Alberto Gabriele. The Emergence of Pre-Cinema: Print Culture and the Optical Toy of the Literary Imagination.

The Emergence of Pre-Cinema is a genealogical study that traces the dispersed history of self-reflexivity and fragmentation in the context of nineteenth century culture and print-based literary forms. The aim is to observe these phenomena in relation to their past and their future, from Baroque precursors through the twentieth-century avant-garde, beyond national borders or a predetermined periodization. The optical toys such as flipbooks or thaumatropes that the author references in the subtitle of his book draw attention to the sense of vision, subjective modes of perception, movement, and temporality. Gabriele is interested in visualizations within literary texts such as montage-like, fragmentary forms of writing by Friedrich Schlegel or cartographic imagination and panoramic descriptions of Italian landscape in painterly writing by Ann Radcliffe, for example. These multisensory and multidirectional “visions mediated by the technology of print culture” are prescient at times or contemporaneous with the technologies of early cinema. Gabriele is intent on acknowledging their long history side by side and in contrast to linear, often technologically determined narratives surrounding the invention of optical devices and the history of cinema.

Lise Jaillant, ed. Publishing Modernist Fiction and Poetry. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019.

Lise Jaillant’s edited collection Publishing Modernist Fiction and Poetry brings together twelve essays on a range of twentieth-century publishing houses – from B. W. Huebsch to Jonathan Cape subsidiary Cape Goliard – and their role as publishers of modernist and late modernist literature. The particular ‘gap’ in existing scholarship the collection seeks to address is the comparative dearth of critical literature on modernist book publishing, an area which Jaillant suggests has long been neglected in favour of periodical publications.