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Towards a New Style in Nineteenth-Century Judeo-Spanish Prose

Two Judeo-Spanish Versions of the German Novel Der Rabbi und der Minister

Aitor García Moreno

For more than one hundred years texts of rabbinical prose were the only model of educated style. With the arrival of new literary genres imported from Western Europe towards the middle of the nineteenth century, Sephardi authors and translators promoted a change in their style of writing. This article compares syntactic structures in two texts from the second half of the nineteenth century. They belong to the same literary genre and share the same subject, but are anchored in different discoursive traditions trying to exemplify the different styles of Sephardic prose that coexisted at that time.

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Douglas Bruster

Q1 Hamlet (1603) routinely sets prose speeches so that they appear to be blank verse. This article argues that such was an attempt to confer prestige upon the text, particularly in the wake of the saturation of Shakespeare books on the literary marketplace around 1600 – a phenomenon that saw his prose works achieve less favour than those in pentameter. The publishers of Q1 Merry Wives (1602) and Q1 Hamlet may have hedged their bets on these Shakespeare texts by amplifying their verse, long the gold standard of the Shakespearean brand. Like The True Tragedie of Richard III (published 1594) and The Famous Victories of Henry V (entered 1594), which presented their opening pages to readers as iambic pentameter, Q1 Hamlet seems to have beautified its dialogue for readers in the early modern book marketplace.

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Introduction

Holocaust Poetry

Antony Rowland and Robert Eaglestone

‘Why no appraisals of [Holocaust] verse – particularly verse composed in the English language?’, asks Susan Gubar in Poetry after Auschwitz. The question appears particularly pertinent, if paradoxical, in the context of her list of canonical authors in the field of Holocaust literature, most of whom are either primarily poets (Dan Pagis, Paul Celan and Nelly Sachs) or prose writers as well as poets (Charlotte Delbo, Primo Levi and Tadeusz Borowski). One answer is that critics have rightly attended to the more sophisticated prose in the work of Delbo, Levi and Borowski. However, this has lead to the overshadowing of, for example, the significance of Levi’s ‘Shemà’ as metatestimony in relation to If This is a Man, Borowski’s ‘October Sky’ as a complex, dialectical anti-lyric, and Delbo’s shift into poetic form in Auschwitz and After when she senses that her prose is simply not up to the task of recounting certain traumatic experiences.

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Anata Kumar Giri

Mainstream discourse and practice of development mainly focus on what can be called the prose of development: the hard-core and hardware issues of economics, politics, and infrastructure. There is very little poetics in the mood and methods of its advocates. This article, referring among others to Indian philosophers, argues that we should turn this approach around in a transformative way, by putting what is usually considered the lowest at the top. Poetics of development builds upon inner and shared transformations in prose and poetics, as it seeks to express the suffering and joys of souls and societies. It offers a new dimension to the social quality idea about “the social” as the outcome of the dialectic between processes of self-realization of human beings and the formation of collective identities. The article argues that this shift in focus is essential to meaningful development.

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Sue Vice

Elie Wiesel has claimed that testimony is the generic legacy of the Holocaust. Other critics have pointed out that testimony, in the sense of first-person literary accounts of events to which the author was eye-witness, also characterized earlier historical calamities, in particular the First World War. That war produced testimony in the form of lyric poetry, in which the reader recognized the author as a witness and assumed a close fit to the poem’s speaking subject. Yet it is not poetic but prose testimony that is typical of Holocaust eyewitness, while Holocaust poetry is considered a separate and self-contained genre. In this essay, I will explore the reasons why this should be so, and whether there is a closer link than at first appears between the construction of the first-person narrator of a prose testimony, such as Wiesel’s Night (1958), and the lyric ‘I’ of some Holocaust poetry.

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'The poet remained alone amidst the corpses of words . . .'

The Deportation Poetry of André Ulmann and Maurice Honel

Gary D. Mole

In an article entitled ‘Témoignage du camp et poésie’, published in 1948, the former deportee Robert Antelme, author of the now classic deportation text L’Espèce humaine, identifies what he sees as the respective problems of prose and poetic testimonies. The prose account, claims Antelme, in its supposed stark objectivity, all too often reads like some abstract accusatory act, a photograph that may provoke fear and trembling, but from which lessons cannot be explicitly learnt. Poetry, on the other hand, would run the risk of fleeing the reality of the camps, of allowing it to be only glimpsed through melodic counterpoint or nostalgic themes, thus enveloping the reality in a mist of words but never really penetrating it. In fleeing prosaic description, then, poetry would risk falling into obscurity.

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Elizabethan Pulp Fiction

The Example of Richard Johnson

Naomi C. Liebler

Richard Johnson, sometime apprentice and later producer of a baker’s dozen of very popular works of prose and verse, would today be dismissed as a hack. That he was noticed at all in his day and since then, however, suggests that his work has an important place in the record of how, and why, reading became not only a leisure-time activity of a late Elizabethan and Jacobean citizenry, but also both a marker and maker of an emerging English bourgeois self-consciousness. His Most Famous History of the Seven Champions of Christendom (Part 1: STC 14677; Part 2: STC 14678), a prose romance of epic proportions regarding the exploits of St George, with token attention to the other six, was one of the more popular works of the late Elizabethan and Jacobean periods.

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We write this only two weeks after the 2015 Israeli elections, as newly reelected Prime Minister Netanyahu is starting to put together his new government. Although reams of journalistic prose have already provided all sorts of analyses, many more months of research are needed before significant academic papers analyzing the election campaign and outcomes will be published. Thus, we offer some preliminary observations on the election and its larger significance.

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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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The Master of the Sentences

Style and Peter Porter

Peter Steele

'The activity of reading, for Peter, is the battleground of virtue and vice.' Such a view of things may seem archaic indeed in times both as poetically sportive and as programmatically sceptical as our own; but I take it that the notion that reading may be an act of engagement still retains some currency. And although it is a long way from twelfth-century France to twenty-first-century England or Australia, it is not hard to see an investment in such engagement in Peter Porter's poetry – as indeed in his prose, and in his conversation; after all, the twinning of urbanity with militancy is not without precedent.