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Month: August 2016

David McInnis and Matthew Steggle, eds. Lost Plays in Shakespeare’s England

David McInnis and Matthew Steggle, eds. Lost Plays in Shakespeare’s England. Early Modern Literature in History. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. xiv, 296 p. ISBN 9780333714720. UK £60.00 (hardcover).

The topic of the lost plays of the early modern period is becoming, finally, of increasing interest. Projects such as the online Lost Plays Database, which collects information for lost plays in England from 1570 to 1642, have in the last few years promoted important discussions in the field. It is out of such projects that scholars have realised that much of the past literature on lost plays is antiquated in its categorisation of plays and in its treatment of the documents in which references can be found.

Sarah L. Leonard. Fragile Minds and Vulnerable Souls: The Matter of Obscenity in Nineteenth-Century Germany

Sarah L. Leonard. Fragile Minds and Vulnerable Souls: The Matter of Obscenity in Nineteenth-Century Germany. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. 272p., ill. ISBN 9780812246704. USD $55.00 (hardback).

This finely researched book examines how obszöne und unzüchtige Schriften [obscene and immoral texts] (2) were treated as a category of print in nineteenth-century Germany. In tracing the legal, intellectual, and material history of this multifarious category as it developed within a complicated geopolitical context, Fragile Minds and Vulnerable Souls makes an important contribution to the histories of obscenity and censorship, and to the history of reading more broadly.

Betty A. Schellenberg. Literary Coteries and the Making of Modern Print Culture, 1710-1790

Betty A. Schellenberg. Literary Coteries and the Making of Modern Print Culture, 1710-1790. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 320p., 15 black and white illus. ISBN 9781107128163. £64.99 (hardback).

Betty Schellenberg’s wide-ranging and theoretically informed study using the terms and concepts of media ecology is a welcome addition to the growing body of work on eighteenth-central scribal publication culture, a revisionist area of research that argues for what Schellenberg terms the “interpenetration” of manuscript and print culture throughout the eighteenth century.

H. J. Jackson. Those Who Write for Immortality: Romantic Reputations and the Dream of Lasting Fame

H. J. Jackson. Those Who Write for Immortality: Romantic Reputations and the Dream of Lasting Fame. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. 294 p., ill. ISBN: 9780300174793. US $35.00 (hardback).

H. J. Jackson’s insightful book not only examines what she terms the “fame system” (6) responsible for immortalizing authors, but also investigates the interrelationship between authors’ “present” fame and authorial reputation, the latter of which she glosses as fame of “the posthumous kind” (2). The study includes useful discussions of types of authorship that are conceptualized by writers contemplating the afterlife of both their works and their posthumous authorial personae.

Katharine Mitchell. Italian Women Writers: Gender and Everyday Life in Fiction and Journalism, 1870-1910

Katharine Mitchell. Italian Women Writers: Gender and Everyday Life in Fiction and Journalism, 1870-1910. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. Toronto Italian Studies. viii, 250 p. ISBN 9781442646414. US $48.75 (hardcover).

The volume is devoted to three women writers – La Marchesa Colombi (pseudonym for Maria Antonietta Torriani), Matilde Serao and Neera (pseudonym for Anna Radius Zuccari) – who were active in the newly created Italian state of the late nineteenth century. It focuses specifically on their “domestic” fiction (novels and short stories portraying “middle-class adolescent girls and young women whose lives revolved around the domestic sphere,” ix), journalistic prose, essays and conduct manuals that were aimed at a growing female readership.

Jon A. Lindseth and Alan Tannenbaum, eds. Alice in a World of Wonderlands: The Translations of Lewis Carroll’s Masterpiece

Jon A. Lindseth and Alan Tannenbaum, eds. Alice in a World of Wonderlands: The Translations of Lewis Carroll’s Masterpiece. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2015. 3 vol., 2635p., ill. ISBN 9781584563310. US $295.00 (hardback).

Lewis Carroll was a notoriously fastidious author, particularly when it came to negotiating the afterlife of his Alice books. From biscuit tins to stage productions, Carroll struggled to divest control of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and translations of the text were in no way exempt from his anxious scrutiny. Yet as Carroll himself was no linguist, and thus unable to judge the success of a given translation without taking advice from others, one might venture that authorizing non-English versions of his books constituted one of his more speculative ventures.

Patricia McKee. Reading Constellations: Urban Modernity in Victorian Fiction

Patricia McKee. Reading Constellations: Urban Modernity in Victorian Fiction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. 184p. ISBN 9780199333905. GBP £44.49 (hardback).

Reading Constellations revisits the cities of London and Oxford as depicted in Victorian fictions including Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and Our Mutual Friend, Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, and Henry James’ “In the Cage.” For McKee, these works “propose urban experience as an antidote to, even as they participate in, capitalist development” (17).

Mary Henes and Brian H. Murray, eds. Travel Writing, Visual Culture and Form, 1760-1900

Mary Henes and Brian H. Murray, eds. Travel Writing, Visual Culture and Form, 1760-1900. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. xiv, 248p., 21 ill. ISBN 9781137543387. US $95.00 (hardback).

This interdisciplinary collection of essays by scholars working in fields from English literature and art history to Greek and tourism studies draws on recent developments within travel studies that seek to move beyond the “imperial gaze” approach that long dominated the field, introducing innovative perspectives that recognise that modern transport routes were inextricably “bound up with global networks of print” (6).

Soko Tomita and Masahiko Tomita. A Bibliographical Catalogue of Italian Books Printed in England 1603-1642

Soko Tomita and Masahiko Tomita. A Bibliographical Catalogue of Italian Books Printed in England 1603-1642. Farnham, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014. xxiv, 578p., ill. ISBN: 9781409422891. £80.00 (hardback).

In 2009, Soko Tomita published A Bibliographical Catalogue of Italian Books Printed in England 1558-1603. With this second volume, she continues to investigate the production of Italian books in early modern England by extending her survey to the Jacobean era, up until the beginning of the Civil War. The author, this time joined in her effort by Masahiko Tomita, described 187 new bibliographical records of Italian books printed in England.

Valerie Lester. Giambattista Bodoni: His Life and His World

Valerie Lester. Giambattista Bodoni: His Life and His World. Boston: David R. Godine, 2015. 280p. ill. ISBN: 9781567925289. US $40.00 (hardback).

Eminently readable and informative, Valerie Lester’s handsomely produced volume brings to life Giambattista Bodoni (1740-1813) as he progresses as a provincial printer’s son from an aspiring young man keen to be recognized for his skill in the art of typography to the author of the Manuale Tipografico.