James De Mille Criticism - Essay

Camille R. La Bossiere (essay date winter1983-84)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: La Bossiere, Camille R. “The Mysterious End of James De Mille's Unfinished Strange Manuscript.Essays on Canadian Writing 27 (winter 1983-84): 41-54.

[In the following essay, La Bossiere contends that De Mille did not leave A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder unfinished, but that the text simply “played itself … out,” a direct result of De Mille's comedic use of repetition in the novel.]

                    As when we dwell upon a word we know
                    Repeating, till the word we know so well
                    Becomes a wonder, and we know not why.

—Tennyson, “Launcelot and Elaine”

...

(The entire section is 5165 words.)

Janice Kulyk Keefer (essay date 1987)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Keefer, Janice Kulyk. “Politics and Fictions.” In Under Eastern Eyes: A Critical Reading of Maritime Fiction, pp. 123-59. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987.

[In the following excerpt, Keefer places A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder within the context of Canadian Maritime fiction, focusing on the narrative as an “unutopia” that questions the value of idealistic spiritual and political philosophies.]

The chequered nature of Maritime political sensibility, with its interweaving of radical (or at least progressive) and conservative philosophies has led to the development of a literary tradition in which one finds radical...

(The entire section is 3898 words.)

Bruce F. MacDonald (essay date spring 1991)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: MacDonald, Bruce F. “Helena's Household: James De Mille's Heretical Text.” Canadian Literature 128 (spring 1991): 120-40.

[In the following essay, MacDonald maintains that Helena's Household represents De Mille's questioning of the doctrines of the early Christian church and exploration of the many religious issues confronting him during his lifetime.]

Critical studies of James De Mille have tended to centre almost exclusively on Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder or on his long poem, “Behind the Veil,” both of them published posthumously. Criticism has also tended to assume that De Mille was religiously conservative....

(The entire section is 9966 words.)

Gwendolyn Guth (essay date summer 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Guth, Gwendolyn. “Reading Frames of Reference: The Satire of Exegesis in James De Mille's A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder.Canadian Literature 145 (summer 1995): 39-59.

[In the following excerpt, Guth considers De Mille's use of framing in A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder to satirize the process of exegesis.]

Why does it disturb us that the map be included in the map and the thousand and one nights in the book of the Thousand and One Nights? Why does it disturb us that Don Quixote be a reader of the Quixote and Hamlet a spectator of Hamlet? I believe I have found the reason: these inversions...

(The entire section is 8198 words.)

Stephen Milnes (essay date summer 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Milnes, Stephen. “Colonialist Discourse, Lord Featherstone's Yawn and the Significance of the Denouement in A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder.Canadian Literature 145 (summer 1995): 86-104.

[In the following essay, Milnes presents A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder as a parable of the colonial experience, highlighting what he considers the political necessity of Lord Featherstone's yawn that ends the novel and prevents any further disclosure of colonialist strategies and practices.]

The notoriously brusque conclusion to James De Mille's A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder is, in most instances,...

(The entire section is 7283 words.)

Carole Gerson (essay date fall 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Gerson, Carole. “A Contrapuntal Reading of A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder.Essays on Canadian Writing 56 (fall 1995): 224-35.

[In the following essay, Gerson analyzes A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder within the context of postcolonialism, exploring the author's use of a multilayered framework of narratives and readers in his examination of imperialism.]

Critical readers of James De Mille's A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder, written during the 1860s but not published until 1888 and likely left unfinished (Parks, Introduction xx-xxiii), are intrigued with the many textual and philosophical...

(The entire section is 4644 words.)

Maggie Kilgour (essay date March 1997)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kilgour, Maggie. “Cannibals and Critics: An Exploration of James de Mille's Strange Manuscript.Mosaic 30, no. 1 (March 1997): 19-37.

[In the following essay, Kilgour asserts that De Mille utilized the figure of the cannibal in A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder as an instrument for commenting on mid-nineteenth-century imperialism and materialism.]

In 1972, René Girard noted that although incest and cannibalism are equally important to the foundational myths of the West, “we are perhaps more distracted” by the former than the latter. He speculated, however, that incest may have claimed greater attention “only because...

(The entire section is 8569 words.)

Charlotte Downey (essay date 2000)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Downey, Charlotte. Introduction to The Elements of Rhetoric, by James De Mille. 1878. Reprint, pp. 9-19. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 2000.

[In the following excerpt from her introduction to a 2000 edition of De Mille's Elements of Rhetoric, Downey presents a broad overview of the text, discussing De Mille's comments on style, organization of subject matter, use of emotionally charged language, and genres in literature.]

The Elements of Rhetoric by James De Mille (1837-1880) was published in New York by Harper & Brothers in 1878. In the preface De Mille informs his readers that “its contents embrace the subjects of...

(The entire section is 2802 words.)