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Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 4 (December 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Bringing to the fore all the traditional topoi of Englishness in order to better denounce them as [...] Read more.
Displaying articles 1-41
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Open AccessArticle Prescribed Reading: Reflective Medical Narratives and the Rise of the Medimoir: An Interview with Adam Kay
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040130 (registering DOI)
Received: 19 November 2018 / Revised: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
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Abstract
The 21st century has witnessed the rise of a genre of literature that has taken both the reading public and the publishing industry by storm. The ‘medimoir’—or medical memoir—is not in itself a new genre of writing, but has risen to prominence in
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The 21st century has witnessed the rise of a genre of literature that has taken both the reading public and the publishing industry by storm. The ‘medimoir’—or medical memoir—is not in itself a new genre of writing, but has risen to prominence in a contemporary British context of renewed focus on public health and wellbeing, a proliferation of professional confessionals in publishing, and debates about the future of the free-at-point-of-care British National Health Service (NHS). The most prolific medimoir published to date is Adam Kay’s This Is Going to Hurt (2017), a reflective diary that chronicles his time as a trainee gynaecologist in the NHS, and his subsequent exit from medical training in the face of growing personal and political pressures on his profession. This article contextualises and considers the rise of the medimoir, and examines why this genre of medical narrative has become such a critical, literary, and publishing success in the first two decades of the new millennium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical Narratives of Ill Health)
Open AccessArticle Political Messages in African Music: Assessing Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Lucky Dube and Alpha Blondy
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040129
Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 28 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 6 December 2018
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Abstract
Political communication inquiry principally investigates institutions such as governments and congress, and processes such as elections and political advertising. This study takes a largely unexplored route: An assessment of political messages embedded in music, with a focus on the artistic works of three
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Political communication inquiry principally investigates institutions such as governments and congress, and processes such as elections and political advertising. This study takes a largely unexplored route: An assessment of political messages embedded in music, with a focus on the artistic works of three male African music icons—Fela Anikulapo-Kuti (Nigeria), Lucky Dube (South Africa), and Alpha Blondy (Côte d’Ivoire). Methodologically, a purposive sample of the lyrics of songs by the musicians was textually analyzed to identify the themes and nuances in their political messaging. Framing was the theoretical underpinning. This study determined that all three musicians were vocal against corruption, citizen marginalization, and a cessation of wars and bloodshed in the continent. Full article
Open AccessArticle Urban Space and Gender Performativity in Knut Hamsun’s Hunger and Cora Sandel’s Alberta and Freedom
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040128
Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 1 December 2018 / Published: 4 December 2018
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Abstract
In this article, I discuss the combination of city life and gender performativity in two Norwegian classics, Knut Hamsun’s Hunger (2016) [Sult, 1890] and Cora Sandel’s Alberta and Freedom (1984) [Alberte og friheten, 1931]. These are modernist novels depicting
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In this article, I discuss the combination of city life and gender performativity in two Norwegian classics, Knut Hamsun’s Hunger (2016) [Sult, 1890] and Cora Sandel’s Alberta and Freedom (1984) [Alberte og friheten, 1931]. These are modernist novels depicting lonely human subjects in an urban space, the first one featuring a man in Kristiania (now Oslo) in the 1880s, the second one a woman and her female acquaintances in Paris in the 1920s. I interpret and compare the two novels by focusing on their intertwined construction of gender performativity and urban space. Gender norms of the city life are critical premises for how the subjects manage to negotiate with different options and obstacles through their modern existences. To both protagonists, inferior femininity is a constant option and threat, but their responses and actions are different. The strategy of the male subject in Hunger is to fight his way up from humiliation by humiliating the female other; the strategy of the female subject in Alberta and Freedom is instead to seek solidarity with persons who have experiences similar to her own. Hamsun’s man and Sandel’s woman both perceive their own bodies as crucial to the interpretation of their physical surroundings. However, while the hero in Hunger must deal with a body falling apart and a confrontation with the world that depends on a totally fragmented bodily experience, the heroine in Alberta and Freedom instead sees herself as a body divided between outer appearance and inner inclinations. Both novels stage a person with writing proclivities in a city setting where the success or failure of artistic work is subjected to the mechanisms of a market economy. Their artistic ambitions are to a large extent decided by their material conditions, which seem to manipulate Hamsun’s hero out of the whole business, and Sandel’s heroine to stay calm and not give up. Yet the novels share the belief in the body’s basis as a denominator for the perception and interpretation of sensual and cognitive impressions of the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nordic and European Modernisms)
Open AccessArticle Johann Scheffler (Angelus Silesius): The Silesian Mystic as a Boethian Thinker. Universal Insights, Ancient Wisdom, and Baroque Perspectives
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040127
Received: 19 October 2018 / Revised: 28 November 2018 / Accepted: 29 November 2018 / Published: 4 December 2018
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Abstract
This paper offers an analysis of a number of the fascinating, thought-provoking, and yet often deeply puzzling epigrams by the German Baroque poet Johann Scheffler (Angelus Silesius), and illustrates how his enigmatic mystical concepts were influenced, to some extent, by the philosophical thoughts
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This paper offers an analysis of a number of the fascinating, thought-provoking, and yet often deeply puzzling epigrams by the German Baroque poet Johann Scheffler (Angelus Silesius), and illustrates how his enigmatic mystical concepts were influenced, to some extent, by the philosophical thoughts offered by the late antique statesman and thinker Boethius (d. 525). While recent research has already reached new insights into the long-term reception history of Boethius’s De consolatione philosophiae well into the modern age, including by Scheffler, we still face the critical desideratum to determine the meaning of Scheffler’s spiritual insights in direct correlation with Boethius’s fundamental teachings, and hence, to answer the intriguing and challenging question of why Scheffler, along with Boethius, continues to speak to us today, and this perhaps more than ever before. Even though Scheffler pursued deeply religious questions typical of his time, he obviously greatly profited from Boethius’s musings about the meaning of the absolute Goodness, the vagaries of fortune, and the instability of all material existence in the quest for happiness. Many times we observe that Scheffler offers paradoxical and also apophatic statements, but those make surprisingly astounding sense if we read them, especially in light of Boethius’s teachings, as perceived in the seventeenth century. The epigrams thus prove to be the prolific outcome of universal cross-fertilizations and demonstrate the continued impact of antiquity on the modern world and the growing need today to accept the notion of “world literature” not only in a contemporary, transcultural perspectives, but also in terms of universal interactions throughout time. Full article
Open AccessArticle Nightclub as a Liminal Space: Space, Gender, and Identity in Lisa See’s China Dolls
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040126
Received: 14 November 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 26 November 2018 / Published: 29 November 2018
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Abstract
Nightclubs flourished in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 1930s when it became a nightlife destination. To Chinese Americans, however, San Francisco nightclubs became a new site at the time for them to re-explore their identities. For some, visiting these nightclubs became a
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Nightclubs flourished in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 1930s when it became a nightlife destination. To Chinese Americans, however, San Francisco nightclubs became a new site at the time for them to re-explore their identities. For some, visiting these nightclubs became a way for them to escape from traditional Chinese values. For others, it became a way to satisfy Western stereotypes of Chinese culture. Lisa See’s China Dolls (2015) describes three young oriental women from various backgrounds that become dancers at the popular Forbidden City nightclub in San Francisco in the late 1930s. Through the three girls’ precarious careers and personal conflicts, Lisa See proposes the San Francisco nightclub as both a site for them to articulate their new identities beyond their restricted spheres and a site for them to perform the expected stereotypical Asian images from Western perspectives. It was, at that time, a struggle for the emergence of modern Chinese women but particularly a paradox for Chinese-American women. The space of the Chinese-American nightclub, which is exotic, erotic, but stereotypical, represents contradictions in the Chinese-American identity. Through studying Lisa See’s novel along with other autobiographies of the Chinese American dancing girls, I argue that San Francisco nightclubs, as represented in Lisa See’s novel, embody the paradox of Chinese American identities as shown in the outfits of Chinese American chorus girls—modest cheongsams outside and sexy, burlesque costumes underneath. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)
Open AccessCorrection Correction: Boschman, Robert, and Bill Bunn. 2018. Nuclear Avenue: “Cyclonic Development”, Abandonment, and Relations in Uranium City, Canada. Humanities 7: 5
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040125
Received: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
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Abstract
The authors wish to make the following correction to the paper published in Humanities (Boschman and Bunn 2018). [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humanities for the Environment)
Open AccessArticle Orwell’s Tattoos: Skin, Guilt, and Magic in ‘Shooting an Elephant’ (1936)
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040124
Received: 11 September 2018 / Revised: 8 November 2018 / Accepted: 9 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
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Abstract
This paper considers the significance of the talismanic tattoos on Orwell’s hands, which he acquired in Burma during his time as a colonial policeman from 1922 to 1927. It examines historical evidence suggesting that such tattoos were understood differently by British and Burmese
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This paper considers the significance of the talismanic tattoos on Orwell’s hands, which he acquired in Burma during his time as a colonial policeman from 1922 to 1927. It examines historical evidence suggesting that such tattoos were understood differently by British and Burmese people, and concludes that, for Orwell, their meaning was multilayered: first, they were a means of understanding Burmese culture more intimately; second, they were a psychological attempt to cathect his feelings of guilt about his complicity in colonial injustice by remaking his ‘skin-ego’; and third, they were a gesture towards the possibility that inscription—first in the form of tattoos, and later in the written word—might be a way to understand and process his self-alienation. The paper goes on to examine Orwell’s 1936 essay ‘Shooting an Elephant’ in the light of Orwell’s interest in inscription, and traces its themes of mark-making, magic, and authorship, arguing that these ideas enabled him, at a crucial moment in his development as a writer, to map his experiences of colonialism onto his wider commitment to anti-fascist and anti-authoritarian politics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Anatomy of Inscription)
Open AccessArticle Video Games as Objects and Vehicles of Nostalgia
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040123
Received: 20 October 2018 / Revised: 17 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 25 November 2018
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Abstract
Barely 50 years old, video games are among the newest media today, and still a source of fascination and a site of anxiety for cultural critics and parents. Since the 1970s, a generation of video gamers have grown up and as they began
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Barely 50 years old, video games are among the newest media today, and still a source of fascination and a site of anxiety for cultural critics and parents. Since the 1970s, a generation of video gamers have grown up and as they began to have children of their own, video games have become objects evoking fond memories of the past. Nostalgia for simpler times is evident in the aesthetic choices game designers make: pixelated graphics, 8-bit music, and frustratingly hard levels are all reminiscent of arcade-style and third-generation console games that have been etched into the memory of Generation X. At the same time, major AAA titles have become so photorealistic and full of cinematic ambition that video games can also serve as vehicles for nostalgia by “faithfully” recreating the past. From historical recreations of major cities in the Assassin’s Creed series and L. A. Noire, to the resurrection of old art styles in 80 Days, Firewatch or Cuphead all speak of the extent to which computer gaming is suffused with a longing for pasts that never were but might have been. This paper investigates the design of games to examine how nostalgia is used to manipulate affect and player experience, and how it contributes to the themes that these computer games explore. Far from ruining video games, nostalgia nonetheless exploits the associations the players have with certain historical eras, including earlier eras of video gaming. Even so, the juxtaposition of period media and dystopic rampages or difficult levels critically comment upon the futility of nostalgia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Nostalgia)
Open AccessArticle Matrophobia and Uncanny Kinship: Eva Hoffman’s The Secret
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040122
Received: 1 October 2018 / Revised: 1 November 2018 / Accepted: 13 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
Eva Hoffman, known primarily for her autobiography of exile, Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language (1989), is also the author of a work of Gothic science fiction, set in the future. The Secret: A Fable for our Time (2001) is
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Eva Hoffman, known primarily for her autobiography of exile, Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language (1989), is also the author of a work of Gothic science fiction, set in the future. The Secret: A Fable for our Time (2001) is narrated by a human clone, whose discovery that she is the “monstrous” cloned offspring of a single mother emerges with growing discomfort at the uncanny similarities and tight bonds between her and her mother. This article places Hoffman’s use of the uncanny in relation to her understanding of Holocaust history and the condition of the postmemory generation. Relying on Freud’s definition of the uncanny as being “both very alien and deeply familiar,” she insists that “the second generation has grown up with the uncanny.” In The Secret, growing up with the uncanny leads to matrophobia, a strong dread of becoming one’s mother. This article draws on theoretical work by Adrienne Rich and Deborah D. Rogers to argue that the novel brings to “the matrophobic Gothic” specific insights into the uncanniness of second-generation experiences of kinship, particularly kinship between survivor mothers and their daughters. Full article
Open AccessArticle Peculiarities of Nostalgia in Ayn Rand’s Novel Atlas Shrugged
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040121
Received: 29 September 2018 / Revised: 15 November 2018 / Accepted: 17 November 2018 / Published: 19 November 2018
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Abstract
Quite a number of Russian writers could not accept the October Revolution in 1917 and left the country. Their nostalgia for their motherland in emigration is a well-known fact. The Russian-born American writer Ayn Rand (1905–1982) was also driven out of Soviet Russia
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Quite a number of Russian writers could not accept the October Revolution in 1917 and left the country. Their nostalgia for their motherland in emigration is a well-known fact. The Russian-born American writer Ayn Rand (1905–1982) was also driven out of Soviet Russia by a hatred for communism, yet her nostalgia is of a different kind. The purpose of this study is to describe the nature of Ayn Rand’s nostalgia. Discovering, on arrival in the U.S., a reality different from the image she bore in her mind, she did not start missing her homeland but continued longing for her ideal—19th century America. This ideal is fully reflected in her self-made philosophy known as “objectivism”, which underlies her novel Atlas Shrugged. Though philosophically substantiated, the ideal appears to be embodied in trivial myths of the American mass consciousness. The study highlights four of the most popular national myths in her novel. As a result, Rand’s literary works represent popular literature that are not within the mainstream of the Russian émigré literature of that period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Nostalgia)
Open AccessArticle Narrating Pregnancy and Childbirth: Infanticide and the Dramatization of Reproductive Knowledge
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040120
Received: 25 October 2018 / Revised: 10 November 2018 / Accepted: 12 November 2018 / Published: 19 November 2018
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Abstract
In early modern England, infanticide was a crime overwhelmingly associated with women. Both popular texts and legal records depict women accused of infanticide as mothers acting against nature. These figures, however, do not often appear in the period’s drama. Instead, early modern drama
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In early modern England, infanticide was a crime overwhelmingly associated with women. Both popular texts and legal records depict women accused of infanticide as mothers acting against nature. These figures, however, do not often appear in the period’s drama. Instead, early modern drama includes fictionalized mothers who kill their children beyond infancy and into adulthood. By eschewing portrayals of neonaticide and the trials associated with it, the drama highlights a dependency upon female characters’ verbal narratives of the reproductive body that reinforces pregnancy’s unstable epistemology. I argue that the flexibility of this epistemology allows women, whether female characters in drama or historical women on trial, to distance themselves from the crime of infanticide by reconstructing narratives of both pregnancy and childbirth. Sharing rhetorical devices with the testimonies of women accused of infanticide, dramatic mothers such as Videna in The Tragedie of Gorboduc and Brunhalt in Thierry and Theodoret linguistically sever the biological ties between mother and child, thus disrupting conventional portrayals of reproduction. These parallel strategies position the reproductive female body as a site of resistance to the legal mechanisms designed to interpret it. Full article
Open AccessArticle Yugonostalgia as a Kind of Love: Politics of Emotional Reconciliations through Yugoslav Popular Music
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040119
Received: 1 September 2018 / Revised: 31 October 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 15 November 2018
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Abstract
In the aftermath of the Yugoslav wars, listening to Yugoslav popular music has often been seen as a choice charged with political meaning, as a symptom of Yugonostalgia and as a statement against the nationalistic discourses of the post-Yugoslav states. In this article,
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In the aftermath of the Yugoslav wars, listening to Yugoslav popular music has often been seen as a choice charged with political meaning, as a symptom of Yugonostalgia and as a statement against the nationalistic discourses of the post-Yugoslav states. In this article, I will show how the seemingly neutral concept of love is embedded in the music and memory practices in the post-Yugoslav context. In dealing with the issue of love, I draw on the research regarding emotions as social, cultural, and performative categories. The research included the analysis of the interconnectedness of the discourses on love and the discourse on Yugoslavia (promoted by both the performers and the audience). In addition to the striking intertwinement of the two, the actual term love was quite often used when describing the general relation to Yugoslavia, or its music in particular, or the relation of the people from the former country. Pointing to the multifarious meanings and usages of the concept of love as understood in the post-Yugoslav music space, I will argue that Yugonostalgia can be understood as a kind of love. As such, Yugonostalgia can be used for commercial purposes and be a means for the commodification of feelings and memories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Nostalgia)
Open AccessArticle Ostalgia in Czech Films about Normalisation Created Post-1989
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040118
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 22 October 2018 / Accepted: 31 October 2018 / Published: 14 November 2018
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Abstract
This piece will introduce Czech ostalgic films set in the normalisation period (1969–1989) and will interpret the basic divide between nostalgic representation of the period and the openly anti-communist stances of the films’ creators. The methodological frame of this research comes from Robert
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This piece will introduce Czech ostalgic films set in the normalisation period (1969–1989) and will interpret the basic divide between nostalgic representation of the period and the openly anti-communist stances of the films’ creators. The methodological frame of this research comes from Robert Rosenstone’s approach of representation of history in film. To interpret ostalgia in Czech film, I use ideas from Daphne Berdhal and Svetlana Boym. I described the nostalgic elements and their functions in the structure of the films, taking into account their story, characters, settings, film style, narration, genre, and audience response (identification, causality of emotional experience). Czech ostalgic films about the normalisation period are interpretively ambivalent. The interpretational tension appears out of a fundamental divide between a clear refusal of communism and an idyllic view of the socialist past. They cannot be simply classified into restorative or reflective nostalgia. The younger generation of spectators perceives ostalgic films in the mode of reflective nostalgia; on the other hand, the older generation perceive the films in terms of restorative nostalgia. A different way of perceiving ostalgia reveals a misunderstanding between generations of the current Czech society. Due to singular anti-communist viewpoints and emphasised liberal values, the films cannot be interpreted in a desire for an idealised home in a communist past, but as a desire for a present home and its security, which cannot be clearly conceptualised. The concept of reflective nostalgia can be linked with the theory of Berdhal. The films cannot be perceived as a desire for an idealised home in a communist past due to specific anti-communist viewpoints and highlighted liberal values, but as a need for a home and security that cannot be directly conceptualised. This appearance of reflective nostalgia can be connected with the theory stated by Berdhal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Nostalgia)
Open AccessArticle “I Shall Endeavor for Her Aims”: Women’s Alliances and Relational Figurations of Freedom
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040117
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 1 November 2018 / Accepted: 8 November 2018 / Published: 14 November 2018
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Abstract
In oppressive cultures that marginalize various identity positions, a woman might find it difficult to imagine herself as autonomous or capable of self-definition. Forging alliances with other women offers opportunities for self-discovery, transformation, and autonomous agency. Considering Queen Elizabeth’s correspondence with Safiye Sultana
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In oppressive cultures that marginalize various identity positions, a woman might find it difficult to imagine herself as autonomous or capable of self-definition. Forging alliances with other women offers opportunities for self-discovery, transformation, and autonomous agency. Considering Queen Elizabeth’s correspondence with Safiye Sultana and Phillip Massinger’s The Renegado, this essay argues that tropes of seeing, achieved either through material images or through vivid discursive descriptions, foster imaginative renderings of the possibilities of self-expression and agency. Both cases, one diplomatic and the other dramatic, demonstrate successful—even though temporary and politically motivated—alliances mediated through both patriarchal constraints and material markers of identity. Drawing on these epistolary and dramatic texts, this essay explores tropes of imaginative seeing, the materiality of identity, and physical spaces that enact women’s alliances invested in questions of women’s freedom across tributaries both political and dramatic. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Agency of the Displaced? Roman Expansion, Environmental Forces, and the Occupation of Marginal Landscapes in Ancient Italy
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040116
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 4 September 2018 / Accepted: 16 October 2018 / Published: 12 November 2018
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Abstract
This article approaches the agency of displaced people through material evidence from the distant past. It seeks to construct a narrative of displacement where the key players include human as well as non-human agents—namely, the environment into which people move, and the socio-political
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This article approaches the agency of displaced people through material evidence from the distant past. It seeks to construct a narrative of displacement where the key players include human as well as non-human agents—namely, the environment into which people move, and the socio-political and environmental context of displacement. Our case-study from ancient Italy involves potentially marginalized people who moved into agriculturally challenging lands in Daunia (one of the most drought-prone areas of the Mediterranean) during the Roman conquest (late fourth-early second centuries BCE). We discuss how the interplay between socio-political and environmental forces may have shaped the agency of subaltern social groups on the move, and the outcomes of this process. Ultimately, this analysis can contribute towards a framework for the archaeological study of marginality and mobility/displacement—while addressing potential limitations in evidence and methods. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Postcards from Chile and Images from an Archive: Lighting the Nitrate of the 1973 Coup
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040115
Received: 25 April 2018 / Revised: 19 October 2018 / Accepted: 25 October 2018 / Published: 12 November 2018
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Abstract
This article examines a mass produced postcard image as a picture of conflict. It considers the postcard as a Benjaminian ‘prismatic fringe’ through which an archive can be viewed, wherein documents of the British trade in Chilean nitrate are juxtaposed with those of
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This article examines a mass produced postcard image as a picture of conflict. It considers the postcard as a Benjaminian ‘prismatic fringe’ through which an archive can be viewed, wherein documents of the British trade in Chilean nitrate are juxtaposed with those of General Pinochet’s 1973 military coup. The archive itself is explored as a site of loss and its postcard, an unvarying idealisation, as a particularly problematic but powerful image that renders conflict out of sight. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pictures and Conflicts since 1945)
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Open AccessArticle The Flesh Made Word: Bodily Inscription and Religion in Celine et Julie Vont en Bateau
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040114
Received: 18 September 2018 / Revised: 22 October 2018 / Accepted: 5 November 2018 / Published: 9 November 2018
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Abstract
In Celine et Julie Vont en Bateau Jacques Rivette works through his discomfort with the theological function of the author, a discomfort stemming from the material effects of authorship on the bodies of his actors. Examples of bodily incision and bruising proliferate throughout
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In Celine et Julie Vont en Bateau Jacques Rivette works through his discomfort with the theological function of the author, a discomfort stemming from the material effects of authorship on the bodies of his actors. Examples of bodily incision and bruising proliferate throughout the film, part of a process of violent characterization imposed by an authoring demiurge. The film explores several methods of escape from this process, starting with exotic travel and fairy tales, but culminates around repeated allusions to the crucifixion of Christ. The film advances a heretical Christology by positing God as a sadistic author and the wounded body of Christ as the paradigmatic example of being inscribed as a character against one’s will. As this characterization obviously engenders being inscribed in a narrative as well, the structure of the film probes at the notion of both Christianity and narrative cinema as means of escape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Anatomy of Inscription)
Open AccessArticle The Second World War, Imperial, and Colonial Nostalgia: The North Africa Campaign and Battlefields of Memory
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040113
Received: 14 September 2018 / Revised: 26 October 2018 / Accepted: 2 November 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
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Abstract
The article addresses the function of (post)colonial nostalgia in a context of multidirectional memory (Rothberg 2009) in contemporary Europe. How can different cultural memories of the Second Word War be put into respectful dialogue with each other? The text is based on a
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The article addresses the function of (post)colonial nostalgia in a context of multidirectional memory (Rothberg 2009) in contemporary Europe. How can different cultural memories of the Second Word War be put into respectful dialogue with each other? The text is based on a contrapuntal reading (Said 1994) of British and Egyptian popular narratives, mainly British documentary films about the North Africa Campaign, but also feature films and novels, and data from qualitative interviews collected during ethnographic fieldwork in Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt, during visits 2013–2015. The study highlights the considerable differences between the British and Egyptian narratives, but also the significant similarities regarding the use and function of nostalgia. In addition, the Egyptian narrative expresses a profound cosmopolitan nostalgia and a longing for what is regarded as Egypt’s lost, modern Golden Age, identified as the decades before the nation’s fundamental change from western-oriented monarchy to Nasser’s Arab nationalist military state. The common elements between the two national narratives indicate a possibly fruitful way to open up for a shared popular memory culture about the war years, including postcolonial aspects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Nostalgia)
Open AccessArticle Dream Poems. The Surreal Conditions of Modernism
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040112
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 5 November 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 7 November 2018
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Abstract
The article discusses three Swedish dream poems: Artur Lundkvist’s “Om natten älskar jag någon…” from Nattens broar (1936), Gunnar Ekelöf’s “Monolog med dess hustru” from Strountes (1955), and Tomas Tranströmer’s “Drömseminarium” from Det vilda torget (1983). These authors and their poems all relate
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The article discusses three Swedish dream poems: Artur Lundkvist’s “Om natten älskar jag någon…” from Nattens broar (1936), Gunnar Ekelöf’s “Monolog med dess hustru” from Strountes (1955), and Tomas Tranströmer’s “Drömseminarium” from Det vilda torget (1983). These authors and their poems all relate to European Surrealism. However, they do not only support the fundamental ideas of the Surrealist movement, they also represent reservations about, and corrections to, this movement. The article illuminates different aspects of dream poems and discusses the status of this poetic genre and its relation to Surrealism throughout the twentieth century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nordic and European Modernisms)
Open AccessArticle Nordic Modernists in the Circus. On the Aesthetic Reflection of a Transcultural Institution
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040111
Received: 1 October 2018 / Revised: 31 October 2018 / Accepted: 31 October 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
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Abstract
Around 1900 the circus was not only an important and highly popular cultural phenomenon all over Europe, but also an inspiration to writers and artists at the onset of Modernism. As an intrinsically intermedial form with international performers, it can be seen as
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Around 1900 the circus was not only an important and highly popular cultural phenomenon all over Europe, but also an inspiration to writers and artists at the onset of Modernism. As an intrinsically intermedial form with international performers, it can be seen as an expression of certain important characteristics of modern life like innovation, mobility, dynamics, speed and vigor. Its displays of color and excitement, of bodies in motion and often provocative gender relations were experienced by authors as a challenge to create new aesthetic forms. However, the circus does not only figure prominently in well-known works by Kafka and Thomas Mann and paintings by Degas, Macke or Leger, it is also thematized in texts by Scandinavian authors. When writers like Henrik Ibsen, Herman Bang, Ola Hansson and Johannes V. Jensen referred to the circus in their works, they represented it as an experience of modernity and addressed themes like alterity, mobility, voyeurism, new gender relations and ambivalent emotions. As a self-reflexive sign, the circus even served to represent the fragile status of art in modernity and thus made an important contribution to the development of Modernism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nordic and European Modernisms)
Open AccessArticle From Interethnic Alliances to the “Magical Negro”: Afro-Asian Interactions in Asian Latin American Literature
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040110
Received: 24 September 2018 / Revised: 25 October 2018 / Accepted: 2 November 2018 / Published: 5 November 2018
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Abstract
This essay studies Afro-Asian sociocultural interactions in cultural production by or about Asian Latin Americans, with an emphasis on Cuba and Brazil. Among the recurrent characters are the black slave, the china mulata, or the black ally who expresses sympathy or even
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This essay studies Afro-Asian sociocultural interactions in cultural production by or about Asian Latin Americans, with an emphasis on Cuba and Brazil. Among the recurrent characters are the black slave, the china mulata, or the black ally who expresses sympathy or even marries the Asian character. This reflects a common history of bondage shared by black slaves, Chinese coolies, and Japanese indentured workers, as well as a common history of marronage. These conflicts and alliances between Asians and blacks contest the official discourse of mestizaje (Spanish-indigenous dichotomies in Mexico and Andean countries, for example, or black and white binaries in Brazil and the Caribbean) that, under the guise of incorporating the other, favored whiteness while attempting to silence, ignore, or ultimately erase their worldviews and cultures. Full article
Open AccessArticle James Joyce and the Epiphanic Inscription: Towards an Art of Gesture as Rhythm
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040109
Received: 7 September 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 30 October 2018 / Published: 3 November 2018
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Abstract
In Agency and Embodiment, Carrie Noland describes gesture as “a type of inscription, a parsing of the body into signifying and operational units”, considering it as a means to read and decode the human body. Through an analysis of James Joyce’s collection
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In Agency and Embodiment, Carrie Noland describes gesture as “a type of inscription, a parsing of the body into signifying and operational units”, considering it as a means to read and decode the human body. Through an analysis of James Joyce’s collection of Epiphanies, my paper will examine how gesture, as a mode of expression of the body, can be transcribed on the written page. Written and collected to record a “spiritual manifestation” shining through “in the vulgarity of speech or gesture, or in a memorable phase of the mind itself”, Joyce’s Epiphanies can be considered as the first step in his sustained attempt to develop an art of gesture-as-rhythm. These short pieces appear as the site in which the author seeks, through the medium of writing, to negotiate and redefine the boundaries of the physical human body. Moving towards a mapping of body and mind through the concept of rhythm, and pointing to a collaboration and mutual influence between interiority and exteriority, the Epiphanies open up a space for the reformulation of the relationship between the human body and its environment. Unpacking the ideas that sit at the heart of the concept of epiphany, the paper will shed light on how this particular mode of writing produces a rhythmic art of gesture, fixing and simultaneously liberating human and nonhuman bodies on the written page. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Anatomy of Inscription)
Open AccessArticle Charles Olson’s ‘Projective Verse’ and the Inscription of the Breath
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040108
Received: 9 September 2018 / Revised: 28 September 2018 / Accepted: 25 October 2018 / Published: 1 November 2018
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Abstract
Charles Olson’s hugely influential essay-manifesto ‘Projective Verse’ is usually understood as proposing a close - and a necessary—link between poetry and body. Some account of Olson’s as a ‘poetics of embodiment’ or a ‘breath-poetics’ is almost ubiquitous in the extant criticism, yet what
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Charles Olson’s hugely influential essay-manifesto ‘Projective Verse’ is usually understood as proposing a close - and a necessary—link between poetry and body. Some account of Olson’s as a ‘poetics of embodiment’ or a ‘breath-poetics’ is almost ubiquitous in the extant criticism, yet what this might actually mean or imply for poetry and poetry-reading remains unclear. ‘Projective Verse’ is deeply ambivalent about print, seeing in it the ‘closed verse’ Olson looked to replace, while simultaneously idealising the typed-and-printed page as the only medium for the supposed immediacy of the poet’s breath. This essay contends that Olson’s lionisation of the typewriter is accompanied by a suppressed inscriptional register—a concern with carving and engraving—and asks what the substrate hosting this inscription might be. The aims of the piece are twofold: to demonstrate that ‘Projective Verse’ contains a logic of inscription which has gone severely underappreciated; and to argue that this logic runs up against the much better-documented logic of poetic embodiment via the breath in such a way as to deeply trouble criticism’s rather murky understanding of what that latter logic implies, both in Olson’s specific case and for poetry more generally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Anatomy of Inscription)
Open AccessArticle Odysseus and the Cyclops: Constructing Fear in Renaissance Marriage Chest Paintings
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040107
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 19 October 2018 / Accepted: 22 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
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Abstract
Recent scholarship addressing access to Homer’s epics during the Italian Renaissance has illuminated the unique importance of visual narratives for the dissemination and interpretation of material associated with the Trojan War and its heroes. This article looks at early fifteenth-century images deriving from
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Recent scholarship addressing access to Homer’s epics during the Italian Renaissance has illuminated the unique importance of visual narratives for the dissemination and interpretation of material associated with the Trojan War and its heroes. This article looks at early fifteenth-century images deriving from the Odyssey that were painted for marriage chests (cassoni) in the popular Florentine workshop of Apollonio di Giovanni. Focusing on Apollonio’s subnarrative of Odysseus’ clash with the Cyclops Polyphemus (the Cyclopeia), I argue that Apollonio showcased this archetypal tale of a failed guest–host relationship to explore contemporary anxieties associated with marriage, an institution that figured prominently in the political and economic ambitions of fifteenth-century patriarchal families. Full article
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Open AccessArticle ‘As If There Was No Fear’: Exploring Nostalgic Narrative in Bo Carpelan’s Novel Berg
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040106
Received: 15 September 2018 / Revised: 24 October 2018 / Accepted: 26 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
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Abstract
This article addresses nostalgic experience and aims at a definition of nostalgic narrative through textual analysis. The target text is Bo Carpelan’s Berg (2005). The novel is analysed with narratological methods focusing on the narrative modes and the techniques of narrative mediation that
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This article addresses nostalgic experience and aims at a definition of nostalgic narrative through textual analysis. The target text is Bo Carpelan’s Berg (2005). The novel is analysed with narratological methods focusing on the narrative modes and the techniques of narrative mediation that invite a nostalgic experience in the reader. This side of the phenomenon—the textual aesthetics of nostalgia—has been explored by few scholars, whereas the contextual and cultural aspects of nostalgia have received a lot of attention. This article suggests further ways of analysing how a text evokes nostalgic experience, and thus considers the nostalgic experience of the reader as the definitive core of nostalgic narrative. The nostalgic experience in Berg is intense, reflective, and ambivalent. These qualities are produced on the level of both the narrative discourse and the story: by changes between the narrative modes and by the nostalgic and non-nostalgic content that builds and breaks the idealised narrative. The article suggests that more attention should be paid to the complexity of nostalgic narratives. Furthermore, it highlights that by creating reflectivity and contradictions, the non-nostalgic content also affects the nostalgic narrative. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Nostalgia)
Open AccessArticle Atoning for Nostalgia in Ian McEwan’s Atonement
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040105
Received: 15 September 2018 / Revised: 22 October 2018 / Accepted: 25 October 2018 / Published: 29 October 2018
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Abstract
Many critics have pointed out the ambiguities of Atonement, a postmodernist anti-nostalgic novel that brings to the fore all the traditional topoi of Englishness in order better to denounce them as sham. In Atonement, the nostalgic longing is linked to the
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Many critics have pointed out the ambiguities of Atonement, a postmodernist anti-nostalgic novel that brings to the fore all the traditional topoi of Englishness in order better to denounce them as sham. In Atonement, the nostalgic longing is linked to the desire of Briony (the protagonist/narrator) for a return to a state of innocence which, I will argue through a close analysis of the text and its recurring images, is as much an atoning for her crime as a longing to be at-one in a state of harmony. Literally utopian, this nostalgic longing appears as a fantasy of omnipotence by an immature ego. Yet Briony’s being born into a writer entails a facing of the other within the self, an atoning for her nostalgic bias, not by erasing it, but by acknowledging her full responsibility in it, a process the reader is also invited to go through. From a regressive quest, nostalgia thus turns into an opening to otherness and to new potentialities. The unbridgeable gap between nostalgic desire and its fulfilment is what fuels our longing, keeps us alive and allows for creation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Nostalgia)
Open AccessArticle “She Did Not Notice Me”: Gender, Anxiety, and Desire in The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040104
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 1 October 2018 / Accepted: 23 October 2018 / Published: 25 October 2018
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Abstract
Using the recent trend in literary scholarship that theorizes literature in terms of globalization, cosmopolitanism, and dialectic transnational identities, I examine gender and sexual ideology in Mohsin Hamid’s 2007 novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a post-9/11 text that explores the intricacies of community
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Using the recent trend in literary scholarship that theorizes literature in terms of globalization, cosmopolitanism, and dialectic transnational identities, I examine gender and sexual ideology in Mohsin Hamid’s 2007 novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a post-9/11 text that explores the intricacies of community and terror. Specifically, I argue that the novel articulates a particularly gendered vision of spatial, social, and political (im)mobility through the narrator’s desires, especially as demonstrated through his romantic interest, and masculine anxieties expressed through his response to American imperialism. The narrator’s view of the United States is inexorably tied to his projection of convoluted desire, and he conflates impotence with frustration at being unable to respond to growing American militaristic power. We as readers wish to identify with a protagonist whose story we slowly learn is largely articulated in terms of his sexual desire and denial: we at first empathize with his desire but then, when discovering its projection is problematic, simultaneously wish to reject it. The interplay of the microcosm of an individual’s failed romantic relationship and the macrocosm of countries at conflict mimics the mobility and liminality of conflicting ideologies. Full article
Open AccessArticle Into the Texan Sunset: Metanostalgia, Retro-, and Introspection in Lars Gustafsson’s “Where the Alphabet Has Two Hundred Letters”
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040103
Received: 14 September 2018 / Revised: 14 October 2018 / Accepted: 18 October 2018 / Published: 22 October 2018
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Abstract
If restorative nostalgia concentrates on national past and future and reflective nostalgia on individual memory (Boym 2001), Lars Gustafsson’s “Where the Alphabet Has Two Hundred Letters” does neither. This article argues that Gustafsson’s treatment of the past landscape is metanostalgic, in the
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If restorative nostalgia concentrates on national past and future and reflective nostalgia on individual memory (Boym 2001), Lars Gustafsson’s “Where the Alphabet Has Two Hundred Letters” does neither. This article argues that Gustafsson’s treatment of the past landscape is metanostalgic, in the sense that nostalgia is a theme and a means, rather than a sentiment, and that the way his tropic reinvention deals with nostalgia differs from other uses. Though the poem partakes in the pastoral tradition, it is less concerned with this mode and more concerned with the notion of ‘effect’, of which Gustafsson has written extensively. Gustafsson has also elaborated on the aspects of ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’, notions that are used to define and extend the poetic landscape and the speaker’s position in, and relation to, it. His poetic landscape encompasses the extremes of continents near and far, but also landscapes temporally removed, which may hold a different status in terms of their impact on ‘effect’, a status that is then not hinging on the obvious hierarchies of traditional nostalgia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Nostalgia)
Open AccessArticle Projective Verse: The Spiritual Legacy of the Beat Generation
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040102
Received: 25 September 2018 / Revised: 8 October 2018 / Accepted: 17 October 2018 / Published: 22 October 2018
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Abstract
Allen Ginsberg’s poetry, poetics or cultural activism; Jack Kerouac’s prose, poetry and his method of composition; Gary Snyder’s environmental and Buddhist consciousness and bioregional ethos, or the opening made by the Beats for Eastern spirituality in the west are of intrinsic value and
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Allen Ginsberg’s poetry, poetics or cultural activism; Jack Kerouac’s prose, poetry and his method of composition; Gary Snyder’s environmental and Buddhist consciousness and bioregional ethos, or the opening made by the Beats for Eastern spirituality in the west are of intrinsic value and will be for generations, this paper seeks to posit that it is Michael McClure’s use of Projective Verse, that future generations of writers and readers will come to appreciate as that movement’s spiritual legacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beat Generation Writers as Readers of World Literature)
Open AccessArticle There’s No Nostalgia Like Hollywood Nostalgia
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040101
Received: 15 September 2018 / Revised: 12 October 2018 / Accepted: 18 October 2018 / Published: 19 October 2018
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Abstract
This essay argues that the complexities of the nostalgic impulse in Hollywood cinema are inadequately described by Svetlana Boym’s particular description of Hollywood as “both induc[ing] nostalgia and offer[ing] a tranquilizer” and her highly influential general distinction between restorative and reflective nostalgia. Instead,
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This essay argues that the complexities of the nostalgic impulse in Hollywood cinema are inadequately described by Svetlana Boym’s particular description of Hollywood as “both induc[ing] nostalgia and offer[ing] a tranquilizer” and her highly influential general distinction between restorative and reflective nostalgia. Instead, it contends that Hollywood departs in important ways from the models of both the restorative nostalgia established by the heritage cinema and Great Britain and the reflective nostalgia commonly found in American literature. Using a wide range of examples from American cinema, American literature, and American culture, it considers the reasons why nostalgia occupies a different place and seeks different kinds of expressions in American culture than it does in other national cultures, examines the leading Hollywood genres in which restorative nostalgia appears and the distinctive ways those genres inflect it, and concludes by urging a closer analysis of the more complex, multi-laminated nostalgia Hollywood films offer as an alternative to Boym’s highly influential categorical dichotomy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Nostalgia)
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