University of Mississippi

The Journal of English and Germanic Philology

by J.R. Hall
“Beowulf 2009a: fÅ bifongen.” JEGP 106:04 (2007): 417-27.

Conversations with Audre Lorde (Literary Conversations) by Joan Wylie Hall

The Oprah Affect

By Jaime Harker

The Oprah Affect explores the cultural impact of Oprah’s Book Club, particularly in light of debates about the definition and purpose of literature in American culture. For the critics collected here, Oprah’s Book Club stands, in the context of American literary history, not as an egregious undermining of who we are and what we represent, as some have maintained, but as the latest manifestation of a tradition that encourages symbiotic relationships between readers and texts. Powered by women writers and readers, novels in this tradition attract crowds, sell well, and make unabashed appeals to emotion. The essays consider the interlocking issues of affect, affinity, accessibility, and activism in the context of this tradition. Juxtaposing book history; reading practices; literary analysis; feminist criticism; and communication, religious, political, and cultural studies; the contributors map a range of possibilities for further research on Oprah’s Book Club. A complete chronological list of Book Club picks is included.

“This collection is important not only for those interested in Oprah’s Book Club, but also for all of us who are interested in contemporary reading practices and, in particular, the sociology of literature. The theoretical foundations found in the various essays are wide-ranging, and the research methods used and discussed illustrate the exciting potential of reading scholarship. This is a valuable collection that will appeal to students and scholars across the academy.” — DeNel Rehberg Sedo, Mount Saint Vincent University

Contributors include Timothy Aubry, Kimberly Chabot Davis, Kate Douglas, Cecilia Konchar Farr, R. Mark Hall, Jaime Harker, Kelley Penfield Lewis, Kathryn Lofton, Michael A. Perry, Kevin Quirk, Ana Patricia Rodríguez, Kathleen Rooney, Simon Stow, Juliette Wells, Virginia Wells, and Yung-Hsing Wu.

A Biography of the English Language

by Mary Hayes and C.M. Millward
The third edition of A BIOGRAPHY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE continues to examine the structure of English, from its Indo-European pre-history, through the invasions that shaped Old and Middle English, through its speakers’ conscious efforts to police it in the Early Modern period, through its present-day transformations manifest in urban slang and text-messaging. The textbook explores three important issues: how languages and language change are systematic; how the inner history of a language is profoundly affected by its outer history of political and culural events; and how the English of the past has everywhere left its traces on present-day English. By uncovering the language’s past, one can better use it to communicate as well as speculate about its future use in ever-changing globalized media.

Desiring Bodies

by Gregory Heyworth
Gregory Heyworth’s Desiring Bodies considers the physical body and its relationship to poetic and corporate bodies in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Beginning in the odd contest between body and form in the first sentence of Ovid’s protean Metamorphoses, Heyworth identifies these concepts as structuring principles of civic and poetic unity and pursues their consequences as refracted through a series of romances, some typical of the genre, some problematically so.

Bodies, in Ovidian romance, are the objects of human desire to possess, to recover, to form, or to violate. Part 1 examines this desire as both a literal and socio-political phenomenon through readings of Marie de France’s Lais, Chrétien de Troyes’ Cligès and Perceval, and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, texts variously expressing social, economic, and political culture in romance. In part 2, Heyworth is concerned with missing or absent bodies in Petrarch’s Rime sparse, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and Milton’s Paradise Lost and the generic rupture they cause in lyric, tragedy, and epic. Throughout, Heyworth draws on social theorists such as Kant, Weber, Simmel, and Elias to explore the connection between social and literary form.

The first comparative, diachronic study of romance form in many years, Desiring Bodies is a persuasive and important cultural history that demonstrates Ovid’s pervasive influence not only on the poetics but on the politics of the medieval and early modern Western tradition.
“Desiring Bodies answers the question that might dog Comparative Literature as a discipline, i.e. ‘so what?’. In a bravura display of cultural and linguistic range, Heyworth turns his own supple, Ovidian intelligence to Ovidian irruptions from within the civilizing project of romance. Heyworth writes with intense literary inwardness, adroitly turned learning, and pitch-perfect prose.” —James Simpson, Harvard University

“Gregory Heyworth’s Desiring Bodies: Ovidian Romance and the Cult of Form is a wide-ranging, impressively learned, first-rate study with a provocative and weighty central argument.” —Monika Otter, Dartmouth College

“Gregory Heyworth’s Desiring Bodies is a highly original study. It is also very daring—breathtakingly so, at times—in its deep engagement with major canonical writers and texts of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, from twelfth-century Latin comedy to Milton’s Paradise Lost. His remarkable essay is achieved within a stimulating cultural and artistic exegesis of a single Ovidian line in which Heyworth finds his own large subject—the famous first line of the Metamorphoses, in which the poet announces the intention to tell ‘of forms changed into new bodies.’” —John Fleming, Princeton University

“Ambitious in its aims, convincing in its arguments, and frequently surprising in its readings, Desiring Bodies asks us to reconsider how literary works both respond to and adapt the remains of the literary past. By establishing Ovid as the defining figure of formal metamorphoses across literary history, Heyworth opens new possibilities for imagining literary history as a history of literary form.” —Jennifer Summit, Stanford University

Ouida the Phenomenon

Co-authored by Natalie Schroeder and Shari Hodges Holt
This first full-length study of the works of best-selling Victorian novelist Ouida (Marie Louise Ramé) examines the evolution of social, political, and gender issues in Ouida’s fiction, from her high society romances of the 1860s to her satirical exposés of contemporary society in the 1890s. Schroeder and Holt demonstrate the significance of this relatively unexamined author’s works for literary studies today by investigating the ideological connections between Victorian, modern, and postmodern cultures inherent in Ouida’s works, while revealing Ouida’s oeuvre as a complex reflection of Victorian cultural paradoxes. Situating Ouida within the context of central nineteenth-century cultural debates such as the New Woman controversy, the Aesthetes’ discourse in alternative male sexualities, and the aesthetic controversy over popular sensation fiction, Schroeder and Holt likewise examine how Ouida’s concerns anticipate such modern/postmodern issues as the conflict between popular and ‘high’ culture and the development of a consumerist society based on commodity spectacle.

Willy Loman

by Colby Kullman
Ever since being introduced by Arthur Miller in 1949, Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman has provoked controversy and debate. Various critics see Willy Loman as a tragic figure on the level of a Shakespearean character, while others see him as a pathetically disenfranchised pursuer of the American Dream. Within this text, you will explore the various interpretations of this character.
Willy Loman is part of the Major Literary Characters series, edited by Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the Humanities, Yale University; Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Professor of English, New York University Graduate School. This series is the only major collection of criticism on widely studied fictional figures from world literature, bringing together a diverse array of the finest critical writing from around the world. Each volume includes Harold Bloom’s essay “The Analysis of Character” and introductory essays on title characters.

Soldier’s Son

by Ben McClelland

In December 1944 First Lieutenant Ewing R. “Pete” McClelland was captured in the Battle of the Bulge. Soon afterwards in an Allied air attack on the German POW camp where he was held, he was killed.

Back home in Pennsylvania, his young widow and three small children survived him. Too young to have lasting recollections, Ben W. McClelland, the soldier’s son who was just beyond infancy, became one of the war’s fatherless innocents for whom the memories of others would form the paternal image.

As the boy evolved into manhood, he reflected on how strange it was to grow up without this parent. In this narrative, a work of analysis as well as an odyssey into family heritage, the son undertakes a compelling search to find this man he could not remember. Through sentiment and nostalgia he depicts the innocence of childhood and recalls the many people who furnished impressions of his father.

Old photographs, intimate letters, and interviews with the memory keepers and the storytellers in his extended family were resources from which the author recreated a time and a place and a person. This reconstruction resurrects a father vital in life and passion, a man chronicled in humorous family tales, realized among vivid small-town characters, and seen against the contrast of social changes of the1960s.

The search for his father consumed most of a lifetime. As Ben W. McClelland was approaching the age of sixty, he had recovered this lost, never-before-realized identity. But to complete the circle of his quest, he undertook one thing more, the emotional pilgrimage to his father’s grave in Europe.

Although many other memoirs detail the experience of the soldier on the fronts of battle, this one brings an understanding of his sacrifice in wartime, of the resounding meaning of his death for his country and for his family, and of a son’s profound yearning for answers that fulfill.

Ben W. McClelland is a professor of English and holder of the Schillig Chair of English Composition at the University of Mississippi.

Check the author’s website.

Ivo Kamps


  • Ph.D., Princeton University (1990)
  • M.A., State University of New York,Stony Brook (1986)
  • B.A., Quincy College, English and Philosophy (1982)

Teaching and Research Interests

  • Early Modern Literature
  • Shakespeare
  • Literary theory, New Historicism, Marxism
  • Film


  • Historiography and Ideology in Stuart Drama. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996. Reissued in paperback, November, 2008.

Editions and Collections

  • “Explanatory notes and introduction for Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Twelfth Night“. The Norton Anthology of Drama (New York: Norton, 2009).
  • Early Modern Ecostudies: From the Florentine Codex to Shakespeare. Ed. With Karen Raber and Thomas Hallock. New York: Palgrave Press, 2008.
  • The Phoenix. Ed. with Lawrence Danson. The Complete Works of Thomas Middleton. Gen. ed. Gary Taylor. (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007)
  • Measure for Measure: Texts and Contexts. Ed. with Karen Raber. Boston: Bedford Press, 2004.
  • Travel Knowledge: European “Discoveries” in the Early Modern Period, 1500-1800. Ed. with Jyotsna Singh. New York: Palgrave Press, 2001.
  • Materialist Shakespeare: A History. Ed. London: Verso, 1995.
  • Shakespeare and Gender: A History. With Deborah Barker. London: Verso, 1995.
  • Shakespeare Left and Right. Ed. New York: Routledge, 1991.

Selected Essays

  • “Utopian Ecocriticism: Naturalizing Nature in Thomas More’s Utopia.” With Melissa L. Smith. Early Modern Ecostudies: From the Florentine Codex to Shakespeare. Ed. Thomas Hallock, Kamps, Karen Raber. New York: Palgrave Press, 2008.
  • “Madness and Social Mobility in Twelfth Night.” Twelfth Night: Critical Essays. Ed. James Schiffer. New York: Routledge, 2009.
  • “New Historicizing the New Historicism; or, Did Stephen Greenblatt Watch the Evening News in Early 1968?” New York: SUNY P, 2004. 159-89.
  • “The Writing of History in Shakespeare’s England.” Blackwell’s Companion to Shakespeare: The Histories. Ed. Richard Dutton and Jean Howard London: Oxford: Blackwell, 2003. 4-25.
  • “Colonizing the Colonizer: A Dutchman in Asia Portuguesa.” Travel Knowledge: European “Discoveries” in the Early Modern Period. Ed. Kamps and Jyotsna Singh. New York: Palgrave P, 2001. 160-83.

Other Editorial Work

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