Quotation of the Day
The objective is what thought has worked out, put into order, understood, and what it can thus make understood.
Paul Ricoeur, History and Truth
17th-century French Moralists Featured Article
The article provides a comprehensive overview of a defining type of prose writing in 17th century France that reflected on human behaviour at the time in relation to the social circles that the authors (mainly bourgeois and aristocratic intellectuals) frequented: the court and the salon. It considers not only the main figures associated with this tendency (La Rochefoucauld, La Bruyère or Blaise Pascal), but also a number of more minor figures, while also providing a commentary on their generic and formal preferences, as well as a discussion on their reception and impact in French and European literary history.
British Authors’ Military Service in the First World War Featured Article
This is one of two articles (the other one being on British Authors’ Civilian Participation in World War I,) that offer a broad survey of the various ways in which British writers took part in the enormous mobilisation for the war effort of 1914-18. It considers a very large number of authors, both major and minor, whose literary careers began during or after the war itself, going beyond the small group of “British war poets” with which the conflict is usually associated. The article is primarily biographical in nature, i.e. not primarily concerned with “war writing”, but rather with the various roles and experiences (including in propaganda, intelligence work, correspondence, auxiliary service etc.) that writers engaged in during the time of military conflict. It provides a much-needed historical overview of aspects that are usually left out from discussions of the “literature of the Great War”.
Medieval Complaint Featured Article
Within the more general mode of the ‘complaint’, this essay focuses on texts written between the 12th and 15th centuries, when the idea of the complaint became more distinguished from other expressions of this tradition. Taking in a variety of genres and different forms (from laments to protests), the article discusses in depth three main categories of complaint: love complaints, social complaints, and devotional complaints, while looking at their source and influences, representative authors and texts, and the larger philosophical and social ideas underpinning their aesthetic. The article provides a rigorous and comprehensive discussion of this major genre in medieval literature.
Race Before Race Featured Article
This is a ground-breaking essay on Premodern Critical Race Studies (PCRS) which serves as an introduction to the pathways and systems of racial formation in the early modern era in England as they are seen in primary sources (plays, poems, pamphlets, etc.). The main premise that PCRS scholars challenge is that of the concept of “race” not existing in the past; instead, they wish to show how the nexus of white supremacy has been gradually built over time and how it continues to affect our lives and scholarship today. Their approach combines the study of gender, sexuality, class, religion, and other forms of identity, thus acknowledging the fact that race resides in the systems of power, privilege and discrimination that disenfranchise some while elevating others. The essay will help clarify for students the main issues at stake in the study of race in early modern English literature and history.