After some lengthy but necessary preliminaries, my purpose in this essay will be to attempt a response to a simple question concerning a Japanese travel record by the eighteenth-century court poet Reizei Tamemura (1712–74). Tamemura’s record is a slender offering to which little attention has ever been given, in Japanese or in any other language; and doubtless it will remain obscure even after I submit it to brief analysis. The question I ask, however, is one of some significance to students of travel literature in general and Japanese travel literature in particular – namely, ‘How does one makes sense of so minimalist a work, really just a list of poems, as an account of the experience of travel?’
Steven D. Carter
Matt Simpson and John Lucas
The Weight of Cows by Mandy Coe (London: Shoestring Press) ISBN 1 899549 97 8 £7.95
Laughter from the Hive by Kate Foley (London: Shoestring Press) ISBN 904886 01 9 £7.95
Glass of an Organic Class by Philip Ramp (Athens: Politika Themata, 2003), £7.95
Comrade Laughter by Andy Croft (London: Flambard, 2004) ISBN 1-873226-66-7 £7.50
Love at the Full by Lucien Becker (translated by Christopher Pilling) (London: Flambard, 2004) ISBN 1-873226-61-6 £7.95
Milena Poems by Desmond Graham (London: Flambard, 2004) ISBN 1-873226-67-5 £7.50
Sudden Maraschinos by Jacqueline Karp (London: Redbeck Press, 2004) ISBN 1-904338-13-5 £6.95
The Gardens of Onkel Arnold by David Jacobs (London: Peterloo Poets, 2004) ISBN 1-904324-22-3 £7.95
Hamlet as a Material Object
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’.
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
When I first read him more than forty years ago, I thought Peter Porter was the same age as he is now. Impressed by his evident conviction that the modern world was essentially a Technicolor version of one of those Dürer woodcuts in which the knightly rider was flanked by death and the Devil in his journey through a landscape ravaged by war and plague, I pictured the agonised artist as a gaunt, white-bearded figure hunched under a velvet cap, setting down his long-pondered apocalyptic visions by candlelight. Not that his poems creaked: indeed they hurtled. But, however long their rhythmic breath and legato their line, they still sounded like the last gasps of a sage, and all the sages I had ever heard of had whiskers on them.
Muslim Women and Public Writing in Habsburg Bosnia and Herzegovina (1878–1918)
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.
Simulation and Dissimulation in Isabella Whitney’s ‘Wyll and Testament’
This article attempts for the first time to shed light on the politics of simulation and dissimulation in Isabella Whitney’s ‘Wyll and Testament’. It also argues that the poem both reflects its creator’s awareness of the celebrated English historical and topographical narratives and deviates from them by crucially omitting a seminal part of London’s history, namely its Troynovant tradition. In so doing, as well as by defining a paradoxical urban landscape, Whitney presents a tale not of the (mythic) founding of the English capital with its patriarchal and nation-building connotations, but of its (satiric) bequeathal by benevolent femininity, as such offering its reader a different angle from which to explore and interpret early modern London.
On the Precariousness of Life and Narrative in The Last of the Just
This article explores André Schwarz-Bart's famous novel, The Last of the Just, as the expression of twin crises in literary and religious representation. Ernie Levy's words, 'there is no room for truth here', spoken on the transport to Auschwitz as he cradles and comforts a dying child with stories of an idyllic afterlife, become the point of departure for a reading of the novel in terms of the loss of just this 'room for truth'. The article considers the novel's reimagining of the legend of the Lamed Vav in the light of Gershom Scholem's criticism that Schwarz-Bart compromises the legend's 'moral anarchy' before casting the novel in the light of Freud's remarks on traumatic dreams in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, as well as Emmanuel Levinas' ideas on 'useless suffering'. The last part of the article reads the novel's anguished theological motifs alongside Paul Celan's poem 'Psalm'.
Looking back on my first public expression of interest in Peter Porter and his work – an interview published in Westerly in 1982, based on discussions with him in London the previous year – I notice in some of my questions the gestures of a proto-biographer. Yet I had come to Porter entirely through his work – from teaching poems in Alexander Craig's anthology 12 Poets and reading in London The Cost of Seriousness (1978) and the then newly minted volume English Subtitles (1981). It would be another nine years, with visits by me to London and Peter to Perth before Spirit in Exile: Peter Porter and his Poetry was published by Oxford University Press in 1991.
These two familiar utterances differ both in the agreeable variousness of Whitman’s self-contradictions and the democratic hospitality he offered to one and all, whereas for Yeats, contradiction seems to have been suffered rather than welcomed, and against the more select range of contradictions he experienced, he waged a lifelong struggle. ‘Hammer your thoughts into a unity’, he would repeatedly tell himself, an aim sometimes realised only by suppressing one self-dividing trait in favour of its rival. I want to touch on some of these internal quarrellings, but it is first worth remarking upon that over-emphatic contrast between ‘rhetoric’ and ‘poetry’. What Yeats meant by rhetoric was writing aimed at persuading readers – or indeed listeners, the poet being no mean perfomer on public platforms – to adopt a particular course of action. Rhetorical writing was a product of the will, of that determined energy that in his early years Yeats thought essentially unpoetic. Victorian poets, brimming over with opinions, improvingly moral and socially progressive, had designed poems as vehicles for their effective propagation. Hence Yeats’ reservations about such as Tennyson and Browning, while a poet of his own time who fitted the same bill would surely have been Kipling. For the young Yeats, poetry could only emerge from the opposite state of mind, inward and contemplative, neither directed towards action, nor the vehicle of emphatic opinion of any kind, moral, social or political, above all, not energetic, and it takes no more than a glance at the poems of The Wind Among The Reeds (1899) to see how they illustrate that ideal.