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Print Price: $332.50

576 pp.
28 b/w halftones, 171 mm x 246 mm


Publication date:
May 2010

Imprint: OUP UK

The Oxford Handbook of the Elegy

Edited by Karen Weisman

Series : Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Mourning and memorialization are at the very centre of literary culture. They take on forms deeply resonant of the sundry traditions of poetic elegy even when those elegiac conventions are displaced, concealed, or plainly unintentional. For all of its pervasiveness, however, the "elegy" remains remarkably ill-defined: sometimes used as a catch-all to denominate texts of a somber or pessimistic tone, sometimes as a marker for textual monumentalizing, and sometimes strictly as a sign of a lament for the dead. This Handbook is the single most comprehensive study of its subject. It provides both a historical survey and a thematic engagement with the relevant issues in elegy. It is responsive to a pressing need for clarification of the relevant issues, and to the exciting developments currently under way in elegy studies.

Such a volume is especially timely, since in recent years there has been a veritable explosion in interest in elegies about AIDS, cancer, and war; various reconsiderations of the role of women in the history of elegiac writing; and readings of elegy in relation to ethics, philosophy and theory, and political structure.

With 38 chapters by leading specialists, ranging from Gregory Nagy's reconsideration of Ancient Greek elegy through Stuart Curran's novel engagement with Romantic elegiac hybridity, and on to Elizabeth Helsinger's consideration of elegy and painting, this Handbook offers groundbreaking scholarship and remarkable historical breadth.

Readership : Suitable for students and scholars of literature and cultural studies.

Karen Weisman: Introduction
1. Gregory Nagy: Ancient Greek Elegy
2. Paul Allen Miller: 'What's Love Got to Do With It?': The Peculiar Story of Elegy in Rome
3. Edward L. Greenstein: Lamentation and Lament in the Hebrew Bible
4. Michael Roberts: Late Roman Elegy
5. Andy Orchard: Not What It Was: The World of Old English Elegy
6. Jamie Fumo: The Consolations of Philosophy: Later Medieval Elegy
7. William Watterson: Nation and History: The Emergence of the English Pastoral Elegy
8. Gordon Braden: Classical Love Elegy in the Renaissance (and After)
9. Lorna Clymer: The Funeral Elegy in Early Modern Britain: A Brief History
10. Helen Deutsch: Elegies in Country Churchyards: The Prospect Poem In and Around the Eighteenth Century
11. Jeffery Hammond: New World Frontiers: The American Puritan Elegy
12. Max Cavitch: American Constitutional Elegy
13. Stuart Curran: Romantic Elegiac Hybridity
14. Timothy Morton: The Dark Ecology of Elegy
15. Erik Gray: Victoria Dressed in Black: Poetry in An Elegiac Age
16. Vincent Sherry: In the Tense of Decadence: Modernist Elegy and the Great War
17. Patricia Rae: 'Between the Bullet and the Lie': British Elegy Between the Wars
18. Bonnie Costello: Fresh Woods: Elegy and Ecology Among the Ruins
19. Arnold Krupat: 'That the People Might Live': Notes Toward a Study of Native American Elegy
20. Sandra Gilbert: Elegies Upon the Dying
21. Ross Chambers: Attending to AIDS: Elegy's Rendez-Vous with Testimonial
22. Maeera Y. Shreiber: Kaddish: Jewish American Elegy Post -1945
23. R. Clifton Spargo: The Contemporary Anti-Elegy
Knowledge, Theme and Practice
24. Lauren Shohet: Women's Elegy: Early Modern
25. Anne K. Mellor: 'Anguish No Cessation Knows': Elegy and the British Woman Poet
26. Anita Helle: Women's Elegies, 1834 - Present: Female Authorship and the Affective Politics of Grief
27. Lisa Schnell: 'Lett me Not Pyne for Poverty': Maternal Elegy in Early Modern England
28. Jonathan Goldberg: Between Men: Literary History and the Work of Mourning
29. Jonathan Crewe: Elegy in English Drama, 1590-1640
30. Catherine Burroughs: Post Coitum Triste: Elegiac Sexuality in Drama, 1700-1800,
31. Thomas Pfau: Mourning Modernity: Classical Antiquity, Romantic Theory, and Elegiac Form
32. Jerrold E. Hogle: Elegy and the Gothic: The Common Grounds
33. Paul Coates: Moving Pictures at the Edge of Stasis: Elegy and the Elegiac in Film
34. Jahan Ramazani: Nationalism, Transnationalism, and the Poetry of Mourning,
35. Eric Gidal: Museum Elegies
36. Kirk Savage: The War Memorial as Elegy
37. Elizabeth Helsinger: Grieving Images: Elegy and the Visual Arts
38. Josh Ellenbogen: On Photographic Elegy

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Karen Weisman is Associate Professor of English and Associate of the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Imageless Truths: Shelley's Poetic Fictions (University of Pennsylvania Press) and numerous articles and chapters on Romantic and post-Romantic poetry and culture. She is currently completing a study of nineteenth-century Anglo-Jewish elegy.

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Special Features

  • Thirty-eight specially written contributions by leading experts.
  • Discussion of elegy ranging from Ancient Greek and Roman through Early Modern, Romantic, Modernist, to contemporary.
  • Explores a variety of forms including poetry, drama, and the visual arts.