l i t e r a ry st u d i e s
The Dream Life of Citizens Late Victorian Novels and the Fantasy of the State ZA R E NA A SL AMI
zarena asl am i
Dream Life of Citizens l at e v i cto ri an nov e ls and th e fantasy of t he state
224 PAGES 978-0-8232-4199-6 • CLOTH • $55.00 (06) AUG UST
“The Dream Life of Citizens will be a must-read not only for scholars of late Victorian literature and culture but also for anyone interested in concepts of the state and state power in relation to liberalism, empire, gender, and personhood.” — IVA N K REILKA MP, Indiana University Scholars have long argued that nations, as imagined communities, are constituted through the incitement of feelings and the operations of fantasy. Can we say the same about the set of disciplinary and regulatory institutions that we call the state? Can we think of it as constituted by feelings and fantasies, too? Zarena Aslami argues that late Victorian novels certainly did. Revisiting major works by Olive Schreiner, Thomas Hardy, and George Gissing, among others, Aslami shows how novels dramatized the feelings and fantasies of a culture that was increasingly optimistic, as well as increasingly anxious, about the state’s capacity to “step in” and help its citizens achieve the good life. In this study of late Victorian culture, Aslami reveals how a historically specific and intriguing fantasy of the state was thought to animate citizens’ psychic lives. This fantasy starred the modern state as a heroic actor with whom one has a relationship and from whom one desires something. While she tracks fantasies of the state in political writing, Aslami argues that novels were a privileged site for meditating on its more tragic implications. Z AR ENA AS LAMI
is Assistant Professor of English at Michigan State University.
l i t e r a ry st u d i e s
Structures of Appearing Allegory&the Work of Literature
Structures of Appearing Allegory and the Work of Literature B R E NDA M ACH O SKY
Allegory&the Work of Literature
“Structures of Appearing may just be the most considerable book on literary allegory of the past decade and more, and [it] should be very influential. Besides being one of those rare works that can rework a field, it is well written, well organized, and, even for so hard-minded an argument, a real pleasure to read.” —T IMOT HY J. REISS, New York University
Brenda Machosky 256 PAGES 978-0-8232-4284-9 • CLOTH • $55.00 (06) AUG UST
Taking a phenomenological approach to allegory, Structures of Appearing seeks to revise the history of aesthetics, identifying it as an ideology that has long subjugated art to philosophical criteria of judgment. Rather than being a mere signifying device, allegory is the structure by which something appears that cannot otherwise appear. It thus supports the appearance and necessary experience of philosophical ideas that are otherwise impossible to present or represent. Allegory is as central to philosophy as it is to literature. Following suggestions by Walter Benjamin, Machosky argues that allegory itself must appear allegorically and thus cannot be forced into a logos-centric metaphysical system. She builds on the work of Maurice Blanchot and Emmanuel Levinas to argue that the allegorical image is not a likeness to anything, not a subjective reflection, but an absolute otherness that becomes accessible by virtue of its unique structure. Allegory thus makes possible not merely the textual work of literature but the work that literature is. Machosky develops this insight in readings of Prudentius, Dante, Spenser, Hegel, Goethe, and Kafka. B R ENDA M ACHOSKY is Associate Professor in Humanities and English at the University of Hawai’i West O’ahu. She is the editor of Faces of Allegory.
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