Category Archives: Literary Studies

Piotr Spyra speaks about his book The Epistemological Perspective of the Pearl-Poet

Posted by Beth Whalley, Marketing Executive

The body of work by the so-called ‘Pearl-Poet’ remains one of the most widely-read and well-known written in Middle English. Existing in a single surviving manuscript (Cotton Nero A.x) and written in the same dialect, internal evidence suggests that all four works were written by the same author, and many scholars have recognised that Pearl, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Patience and Cleanness should be read in relationship with one another. Author Piotr Spyra, in his 2014 book The Epistemological Perspective of the Pearl-Poet, takes this viewpoint a step further by viewing the Pearl texts as one literary unit with a continuous narrative. By applying the epistemological thought of Saint Augustine to the Pearl manuscript, Spyra reveals that the works of the Pearl-Poet, when read together, disclose what it means to be human.

In this video, Spyra reveals a little more about his choice of texts, methodology and insights.

Browse our catalogues online…

Online versions of our printed catalogues are available to browse. Please follow the links below to your subject(s) of interest.

Most of our catalogues are available in two formats, ‘eCatalogue’ which is a ‘page turning’ document, and standard PDF which loads in Acrobat Reader. Both versions include links to full book details on our website, for further information and for ease of ordering.

Don’t forget, ALL orders on our website receive 10% discount.

Achsah Guibbory’s return to John Donne

Posted by Beth Whalley, Marketing Executive

It is, Achsah Guibbory says, an exciting time in Donne Studies. In the last decade, a great number of publications focusing on the English poet have materialised, with much critical attention paid to the production of new scholarly editions of Donne for the twenty-first century.

Ashgate has contributed significantly to this influx of contemporary Donne scholarship, notably with the publication of Frances Cruickshank’s Verse and Poetics in George Herbert and John Donne (2010), and Bodies, Politics and Transformations: John Donne’s Metempsychosis by Siobhán Collins (2013).

Returning to John DonneThe newest addition to this list is Returning to John Donne (2015), by Achsah Guibbory.  The book includes an original, substantive introduction and new essays on the Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, the Songs and Sonnets, and the subject of Donne and toleration. It also showcases Guibbory’s most influential previously published work on Donne, with corrections, updates and scholarly reflections.

Guibbory’s work is and always has been historicist; she aims to locate Donne’s writings within various historical and cultural contexts. Nevertheless, the essays selected for this volume (those that she considers to be her most important) are united by an overarching concern to define what is distinctive and original about Donne. She writes:

‘Donne also feels very present, because his writing is so energetic, so alive, and he writes about what continues to matter: our yearning for love and intimacy, our desire to believe in – and feel connected with – something great and better than ourselves … his writing is intimate and direct, addressing the listening reader in a way that makes you feel he is speaking directly to you.’

Though his death was a full 384 years ago on the 31st March, Donne clearly continues to speak to and resonate with readers today.

Achsah Guibbory is a plenary speaker at the Reconsidering Donne conference in Oxford, 23-24th March 2015, with a paper entitled Not all Donne: The Significance of Donne’s Libertine Poetry. More information about her book Returning to John Donne, including contents and ordering information, is available on the Ashgate website.

New series: North American Literature and the Environment, 1600-1900 – call for proposals

We are seeking proposals for a new book series, North American Literature and the Environment, 1600-1900, edited by Matthew Wynn Sivils

Building on the growing interest in the environmental humanities, this series focuses on pre-1900 American literary culture – the themes, figures, and issues that emerged during this vital period.

Proposals are welcome for monographs and edited collections on nature writing, animal studies, environmental fiction, natural history, print culture, natural theology, ecocritical theory, gender studies, Native American culture, life writing, captivity narratives, slave narratives, maritime accounts, and other topics and approaches associated with the range of cultural production that stretched from Native American oral traditions to the dawn of the twentieth century. We especially encourage interdisciplinary projects, as well as those that take transnational and hemispheric approaches.

For more information on how to submit a book proposal to the series, please contact Ann Donahue, Publisher, Literary Studies.

About the series editorMatthew Wynn Sivils is Associate Professor of English at Iowa State University. A founding editor of the journal Literature in the Early American Republic, he is the author or editor of six books, including American Environmental Fiction, 1782–1847 and an edition of Alexander Posey’s life writing, Lost Creeks: Collected Journals.

Bluestockings and the emergence of organized feminism – a guest post by Deborah Heller

This is a guest post from Deborah Heller, editor of Bluestockings Now!, and Professor of English at Western New Mexico University

International Women’s Day—celebrated annually on March 8—has as its slogan “paint it purple,” harkening back to purple as the official color adopted by the IWD founders more than a century ago. They adopted that color from the British suffragettes, who had used purple to symbolize justice and dignity for women.  Bluestockings Now! The Evolution of a Social Role, helps to propose another color as symbolic for women-powered advancement of women, and women’s advancement of society in general—the color blue.

The name “Bluestocking” was invented in the eighteenth century to signify the intellectually and culturally energized women who frequented the London salons of Elizabeth Montagu, Elizabeth Vesey, and others. When Elizabeth Vesey urged one salon guest to attend in casual “blue stockings” instead of the white silk stockings of formal attire, the name stuck. Thus “blue stocking,” often clipped to “blue,” came to stand for the informal apparel and egalitarian manners of the Bluestockings. But it signified much more.

Bluestockings Now! is not the first book on the subject of the Bluestockings, but it is a book that sets out to redefine the Bluestockings as a movement rather than a fixed group, describing what that movement was, how it operated as a networked phenomenon, and how it lead, in the middle of the nineteenth century, to the emergence of organized feminism.

This collection of nine essays, newly written by top scholars in the field, accomplishes a number of significant things. It follows the Bluestockings—and what I call “Bluestockingism”—from the eighteenth century into the nineteenth and, indeed, into the twenty-first century. As an illustration of the staying power and versatility of the Bluestocking movement, I introduce a hitherto unknown eighteenth-century Bluestocking, Margaret Middleton, and show how Middleton steered the Bluestocking impulse into the movement for the emancipation of slaves and, eventually, the emancipation of women.

Contributors to the volume agree that Bluestockingism—an emerging new form of women’s social and cultural activism—was born out of a macro-phenomenon commonly called “modernization.” Modernization entailed new forms of social networking that allowed women to transcend the primary groups into which they were born (family, neighborhood, religion) and to form feminocentric groups that eventuated in the feminist concept of “women” as a solidaristic group sharing legal, political, economic, and personal interests in common. Modernization also provided the material basis of improved communication technologies and the social foundation of “cultural production” as viable means of making social change happen. “Make it happen”, by the way, is another official slogan of International Women’s Day 2015. The Bluestockings were the primary impetus behind the evolution of women’s self-consciousness that has resulted in such activities as IWD in our present moment.

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Bluestockings now‘This excellent volume of new research on the Bluestocking phenomenon makes an exciting intervention in the field of eighteenth-century literary studies. The editor has gathered together an impressive range of original essays. The use of contemporary network theory and visual mapping is particularly innovative and thought-provoking.’   Elizabeth Eger, King’s College London, UK

 

Christopher Marlowe at 450

This is a guest post by Sara Munson Deats

christopher marlowe at 450As the baptism date, if not birthday, of internationally renowned English playwright, poet, and translator Christopher Marlowe, February 26 seems an auspicious day to celebrate the recent publication of Christopher Marlowe at 450. The year 2014 saw the 450th anniversary of Marlowe’s birth. To commemorate this significant anniversary, the book evaluates the scholarship and criticism treating all aspects of the poet/playwright–his biography, his individual poems, including his translations, and his seven plays–to discover what has been covered, what has been neglected, and what areas scholarship and criticism might focus on in the future.

There has never been a retrospective on Marlowe as comprehensive and up-to-date in appraising the Marlovian landscape. Each chapter has been written by an eminent Marlovian scholar, and in addition to considering all of Marlowe’s dramas and poetry, the volume contains chapters exploring the following special topics: critical approaches to Marlowe, Marlowe’s plays in performance; Marlowe and theater history; electronic resources for Marlowe research; and Marlowe’s biography. The volume thus provides an indispensable source of information not only for Marlowe students and scholars but for anyone interested in Renaissance drama and poetry. And because interest in every aspect of Marlowe studies has burgeoned since the turn of the century, it seems appropriate at this time to present a comprehensive assessment of traditional and contemporary approaches, and to predict future lines of inquiry into the life and work of this fascinating poet and playwright.

The book is dedicated to the Marlowe Society of America, and to the cadre of scholars throughout history who have devoted their time and talent to refining our understanding of Christopher Marlowe, and of his contributions to English literature.

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Sara Munson Deats is Distinguished University Professor of English at the University of South Florida, and editor, with Robert A. Logan (Hartford), of Christopher Marlowe at 450.

Contributors to the book: Sara Munson Deats; Robert A. Logan; Ruth Lunney; Tom Rutter; Stephen J. Lynch; Leah S. Marcus; Patrick Cheney; M. L. Stapleton; Richard Wilson; David Bevington; Christopher Matusiak; David McInnis; Constance Brown Kuriyama

Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in ten years coincides with new Ashgate volume ‘Kazuo Ishiguro in a Global Context’

Posted by Beth Whalley, Marketing Executive

Cynthia F. Wong and Hülya Yıldız’s edited collection on the work of the Man Booker Prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro has now been published – coinciding neatly with the arrival of the author’s first novel in a decade, The Buried Giant.

Ishiguro is one of the most celebrated writers of his generation, having won the Booker Prize in 1989 for The Remains of the Day, as well as receiving an OBE for Services to Literature (1995) and the prestigious French decoration of Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1998).

Kazuo Ishiguro in a global contextBringing together an international group of scholars, Kazuo Ishiguro in a Global Context offers a fresh assessment of Ishiguro’s growing significance as a contemporary world author. Over the last three decades of interviews and public appearances, the author has been seen to grapple frequently with the ambiguities and contradictions inherent in being an ‘international’ author and writing an ‘international’ novel. By attending to Ishiguro’s career in a global context – via the author’s personal biography from Japan to the UK; by way of the topics and themes explored in his fiction; through the circulation and reception of his works in various editions and languages worldwide; and by presenting a truly global host of contributors – this collection pushes against the literary, political and linguistic borders that Ishiguro calls into question in his own writings.

With new Ishiguro material on the horizon, we are confident that the discussions and debates set into motion by Wong and Yıldız’s volume will adopt fresh relevance and open up new avenues of exploration for those considering literature’s global context in the twenty-first century.

About the Editors: Cynthia F. Wong is Associate Professor of English at the University of Colorado Denver, USA, and Hülya Yıldız is Assistant Professor in the Department of Foreign Language Education at Middle East Technical University, Turkey.