Philological Quarterly

This journal covers aspects of medieval European and modern literature and culture. The articles published incorporate physical bibliography, the sociology of knowledge, the history of reading, reception studies and other fields of inquiry.

Articles from Vol. 86, No. 3, Summer

Aesthetico-Constructivism: Farther Adventures in Criticism
CONSTRUCTIVISM AND FORMALISM For at least a generation, most critics of the eighteenth-century novel have argued or assumed that canonical texts do not passively reflect a pre-existent reality but help to shape or construct what readers perceive...
Couplets and Curls: A Theory of Form
Practitioners of formalism are frequently anxious to assert the primacy of aesthetic value and its pleasures, whether that formalism is characterized as "new," "activist," or "normative." In so doing, they often register a critical fatigue with and...
Culture and Sacrifice: Ritual Death in Literature and Opera
Culture and Sacrifice: Ritual Death in Literature and Opera by Derek Hughes. Cambridge U. Press, 2007. Pp. xi + 313. $85. Despite its fairly standard size for a monograph, Derek Hughes's book is a expedition of veritably epic proportions through...
Formalist Cultural Criticism and the Post-Restoration Periodical
Some will have it, that I often write to my sell and am the only punctual correspondent I have. This objection would indeed be material, were the letters I communicate to the public stuffed with my own commendations, and if, instead of endeavouring...
John Gibson, Fiction and the Weave of Life
John Gibson, Fiction and the Weave of Life. Oxford U. Press, 2007. Pp. 201. $75. How to assess the truth value of statements of apparent fact that occur in fictions ("Sherlock Holmes lived on Baker Street" is a favorite example) may sound like a...
Listening on All Sides: Toward an Emersonian Ethics of Reading
Listening on All Sides: Toward an Emersonian Ethics of Reading by Richard Deming. Stanford U. Press, 2007. Pp. 182. $50. At the same time that we moderns learned about living in regimes of vision that include spectacle (Guy Debord, Laura Mulvey),...
Repossessing the Romantic Past
Repossessing the Romantic Past edited by Heather Glen and Paul Hamilton. Cambridge U. Press, 2006. Pp. ix + 254. $90. In the past three decades a new picture of British Romanticism has emerged in opposition to the focus on six male poets in two...
Smallpox and the Literary Imagination, 1660-1820
Smallpox and the Literary Imagination, 1660-1820 by David E. Shuttleton. Cambridge U. Press, 2007. Pp. xiii + 265. $91. The writing of this review coincided with the thirtieth anniversary of the last fatal case of smallpox, which occurred in Birmingham,...
The Form of Formlessness
Virtually every discussion of the new formalism, whether remonstration or encomium, mentions some variant or synonym of the word "return," which should cause us to wonder what the "new" in the "new formalism" is. Advocates of the new formalism scrutinize...
The Obligations of Form: Social Practice in Charlotte Smith's Emmeline
In Charlotte Smith's first novel, Emmeline, the Orphan of the Castle, the heroine finds herself caught between her obligations to competing forms of male "protection." Emmeline, seemingly illegitimate, has promised her uncle and guardian, Lord Montreville,...