New Release Books by Kathleen Renk

Kathleen Renk is the author of Women Writing the Neo-Victorian Novel (2021) and Magic, Science, and Empire in Postcolonial Literature (2012).

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Women Writing the Neo-Victorian Novel

release date: Aug 11, 2021
Women Writing the Neo-Victorian Novel
Women Writing the Neo-Victorian Novel: Erotic “Victorians” focuses on the work of British, Irish, and Commonwealth women writers such as A.S. Byatt, Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, Helen Humphreys, Margaret Atwood, and Ahdaf Soueif, among others, and their attempts to re-envision the erotic. Kathleen Renk argues that women writers of the neo-Victorian novel are far more philosophical in their approach to representing the erotic than male writers and draw more heavily on Victorian conventions that would proscribe the graphic depiction of sexual acts, thus leaving more to the reader’s imagination. This book addresses the following questions: Why are women writers drawn to the neo-Victorian genre and what does this reveal about the state of contemporary feminism? How do classical and contemporary forms of the erotic play into the ways in which women writers address the Victorian “woman question”? How exactly is the erotic used to underscore women’s creative potential?

Magic, Science, and Empire in Postcolonial Literature

release date: Mar 29, 2012
Magic, Science, and Empire in Postcolonial Literature
This book examines the ways in which contemporary British and British postcolonial writers in the after-empire era draw connections between magic (defined here as Renaissance Hermetic philosophy) and science. Writers such as Tom Stoppard, Zadie Smith, and Margaret Atwood critique both imperial science, or science used in service to empire, and what Renk calls "imperical science," a distortion of rational science which denies that reality is holistic and claims that nature can and should be conquered. In warning of the dangers of imperical science, these writers restore the connection between magic and science as they examine major shifts in scientific thinking across the centuries. They reflect on the Copernican Revolution and the historic split between magic and science, scrutinize Darwinism, consider the relationship between Victorian science and pseudo-science, analyze twentieth-century Uncertainty theories, reject bio/genetic engineering, call for a new approach to science that reconnects science and art, and ultimately endeavor to bring an end to the imperial age. Overall, these writers forge a new discourse that merges science with the arts and emphasizes a holistic philosophy, a view shared by both Hermetic philosophy and recent scientific theories, such as chaos or complexity theory. Along with recent books that focus on the relationship between contemporary literature and science, this work focuses on contemporary British literature’s critique of science and the ways in which postcolonial literature addresses the relationship between magic, science, and empire.


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