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Literary Criticism

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The Butterfly Hatch

Literary Experience in the Quest for Wisdom: Uncanonically Seating H.D.

Richard Vytniorgu is a Midlands3Cities Fellow and teaches English at the University of Leicester. Between 2014–17 he was a Midlands3Cities–AHRC PhD candidate at De Montfort University, where he has also taught literary theory. He has published on personalism, modernism, and literary theory in Modern Language Review, Humanities, and Educational Journal of Living Theories. He is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and is currently on the editorial board for Peer English.


Some of H.D.’s most oft-quoted lines have to do with the meaning and value of words; they are conditioned to hatch butterflies. Yet rather than seeking merely to understand how H.D. represented the meaning and value of words, this volume uses ‘the butterfly hatch’ as a metaphor for thinking more broadly about the capacity of literary experience to hatch transformed persons – ‘butterflies’ in quest of wisdom in university English studies. Dislodging H.D. from her usual modernist context, this book positions her as a thinker and reads her autobiographical prose and recently published work of the 1940s for its ability to offer new insights into such pertinent and interconnected areas as literary contexts, imagination, and personal and social transformation.

H.D. has, in her own words, always been ‘uncanonically seated’, resistant to rigid classification; the texture of her work celebrates internal, existential resonances that evidence the emergence of personality. The author capitalizes on this facet of H.D.’s work and uncanonically seats her in conversation with the neglected literary theorist, Louise Rosenblatt (1904–2005), whose transactional contribution uniquely fuses critical theory, politics, philosophy, and educational vision.

This book synthesizes the work of H.D. and Rosenblatt to create an emergent personalist theory of literary experience in the quest for wisdom, crystallizing links between philosophical anthropology, aesthetics, pedagogy, and the politics of human relations. Benefiting from access to unpublished material housed at Columbia, New York, and Yale universities, Vytniorgu combines analysis and theorizing to offer a significant, pedagogically-inflected intervention in literary studies, arguing that university English studies must incorporate critical and pedagogical vantages which open a window on wisdom as well as knowledge.


Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-937-1
Hardback Price: £50.00 / $69.95
Release Date: December 2018
   
Page Extent / Format: 240 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No
   

 



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