Rocky Mountain E-Review 
of Language and Literature

Volume 57, Number 1
Spring 2003


Abelard and Heloise's Love Story from the Perspective of their Son Astrolabe:
Luise Rinser's Novel Abelard's Love

Albrecht Classen
University of Arizona

In Luise Rinser's novel Abelard's Love (1991) we are confronted with a remarkable but very little known literary treatment of the love affair between the famous twelfth-century philosopher Abelard and his wife Heloise, seen from the perspective of their son, Astrolabe. Whereas recent research has paid much attention to this extraordinary couple because of their love poetry, their noteworthy correspondence, and their highly intellectual contributions, practically nothing is known about their son. In Rinser's novel, Astrolabe intensively struggles to get to know his distant parents and to understand their love for each other in light of their extremely difficult conditions as university teacher and, respectively, abbess. Astrolabe's almost desperate attempts to get close to his parents dramatically reveal the author's own approach to love in a world surrounded by hostility. Contrary to general concepts about Abelard's alleged mistreatment of his mother, the young man realizes the tragic but fundamental love between his parents. As the analysis of Rinser's novel reveals, even when words fail to address love appropriately, its lifelong force continues to exert its influence.

Riddled Romance: Kingship and Kinship in Pericles

Jeanie Grant Moore
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Despite the construction of a fantasy romance world in Pericles, where goodness is rewarded and regeneration is realized, contradictions within the text seem to resist romance. Pericles in no way lacks romance conventions, but a full awareness of them leads paradoxically to the conclusion that the play uses those generic conventions to challenge the basic assumptions of romance. Naturalized representations of power and patriarchy undergo a critique, as Shakespeare addresses familiar discourses and reverses their dynamics to emphasize that they are not as natural as we assume them to be -- inside the romance world and perhaps outside it as well.

Eloy R. González
Washington State University

The last quarter of the last century witnessed an expansion of the burlesque universe in the poetry of the Spanish Renaissance and Baroque. Needless to say, the increased awareness of the texts that have now entered the literary mainstream is changing our appreciation for both periods. There comes an increasing need to understand the multifaceted nature of burlesque and burlesque-erotic poetry. This study proposes a semantics-based categorization of Spanish Renaissance burlesque-erotic poetry and close analysis of one of the best known poems of the time, highlighting the rhetorical devices with which the poet mocks the most cherished values of his society and culture.

Navigating "The Storm, the Whirlwind, and the Earthquake":
Re-Assessing Frederick Douglass, the Orator

Andrea Deacon
University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee

Although Frederick Douglass is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most powerful American orators, there remains a curious dearth of critical analysis among communications and literary scholars regarding his public addresses. This lack may be the result of Douglass' oral rhetoric (as opposed to the more widely analyzed rhetoric of his three autobiographies) being perceived and dismissed as epideictic or ceremonial in nature. An examination of the rhetorical, cultural, and racial contexts surrounding this "epideictic" labeling indicates that Douglass' oratory more accurately reflects a dramatic form of political or deliberative rhetoric -- a rhetoric that deserves to be taken seriously, especially in its formation of a collective identity for African Americans within antebellum American and its potential for current, interdisciplinary scholarship and pedagogical application.


The Political Theory of Christine de Pizan, by Kate Langdon Forhan Reviewer: Christine McWebb

Fangs of Malice: Hypocrisy, Sincerity, and Acting, by Matthew H. Wikander 
Reviewer: Catherine Wiley

Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, ed. Maurice Hunt 
Reviewer: Karen Charmaine Blansfield

Triumph in Exile, by Victoria D. Schmidt 
Reviewer: Aleksandra Gruzinska

Coleridge's Idea of Wordsworth as Philosopher Poet, by David D. Joplin 
Reviewer: Kandi Tayebi

The Biology of Horror: Gothic Literature and Film, by Jack Morgan 
Reviewer: Steffen Hantke

Hidden Hands: Working-Class Women and Victorian Social-Problem Fiction, by Patricia E. Johnson 
Reviewer: Michael Kramp

Russian and West European Women, 1860-1939: Dreams, Struggles, and Nightmares, by Marcelline J. Hutton 
Reviewer: Tatyana Novikov

Merchant Moscow: Images of Russia's Vanished Bourgeoisie, ed. James L. West, Iurii Petrov, et al. 
Reviewer: Natasha Kolchevska

Approaches to Teaching the Works of D.H. Lawrence, ed. M. Elizabeth Sargent and Garry Watson 
Reviewer: Logan Dale Greene

Living at the Edge: A Biography of D.H. Lawrence and Frieda von Richthofen, by Michael Squires and Lynn K. Talbot 
Reviewer: Margaret Heukaeufer

Revised Editions of Tolkien Scholarship
Tolkien's Art: A Mythology for England, by Jane Chance
The Lord of the Rings: The Mythology of Power, by Jane Chance
Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World, by Verlyn Flieger 

Reviewer: Daniel J. Smitherman

Russian Pulp: The Detektiv and the Way of Russian Crime, by Anthony Olcott 
Reviewer: Elena Baraban

Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, ed. William H. New 
Reviewer: Norman Weinstein

Caribbean Autobiography: Cultural Identity and Self-Representation, by Sandra Pouchet Paquet 
Reviewer: Deborah Weagel

Brazilian Popular Music and Globalization, ed. Charles A. Perrone and Christopher Dunn 
Reviewer: Steven F. Butterman

Rethinking Writing, by Roy Harris 
Reviewer: Matthew Bullen