Postcolonial Criticism and Representations of African Dictatorship: The Aesthetics of Tyranny
Cécile Bishop
Research Monographs in French Studies 411 July 2014

  • ‘This is an impressive first book that calls for renewed engagement with established critical approaches and opens up intriguing new avenues of research.’ — Charlotte Baker, French Studies 69.3, July 2015, 430
  • ‘A cultural interpretation that often transcends its focus on the postcolonial project in order to raise important questions regarding the work of criticism more generally... Ultimately, the book is an example of excellent scholarship that leads to a very thought-provoking consideration of the work of critical interpretation more widely.’ — Aedín Ní Loingsigh, H-France 15, November 2015, no. 163
  • ‘Une problématique intéressante et une contribution pertinente construite sur des travaux théoriques majeurs et un corpus littéraire et cinématographique qui demeurent d’actualité.’ — Parfait Bonkoungou, French Review 89.3, 2016, 13-14
  • ‘Indeed, the monograph convincingly demonstrates that the political and the aesthetic interact in complex and often contradictory ways in a fictional text, with Bishop effectively highlight- ing a system by which political readings are inevitably assigned more value in scholarship... A welcome contribution to the field of postcolonial criticism.’ — Kathryn Mara, Research in African Literatures 47.4, Winter 2017, 188-89

Arthur Symons: Poet, Critic, Vagabond
Edited by Elisa Bizzotto and Stefano Evangelista
Studies In Comparative Literature 4425 May 2018

  • ‘The MHRA's recent commitment to publishing works by or on Arthur Symons was sus=tained in 2017 with selections edited by Nicholas Freeman and by Jane Desmarais and Chris Baldick. That commitment continues with a volume of essays on Symons’s life and work, many of which discuss his personal, intellectual, and artistic relations with aspects of European culture... In their short but excellent introduction, Bizzotto and Evangelista argue that their collection, “the first ... entirely dedicated to Symons[,] ... aims to project a new, nuanced view of Symons into the twenty-first century.”’ — Ian Small, English Literature in Transition 1880-1920 62.3, 2019, 599-606
  • ‘Once consecrated by Pater as a successor to Browning, Symons ranged far beyond poetry to practise literary and art criticism, aesthetic theory, drama, travel writing and translation; and he wrote prolifically, if self-cannibalistically, until his death in 1945.’ — Ellen Crowell, Times Literary Supplement 7 June 2019, 35
  • ‘A book devoted to the work of Arthur Symons is timely and much needed; and this carefully fashioned and integrated collection of essays offers an excellent response to that need... This is a well-crafted collection; a thoughtful and integrated multi- authored study of a writer, and one that has been put together both to confirm his significance to many of our current scholarly preoccupations while simultaneously unsettling what it might mean to think of a writer as ‘central’ to any of those debates.’ — Marion Thain, Comparative Critical Studies 17.1, 2020, 161-64 (full text online)
  • ‘The book is clearly a timely contribution to our knowledge of Symons and represents a significant milestone in his ongoing critical retrieval.’ — Rob Harris, Studies in Walter Pater and Aestheticism 5, 2020, 140-44
  • ‘Gives Symons the meticulous attention that such a pivotal cultural figure deserves. One of the most insightful aspects... is its analysis of the wandering obliqueness of his Decadent perspective as it reflects his philosophical commitment to freedom of expression, experience, and lifestyle.’ — Dennis Denisoff, Victorian Studies 62.4, 2020, 686-88 (full text online)

Selected Essays of Malcolm Bowie I: Dreams of Knowledge
Malcolm Bowie
Legenda (General Series) vol 1 of 24 December 2013

  • ‘Only someone with Bowie’s exquisite powers of expression and formidably focused, well-stocked mind could home in so closely on the multilevelled play of thought in some of the most difficult modern writers, and especially on the places where their work crosses aesthetic boundaries... It is therefore a huge treat to be able to revel in the publication of his Selected Essays, impeccably edited by Alison Finch and beautifully produced by Legenda... Even in the space of a short review, Bowie’s writing offers both pleasure and intense mental stimulation. For readers old and new, there are marvels in store in these two magnificent volumes.’ — Michael Sheringham, French Studies 68.3, July 2014, 422-23
  • ‘These two volumes can only add to our sense of [Bowie's] importance... Criticism like this is clearly so much more than criticism: it is an engagement with the act of creation that is brought back to creation itself. These two volumes are full of brilliance and insight and deftly communicated and thus infectious pleasure.’ — Patrick McGuinness, Times Literary Supplement 5805, 4 July 2014, 21
  • ‘His readings are always marked by a resistance to easy answers that would attempt to reduce or deny the complexity of the text under analysis; the role of the critic is to illuminate that complexity, giving close attention to the way the text functions and how it guides the reader to a range of potential interpretive moves. While he is a highly trustworthy guide through the intricacies of the text, as he himself writes in an essay on Mallarmé, 'somehow the passage through imbricated levels of utterance towards some final state of achieved propositional clarity is never quite the point' (I: 152).’ — Joseph Acquisto, Nineteenth-Century French Studies 43.1-2, 2014
  • ‘How Verdi moves Shakespeare’s Othello around the globe, finding the mental ‘fingerprint’ in Winnicott, introducing Judith Butler, deciphering Stéphane Mallarmé, exploring brevity in Proust (yes), Liszt’s relationship with Wagner, ‘that most exhausting of sons-in-law’: these are just a few of the subjects considered with such zest by Malcolm Bowie, who was a critic of immense talent.’ — Edward Hughes, Times Higher Education Supplement 1 January 2015, 63
  • ‘Evidence abounds in these pieces of Bowie’s keen appetite for intrinsically difficult subject-matter. Indeed, his ability to sustain his critical nerve in the handling of complex material was to become a hallmark of his achievement... Yet alongside this intensity of engagement with serious subject-matter, we also see the poise and panache of a critic who was so evidently at home with textual composition.’ — Edward J. Hughes, Modern Language Review 111.1, January 2016, 228-29 (full text online)

Selected Essays of Malcolm Bowie II: Song Man
Malcolm Bowie
Legenda (General Series) vol 2 of 24 December 2013

  • ‘Only someone with Bowie’s exquisite powers of expression and formidably focused, well-stocked mind could home in so closely on the multilevelled play of thought in some of the most difficult modern writers, and especially on the places where their work crosses aesthetic boundaries... It is therefore a huge treat to be able to revel in the publication of his Selected Essays, impeccably edited by Alison Finch and beautifully produced by Legenda... Even in the space of a short review, Bowie’s writing offers both pleasure and intense mental stimulation. For readers old and new, there are marvels in store in these two magnificent volumes.’ — Michael Sheringham, French Studies 68.3, July 2014, 422-23
  • ‘These two volumes can only add to our sense of [Bowie's] importance... Criticism like this is clearly so much more than criticism: it is an engagement with the act of creation that is brought back to creation itself. These two volumes are full of brilliance and insight and deftly communicated and thus infectious pleasure.’ — Patrick McGuinness, Times Literary Supplement 5805, 4 July 2014, 21
  • ‘Bowie’s style appeals both to generalist and specialist readers; his clarity makes it possible for all to follow the argument even in his more technical writings, while the sharpness of his insights make his pieces for general audiences appealing to specialists as well. His writing always strikes a balance between sophistication and accessibility, often with a dose of wit (see especially his delightful self-review of Proust Among the Stars [II: 203-6]), allowing us to travel with him through our own areas of expertise and amateur interest.’ — Joseph Acquisto, Nineteenth-Century French Studies 43.1-2, 2014
  • ‘How Verdi moves Shakespeare’s Othello around the globe, finding the mental ‘fingerprint’ in Winnicott, introducing Judith Butler, deciphering Stéphane Mallarmé, exploring brevity in Proust (yes), Liszt’s relationship with Wagner, ‘that most exhausting of sons-in-law’: these are just a few of the subjects considered with such zest by Malcolm Bowie, who was a critic of immense talent.’ — Edward Hughes, Times Higher Education Supplement 1 January 2015, 63
  • ‘Evidence abounds in these pieces of Bowie’s keen appetite for intrinsically difficult subject-matter. Indeed, his ability to sustain his critical nerve in the handling of complex material was to become a hallmark of his achievement... Yet alongside this intensity of engagement with serious subject-matter, we also see the poise and panache of a critic who was so evidently at home with textual composition.’ — Edward J. Hughes, Modern Language Review 111.1, January 2016, 228-29 (full text online)

Literary Scholarship in Late Imperial Russia: Rituals of Academic Institutionalization
Andy Byford
Legenda (General Series) 14 November 2007

  • ‘A thoroughly researched, thoughtfully conceptualized, and highly informative book that will hopefully lead to further interest in the remarkable yet in many cases still underrecognized scholarship that emerged just before and after the turn of the twentieth century.’ — Barry P. Scherr, Russian Review 67.3, July 2008, 500-01
  • ‘This elegantly written account of the development of Russian literary scholarship is distinctive for its focus on academics and university professors (kabinetnye uchenye) rather than the more familiar, civic-minded criticism associated with the names of Chernyshevskii or Belinskii... it affords a number of extremely valuable insights that are highly pertinent for the student of Russian intellectual culture more broadly.’ — Frances Nethercott, Revolutionary Russia 22.1, 2009, 97-99
  • ‘Byford’s monograph makes two extremely important systemic contributions. First, it is part of a process of reassessment of the Russian nineteenth century, whereby cultural historians attempt to step out of the teleological shadow cast by the gargantuan events of the early twentieth century, and indeed, to redress the methodological blindspots that grew from the Soviet era; second, Byford also joins those few (in the UK, largely Bakhtin Circle-oriented Russianists) who strive to contextualize the insights of early twentieth-century Russian literary theorists.’ — Carol Adlam, Modern Language Review 105.2, 2010, 620-21 (full text online)
  • ‘Ces quelques remarques n'enlèvent rien à la qualité de cet ouvrage, le premier à aborder les études littéraires en Russie sous l'angle des processus d'institutionnalisation et qui, à ce titre, constitue une étude véritablement pionnière.’ — Catherine Depretto, Cahiers du Monde Russe 2010, 794-96

The Italian Academies 1525-1700: Networks of Culture, Innovation and Dissent
Edited by Jane E. Everson, Denis V. Reidy and Lisa Sampson
Italian Perspectives 311 September 2016

Pietro Bembo: A Life in Laurels and Scarlet
Marco Faini
Legenda (General Series) 15 May 2017

  • ‘Faini has managed very effectively the task of providing an introduction to Bembo’s life and work that is insightful yet relatively succinct and accessible. He gives a good sense of the complexity of underlying issues without overwhelming readers with detail. His writing is engaging and attentive to descriptive effect... Helpfully and attractively illustrated.’ — Brian Richardson, Modern Language Review 113.4, October 2018, 884-86 (full text online)
  • ‘As this slim but elegant volume highlights, the life of Pietro Bembo (1470-1547) bridges the transition in Italy from the height of the Renaissance into the early stages of the Catholic Reformation, not simply in terms of chronology but also in his career trajectory... This is a beautifully illustrated work, with more than 30 images, many of which are in colour. It is an engaging treatment and an excellent introduction to this significant figure.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 54.2, July 2019, 266 (full text online)

Liberty, Equality, Maternity
Alison Fell
Legenda (General Series) 1 June 2003

  • ‘A highly readable, well-informed, and clearly argued study of the discourses of motherhood in twentieth-century France.’ — Catherine Rodgers, Modern Language Review 99.4, 2004, 1059-60 (full text online)
  • ‘Ce livre consciencieux met en valeur l'humanité des trois écrivaines étudiées plutôt qu'une quelconque rigidité. Somme tout, c'est leur histoire personnelle que Fell explore, avec tout ce que cela supposes de contradictions, d'ambiguïtés, de tiraillements entre théorie et vécu.’ — Catherine Slawy-Sutton, French Review 79.2, 2006, 420-21

Expressivism: The Vicissitudes of a Theory in the Writings of Proust and Barthes
Johnnie Gratton
Research Monographs in French Studies 61 March 2000

  • ‘Refreshing... This book is a must for graduates coming new to this debate and to these authors, and for the wider reader it is an engaging and polished addition to an excellent series.’ — Timothy Mathews, French Studies LVI.3, 2002, 421-2
  • ‘Gratton's conclusion is that we should remember that words have matted, contradictory histories, to guard ourselves against believing wholeheartedly in unmediated expression... Repays attentive reading.’ — Ingrid Wassenaar, Fabula April, 2001
  • ‘Nel corso della sua attenta analisi.’ — Antonella Arrigoni, Studi francesi XLVI, 2002, 2

Lucidity: Essays in Honour of Alison Finch
Edited by Ian James and Emma Wilson
Legenda (General Series) 1 September 2016

  • ‘This carefully crafted volume offers subtle and sustained reflections on the theme of lucidity as it is manifested in a range of cultural forms and media... This volume of fine schol- arship is dedicated to Alison Finch. As such, it pays tribute to her writing, teaching, and personal qualities, and constitutes a fitting tribute to her own lucidity.’ — Shirley Jordan, French Studies 74.1, January 2020, 157 (full text online)

Comparative Literature in Britain: National Identities, Transnational Dynamics 1800-2000
Joep Leerssen
Studies In Comparative Literature 2723 September 2019

  • ‘This is a study of the rare kind of which it can truthfully be said that it is definitive: the description fits Leerssen’s book perfectly. To those still living who launched comparative literature in the new universities some 50 years ago it will come as a happy reminder of an exciting time of innovation and change which they were fortunate to have been part of. To those of a later generation it will reveal that what happened in the 1960s did not emerge from nowhere: a long and honourable history, ably explored by Professor Leerssen, led up to it.’ — John Fletcher, Journal of European Studies 50.3, 2020, 302-321 (full text online)
  • ‘The publication of [this book] is welcome news... The entire section on the nineteenth century is a treasure house of insights into cross-national and comparative ways of approaching knowledge... This is, all in all, a book to be heartily recommended for a wide variety of readers interested in comparative studies in the humanities and social sciences, while being of particular interest to those wishing to understand the evolution of literary and cultural studies.’ — Barnita Bagchi, History of Humanities Fall 2020, 554-56

Gravity and Grace: Essays for Roger Pearson
Edited by Charlie Louth and Patrick McGuinness
Legenda (General Series) 25 February 2019

  • ‘A core series of contributions offers a remarkably sustained and rich reflection on the interplay between the aesthetic and ethical notions of gravity and grace.’ — Scott M. Powers, H-France 20, June 2020, no. 92
  • ‘Works of art function by allowing something to happen, rather than by making something happen, and are nothing without our active participation. The prescriptive weightiness of words in practical discourse is not what poetry, especially, puts in play. That certainly makes this book a fitting tribute to the wonderful work of Roger Pearson, whose own writing is never heavy, never pedantic, but always invites and inspires the reader to continue thinking beyond the page.’ — Peter Dayan, Modern Language Review 116.1, 2020, 188-89 (full text online)

The Extreme In-Between: Jean Paulhan's Place in the Twentieth Century
Anna-Louise Milne
Legenda (General Series) 24 May 2006

  • ‘Lights up the firmament of scholarship on Paulhan with brilliance... With wit, exuberance and theoretical sure-footedness, Milne takes us through a series of close readings. Not only does The Extreme In-Between reveal the astonishing reach and depth of Paulhan’s thinking, but it paves the way for a new conception of the relationship of language to political action and historical event, one that has a remarkably contemporary (twenty-first century?) resonance to it.’ — Michael Syrotinski, French Studies 491-92
  • ‘Tout bien considéré, l'ouvrage dense et méticuleusement relu de Milne vient ajouter de nouvelles perspectives aux réévaluations actuelles de Paulhan.’ — Stephen Steele, French Review 81.5, 2008, 1007-08

Mallarmé's Sunset: Poetry at the End of Time
Barnaby Norman
Legenda (General Series) 1 November 2014

  • ‘This study argues that Mallarmé’s poetry takes up a problem first posed by Hegel’s Aesthetics, namely that art’s self-transcendence can never be complete. Norman offers close readings of four works by Mallarmé (‘Hérodiade’, ‘Sonnet allégorique de luimême’, ‘Igitur’ and ‘Un coup de dés’) while demonstrating Mallarmé’s relevance to problems at the intersection of literature and critical theory which play a central role in the writings of Maurice Blanchot and the early Jacques Derrida, each of whom is the subject of a chapter in the second half of the book.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 51.3, July 2015
  • ‘Mallarmé’s Sunsets reminds us that regardless of whether Hegel held any influence over Mallarmé’s thinking, returning to the poetry itself can help us better understand 'our own epoch,' our contemporary situation, in ways not yet fully disclosed.’ — Christian R. Gelder, Colloquy 29, 2015, 80-90
  • ‘This study analyses the crucial role of Stéphane Mallarmé’s poetry in the work of two of the twentieth century’s most important theorists: Maurice Blanchot and Jacques Derrida. Mallarmé’s Hegelianism, a long-contested issue in Mallarmé scholarship, assumes centre stage in Barnaby Norman’s understanding both of the poet’s development and of the position Blanchot and Derrida assign him as marking the transition from the Livre to Écriture.’ — Rebecca Pekron, French Studies 69.4, October 2015, 545-46
  • ‘Norman provides us with an imaginative reading of the reception of Mallarmé’s thought and work by two of the most influential French thinkers of the twentieth century; he returns frequently to the figure of Hegel and his notion of the end of art. This study helps to remind readers of the undeniably significant presence of the poet for more modern philosophy, while Norman avoids the pitfall of losing sight of Mallarmé’s exquisitely beautiful poetic vision.’ — Pamela A. Genova, Nineteenth-Century French Studies 44.1-2, 2015

Saint-Evremond: A Voice from Exile
Denys Potts
Research Monographs in French Studies 101 May 2002

  • ‘In the introduction to this little book, Denys Potts gives an excellent introduction to Saint-Evremond's career and writings... Most of the space in the letters is given over to financial details of a Balzacian kind, but in between these come flashes of the wit and man-about-town, nostalgic moments, thoughts about literature, reflections on age.’ — Peter France, Times Literary Supplement 1 November, 2002
  • ‘This book is a delight on a number of levels... The exemplary introduction and notes by Denys Potts offer far more than one might expect: not only do we learn about the contents of the letters themselves, but we are also given an erudite yet highly readable account of Saint-Evremond's life and his importance as both thinker and stylist... Invaluable documentary material for Saint-Evremond scholars and a fine introduction to a master of the epistolary art.’ — Nicholas Hammond, Modern Language Review 98.4, 2003, 986-7 (full text online)
  • ‘These letters seek help in pressing for private annuity payments long overdue. Those to his fellow-Norman Mme de Gouville are embroidered with self-ironic 'galanteries' and with jokes about the tight-fistedness of their province. Letters to the abbé, an amateur scientist and inventor, playfully evoke debt-recovery in terms of Cartesian mechanics.’ — Robin Howells, Huguenot Society Proceedings 28.1, 2003, 121
  • ‘A particularly full and illuminating account of the life and thought of [Potts's] elusive subject... The letters afford a kind of coda to the biography that leads into them.’ — Richard Parish, French Studies LVIII.1, 2004, 105-6
  • ‘This volume also provides a very useful introduction, which gives an overview of Saint-Evremond's life and ideas and the context in which the letters were written.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies XL.2, April 2004, 238

All Puns Intended: The Verbal Creation of Jean-Pierre Brisset
Walter Redfern
Research Monographs in French Studies 91 December 2001

  • ‘Brisset had been a good soldier, and he was a model railwayman: there was no hint during the working day of the oddity of what he was up to after hours... The fact that frogs turned out to speak what was easily recognizable as French seems at no point to have fazed Brisset, and since the original human language has willy-nilly to be universal, all other known languages must be capable of being derived from French, which was pleasing news for a Frenchman.’ — John Sturrock, Times Literary Supplement 18 January, 2002, 41
  • ‘What indeed can one make of this autodidact who mused about etymology without mastering Latin and about human origins without reading Darwin? Brisset can readily be dismissed as arrogant, Gallocentric, sex-obsessed or simply unreadable. Yet Redfern finds in his work a splendid proof of the instability of language, and also a fine pretext for learned digressions about puns and myths and free associations and what Ponge called 'amphibiguité'... The main pleasure given by this book actually comes from Redfern's own style, which is intelligent, energetic, quirky and never too self-indulgent.’ — Peter Low, New Zealand Journal of French Studies 24/2, 2003, 51-2
  • ‘Walter Redfern ... a particulièrement raison de s'appuyer sur les travaux les plus sérieux de ces dernières années pour situer enfin la place de Brisset et l'impact de ses ouvrages parmi les créateurs littéraires de la fin du XIXe et de la première moitié du XXe siècle. ... Un bonne bibliographie sert d'appui à cette monographie intelligemment projetée.’ — Jacques-Philippe Saint-Gérand, Revue d'histoire littéraire de la France November 3, 2004, 732
  • ‘Redfern's treatment is interesting and wide-ranging, but interesting because it is wide-ranging. He shows that Brisset has interested a lot of interesting people, then sums him up: 'Brisset is a trampoline: to take off from and to come back to.' I think he is half right: one may be glad that he existed to provoke this book.’ — Stephen F. Noreiko, French Studies 57.2, 2003, 255-56

Futurism: A Microhistory
Edited by Sascha Bru, Luca Somigli, and Bart Van den Bossche
Italian Perspectives 3629 September 2017

  • ‘The chapter structure is cleverly designed to replicate a ‘day in the life’ of a Futurist ‘new man’, with chapters focusing on places both large and small from ‘The Skyscraper’ to ‘The Bed’... This book was a pleasure to read and will reward both the serious scholar of Futurism and the more casual reader of twentieth-century Italian culture who may wish to dip in and out of the Futurist day.’ — Selena Daly, Modern Language Review 114.3, July 2019, 577-579 (full text online)

Reflections in the Library: Selected Literary Essays 1926–1944
Antal Szerb
Studies In Comparative Literature 4613 February 2017

  • ‘Skillfully translated from Hungarian by Peter Sherwood, edited with utmost circumspection by Zsuzsanna Varga, provided with a magisterial Introduction by Ágnes Péter and a foreword by Galin Tihanov, reveals much about its author, the novelist, scholar, and man of letters Antal Szerb and his mindset... Reflections in the Library can be seen, among its other achievements, as a gesture of proclaiming, now to the English-speaking world, the lasting relevance of Szerb’s legacy... Although Szerb’s life’s work was left unfinished, his contribution to the art of the essay is large and remarkable enough to merit a sequel.’ — Ákos Farkas, Hungarian Cultural Studies 10, 2017 (full text online)
  • ‘This is a beautifully produced and judiciously edited selection of essays by a major writer from early-twentieth-century Hungary... All of the essays reveal Szerb’s sparkling wit and humour as well as his acumen: describing Chesterton as a great scholar and sophisticated clown, he prophecies that Shaw’s work will outlive Chesterton’s, while his essays on Gogol and Proust equally overflow with aphoristic wit. It is a must-have volume both for critics and general readers: beautiful, touching, and remarkably up-to-date prose on nineteenth-century European literature.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 55.1, January 2019, 119-20

The Present Word: Culture, Society and the Site of Literature
Edited by John Walker
Legenda (General Series) 25 September 2013

A Modernist in Exile: The International Reception of H. G. Adler (1910-1988)
Edited by Lynn L. Wolff
Studies In Comparative Literature 4223 April 2019

  • ‘A very impressive collection of moving and thought-provoking essays... Because the contributors to this book have such detailed and specialized knowledge of H. G.’s life and work, and such a masterly ability to contextualize his wide-ranging achievement and relate their new work to earlier critical work, they set a new standard in Adler scholarship. Consequently this fascinating volume will doubtless enhance H. G.’s reputation both as an intellectual and as a writer of prose fiction, and become necessary reading for anyone who has any kind of interest in him and his work.’ — Richard Sheppard, Journal of European Studies 50.3, Autumn 2020, 295–301 (full text online)
  • ‘This volume dedicated to H.G. Adler will prove edifying to seasoned scholars and newcomers alike... In contrast to Adorno, who - similar to many postmodernists - collapses traditions of value into barbarity and admits no distinction between the two, Adler struggles to maintain, describe, and explain the possibility of human goodness in the face of overwhelming evil. It is certainly true for Adler that in the world of the camps much, if not most, of the ability for ethical action was destroyed - but not all. And since this is true, Adler’s work challenges his readers to face the truth in its entirety and to define the scale of human value they will adhere to in the face of barbarity.’ — Traci S. O’Brien, Monatshefte 112.4, Winter 2020, 747-50