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Humanities, Volume 11, Issue 5 (October 2022) – 27 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In contrast to many writing contexts, modern Japanese routinely and concurrently uses multiple sets of linguistic symbols. At the same time, foreign language usages, and in particular derivations from English, play major intralinguistic roles in Japanese. Jacob Wayne Runner’s article Script and Language as Semiotic Media in Japanese Storytelling examines these issues of multiplicity and differentiation, presenting a framework for understanding the auxiliary associative, ideological, and emotive signification that can be achieved. The framework is then applied to a specific literary analysis of Haruki Murakami’s popular 1987 novel 『ノルウェイの森』 (Noruwei no mori; Norwegian Wood), emphasizing easily overlooked emblematic values and creative aesthetic potential in Japanese writing. View this paper
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14 pages, 311 KiB  
Article
Climate Pessimism and Human Nature
by David Higgins
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050129 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 6052
Abstract
This article builds on scholarship that understands climate change not only as a geophysical phenomenon, but also as a complex idea. It argues for a historicised analysis of what it terms “climate pessimism”: the belief that catastrophic global heating cannot be prevented. Focusing [...] Read more.
This article builds on scholarship that understands climate change not only as a geophysical phenomenon, but also as a complex idea. It argues for a historicised analysis of what it terms “climate pessimism”: the belief that catastrophic global heating cannot be prevented. Focusing especially on nonfictional texts by Jonathan Franzen and Roy Scranton, it suggests that climate pessimism draws on a Western intellectual tradition that takes a sceptical view of human capacities and the possibility of progress. At the same time, climate pessimism tends to evoke an idea of atomised human nature associated with capitalistic modernity. Franzen draws on ideas from evolutionary psychology in a rather simplistic way. Scranton, a more complex thinker, engages not only with Buddhist thought but also with the philosophies of Benedict Spinoza and Arthur Schopenhauer. Although often criticised as a “doomer”, he sometimes moves towards an epistemological pluralism and sense of human potentiality. The concluding section brings in the concept of the pluriverse as both a corrective to climate pessimism’s tendency to Westerncentrism, and a point of connection to Scranton’s work. Full article
13 pages, 705 KiB  
Article
Subterranean Sound, Expatriation, and the Metaphor of Home: A Fictional Descent with Richard Wright
by Robin E. Preiss
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050128 - 18 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1926
Abstract
In 2021, the unexpurgated second novel of American author Richard Wright was at last unearthed from the depths of the archive. In a vivid demonstration of the affective capacity of written sound, The Man Who Lived Underground tells the story of a man [...] Read more.
In 2021, the unexpurgated second novel of American author Richard Wright was at last unearthed from the depths of the archive. In a vivid demonstration of the affective capacity of written sound, The Man Who Lived Underground tells the story of a man who finds an unlikely refuge from imminent death in the sewer beneath the city streets. This article listens closely to Wright’s portrayal of architectural acoustics and sonic distortion within the text, attending to sensory and metaphorical dimensions of urban and social stratification. Drawing on Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s co-conceived “fantasy in the hold”, I push back against the overwhelmingly dystopian readings of Wrights subterranean as a scene of racialized subjection. Their “undercommons” allows me to reframe the undercity as a site of refusal and a source of collective empowerment. Returning to Wright himself, I connect the subterranean metaphor to deeper biographical themes of intellectual exile and his eventual expatriation to Europe. In a gesture redolent of the undercommons, he followed his character in locating a quality of freedom underground. I read this autonomous inversion of the Middle Passage—the lateral motion of the middle crossing—as comparable to the vertical mobility that frames the events and stakes of the story. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sound Studies in African American Literature and Culture)
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12 pages, 280 KiB  
Article
The Future of Public Health through Science Fiction
by Jarrel Kristan Zakhary De Matas
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050127 - 16 Oct 2022
Viewed by 2169
Abstract
This study investigates the ability of science fiction to address issues that emerge in public health. The issues that form the focus of this paper include the spread of misinformation and disinformation, dependence on technology, and competent public-private partnerships that serve the interests [...] Read more.
This study investigates the ability of science fiction to address issues that emerge in public health. The issues that form the focus of this paper include the spread of misinformation and disinformation, dependence on technology, and competent public-private partnerships that serve the interests of society. Each of these issues is brought under the spotlight by Barbadian sociologist Karen Lord in ‘The Plague Doctors’ and American psychiatrist Justin C. Key in ‘The Algorithm Will See You Know’. The stories, although set in unrealized futures and describe as yet inconceivable advancements in technology, contain real-world problems involved in accessing healthcare. In doing so, both writers attend to the viability of literature, and the humanities in general, as a vehicle for encouraging reform to public health policies that face challenges such as inequities in healthcare and raising greater awareness of health concerns. My study bridges public health and literature, specifically science fiction, to get certain messages across. These messages include effectively communicating risks to people’s health, increasing understanding of social responsibility, and addressing uncertainty with transparency. The stories in question reveal futures where public health management has, for the most part, either got it right, in the case of ‘The Plague Doctors’, or not quite, in the case of ‘The Algorithm Will See You Now’. Because I consider the COVID-19 pandemic to be less of a disruptor to public health and more of a revealer of what public health needs to focus on, I foresee interdisciplinary projects such as mine as crucial to bridging the disconnect between people and public health policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Translating Health through the Humanities)
17 pages, 298 KiB  
Article
Pirate Assemblage
by Steven W. Thomas
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050126 - 12 Oct 2022
Viewed by 2041
Abstract
This essay “Pirate Assemblage” explores two related questions. The first is how we read and appreciate the literary form of pirate literature such as Alexander Exquemelin’s Buccaneers of America (1678) and Charles Johnson’s two-volume General History of the Pyrates (volume one 1724, volume [...] Read more.
This essay “Pirate Assemblage” explores two related questions. The first is how we read and appreciate the literary form of pirate literature such as Alexander Exquemelin’s Buccaneers of America (1678) and Charles Johnson’s two-volume General History of the Pyrates (volume one 1724, volume two 1728). The second is what the answer to that first question suggests for how we regard pirate literature in relation to more canonical eighteenth-century literature and how this relation might revise our reading of that literature. My answer to the first question explores the concept of “assemblage” for reading and appreciating pirate literature, and my answer to the second question that eighteenth-century literature read in relation to this “pirate assemblage” suggests new ways of reading canonical texts such as Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726) and John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera (1728) that were written soon after the first volume of The General History of Pyrates. In doing so, my essay responds to the large body of scholarly literature on pirates that has focused on the question of identity—race, class, gender, and sexuality—and the question of whether or not such literature was transgressive. In my essay, by closely reading the unique literary form of pirate literature and utilizing Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s concepts of “assemblage” and “minor literature,” I argue that pirate literature, rather than representing transgressive identities, instead progressively produces new economic and social connections that deterritorializes the economy, literary form, and language. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pirates in English Literature and Culture, Vol. 2)
23 pages, 397 KiB  
Article
“Almost Like Family. Or Were They?” Vikings, Frisian Identity, and the Nordification of the Past
by Simon Halink
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050125 - 9 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3932
Abstract
In the course of the twentieth century, the glorified image of Viking Age Scandinavia exerted an increasing attraction on intellectuals and nation builders in remote parts of Europe, especially those which self-identified as peripheral, marginalized, and ‘northern’. In the Dutch province of Friesland, [...] Read more.
In the course of the twentieth century, the glorified image of Viking Age Scandinavia exerted an increasing attraction on intellectuals and nation builders in remote parts of Europe, especially those which self-identified as peripheral, marginalized, and ‘northern’. In the Dutch province of Friesland, the cultivation of a Frisian national identity went hand in hand with an antagonizing process of self-contrastation vis-à-vis the urbanized heartland in the west of the country. Fueled by these anti-Holland sentiments, the adoption of Nordic identity models could serve to create alternative narrative molds in which to cast the Frisian past. In this article, I will chart this process of cultural “nordification” from its initial phase in the writings of Frisian Scandinavophiles to contemporary remediations of Frisian history in popular culture and public discourses. In this context, special attention will be paid to the reception history of the pagan King Redbad (d. 719) and his modern transformation from ‘God’s enemy’ to beloved national icon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medieval Scandinavian Studies Today: Whence, Whereto, Why)
18 pages, 1202 KiB  
Article
John Brown, Black History, and Black Childhood: Contextualizing Lorenz Graham’s John Brown Books
by Brigitte Fielder
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050124 - 3 Oct 2022
Viewed by 2508
Abstract
Lorenz Graham wrote two children’s books about the (in)famous abolitionist, John Brown—a picture book, John Brown’s Raid: A Picture History of the Attack on Harper’s Ferry, Virginia (1972) and a biography for young adults, John Brown: A Cry for Freedom (1980). Both books [...] Read more.
Lorenz Graham wrote two children’s books about the (in)famous abolitionist, John Brown—a picture book, John Brown’s Raid: A Picture History of the Attack on Harper’s Ferry, Virginia (1972) and a biography for young adults, John Brown: A Cry for Freedom (1980). Both books recount a history of Brown’s life and antislavery work, situated within Brown’s African American context and recounted from a Black perspective. While Graham’s books are exceptional in their extended treatment of this historic figure for a child audience, they are not unprecedented. This essay situates Graham’s children’s biographies of Brown in the long history of Black writers’ work on him—for both adults and children. Reading Graham’s John Brown in this context shows how Graham follows familiar traditions for encountering Brown within the larger context of Black freedom struggles. Graham’s books follow a rich tradition of presenting him to Black children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue African American Children's Literature)
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13 pages, 286 KiB  
Article
“In Truth, They Are My Masters”: The Domestic Threat of Early Modern Piracy
by Susan Jones
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050123 - 29 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1603
Abstract
Thomas Walton (known as Purser) and Clinton Atkinson (known as Clinton) were hanged for piracy in 1583. This article examines a range of texts relating to Purser and Clinton, including court depositions, plays and ballads, to consider the ways in which their lives [...] Read more.
Thomas Walton (known as Purser) and Clinton Atkinson (known as Clinton) were hanged for piracy in 1583. This article examines a range of texts relating to Purser and Clinton, including court depositions, plays and ballads, to consider the ways in which their lives and deaths were depicted and discover what this might tell us about contemporary attitudes towards piracy. Purser and Clinton were based in Dorset where the boundaries delineating piracy as an illegal activity were blurred and the local beneficiaries of piracy spanned the social hierarchy, reaching as high as nobility and the Admiralty. A wealth of textual evidence details the links between the maritime and littoral networks which sustained their activities, enabled their rise to prominence, and engineered their ultimate downfall. In reading together both official documents and popular printed texts this article reveals some of the complex networks which supported and were supported by piracy and, in doing so, locates the figure of the pirate within wider discourses of society, governance and mobility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pirates in English Literature and Culture, Vol. 2)
13 pages, 259 KiB  
Article
Tove Ditlevsen’s Witness of Trauma as a Source of Hope
by Julie K. Allen
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050122 - 26 Sep 2022
Viewed by 2665
Abstract
The defining life experience of the Danish writer Tove Ditlevsen (1917–1976) was domestic trauma, both externally- and self-inflicted. Born at the end of the first World War amid an economic depression, Ditlevsen grew up in a hardscrabble working-class neighborhood of Copenhagen, lived through [...] Read more.
The defining life experience of the Danish writer Tove Ditlevsen (1917–1976) was domestic trauma, both externally- and self-inflicted. Born at the end of the first World War amid an economic depression, Ditlevsen grew up in a hardscrabble working-class neighborhood of Copenhagen, lived through the Nazi occupation of her country during World War II, cycled through unhealthy sexual relationships, underwent illegal abortions and unnecessary surgeries, suffered from depression and prescription drug addiction, and died by suicide at the age of fifty-eight. Instead of repressing or denying her traumatic experiences, however, Ditlevsen chose to confront, reinscribe, and transform them in her literary texts, finding and offering hope that exposing secrets to public scrutiny can lead to acceptance and healing. In her searingly candid poetry, fiction, essays, and memoirs, Ditlevsen exemplifies the efficacy of working through trauma: she confronts the fraught choices and abusive relationships by which her life was shaped candidly and unapologetically as an act of survival. In the process of bearing witness on the printed page to domestic trauma and its consequences, Ditlevsen models the vital role of literature, for both readers and writers, in documenting, processing, and overcoming traumatic experiences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trauma, Ethics & Illness in Contemporary Literature and Culture)
10 pages, 1897 KiB  
Article
Horses, Humans, and Domestic Bodily Knowledge in All’s Well That Ends Well
by Hillary M. Nunn
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050121 - 23 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1589
Abstract
Without visual cues, modern viewers may not discern the ways that All’s Well That Ends Well brings together the bodies of horses and humans, asking viewers to consider the physical dependence and sometimes overlapping medical conditions the two species share. Helena’s success in [...] Read more.
Without visual cues, modern viewers may not discern the ways that All’s Well That Ends Well brings together the bodies of horses and humans, asking viewers to consider the physical dependence and sometimes overlapping medical conditions the two species share. Helena’s success in curing the King’s fistula and conceiving Bertram’s child have not been linked to the skills involved in working with horses, let alone the blurring of boundaries between the human and the equine. This is particularly striking given that the play associates both the King and Bertram—the two men she must win over to gain happiness—with images of veterinary care and riding as represented in the era’s household medical and horsemanship manuals. Early modern recipe books provide a valuable glimpse of how seventeenth century viewers might have pictured the interconnectedness of human and animal bodies, in health and in sickness. These books make clear that some cures for fistulas could be used on humans or on horses. Such medicines take as a given the human body’s embeddedness on its surroundings, revealing an essential dependence between humans and horses, often blurring the boundaries assumed to exist between them. The play positions Helena not only as a practitioner of household medicine skilled in caring for humans and animals alike, but also as a subtle and resourceful horsewoman able to coerce others to do her bidding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Directions in Medicine and Embodiment on the Shakespearean Stage)
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11 pages, 457 KiB  
Editorial
Roundtable: The Past, Present and Future of Fan Fiction
by Lincoln Geraghty, Bertha Chin, Lori Morimoto, Bethan Jones, Kristina Busse, Francesca Coppa, Kristine Michelle “Khursten” Santos and Louisa Ellen Stein
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050120 - 22 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 5156
Abstract
Fanfiction as a cultural practice has rapidly evolved in recent years, from a community-based form of social interaction to a globally recognised form of narrative world-building [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Past, Present and Future of Fan-Fiction)
15 pages, 4097 KiB  
Article
A Conspiracy with Twelve-Year-Old Jane Austen: Juliet McMaster’s Illustrations for ‘The Beautifull Cassandra’
by Kazuko Hisamori
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050119 - 14 Sep 2022
Viewed by 2032
Abstract
This article discusses a picture book, The Beautifull [sic] Cassandra, that was published by Juvenilia Press in 2021. The text was written by Jane Austen, most probably in 1788, and was edited and illustrated by Juliet McMaster some 200 years [...] Read more.
This article discusses a picture book, The Beautifull [sic] Cassandra, that was published by Juvenilia Press in 2021. The text was written by Jane Austen, most probably in 1788, and was edited and illustrated by Juliet McMaster some 200 years later. My key questions are: What are the characteristics of Austen’s text? What are the strategies that McMaster uses to illustrate the text? How do we evaluate the picture book as a whole? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Jane Austen: Work, Life, Legacy)
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14 pages, 3908 KiB  
Article
The Lonely Woman Icon, Niedecker, and Mid-20th-Century Advertising
by Elizabeth Savage
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050118 - 13 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1943
Abstract
Popular advertising of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s depicting single women presents an especially useful reference point for Lorine Niedecker’s poems. Attendant to the development of romantic and social promises extended by these ads is the woeful character of the lonely and excluded [...] Read more.
Popular advertising of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s depicting single women presents an especially useful reference point for Lorine Niedecker’s poems. Attendant to the development of romantic and social promises extended by these ads is the woeful character of the lonely and excluded woman. Notably, the danger of becoming a social outcast is not securely tied to an age demographic; although romantic intimacy promising or concluding in marriage stands as the primary goal of all purchasing conduct, the time of vulnerability to rejection is surprisingly extended—from early adolescence when social reputation is established to prime matrimonial age and reaching into years after marriage. A woman’s relationships with friends, suitors, and even children remain threatened by supposed lapses in self-awareness that guidance found in advertising can restore. While the use of sex to sell has long been recognized as a major part of advertising history, the complementary fear (of not having sex, of sexual and social rejection, and consequent despair) underlying these strategies is usually thought about as a fairly recent (and effective) advertising method. In ways that expose the images of women under construction in the social mindset, Niedecker’s poems call upon advertising’s thumbnail images and characters to inspect the rigid public attitude advertising was cultivating, an attitude male critics perpetuated in constructing American literary history. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modernist Poetry and Visual Culture)
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44 pages, 16758 KiB  
Article
Portraits of Working Women: Lola Ridge’s “The Ghetto” and the Visual Record
by Linda Arbaugh Kinnahan
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050117 - 12 Sep 2022
Viewed by 2240
Abstract
This essay focuses on Lola Ridge’s long poem “The Ghetto” in relation to the gendered imagery and visual construction of the modern laborer emerging across early twentieth-century print media. Perpetuating gendered notions of the modern worker as predominately masculine, late nineteenth- and early [...] Read more.
This essay focuses on Lola Ridge’s long poem “The Ghetto” in relation to the gendered imagery and visual construction of the modern laborer emerging across early twentieth-century print media. Perpetuating gendered notions of the modern worker as predominately masculine, late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century visual representations of the laborer typically feature manly, virile figures, often in resistance to capitalism and inevitably eliding the industrial woman laborer. Ridge’s “The Ghetto” alternatively locates modern labor in the female industrial worker. The essay considers the poem’s splicing of collective and individual portraits of immigrant working women, developing a visual rhetoric that asserts women’s agency amidst modernity’s changing forms of work, insisting upon their visibility as workers, activists, and feminists. Consideration of several visual print genres includes women’s labor publications; social and industrial documentary photography; and periodical illustrations from The Masses. In visually representing women workers, these sources of visual media contextualize Ridge’s approach in “The Ghetto” and social attitudes toward gender and labor persisting in the century’s early years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modernist Poetry and Visual Culture)
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12 pages, 254 KiB  
Article
‘Speculative Slipstreaming’: The Impact of Literary Interventions within Contemporary Science Fiction
by Laura-Jane Devanny
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050116 - 9 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 6149
Abstract
Margaret Atwood and Jeanette Winterson are two canonical writers participating in a ‘literary slipstream’ through their ventures into science fiction, creating crossover texts that confuse the boundaries between the literary and the popular. This interface is exemplified through the awards received by these [...] Read more.
Margaret Atwood and Jeanette Winterson are two canonical writers participating in a ‘literary slipstream’ through their ventures into science fiction, creating crossover texts that confuse the boundaries between the literary and the popular. This interface is exemplified through the awards received by these writers, which help to bring literary credibility and integrity to the genre. Atwood’s first speculative novel, The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), went on to win the Arthur C. Clarke Award and was nominated for a Nebula award and the Booker Prize, whilst her MaddAddam trilogy (2003–2015) was followed by the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society in 2015. Winterson was awarded an OBE for her services to literature in the same year that she published The Stone Gods (2006), whilst her most recent novel Frankisstein (2019) was longlisted for the Booker Prize. This article explores the extent to which distinctions between the popular and the literary are reliant upon notions of inferiority and superiority, and the problematics of a desire to frame genre fiction according to perceived notions of literary value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eyes on the Prize: Women’s Writing and Literary Awards)
10 pages, 244 KiB  
Article
“Miles Is a Mode; Coltrane Is, Power”: Notes on John Coltrane as Poetic Muse and Michael Harper’s “Alone” in Songlines in Michaeltree (2000)
by James Mellis
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050115 - 9 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1860
Abstract
This article looks at the ways jazz legend John Coltrane was a muse for many Black Arts era poets and proceeds to discuss how Michael Harper rendered Coltrane in his work, focusing on editorial changes between the 1970 and 2000 versions of Michael [...] Read more.
This article looks at the ways jazz legend John Coltrane was a muse for many Black Arts era poets and proceeds to discuss how Michael Harper rendered Coltrane in his work, focusing on editorial changes between the 1970 and 2000 versions of Michael Harper’s poem, “Alone”. In it, the author argues that the change marks a revision of the centrality of Coltrane as Harper’s muse from his early to later career. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sound Studies in African American Literature and Culture)
24 pages, 5727 KiB  
Article
Look Back in Angria (The Brontë Family Fandom)
by Anne Jamison
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050114 - 5 Sep 2022
Viewed by 2391
Abstract
Transhistorical accounts of fanfiction often refer to the Brontës’ juvenilia, but such references are largely cursory even as they make a claim about the siblings’ Angria and Gondal writings that needs more careful consideration. This essay offers a more thorough examination of what [...] Read more.
Transhistorical accounts of fanfiction often refer to the Brontës’ juvenilia, but such references are largely cursory even as they make a claim about the siblings’ Angria and Gondal writings that needs more careful consideration. This essay offers a more thorough examination of what it means to claim “the Brontës wrote fanfic”, analyzing their family- and site-specific mode of creative production and consumption in relation both to established definitions of contemporary fanfiction and to their own sources and environment. Archival research has enabled me to situate some of the Brontës’ earliest texts in their original tiny, hand-produced format alongside the print periodicals and physical books that the young authors read and transformed. I analyze how the siblings’ books mimic the multiplicity and flexibility of authorship modeled in their local newspaper and how their drawing, marginalia, and corrections accentuate the interactive nature of the printed book. Viewing the Brontë siblings as a family fandom enthusiastically devoted to the creation and appreciation of transformative works helps make visible a model of authorship they share with contemporary fanfiction: authorship not just as collaboration but as play and exchange among diverse materials, sources, activities, media, writers, and readers. Then, as now, this mode exists simultaneously with commercial authorship but is distinct from it, as the siblings recognized, altering their plots, practice, and presentation for their novels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Past, Present and Future of Fan-Fiction)
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29 pages, 6235 KiB  
Article
Visionary Architects: Barbara Guest, Frederick Kiesler, and the Surrealist Poetics of the Galaxy
by Susan Rosenbaum
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050113 - 5 Sep 2022
Viewed by 2493
Abstract
In this essay I demonstrate how Barbara Guest’s experiments in visual poetry were influenced by Frederick Kiesler’s architectural designs: both artists, inspired by Surrealist poetics, sought to build visionary structures that took shape on the page but moved beyond it. Following Kiesler’s 1965 [...] Read more.
In this essay I demonstrate how Barbara Guest’s experiments in visual poetry were influenced by Frederick Kiesler’s architectural designs: both artists, inspired by Surrealist poetics, sought to build visionary structures that took shape on the page but moved beyond it. Following Kiesler’s 1965 death, Guest published a poem in 1968 inspired by Kiesler’s “Galaxy” structures, titled “Homage”, and included a shortened version in Durer in the Window (2003). Kiesler composed a number of works under the name “Galaxies”, all of which shared an interest in merging architecture with other art forms, including sculpture, mobiles, drawing, and painting. In “Homage”, Guest was less interested in describing Kiesler’s “Galaxies” than in building a commensurate architecture of the page, dependent on the spatial arrangement of lines and stanzas, the visual impact of white space, and the reader’s imaginative navigation of both. Putting Kiesler’s “Galaxies” and Guest’s “Homage” in dialogue illuminates a model of inter-arts reception as co-creation or what Kiesler called “Correalism” that depends on the spatial dimensions of the poetic imagination. Both works can be understood as open, mobile, “museums without walls” that anticipate the future by inviting dynamic collaboration and future transformation. Finally, I argue that the relationship between these works models the kind of affiliation important to experimental women artists and poets such as Guest, affiliations that helped form an En Dehors Garde “in the shadow” of the avant-garde. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modernist Poetry and Visual Culture)
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14 pages, 525 KiB  
Article
‘OMG JANE AUSTEN’: Austen and Memes in the Post-#MeToo Era
by Katerina Kitsi-Mitakou, Maria Vara and Georgios Chatziavgerinos
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050112 - 2 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 6938
Abstract
This essay will focus on the central position that Jane Austen holds in the growing culture of memes in the Social Web and examine how these present-day cameo artefacts are both transforming the way Austen is perceived and appropriated today, and exploiting her [...] Read more.
This essay will focus on the central position that Jane Austen holds in the growing culture of memes in the Social Web and examine how these present-day cameo artefacts are both transforming the way Austen is perceived and appropriated today, and exploiting her work as a source of inspiration for contemporary debates on genre, gender, and sexuality. It will first trace the origins of memes, these cultural replicators that discharge mini portions of irony, in Northanger Abbey—a novel depending on the reader’s active participation—and argue that the literary landscape of the 1790s popular culture (as reflected in Austen) is a foreshadowing of post-millennial memes. Furthermore, through a close reading of a plethora of memes based on stills from screen adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, the essay will study how Austen’s renowned Mr. Darcy—filtered through the famous impersonations by Collin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen—has activated new re-imaginings of masculinity and heterosexuality in the post-#MeToo epoch. As some memes suggest, Mr. Darcy, a reformed hero who has learned how to match hegemony with sensibility, is the perfect antidote to the anathema of toxic masculinity and the perfect catch to the crowds of female Janeites. At the same time, however, a large number of memes indicate that, to an expanding male fandom that steers away from a nostalgic reactionary return to Austen, Mr. Darcy is celebrated for the queer potential of his conflicting features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Jane Austen: Work, Life, Legacy)
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13 pages, 298 KiB  
Article
Refuge and Resistance: Theater with Kurds and Yezidi Survivors of ISIS
by Ellen Wendy Kaplan
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050111 - 2 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1846
Abstract
This essay looks at ongoing efforts to revitalize arts and culture among the Yezidi and broader Iraqi Kurdish communities. The Yezidi are survivors of the 2014 genocide perpetrated by the Islamic State (ISIS, also known by its Arabic acronym Da’esh) which resulted in [...] Read more.
This essay looks at ongoing efforts to revitalize arts and culture among the Yezidi and broader Iraqi Kurdish communities. The Yezidi are survivors of the 2014 genocide perpetrated by the Islamic State (ISIS, also known by its Arabic acronym Da’esh) which resulted in mass killing, captivity and expulsion from their ancestral homeland of Mt. Sinjar in northern Iraq. They are part of the Kurdish people, who have engaged in centuries of struggle to protect their cultural and political identity, establish autonomy and ensure their security in the broader Middle East. After a brief overview of the Yezidi genocide and its aftermath, we trace some theatrical efforts in the 20–21st century and look at two embryonic theater initiatives in Iraqi Kurdistan. The description of cultural projects at Springs of Hope Foundation (Shariya Camp) is followed by personal reflection and analysis of the aims, uses and challenges of Applied Theater. This ‘umbrella term’ refers to a process that uses a theatrical tool-kit in non-theater contexts. The aesthetic, ethical and political challenges inherent in this work are considered: the essay explores questions of ethical care and the implications and pitfalls of working with vulnerable and displaced populations, issues of representation, and creating spaces for healing and expression through participatory theater. Finally, we discuss a new initiative in Iraqi Kurdistan that seeks to address ethnic and political fissures through theater. The essay culminates with a consideration of belonging and re-imagining home. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Literary Practice II: Refugees and Representation)
14 pages, 335 KiB  
Article
The Emergence of Rationality in the Icelandic Sagas: The Colossal Misunderstanding of the Viking Lore in Contemporary Popular Culture
by Albrecht Classen
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050110 - 1 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3236
Abstract
For a long time now, Old Norse literature has often been colonized and misappropriated by modern right-wing political groups for their own ideology, symbolism, and public appearance. A critical reading of Icelandic sagas, however, easily demonstrates that those public strategies are very short-sighted, [...] Read more.
For a long time now, Old Norse literature has often been colonized and misappropriated by modern right-wing political groups for their own ideology, symbolism, and public appearance. A critical reading of Icelandic sagas, however, easily demonstrates that those public strategies are very short-sighted, misleading, and outright dangerous for our democratic society. To stem the flood of misinformation regarding the Viking world and its literature, this article joins a small but forceful chorus of recent scholars who are hard at work deconstructing this politicization of saga literature by way of offering new readings of those texts in which the very Viking ideology is actually exposed by the poets, rejected, and supplanted by new forms of social interactions predicated on a legal system and an operation with rationality in the public sphere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medieval Scandinavian Studies Today: Whence, Whereto, Why)
14 pages, 324 KiB  
Article
Winston Churchill’s Divi Britannici (1675) and Archipelagic Royalism
by Willy Maley and Richard Stacey
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050109 - 1 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1677
Abstract
Divi Britannici (1675) is a major restoration history that deserves to be more widely known. The work’s author, Sir Winston Churchill (1620–1688), is certainly less well-known than his celebrated descendant of the same name. Seldom mentioned in discussions of seventeenth-century historiography, Divi Britannici [...] Read more.
Divi Britannici (1675) is a major restoration history that deserves to be more widely known. The work’s author, Sir Winston Churchill (1620–1688), is certainly less well-known than his celebrated descendant of the same name. Seldom mentioned in discussions of seventeenth-century historiography, Divi Britannici can be read alongside contemporary histories, including John Milton’s History of Britain (1670). If British historians have generally overlooked Divi Britannici then Churchill’s work did come to the notice of Michel Foucault, who recognized its arguments around conquest, rights and sovereignty as crucial to the development of political thought in the period. In this essay we excavate Churchill’s arguments, sift through the scattered critical legacy, and locate Divi Britannici both within the context of Restoration histories, with their warring interpretations of England and Britain’s past, and within a tradition of British historiography that associates monarchical rule with national stability. What scholars have missed, however, is the propensity of Churchill to align the restored Stuart monarchy with a form of ethnic co-operation between Scotland, Ireland and England, designed to counter the perceived divisions which were exacerbated by the policies of Cromwell and the parliamentarians. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nationalism in Early Modern Literature)
10 pages, 248 KiB  
Article
Béroul’s Tristran: Emblems of Sublimation, Exhibitionism, and Castration Fantasy
by Reid Fuller Hardaway
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050108 - 31 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1334
Abstract
The violence in Béroul’s Tristran has discomforted many readers and even a few scholars. However, by examining the psychological motivations behind these graphic scenes, important structural elements are revealed. Mark and Iseut have fantasies of violence that lend themselves to analyses. The fantasies [...] Read more.
The violence in Béroul’s Tristran has discomforted many readers and even a few scholars. However, by examining the psychological motivations behind these graphic scenes, important structural elements are revealed. Mark and Iseut have fantasies of violence that lend themselves to analyses. The fantasies emerge from the subconscious, and they are the result of concealed resentment and repressed emotions. For Mark, the consequences are rage and murder. Tristran makes many boasts regarding his physical strength, but he has a propensity for avoidance and passivity, even when his authority is being challenged. Iseut uses an encoded rhetoric to facilitate what she wants, while she simultaneously preserves her own security. Nonetheless, in the end, Tristran and Iseut’s affair is mostly sustained through King Mark’s self-delusion. At a subconscious level, he must be aware of his wife’s infidelity, but he cannot bring himself to recognize it. Failing to resolve his inner conflict, Mark redirects his rage and attacks his advisor, Frocin, the one character in the poem who appears committed to telling the king the truth. The plot continues as the love affair remains concealed, largely because the characters are motivated by subconscious forces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Literature in the Humanities)
11 pages, 300 KiB  
Article
Scandinavian Studies in Germany with a Special Focus on the Position of Old and Modern Icelandic
by Irene Kupferschmied and Magnús Hauksson
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050107 - 29 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1696
Abstract
Scandinavian Studies today are divided into (at least) three areas, which should ideally also be represented by their own chairs at the universities, if one wants to cover the subject as broadly as possible. Likewise, the four languages, Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish, [...] Read more.
Scandinavian Studies today are divided into (at least) three areas, which should ideally also be represented by their own chairs at the universities, if one wants to cover the subject as broadly as possible. Likewise, the four languages, Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish, should be offered to a certain extent. Scandinavian Studies, however, belong to the so-called “small subjects”, and financial and personnel resources are often limited. In addition, the federal states (Bundesländer) have an influence on the equipment of the universities. The subject of Scandinavian Studies can therefore be structured very differently at the individual universities. It is largely undisputed that foreign language skills are an important factor in promoting international understanding. As well, language skills are an absolute foundation in all aspects of a philological subject. Nevertheless, language teaching at universities is generally under pressure, and questions arise about its justification. This is true for both modern and ancient languages. In our article, we mainly describe the positions of Old and modern Icelandic within Scandinavian Studies, which differ greatly. This is mainly due to traditions within Scandinavian Studies and the institutions at which they are taught. Considerations are made regarding the legitimacy of these areas and their connections with other parts of the subject. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medieval Scandinavian Studies Today: Whence, Whereto, Why)
20 pages, 1257 KiB  
Article
Script and Language as Semiotic Media in Japanese Storytelling: A Theoretical Approach through Haruki Murakami’s Noruwei no mori
by Jacob Wayne Runner
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050106 - 28 Aug 2022
Viewed by 2681
Abstract
In contrast to the writing practices of many modern languages, Japanese routinely employs four denotative systems that operate in conjunction, but which are actively recognized as distinct from one another: kanji, hiragana, katakana, and the Roman alphabet. Simultaneously, English, as [...] Read more.
In contrast to the writing practices of many modern languages, Japanese routinely employs four denotative systems that operate in conjunction, but which are actively recognized as distinct from one another: kanji, hiragana, katakana, and the Roman alphabet. Simultaneously, English, as well as English-derived language usages have been noted for their significant intralinguistic roles in Japanese, going far beyond straightforward loan borrowing functionality. Convention informs the implementations of both script choice and language, and yet neither subjective phenomenon is perfectly uniform. Approaching these issues from a perspective of semiotic theory, this article identifies the flexibility and creative syncretism that is made available by virtue of written Japanese’s systemic open-endedness in terms of script and linguistic multiplicity. It assesses the emblematic functionality that is achievable through deliberate variation or shift in these semiotic media of print, and it demonstrates how auxiliary associative, ideological, and emotive meanings are ascribed to specific language instances. Finally, as an applied literary analysis, it evaluates Haruki Murakami’s 1987 novel 『ノルウェイの森』 (Noruwei no mori; Norwegian Wood) in order to clarify prominent semiotic possibilities and to emphasize the easily taken for granted creative aesthetic potential of Japanese’s media-based multiplicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Japanese Literature and the Media Industry)
16 pages, 335 KiB  
Article
The Metaphysics of Sophistry: Protagoras, Nāgārjuna, Antilogos
by Robin Reames
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050105 - 26 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2163
Abstract
There is no category of thought more deliberately or explicitly relegated to a subordinate role in Plato’s dialogues than Sophists and sophistry. It is due to Plato’s influence that terms “sophist” and “sophistry” handed down to us have unilaterally negative associations—synonymous with lies [...] Read more.
There is no category of thought more deliberately or explicitly relegated to a subordinate role in Plato’s dialogues than Sophists and sophistry. It is due to Plato’s influence that terms “sophist” and “sophistry” handed down to us have unilaterally negative associations—synonymous with lies and deception, obscurantism and false reasoning. There are several reasons to be dubious of this standard view of the Sophists and their practices. The primary reason addressed in this essay is that the surviving fragments of the Sophists do not accord with this standard view, a discrepancy that is particularly acute in the case of the 5th-century sophist Protagoras. This essay attends to Protagoras’s doctrines concerning antilogos, the sophistic practice of contradiction and negation. I contend that sophistic antilogos was a paradoxical practice that embodied metaphysical stakes for language and discourse. I challenge the standard view of Sophists and their antilogos by reconstructing a speculative counter-definition: a method for instantiating through language an ontology of flux and becoming over and against what would come to be a Platonist metaphysics of enduring, pure Being. I do this through a comparative analysis of Protagoras and the second century C.E. South Asian Buddhist thinker, Nāgārjuna. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ancient Greek Sophistry and Its Legacy)
14 pages, 1001 KiB  
Article
‘A Great Deal of Noise’: Jane Austen’s Disruptive Children and the Culture of Conversation
by Richard De Ritter
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050104 - 25 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1842
Abstract
Children occupy a peripheral position in the novels of Jane Austen, with the result that they have received little critical attention. This article proposes that, despite their marginal status, children play a significant role in Austen’s work as agents of disruption, whose presence [...] Read more.
Children occupy a peripheral position in the novels of Jane Austen, with the result that they have received little critical attention. This article proposes that, despite their marginal status, children play a significant role in Austen’s work as agents of disruption, whose presence is frequently signified by the noise they make. It is through their interventions that Austen dramatizes a wider crisis in the capacity of conversation to improve, educate, and forge meaningful connections between individuals. The significance of Austen’s representations of children can be grasped more fully by reading Austen in relation to her contemporaries, namely Maria Edgeworth and Hannah More. While these authors view children as the embodiment of Enlightenment hopes and Revolutionary fears, Austen avoids such polemical representations. Rather than rational actors participating within a culture of improving conversation, Austen’s children are defined by their inarticulate voices and disruptive tendencies. Ultimately, however, it is through their inarticulacy that Austen expresses her doubts about the status of conversation as a site of enlightened exchange. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Jane Austen: Work, Life, Legacy)
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13 pages, 685 KiB  
Article
“It’s All Bread, All the Way Down”: The Baby-Sitters Club Club as Hyperfanfiction
by Suzanne Scott
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050103 - 25 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1648
Abstract
In February 2016, co-hosts Jack Shepherd and Tanner Greenring launched their comedy podcast The Baby-Sitters Club Club. The “joke” at the center of the podcast was, of course, that two adult, cishet, white men were exhaustively recapping and dissecting a book series [...] Read more.
In February 2016, co-hosts Jack Shepherd and Tanner Greenring launched their comedy podcast The Baby-Sitters Club Club. The “joke” at the center of the podcast was, of course, that two adult, cishet, white men were exhaustively recapping and dissecting a book series from the 1980s and 1990s that was predominantly popular with adolescent girls. What began as a podcast designed to poke fun at the co-hosts’ serious “fannish” analysis of a nostalgic series of novels for girls, evolved into an elaborate string of “fan” theories, literary close readings, and (inter)textual expansion. Building on Paul Booth’s discussion of hyperfans, this article theorizes the absurdist worldbuilding, mythology and character development, and intertextual play performed by the hosts of TBSCC as a form of hyperfanfiction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Past, Present and Future of Fan-Fiction)
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