Latest Additions

These are the articles recently published. Original replies, which can start off a debate, are listed with their abstracts. Please note that responding articles do not have separate abstracts.



Overwhelming Questions: An Answer to Chris Ackerley

Edward Lobb, Connotations, Vol. 26 (ongoing): 85-89.


Poetics of Injustice: The Case of Two Mockingbirds

Ralph Grunewald, Connotations, Vol. 26 (ongoing): 54-84.


This article is based on the understanding that in law questions of guilt are often reduced and simplified, whereas literary texts can provide a more encompassing picture of a person’s blameworthiness. That leads to two overlapping but also different understandings of justice—poetic and procedural. In this paper, I will contrast these two types of justice and argue that within the legal, mainly procedural, framework questions of the poetic construction of a narrative are often disregarded, although they play a significant role in many stages of a criminal case. Literary texts, on the other hand, show less awareness of the relevance of procedure and the kind of justice it produces. While the tension between these types of justice cannot be fully resolved—they are specific to their respective genres—it will be stressed that law and literature as disciplines can learn from each other. A judge with a heightened awareness of how narratives are constructed poetically will be better equipped to safeguard against wrongful convictions and gain a better understanding of a case in general. And, literary critics who acknowledge that procedure has an intrinsic value in law will expand their understating of a text that touches on such questions.

My argument will be developed in three steps. First, poetic and legal concepts of justice will be contrasted. Then, core differences between the legal and literary discourse will be analyzed in more detail, which is followed by a discussion of how poetic and procedural elements affect two exemplary wrongful conviction cases: the one of Jeffrey Deskovic and the one portrayed in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.


Is Timon Mad? An Answer to Beatrix Hesse

Thomas Kullmann, Connotations, Vol. 26 (ongoing): 47-53.


Black Ekphrasis? A Response to Carl Plasa

Jane Hedley, Connotations, Vol. 26 (ongoing): 40-46.


A Course in Ghost Writing: Philip Roth, Authorship, and Death1)

David Hadar, Connotations, Vol. 26 (ongoing): 15-39.


This paper argues that, for American novelist Philip Roth, the death of an author does not necessarily mean a loss of power and authority. Instead, what is crucial for literary authority is a delicate interplay of life and death. The paper works out this view mainly through a reading of the short novel The Ghost Writer (1979). There, a young writer, Nathan Zuckerman, learns the benefits of being perceived as dead and alive at the same time. He goes on to write a story about Anne Frank who in the fictional world decides to remain in hiding rather than hurt her reputation as author; I use this narrative to show Zuckerman has learned this lesson. The paper also shows how death’s power has been used by Roth not only in fiction but also in shaping his own public persona.


The Mysterious Genesis of Paradise Lost

Donald Cheney, Connotations, Vol. 9: 57-70.


Authorship, Gender, and the Modern Muse in Edith Wharton's Vance Weston Novels: A Response to Judith P. Saunders

Margaret Toth, Connotations, Vol. 26 (ongoing): 1-14.


Beyond the “Chorus Line”: A Response to Susanne Jung

Christine Evain, Connotations, Vol. 25: 300-10.


Book-eating Book: Tom Phillips’s A Humument (1966-)

Tammy Lai-Ming Ho, Connotations, Vol. 25: 288-99.


This review article begins with a brief history of neo-Victorianism and discusses how Tom Phillips’s ongoing project A Humument (1966-), which incorporates W. H. Mallock’s little-known A Human Document (1892), can be considered a representative neo-Victorian novel. The article then theorises A Humument as a “book-eating book” and argues that this notion of cannibalism can be applied to the understanding of the neo-Victorian genre as a whole: in the same way that A Humument has been living off A Human Document, neo-Victorian fiction generally can be seen as having been consuming and revising the same finite stock of nineteenth-century texts (or authors-as-texts). The article suggests that this cannibalistic relationship is fundamental to the genre – it is not an option for neo-Victorian writers not to be cannibalistic.


The Poet’s Generosity in Timon of Athens and Pale Fire: A Response to Maurice Charney and Thomas Kullmann

Kreg Segall, Connotations, Vol. 25: 280-87.