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Sartre, Kafka and the Universality of the Literary Work

Jo Bogaerts

French existentialism is commonly regarded as the main impetus for the universal significance that Kafka gained in postwar France. A leading critic, Marthe Robert, has contended that this entailed an outright rejection of interest in the biographical, linguistic and historical dimension of Kafka's writing in order to interpret it as a general expression of the human condition. This article will consider this claim in the light of Sartre's original conceptualization of a dialectic of the universal and the particular in the intercultural mediation of the work of art. The notion of a 'true universality' proposed by Sartre as a defence of Kafka during the 1962 Moscow Peace Conference will allow for a reassessment of Robert's criticism in a paradoxical reversal of terms: it is precisely the inevitable loss of context and the appropriation within one's own particular situation which allow the literary work to elucidate a foreign historical context and thereby gain a wider significance. Rather than a universal meaning of the work, Sartre's concept points to literature's potential to continually release specific meanings in new contexts.

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'Rouz'd by a Woman's Pen'

The Shakespeare Ladies' Club and Reading Habits of Early Modern Women

Katherine West Scheil

In the 1730s a group of women known as the Shakespeare Ladies’ Club promoted performances of Shakespeare’s plays and supported the creation of the Shakespeare monument in Westminster Abbey. The Shakespeare Ladies’ Club (SLC) has been accorded a footnote in the reception history of Shakespeare, but no one has yet taken account of their importance for women’s participation in the intellectual and cultural life of eighteenth-century London. By tracing the dynamics of this group, we may increase our understanding of women’s reading habits, their effect on the theatrical repertoire, and their role in the public life of clubs and philanthropic endeavours. The convergence of several factors made the SLC possible; this article contextualises the SLC within the literary and cultural life of the eighteenth century, and examines the importance of the SLC in the life and work of one member, Elizabeth Boyd.

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Happiness in Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia

Joachim Frenk

the need to complete Sidney's fragmentary manuscript of the New Arcadia and add endings – and these were all happy endings. One instructive and telling example of the complicated textual and cultural revisions in the publication and reception

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Millennial Dark Ladies

Katherine Scheil

(London: Jonathan Cape, 1970), 145, 146, 148. 9 In her excellent study of the reception history of the Sonnets, Jane Kingsley-Smith observes that the Dark Lady provides ‘a means by which women may write back to Shakespeare’. The Afterlife of Shakespeare

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The Good Enough Quarto

Hamlet as a Material Object

Terri Bourus

corrupt text derived in some way from theatrical performance. 18 Zachary Lesser followed up his collaborative essay on Q1 as a literary text with an entire book, Hamlet After Q1. This is a pioneering and important reception history of Q1, which I have

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‘Fanciful associations’

The Perverse Endurance of Derrida's [sic] ‘logical phallusies’

Niall Gildea

. However, it is perhaps symptomatic of Derrida's non-specialist reception history in Britain that the only component text of the Affair which has wriggled free of its immediate archive is Barry Smith's letter to the Times of 6 May 1992 (published 9 May

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Shakespeare and War

Honour at the Stake

Patrick Gray

their structure. Understanding those ‘potentialities’, however, requires some familiarity with their original context. Reception history cannot be separated from ‘the originating moment of a text’s production’. ‘Those formal and ideological

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Whoso List to Find?

Hard Facts, Soft Data, and Women Who Count

Elizabeth Mazzola

Gowing, Domestic Dangers: Women, Words, and Sex in Early Modern London [Oxford, 1998]). 46 Discussions of the reception history of ballads about Jane Shore are provided by James Harner (‘“The Wofull Lamentation of Mistris Jane Shore”: The Popularity