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Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 1 (March 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The study of Chartist, working-class, and laboring-class literatures has thoroughly evolved in [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Two 1916s: Sebastian Barry’s A Long Long Way
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010060
Received: 11 February 2019 / Revised: 19 March 2019 / Accepted: 21 March 2019 / Published: 23 March 2019
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Abstract
As Paul Fussell has shown, the First World War was a watershed moment for 20th century British history and culture. While the role of the 36th (Ulster) Division in the Battle of the Somme has become a part of unionist iconography in what [...] Read more.
As Paul Fussell has shown, the First World War was a watershed moment for 20th century British history and culture. While the role of the 36th (Ulster) Division in the Battle of the Somme has become a part of unionist iconography in what is now Northern Ireland, the experience of southern or nationalist Irish soldiers in the war remains underrepresented. Sebastian Barry’s 2005 novel, A Long Long Way is one attempt to correct this historical imbalance. This article will examine how Barry represents the relationship between the First World War and the 1916 Easter Rising through the eyes of his politically-conflicted protagonist, Willie Dunne. While the novel at first seems to present a common war experience as a means of healing political divisions between Ireland and Britain, this solution ultimately proves untenable. By the end of the novel, Willie’s hybrid English–Irish identity makes him an outcast in both places, even as he increasingly begins to identify with the Irish nationalist cause. Unlike some of Barry’s other novels, A Long Long Way does not present a disillusioned version of the early 20th century Irish nationalism. Instead, Willie sympathizes with the rebels, and Barry ultimately argues for a more inclusive Irish national identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue War and Literature: Commiserating with the Enemy)
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Open AccessArticle Spectral Sterility in Bucknill and Tuke’s A Manual of Psychological Medicine and Bulwer Lytton’s A Strange Story
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010059
Received: 2 February 2019 / Revised: 20 March 2019 / Accepted: 20 March 2019 / Published: 23 March 2019
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Abstract
This essay identifies and examines a narrative structure—here called the sterility plot—that is shown to recur in British mid-19th century psychiatric texts and imaginative literature engaging mental science. Treating physicians Bucknill and Tuke’s A Manual of Psychological Medicine and novelist Bulwer Lytton’s A [...] Read more.
This essay identifies and examines a narrative structure—here called the sterility plot—that is shown to recur in British mid-19th century psychiatric texts and imaginative literature engaging mental science. Treating physicians Bucknill and Tuke’s A Manual of Psychological Medicine and novelist Bulwer Lytton’s A Strange Story as influential case studies, it explores in particular the Gothic-styled spectralisation used by both Victorian medical and literary authors to characterize females whose mental disorders are depicted as bound with a short- or long-term inability to reproduce. The narratives thereby gender, pathologise, and suspensefully dramatise the plot trajectory of mentally ill patients’ clinical and fictional case histories, which, taken together, is argued to reveal mid-century medico-cultural anxieties about the health of Britain’s imperial future being threatened by potentially sterile Englishwomen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical Narratives of Ill Health)
Open AccessArticle “Divided by a Common Language”: The Use of Verbatim in Carol Ann Duffy and Rufus Norris’ My Country; A Work in Progress
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010058
Received: 22 November 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 March 2019 / Published: 22 March 2019
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Abstract
‘My Country; A Work in Progress’ written and arranged by the poet Carol Ann Duffy is a verbatim play that uses interviews conducted with people from various regions in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland to explore the causes of the EU referendum [...] Read more.
‘My Country; A Work in Progress’ written and arranged by the poet Carol Ann Duffy is a verbatim play that uses interviews conducted with people from various regions in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland to explore the causes of the EU referendum result. With the recent rise of populism across Europe, Britain, and America, an increased scepticism of established news media organisations, and a widespread disillusionment with the so-called political elite class, verbatim theatre’s “claim to veracity” and use of real-life testimonies seems to provide an attractive forum for both playwrights and audiences to investigate the underlying causes prompting these political and social movements. This paper examines how Duffy’s highly-fragmented arrangement of My Country’s verbatim voices in tandem with their re-citation and reterritorialization in the bodies of the performers on the stage ironically undermines the “claim to veracity” that its verbatim approach implies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Public Place of Drama in Britain, 1968 to the Present Day)
Open AccessArticle “Our Self-Undoing”: Christina Rossetti’s Literary and Somatic Expressions of Graves’ Disease
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010057
Received: 17 February 2019 / Revised: 17 March 2019 / Accepted: 18 March 2019 / Published: 21 March 2019
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Abstract
Victorian poet Christina Rossetti (1830–1894) was frequently troubled by poor health, and her mid-life episode of life-threatening illness (1870–1872) when she suffered from Graves’ disease provides an illuminating case study of the ways that illness can be reflected in poetry and prose. Rossetti, [...] Read more.
Victorian poet Christina Rossetti (1830–1894) was frequently troubled by poor health, and her mid-life episode of life-threatening illness (1870–1872) when she suffered from Graves’ disease provides an illuminating case study of the ways that illness can be reflected in poetry and prose. Rossetti, her family, and her doctors understood Graves’ disease as a heart condition; however, Rossetti’s writing reflects a different paradigm, presenting themes of self-attack and a divided self that uncannily parallel the modern understanding of Graves’ disease as autoimmune in nature. Interestingly, these creative representations reflect an understanding of this disease process that Rossetti family documents and the history of Victorian medicine demonstrate Rossetti could not have been aware of. When the crisis had passed, Rossetti’s writing began to include new rhetoric and imagery of self-acceptance and of suffering as a means of spiritual improvement. This essay explores the parallels between literary and somatic metaphors: Rossetti’s body and art are often simultaneously “saying” the same thing, the physical symptoms expressing somatically the same dynamic that is expressed in metaphor and narrative in Rossetti’s creative writing. Such a well-documented case history raises questions about how writing may be shaped by paradigms of illness that are not accessible to the conscious mind. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical Narratives of Ill Health)
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Open AccessArticle Depictions of American Indians in George Armstrong Custer’s My Life on the Plains
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010056
Received: 8 February 2019 / Revised: 8 March 2019 / Accepted: 10 March 2019 / Published: 14 March 2019
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Abstract
General George Armstrong Custer remains one of the most iconic and mythologized figures in the history of the American West. His infamous defeat at the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn largely defines his legacy; historical scholarship and popular representations of Custer consistently [...] Read more.
General George Armstrong Custer remains one of the most iconic and mythologized figures in the history of the American West. His infamous defeat at the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn largely defines his legacy; historical scholarship and popular representations of Custer consistently focus on his “Last Stand.” However, Custer was also a writer with a keen appreciation for arts and culture. This article analyzes Custer’s descriptions of American Indians in his memoir My Life on the Plains (1874). I trace how Custer’s descriptions of Indians and Indian culture clearly reveal a colonial mindset; yet, Custer regularly reflects on Indians and Indian culture with interest, curiosity, and even respect. I analyze these moments of potential commiseration and question whether these moments depart from a colonial mindset. Additionally, I analyze how Custer constructs Indians as the “enemy” and show how these constructions are problematic, yet critical for Custer’s aestheticizing of military conflict. Ultimately, I argue that Custer’s memoir is deserving of increased attention as a literary text and show how to reveal complexities and contradictions with literary and historical implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue War and Literature: Commiserating with the Enemy)
Open AccessArticle Body Fluids and Fluid Bodies: Trans-Corporeal Connections in Contemporary German Narratives of Illness
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010055
Received: 26 January 2019 / Revised: 1 March 2019 / Accepted: 3 March 2019 / Published: 12 March 2019
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Abstract
Medicine uses body fluids for the construction of medical knowledge in the laboratory and at the same time considers them as potentially infectious or dirty. In this model, bodies are in constant need of hygienic discipline if they are to adhere to the [...] Read more.
Medicine uses body fluids for the construction of medical knowledge in the laboratory and at the same time considers them as potentially infectious or dirty. In this model, bodies are in constant need of hygienic discipline if they are to adhere to the ideal of the closed and clean organism without leakage of fluids. In contrast, psychoanalytical feminist body theory by Julia Kristeva (1982), Elisabeth Grosz (1989) and Margrit Shildrick (1999) has deconstructed the abject body and its fluids in Western culture and medicine. While postmodern feminism has often focused on discourses about bodies and illness to the neglect of their materiality, more recently, material feminism has drawn particular attention to lived material bodies with fluid boundaries and evolving corporeal practices (Alaimo and Hekman 2007). Stacy Alaimo has developed a model of the trans-corporeal body that is connected with the environment through fluid boundaries and exchanges (2010, 2012). Influenced by these trends in feminist body theory, illness narratives, often based on autobiographical experiences of female patients or their caregivers, have increased in recent decades in the West (Lorde 1980; Mairs 1996; Stefan 2007; Schmidt 2009; Hustvedt 2010). Such narratives often describe explicitly the material and affective aspects of intimate bodily experiences. In this article, I analyze two German quest narratives of illness: Charlotte Roche’s pop novel Feuchtgebiete (2008) and Detlev Buck’s German-Cambodian film Same Same But Different (2010) that is based on the memoir Wohin Du auch gehst by German journalist Benjamin Prüfer (2007). In both narratives, the protagonists and their partners struggle in their search for love and identity with illness or injury in relation to body fluids, including hemorrhoids and HIV. I argue that Feuchtgebiete and Same Same But Different not only critique medical and cultural discourses on body (fluids) and sexuality but also foreground a feminist trans-corporeal concept of the body and of body fluids that is open to fluid identities and material connections with the (global) environment. At the same time, the conventional and sentimental ending of these quest narratives undermines the possibilities of the trans-corporeal body and its fluid exchanges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical Narratives of Ill Health)
Open AccessArticle Demonizing the Enemy, Literally: Tolkien, Orcs, and the Sense of the World Wars
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010054
Received: 17 January 2019 / Revised: 7 March 2019 / Accepted: 9 March 2019 / Published: 12 March 2019
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Abstract
A seemingly inescapable feature of war is the demonization of the enemy, who becomes somehow less human and more deserving of death in times of military strife, which unsurprisingly helps to justify the violence against them. This article looks at the development, character, [...] Read more.
A seemingly inescapable feature of war is the demonization of the enemy, who becomes somehow less human and more deserving of death in times of military strife, which unsurprisingly helps to justify the violence against them. This article looks at the development, character, and role of the orcs—creatures that are in some senses, literally demonized—in J. R. R. Tolkien’s writings in connection with the ideological need to demonize the enemy in World Wars I and II. Yet, in creating an enemy whom the heroes could kill without compunction, Tolkien also betrayed his own sympathy for the devils, perhaps owing to his own experiences as a soldier. This ambiguity pervades Tolkien’s writings, even as his demonized orcs are dispatched by the thousands, thus shaping the sense of warfare and our experience of it according to the desire to simplify, and make more comprehensible, the martial narrative. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue War and Literature: Commiserating with the Enemy)
Open AccessArticle How the American Working Class Views the “Working Class”
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010053
Received: 8 November 2018 / Revised: 21 February 2019 / Accepted: 25 February 2019 / Published: 12 March 2019
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Abstract
This article reviews the complications in understanding some of the conflicting tenets of American working-class ethos, especially as it unfolds in the college classroom. It asserts that the working class values modesty, straightforwardness, and hard work and has a difficult time accepting an [...] Read more.
This article reviews the complications in understanding some of the conflicting tenets of American working-class ethos, especially as it unfolds in the college classroom. It asserts that the working class values modesty, straightforwardness, and hard work and has a difficult time accepting an ethos based in formal education. The article also discusses some of the performance aspects of working-class texts and explores the difficulties that outsiders face in trying to analyze/critique working-class experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric)
Open AccessArticle Environmental Catastrophe as Morphogenesis: Inhuman Transformations in Ballard’s Climate Novels
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010052
Received: 20 January 2019 / Revised: 16 February 2019 / Accepted: 4 March 2019 / Published: 9 March 2019
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Abstract
This paper offers a discussion of J. G. Ballard’s first four novels, The Wind From Nowhere (1962), The Drowned World (1962), The Drought (1965), and The Crystal World (1966) that centers on their portrayal of environmental transformation. Drawing on revised conceptualizations of the [...] Read more.
This paper offers a discussion of J. G. Ballard’s first four novels, The Wind From Nowhere (1962), The Drowned World (1962), The Drought (1965), and The Crystal World (1966) that centers on their portrayal of environmental transformation. Drawing on revised conceptualizations of the second law of thermodynamics and recent materialist scholarship, I illustrate how Ballard invokes material transformations that are ambivalently coded as terminal stasis and morphogenesis. In anticipations of the paradigm of the Anthropocene and ecocritical approaches to global climate change, Ballard’s novels re-embed the human in an ecology of inhuman forces and modes of self-organization that radically challenge entrenched ontological divisions and systemic boundaries. Particular attention is paid to the ways in which emergent structures, such as hurricanes and crystals identify his landscapes as dissipative systems far from equilibrium and rife with potential for the spontaneous generation of form. This resonance with scientific frameworks reveals itself in poetic registers that parallelize metaphors of life and death, and hinge on an estrangement of not only landscape, but also temporality, thus literalizing what it might mean to understand the human as a geological subject in the age of the Anthropocene. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue J. G. Ballard and the Sciences)
Open AccessArticle Regulating Desire: The Nature of Exhaustion in Ali Smith’s Hotel World and Ewan Morrison’s Tales from the Mall
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010051
Received: 12 September 2018 / Revised: 6 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2019 / Published: 8 March 2019
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Abstract
This article offers an ecocritical analysis of Ali Smith’s Hotel World (2001) and Ewan Morrison’s Tales from the Mall (2012). Through a combination of the world-ecology paradigm, feminist approaches, and queer theory, I argue that these texts connect normative desires to capitalism’s “organization [...] Read more.
This article offers an ecocritical analysis of Ali Smith’s Hotel World (2001) and Ewan Morrison’s Tales from the Mall (2012). Through a combination of the world-ecology paradigm, feminist approaches, and queer theory, I argue that these texts connect normative desires to capitalism’s “organization of nature.” The opening section of the article links Nancy Fraser’s work on social reproduction to Jason Moore’s argument that nature, in world-ecological terms, provides the “free gifts” (of work, energy, and even care) necessary for capitalist productivity. Morrison’s and Smith’s texts register this dynamic, positioning hierarchy, sexism, and the uneven experience of neoliberal violence in relation to enclosure, attacks on women, and environmental destruction. I detail how Hotel World binds suburban ecology to normative regulation, while Tales from the Mall connects land clearance to the geographical organization of class inequality. I then contend that the psychological and physical exhaustion of women in both works can be understood in relation to capitalism’s reduction of nature to an appropriable resource that provides comfort and pleasure for wealthy consumers. The article ends with an examination of how the texts reject liberal fantasies of benevolent capitalist globalization in the context of Scotland specifically, indicating the need for new narratives that challenge capitalism’s ecological regime. Full article
Open AccessArticle Very Strange Sit-Coms: J. G. Ballard, Psychopathology, and Online Participatory Media
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010050
Received: 22 January 2019 / Revised: 1 March 2019 / Accepted: 4 March 2019 / Published: 7 March 2019
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Abstract
“We’re all going to be starring in our own sit-coms, and they’ll be very strange sit-coms too, like the inside of our heads.”—J. G. Ballard, Extreme Metaphors. Ballard’s prediction about the possibility of projecting the inside of our own heads is highly illuminating [...] Read more.
“We’re all going to be starring in our own sit-coms, and they’ll be very strange sit-coms too, like the inside of our heads.”—J. G. Ballard, Extreme Metaphors. Ballard’s prediction about the possibility of projecting the inside of our own heads is highly illuminating in light of contemporary discourses on participatory media culture and online video-sharing platforms. This is not least due to the documented instances of violence and sexual deviance surrounding prominent figures on YouTube that lend a considerable amount of credence to what Ballard described, in his 1977 short story ‘The Intensive Care Unit’, as a ‘liberating affectlessness [that] allowed those who wished to explore the fullest range of sexual possibility and paved the way for the day when a truly guilt-free sexual perversity and, even, psychopathology might be enjoyed by all.’ This article examines how Ballard’s preoccupation with this ‘liberating affectlessness’—or as he notably termed it in his introduction to Crash, ‘the death of affect’—compares to the impetus that psychologists such as Jonathan Rottenberg and Sheri L. Johnson place upon an ‘affective science’ approach to exploring and treating psychopathology—an approach that they affirm has ‘tremendous potential to facilitate scientific work on the role of emotions in psychopathology.’ This active interplay between emotion and affect (or the calculated lack of) on one hand, and psychopathology on the other that Ballard and Rottenberg and Johnson investigate from different angles also feeds into discourses on online participatory media and the ways that users engage with online media. Specifically, this section of the article will draw upon the roles of private and public spaces, and the breakdown of traditional barriers between them, as well as the commercial factors that define and underpin this new media culture. ‘The Intensive Care Unit’ and later novels such as Cocaine Nights (1996) play upon these themes as a means of anticipating and demonstrating how, in Ballard’s fiction as well as in real-life instances, psychopathology emerges in the breakdown of the barriers between lives lived excessively on screen and the external, sensory and emotional world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue J. G. Ballard and the Sciences)
Open AccessArticle Protest and Apology in the Arctic: Enacting Citizenship in Two Recent Swedish Films
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010049
Received: 7 January 2019 / Revised: 23 February 2019 / Accepted: 1 March 2019 / Published: 7 March 2019
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Abstract
Today, Sweden enjoys a positive international reputation for its commitment to human rights issues, for instance, in relation to the recent migrant crisis. Abuses committed by the Swedish state against certain ethnic groups within the country are less well known, both within and [...] Read more.
Today, Sweden enjoys a positive international reputation for its commitment to human rights issues, for instance, in relation to the recent migrant crisis. Abuses committed by the Swedish state against certain ethnic groups within the country are less well known, both within and beyond its borders. These included systematic attempts to curtail the use of indigenous and local languages, thereby causing communicative and ideological rifts between children and their parents. These policies were enacted through the school system from the 1920s until the 1970s, and particularly affected people living in the Arctic region where the national borders are disputed. In this article, we examine two twenty-first-century films set during this era, featuring feisty female characters responding to the school policy. Elina: As though I wasn’t there is a children’s film created by people “outside” the cultural group represented; and Sámi Blood features an adolescent protagonist (and her older self), created by “insiders” of the cultural group represented. In both films, the female protagonists’ relative lack of agency within the state school system is contrasted with their powerful connections to the Arctic landscape. We seek to examine how these films contribute to the work of apology, beginning with a public acknowledgement of the wrongs of the past. Whilst one of the films concludes with a celebration of the female protagonists’ agency, the other proffers a more ambiguous portrayal of power in relation to culture, nationality, and identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Narratives as Transnational Cultural Heritage)
Open AccessArticle Children’s Literature in Translation: Towards a Participatory Approach
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010048
Received: 8 January 2019 / Revised: 13 February 2019 / Accepted: 21 February 2019 / Published: 6 March 2019
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Abstract
In the Netherlands and Flanders, more or less a fifth of all children’s books are translations. The decision of what gets translated and funded is, for the most part, informed by adults’ decisions. This paper offers a first step towards a more participatory [...] Read more.
In the Netherlands and Flanders, more or less a fifth of all children’s books are translations. The decision of what gets translated and funded is, for the most part, informed by adults’ decisions. This paper offers a first step towards a more participatory approach to the translation of books for young readers by investigating children’s understanding of translation processes and the criteria that they put forward as desirable for the international circulation of children’s books. It presents the findings from interviews and a focus group talk with child members of the “Kinder- en Jeugdjury Vlaanderen”, a children’s jury in which the jurors read both original and translated works. While the children did not always realize which books were translated, they did express clear views on their preferred translation strategies, highlighting the potential to learn about other cultures while also voicing concern about readability. They cared less about exporting their own cultural heritage to other countries, and put the focus on the expansion of interesting stories to read as the main benefit of translations. While this project still involved a fairly high level of adult intervention, it makes clear the potential of children to contribute to decisions about the transnational exchange of cultural products developed for them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Narratives as Transnational Cultural Heritage)
Open AccessArticle The Voice of Skogula in ‘Beasts Royal’ and a Story of the Tagus Estuary (Lisbon, Portugal) as Seen through a Whale’s-Eye View
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010047
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 4 February 2019 / Accepted: 26 February 2019 / Published: 5 March 2019
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Abstract
Patrick O’Brian inspired this work, with his 1934 book of chronicles “Beasts Royal,” where he gives a voice to animals. Therein, among other animals, we find Skogula, a young sperm whale journeying with his family group across the South Seas and his views [...] Read more.
Patrick O’Brian inspired this work, with his 1934 book of chronicles “Beasts Royal,” where he gives a voice to animals. Therein, among other animals, we find Skogula, a young sperm whale journeying with his family group across the South Seas and his views on the surrounding world, both underwater and on land. This paper tells a story of historical natural events, from the viewpoint of a fin whale that travelled, rested and stranded in the Tagus estuary mouth (Lisbon, Portugal) during the early 16th century. It allows us to move across time and explore the past of this estuarine ecosystem. What kind of changes took place and how can literature and heritage contribute to understand peoples’ constructions of past environments, local maritime histories and memories? In the second part of this essay we present a fictional short story, supported on historical documental sources and imagery research where Lily, the whale, is the main character. Thus, we see the Tagus estuary as perceived through this whale’s-eye view. Finally, we discuss past earthquakes, whale strandings, the occurrence of seals and dolphins and peoples’ perceptions of the Tagus coastal environment across time. We expect to make a contribution to the field of the marine environmental humanities. We will do so both by addressing, by means of this literary approach, the writing of “new thalassographies,” oceanic historiographies and “historicities” and by including all intervening actors—people, animals and the physical space—in the understanding of the past of more-than-human aquatic worlds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bayscapes—Shaping the Coastal Interface through Time)
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Open AccessArticle @Shakespeare and @TwasFletcher: Performances of Authority
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010046
Received: 4 February 2019 / Revised: 22 February 2019 / Accepted: 23 February 2019 / Published: 4 March 2019
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Abstract
‘@Shakespeare: Trying to keep incognito with #WSCongress16 in town. If a scholar sees me I just say, “Hullo, lovely to meet you. I’m Peter Holland”/@TwasFletcher: Tell them you’re Me!’ (1 August 2016). This article looks at the anonymously-managed @Shakespeare account and its performance [...] Read more.
‘@Shakespeare: Trying to keep incognito with #WSCongress16 in town. If a scholar sees me I just say, “Hullo, lovely to meet you. I’m Peter Holland”/@TwasFletcher: Tell them you’re Me!’ (1 August 2016). This article looks at the anonymously-managed @Shakespeare account and its performance of Shakespeare’s authority on social media, in the context of the parody bot account @TwasFletcher. I argue that authority is established and performed by @Shakespeare through interaction with other authoritative accounts, literary in-jokes, engagement with academic conferences, and, most crucially, anonymity. The destabilising or undermining of Shakespeare’s online authority as performed by @TwasFletcher, is especially significant for its lack of anonymity: created by Hofstra University professor and associate dean Vimala C. Pasupathi, @TwasFletcher raises questions about how scholars who are not white, cis-het men make space for themselves within the authority commanded by Shakespeare, especially online. By inserting Fletcher into Shakespeare, Pasupathi herself performs authority in opposition to Shakespeare and the dominant idea of who a Shakespeare scholar should be or what s/he should do. This essay will therefore argue that two meanings of “authority”—recognized as true or valid on the one hand, and domineering, autocratic, or imposing on the other—play out through the relationship between @Shakespeare and @TwasFletcher on Twitter. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Digital Humanities’ Shakespeare Problem
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010045
Received: 28 January 2019 / Revised: 19 February 2019 / Accepted: 23 February 2019 / Published: 4 March 2019
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Abstract
Digital humanities has a Shakespeare problem; or, to frame it more broadly, a canon problem. This essay begins by demonstrating why we need to consider Shakespeare’s position in the digital landscape, recognizing that Shakespeare’s prominence in digital sources stems from his cultural prominence. [...] Read more.
Digital humanities has a Shakespeare problem; or, to frame it more broadly, a canon problem. This essay begins by demonstrating why we need to consider Shakespeare’s position in the digital landscape, recognizing that Shakespeare’s prominence in digital sources stems from his cultural prominence. I describe the Shakespeare/not Shakespeare divide in digital humanities projects and then turn to digital editions to demonstrate how Shakespeare’s texts are treated differently from his contemporaries—and often isolated by virtue of being placed alone on their pedestal. In the final section, I explore the implications of Shakespeare’s popularity to digital humanities projects, some of which exist solely because of Shakespeare’s status. Shakespeare’s centrality to the canon of digital humanities reflects his reputation in wider spheres such as education and the arts. No digital project will offer a complete, unmediated view of the past, or, indeed, the present. Ultimately, each project implies an argument about the status of Shakespeare, and we—as Shakespeareans, early modernists, digital humanists, humanists, and scholars—must determine what arguments we find persuasive and what arguments we want to make with the new projects we design and implement. Full article
Open AccessArticle Creaturely Life in “We Come as Friends”
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010044
Received: 18 January 2019 / Revised: 20 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 1 March 2019
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Abstract
In this article we focus on the analysis of a 2014 Austrian–French documentary We come as friends (110 min), written, directed, and produced by Hubert Sauper. We come as friends is a documentary about a corporate, polycentric, contemporary colonization of South Sudan. It [...] Read more.
In this article we focus on the analysis of a 2014 Austrian–French documentary We come as friends (110 min), written, directed, and produced by Hubert Sauper. We come as friends is a documentary about a corporate, polycentric, contemporary colonization of South Sudan. It is described by Sauper as “a modern odyssey, a dizzying, science fiction-like journey into the heart of Africa”. It is about Sudan, the continent’s biggest country, at the moment when it was divided into two nations in a 2011 referendum. It documents, according to Sauper, much more than the separation of the predominantly Christian south from the mostly “Muslim Arabs” of the rest of the Sudan; it shows how “an old ‘civilizing’ pathology reemerges—that of colonialism, clash of empires, and yet new episodes of bloody (and holy) wars over land and resources”. Inspired by Eric Santner’s concept of “creaturely life” we analyze a natural history of the present and creaturely expressions in We come as friends. Full article
Open AccessArticle Lucy Hutchinson and Margaret Cavendish: Civil War and Enemy Commiseration
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010043
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 19 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 1 March 2019
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Abstract
Lucy Hutchinson (1620–1681) and Margaret Cavendish (1623–1673), prolific writers from the seventeenth century, came of age in one of the most difficult times in British history. Blair Worden, an eminent historian, writes, “The political upheaval of the mid-seventeenth century has no parallel in [...] Read more.
Lucy Hutchinson (1620–1681) and Margaret Cavendish (1623–1673), prolific writers from the seventeenth century, came of age in one of the most difficult times in British history. Blair Worden, an eminent historian, writes, “The political upheaval of the mid-seventeenth century has no parallel in English history,” and none of the previous conflicts “has been so far-reaching, or has disrupted so many lives for so long, or has so imprinted itself on the nation’s memory” (2009, p. 1). Hutchinson and her husband, John, were on the side of the parliamentarians in the Civil War while Cavendish and her husband, William, were stout royalists. Instead of showing aggressive stances against their enemies, Hutchinson and Cavendish engaged expansively in a language of empathizing with the enemy in order to lessen the extreme partisanship of that period. Focusing specifically on Hutchinson’s Memoirs of the Life of Colonel John Hutchinson, and Cavendish’s Sociable Letters, among other writings, I argue that during the political impasse which characterized the English Civil War writings, the perspectives advanced by Hutchinson and Cavendish highlight the valuation of human life regardless of political allegiance, augmenting the odds for peaceful co-existence, in which empathy is foregrounded over, and at times alongside, loss and agony as a result of the Civil War aftermath. Suzanne Keen’s groundbreaking research in Empathy and The Novel draws upon examples from the Victorian period to illustrate her understanding of empathy, but she also states that “I feel sure they also pertain to the hopes of authors in earlier periods as well” (2007, p. 142), which is a position taken wholeheartedly in this article. Using a cognitive literary approach where authorial empathic constructions are analyzed, Hutchinson’s and Cavendish’s closely read texts portray an undeniable level of commiseration with the enemy with the goal of abating violence and increasing cooperation and understanding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue War and Literature: Commiserating with the Enemy)
Open AccessArticle Innovating Shakespeare: The Politics of Technological Partnership in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Tempest (2016)
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010042
Received: 28 January 2019 / Revised: 20 February 2019 / Accepted: 23 February 2019 / Published: 1 March 2019
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Abstract
This article examines the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) recent focus on digital ‘innovation’ by analysing the relationship between their emerging digital-focused business practices and digital performance practice for The Tempest (2016). To assess this relationship, I first review the socioeconomic context of 21st [...] Read more.
This article examines the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) recent focus on digital ‘innovation’ by analysing the relationship between their emerging digital-focused business practices and digital performance practice for The Tempest (2016). To assess this relationship, I first review the socioeconomic context of 21st century neoliberal UK economic policy that encourages arts organisations such as the RSC to participate in innovative digital production practices. I follow with a definition and deconstruction of ‘innovation’ as a key term in UK economic policy. I then demonstrate how the RSC has strategically become involved in innovation practices throughout the 2010s. I will then analyse the digital, motion-capture performance practices the RSC developed in partnership with Intel and motion-capture studio The Imaginarium for The Tempest. In doing so, I will demonstrate that The Tempest serves to legitimise the RSC’s status as a competitor and collaborator in the wider digital economy. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Dark, Inner Life and a Society in Crisis: Nina Bouraoui’s Standard
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010041
Received: 30 December 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2019 / Accepted: 21 February 2019 / Published: 28 February 2019
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Abstract
Situating close readings of Nina Bouraoui’s latest novel Standard (2014) within the context of a critique of neoliberalism and of the ongoing geopolitical uprisings in the Arab world, this essay presents the novel as a fine literary and affective exploration of personal concerns [...] Read more.
Situating close readings of Nina Bouraoui’s latest novel Standard (2014) within the context of a critique of neoliberalism and of the ongoing geopolitical uprisings in the Arab world, this essay presents the novel as a fine literary and affective exploration of personal concerns relating to sex, gender, and desire as well as a sociohistorical chronicle detailing how representations of personal and intimate relations may illuminate wider social ills together with the mechanism of contemporary political life. Drawing on critical work on affect by Sara Ahmed, Lauren Berlant, Judith Butler, and Judith/Jack Halberstam, this article argues that through its focus on affect, the text contributes to the unveiling and critical questioning of the biopolitical maneuvers that dispose life to precarity and of the ensuing desire for freedom, dignity, and rebellion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arab Diaspora Literature Then and Now)
Open AccessArticle The Gatekeeper within: Early Modern English Architectural Tropes of Female Consent
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010040
Received: 2 December 2018 / Revised: 18 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 28 February 2019
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Abstract
This essay maps out a constellation of early modern English feminine gatekeeper tropes that represent female sexual consent and imagine a gendered Cartesian dualism. This trope’s inherent mind–body divide grants the female subject’s mind a greater measure of rationality and autonomy from the [...] Read more.
This essay maps out a constellation of early modern English feminine gatekeeper tropes that represent female sexual consent and imagine a gendered Cartesian dualism. This trope’s inherent mind–body divide grants the female subject’s mind a greater measure of rationality and autonomy from the body than other early modern discourses of feminine virtue, such as humoralism. However, it can also undercut feminine agency in self-regulation by placing all the responsibility and blame on the woman’s mind in cases of sexual harrassment and assault. Hadrian Dorrell’s Avisa, Shakespeare’s Lucrece, Thomas Heywood’s Jane Shore, and Christopher Marlowe’s Hero represent a spectrum of feminine mental complicity in extramarital sex, yet their mental “gatekeepers” are all suspected of failure. Shakespeare’s Juliet and Cressida literalize this gatekeeper trope and render it a material allegory when they negotiate with male suitors at literal portals on stage, a window and a chamber door. Examining the extraordinary pressures put on feminine “gatekeeper” minds in early modern texts allows us to discern contemporary willingness to blame the victims of sexual assault. Full article
Open AccessArticle Hip-Hop Ethos
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010039
Received: 12 February 2019 / Accepted: 17 February 2019 / Published: 27 February 2019
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Abstract
This article excavates the ethos surrounding hip hop, starting from the proposition that hip hop represents a distinct yet pervasive expression of contemporary black subjectivity, which crystalized in 1970s New York City and has since proliferated into a potent ethos of the subaltern [...] Read more.
This article excavates the ethos surrounding hip hop, starting from the proposition that hip hop represents a distinct yet pervasive expression of contemporary black subjectivity, which crystalized in 1970s New York City and has since proliferated into a potent ethos of the subaltern embraced within socially marginalized youth communities throughout the world. The article begins by outlining the black diasporic traditions of expressive performance that hip hop issues from, as discussed through the work of Zora Neale Hurston and Amiri Baraka. In the remainder of the article, a blueprint of hip hop’s ethos is presented based on five fundamental tenets: (1) properties of flow, layering, and rupture; (2) a principle of productive consumption; (3) the production of excessive publicity or promotion—what hip-hop affiliates refer to as “hype”; (4) embracing individual and communal entrepreneurship; and (5) a committed politics of action and loyalty. While acknowledging hip hop’s malleability and refusal to be neatly characterized, the article maintains that its characteristic spirit embodies these core doctrines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric)
Open AccessArticle Spatial and Psychophysical Domination of Women in Dystopia: Swastika Night, Woman on the Edge of Time and The Handmaid’s Tale
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010038
Received: 14 January 2019 / Revised: 19 February 2019 / Accepted: 21 February 2019 / Published: 26 February 2019
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Abstract
Analyzing Burdekin’s Swastika Night Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale the article aims to examine the relations between space, gender-based violence, and patriarchy in women’s writing. Hitlerdom in Swastika Night, the mental hospital and the future [...] Read more.
Analyzing Burdekin’s Swastika Night Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale the article aims to examine the relations between space, gender-based violence, and patriarchy in women’s writing. Hitlerdom in Swastika Night, the mental hospital and the future dystopian New York in Woman on the Edge of Time, and Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale are spatial and social nightmares. The authorities that rule these dystopias imprison women in restricted spaces first, limit their vocabulary and daily actions, deprive them of their beauty, freedom and consciousness, and impose maternity or sexuality upon them. My analysis will connect the limitation of space with the psychophysical domination the objectification and the disempowerment of the female gender. Hoping also to shed light on the dynamics and the reasons for contemporary real gender-based violence and depreciation, the study will be focused on: 1. the ways space contributes to the creation, the stability and the dominion of dystopian powers; 2. the representation and the construction of female figures, roles and identities; 3. the techniques of control, manipulation and oppression used by patriarchal powers against women; 4. the impact of sex, sexuality and motherhood on women’s bodies; and 5. the possible feminist alternatives or solutions proposed by the novels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)
Open AccessArticle The Metropolitan Bay: Spatial Imaginary of Imperial St. Petersburg and Maritime Heritage of the Gulf of Finland
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010037
Received: 2 December 2018 / Revised: 18 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 26 February 2019
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Abstract
The paper aims to discuss the multifaceted links between the marine environment of the Gulf of Finland and the representations of the large complex of cultural heritage related to the city of St. Petersburg. The paper is based on a spatial imaginary of [...] Read more.
The paper aims to discuss the multifaceted links between the marine environment of the Gulf of Finland and the representations of the large complex of cultural heritage related to the city of St. Petersburg. The paper is based on a spatial imaginary of Greater St. Petersburg as the cultural and technological unity of the city and adjacent waterscapes in the times of the Russian Empire. This concept is instrumental to see the historical links between the parts of the heritage complex that has by now disintegrated and has been separated by state borders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bayscapes—Shaping the Coastal Interface through Time)
Open AccessArticle From Wounded Knee to Sacred Circles: Oglala Lakota Ethos as “Haunt” and “Wound”
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010036
Received: 24 January 2019 / Revised: 6 February 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
Oglala Lakota ethos manifests a pre-Socratic/Heideggerian variant of ethos: ethos as “haunt”. Within this alternative to the Aristotelian ethos-as-character, Oglala ethos marks out the “dwelling place” of the Oglala Lakota people. That is, the Oglala Lakota ground their cultural- and self-identity in the [...] Read more.
Oglala Lakota ethos manifests a pre-Socratic/Heideggerian variant of ethos: ethos as “haunt”. Within this alternative to the Aristotelian ethos-as-character, Oglala ethos marks out the “dwelling place” of the Oglala Lakota people. That is, the Oglala Lakota ground their cultural- and self-identity in the land: their ethology, in effect, expresses an ecology. Thus, an Oglala Lakotan ethos cannot be understood apart from its nation’s understanding of the natural world—of its primacy and sacredness. A further aspect of the Oglala Lakotan ethos rests in the nation’s history of conflict with EuroAmericans. Through military conflict, forced displacement, and material/economic exploitation of reservation lands, an Oglala Lakota ethos bears within itself a woundedness that continues to this day. Only through an understanding of ethos-as-haunt, of cultural trauma or woundedness, and of the ways of healing can Oglala Lakota ethos be fully appreciated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric)
Open AccessArticle Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and Holocaust Literature
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010035
Received: 12 January 2019 / Revised: 18 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” has been notorious since its first publication in 1948, but rarely, if ever, has it been read in light of its immediate historical context. This essay draws on literature, philosophy, and anthropology from the period to argue that Jackson’s [...] Read more.
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” has been notorious since its first publication in 1948, but rarely, if ever, has it been read in light of its immediate historical context. This essay draws on literature, philosophy, and anthropology from the period to argue that Jackson’s story, which scholars have traditionally read through the lens of gender studies, invokes the themes of Holocaust literature. To support this argument, the essay explores imaginative Holocaust literature from the period by David Rousset, whose Holocaust memoir The Other Kingdom appeared in English translation in 1946, anthropological discourse from the period on scapegoating and European anti-Semitism, and critical discourse on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism from the period by Hannah Arendt and Theodor Adorno. The analysis finds that, in representing the phenomena of scapegoating and death selection in a small town in the US, Jackson’s story belongs to an abstract discourse on Holocaust-related themes and topics that was actively produced at midcentury, as evidenced partly by Rousset’s influential memoir. A master of the horror genre, Jackson could have drawn on her own experience of anti-Semitism, along with her known interest in the study of folklore, to contribute this chilling representation of the personal experience of death selection to a discourse on Holocaust-related themes. As this article shows, the abstract discourse Jackson’s story joined is marked by skepticism about or disinterest in ethnic difference and anthropological concepts. Due to the fact that this article features comparative analysis of Holocaust literature, a sub-topic is the debate among scholars concerning the ethics of literary representation of the Shoah and of analysis of Holocaust memoir. Jackson’s story and its context invoke perennially important questions about identity and representation in discourse about the Shoah and anti-Semitism. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Proposal for Afro-Hispanic Peoples and Culture as General Studies Course in African Universities
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010034
Received: 26 November 2018 / Revised: 29 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 23 February 2019
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Abstract
After centuries of denial, suppression and marginalization, the contributions of Afro-Hispanics/Latinos to the arts, culture, and the Spanish spoken in the Americas is gradually gaining recognition as Afro-descendants pursue their quest for visibility and space in Spanish America. Hand in hand with this [...] Read more.
After centuries of denial, suppression and marginalization, the contributions of Afro-Hispanics/Latinos to the arts, culture, and the Spanish spoken in the Americas is gradually gaining recognition as Afro-descendants pursue their quest for visibility and space in Spanish America. Hand in hand with this development is the young generation of Afro-Latinos who, are proud to identify with the black race. Ironically, the young African student has very little knowledge of the presence and actual situation of Afro-descendants in Spanish-speaking America. This is because many African universities still follow the old colonial system which excludes knowledge of the presence and cultures of the once enslaved Africans in the Spanish speaking world. Thus, while Afro-descendants are fighting for visibility and recognition in Spanish America, they remain almost invisible in the African continent. The aim of this paper is to propose a curriculum, Afro-Hispanic Peoples and Culture, as a general studies course in African universities. Such a curriculum would create in Africa the much-needed visibility and contributions of Afro-descendants in Spanish-speaking America, and also foster collaborative works between young African academics and their counterparts in the Americas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Language Vitality of Spanish in Equatorial Guinea: Language Use and Attitudes
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010033
Received: 18 October 2018 / Revised: 6 February 2019 / Accepted: 17 February 2019 / Published: 21 February 2019
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Abstract
This study investigates the use of and attitudes towards, Spanish in the multilingual Republic of Equatorial Guinea, the only African country with Spanish as an official language. The Spanish dialect of Equatorial Guinea is an understudied area, although descriptive research on the Spanish [...] Read more.
This study investigates the use of and attitudes towards, Spanish in the multilingual Republic of Equatorial Guinea, the only African country with Spanish as an official language. The Spanish dialect of Equatorial Guinea is an understudied area, although descriptive research on the Spanish language spoken there began in the 1950s. Very few research studies have been carried out on the sociolinguistic dynamic of this multilingual country. Four scales of language vitality were utilized and it was demonstrated that Spanish in Equatorial Guinea is not endangered and continues to thrive. An online survey was also performed to assess Spanish language use and attitudes towards the Equatoguinean variety of Spanish. Respondents were highly educated, middle-class and spoke at least two languages. It was observed that Spanish was the functional language in almost all the sociocultural contexts or domains. Equatorial Guineans share that Spanish is important to their identity as the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa. Full article
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Open AccessArticle From Politics to Pope: An Account of the Group Aesthetic
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010032
Received: 7 January 2019 / Revised: 6 February 2019 / Accepted: 15 February 2019 / Published: 20 February 2019
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Abstract
This paper discusses the study of Chartist and working-class literatures, noting that the pronounced development of aesthetic criticism in these areas uncomfortably corresponds with the rejection of “aesthetics” in other fields. Chartist, working-class, and laboring-class scholars have broken free from monolithically sociological or [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the study of Chartist and working-class literatures, noting that the pronounced development of aesthetic criticism in these areas uncomfortably corresponds with the rejection of “aesthetics” in other fields. Chartist, working-class, and laboring-class scholars have broken free from monolithically sociological or political readings that only a generation ago too often dismissed artistic endeavors as, at best, merely a re-accenting of the mainstream. Current studies focus on the aesthetic innovations that emerged out of working-class entanglements with mainstream counterparts. The paper argues that the rejection of “aesthetics” generally fails to recognize marginalized and group aesthetics (including the critical work done on marginalized and group aesthetics) and specifically what it meant for a political cohort—the Chartists are my example—to think aesthetically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contestations: Literature & Aesthetics)
Open AccessArticle “‘The Mighty Meaning of the Scene’” Feminine Landscapes and the Future of America in Margaret Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes, in 1843
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010031
Received: 7 January 2019 / Revised: 14 February 2019 / Accepted: 16 February 2019 / Published: 20 February 2019
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Abstract
Like many of her contemporaries, Margaret Fuller had great hopes for the West. The Western lands, open for America’s future, held the promise of what America could become. In Summer on the Lakes, Fuller sketches what she hopes America will become. Using [...] Read more.
Like many of her contemporaries, Margaret Fuller had great hopes for the West. The Western lands, open for America’s future, held the promise of what America could become. In Summer on the Lakes, Fuller sketches what she hopes America will become. Using the landscape aesthetics of her age, such as the work of Andrew Jackson Downing and the Hudson River School of landscape painting, Fuller describes the ideal landscape as one that is more feminine and nurturing, one in which humankind lives in harmony with nature. Fuller’s landscape descriptions both point to a better future for America and critique the values of her contemporaries. Fuller contrasts America’s more male vision of conquest of the land with her feminine ideal of harmony with nature—a cultivated garden—to show what America’s future should be, as it builds westward. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)
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