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New publications from York English

Posted on 18 November 2020

The Department of English and Related Literature has welcomed a wealth of exciting new publications this year, including seven scholarly monographs, an invigorating range of edited collections, and some cutting-edge creative work.

Dr Boriana Alexandrova’s Joyce, Multilingualism, and the Ethics of Reading: Deplorable Muttertongues challenges the idea of the nation as a site of belonging, the home as a safe place, and the mother tongue as a means to fluent comprehension. Grappling with James Joyce’s notoriously difficult Finnegan’s Wake, the book embraces questions of translation, globalisation and Joyce’s reception across literatures and cultures. Dr Michele Campopiano’s Writing the Holy Land: the Franciscans of Mount Zion and the Construction of a Cultural Memory, 1300-1550 looks earlier in time, showing how the Franciscans in Jerusalem, who welcomed and guided pilgrims, standardized and spread the cultural memory of the Holy Land. 

In the first major analysis of Elizabeth Bowen since 2004, Elizabeth Bowen’s Psychoanalytic Fiction, Dr Victoria Coulson fuses psychoanalytic and historical perspectives to offer a provocative and original account of Bowen’s concern for development, sexuality and gender, sustained by detailed close readings of Bowen’s influential novels and short stories. In Contemporary Novelists and the Aesthetics of Twenty-First Century American Life Dr Alexandra Kingston-Reese, meanwhile, shows how today’s writers are evoking the dynamism and disruptions of aesthetic experience as a means of rethinking the contemporary novel. Thinking about art novels as an important and specific contemporary category, Kingston-Reese examines the negative feelings of modern life, and the role of art and aesthetic experience in negotiating the twentieth century.

Professor Gillian Russell promises to once again transform our understanding of eighteenth century literature and culture with The Ephemeral Eighteenth Century: Print, Sociability, and the Cultures of Collecting. Her book explores the emergence of the category of printed ephemera in the eighteenth century, and how it changed perceptions of ‘everyday life’, literature and culture. Dr Lydia Zeldenrust invites readers to explore the fascinating and enigmatic figure of Mélusine - a beautiful fairy woman cursed to transform into a half-serpent once a week. The Mélusine Romance in Medieval Europe: Translation, Circulation, and Material Contexts considers how this romance developed from a local legend to European bestseller, analysing versions in French, German, Castilian, Dutch, and English.

Dr J. T. Welsch’s The Selling and Self-Regulation of Contemporary Poetry is the first book-length study of the contemporary poetry industry. By documenting radical changes over the past decade in the way poems are published, marketed, and circulated, it connects the seemingly small world of poetry with the other, wider creative industries.

The Department is also delighted to share news of important new creative writing from Dr Vahni Capildeo, our Writer-in-Residence. The journeys in Odyssey Calling were called forth by a commission from musician Gamal Khamis and actor Christopher Kent for their narrative recital on migration and the aftermath of war. This pamphlet also honours Windrush journeys, and was largely written during an individual retreat on Lindisfarne. Vahni’s Light Site gives full rein to the linguistic and visual imagination. These creative responses and departures refigure Ionesco as calligram, Ronsard as calypso, Perec as emoji sequence, Weil as erasure and shinethrough. The pamphlet is accompanied by Andre Bagoo's further reworking of text into luminous, everyday images, Light Site Poetry. A further collection, The Dusty Angel is forthcoming in 2021.

Colleagues have also published a number of important edited collections, and journal special issues. Dr Nicoletta Asciuto has co-edited a special issue of Space and Culture on the theme of ‘Above. Degrees of Elevation’, and Professor Richard Walsh has edited a special issue of Style on the theme of ‘Fictionality as Rhetoric’. Professor Claire Chambers’ A Match Made in Heaven: British Muslim Women  Write About Love and Desire is a collection of diverse stories about love and desire by South Asian-heritage British Muslim women authors, including Ayisha Malik and Shelina Janmohamed. Professor Brian Cummings has co-edited stimulating volumes on Memory and the English Reformation and Remembering the Reformation, and Dr Alice Hall is editor of The Routledge Companion to Literature and Disability, an important volume that traces the history of the field and locates literary disability studies in the wider context of activism and theory. 

In Prison Writing and the Literary World: Imprisonment, Institutionality and Questions of Literary Practice, Dr Claire Westall brings together contributors including literary authors, editors, educators and theatre practitioners to explore international prison writing, considering imprisonment in relation to questions of literary representation and formal aesthetics, the “value” or “values” of literature, textual censorship and circulation, institutional networks and literary-critical methodologies. Dr Chloe Wigston Smith’s interdisciplinary co-edited volume on Material Literacy in Eighteenth-Century Britain gathers a range of innovative contributions from literary scholars, historians, historians of art and museum curators to reposition Britain as a nation of makers, bringing new attention to the material knowledge that eighteenth-century craftswomen and men, and skilled consumers shared.

Watch out for more exciting publications very soon, including Professor John Bowen’s new edition of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Professor Claire Chambers’ collection, Storying Relationships: Young British Muslims Speak and Write about Sex and Love, Dr Juliana Mensah’s prizewinning novel, Castles from Cobwebs, Dr Clive Nwonka’s important monograph, The Aesthetics of British Urban Cinema: the Emergence, Contexts and Future of British Urban Film and TV, and Dr James Williams’ co-edited volume, The Edinburgh Companion to Nonsense.


For the full list of monographs, edited collections, and Special Issues published in the Department in the last six years see our Recent and forthcoming publications page.