Category Archives: Literary Studies

David E. Latané Wins Colby Book Prize for William Maginn and the British Press

Ashgate is proud to announce that David E. Latané, author of William Maginn and the British Press was a joint winner of the Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize 2013, awarded by The Research Society for Victorian Periodicals. The Colby book prize is “awarded to the scholarly books that most advance the understanding of the nineteenth-century British newspaper or periodical press.” As a winner of the prize, Professor Latané will be invited to speak at this year’s RSVP conference being held at the University of Delaware.

William Maginn and the British PressWilliam Maginn and the British Press examines the life and career of political journalist, editor, and writer, William Maginn. Following him from his early days in Ireland, to work in Paris and London, and finally to his decline and incarceration, this fastidious biography is essential reading for nineteenth-century scholars and historians of the book and periodical.

The Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize was endowed in 2006 in memory of Robert Colby by his wife, Vineta. In 2011, after Vineta also passed, the board voted to rename the prize in honor of both of them. Robert and Vineta were long-time members of RSVP and distinguished, contributing scholars to the study of Victorian periodicals. This is the second time in the prize’s history that an Ashgate author has won this award. In 2009 Catherine Waters won for her book, Commodity Culture in Dickens’s Household Words (Ashgate, 2008).

We are pleased to see another Ashgate author honored with this award and congratulate him on his success.

For information on other Ashgate prize winning titles, visit

A guest post from Bret Rothstein, General Editor of Ashgate’s new series— Cultures of Play, 1300-1700

If we might put the letters but one way,

In the lean dearth of words, what could we say?

– John Donne

Johan Huizinga once suggested that play is older than culture – that it is in fact the source of culture. Taking that idea as its starting point, this series proposes to examine ludic cultures in Europe from the fourteenth through the eighteenth centuries. Our goal in so doing is twofold. First, we aim to tap into a relatively new and important line of scholarly inquiry, one that has begun to concern itself not only with documenting examples of playfulness (to quote the call for proposals, “from backgammon and tops to Papal bulls and theological tractates”), but also with mapping the cultural contours that gave rise to such things.

The timing for such a series seems right: scholars have produced important articles on various objects (e.g., the Bargello Games Board) and ideas (the ethical or moral implications of chess), and some general studies of toys and the like are available. But we have yet to see focused, sustained consideration of the character and range of early modern playfulness as such, from its texts and its objects to its practices and value systems. This series is designed to promote that consideration by providing a venue for scholars from across a range of disciplines to engage in an in-depth dialogue concerning the history of play as a topic in its own right.

This brings me to our second aim, which is to interrogate the historical and intellectual implications of Huizinga’s statement. That is, we hope that this series will result not only in innovative historical research but also continued methodological inquiry concerning what exactly might constitute play in the first place. With that in mind, we welcome submissions from across a broad spectrum of disciplines, including childhood studies, gender studies, history, the history and philosophy of science, languages and literature, material culture studies, performance studies, philosophy, poetics, religious studies, and theater history, as well as the history of art and visual culture. As such a list might suggest, we conceive of play as a subtle and complex phenomenon that rewards interdisciplinary work particularly richly.


Bret RothsteinBret Rothstein is a scholar of visual wit who teaches in the Department of the History of Art at Indiana University, Bloomington.

More information about Cultures of Play, 1300-1700

The Castle of Otranto is 250!

Posted by Hattie Wilson, Marketing Executive

The initial publication of The Castle of Otranto was in 1764, making the novel 250 this year. The Castle is considered to be one of the first Gothic novels and is a supernatural tale of melodramatic mystery and romance. Walpole’s novel inspired countless subsequent writers, including Ann Radcliffe, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe and Daphne Du Maurier.

Even Walpole’s Twickenham Neo-Gothic pile, Strawberry Hill, prompted a new fashion for Gothic architecture. The building itself is said to have influenced the novel, as Walpole envisaged a gigantic armoured fist on the staircase. Mary Shelley is said to have been galvanized to write her own Gothic narrative Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus, after reading Walpole, further corroborating the importance of Walpole in the history of Gothicism.

Gothic Ashgate:

Also of Interest:

Celebrating Christopher Marlowe’s 450th Birthday

Posted by Hattie Wilson, Marketing Executive

2014 marks the 450th anniversary of two of England’s most important literary figures: William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.

Christopher Marlowe was baptised 26th February 1564, exactly two months before Shakespeare who was immensely influenced by the dramatist. Although Marlowe penned poetry and translated classical literature, he is best known as a playwright. In 2002, he was commemorated in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey with a panel on the Hubbard memorial stained glass window.

In March, Fourth Monkey will take part in Marlowe 450, presenting his full works at The Marlowe Theatre in association with The Marlowe Society and the University of Kent. This will include productions of Doctor Faustus and The Massacre of Paris, which will be staged in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral. The Marlowe Festival will also stage the complete works of the playwright in Cambridge.

2014 looks to be an exciting time for the Marlovian scholar!

Here are just some of Ashgate’s books on Christopher Marlowe:

Christopher Marlowe the CraftsmanMarlowe’s Ovid: The Elegies in the Marlowe Canon (M.L. Stapleton)

Christopher Marlowe (Robert A. Logan) in The Univeristy Wits series

Christopher Marlowe the Craftsman: Lives, Stage and Page (Sarah K. Scott and M.L. Stapleton)

Placing the Plays of Christopher Marlowe: Fresh Cultural Contexts (Sara Munson Deats and Robert A. Logan)

Shakespeares MarloweShakespeare’s Marlowe: The Influence of Christopher Marlowe on Shakespeare’s Artistry (Robert A. Logan) – Winner of the 2009 Roma Gill Prize, awarded by the Marlowe Society of America, and a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2007

Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson: New Directions in Biography (Takashi Kozuka and J.R. Mulryne)

Alice in Wonderland: A Publishing History

Posted by Hattie Wilson, Marketing Executive

It has been almost 150 years (148 to be exact), since the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The book became a classic, publishing in different versions within Carroll’s lifetime. A labyrinth of anthropomorphic characterisations, songs and poetry, symbols, and puzzles, Lewis Carroll’s Alice novels have been popular with adults and children alike. Lewis Carrolls Alice in WonderlandIn Zoe Jaques and Eugene Giddens’s new book, the writers reveal a publishing history of the stories that is almost as magical and mysterious as the stories themselves. Jaques and Giddens investigate the journey of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass’s publication and subsequent conversion into print, film, song and toys. Through this examination, the authors reveal the shifting attitudes of and towards the child reader.

More about Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass: A Publishing History

About the Authors: Zoe Jaques is a Research Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University, UK, and Eugene Giddens is the Director of Research in Arts, Law, and Social Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University, UK.

Review: ‘This will surely become the definitive work on the publishing history of the “Alice” books for some time to come. A must for every serious scholar of the ultimate “crossover” texts. Eminently readable as well as erudite.’ Morag Styles, University of Cambridge, UK

The Ashgate Studies In Publishing History: Manuscript, Print, Digital series is edited by Ann R. Hawkins and Maura Ives.

Also available in this series: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford, Francis Burney’s Cecilia and Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Coming Soon: Charles Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend (February 2014)

Encounters with John Lowin – Barbara Wooding talks about her research

This is a guest post from Barbara Wooding, author of John Lowin and the English Theatre, 1603–1647: Acting and Cultural Politics on the Jacobean and Caroline Stage

Serendipity must often play a part in choosing a research subject.  It certainly did for me.  A browsing session at the Shakespeare Institute library turned up the first edition of Believe as You List, complete with an account of the play’s serendipitous discovery among papers bequeathed to his widow by the actor David Garrick.  George Beltz, one of Garrick’s executors, in sifting through ‘a vast mass of rubbish’, discovered the almost complete manuscript of this play by Philip Massinger, hitherto believed lost, and sent it to T. Crofton Crocker, who edited it for the Percy Society.  It was published in 1849, two hundred years after it had disappeared from the records.  A week or two later, the Royal Shakespeare Company announced that Believe as You List would form part of the following season’s Swan programme – and my research was born.

The director, Josie Rourke, kindly allowed me to sit in on an early rehearsal, and to discuss the play with cast members.

Up to that point I had not considered seriously the idea of pursuing research to PhD level, but Lowin wouldn’t go away.  His life spanned the entire open air playhouse period, from the opening of James Burbage’s Theatre, in 1576, the year he was born, through to the closing of the theatres in 1642 and beyond.  He had been a member of Shakespeare’s company from 1603, acting with him and the great Richard Burbage in first performances of Jonson, Fletcher, Middleton, Massinger, Shakespeare and Webster among others.  He had acted before James VI and I, Charles I and the future Charles II.  After Burbage’s death, he had risen to pre-eminence with his colleague, Joseph Taylor, so that the names Lowin and Taylor, represented the pinnacle of the Caroline acting profession.

Then the theatres were closed and destroyed by order of the Commonwealth Parliament.  He and his fellows sank into obscurity, and he was dead before the public theatres re-emerged with the Restoration.  He suffered an oblivion more profound than that of Massinger, and having found a potential biographer, he was not about to let go.

For some months I looked him up in libraries and on websites, and read the plays where his role was known.  I put together a proposal for research into his life and career within the society of his time, which was generously accepted by Professor Michael Dobson.  John Lowin was, at times, elusive, but gradually I built up his profile into a tangible record of an actor and citizen in seventeenth century London.  After the thesis was entered in 2011, I thought I couldn’t face looking at it all once more for a book, but Lowin was still unknown to all but a few academics, several of whom urged me to revise the material once more into book form.  Erika Gaffney at Ashgate Publishing liked my proposal, gave me invaluable advice on re-writing and persuaded her company to accept me as an Ashgate author.  One of the great strengths of Ashgate is the quality of their advice and assistance to a new author, a bonus for me being their clear instructions at every stage on how the technically challenged should proceed.

John LowinHere at last is John Lowin and the English Theatre, 1603-1647.  It’s not a definitive work because new material is emerging thanks to digitization projects and world wide academic communication.  But at least it’s a start.

The Monster Movement

Posted by Hattie Wilson, Marketing Executive

It’s not long now until Hallowe’en is upon us. Monsters, zombies, ghosts and ghouls will be shuffling their way into our consciousness, appearing on our television screens and the boxes of sweet treats alike. Monstrosity is as prominent in our culture today as it always has been and is the subject of Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock’s new book, The Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters (due for publication November 2013).

Following in the wake of the successful Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous, this volume provides scholars with an A-Z of monsters throughout the ages. With over 200 entries of cross-referenced monsters and their manifestations in literature and film, this encycopedia is the first major reference title on monsters for the scholarly market. In addition, significant monsters in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian, Indian, Chinese, African, Japanese and Middle Eastern traditions are also discussed with further reading suggested at the end of each entry.

This is a must-have monster read!

If you are interested in this title, you may also be interested in the following titles also published by Ashgate:

The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous

The Scary Screen: Media Anxiety in The Ring

Beard Fetish in Early Modern England

Gonzalo de Berceo and the Latin Miracles of the Virgin, Feminae’s Translation of the Month

Posted by Alyssa Berthiaume, Marketing Coordinator

Ashgate is proud to announce that Gonzalo de Berceo and the Latin Miracles of the Virgin, edited by Patricia Timmons and Robert Boeing, was selected by Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index as their translation of the month.

Timmons & Boenig NEWFeminae includes journal articles, book reviews and contributing essays on women, sexuality and gender during the Middle Ages. Each month indexers of Feminae select a translation significant to these themes. By choosing a translation each month, viewers have more opportunity to see a vast collection of newly translated medieval texts with its focus on women and gender studies. Currently, Feminae has over 1800 records of translations, now with Gonzalo de Berceo and the Latin Miracles of the Virgin within their collection.

In Gonzalo de Berceo and the Latin Miracles of the Virgin, Patricia Timmons and Robert Boenig present the first English translation of a twelfth-century Latin collection of miracles that Berceo, the first named poet in the Spanish language, used as a source for his thirteenth-century Spanish collection Milagros de Nuestra Señora. They include the original Latin text, translations of the Latin Miracles, including analyses of “Saint Peter and the Lustful Monk” and “The Jews of Toledo.”

To view the full contents and read the preface, click here.

Patricia Timmons is an Instructional Assistant Professor of Spanish at Texas A&M University. Robert Boenig is a Professor of English at Texas A&M University

Records of Girlhood, Volume Two: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century Women’s Childhoods Makes a Great Sequel to the 2000 Edition

Posted by Alyssa Berthiaume, Marketing Coordinator

Records of GirlhoodRecords of Girlhood: Volume Two, edited by Valerie Sanders, is a follow-up to her well-received 2000 anthology of autobiographical accounts of childhood by nineteenth-century women writers. This wholly new publication, also published in Ashgate’s Nineteenth Century Series, features 14 women of note, including children’s author Frances Hodgson Burnett, political activist Emmeline Pankhurt, and the sensation novelist Mary Elizabeth Braddon.

Sanders writes:

“This collection of narratives…offers both a continuation of the earlier volume and an opportunity to review the development of critical interest in a genre which has lagged behind the much greater focus on male-authored Victorian autobiographies.”

Claudia Nelson at Texas A&M University calls Volume 2 “an accessible and varied tapestry of girlhoods” and commends it for its readability, thought-provoking editorial commentary, detailed annotations and enthusiastic introduction.

For more information on this scrupulously edited collection of life-writing by women attempting to make sense of how their childhood experiences shaped the women they became, we recommend reading Valerie Sanders’s introduction to Volume Two, which is available on the Ashgate website.

Valerie Sanders is Professor of English at the University of Hull. Previous publications include the first Records of Girlhood collection (2000), The Brother-Sister Culture in Nineteenth-Century Literature: From Austen to Woolf (2002), and The Tragi-Comedy of Victorian Fatherhood (2009). She is currently a contributor to Pickering and Chatto’s Selected Works of Margaret Oliphant. Click here to view Sanders profile page on the University of Hull website.

Interested in other Ashgate titles on girlhood? Check out:

Constructing Girlhood through the Periodical Press, 1850–1915

Conduct Books for Girls in Enlightenment France

No Denying Anne Morey’s Book on the “Twilight” Series is a ‘Box Office’ Hit

Posted by Alyssa Berthiaume, Marketing Coordinator

Stephanie Meyer’s epic trilogy, Twilight, whose audiences (both readers and movie-goers) either love-to-love or love-to-hate it, is the central focus of one of Ashgate’s latest titles in the series, Ashgate Studies in Childhood, 1700 to the Present: Genre, Reception, and Adaptation in the “Twilight” Series edited by Anne Morey.  Though Meyer’s and Morey’s texts have much to offer and leave plenty to comment on, Morey’s work seems more consistently complimented than Meyer’s YA novels. Unlike the saga which is continuously under attack or stuck between adoration and ridicule, Morey’s collection of essays has received nothing but stellar reviews.

Morey jkt_Morey jktAnnette Wannamaker, coordinator of Children’s Literature Studies at Eastern Michigan University, stated that Morey’s “collection illuminates the complex, ambiguous and significant place the Twilight novels have assumed in contemporary culture.” Furthermore, Wannamaker asserts that this collection of essays offers fresh and engaging material from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The Looking Glass: New Perspectives on Children’s Books, an electronic journal about Children’s Literature, proclaimed the text a “well-argued and thoughtful examination of the […] series as it exists now: phenomenally popular, culturally challenging, and clearly commenting on where we are now.”

Most recently, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly— arguably THE journal of journals on children’s literature, also gave it a stellar assessment.  Reviewer Joseph Michael Sommers wrote:

This new volume from Ashgate is revelatory in terms of the study of Twilight…for both its breadth and its quality…[Morey’s] is one of the strongest arguments as yet proffered for academic consideration of Meyer’s work, through the simple consideration of the Saga as a relevant artifact reflecting the zeitgeist of the here and now.

Of course the review does not stop there. Sommers goes on to say that the audaciousness and clarity of Morey’s overall arguments make her text a “breath of fresh air in a cosmology of Twilight criticism.”  As Sommers claims, much of Twilight scholarship is mocked or scorned for the attempt to find depth and significance in a work that often apologizes for itself. Yet, Morey has found at least three categories (as she states in her introduction) in which to analyze this literary and cultural phenomenon: genre, reception, and adaptation, as the title of her book identifies.

Morey slashes through the denunciations to show that the Twilight series is worthy of our study and significant to our cultural history. By dissecting Twilight under the scope of cultural studies she’s pried open its importance to pop culture, gender and young adult literature. Perhaps Morey’s essays will lead those loving and loyal audiences not to be ashamed of their adoration. If nothing else, Morey will at least make people reconsider that there might be more to Twilight than the superficial question of “who’s the lucky bachelor to win Bella’s heart, Edward or Jacob?”.

Anne Morey is associate professor of English at Texas A&M University. She is presently at work on a history of religious filmmaking in the United States.

Read the introduction from Genre, Reception, and Adaptation in the “Twilight” Series on the Ashgate website.