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South Africa in the Global Imaginary
de Kock, Leon, and Louise Bethlehem. South Africa in the Global Imaginary. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001. Print.Abstract


This special issue of Poetics Today explores the development of a South African literary identity in the face of its staggering cultural, historical, and linguistic diversity. The collection uses the idea of the "global imaginary" to explore the ways the outside world has constructed ideas about South African literature as well as the way South Africans themselves have fashioned their literary selfhood. Articles address the legacy of colonialism and apartheid and wrestle with the fact that in spite of the fact that there are eleven official languages in South Africa and that many of the cultures have historically relied on an oral tradition, the dominant works continue to be those that are written down, in English. As de Kock writes in his introduction, the collection "raises a multiplicity of questions about the colonization of culture." There has been a "trope of binary pairing," he writes, between white and black, civilized and backward, home and exile, colonizer and colonized, which obscures the richness and complexity of the South African literary tradition. This collection promises to at least begin to correct that oversimplification.

Contributors: Louise Bethlehem, Jonathan Crewe, Dirk Klopper, Leon de Kock, Loren Kruger, Sonja Laden, Simon Lewis, Peter Merrington, Patricia Watson Shariff, Pippa Skotnes

Ideology and Jewish Identity in Israeli and American Literature
Budick, Emily Miller. Ideology and Jewish Identity in Israeli and American Literature. 2001. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Israeli and American critics debate what constitutes Jewish identity in modern Jewish literature.

Return from the Archipelago: Narratives of Gulag Survivors.
Toker, Leona. Return from the Archipelago: Narratives of Gulag Survivors. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Return from the Archipelago is the first comprehensive historical survey and critical analysis of the vast body of narrative literature about the Soviet gulag. Leona Toker organizes and characterizes both fictional narratives and survivors’ memoirs as she explores the changing hallmarks of the genre from the 1920s through the Gorbachev era. Toker reflects on the writings and testimonies that shed light on the veiled aspects of totalitarianism, dehumanization, and atrocity. Identifying key themes that recur in the narratives-arrest, the stages of trial, imprisonment, labor camps, exile, escapes, special punishment, the role of chance, and deprivation.Toker discusses the historical, political, and social contexts of these accounts and the ethical and aesthetic imperative they fulfill. Her readings provide extraordinary insight into the prisoners’ experiences of the Soviet penal system. Special attention is devoted to the writings of Varlam Shalamov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, but many works that are not well known in the West, especially those by women, are addressed. Consideration is also given to events that recently brought many memoirs to light years after they were written. A pioneering book on an important subject, Return from the Archipelago is an authoritative resource for scholars in Russian history and literature.

Once Below a Time
Wardi, Eynel. Once Below a Time. New York: SUNY, 2000. Print.Abstract

Highly original and theoretically wide-ranging, this book offers new insights into the origins of poetry. Working with much of the significant primary and secondary literature in psychoanalysis, particularly the theories of Julia Kristeva, the book skillfully sketches out a psychoanalytically enhanced theory of poetics through close readings of the works of Dylan Thomas. Through an intense dialogue with pivotal poems, it offers a "subjectivist" theory of poetic language, one that focuses on the interrelation between meaning and subjectivity in the dynamics of the poetic text. In this scheme, the "genesis of the speaking subject" is held to be a reenactment of old and new fantasies of origins, the reality of which is inaccessible to us--buried, as it were, "below time." Among these fantasies, the author also recognizes the psychoanalytic fantasy of origins that guides her own project. 

Interpretation and Allegory: Antiquity to the Modern Period
Whitman, Jon. Interpretation and Allegory: Antiquity to the Modern Period. Brill, 2000. Print.Abstract

This major investigation of the theory and practice of interpretation is unparalleled in design. Concentrating on interpretive allegory, its interdisciplinary approach simultaneously opens and organizes new perspectives on historic developments - from pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic commentaries to postmodern critiques. Interpretation and Allegory: Antiquity to the Modern Period is the recipient of The Polonsky Foundation 2001 Award for Contributions to Interdisciplinary Study in the Humanities. This publication has also been published in paperback, please click here for details.

The Western Theory of Tradition: Terms and Paradigms of the Cultural Sublime
Budick, Sanford. The Western Theory of Tradition: Terms and Paradigms of the Cultural Sublime. New Haven: Yale Press, 2000. Print.
Dickens: The Orphan Condition
Hochman, Baruch. Dickens: The Orphan Condition. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1999. Print.
Lacan and the Matter of Origins
Barzilai, Shuli. Lacan and the Matter of Origins. 1999. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

acan and the Matter of Origins traces the development of Lacan's thinking about the role of the mother in psychical formation. It examines the conceptual struggle throughout his work over issues of maternal agency in relation to the constitution of human subjectivity, and the theoretical, historical, and autobiographical reasons for this struggle. Lacan is widely held to emphasize the paternal dimension of human subjectivity and the phallic signifier. This book demonstrates that the mother occupies a crucial position in the Lacanian project, even if the maternal relation is not systematically theorized. The maternal figure appears as a Cheshire Cat who fades away and reappears at different times.

Chaucer's Biblical Poetics
Besserman, Lawrence. Chaucer's Biblical Poetics. 1998. Web. Publisher's Version
Blacks and Jews in Literary Conversation
Budick, Emily Miller. Blacks and Jews in Literary Conversation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Print.Abstract

In an attempt to lend a more nuanced ear to the ongoing dialogue between African and Jewish Americans, Emily Budick examines the works of a range of writers, critics, and academics from the 1950s through the 1980s. This study records conversations both explicit, such as essays and letters, and indirect, such as the fiction of Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, Alice Walker, Cynthia Ozick, Toni Morrison, and James Baldwin. The purpose is to understand how this dialogue has engendered misperceptions and misunderstandings, and how blacks and Jews in America have both sought and resisted assimilation.

Rereading Texts / Rethinking Critical Presuppositions
Rimon-Kenan, Shlomith, Leona Toker, and Shuli Barzilai. Rereading Texts / Rethinking Critical Presuppositions. Peter Lang Pub Inc (January 1997), 1997. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

he essays in this collection combine fresh interpretations of well known literary texts by leading critics (such as Frank Kermode, Sandra Gilbert, J. Hillis Miller, Barbara Hardy, Tony Tanner, and many others), those critics' retrospective thinking about their individual professional development, and an implicit communal reflection on changes on the critical and cultural scene of our times. It shows a transition from closed systems to more open configurations and from a view of texts as autonomous to complex interactions between text and context. Within the latter framework, ethical, social, ideological, political (feminist, post-colonial), psychoanalytic, and biographical dimensions of various texts are explored.

A Glance beyond Doubt: Narration, Representation, Subjectivity
Rimon-Kenan, Shlomith. A Glance beyond Doubt: Narration, Representation, Subjectivity. Ohio State University Press; 1 edition (September 1, 1996), 1996. Print.
Nineteenth-Century American Romance: Genre and the Democratic Construction of Culture
Budick, Emily Miller. Nineteenth-Century American Romance: Genre and the Democratic Construction of Culture. 1996. Web. Publisher's Version
The Translatability of Cultures: Figurations of the Space Between
Budick, Sanford, and Wolfgang Iser. The Translatability of Cultures: Figurations of the Space Between. 1996. Web. Publisher's Version
Commitment in Reflection: Essays in Literature and Moral Philosophy
Toker, Leona. Commitment in Reflection: Essays in Literature and Moral Philosophy. Routledge (December 1, 1993), 1994. Web. Publisher's Version
Engendering Romance
Budick, Emily Miller. Engendering Romance. 1994. Web. Publisher's Version
Eloquent Reticence
Toker, Leona. Eloquent Reticence. 1993. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The importance of the ethics of form in literature has only recently gained broad recognition and has thus far been explored mainly from the position of moral philosophy and critical theory. Leona Toker develops a narratological approach to the subject, based on studying “reticence” in works of fiction.

Nabokov: The Mystery of Literary Structures
Toker, Leona. “Nabokov: The Mystery of Literary Structures”. (1989): 143. Print.
Chaucer and the Bible: A Critical Review of Research, Indexes, and Bibliography
Besserman, Lawrence. Chaucer and the Bible: A Critical Review of Research, Indexes, and Bibliography. Taylor & Francis (1 December 1988), 1988. Web. Publisher's Version