Aus unseren Neuerwerbungen – Anglistik 2021.1


Mark my words: pro­files of punc­tu­a­tion in mod­ern lit­er­a­ture
“The pace at which this world unfolds is super­vised by punc­tu­a­tion.” — Fredric Jame­son
Mark My Words is a brief book on punc­tu­a­tion, style, and mod­ern lit­er­a­ture. Most writ­ers are not notable for their punc­tu­a­tion, but more than a hand­ful of the major fig­ures in mod­ern lit­er­a­ture have sig­na­ture styles that are defined by their punc­tu­a­tion choic­es.
Why are Emi­ly Dick­in­son and Hen­ry James (as well as Lau­rence Sterne) drawn habit­u­al­ly to dash­es? Why is Cor­mac McCarthy a fan of com­mas and ques­tion marks, which William Car­los Williams tends to ignore? And why is that odd cou­ple, the nov­el­ist Vir­ginia Woolf and the short sto­ry spe­cial­ist Andre Dubus II, devot­ed to semi­colons (along, as it hap­pens, with Flaubert)? Why do E. E. Cum­mings, William Car­los Williams, and Nik­ki Gio­van­ni pre­fer no punc­tu­a­tion at all? More impor­tant­ly, what effect do such non­ver­bal marks have on the author’s vision? Lee Clark Mitchell unpicks what such pref­er­ences imply, show­ing that each form of punc­tu­a­tion serves a sin­gu­lar the­mat­ic end.
The first book on mod­ern lit­er­a­ture to com­pare writ­ers’ use of punc­tu­a­tion, and to show how ful­ly typo­graph­i­cal marks alter our sense of autho­r­i­al styles, Mark My Words offers new ways of read­ing some of our most impor­tant and beloved writ­ers as well as new per­spec­tives on lit­er­ary style itself.
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Engag­ing the age of Jane Austen: pub­lic human­i­ties in prac­tice
Human­i­ties schol­ars, in gen­er­al, often have a dif­fi­cult time explain­ing to oth­ers why their work mat­ters, and eigh­teenth-cen­tu­ry lit­er­ary schol­ars are cer­tain­ly no excep­tion. To help rem­e­dy this prob­lem, lit­er­ary schol­ars Brid­get Draxler and Danielle Spratt offer this col­lec­tion of essays to defend the field’s rel­e­vance and demon­strate its abil­i­ty to help us bet­ter under­stand cur­rent events, from the pro­lif­er­a­tion of media to ongo­ing social jus­tice bat­tles.
The result is a book that offers a range of approach­es to engag­ing with under­grad­u­ates, non-pro­fes­sion­als, and broad­er publics into an appre­ci­a­tion of eigh­teenth-cen­tu­ry lit­er­a­ture. Essays draw on inno­v­a­tive projects rang­ing from a Jane Austen read­ing group held at the pub­lic library to stu­dents work­ing with an archive to dig­i­tize an over­looked writer’s nov­el.
Remind­ing us that the eigh­teenth cen­tu­ry was an exhil­a­rat­ing age of live­ly polit­i­cal culture—marked by the rise of libraries and muse­ums, the explo­sion of the press, and oth­er plat­forms for pub­lic intel­lec­tu­al debates—Draxler and Spratt pro­vide a book that will not only be use­ful to eigh­teenth-cen­tu­ry schol­ars, but can also serve as a mod­el for oth­er peri­ods as well. This book will appeal to librar­i­ans, archivists, muse­um direc­tors, schol­ars, and oth­ers inter­est­ed in dig­i­tal human­i­ties in the pub­lic life.
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