Papers on Language & Literature

Literary history, theory, and interpretation.

Articles from Vol. 39, No. 3, Summer

Comic Maid-Servants in Swift and Smollett: The Proverbial Idiom of Humphry Clinker
The letters written by Win Jenkins in Tobias Smollett's Humphry Clinker (1771) have certainly not gone without scholarly comment. Until now, however, attention seems to have been directed entirely toward linguistic vagaries narrowly conceived rather...
House of Mirrors: Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher"
"The Fall of the House of Usher" is among those few stories that seem to elicit nearly as many critical interpretations as it has readers. More recent critical appraisals of the story have largely followed two directions: a reappraisal of the genre...
Melville's Debt to Milton: Inverted Satanic Morphology and Rhetoric in the Confidence-Man
On September 7, 1855, a physically ill and professionally frustrated Herman Melville found himself attending a costume picnic where his family, friends, and neighbors assumed fantastic identities and sported exotic costumes. His wife appeared as "Cypherina...
"Memory Believes before Knowing Remembers": Faulkner, Canetti, and Survival
In his Nobel Prize acceptance address, William Faulkner, speaking of the "fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it" ("Address" 723), alluded to the instinctive fear of violence that threatens to reduce human existence to a barbaric world...
"The Picture of Little T.C. in a Prospect of Flowers": Marvell's Portrait of Tender Conscience
British literature in the mid-seventeenth century often involved an intensive transformation of genres in order to make intelligible the experience of revolution that was unprecedented, unfamiliar, and disorientating. The Civil War disrupted the self-containment...