front cover of Ventures into Childland
Ventures into Childland
Victorians, Fairy Tales, and Femininity
U. C. Knoepflmacher
University of Chicago Press, 1998
Behind the innocent face of Victorian fairy tales such as Through the Looking Glass or Mopsa the Fairy lurks the specter of an intense gender debate about the very nature of childhood. Offering brilliant rereadings of classics from the "Golden Age of Children's Literature" as well as literature commonly considered "grown-up," U. C. Knoepflmacher illuminates this debate, probing deeply into the relations between adults and children, adults and their own childhood selves, and the lives of beloved Victorian authors and their "children's tales." Ventures into Childland will delight and instruct all readers of children's classics, and will be essential reading for students of Victorian culture and gender studies.

"Ventures into Childland is acute, well written and stimulating. It also has a political purpose, to insist on the importance of protecting and nurturing children, imaginatively and physically."—Jan Marsh, Times Literary Supplement

"A provocative and interesting book about Victorian culture."—Library Journal

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Vergil's Aeneid and the Roman Self
Subject and Nation in Literary Discourse
Yasmin Syed
University of Michigan Press, 2005

Now in Paper!

As the most widely read Roman poem in antiquity, the Aeneid was indelibly burned into the memories of generations of Roman school children. In this book, author Yasmin Syed analyzes the formative influence the poem exerted on its broad audience of educated Romans. Syed analyzes Roman pedagogy and reading practices as well as ancient beliefs about the powerful influence of poetry. Her study considers these cultural components together with the aspects of identity that define the Aeneid’s characters. By doing so, Syed shows how Vergil’s ancient audiences saw themselves—their experiences, goals, and values—reflected in the poem and guided by it. In particular, Syed’s treatment of gender and ethnicity brings to light the key role of Vergil’s poem in the formation of Romanness.


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Violence and Grace
Exceptional Life between Shakespeare and Modernity
Nichole E. Miller
Northwestern University Press, 2014
In Violence and Grace, Nichole Miller establishes a conceptual link between early modern English drama and twentieth-century political theology, both of which emerge from the experience of political crisis. Miller’s analyses accordingly undertake to retrieve for political theology the relations between gender, sexuality, and the political aesthetics of violence on the early modern stage, addressing the plays of Marlowe, Middleton, and especially Shakespeare. In doing so, she expands our understanding of drama’s continuing theoretical impact.

front cover of Vows, Veils, and Masks
Vows, Veils, and Masks
The Performance of Marriage in the Plays of Eugene O'Neill
Beth Wynstra
University of Iowa Press, 2023
Vows, Veils, and Masks offers a bold and timely approach to the plays of Eugene O’Neill with its attention to the engagements, weddings, and marriages so crucial to the tragic action in O’Neill’s works. Specifically, the book examines the culturally sanctioned traditions and gender roles that underscored marital life in the early twentieth century, and that still haunt and define love and partnership in the modern age.

Weaving in artifacts like advice columns, advertisements, theatrical reviews, and even the lived experiences of the actors who brought O’Neill’s wife characters to life, Beth Wynstra points to new ways of seeing and empathizing with those who are betrothed and new possibilities for reading marriage in literary and dramatic works. She suggests that the various ways women were, and still are, expected to divert from their true ambitions, desires, and selves in the service of appropriate wifely behavior is a detrimental performance and one at the crux of O’Neill’s marital tragedies. This book invites more inclusive and nuanced ways of thinking about the choices married characters must make and the roles they play, both on and off the stage.

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The Voyage In
Fictions of Female Development
Edited by Elizabeth Abel, Marianne Hirsch, and Elizabeth Langland
Dartmouth College Press, 1983
Questions of female development shape women’s studies in many fields as women seek to define those forces which mold their experiences. Surprisingly, this is the first book to study systematically and from a comparative perspective the female novel of development, or Bildungsroman. Prevailing definitions of the Bildungsroman derive from the conceptions of development based on male experience. The book offers an expanded generic model that incorporates the distinctively female patterns of realization and failed realization which emerge from the limited social opportunities depicted in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century novel and from the particular features of women’s maturation as revealed by recent feminist psychoanalytic research.

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