Falconer Rachel

Falconer Rachel

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Publications

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My research interests cover a broad span from Latin literature to modern and contemporary Irish, Scottish and English literature. I am principally researching in the field of poetry (Romantic, modern and contemporary), though I also have strong interests in modern fiction, especially fantasy, children’s and crossover literature. I am working on a book on the poetry of Virgil and Seamus Heaney, and have just finished editing a collection of essays on Katabasis, or the literary descent into the underworld. Future projects include writing on the literature of birds, and in general, the changing ways that contemporary writers figure the more-than-human environment in their poetry, fiction and prose writing. 

Publications

2014
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Rachel Falconer, ed., Kathleen Jamie: Essays and Poems on her Work. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, December 2014.

The first scholarly volume dedicated to the work of Scots poet Kathleen Jamie; contains 16 critical essays and seven original poems, with associated electronic resource (readings by Kathleen Jamie of poems discussed in the volume).

ISBN: 9780748696000

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2013
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Rachel Falconer and Denis Renevey, guest eds., Medieval and Early Modern Literature, Science and Medicine. Tubingen: Gunter Narr, 2013. Special issue of Swiss Publications of English Language and Literature.

This collection of fourteen essays brings together specialists from the medieval and early modern periods for an interdisciplinary study of literature, medicine and science in these periods. The volume includes an introduction by Falconer and Renevey. Essays were originally submitted as papers for the Third Biennial Conference of the Swiss Association of Medieval and Early Modern English Studies at the University of Lausanne (27-29 June 2012).

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2012
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Rachel Falconer and Andrew Oliver, eds. Re-reading / La relecture: essays in honour of Graham Falconer. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2012, 1-331.

This bilingual festschrift collection comprises twenty essays on the theory and practice of re-reading nineteenth and twentieth century French and English literature. Combining ground-breaking criticism (Knowlson on Beckett’s Happy Days, and Schmid on screen adaptations of Proust) and personal reflection on the influences of much-loved, much-lived texts, the volume as a whole attempts to think through some of the implications of Proust’s extraordinary essay, ‘La relecture’. Following the preface by Andrew Oliver and introduction by Rachel Falconer, there are chapters on Proust, Flaubert, Stendhal, Balzac, Hugo, Dostoevsky and other writers. Contributors include: Victor Brombert (Emeritus Professor, Princeton University), Ross Chambers (Emeritus Professor, University of Michigan), Mary Donaldson-Evans (University of Delaware); Graham Falconer (Emeritus Professor, Uni­versity of Toronto); Tim Farrant (Univer­sity of Oxford); Margot Irvine (University of Guelph, Canada); James Knowlson (Emeritus Professor, University of Reading); Robert Lethbridge (University of Cambridge); Rosemary Lloyd (Professor Emerita, Indiana University); Alberto Manguel (novelist, bibliophile); Henri Mitterand (Emeritus Professor, La Sorbonne Nouvelle and Columbia University) ; Gabriel Moyal (McMaster University, Canada); Marshall Olds (Michigan State University); Andrew Oliver (Emeritus Professor, University of Toronto); Paul Perron (Emeritus Professor, University of Toronto); Laurence Porter (Emeritus Professor, Michigan State University); Martine de Rougement (Emeritus Professor, Institut d’étu­des théâtrales, Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle-Paris III) ; Marion Schmid (University of Edinburgh); Henry Schogt (Emeritus Professor, University of Toronto); Clive Thomson (University of Guelph, Canada). 'Readers interested in the reception of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literary culture will find food for thought here.’ (Adam Watt, French Studies 68:1, 2014).

ISBN: 9781443837606

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2009
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Falconer, The Crossover Novel: Contemporary Children’s Fiction and Its Adult Readership. Routledge: London, New York, 2009, pp. 1-263.

This book delves into the heart of the controversy over ‘crossover fiction,’ the fiction that crossed from children to adult readers over the millennial decade, and continues to do so today. I argue that cross-reading cannot be explained by the increase of sophisticated marketing alone, but also suggest deeper changes in social attitudes to childhood, adulthood, and the new narrative structures which are emerging to interpret psychological development in an era of time-space acceleration, compression and reversal. Beginning with a broad overview of crossover fiction and cross-reading in the UK, this study goes on to offer critical readings of texts by David Almond, Mark Haddon, Geraldine McCaughrean, Philip Pullman, J K Rowling. The contexts and paratexts of crossover publication are also discussed in depth, and the responses of actual readers, both child and adult, are included in the analysis. A final chapter discusses the current popularity of children’s classics (the childhood reading of present-day adults) and as a test case analyses the dynamics of adult engagement with C S Lewis’s The Silver Chair.
  ‘Extremely thorough specialist study of why, between 1997 and 2007, so many adults turned to “children’s” books. Includes readable detailed analyses of the Harry Potter books, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and David Almond’s Clay’ (Peter Hunt, ‘Children’s Literature’, Childhood Studies, March, 2012, Oxford Index, Oxford University Press). In Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, J. Barham commends the ‘detailed understanding of the crossover phenomenon’, ‘wide cultural canvas’, ‘astute associations between Calvino … and Freud’, ‘well-placed wit’ and ‘dizzying array of scholarship’. Barham’s review concludes: ‘The Crossover Novel is an exhaustively researched and deeply theoretical approach to the phenomenon of crossover literature in which Falconer draws on her own background in classical and contemporary theory’; ‘highly applicable to numerous areas of scholarship’; ‘provides an excellent groundwork for further study’; ‘a remarkable success’. (CLAQ Summer 2009; 34:2) ‘Highly Recommended’ in CHOICE (April 2009): 'Well written and documented, this accessible volume, with its extensive bibliography, will be valuable for those interested in children's literature' (C. McCutcheon, University of South Carolina Upstate). Included in round-up of Significant Choice Reviews, June 2009, Special Feature: Youth and Society.

ISBN: 9780415978880

Publisher's Website

 

2005
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Falconer, Hell in Contemporary Literature: Western Descent Narratives since 1945. Edinburgh University Press and Columbia University Press: Edinburgh, 2005, pp. 1-262.

This book explores the idea that modern, Western secular cultures have retained a belief in the concept of Hell as an event or experience of endless or unjust suffering. In the contemporary period, the descent to Hell has come to represent the means of recovering, or discovering selfhood. These ideas have combined with earlier literary and religious models of katabatic narrative to produce the notion of a self made ethical by its encounter with the underworld. In exploring these ideas, this book discusses descent journeys in Holocaust testimony and fiction, memoirs of mental illness, and feminist, postmodern and post-colonial narratives written after 1945. Amongst a wide range of texts discussed, there are in-depth analyses of Primo Levi, W.G. Sebald, Sarah Kofman, Anne Michaels, Lauren Slater, Marge Piercy, Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, Gloria Naylor, Alice Notley, Alasdair Gray, and Salman Rushdie. Drawing on theoretical writing by Bakhtin, Derrida, Charles Taylor and Paul Ricoeur, the book addresses such broader theoretical issues as: narration and identity; the ethics of the subject; trauma and memory; descent as sexual or political dissent; the interrelation of realism and fantasy; and Occidentalism and Orientalism.
‘Highly Recommended’ in USA Librarians’ Review journal, CHOICE (December 2009): ‘This work of original scholarship explores the modern, secular version of hell as an experience of terrible, unexplainable suffering … takes on contextual significance that will be useful for the modern reader’ (P. J. Ferlazzo, Northern Arizona University).  John Constable writes: ‘impressive scholarship’; ‘informative and closely argued study’; ‘impressive … discussion of If This is a Man’ (The Use of English 57.1, Autumn, 2005). Christopher Burdon writes: ‘extensive and sensitive reading of Primo Levi’, ‘powerful … analysis of Alasdair Gray’s witty, humane, dystopian, socialist novel Lanark … which Falconer explores wisely and sympathetically—opens up more urgently than any of the other books what she calls “the transformative possibilities of the journey through Hell” … Falconer’s wide reading, cultural awareness and alertness to classical archetypes make this a convincing survey not only of the persistence of Hell but of the possibilities of redemption. In an age of “furious religion” such fantastic realism or realistic fantasy is all the more needed.’ (Literature and Theology, 23 May 2007)

ISBN: 9780748617630 (hardback)
ISBN: 9780748634439 (paperback)

Publisher's Website

   
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Guest co-editor, Rachel Falconer and Karin Littau, Invention: Literature and Science. Comparative Critical Studies Vol. 2.2. Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, 2005, pp. 1-301

This volume of the British Comparative Literature Association journal comprises an edited selection of papers delivered at the Tenth International BCLA Conference, at Leeds University, 2004.

ISSN: 17441854

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1997
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Adlam, Falconer, Makhlin, Renfrew, eds. Face to Face:  Bakhtin Studies in Russia and the West. Continuum International Publishing Group: London, 1997, 20 contributors, pp.1-394.

This volume evolved from the Seventh International Bakhtin Conference in Moscow, 1995, hosted by Professor Makhlin. The Russian contributions were translated and edited by Adlam and Renfrew, the English-language contributions and the volume as a whole edited and introduced by me.

‘It sets a new standard of excellence for English-Russian forums (Professor Caryl Emerson, The Slavonic and East European Review 77:2, April 1999); ‘achieves the status of a landmark volume . . . an unparalleled accomplishment’ (Slavic Review 58:4, Winter 1999); ‘essential reading for Bakhtin scholars’ (Journal of European Studies), ‘a work of remarkable scholarship’ (Canadian Slavonic Papers).

ISBN: 9780567105318

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1996
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Falconer, Orpheus Dis(re)membered: Milton and the Myth of the Poet-Hero. Continuum International Publishing Group: London, 1996, pp. 1-227.

This monograph provides a close reading of Milton’s allusions to Orpheus in his poetry and prose writing; these passages reveal Milton’s optimistic ideas, doubts and fears about the role of the poet in times of historical and personal crisis.

ISBN: 9781850756095

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