Romantic Reconfigurations – Three key titles lined up to launch the series

Posted on March 23, 2017 by Heather Gallagher

Here at Liverpool University Press, we are excited to announce three forthcoming books in our brand new series:

 Romantic Reconfigurations: Studies in Literature and Culture 1780‒1850. 

Presenting ground-breaking approaches to the period in which Romantic writing was produced and consumed, the series will launch this autumn with Women’s Literary Networks and Romanticism: "A Tribe of Authoresses", edited by Andrew O. Winckles & Angela Rehbein.



Following in Spring 2018 will be Deirdre Coleman’s Henry Smeathman, Flycatcher: Natural History, Slavery and Empire in the late Eighteenth Century and Seth Reno’s Amorous Aesthetics: Intellectual Love in Romantic Poetry and Poetics, 1788–1853.


Tim Fulford and Alan Vardy, Series Editors, are delighted that the series gets under way with three fascinating books, each of them a reconfiguration of Romanticism: Winckles and Rehbein demonstrate the pervasive influence of women’s literary networks and rethink the notion of authorship in the period; Coleman recovers the story of one of the many marginal knowledge-producers whose writings shaped the Romantic encounter with colonialism; Reno, presenting new research into eighteenth-century psychological theory, offers a new genealogy of one of Romanticism’s central, and most vexed, concepts.


For more information, please visit the series page on our website.
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Journal of Romance Studies Inaugural Annual Symposium

Posted on March 22, 2017 by Megan Ainsworth
We are delighted to announce that from 2017, we will be publishing the Journal of Romance Studies
The Journal of Romance Studies Inaugural Annual Symposium is taking place on June 6 2017 at the IMLR, School of Advanced Study, University of London, Senate House, Room G35 from 2-7pm. 

Please see below for the complete list of events:

(13:00 Lunch for speakers and JRS editorial board)

14:00-15:30 Panel 1: Showcasing research excellence
Judith Still (University of Nottingham): ‘Slavery in Enlightenment America – Crèvecoeur’s Bilingual Approach'
Abigail Lee Six (Royal Holloway University of London): ‘The Vamp Rehabilitated: Carmen de Burgos’s mujer fría in the light of Antonio de Hoyos y Vinent’s señorita Vampiro’
Bernard McGuirk (University of Nottingham): ‘A Meditation on Fernando Pessoa’

15:30-16:00 Tea/coffee break

16:00-17:00 Panel 2: Showcasing research projects
Adalgisa Giorgio (University of Bath): 'Matrixial Creativity and the Wit(h)nessing of Trauma: Reconnecting Mothers and Daughters in Marosia Castaldi’s Novel Dentro le mie mani le tue: Tetralogia di Nightwater'
Simon Gaunt (King’s College London): ‘The Values of French Literature and Language in the European Middle Ages’

17:00 Break

17:15 Keynote - Jo Labanyi (New York University) ‘Beyond Modern Languages?’

18:00 Presentation by Liverpool University Press and Reception


Contact: Cathy Collins at

All are welcome to attend this free symposium.

Register here >

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'World-literature in French': Ten Years On

Posted on March 22, 2017 by Heather Gallagher

To celebrate Free Read Friday this month, Charles Forsdick, James Barrow Professor of French at the University of Liverpool, interviewed Alain Mabanckou and Abdourahman Waberi to discuss the impact of the 2007 manifesto for a 'world-literature in French'.

Free Read Friday


Ten years ago, on 15 March 2007, Le Monde des Livres published a manifesto advocating a  'world-literature in French'. Pointing to the award in Autumn 2006 of a series of major literary prizes to authors originating from outside France, the document’s forty-four signatories – including Tahar Ben Jelloun, Maryse Condé, Didier Daeninckx, Ananda Devi, Edouard Glissant, Nancy Huston, Dany Laferrière, JMG Le Clézio, Amin Maalouf, Alain Mabanckou, Anna Moï, Gisèle Pineau, Boualem Sansal, Dai Sijie, Lyonel Trouillot, Gary Victor and Abdourahman A. Waberi  – demanded the 'end of la Francophonie' and the freeing of French literature from its 'exclusive pact with the nation' (most notably from France). Two months later, in May 2007, Gallimard published a volume of essays, Pour une littérature-monde, edited by Jean Rouaud and Michel Le Bris, in which these ideas were explored in more detail, outlining the possibility of a polycentric, transnational literature in French that would transcend the hierarchical (and engrained) distinctions between 'French' and 'Francophone' literature.

The manifesto triggered controversy in France, including an article in Le Figaro by the then-presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy arguing that 'Francophonie is not dead!', and a stern rebuke along similar lines in Le Monde by Abdou Diouf, former president of Senegal and then Secretary General of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. There have also been numerous international conferences devoted to 'world-literature in French', including one in 2009 at the Winthrop King Institute at Florida State University in Tallahassee. It was from this event that the Liverpool University Press/Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies volume Transnational French Studies: Postcolonialism and Littérature-monde (edited in 2010 by Alec G. Hargreaves, Charles Forsdick, and David Murphy) emerged.

To mark this anniversary, Charles Forsdick interviewed two of the manifesto’s principal signatories, Alain Mabanckou and Abdourahman A. Waberi, both of whom attended the Tallahassee colloquium.

Charles Forsdick: The manifesto for a 'world-literature in French' was published ten years ago. In your opinion – a decade later – what has been its impact on literary production in the French-speaking world?

Alain Mabanckou: I think it was a manifesto that simply confirmed a current movement in literature at the time of its publication: one seeking to open up to the world, and not allowing itself to be imprisoned by national discourses. We simply accompanied an existing tendency, therefore, and ten years on, we can say that literary production is less marginalized or looked down upon. In France, for example, African writers publish with major publishing houses and their works are reviewed in the same way as those of French writers, and in the same papers.

Abdourahman Waberi:  Its impact was obviously significant, as ten years after its publication, students, journalists, authors or researchers are still talking about the manifesto. The focal point, or if you like the desire to shake up Parisian hegemony, is a very old one. The ideas put forward in the manifesto were already circulating before 2007. Véronique Porra reminds us that: 'The authors take here key ideas that some of them had already been developing in articles or interviews since the beginning of the decade. This is the case, for example, of Abdourahman Waberi, who since 1998 has distanced himself from postcolonial writing and situated himself in a category he defined as the 'children of postcolony'; the same is true of Alain Mabanckou, Anna Moï and Nancy Huston, who have already articulated similar critical positions in previous papers or essays... '.[1] These ideas circulate and will continue circulate in new guises, I think.

CF: The manifesto has attracted wide attention in the Anglophone academy, especially in the USA – Jackie Dutton has recently estimated that over 300 articles and book chapters have been devoted to it, including those in the collection published by Liverpool University Press. Why has there been an interest on this scale outside France?

AM: I believe that France has always been behind the curve in acknowledging and writing critically about the work of writers who come from elsewhere and write in French. The English-speaking world is more receptive to our writing thanks to the healthy numbers of researchers in Francophone studies. I have the impression that in France the manifesto was perceived as a coup d’état that would allow 'Francophone' authors to take over the French language. In the same way, studying 'world-literature' in depth would give French researchers the sense of reaching the end of a Franco-centric discourse.

AW: The figure put forward by Jackie Dutton is impressive but it does not surprise me, since the Tallahassee conference that you and I attended in 2009 along with Michel Le Bris, Jean Rouaud, Anna Moï, Alain Mabanckou, Dominic Thomas, Alec Hargreaves and others... already signaled this unparalleled enthusiasm. I think there are many reasons, but the main one is that teachers and researchers in the U.S. academic world (but also in Canada or Australia, for example) grasped this opportunity to ask timely questions about their field of study. Their questions found genuine echoes in the manifesto. So anyway, the time had also come for them to move away from certain critical practices and to focus their attention on other subjects of study... France remains or at least remained for a long time deaf or even hostile to these questions for reasons linked both to its history and its university system.

CF: The manifesto alludes to 'écrivains d’outre-France' [writers from 'beyond-France'], without distinguishing between 'postcolonial' and 'translingual' authors, i.e., those who have adopted French as a new language. Do you think we need to distinguish between these two categories ?

AM: I think the real revolution would be to move towards the designation 'Francophile' writers – those whose countries were not colonized by France and who came to the French language by choice. I do not feel 'exophonic' or even from 'beyond-France': I am an African writer who speaks the world in French, because French is my only language of writing. In this I feel just as close to those who have chosen a language, perhaps even closer to them than a French writer might.

AW: The manifesto – generated and supported by a small group of writers, to which I belonged – sought initially to create a critical mass. We thought that all writers irritated by an excessive focus on Paris should be attentive to our approach. And we were not wrong, far from it. Of course, not all of them could be solicited for reasons of time and availability. The general public do not bother themselves with such designations. Critics and researchers who study these worlds must, of course, dwell on them to deepen their analyzes and to offer us reliable and serious findings, as is the case in all fields.

CF: The manifesto evokes a 'literature-world in French', i.e., a monolingual phenomenon. Your own work is translated into several languages, including, of course, English. What is the role of translation in the world literature, and can it be conceived without being (to quote Edouard Glissant) 'in the presence of all the languages of the world'?

AM: All languages ​​can communicate with each other and indeed do communicate with each other. If we chose to celebrate a 'world-literature in French', it was because we felt this was the last field that was resisting the call of the world. 'World-literature' in an English-speaking context is not in question: it is a literature that has its own standing and gives the English language extraordinary vitality through the work of writers such as Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Ngozie Achie, Teju Cole and many others. These authors are considered writers in their own right. In French literature, there is no hesitation about putting together anthologies in which everything is 'white', national and far removed from the wider movement of the world. Translation now plays an essential role: it allows the world to measure the extent of the imagination evident in French-language literature, an imagination that does not necessarily come from France. Besides, more authors writing in French and coming from elsewhere are translated now than authors who are 'Franco-French'.

AW: My work circulates in English, a language in which almost all my books are now available thanks to the talent and generosity of the translators, without whom nothing polyphonic can ever be accomplished. Indeed, as my late friend Edward Glissant pointed out, writers work in the presence of all the languages of the world. They can conjure up fabulous artistic projects from microscopic places such as St. Lucia (Derek Walcott), Martinique (Césaire, Glissant...) or Djibouti, but they need the alchemy inherent in the process of translation. My books are translated into English, but also into a multitude of other languages such as Italian, German or Japanese, and this represents for me the very best of rewards.

CF: Alain Mabanckou, the recent publication of L'Histoire mondiale de la France – a collection to which you contributed an excellent chapter on the death of Aimé Césaire – has been the subject of intense controversy in France: are there, in your opinion, links between world-literature and this new transnational historiography of France?

AM: In France, when you interfere with history, you have to expect polemics. My friend the historian Patrick Boucheron, who had the idea for this book, is concerned with rewriting of the history of France in a global frame. In this sense, it was necessary to demonstrate a hybrid France, constructed with a major contribution by people from elsewhere. I was honoured to be asked to write a chapter on Césaire, who I think is one of the greatest French poets... This book – the result of a collective project – can therefore also be seen as the reflection of a desire to place the world at the heart of the imagination in French, this time in terms of the history of France...

CF : In this chapter on Césaire, you rightly refer to the 'undeniable contribution' of the great Martiniquan poet 'to what is today called world literature'. This raises two questions for me: could the manifesto have recognized a much more complex genealogy of world-literature, with contributions from earlier important authors such as Césaire, Senghor, Damas and others? and should it have been placed in relation to other literary categories from other linguistic traditions – not necessarily synonymous or translatable – such as 'world literature' or Weltliteratur?

AM: I think that in the manifesto you can detect the underlying presence of Césaire, of Glissant. From Césaire, we borrowed the refusal of submission: French-speaking authors are not the slaves to the French language, but this language would be worthless if it had not been revived by writers who came from elsewhere. As far as Glissant is concerned, his presence can be detected in the very expression 'world-literature', which echoes his notions of 'rhizomatic identity' or his 'poetics of relating'. Césaire and Glissant are among those who have placed our distinctive contribution to the imagination in the symphony of the world.

CF: As a teacher in the American system, Abdourahman Waberi, you are familiar with the ways in which we approach both 'Francophone postcolonial' literature and 'world literature' outside of France. I ask you the same question as Alain: from your perspective, could the manifesto have recognized a much more complex genealogy of world literature and should have been located itself in relation to other literary categories such as the 'world literature' or Weltliteratur?

AW: Yes, but once again we must not assign to the manifesto intentions that were not part of its initial conception. It was not a question of laying the foundations for a long-term academic reflection. The aim was, above all, to address French journalists, publishers and booksellers, and tell them to stop diminishing the literary production of so-called 'Francophone' writers.

CF: The recent publication of a U.S. translation of Moisson de crânes: Texts for Rwanda leads me to questions of memory: do you think there is a relationship between world-literature and literary attempts to talk about a colonial and postcolonial memory - or even to transform the literary text into a site of memory?

AW: My intuitive response is to say yes, there are multiple connections. However, I would need more time and space to reflect on this properly. At this point, a new book occurs to me: Le Pays sans nom by Anna Moï [], in which she writes again about her own country, Vietnam, but by does so by entering into dialogue with another 'Vietnamese' author: Marguerite Duras. This going back in time is not a matter of chance, but reflects a desire to transform space and the literary text itself into a site of memory.

CF: One last question for both of you: what does the future hold for literature-world in French? is it still a useful category, or has it now achieved its aims?

AM: As with every other manifesto, I think ours reflected a particular moment, that of the early 2000s. We advocated at the time a 'world-literature', but now it is more a matter of living the world in literature, and remembering that literary creation is above all a personal adventure. World-literature should not be seen as a separate category. It should be seen as a form of literature like any other.

AW: The manifesto in its original form has achieved its aims, and we carry on – and must carry on – pursuing the reflections it contained in a new light and from fresh perspectives. And rightly so.

Translated by Charles Forsdick

Original French version available at

[1] Véronique Porra, 'Malaise dans la littérature-monde (en français): de la reprise des discours aux paradoxes de l’énonciation', Recherches & Travaux, 76/2010. Available at: (accessed 16 March 2012).

For more information on Free Read Friday and to get your free eBook download of Transnational French Studies, please visit our website.


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The Changing Discourse in Spanish Art and Culture - An Interview with Paula Barreiro López

Posted on March 15, 2017 by Heather Gallagher

Paula Barreiro López, author of Avant-garde Art and Criticism in Francoist Spain, discusses the changing discourse in Spanish culture following the regime of Francisco Franco. 



 LUP: Hi Paula, could you tell us a bit about the book?

This book surveys the aesthetic discourse in connection with the artistic practises that decisively influenced the shaping of the avant-garde during the Franco dictatorship in Spain (1939-1975). It discusses the creation and the various shifts of this discourse that linked culture and ethics/politics and also analyses its impact on the intellectual and artistic landscape (visual, print and exhibition culture) especially during the last decades of Franco’s regime.


LUP: Could you expand on this for readers who are not familiar with the history of Spain in this context?

 In the 1950’s Franco’s Spain became a strange, but nevertheless accepted ally in the Western camp of the increasingly heated up Cold War. The paradox of an autocratic country being part of the ‘free world’ was felt by a lot of Spanish artists and intellectuals, who had to confront the dilemma of linking the particularities and necessities of a developing society run by the dictator Francisco Franco with the exigencies of the avant-garde that was arising in the country. In this situation various art critics (Vicente Aguilera Cerni, José María Moreno Galván, Alexandre Cirici, Tomàs Llorens, Valeriano Bozal, Simón Marchán), who began to maintain close contacts with other intellectuals in foreign countries, would gain importance. Participating in the contemporary aesthetic debates in the Americas and above all in Europe, their role as mediators became decisive as they introduced new methodologies and arguments in their theoretical discourses that found their way to the Iberian Peninsula. They got involved very closely with avant-garde groups becoming equal peers in artistic movements. Equipped with their theoretical knowledge these so-called ‘militant critics’ participated actively in the artistic creation by instilling questions of liberty, the commitment of the artist and the social commitment of the arts, elements that significantly mapped Spanish culture as the 1960 ́s advanced.

These intellectuals, and the shifts they incited in the conception of the arts during the second half of Francoism, are at the centre of this book about the distinct character of the Spanish avant-garde and the cultural field. Their manifold activity affected Spain’s cultural production in different ways. It shaped the artistic activities of the avant-garde and vanguard art, and helped decisively to raise social and political awareness within the cultural scene and universities.


LUP: What is new about this book and what made you want to write it?

 Let me start with the second question first. Already when writing my PhD thesis about written about Geometric Abstraction in Spain I had noticed two things. Firstly, the artistic creation was much more connected to the theoretical debates of that time and the players taking part in the latter were highly politicised.

Secondly, the art scene in Spain and the theoretical debates were very much connected via certain intellectuals abroad and therefore Spanish Art was, could and should be seen in the international context of that time. Thus, I wanted to broaden my focus. I left Spain for a couple of years to work abroad, first in France and then in Great Britain. I started to look at art and cultural phenomena during the Franco Regime. Occasionally some connections and figures that I had first noticed during my PhD re-surfaced and also other intellectual figures from different European countries important for the cultural field of that time gave more colour to the network that was forming in my mind. Nevertheless, looking for literature that could give me specific information about these important connections, I noticed that there was a serious lack of bibliography about this topic in English.

I do not pretend to reinvent the wheel, but actually, this I think this book helps to fill a gap in the history of Spanish Art and builds on scholarship on the second and final phases of the regime (1950s until the 1970s) by proposing a new interpretation of the art, culture and politics of that time and the first reading ever of their complex interactions and their repercussions for the Spanish culture. The study bases on extensive archival material, until now unavailable in English and a lot of it published for the first time, and uses an interdisciplinary approach (touching art history and theory, intellectual history, politics as well as ideology) that brings a new facet into the evaluation of art and culture in general.


LUP: What audience did you have in mind when writing your book?

 I think this topic is interesting for scholars in art history, visual, cultural and museum studies of modern Spain, in particular, and Europe in general. It also addresses, and this I think is important, a much broader readership that includes, in my eyes, professionals, such as journalists, culturally interested in Spanish History and Culture as well as students and University teachers.

I think the book is perfect for teaching purposes at university level. The first two introductory chapters provide a concise overview of the art, culture and politics during Francoism and I think that this part of the study is very useful for undergraduate teaching. The three following chapters provide an in-depth study of the intertwined transfer processes, intellectual networks, aesthetic debates and artistic practices during Late Francoism, which – in my eyes – is addressing the theoretical and practical interest of graduate students who want to know more about cultural processes in Europe and in Spain in particular during the 1950s until the 1970s. Although the complexity of the argument is increasing, especially in the three chapters following the introduction, using an advanced political, cultural and artistic vocabulary, terminology is always introduced and explained accordingly as the argument develops and therefore I think the reader will acquire a lot of knowledge on different levels when reading the text.

In general, the interdisciplinary focus that the book touches on:art, aesthetics, culture and politics makes it suitable for students studying in the fields of Art History, Aesthetics, Cultural History, History and Hispanic Studies.


 LUP: Does the book contain reproductions of that which exemplify the interconnection of the aesthetic discourse and artistic practices?

 The material reproduced includes artworks, photography and print material mostly coming from archives and private collections. Most of it is difficult to find and has so far not been available for a general readership. The reproduced artworks illustrate well the connection of the Spanish Avant-Garde with the European art scene but also the specificity of their socio-political context of creation. The art & design objects exemplify the theoretical basis of their creation and the socio-political intentions of their creators and in context with their written analysis it becomes evident why many of these works have often been (and are still being) interpreted differently in an international context despite their often intended anti-regime character. This way a specific Spanish paradox becomes clear and it will be shown why the regime itself tried to co-op modern art in order to modernise its image.


LUP: Has any scientific angle influenced for your study and why?

 The book puts forward an original and innovative point of view analysing the reciprocal processes of cultural transfer, the adoption of foreign aesthetic theories and ideas as well as their adaption to the specific Spanish socio-political context and it shows the importance of culture in general, which was understood as a battle field against the repressive politics of the Franco regime.

Therefore the book is indebted to a cultural historic approach that takes high culture, popular culture, politics as well as the history of ideas in account studying the reciprocal transfer processes within these fields and across European and American geographies. It seemed to me that, especially today, as we focus rather on connections and networks instead of separations, which also reflect more and more working across scientific boundaries, such an interdisciplinary approach would be of interest.


LUP: What are the greatest strengths of this book?

The book redraws the position of Spain within post-WWII history. I think it helps to understand culture and the vanguard artistic production of the late Franco dictatorship, discussing the intellectual and cultural field as an important battlefield for fighting the dictatorship from within. Furthermore, it is not just about Spain, it connects the intellectual landscape to the European socio-political and artistic context of that time. Therefore it gives an insight in important processes and border-transgressing networks that shaped the arts and culture from the 1950s to the 1970s in Europe. Especially today, when we try to distance ourselves more and more from centre-periphery models that imply very often a subjugation of the latter when evaluating the artistic production of the reciprocal processes between these two poles, it is essential for the understanding of Spanish art of the 1950’s and 1960’s putting it in the contemporary geopolitical context of the Cold War period.


You can find Avant-garde Art and Criticism in Francoist Spain and other titles in our Value: Art: Politics Series on our website

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Press Release: Theory & Struggle

Posted on March 13, 2017 by Megan Ainsworth

Liverpool University Press is delighted to announce it will be publishing Theory & Struggle (formerly 'Praxis') from 2017.

Theory & Struggle is the journal of the Marx Memorial Library, an independent charity dedicated, since its establishment in 1933, to the advancement of education and learning in all aspects of Marxism, labour and working class history.

Currently published annually, it features articles that grapple with debates taking place within Marxist circles as well studying critical developments in the labour and progressive movements in Britain and internationally, including movements for gender equality, for racial equality and for peace.

The first issue under the new publishing agreement will be published in April 2017, and will be number 118.

Anthony Cond, Director of Liverpool University Press said “The Marx Memorial Library has played an important role in the British Labour Movement for more than eighty years.  Liverpool University Press is honoured to become the publisher of the Library’s journal, Theory & Struggle, which joins Labour History Review, Historical Studies in Industrial Relations, and the Studies in Labour History book series at LUP.“

For more information about the journal please see our website

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