Routledge Picks up Prof. Engel's Books in Paperback

Early Modern Poetics

Routledge Press announces the availability of two works by Sewanee English Professor Bill Engel in paperback editions: Chiastic Designs in English Literature from Sidney to Shakespeare and Early Modern Poetics in Melville and Poe.

Published in 2009 and 2012 respectively, Dr. Bill Engel's Chiastic Designs in English Literature from Sidney to Shakespeare and Early Modern Poetics in Melville and Poe now are poised for wider distribution with new Routledge paperback editions available to the public. 

Chiastic Designs in English Literature from Sidney to Shakespeare was recently cited as a "go-to book" in the Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms:

Paying special attention to Sidney's Arcadia, Spenser's Faerie Queene, and Shakespeare's romances, this study engages in sustained examination of chiasmus in early modern English literature. The author's approach leads to the recovery of hidden designs which are shown to animate important works of literature; along the way Engel offers fresh and more comprehensive interpretations of seemingly shopworn conventions such as memento mori conceits, echo poems, and the staging of deus ex machina. The study, grounded in the philosophy of symbolic forms (following Ernst Cassirer), will be a valuable resource for readers interested in intellectual history and symbol theory, classical mythology and Renaissance iconography. Chiastic Designs affords a glimpse into the transformative power of allegory during the English Renaissance by addressing patterns that were part and parcel of early modern "mnemonic culture."

Early Modern Poetics in Melville and Poe was a "literary essentials" YBP title in its inaugural year:

Bringing to bear his expertise in the early modern emblem tradition, William E. Engel traces a series of self-reflective organizational schemes associated with baroque artifice in the work of Herman Melville and Edgar Allan Poe. While other scholars have remarked on the influence of seventeenth-century literature on Melville and Poe, this is the first book to explore how their close readings of early modern texts influenced their decisions about compositional practice, especially as it relates to public performance and the exigencies of publication. Engel's discussion of the narrative structure and emblematic aspects of Melville's Piazza Tales and Poe's "The Raven" serve as case studies that demonstrate the authors' debt to the past. Focusing principally on the overlapping rhetorical and iconic assumptions of the Art of Memory and its relation to chiasmus, Engel avoids engaging in a simple account of what these authors read and incorporated into their own writings. Instead, through an examination of their predisposition toward an earlier model of pattern recognition, he offers fresh insight into the writers' understandings of mourning and loss, their use of allegory, and what they gained from their use of pseudonyms.

Both works are available from the Routledge Publisher's website.