent 2 December 2011, Books of the Week
  • ‘More than two-hundred pages are dedicated to a stunning bibliographic survey of Sebald... If the reader wants to see what Sebald said about, say, Theodor Adorno, Jane Austen, Henry Ford, Jean Genet, Gruppe 47, Ernest Hemingway, Adolf Hitler, Herman Melville, Virginia Woolf, animals, butterflies and moths, depression, irony, the Treblinka trials, or countless other names or topics, the index will direct you to the appropriate interviews. Two of my favorite topics in the index were: ‘surgery, fear of’ and ‘greatest wish: to live outside of time’. Hats off to the crew who have given us this monumental bibliographic record!’ — Terry Pitts, Vertigo 24 September 2011
  • ‘Para aficionados como yo, es una Biblia.’ — William Chislett, El Imparcial 10 December 2011
  • ‘Un somptueux volume collectif – une somme de près de sept cents pages, la bible (plutôt que le modeste handbook annoncé) sur Sebald.’Norwich: du temps et des lieux 28 September 2011
  • ‘Special mention should be made of Sheppard’s ‘index to interviews with Sebald’ and his chronology of Sebald’s life, which reconstructs in as much detail as possible the writer’s movements. As with so much of this volume (characterized by how many of its contributors knew Sebald personally), it is clear that these indexes and bibliographies are labours of love; they will stand scholarship in good stead in years to come... An invaluable resource for future research.’ — Ben Hutchinson, Modern Language Review 107.2, April 2012, 659-61
  • ‘Saturn’s Moons is the most significant publication on W. G. (Max) Sebald in recent time. Offering a quasi-Sebaldian reading experience of that peculiarly unorthodox kind to the general reader, it is also a tome of considerable scholarship, most particularly in the provision of two remarkable bibliographies which make it a sine qua non resource for scholars of Sebald’s work... A book which will underpin further work on his writing for decades to come.’ — Deane Blackler, The German Quarterly 85.2, Spring 2012, 233-34
  • ‘How much to reveal about ‘W. G. Sebald’ is not a simple question. The degree to which he incorporated not just the texts, but also the lives of others into his fictions is greater than we can now... Although Sebald suggests that finding the solutions would be worthwhile, he is suspiciously vague about the effort involved. The Handbook’s great value is that it does an immense amount of work for us without revealing too much.’ — Scott Bartsch, Journal of European Studies 42.2, June 2012, 210-11
  • ‘By far the most authoritative and complete guide to the literature owned, written and inspired by Sebald, and testament to some extraordinary detective work. It should immediately become the first port of call for anyone setting out to write on Sebald.’ — J. J. Long, Journal of European Studies 42.3, 2012, 17-18
  • ‘Besides essays in which Michael Hulse and Anthea Bell address the subject of translating Sebald’s work and of collaborations between author and translator, readers of this journal should be intrigued by a hitherto unpublished interview conducted by Jon Cook... [Sebald] reflects on his decision to write in German rather than English.’ — Iain Galbraith, Translation and Literature 22.1 (Spring 2013), 137-42

Secrets and Puzzles: Silence and the Unsaid in Contemporary Italian Writing
Nicoletta Simborowski

  • ‘Simborowski’s book provides a novel, interpretative angle for some of the most studied authors of 20th century Italian literature, inviting a reading which overcomes the limitations of the said by engaging the reader in an operation of ‘voicing the silence.’ The book is clearly written and Simborowski’s positions convincingly argued.’ — Nicoletta Di Ciolla McGowan, Forum Italicum 38/1, 2004, 267-9
  • ‘This book throws new light on a crucial period of Italian culture. In the analysis of silence and the unsaid it provides a key for interpretation, which works well (although not infallibly), and which highlights fundamental issues in Italian literature of the second half of the twentieth century.’ — Olivia Santovetti, Modern Language Review 100.3, 7 July 2005, 843-44
  • ‘Secrets and Puzzles foregrounds and consolidates an important interpretative issue, offering a new perspective on mainstream authors and a new critical context in which to view other writers of the post-war period. An impressive contribution to the study, at undergraduate level and beyond, of contemporary Italian literature.’ — Jennifer Burns, Italian Studies 60.1, 2005, 111-12

Teresa of Avila’s Autobiography: Authority, Power and the Self in Mid-Sixteenth-Century Spain
Elena Carrera

  • ‘In sum, Carrera succeeds admirably in her goal of elucidating the textual models and controversies that underlie Teresa’s religious practices and her self-presentation in Vida. She provides expert guidance through the theological maze...’ — Alison Parks Weber, Iberoamericana VI, 24, 2006, 213-15

Traces of Trauma in W. G. Sebald and Christoph Ransmayr
Dora Osborne

  • ‘Brought countless things to light about The Emigrants and Austerlitz that I am extremely grateful for, and I know I’ll never read either of these books again without saying a silent “thank you” to Osborne for opening my eyes to a new way of looking at them.’ — Terry Pitts, Vertigo 8 June 2013

The Very Late Goethe: Self-Consciousness and the Art of Ageing
Charlotte Lee
Germanic Literatures 5  

Ugo Foscolo and English Culture
Sandra Parmegiani
Italian Perspectives 20

  • ‘Partecipe di un consistente e costruttivo dialogo critico con altri studiosi, Parmegiani non trascura di sondare, nel corso della propria disamina, il circostante terreno di ricerca presentando al lettore un resoconto attento ed attuale. Il libro costituisce in questa prospettiva un compendio indispensabile agli studi, tuttora in fieri, sui variegati rapporti intrattenuti da Foscolo con la cultura inglese. A questo elaborato mosaico Parmegiani ha avuto il merito di aggiungere con la propria indagine un autorevole tassello mancante.’ — Maria Giulia Carone, Annali d'Italianistica 2012
  • ‘A well written and highly informative account of Foscolo’s career... Most readers of The Shandean will think of Foscolo predominantly as the translator of Sterne: it is fascinating to read of his attempts to make a literary career in London in the last decade of his life where, encouraged by John Cam Hobhouse, he crosses paths (and often swords) with such luminaries as Wordsworth, Byron, Samuel Rogers, Thomas Moore, John Murray, and Sir Walter Scott.’ — W. G. Day, The Shandean 167-72
  • ‘This book proves itself to be extremely important for a more global and at the same detailed analysis of Italian proto-Romanticism and Romanticism from a comparatively European viewpoint... The result is a convincing portrayal of Foscolo’s relationship with English culture, which will surely be helpful for both the Italian and Anglo-Saxon scholarships in Italian studies, as well as for the broader community of scholars in eighteenth-century and Romantic studies.’ — Fabio Camilletti, Journal of Modern Italian Studies 18.3, 2013, 364-65

George Sand and Autobiography
Janet Hiddleston
Research Monographs in French Studies 5

  • ‘Janet Hiddleston’s well-informed, lucid and succinct study, which takes account of Sand’s complex, often contradictory self-identity in terms of gender, will undoubtedly make more accessible a text which is all too often approached selectively.’ — Belinda Jack, Times Literary Supplement 14 July, 2000
  • ‘It is in subtle textual analysis that Hiddleston excels, and her studies of Sand’s vocabulary, structure, imagery, symbolism and narrative strategies break new ground... Hiddleston offers us a sensitive and nuanced portrait of a complex writer.’ — Nigel Harkness, French Studies LV.1, 2001, 104-5
  • ‘The conclusion, in many respects the most compelling section of the book, offers a fascinating analysis of central image polarities of the autobiography, Paris versus Nohant, the Garden of Eden versus ‘a room of one’s own’.’ — Keith Wren, Modern Language Review 96.3, 2001, 832-3
  • ‘Solidly researched and engagingly written, Hiddleston’s studies provide a valuable point of departure for readers coming to these texts for the first time, and a welcome stimulus to further reflection for those already familiar with them.’Nineteenth-Century French Studies 30.3-4, 2002, 417-19
  • ‘Particular attention is given to Sand’s confused and ambivalent attitude to gender, leaving a text in which the contradictions are shown to be largely unresolved.’The Year's Work In Modern Languages 1999, 168
  • unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 37.3, 2001, 343
  • The Year's Work in Modern Language Studies Volume 64, 2002, 179

Robert Antelme: Humanity, Community, Testimony
Martin Crowley
Research Monographs in French Studies 15

  • ‘A sensitive and timely account... Crowley’s challenging and detailed study shows vitally that if Antelme is ultimately and necessarily writing within the limits of his own period, none the less he makes an urgent, ethical, and highly politicized challenge to the reader which may never be realized, yet which remains all the more pressing at the beginning of the twenty-first century.’ — Kathryn Robson, Modern Language Review 100.1, January 2005, 220-21
  • ‘Martin Crowley’s concern, in this thought-provoking study of the text and the readings to which it has given rise, is to elucidate the dynamics of Antelme’s thought firstly by focusing specifically on Antelme, rather than on Antelme as approached from Marguerite Duras, and secondly by situating Antelme’s writings historically, philosophically and, to a certain extent, politically.’ — Margaret Atack, French Studies 58.4, 2004, 574

Alter Ego: Critical Writings of Michel Leiris
Seán Hand
Research Monographs in French Studies 17

  • ‘This wide-ranging and incisive study covers an impressive amount of material in a short space, combining a sure grasp of context with acute close reading.’ — Douglas Smith, French Studies 60.1, 2006, 149-50

Biography in Early Modern France 1540-1630: Forms and Functions
Katherine MacDonald
Research Monographs in French Studies 23

  • ‘This useful monograph presents five case studies of Early Modern biographies (including one autobiography)... MacDonald’s work frames these two well-known texts in such a way as to encourage continued investigation of Renaissance biography as a fully-fledged prose genre.’Forum for Modern Language Studies April 2009, 226
  • ‘The first perspective [in this book] situates biography as a genre belonging to antique epideictic rhetoric... The second is the narrative of what might be called the facts of biographical life... The third is what could be called a concetto, that is, the biographer’s own life perspective, conscious or unconscious, in the biography he is writing. This is what really interests Katherine MacDonald, because of her own radical-individualist perspective on relations between the biographer and his subject.’ — Orest Ranum, Renaissance Quarterly 62, 2009, 229-31
  • ‘Elegantly written, clearly argued, and erudite, this is a rewarding and thought-provoking book and a valuable contribution to the study of early modern French humanism.’ — Joan Davies, Modern Language Review 105.1, January 2010, 241-42
  • ‘Interesting and original interpretations of biographies in which reading between the lines was every bit as important as the lines themselves.’ — John Lewis, French Studies 64.2, April 2010
  • ‘An interesting and thought-provoking study which is well worth reading, albeit with a grain of salt.’ — Sarah Nelson, Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 32.4, Fall 2009, 840-42

Personal Effects: Reading the Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff
Sonia Wilson
Research Monographs in French Studies 27

  • ‘Wilson’s account is fascinating and throws light upon feminist controversy in late nineteenth-century England and the European continent.’ — unsigned review, Years Work in English Studies 91, 2012, 724

The Livres-Souvenirs of Colette: Genre and the Telling of Time
Anne Freadman
Research Monographs in French Studies 33

  • ‘Freadman’s own book is elegantly written and delivers analytical acuity in the voice of a reader moved and enriched by her subject, as Colette’s writing deserves.’ — Diana Holmes, French Studies 67.4, October 2013, 575
  • ‘What shines through brightly across the entirety of Friedman’s analysis is the sensitivity with which she highlights Colette’s narrative intentions... A highly valuable addition to the scholarly activity currently produced on Colette.’ — Eileen M. Angelini, New Zealand Journal of French Studies 34.2, 2014, 125-26