Rome: Modernity, Postmodernity and Beyond
Edited by Lesley Caldwell and Fabio Camilletti
Italian Perspectives 3930 September 2018

  • ‘As the seat of the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church, Mussolini’s Fascism, and Silvio Berlusconi’s neoliberalism, and as a site of immigration and social diversity, Rome is characterized by complexity... A valuable contribution to the scholarship of one of Europe’s most historically significant and cathected cities and will no doubt be of value to scholars of the Eternal City within both urban and Italian studies.’ — Damien Pollard, Modern Language Review 115.1, 2020, 190-91 (full text online)

Gentry Life in Georgian Ireland: The Letters of Edmund Spencer (1711-1790)
Edited by Duncan Fraser and Andrew Hadfield
Legenda (General Series) 3 April 2017

  • ‘An extraordinary cache of letters... in this meticulously produced edition, which is an epistolary treat throughout.’ — Hazel Wilkinson, Times Literary Supplement 3 August 2018
  • ‘As an edition of correspondence, this work by Duncan Fraser and Andrew Hadfield is a model of how an edition should be put together. In addition to discussing the use of Old and New Style calendars and describing the archive, they supply a chronological chart of the archive listing dates, folio numbers, addressees, and places of origin. The commentary on transcription skilfully analyses the trade-off between reading the original manuscript and a transcription which ‘pares away the obfuscating aspects of unfamiliar handwriting, outdated orthographical conventions, and the deleterious effects of time on paper’. The discussion of the idiosyncrasies of Spencer’s punctuation is instructive about eighteenth-century attitudes generally and especially noteworthy in its suggestion that dashes may be used as paragraph markers to save the cost of paper. Meanwhile, in their new printed form the letters are presented in a handsomely produced volume by Legenda, an imprint of the Modern Humanities Research Association. In t’ — Jean R. Brink, Modern Language Review 114.4, October 2019, 854-55 (full text online)
  • ‘Spencer should have inherited family estates in Ireland that would make him comfortable for life. In fact, as a result of incompetence and skullduggery, he came into an inheritance that was so embarrassed, that for the rest of his life he had to struggle hard to hold onto social credibility. These letters, meticulously and brilliantly edited, tell part of the story of how Spencer tried to cope.’ — L G Mitchell, Notes & Queries 66.4, December 2019, 602-03 (full text online)

Writers' Block: The Paris Antifascist Congress of 1935
Jacob Boas
Legenda (General Series) 19 December 2016

  • ‘[Boas concludes that] this Congress was a 'shining assembly of the princes of the pen' and that it marked the apogee of the Soviet influence in the West, shortly to be eroded by a series of show trials in 1936/38... whereas Western writers suffered no long-term damage to their careers, many Soviet delegates awaited a dire future: Kirshon and Koltsov perished in a GULAG, Babel vanished with- out trace in 1939, and even Boris Pasternak – though surviving the Stalinist era – was eventually denied the Nobel Prize in Literature awarded him in 1985.’ — Jörg Thunecke, International Feuchtwanger Society Newsletter 22, 2017, 66-68
  • ‘Situating his subject against the menacing backdrop of rising totalitarianism in East and West, Jacob Boas provides a compelling narrative of the five-day congress through a series of short, semi-biographical portraits, or vignettes, of some of the key European intellectuals that took part... The book is exceptionally well written and well researched, drawing on an impressive variety of sources, both published and unpublished, in Russian, French, German, Dutch, English, and Spanish. What emerges is a captivating portrait of the state of European intellectual life in the 1930s.’ — Alastair Hemmens, Modern Language Review 113.3, July 2018, 636-37 (full text online)

Perspectives on Culture and Politics in the French Antilles
Celia Britton
Selected Essays 425 May 2018

  • ‘Engagingly written and meticulously argued at every turn, Britton’s essays reveal unexpected dimensions in her primary archives and offer challenging arguments on the relationship between politics and aesthetics in the French Caribbean... Although Britton has an abiding passion for Glissant’s work, she never lets this interest overshadow the singularities of her other authors. This careful sensitivity is characteristic of the masterful readings Britton provides in her provocative new collection.’ — Justin Izzo, French Studies 73.2, April 2019, 329-30 (full text online)
  • ‘Les analyses abordées sont très attentives et riches en éléments qui peuvent constituer le point de départ d’autres études.’ — Emanuela Cacchioli, Studi francesi 189, 2019, 616-17

The Rhetoric of Exile: Duress and the Imagining of Force
Vladimir Zorić
Studies In Comparative Literature 3919 December 2016

  • ‘Since the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise and down to the exodus of Jews from Germany triggered by Kristallnacht, followed most recently by the flight of millions from the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, exile has constituted a basic experience of human history and myth, summoning forth a library of commentary... Zorić has taken a rich and fascinating topic and exposed it fruitfully to various theoretical analyses.’ — Theodore Ziolkowski, Modern Language Review 113.2, April 2018, 363-64 (full text online)
  • ‘The book has something of the virtues of classical philology, such as erudition and close reading of the overall European literary tradition in original languages. It is equally commendable for widening its scope to the literary depictions of exilic experience in often overlooked East and Central European literatures, thus escaping the rather common fault of essentially reducing European intellectual and imaginative experiences to its Western parts.’ — Aleksandar Pavlović, European History Quarterly 48.2, 402-03

Three Cities of Yiddish: St Petersburg, Warsaw and Moscow
Edited by Gennady Estraikh and Mikhail Krutikov
Studies In Yiddish 153 April 2017

  • ‘The British book series “Studies in Yiddish,” published by Legenda (and known among academics as “the Legenda series”), is in my estimation the most important venue for contemporary research on Yiddish literature and culture in the world today... Krutikov deals with the travelogue Hoyptshtet (Capital Cities) of 1934, written by Der Nister (“The Hidden One”), one of the greatest Soviet-Yiddish writers. The German professor Sabine Koller also contributes an essay dedicated to Der Nister’s book, which records his impressions of Leningrad, Moscow, and Kharkov during the 1920s. It’s a real delight to see so much attention is devoted to this book, which has been relatively unappreciated in previous considerations of Der Nister.’ — Marc Caplan, Forward 2 August 2017
  • ‘In “Moscow Threefold: Olgin, Bergelson, Benjamin,” Murav elegantly analyzes depictions of Moscow in the mid-1920s by three writers. Emphasizing Moscow as a Jewish “space of contiguity,” Murav addresses no less the relating of Moscow to time... If Olgin’s Moscow “has achieved . . . its future,” the works of Benjamin and Bergelson show more ambivalence, and Murav is especially vivid on Bergelson’s vision of destruction likely to precede any possible redemption, which may end up permanently deferred.’ — Jeffrey A. Grossman, Slavic Review Spring 2019, 293-95