Recent Reviews of MHRA Books

MHRA books are regularly reviewed in scholarly journals across the world, and sometimes also in literary papers such as the Times Literary Supplement. From time to time, our books also appear in Europe’s newspapers, from The Independent and the Daily Telegraph to El Imparcial and Gazeta Shqiptare. The following excerpts are from the 20 most recently received reviews:

  • A Gaping Wound: Mourning in Italian Poetry — Edited by Adele Bardazzi, Francesco Giusti, and Emanuela Tandello, ‘A significant and much-needed contribution to scholarship and promisingly opens new directions of research on mourning, a theme that in the past few decades has regained public attention — an unsurprising resurgence given its political implications and central role in our lives.’ — Simona Di Martino, Modern Language Review 119.3, July 2024, 419-21 (full text online)
  • Dante Beyond Borders: Contexts and Reception — Edited by Nick Havely and Jonathan Katz with Richard Cooper, ‘In its emphasis on global reception history as a quarry through which to discover the multicultural and transnational voice that the Florentine poet endeavoured to realize in his lifetime, Dante beyond Borders can be seen as a full-scale furtherance of the Oxford Handbook’s ideal [of a vision of Dante as liberated from the shackles of interpretative singularity].’ — Peerawat Chiaranunt, Modern Language Review 119.3, July 2024, 367-79 (full text online)
  • Dante and Petrarch in the Garden of Language — Francesca Southerden, ‘In sum, Southerden’s monograph is a nourishing read; it not only offers a series of sensitive close readings but is also particularly instructive on how one might judiciously apply the fruits of modern theory in the service of interpreting medieval literature — this latter becomes, in turn, a kind of ‘litmus test’ or mirror through which the value and insights of theory can be gauged in practice. From Southerden’s accomplishment readers and students of Dante and Petrarch will reap a large reward.’ — Peerawat Chiaranunt, Modern Language Review 119.3, July 2024, 367-79 (full text online)
  • Narrative Strategies for Participation in Dante's Divine Comedy — Katherine Powlesland, ‘Medieval affective literature and modern technologies of virtual experience are conjoined in a reciprocal loop. This is without doubt a powerful pedagogy for students who may be better versed in interactive computer games than in the epistemologies of the Christian Middle Ages; indeed, it may usher them towards an authentic appreciation of the latter, just as the bookish medievalist could as well be persuaded into the opposite direction.’ — Peerawat Chiaranunt, Modern Language Review 119.3, July 2024, 367-79 (full text online)
  • Narrative Strategies for Participation in Dante's Divine Comedy — Katherine Powlesland, ‘A most engaging study on reading experiences of the Commedia and, while proposing the model of ‘first-person participation’ as a general one for any printed text, it also sheds (new) light on many Dantean narratological devices that expand scholarship through detailed and convincing arguments.’ — Dario Galassini, Bibliotheca Dantesca 6, 2023, 334-36
  • Hispanic Baroque Ekphrasis: Góngora, Camargo, Sor Juana — Luis Castellví Laukamp, ‘Desde luego, nos encontramos ante una obra de referencia de obligada consulta para el especialista en el estudio de la poesía del Siglo de Oro y la relación fraterna que mantienen literatura y artes en el periodo.’ — Adolfo R. Posada, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 99, 2022, 173-76
  • Standing at the Crossroads: Stories of Doubt in Renaissance Italy — Marco Faini, ‘Un libro dal quale si impara ad ogni pagina, e che fa vedere un insieme vario, molto più mosso di quello illustratoci dagli studi condotti con il taglio convenzionale.’ — Paolo Cherchi, Giornale storico della letteratura italiana 201, 2024, 144-47
  • Karoline von Günderrode: Philosophical Romantic — Joanna Raisbeck, ‘Günderrode’s intertwined literary practice and philosophical commitments reveal for Raisbeck a poetics that valorizes poetry as an epiphanic medium. Günderrode’s texts enact and offer a form of knowledge not found in theoretical tracts, Raisbeck suggests, and their serious consideration might counterbalance current approaches to Romanticism marked by an “over-commitment to philosophy.”’ — Claire Baldwin, Goethe Yearbook 31, 2024, 182-85 (full text online)
  • Karoline von Günderrode: Philosophical Romantic — Joanna Raisbeck, ‘Joanna Raisbecks ertragreiche Studie bildet Karoline von Günderrode nicht nur als Schriftstellerin, sondern vor allem als philosophische Figur ab... Mit Karoline von Günderrode: Philosophical Romantic hat Joanna Raisbeck eine umfassende Studie zum Werk Günderrodes unter Berücksichtigung der philosophischen Strömungen der Zeit vorgelegt. Es wird überaus deutlich, dass Karoline von Günderrode nicht nur Dichterin, sondern vor allem Philosophin war, die insbesondere als Vertreterin des spinozistischen Pantheismus sowie Panentheismus um 1800 Beachtung finden muss.’ — Maria Becker, Germanische-Romanische Monatsschrift 74.2, 2024, 251-53
  • Stefan George: The Homosexual Imaginary — Peter Morgan, ‘Morgan addresses George’s reputation rigorously and assuredly before considering the poems with sympathy.... It’s hard not to be moved by his scholarly, personal close readings – at times both beautiful and painful. Not only, for Morgan, is George redeemed; his final poems are shown to be redemptive, progressing from self-denial via unsavoury self-love to final authenticity. George emerges as a Thomas Mann-like figure, apparently turning his back on reactionary anti-modernism, belatedly attempting to make good.’ — Seán Williams, Times Literary Supplement 24 May 2024
  • The Philomena of Chrétien the Jew: The Semiotics of Evil — Peter Haidu, edited by Matilda Tomaryn Bruckner, ‘Haidu forwards an argument – or ‘weaves together [its] threads’ (p. 8), much like Philomena herself – in an alternative reading that is as cogent as it is complex, as arresting as it is analytical, as ‘emotional’ as it is ‘intellectual’ (p. 5).’ — Rebecca Courtier, Medium Aevum 92.1, 2023, 183-85
  • Fiction as History: Resistance and Complicities in Angolan Postcolonial Literature — Dorothée Boulanger, Riti Sharma, Research in African Literatures 54.1, Spring 2023, 197-98 (full text online)
  • The Diasporic Canon: American Anthologies of Contemporary Italian Poetry 1945-2015 — Marta Arnaldi, ‘With The Diasporic Canon, Arnaldi has brought to the table an innovative and comprehensive disquisition that considers the impact of contemporary Italian verse on both the Italian and American canons. Arnaldi’s pioneering work serves as a valuable resource and a true contribution to scholars of diasporic Italian literary and artistic production.’ — Joseph D. Pecorelli, Italica 100.3, 2023, 477-79 (full text online)
  • Narrative Strategies for Participation in Dante's Divine Comedy — Katherine Powlesland, ‘Powlesland’s study offers an original approach to some of the most well-worn threads of investigation in Dante criticism. Revisiting the last century of Anglophone criticism’s most essential narratological puzzles, Powlesland presents a fresh perspective, one that reinvests the body with its critical role in reading, and that draws on current research in cognitive science and video game theory to complement rigorous analysis of the poem’s narrative structure.’ — Elizabeth Coggeshall, Italica 100.3, 2023, 458-60 (full text online)
  • Narrative Strategies for Participation in Dante's Divine Comedy — Katherine Powlesland, ‘Drawing inspiration from second-wave cognitivist theories and particularly from embodied cognition, Powlesland proposes a new and fresh way to analyse the Comedy as a participatory text. The scholar achieves this by innovatively borrowing concepts and views from video games studies and adapting them to literary criticism... a strong contribution to Dante Studies, achieved through an innovative and unexpected perspective that bridges the gap between literary studies and videoludic criticism. As such, it is a cutting-edge text both in method and in content.’ — Mattia Bellini, Italian Studies 79.1, 2024, 100-01 (full text online)
  • Decadent Writings of Aubrey Beardsley — Edited by Sasha Dovzhyk and Simon Wilson, ‘The appearance of this volume is a notable event in the history of publishing, of nineteenth-century erotica, of the fine arts and of the cosmopolitan spirit of the fin de siècle... an elegant, allusive work of scholarship freighted with the learned references that the art of Aubrey Beardsley demands and deserves.’ — John Stokes, Studies in Walter Pater and Aestheticism 8, 2023, 121-25
  • The Experience of Colour in Lorca's Theatre — Jade Boyd, ‘Boyd is sensitive to what is left out as well as what is explicit. She thus underlines the absence in this tragedy of stage directions regarding lighting. She also reads ‘verbal colour’ into objects, food and animals, so the mention of frogs, chocolate, earth, fire and goldfinches becomes part of an imagined canvas of images, sometimes as potent as what we can see on stage.’ — John London, Bulletin of Spanish Studies 100.6, 2023, 930-32 (full text online)
  • Uruguayan Theatre in Translation: Theory and Practice — Sophie Stevens, ‘This volume already fills a need because there are never enough translations of plays from Spanish into English for academic and practical purposes such as research, teaching and staging. Beyond fulfilling a basic need, however, Stevens’ book explores a deeper inquiry into the act of translation by linking it to thematic, cultural and dramatic concepts. For Stevens the process of translation practice is not merely technical; rather it is a methodology that informs scholarship on the dramatic text in new ways.’ — Sarah M. Misemer, Bulletin of Spanish Studies 100.5, 2023, 773-75 (full text online)
  • Visual and Plastic Poetics: From Brazilian Concretism to the Chilean Neo-Avant-Garde — Rachel Elizabeth Robinson, ‘A variegated assortment of attentive readings of individual poems that further enrich the reader’s appreciation of the three poets. Robinson’s book is well-written, and a wonderful addition to the library of any academic interested in contemporary poetry, for Latin-American literary critics, for enthusiasts of the Avant-Garde, but also for anyone who would like to learn about three magnificent Chilean artist-poets that toiled under adverse political conditions to create beauty.’ — Eduardo Ledesma, Bulletin of Spanish Studies 100.4, 2023, 611-13 (full text online)
  • A Poetics of the Image: Paul Celan and André du Bouchet — Julian J. I. Koch, Sieghild Bogumil-Notz, Monatshefte 116.1, 2024, 175-78 (full text online)