From postcritique and posthistoricism to debates over world literature, world-systems, and distant reading, much of literary criticism today betrays reaction and restlessness befitting the times. In this special issue, contributors focus on literary history to make sense of this metacritical malaise and climate of crisis. Topics include a literary theory first exemplified by Flaubert and Marx that uses literary text to explain, clarify, and politicize historical events; postcolonial temporality from the pages of an African fiction left out of the “world” of literature; a study of Q, the pseudonymous epic novel of early-modern peasant wars; finding the progenitor of machine-made genre analysis in the invention of Sherlock Holmes; and using the works of Mark Doty to rewrite descriptive readings as a poetry of praise.
Contributors: Patrick M. Bray, Eleni Coundouriotis, Tim Dean, Lauren M.E. Goodlad, Sangeeta Ray, Kenneth Warren, Warwick Research Collective