• Languishing in 'rent-a-Marx/Margaret rhetoric': the phono-politics of Douglas Oliver's The Infant and the Pearl

      Farmer, Gareth; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis, 2019-06-21)
      In The Infant and the Pearl (1985), the poet Douglas Oliver draws on the alliterative and allegorical features of mediaeval verse to create a dream-like satire of Britain under Margaret Thatcher. Once a central feature of most Old English poetry, since Chaucer, alliteration and rhyme have often been used in the service of parody and satire. But, how do complex sound-structures aid satire and generate political content? Drawing on Oliver’s poetic and critical work, as well as contemporary research into prosody and politics, this article argues that the sound patterning in The Infant and the Pearl creates a caricatured version of Thatcher’s ‘politically unsound’ Britain. Oliver uses sonic patterns to create an artificial parody of the bathetic ‘uncommon rhetoric’ of consumerism and the ‘false pearls’ of the political classes. Far from being an accessory to meaning, the sound structures are vehicles for parodying the operations of the rhetoric of the ‘unreal’ apparent in social and political discourse. Oliver envisages sound patterning – as performed with every private and public reading – as offering recalibrations of people’s experience of language and the world, as well as leading to glimpses of a communality beyond political and social division.
    • ‘Y el olor de la sangre manchaba el aire’: Tlatelolco 1521 and 1968 in José Emilio Pacheco’s ‘Lectura de los “Cantares Mexicanos”’

      Carpenter, Victoria; (Liverpool University Press, 2018-12-31)
      When Octavio Paz compared the Tlatelolco 1968 massacre to the conquest of the Aztec empire he created a foundation (and indeed, at times, the inspiration) for the view of the massacre as a symbol of a long-lasting internal conflict. This paper explores how the Tlatelolco 1968 poetry reflects (or appropriates) the 1521 texts. Are these texts used as extra metaphors of what happened in La Plaza de las Tres Culturas on 2 October, as links to the square’s infamous past, or is there a more enduring reason for the retelling of the story of the fall of Tenochtitlán? To answer these questions, I will examine four versions of José Emilio Pacheco’s poem ‘Lectura de los “Cantares Mexicanos”: Manuscrito de Tlatelolco (octubre 1968)’. The reading will be informed by the theory of habit (Bourdieu) and collective remembering and forgetting (Halbwachs and Bartlett).
    • A bridge between worlds: parallel universes and the observer in “The Celestial Plot” by Adolfo Bioy Casares

      Carpenter, Victoria; Halpern, Paul; University of Bedfordshire; University of the Sciences, Philadelphia (Brill Academic Publishers, 2019-09-24)
      Adolfo Bioy Casares’s story “The Celestial Plot” (1948) is among the best known examples of Latin American science fiction writing of the early twentieth century inspired by contemporary advances in quantum physics. Most readings of the story focus on the movements of its main protagonist, Captain Ireneo Morris, as he traverses realities while test-flying a plane. This approach overlooks the role of the story’s other protagonist, Dr. Carlos Servian, who, we argue, is the lynchpin upon which the multiple realities are dependent. We read the changes to Dr. Servian’s character from a variety of scientific and philosophical perspectives on parallel universes. By addressing variations in Servian’s character and language, and focusing on the disparate representations of the key objects in the story, we show how the story anticipates in some ways the Many Worlds notion which argues that reality bifurcates during quantum measurements, leading to near-identical copies of observers.
    • Laughter and dying: Stella Benson's Hope against hope and other stories, and Tobit transplanted

      Darwood, Nicola (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-02-01)
      The novels and short stories of Stella Benson (1982-1933) cover a wide range of issues including suffrage, the morality of war and the rights of women through a mixture of realism, fantasy and satire.  Drawing on a range of twentieth and twenty first century theoretical approaches relating to humour and satire this essay considers Benson’s use of humour and satire in her collection of short stories Hope Against Hope and Other Stories (1931) and Tobit Transplanted (1931). Throughout both texts, Benson explores human frailties, inviting the reader to view her characters with an ironic detachment.  This essay argues that this use of comedy highlights the tension between humour and subject matter, and provides an insight into both her life and 1930s society.
    • Interwar women's comic fiction: 'have women a sense of humour?'

      Darwood, Nicola; Turner, Nick (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-02-01)
      This collection of essays examines the work of five intermodernist writers. Some were established authors before the First World War and others continued to write after the Second World War, but this book focuses particularly on their writing between 1918 and 1939. Stella Benson, Bradda Field, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Stella Gibbons and Winifred Watson had much in common: they all wrote novels full of comic moments, which often challenged the cultural politics of the interwar period. Drawing on the literary and critical contexts of each novel, the essays here discuss the use of comic structures that enabled the authors to critique the dominant patriarchal structures of their time, and offer an alternative, sometimes subversive, view of the world in which their characters reside. This book contributes to the growing scholarly interest in interwar fiction, focusing principally on novelists who have fallen out of public view. It widens our understanding both of the authors and of the continuing, highly topical debate about interwar women novelists.
    • Review of The Concept of the Book: The Production, Progression and Dissemination of Information: edited by Cynthia Johnston, Institute of English Studies, University of London, 2019, 146 pp., £25.00, ISBN: 9780992725747,

      Darwood, Nicola (Taylor and Francis, 2019-12-13)
      Review of The Concept of the Book: The Production, Progression and Dissemination of Information edited by Cynthia Johnston, Institute of English Studies, University of London, 2019, 146 pp., £25.00, ISBN: 9780992725747
    • The uses of quantification

      Weedon, Alexis (Wiley Blackwell, 2019-08-16)
      Revised and updated chapter with new material for the second edition of A Companion to the History fo the Book. Because text production – in the past and now – frequently aimed at multiplying and spreading its product as much as possible, and because those texts commonly became subject to markets and market forces, historical records of books and the book trade sometimes take the form of lists of quantities. Particularly since the invention of printing, we sometimes have information about the fee paid to an author, cost of paper, cost of composition, print runs, cost and rate of binding, costs of advertizing and distribution, sales figures, library acquisitions and catalogues of private collections of readers. The information is usually patchy, the way it was recorded varied a great deal, and much more has been lost than survives but, even so, the data available is rich enough and important enough to be treated seriously. This is where the quantitative history of the book, or bibliometrics, comes in. It doesn’t answer all the questions, and often its answers need careful interpretation, but it does give us access to parts of book history that would otherwise be wholly inaccessible.
    • Poetic artifice: a theory of twentieth-century poetry / Veronica Forrest-Thompson

      Farmer, Gareth (Shearsman Books, 2016-04-29)
      First published posthumously in 1978 by Manchester University Press, this volume turned sharply against critics of the previous generation, notably William Empson, and against emergent strains of historicism. The book is an exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) defence of "all the rhythmic, phonetic, verbal, and logical devices which make poetry different from prose." According to the author, such devices are responsible for poetry's most significant effect-not pleasure or ornament or some kind of special expressivity, but the production of "alternative imaginary orders."
    • Avant-folk: small press poetry networks from 1950 to the present

      Farmer, Gareth; University of Bedfordshire (2018-09-11)
    • The intaglio element in Prince's verse

      Farmer, Gareth (Liverpool University Press, 2017-01-23)
      There is something peculiar about the syntax of Prince’s verse. Which adjectives come close to describing the curious, entangled emotions elicited when reading the lines from Prince’s most famous poem ‘Soldiers Bathing’: ‘And my mind towards the meaning of it strives // All’s pathos now. The body than was gross […] by pain and labour grows at length / Fragile and luminous’? How would we describe the quiet, reserved restraint of ‘Guns, gallows, barracks, poles and bars; / Seem to have laboured but to fetch us love’ from ‘The Book’? In this paper I propose that Prince’s syntax in the poems of Soldiers Bathing is a product of multiple pressures mirroring those he outlines in his intriguing The Italian Element in Milton’s Verse. It is just such pressures, I suggest, that enable him to carve out and maintain the co-presence of both conceptual and affective contradictions – entangled and uncertain ideas – which are the primary subject of these poems and which give his verse its peculiar quality.    
    • Veronica Forrest-Thomson: poet on the periphery

      Farmer, Gareth (Palgrave MacMillan, 2019-06-03)
      This study offers a comprehensive examination of the work of the young poet and scholar, Veronica Forrest-Thomson (1947-1975) in the context of a literary-critical revolution of the late sixties and seventies and evaluates her work against contemporary debates in poetry and poetics. Gareth Farmer explores Forrest-Thomson’s relationship to the conflicting models of literary criticism in the twentieth century such as the close-reading models of F.R Leavis and William Empson, postructuralist models, and the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein.  Written by the leading scholar on Forrest-Thomson’s work, this study explores Forrest-Thomson’s published work as well as unpublished materials from the Veronica Forrest-Thomson Archive. Drawing on close readings of Forrest-Thomson’s writings, this study argues that her work enables us reevaluate literary-critical history and suggests new paradigms for the literary aesthetics and poetics of the future.
    • Diurnal Sweigh: 365 poems

      Farmer, Gareth (The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2019-06-03)
      A collection of poems.
    • Pomes: incidental, uncollected poetry 2008-2013

      Farmer, Gareth (The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2019-06-03)
      A selection of poems
    • ‘Sparks in everything’ or ‘A tearful overnight understanding’: posthuman becoming in the Empty Space trilogy

      Jarvis, Timothy (Gylphi, 2019-03-12)
      This chapter argues that the works of M. John Harrison's Kefahuchi Tract trilogy, comprising, Light, Nova Swing, and Empty Space, offer affective maps of the posthuman terrain. Exploring the novels' allusions to the work of Deleuze and Guattari, and to Gnostic cosmonogy, this chapter explores the picture the works offer of a becoming posthuman.
    • William Swan Sonnenschein

      Weedon, Alexis (MacFarland, 2018-10-31)
      This Companion to Victorian Popular fiction includes more than 300 cross-referenced entries on works written for the British mass market. Biographical sketches cover the writers and their publishers, the topics that concerned them and the genres they helped to establish or refine. Entries introduce readers to long-overlooked authors who were widely read in their time, with suggestions for further reading and emerging resources for the study of popular fiction.
    • The paradoxical pedagogy of creative writing

      Jarvis, Timothy; Pelletier, Caroline (Polity Press, 2018-06-27)