Tar for Mortar

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FORTHCOMING Spring 2018

Tar for Mortar offers an in-depth exploration of one of literature’s greatest tricksters, Jorge Luis Borges. His short story “The Library of Babel” is a signature examplar of this playfulness, though not merely for the inverted world it imagines, where a library thought to contain all possible permutations of all letters and words and books is plumbed[…]

Murder Ballads

Published: 06/27/2016

Download an excerpt of Murder Ballads! England, 1798. You buy a book of poems. An anonymous volume. You carry it home in your jacket pocket, set it on a table in your sitting room while you munch a midday meal of meat and bread. . . . In 1798, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge were engaged in[…]

As If: Essays in As You Like It

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Published: 12/29/2016

Read an Excerpt from As If: Essays in As You Like It Here! Shakespeare’s As You Like It is a play without a theme. Instead, it repeatedly poses one question in a variety of forms: What if the world were other than it is? As You Like It is a set of experiments in which[…]

Posthuman Lear

Published: 02/26/2016

Part scholarship, part journalism, part ecological screed, this book may read like a mashup of critical perspectives. Like other current investigations into the ecological significance of early modern literature, the account of King Lear offered here draws on different and sometimes contrasting interpretive methods: cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, literary historicism and what is called the new materialism. Moreover, the book reflects on the broad global setting of eco-materialism’s themes of catastrophe and enmeshed co-existence, using contemporary examples from Japan, New Mexico, Finland, and India, all while jumping back to Shakespeare’s early modern England. … Those interested in ecology might not be interested in the history of Renaissance literacy. And those interested in the scholarship on Shakespeare’s King Lear might not be interested in accounts of tsunami stones or radioactive waste sites. But they should be. … Because the proverbial clock is ticking. What Hamlet said about readiness? Well, it’s happening. The sparrow has already fallen.

~Craig Dionne, Posthuman Lear

Just in Time for the Winter Doldrums: Dark Chaucer

by EILEEN JOY . . . you never know what you will discover in the dark. . . . certainly our shared enterprise requires dependability, loyalty, generosity, hard work; those who employ us, take our classes, and read our work deserve our full engagement. But if we are to commit ourselves truly to the study[…]

Dark Chaucer: An Assortment

Published: 12/23/2012

Read Marion Turner’s review of Dark Chaucer in Studies in the Age of Chaucer HERE. Although widely beloved for its playfulness and comic sensibility, Chaucer’s poetry is also subtly shot through with dark moments that open into obscure and irresolvably haunting vistas, passages into which one might fall head-first and never reach the abyssal bottom,[…]