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Abstracts 99.4

Ryan Lawrence, “Experiencing the Desert in Early Medieval England”

This article argues that early English monastic writers were not only interested in borrowing and adapting the writings of early desert monastic communities, but were also interested in reimagining and adapting the physical landscape in which these writings were produced. Examining literary and material sources, this paper explores the ways that early English writers worked to imagine a desert place in the midst of the landscape of England, thereby allowing their readers to approximate and experience some sense of the textures, sounds, and harsh conditions of the desert landscape for devotional ends.

Robert G. Walker, “Laurence Sterne’s Subscribers: Additional Updates”

In 2014 was published an identification list of Laurence Sterne’s subscribers, approximately 2,000 in number, as the second half of the final volume of the University of Florida Works of Sterne. Its editor issued a general invitation to students of Sterne to add further information, perhaps identifying names that had thus far proved elusive, perhaps allowing a choice between proposed alternatives to be made with more certainty, perhaps offering corrections. Since then several responses to the invitation have appeared in two articles and several notes. This continuation of that effort, an effort aided considerably, it should be pointed out, by the ever expanding resources of the internet, puts forth information on 48 subscribers, 16 of which are offered with a high degree of confidence.

Brian J. Reilly, “Négritude’s Contretemps: The Coining and Reception of Aimé Césaire’s Neologism”

Aimé Césaire’s négritude is often made sense of by its echoes, but this confuses poetry and philology, mistaking troped echo for originating sound. This article shows how Césaire created this contretemps in coining négritude to make it a term that seems at once old and scientific yet also new and politically urgent. By providing a fuller account of négritude’s etymology, this article also proposes new sources available to Césaire, in particular Girolamo Cardano’s De Subtilitate and its discussion of the touchstone lydite. The work of Césaire as poet is argued to be inseparable from the work of Césaire as philologist.

Geoff Bouvier, “The Immanence of Collective Expression: Achievements of the Minor in Kamau Brathwaite's Oral and Written Poetry”

For half a century, Caribbean poet Kamau Brathwaite (who only just died in February of 2020) positioned himself as a revitalizing force for “minor modes” of expression, in the Deleuzian sense. His life work collects, conceptualizes, and enacts a rejuvenation of the oral tradition (through “nation language”) and a rejuvenation of the written one (by way of his “video style”) which pursue a Deleuzian minorization in ways that resay and rewrite the literature of empire. Brathwaite’s sense of immanence (his inherent “withinness”) helps enact in his poetry an exemplary deterritorializing for all postcolonial literature.