by Elaine Freedgood
Ghostly reference is a malleable aspect of representation, a formal nexus that allows for the free play of belief and the production of worlds—two necessary conditions for the formation and sustenance of the liberal subject. In various fictions and one historical circumstance, this essay tries to take ghosts literally, to ask what they are as well as what they mean.
ELAINE FREEDGOOD is Professor of English at New York University, where she works on Victorian literature and culture, critical theory, and the history of the novel. She is the author of Victorian Writing About Risk: Imagining a Safe England in a Dangerous World (Cambridge 2000) and The Ideas in Things: Fugitive Meaning in the Victorian Novel (Chicago 2006). Her current project is called “Worlds Enough: Fictionality and Reference in the Novel.”
“Ghostly Reference” is from Representations’ special issue Denotatively, Technically, Literally. The introduction to the issue by Elaine Freedgood and Cannon Schmitt is available online free of charge.
by Cannon Schmitt
Technical language in novels, rare in itself, is still more rarely interpreted. Focusing on Robert Louis Stevenson’s bildungsromans, in this essay Cannon Schmitt argues that a technical maritime lexicon marks their protagonists’ accession to maturity. But that lexicon and the love for the world it attests to and demands also forces a redefinition of what it means to be mature, offering an open, adventurous, never-to-be completed Bildung that refuses the stasis of marriage or a settled profession.
CANNON SCHMITT teaches English at the University of Toronto. The author of Alien Nation: Nineteenth-Century Gothic Fictions and English Nationality (1997) and Darwin and the Memory of the Human: Evolution, Savages, and South America (2009, paperback reprint 2013), he is currently at work on the Victorian novel, the sea, and the literal.
“Technical Maturity in Robert Louis Stevenson” is from Representations’ special issue Denotatively, Technically, Literally. The introduction to the issue by Elaine Freedgood and Cannon Schmitt is available online free of charge.
Notation After “The Reality Effect”:
Remaking Reference with Roland Barthes and Sheila Heti
by Rachel Sagner Buurma and Laura Heffernan
In “The Reality Effect,” Roland Barthes reveals notation’s ideological function within the realist novel; a decade later in Preparation of the Novel, Barthes reconsiders notation as the practice by which the writer provisionally makes literary meaning. Barthes’s revision of his claims for the reality effect helps us see how an emerging genre—the novel of commission—pulls referential, preparatory materials into the novel in order to reimagine the sociality and institutionality of the writing process.
“Notation After ‘The Reality Effect’: Remaking Reference with Roland Barthes and Sheila Heti” is from Representations’ special issue Denotatively, Technically, Literally. The introduction to the issue by Elaine Freedgood and Cannon Schmitt is available online free of charge.
The UC Berkeley Consortium on the Novel presents The Immigrant Novel in America Wednesday, November 13, at 4 pm in 315 Wheeler Hall (The Maude Fife Room) at the University of California, Berkeley. Presentations include “The Void and the Missing: Memory’s Trace in Monique Truong’s Bitter in the Mouth” by Karl Britto (UC Berkeley French and Comparative Literature), “The Future as Form: Imagining the Abolition of Social Categories in Ana Castillo’s Sapogonia” by Marcial Gonzalez (UC Berkeley English), and “Office Stories” by Colleen Lye (UC Berkeley English and Representations editorial board). Katherine Snyder (UC Berkeley English), respondent.
Washington, 1923. “Stamp Division, Post Office.” National Photo Company Collection glass negative, Library of Congress.
McAleavey’s article traces a single plot—the plot of bigamous return—through a range of genres and texts, including Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret (1862) and Alfred Tennyson’s “Enoch Arden” (1864), concentrating on Elizabeth Gaskell’s Sylvia’s Lovers (1863). Arguing that plot is a more productive heuristic than genre, this article investigates the intersection of literary currents in one historical moment with the long durée of a recurring story, powerfully present in nautical ballads and melodrama. (Representations 123, Summer 2013)