“Pessimism of the Will & Optimism of the Intellect” (Antonio Gramsci)

Hello! Welcome to this short summary of myself. I define myself as a writer, reader, translator, teacher, lover of staying up late at night, of wandering through cities and watching the stars, coffee, documentary films, medieval ruins, and poetry in languages other than my own. My reading ranges across novels (Fyodor Dostoevsky and Virginia Woolf are among my favorites), philosophy (I adore Giambattista Vico and Walter Benjamin), and poetry (I love Mahmoud Darwish and Zbigniew Herbert, among others).

Instead of trying to summarize my life, I will show some…

What you can learn from the injustice done to other writers

Having a literary agent is the dream of many writers. Countless blog posts, forums, and writers’ handbooks begin with the question: How do you get a literary agent? To these sources, it seems that all a writer needs to do is secure an agent, and every other problem, from finding a publisher to making a living as a writer, is solved.

However, there are many ways in which your relationship with a literary agent can go wrong, and end up causing more damage to your career than if you had never contracted to have that person represent you. This applies…

Peer-review will give you visibility, credibility, and funding

Many articles on Medium deal with writing for a general audience, and with getting published by the top magazines. However, there another domain of writing that is relatively neglected on this forum: peer-reviewed scholarship. Most often, peer-reviewed scholarship takes the form of journal publications, but it can also take the form of books. This article will show you how to write well in this domain.

Why write for scholarly journals

First, we should address the reasons for writing for peer-reviewed journals. Is it worth your time and energy?

The most obvious reason for publishing scholarship is if you have — or are seeking — an…

Why a forgotten genocide in the Caucasus matters today

Circassian history is known only in the broadest of outlines to regional specialists and not at all to most outside observers.

The destruction of the Shapsug, Abkhaz, Adyghe, Ubykh, and Kabardian peoples — collectively called Circassian and resident for millennia on the north shore of the Black Sea — did not occur in a single historical moment. Nor was it ever wholly complete. The annihilation transpired over generations, and traversed the vast territories of the Russian and Ottoman empires during their most expansive phases.

Given its multi-ethnic character and transregional geography, the task of narrating what Walter Richmond, in his…

The untold story of Chechen non-violence

When the Boston bombing trial dominated the media, its perpetrators, the Tsarnaev brothers, were associated with a geography scarcely known by Americans: Chechnya. If there was any examination in Chechnya’s history, rarely did it go beyond this: the bombers hailed from a Republic whose leader, Dudaev, had briefly made a bid for independence in 1992, the upshot of which was a catastrophic twenty-year-long war that decimated the local population.

A journey through the Caucasus and its literatures

Across the annals of travel literature past and present, the Caucasus is known for the premium local inhabitants place on hospitality. It was not, however, a desire to conform to stereotypes that led a young student at Grozny University by the name of Timur to give me, in the summer of 2004, a gift I never asked for or expected and to place me in a debt it has taken over a decade to discharge.

It was my first trip to the Caucasus. The second Russo-Chechen war (1999–2009) had only just begun to yield to an unstable peace. Russian conscripts…

How the City of Bristol organized to stop the UK’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

As has often been the case in the British history of resistance movements, Bristol played a leading role in the protests against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is expected to become law within the next few months. Bristol’s first protest, on 21 March 2021, inspired protests from Manchester to Brighton. This was followed by four more: on 23 March, 30 March, 2 April, and 4 April. Each of the protests was mostly peaceful, although police did on occasion use excessive force and there was gratuitous destruction. …

Search no more, for re-centring literary theory starts here


Have you ever questioned the exceptionality of a Horace, or wondered what book was studied in medieval Islamic madrasas as the counterpart to Cicero’s De Inventione in the European curriculum? Ever wanted to explore the directions that Aristotle’s poetics has taken beyond Europe, or wished to relate Kant’s Erhabene to non-European conceptualizations? Were you ever curious to weigh Pope’s Essay on Criticism against his eastern counterparts, or to assess Shelley’s Defence of Poetry from a globalized perspective?

Search no more, for re-centring literary theory starts here! GlobalLit launches a new series: Licit Magic — Working Papers


Christians, Jews, and dissident poets under Muslim rule

In celebration of completing the first draft of revisions for my forthcoming book The Persian Prison Poem I include here an adapted excerpt from that manuscript, which will be published by Edinburgh University Press in December 2021. I regard it as one of my last sole-authored works of scholarship before I pursue writing projects intended for the general public. There are many foreign terms, but it should make sense if you keep three key terms — qasida (poem), dhimmi (non-Muslim), and zunnar (belt worn by non-Muslims), all of which are explained below — in mind. …

Rebecca Ruth Gould

Poetry, politics, authors’ rights. The Caucasus, Iran, Palestine, Islam. Professor Islamic World & Comparative Literatures. https://rrgould.hcommons.org

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