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William Scammell

A is for Matthew ARNOLD, bringer of sweetness and light, upholder of the best that has been thought and said. (Notions much derided of late. All the more reason to defend them.) A poet-polemicist Oxford dandy turned Schools Inspector who didn’t just emit steam but suited action to word out in the big wide world. My favourite Victorian prophet, along with Mill, better company than Ruskin and bellicose Carlyle. Also for AL ALVAREZ, top gun of the sixties, who tried to shoot down English gentility. Good nose for a certain kind of poem, bad reasons for promoting it. Also for ACADEMIC. Pause. ‘Nuff said.

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Quoting the Culture

The New British Sentence and the Politics of Parataxis in the Avant-garde 1914–2001

Alan Munton

The new British sentence because I am arguing against the provocative opening of Ron Silliman’s 1979 essay ‘The New Sentence’, where he writes: ‘I am going to make an argument, that there is such a thing as a new sentence and that it occurs thus far more or less exclusively in the prose of the Bay Area’.1 San Francisco is the site, and the activity justified is the American prose poem since the 1970s. For Silliman, neither the French prose poem, nor the Surrealist variant of it, are true new sentences. The American new sentence has no horizons beyond itself, and cannot in consequence be explicated according to any ‘“higher order” of meaning’ (92) such as narrative and character. It has, he says, evolved ‘in something less than a decade, throughout an entire poetic community’ (93). I do not disbelieve in the New American Sentence. Indeed, I believe in it passionately, not least because it offers a model through which something related but distinct can be discovered in British writing.

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'[A]n inn to entertain / Its Lord a while, but not remain'

Home and Dislocations in Andrew Marvell's 'Upon Appleton House'

Vassiliki Markidou

This essay analyses Andrew Marvell's 'Upon Appleton House' and demonstrates that the poem registers the ways in which spatial politics, and the representation of home, in particular, underpins as well as enriches its meaning. Borrowing Donna Birdwell-Pheasant's and Denise Lawrence-Zuniga's definition of home and house the essay focuses on Lord Fairfax's house and shows that, notwithstanding the multiplicity of spaces presented in the particular poem, and despite his agonising effort to present Nunappleton as Lord Fairfax's home, Marvell in fact reflects his patron experiencing a strong sense of dislocation while living in Appleton House due to its complex as well as disconcerting religious and familial associations. In other words, beneath the façade of the heroic Protestant man who chose to withdraw from the public arena to the private sphere of Nunappleton, was a man trying to come to terms with his Catholic origins as well as with the fact that the particular estate reminded him of his displacement from the male line of his family as well as his disempowerment by the female sex. Hence, Appleton House, at that precise historical moment, fails to become 'a symbol of self' or 'a manifestation of family identity'; instead it is 'an inn to entertain / Its Lord a while, but not remain' (ll. 71-72).

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Contingency and Constraint

African-American Migration as Seen through Jacob Lawrence's “Migration” Series

Deborah Breen

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019 Admission: USD 25/18/14 “I pick up my life, / And take it with me, / And I put it down in Chicago, Detroit, / Buff alo, Scranton, / Any place that is / North and East, / And not Dixie.” Th ese are the opening lines from “One-Way Ticket,” by African-American poet, Langston Hughes (1902–1967). Th e poem provides the emotional and historical core of the “Migration” paintings by Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000), a series that depicts the extraordinary internal migration of African Americans in the twentieth century. Not coincidentally, the poem also provides the title of the current exhibition of the sixty paintings in Lawrence’s series, on display at MoMA, New York, from 3 April to 7 September 2015.1 Shown together for the first time in over twenty years, the paintings are surrounded by works that provide context for the “great migration”: additional paintings by Lawrence, as well as paintings, drawings, photographs, texts, and musical recordings by other African-American artists, writers, and performers of the early to mid-twentieth century.

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Daughters of Two Empires

Muslim Women and Public Writing in Habsburg Bosnia and Herzegovina (1878–1918)

Fabio Giomi

This article focuses on the public writings of Muslim women in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Habsburg period. From the beginning of the twentieth century, several Muslim women, mainly schoolgirls and teachers at Sarajevo's Muslim Female School, started for the first time to write for Bosnian literary journals, using the Serbo-Croatian language written in Latin or Cyrillic scripts. Before the beginning of World War I, a dozen Muslim women explored different literary genres—the poem, novel, and social commentary essay. In the context of the expectations of a growing Muslim intelligentsia educated in Habsburg schools and of the anxieties of the vast majority of the Muslim population, Muslim women contested late Ottoman gender norms and explored, albeit timidly, new forms of sisterhood, thus making an original contribution to the construction of a Bosnian, post-Ottoman public sphere.

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The Good Enough Quarto

Hamlet as a Material Object

Terri Bourus

This article challenges A.W. Pollard’s foundational distinction between good and bad quartos, which confuses ethical and bibliographical categories. Some quartos are badly inked, or printed on poor-quality paper. But Q1 Hamlet is a professional, well-made commodity. Zachary Lesser has conjectured that Q1 sold poorly, and has claimed that the similarity of the title pages of Q1 and Q2 supports that hypothesis. But both title pages are typical of Ling’s books, and their similarities are no more remarkable than those in Ling’s different quartos of Michael Drayton’s poems. Q1 Hamlet apparently sold more quickly than Q2. Using D.W. Winnicott’s theories about the ‘good enough mother’ and ‘transitional objects’, we can identify Q1 as a ‘good enough quarto’.

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Michael Bartholomew-Biggs, Nancy Mattson, and Jenny Swann

Surfacing by William Park (Liverpool: Spike, 2005), ISBN 0-9518978-7-X, £5.99

The Ogling of Lady Luck by Alan Dixon (Nottingham: Shoestring, 2005), ISBN 1-904886-12-4, £6.95

Mr Dick’s Kite by Arnold Rattenbury (Nottingham: Shoestring, 2005), ISBN 1-904886-13-2, £6.95 Blue is Rare by Kevin Borman (Frizinghall: Redbeck, 2005), ISBN 1-904338-19-4, £8.00

The Cartographer Sleeps by Barbara Daniels (Nottingham: Shoestring, 2005), ISBN 1-904886-14-0, £8.95

Mixer by André Mangeot (Norwich: Egg Box, 2005), ISBN 0-9543920-4-3, £5.00

The Outsider by Christine McNeill (Nottingham: Shoestring, 2005), ISBN 1-904886-15-9, £8.95 Taking Cover by Michael Tolkien (Bradford: Redbeck, 2005), ISBN 1-904338-28-3, £8.95

Poems, 1955–2005 by Anne Stevenson (Newcastle: Bloodaxe Books, 2005), ISBN 1-852246-99-5, £9.95

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Mihail Evans

A number of histories of circumcision have recently been written and in them the case of A. E. Housman, along with a number of others, has acquired a certain prominence. This article reconsiders the existing evidence regarding Housman's circumcision and the various interpretations of it in the secondary literature before going on to examine a number of overlooked sources. While this writing around Housman's circumcision is not without positive results, it will be suggested via a consideration of Jacques Derrida's testimony regarding his own circumcision that the historian of sexuality needs also to contend with an inherent negativity and loss. The testimony provided by a recently uncovered poem on circumcision will prompt the suggestion that we should be wary of overemphasizing the individual example. In conclusion, the article argues that the problematic of Housman's particular case has pertinence because in regard to individual experience we can only ever write around the history of circumcision.

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“Behind the backs of houses”

Landscapes of Englishness in the Postwar Railway Poetry of John Betjeman and Philip Larkin

Heather Joyce

Railways in John Betjeman's and Philip Larkin's poems of the 1950s and 1960s function as provocative signifiers that interrogate and encourage definition of what constitutes the modern English landscape. Through their works, which recognize how railways have been held to register the cultural health of the nation from their inception, it becomes clear that the panoramic perception that railways make possible aptly represents the self-conscious cultural gaze filtered through crisis that critics argue prevails in the postwar context. Betjeman's and Larkin's speakers reveal the capacity for railway travel to disrupt the settled vision of nationhood at the heart of heritage-based Englishness; at the same time, railways – and they themselves – are not outside of this discourse. For Betjeman and, to a greater extent, Larkin, it is the possibility of double return embodied by the railway system that perhaps proffers a desirable mode of inhabiting the modern English nation.

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“Those Eyes Kohl Blackened Enflame”

Re-reading the Feminine in Gertrude Bell's Early Travel Writing

Emma Short

In May 1892, Gertrude Bell embarked on her first major non-European voyage to Persia, a journey that not only inspired her first published piece of travel writing, Persian Pictures (1894) and her translation of a selection of poems by the medieval Sufi poet, Hafiz (1897), but which also informed Bell's lesser-known, fictional writing. This article reads Bell's Persian Pictures alongside her unpublished short story, “The Talisman, or, the Wiles of Women” (c. 1892–1893) in order to consider the ways in which the feminine functions in her representations of the areas to which she traveled. Through this comparative reading, this article demonstrates how—through her use of the feminine—Bell subverts the “constitutive tropes of Orientalist discourse” of the East as sexualized, seductive, and dangerous (Yegğenogğlu 1998: 73), and instead positions it as an active and informed agent that knowingly challenges and resists Western colonial attempts at penetration and/or domination.