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Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 2 (June 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Podcasts, by nature, break down traditional economic barriers to making and accessing content. [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
A Mind Trying to Right/Write Itself: Metaphors in Madness Narratives
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020118
Received: 20 February 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 19 June 2019 / Published: 25 June 2019
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Abstract
This article explores autobiographical madness narratives written by people with lived experience of psychosis, dated from the mid-19th century until the 1970s. The focus of the exploration is on the metaphors used in these narratives in order to communicate how the writers experienced [...] Read more.
This article explores autobiographical madness narratives written by people with lived experience of psychosis, dated from the mid-19th century until the 1970s. The focus of the exploration is on the metaphors used in these narratives in order to communicate how the writers experienced and understood madness from within. Different metaphors of madness, such as going out of one’s mind, madness as an inner beast, another world, or a transformative journey are presented based on several autobiographical books. It is argued that these metaphors often represent madness as the negative picture of what it is to be human, while the narrative writing itself helps to restore a sense of belonging and personhood. The value and function of metaphors in illness and madness narratives is further discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical Narratives of Ill Health)
Open AccessArticle
Inhabiting Liminality: Cosmopolitan World-Making in Naeem Mohaiemen’s Tripoli Cancelled
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020117
Received: 14 March 2019 / Revised: 28 May 2019 / Accepted: 29 May 2019 / Published: 24 June 2019
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Abstract
Motivated by “the need to embody … the palpable tension between the North and the South as it is reflected, articulated, and interpreted in contemporary cultural production”, documenta 14’s selection of Athens as a “vantage point … where Europe, Africa, the Middle East, [...] Read more.
Motivated by “the need to embody … the palpable tension between the North and the South as it is reflected, articulated, and interpreted in contemporary cultural production”, documenta 14’s selection of Athens as a “vantage point … where Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia face each other” is in line with the ancient Greek concept of the ‘cosmopolite’, a term that Diogenes first coined “as a means of overcoming the usual dualism Hellene/Barbarian”. In this article, I suggest that Naeem Mohaiemen’s feature film, Tripoli Cancelled (2017), commissioned by documenta 14 and premiered at the National Contemporary Art Museum in Athens, proposes a rich and compelling model of cosmopolitan world-making. Shot at the abandoned Elliniko Airport, the film is poetically suspended between fact and fiction, past and present, the historical and the incidental, the local and the global. Creatively positioning the concepts of cosmopolitanism, nostalgia, and hospitality in dialogue, I develop a theoretical model through which I seek to explore how the literally and metaphorically liminal space inhabited by the film’s anonymous protagonist resonates with the contemporary conditions of desperate migration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue (Re)Mapping Cosmopolitanism in Literature and Film)
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Open AccessArticle
The Glorious Plagiarism, Trash Aesthetics, and Ecological Entropy of Cryptic Cut-Ups from Minutes to Go
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020116
Received: 15 May 2019 / Revised: 27 May 2019 / Accepted: 18 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
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Abstract
This paper examines some of the many ways in which example early cut-ups from Minutes to Go recall canonical literary forms, revive the revolutionary destructive urgency of Dada aesthetics, as well as contribute to wider environmental concerns. How do unusual examples of radically [...] Read more.
This paper examines some of the many ways in which example early cut-ups from Minutes to Go recall canonical literary forms, revive the revolutionary destructive urgency of Dada aesthetics, as well as contribute to wider environmental concerns. How do unusual examples of radically experimental literature contribute to how people think about the environment? What can additional consideration of the cut-up manifesto Minutes to Go tell us about the relationship between culture and nature? This paper suggests that unstudied examples of cryptic cut-ups from Minutes to Go participate in cultural recycling through the Glorious Plagiarism of canonical texts, and what emerges from the Dada Compost Grinder is a trash aesthetic that highlights the voids of both consumer and material culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beat Generation Writers as Readers of World Literature)
Open AccessArticle
Like Melville on the Leaf of Shakespeare? Olson’s Annotations to Ace of Pentacles, by John Wieners
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020115
Received: 15 February 2019 / Revised: 21 May 2019 / Accepted: 28 May 2019 / Published: 19 June 2019
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Abstract
This article is on the textuality of handwritten marginal inscriptions, and the often acute difficulty of interpreting them. No poet was more profoundly influenced by the agonistics of this interpretative work than Charles Olson (1910–1970). One way to tell the story of his [...] Read more.
This article is on the textuality of handwritten marginal inscriptions, and the often acute difficulty of interpreting them. No poet was more profoundly influenced by the agonistics of this interpretative work than Charles Olson (1910–1970). One way to tell the story of his authorship would be to draw a categorical distinction between his life as a scholar of Herman Melville, and his life as a poet associated with the legacy of modernism and with Black Mountain College. However, the marginalia that Olson wrote in his copy of Ace of Pentacles (one of two he owned), by his former student and protégé, John Wieners, tell another story. At one point Olson seems to compare his marginalia in “John’s book” (as he calls it) to those Melville wrote “on the leaf of Shakespeare”. The annotated “leaf” he has in mind figures in Call Me Ishmael as decisively formative in the making of Moby-Dick. Evidence indicates that Olson used his copy of Ace of Pentacles to devise strategies of writing his way through a major tragedy—the loss of his wife in a car accident in March, 1964. It is amid his annotations that we find the probable starting place of several poems that he wrote to her memory, all controversially excluded from the posthumously published third volume of The Maximus Poems. Yet the marginalia are every bit as resistant to interpretation as those he had himself confronted in the marked pages of Melville’s books, and we will need to think carefully about this analogy and its implications. I argue that his marked-up copy of Ace of Pentacles is part of a textual continuum of uncertain extent, raising questions about how we should read the last volume of The Maximus Poems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Anatomy of Inscription)
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Open AccessArticle
Endlessly Responsible: Ethics as First Philosophy in Stanley Cavell’s Invocation of Literature
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020114
Received: 31 March 2019 / Revised: 7 June 2019 / Accepted: 12 June 2019 / Published: 17 June 2019
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Abstract
This essay aims to give an overview of the topic ethics and literature in Stanley Cavell’s complete oeuvre. It argues that Cavell’s preoccupation with literature is, from beginning to end, primarily ethical, even though he takes his point of departure in epistemological skepticism. [...] Read more.
This essay aims to give an overview of the topic ethics and literature in Stanley Cavell’s complete oeuvre. It argues that Cavell’s preoccupation with literature is, from beginning to end, primarily ethical, even though he takes his point of departure in epistemological skepticism. Recent research on the affinities between Cavell’s early writing on Shakespearean tragedy and the ethics of Emmanuel Levinas has helped to establish this but the question of how this part of Cavell’s work is related to his later development of Emersonian perfectionism is rarely touched upon. Consequently, this essay further argues that skepticism and perfectionism in Cavell’s thinking are two sides of one and the same ethics, which are bound together by the genre of romanticism. While Cavell’s work on skepticism is primarily concerned with the other, his work on perfectionism is primarily concerned with the self. Finally, this essay marks the point where Cavell’s and Levinas’ overall thinking part ways due to the fact that Cavell embraces Emersonian perfectionism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Literary Practice)
Open AccessArticle
Ben Dorain: An Ecopoetic Translation
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020113
Received: 15 September 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2019 / Published: 14 June 2019
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Abstract
In this article, I reflect on my own practice in translating Duncan Bàn Macintyre’s eighteenth-century Gaelic poem, Moladh Beinn Dóbhrain, into a twenty-first century ‘ecopoem’. Macintyre’s Moladh Beinn Dóbhrain has been praised for its naturalism. My translation of this long poem emphasises [...] Read more.
In this article, I reflect on my own practice in translating Duncan Bàn Macintyre’s eighteenth-century Gaelic poem, Moladh Beinn Dóbhrain, into a twenty-first century ‘ecopoem’. Macintyre’s Moladh Beinn Dóbhrain has been praised for its naturalism. My translation of this long poem emphasises the immediacy and biological specificity of Macintyre’s descriptions. I explore how the act of translation might intersect with contemporary ecological concerns. My poem is not simply a translation, but incorporates Moladh Beinn Dóbhrain into a new work which juxtaposes a free English version of Macintyre’s work with original material concerned with contemporary research into deer behaviour and ideas of ecological interconnectedness, including biosemiotics and Timothy Morton’s ‘dark ecology’. This article is a reflection on my production of a twenty-first century excavation and reimagining of Macintyre’s Moladh Beinn Dóbhrain. I consider how the difficulties of translation might be turned into imaginative opportunities, and explore how translation has the potential to function as exposition and expansion of an original text, in order to create a poem which is itself an ecosystem, comprising of multiple ecological, cultural and political interactions. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Digital Shakespeare Is Neither Good Nor Bad, But Teaching Makes It So
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020112
Received: 5 April 2019 / Revised: 30 May 2019 / Accepted: 4 June 2019 / Published: 9 June 2019
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Abstract
Digital Shakespeare is all around us: mobile apps, YouTube videos, online “participatory cultures,” electronic playtexts, web-based educational materials, even Shakespeare-themed videogames. But how do these resources intersect with the teaching of Shakespeare in the university classroom? In particular, how might digital technologies aid [...] Read more.
Digital Shakespeare is all around us: mobile apps, YouTube videos, online “participatory cultures,” electronic playtexts, web-based educational materials, even Shakespeare-themed videogames. But how do these resources intersect with the teaching of Shakespeare in the university classroom? In particular, how might digital technologies aid or impede the effective teaching of close reading and critical interpretation in relation to Shakespeare? Rather than discussing the various creative and interactive platforms and media available to the Shakespeare instructor, this essay focuses on recent studies exploring the consequences of using e-readers and other digital devices on individual brains in order to present (1) the demonstrably negative impact of “multitasking” on student learning, (2) the potentially damaging effects of using e-readers and e-texts in the Shakespeare classroom, and (3) suggestions regarding the best practices for teaching students to engage with complex texts like the works of Shakespeare. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Agents of Secularisation—Ibsen and the Narrative of Secular Modernity
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020111
Received: 7 February 2019 / Revised: 28 May 2019 / Accepted: 28 May 2019 / Published: 3 June 2019
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Abstract
In sociology, modernisation is often identified with secularisation. How can secularisation in the texts of modernism around 1900 be analysed? Literary history books tell us that the modernist authors were lucid analysts of their time who portrayed the process of secularisation going on [...] Read more.
In sociology, modernisation is often identified with secularisation. How can secularisation in the texts of modernism around 1900 be analysed? Literary history books tell us that the modernist authors were lucid analysts of their time who portrayed the process of secularisation going on around them in their dramas, novels or short stories. The article tries out a different approach: By conceptualizing secularisation as a cultural narrative, the perspective on the literary material changes fundamentally. The modernist authors were involved in shaping the idea of secularisation in the first place, in propagating it and in working on its implementation. They did not react to the process of secularisation with their texts. Instead, they were involved in the creation and shaping of the interpretative category ‘secularisation’. The article exemplifies this change in approach using a pivotal text of Nordic literary modernism, Ibsen’s Rosmersholm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nordic and European Modernisms)
Open AccessArticle
Analysing the Meta-Archive Arianna—‘Shakespeariana’: Research and Teaching Opportunities with the Iconographical Database
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020110
Received: 15 February 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 May 2019 / Published: 3 June 2019
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Abstract
The application of digital technologies to Shakespeare has advanced considerably over the last decade. The spread of online archives offers new opportunities for researchers and teachers, facilitating the collection of materials. Since 2011, we have seized upon the opportunity afforded by digital archives [...] Read more.
The application of digital technologies to Shakespeare has advanced considerably over the last decade. The spread of online archives offers new opportunities for researchers and teachers, facilitating the collection of materials. Since 2011, we have seized upon the opportunity afforded by digital archives with a project, Arianna, whose main goal is the creation of the meta-archive Shakespeariana, a database that includes iconographical items inspired by Shakespearean plays from the 16th century to the present day. As this article demonstrates, Arianna allows the user to make simple or combined searches in different fields, containing more than 13,000 iconographical items. Managing, sustaining, and refining the project brings new challenges. It poses the need to refine the strategies and methods of data acquisition, to conceive new tools of investigation, and to introduce some possible interactions with the end user. To this extent, two important problems are raised. The first concerns the function of Shakespeariana as a research and teaching tool. Since its content is constantly updated by researchers and collaborators, the digital archive is actually a collective and open-access work, but the filling of all the fields requires relevant levels of skills, critical perspectives, and knowledge about the single topics. Therefore, it is necessary to continually reflect on the proper, specific training to fill its content, to make researchers provide new information, and to mold them according to the existing standard. The second problem is the application of Shakespeariana to research. We argue that iconography provides some interpretative suggestions or helps to reveal the meaning and the dynamics of many otherwise obscure scenes. The relationship between text (and its adaptations) and figurative imagery has an osmotic character, with reciprocal influences and striking interactions. This article is arranged in two sections. The first explores the methodological questions and didactic purposes of Shakespeariana. The second offers an example of research application of the digital archive through the study of Salvador Dalí’s illustrated edition of Much Ado About Shakespeare (1968, 1971). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Traditionalist Salafis’ Perspective and Discourse on Militant Jihād
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020109
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 20 May 2019 / Accepted: 23 May 2019 / Published: 30 May 2019
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Abstract
This paper argues that the jihādi ideology draws upon the authentic and normative traditionalist salafi epistemology, which provides a moral and theological justification for militant jihād. In the current climate of political unrest and conflicts in the Middle East, maintaining a nexus [...] Read more.
This paper argues that the jihādi ideology draws upon the authentic and normative traditionalist salafi epistemology, which provides a moral and theological justification for militant jihād. In the current climate of political unrest and conflicts in the Middle East, maintaining a nexus between jihād and authentic Islam is crucial for traditionalist salafism in pursuit of authority, relevance and political interests. Through the misappropriation of the Meccan-Medinan trajectory and the concepts of nasẖ (abrogation) and ʾijmāʿ (consensus), the input of salafi scholars and preachers revitalizes the discourse around militant jihād as a legitimate vehicle for change and consequently propels jihādi ideology forward. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Interlocutors, Nonhuman Actors, and the Ethics of Literary Signification
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020108
Received: 11 April 2019 / Revised: 24 May 2019 / Accepted: 27 May 2019 / Published: 30 May 2019
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Abstract
Associating autonomy with art has long been viewed with suspicion, but autonomous signifying agency may be attributed to literary discourse without lapsing into decontextualized aestheticism or neoliberal conceptions of subjectivity. Through literary practices that “move” readers in a “singular” manner, a work becomes [...] Read more.
Associating autonomy with art has long been viewed with suspicion, but autonomous signifying agency may be attributed to literary discourse without lapsing into decontextualized aestheticism or neoliberal conceptions of subjectivity. Through literary practices that “move” readers in a “singular” manner, a work becomes what Rita Felski, following Bruno Latour, calls a “nonhuman actor.” Such an actor, Felski observes, “modifies a state of affairs by making a difference,” participating “in chains of events” so as to “help shape outcomes and influence events” (2015, pp. 163–64). Autonomous signifying agency within works and literary discourse more broadly enables them to become actors within what Latour terms “networks of associations” through which “the social” is constantly “reassembled.” But literary works also act as interlocutors, in the sense Levinas gives the word (1996a, pp. 2–10). Though not full-fledged ethical others, they nonetheless, as interlocutors, are sufficiently invested with the attributes and agency of ethical others to be their extensions or ambassadors Nonhuman, interlocutory literary agency may be explored in iconic passages of ancient literature—Telemachus’ recognition that he is being visited by a god (Odyssey Book 1: ll. 319–24) and Judah’s recognition that Tamar is more “righteous” than he (Gen. 38: 26). In being authoritative but not authoritarian, literary discourse becomes a potently autonomous actor within the networks of associations in which it participates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Literary Practice)
Open AccessArticle
The Domestic Tyranny of Haunted Houses in Mary Wilkins Freeman and Shirley Jackson
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020107
Received: 24 April 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 20 May 2019 / Published: 30 May 2019
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Abstract
Mary Wilkins Freeman and Shirley Jackson, though writing in different time periods, are both invested in recuperating domesticity and using their work to imagine what domesticity removed from the context of marriage and children can offer single women. Both authors assert that emplacement [...] Read more.
Mary Wilkins Freeman and Shirley Jackson, though writing in different time periods, are both invested in recuperating domesticity and using their work to imagine what domesticity removed from the context of marriage and children can offer single women. Both authors assert that emplacement within domestic enclosure is essential to securing feminine subjectivity, but their haunted house narratives undermine that very emplacement. Freeman’s stories, “The Southwest Chamber” and “The Hall Bedroom” anticipate Jackson’s more well-known The Haunting of Hill House in the way that unruly domesticity threatens the female character’s emplacement. Their haunted house narratives show that neither Freeman nor Jackson, for all that they are subversive in some ways, wants to dissolve the traditional ideological constructs of domesticity; instead, they want these ideologies to work in the culturally promised patriarchal fashion. Reading their haunted house narratives together reveals the dynamics and tensions of a domesticity that is fluid, entangled, and vibrant and the feminist potential such sites engender, even if the characters and texts in question cannot fully realize that potential. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Illness Narratives and Facebook: Living Illness Well
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020106
Received: 21 February 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 30 May 2019
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Abstract
Earlier scholarship provides important insights into the relationship of individual stories and narratives. Interactions with healthcare professionals and the healthcare system can often subsume the individual’s authority/agency. The patient’s narrative often gets lost in the elaborate web of doctor visits, referrals, medical records, [...] Read more.
Earlier scholarship provides important insights into the relationship of individual stories and narratives. Interactions with healthcare professionals and the healthcare system can often subsume the individual’s authority/agency. The patient’s narrative often gets lost in the elaborate web of doctor visits, referrals, medical records, case notes, etc. Online spaces such as Facebook, however, provide individuals with a platform through which they can understand, craft, and communicate their own personal illness narratives. Realizing this, this paper examines how the narratives of illness shared in illness-related Facebook groups help individuals make sense out of the disruption caused by their personal experience while residing in the ‘kingdom of the ill.’ To observe the construction and communication of these narratives, the researchers observed the activity of an online pulmonary embolism and deep-vein thrombosis survivor support group for one year. In this online space, individuals gained agency and authority in the construction of their own illness narratives. The findings of the research demonstrated both the importance of narrative in an individual’s health/illness journey as well as the need to further explore avenues that establish and bolster patient agency within the medical system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical Narratives of Ill Health)
Open AccessArticle
“Saving Venice”: Local, Global and Transnational Perspectives on Cultural Heritage in Children’s Fantasy
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020105
Received: 15 February 2019 / Revised: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 20 May 2019 / Published: 29 May 2019
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Abstract
Children’s literature has always been heavily influenced by the local and national climate in which it is produced, the birth of this literature having coincided in many places with the formation of the nation-state. Over the last 50 years, however, the effects of [...] Read more.
Children’s literature has always been heavily influenced by the local and national climate in which it is produced, the birth of this literature having coincided in many places with the formation of the nation-state. Over the last 50 years, however, the effects of globalization have radically transformed the relationship between authors and their markets, and a new tension has arisen in children’s texts between the local and the global. Celebrating commonality across boundaries while simultaneously safeguarding the tutelage of cultural heritage can be particularly difficult, especially when (as is the case with Venice) that heritage has been singled out by UNESCO as being under threat. This essay undertakes a close reading of three 21st-century fantasies for children set in Venice: Mary Hoffman’s Stravaganza: City of Masks, Laura Walter’s Mistica Maeva e l’anello di Venezia, and Michelle Lovric’s The Undrowned Child, all of which have been translated into other languages and reached audiences far beyond their places of origin. It asks what we mean when we speak about cultural heritage conservation in children’s literature today and the extent to which the preservation of Venice’s cultural heritage is being depicted in this literature as a transnational phenomenon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Narratives as Transnational Cultural Heritage)
Open AccessArticle
Social Reproduction at the End of Times: Jenni Fagan’s and John Burnside’s Degrowth Imaginaries
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020104
Received: 15 September 2018 / Revised: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2019 / Published: 28 May 2019
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Abstract
This article will explore how degrowth imaginaries inform the representation of social reproduction and environmental collapse in Jenni Fagan’s The Sunlight Pilgrims (2016) and John Burnside’s Havergey (2017). It will argue that the two novels deploy the trope of the end of times [...] Read more.
This article will explore how degrowth imaginaries inform the representation of social reproduction and environmental collapse in Jenni Fagan’s The Sunlight Pilgrims (2016) and John Burnside’s Havergey (2017). It will argue that the two novels deploy the trope of the end of times to frame the unravelling of the world-ecology that binds capital and nature together in the Capitalocene, according to Jason Moore. They suggest that this is what makes possible, and necessary, a re-organisation of social reproduction and of the patterns of energy consumption or generation with which this is entangled. The first part of this article will examine the metabolic rift with which The Sunlight Pilgrims and Havergey are concerned, while the second part will delineate the ways in which degrowth imaginaries frame the representation of reorganised forms of social (re-)production. Drawing on disability studies and situating The Sunlight Pilgrims and Havergey within the disciplinary framework of Scottish literature, I will continue to consider how Burnside’s and Fagan’s novels feature narratives of disability and the nation. These may come across as marginal to the plot but function as the foci through which the politics of the degrowth communities represented come to the fore. Full article
Open AccessArticle
“Its Own Concentred Recompense”: The Impact of Critical Disability Studies on Romanticism
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020103
Received: 8 April 2019 / Revised: 17 May 2019 / Accepted: 18 May 2019 / Published: 27 May 2019
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Abstract
The field of Critical Disability Studies (CDS) includes a diverse range of methodologies for the ethical re-evaluation of literary texts. CDS has a growing relationship with Romanticism, addressing themes such as sublime aesthetics and poetic symbolism. A major function of CDS is the [...] Read more.
The field of Critical Disability Studies (CDS) includes a diverse range of methodologies for the ethical re-evaluation of literary texts. CDS has a growing relationship with Romanticism, addressing themes such as sublime aesthetics and poetic symbolism. A major function of CDS is the re-reading of texts in terms authors’ lived experience of disability, and the social environments in which they produced. To that extent, CDS is a continuation of the process of re-historicizing Romantic literature. Complementary to the historicizing function, a range of more conceptual theories continues to impact on Romantic studies, opening up new possibilities for reading and scholarship. This article attempts to provide a critical overview of this ongoing work, and a sense of its diverse and at times contradictory nature. Concepts and theories for discussion include disability aesthetics, deformity, metaphor, and the Romantic fragment. The article includes a close analysis of Byron’s poem “Prometheus”, which connects revolutionary myth with ideas of pain and silence, demonstrating the fundamental contribution made by ideas of disability to literary Romanticism. CDS can help to disrupt the canonical and institutional nature of Romanticism, and to include dissident voices—not only the witness of the non-normatively embodied, but of difference in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Romanticism and Contemporary Literary Theory)
Open AccessArticle
Ethical Mimesis and Emergence Aesthetics
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020102
Received: 10 April 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 22 May 2019
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Abstract
In nature the transformation of dead matter (objects) into living matter endowed with green energy or subjectivity is called emergence. Art itself, I argue, is an emergence phenomenon, enacting and replicating in theme and form emergence in nature. Literature thus conceived is [...] Read more.
In nature the transformation of dead matter (objects) into living matter endowed with green energy or subjectivity is called emergence. Art itself, I argue, is an emergence phenomenon, enacting and replicating in theme and form emergence in nature. Literature thus conceived is about the emergence of spirit. It depicts forces that suppress spirit and enables the spiritual in nature to find expression. It gives voice to spirit rising. Mimesis is thus reconceived as a replication of the natural phenomenon of emergence, which brings to life what has hitherto been seen as object, dead matter. This article outlines the concept of emergence in current philosophical and scientific theories; examines the aesthetic precursors of emergence theory in certain Frankfurt School theorists, notably Theodor Adorno; and applies emergence aesthetic theory to a contemporary novel, Richard Powers’ The Overstory (2018). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Literary Practice)
Open AccessArticle
Genius and Genitality: William S. Burroughs Reading Wilhelm Reich
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020101
Received: 15 January 2019 / Revised: 30 April 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 21 May 2019
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Abstract
This article explores the impact of Wilhelm Reich’s theories and writings on the works and thinking of William S. Burroughs. Reich’s significance for Burroughs’ fiction is beyond doubt, as the appearance of Reich’s discoveries and inventions, such as orgones and orgone accumulators, in [...] Read more.
This article explores the impact of Wilhelm Reich’s theories and writings on the works and thinking of William S. Burroughs. Reich’s significance for Burroughs’ fiction is beyond doubt, as the appearance of Reich’s discoveries and inventions, such as orgones and orgone accumulators, in Burroughs’ major works demonstrates. Yet to date, no attempt has been made in academia to make all those references to Reich in Burroughs’ complete œuvre visible. In order to make the thinking of the Austrian-American psychoanalyst and scientist comprehensible for readers not familiar with Reich, the first section will provide a brief biographical outline. In the subsequent sections, the article will describe how Burroughs and other Beat writers discovered Reich, how and to what extent Burroughs incorporated Reich in his texts throughout his career and what opinions Burroughs expressed about Reich in interviews and letters. For the first time, with a summary as undertaken in this article and by documenting most of the references to Reich in Burroughs’ work, the importance of the former to the latter is revealed in a compact form. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beat Generation Writers as Readers of World Literature)
Open AccessArticle
New Formalism in the Classroom: Re-Forming Epic Poetry in Wordsworth and Blake
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020100
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 1 May 2019 / Accepted: 10 May 2019 / Published: 20 May 2019
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Abstract
Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in “New Formalism,” a close attention to textual language and structure that departs from the outdated and regressive stances of old formalisms (especially “New Criticism”) by interrogating the connections between form, history, and culture. This [...] Read more.
Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in “New Formalism,” a close attention to textual language and structure that departs from the outdated and regressive stances of old formalisms (especially “New Criticism”) by interrogating the connections between form, history, and culture. This article surveys the contributions of New Formalism to Romanticism studies and applies its techniques to two canonical texts, suggesting that New Formalism is useful both for literary criticism and teaching literature. Opening with a survey of New Formalist theory and practices, and an overview of the theoretical innovations within New Formalism that have been made by Romantic scholars, the article applies New Formalist techniques to William Wordsworth’s Prelude and William Blake’s Milton: a Poem. Often read as poems seeking to escape the dispiriting failure of the French Revolution, these texts, I argue, engage the formal strategies of epic poetry to enter the discourse of the period, offering competing ways to conceive of the self in relation to history. Written during the Romantic epic revival, when more epics were composed than at any other time in history, these poems’ allusive dialogue with Paradise Lost and with the epic tradition more broadly allows them to think through the self’s relationship to the past, a question energized by the Revolution Controversy. I explore how Wordsworth uses allusion to link himself to Milton and ultimately Virgil, both privileging the past and thereby asserting the value of the present as a means of reiterating and restoring it; Blake, in contrast, alludes to Milton to query the very idea of dependence on the past. These readings are intertwined with my experiences of teaching, as I have employed New Formalism to encourage students to develop as writers in response to texts. An emphasis on form provides students with concrete modes of entry into discussing literature and allows instructors to help students identify and revise the forms and structures of their own writing in response to literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Romanticism and Contemporary Literary Theory)
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Open AccessArticle
The American Film Musical and the Place(less)ness of Entertainment: Cabaret’s “International Sensation” and American Identity in Crisis
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020099
Received: 20 March 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 19 May 2019
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Abstract
This article looks at cosmopolitanism in the American film musical through the lens of the genre’s self-reflexivity. By incorporating musical numbers into its narrative, the musical mirrors the entertainment industry mise en abyme, and establishes an intrinsic link to America through the [...] Read more.
This article looks at cosmopolitanism in the American film musical through the lens of the genre’s self-reflexivity. By incorporating musical numbers into its narrative, the musical mirrors the entertainment industry mise en abyme, and establishes an intrinsic link to America through the act of (cultural) performance. Drawing on Mikhail Bakhtin’s notion of the chronotope and its recent application to the genre of the musical, I read the implicitly spatial backstage/stage duality overlaying narrative and number—the musical’s dual registers—as a means of challenging representations of Americanness, nationhood, and belonging. The incongruities arising from the segmentation into dual registers, realms complying with their own rules, destabilize the narrative structure of the musical and, as such, put the semantic differences between narrative and number into critical focus. A close reading of the 1972 film Cabaret, whose narrative is set in 1931 Berlin, shows that the cosmopolitanism of the American film musical lies in this juxtaposition of non-American and American (at least connotatively) spaces and the self-reflexive interweaving of their associated registers and narrative levels. If metalepsis designates the transgression of (onto)logically separate syntactic units of film, then it also symbolically constitutes a transgression and rejection of national boundaries. In the case of Cabaret, such incongruities and transgressions eventually undermine the notion of a stable American identity, exposing the American Dream as an illusion produced by the inherent heteronormativity of the entertainment industry. The film advocates a cosmopolitan model of cultural hybridity and the plurality of identities by shedding light on the faultlines of nationalist essentialism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue (Re)Mapping Cosmopolitanism in Literature and Film)
Open AccessArticle
Senses of Echo Lake: Michael Palmer, Stanley Cavell, and the Moods of an American Philosophical Tradition
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020098
Received: 11 April 2019 / Revised: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 19 May 2019
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Abstract
This essay explores a philosophical tradition that Stanley Cavell has traced out and which he emphasizes as being American inasmuch as it is arises out of the thinking of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. It then investigates how the poems of [...] Read more.
This essay explores a philosophical tradition that Stanley Cavell has traced out and which he emphasizes as being American inasmuch as it is arises out of the thinking of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. It then investigates how the poems of the avant-garde poet Michael Palmer link with, overlap with, this strain of American philosophy in terms of how it enacts an understanding of what we might call “philosophical mood,” on outlook based on the navigation of representation, generative self-consciousness, and doubt that amounts to a form of epistemology. The essay does not trace the influence—direct or otherwise of Cavell and his arguments for philosophy on the poems, despite a biographical connection between Cavell and Palmer, his former student. Instead it brings out the way that one might fruitfully locate Palmer’s work within an American literary/philosophical continuum. The article shows how that context opens up the work to a range of important existential and ethical implications. I endeavor to show that Notes for Echo Lake, Palmer’s most important collection, locates itself, its language, within such a frame so as to provide a place for readerly encounters with the limitations of language. These encounters then are presented as an opportunity for a deeper understanding of subjectivity and for attuning oneself to the role that active reading and interpretation might play in moral perfectionism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Literary Practice)
Open AccessEssay
A Dialogue on the Constructions of GLBT and Queer Ethos: “I Belong to a Culture That Includes …”
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020097
Received: 25 April 2019 / Revised: 5 May 2019 / Accepted: 5 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
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Abstract
Invoking a dialogue between two scholars, authors Jane Hoogestraat and Hillery Glasby discuss the exigence for, construction of, and differentiation between LGBT and queer ethos. Drawing from Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart and the construction of a gay identity, the text explores connections [...] Read more.
Invoking a dialogue between two scholars, authors Jane Hoogestraat and Hillery Glasby discuss the exigence for, construction of, and differentiation between LGBT and queer ethos. Drawing from Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart and the construction of a gay identity, the text explores connections between queer theory, LGBT(Q) ethos, and queer futurity, ultimately arguing for a more nuanced and critical understanding of the undecidability and performativity of LGBT and queer ethos. In framing LGBT and queer ethos as being at the same time a self and socially constructed and mediated—legitimate and illegitimate—ethos can be understood not only as a site for rhetorical agency, but also as an orientation and a form of activism. Finally, the text offers a case study of Adrienne Rich’s “Yom Kippur,” which is a poem that offers a queer (and) Jewish perspective on identity—from an individual and community level—exhibiting both an LGBT and queer ethos. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric)
Open AccessArticle
Lincoln in the Bardo: “Uh, NOT a Historical Novel”
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020096
Received: 2 April 2019 / Revised: 26 April 2019 / Accepted: 10 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
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Abstract
While George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo (2017) has many of the characteristics of the traditional historical novel—lapse of time, incorporation of historical characters, focus on important world-historical events and conditions—it intriguingly challenges the boundaries of the genre by an unsettling approach to [...] Read more.
While George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo (2017) has many of the characteristics of the traditional historical novel—lapse of time, incorporation of historical characters, focus on important world-historical events and conditions—it intriguingly challenges the boundaries of the genre by an unsettling approach to verisimilitude. In addition, its fragmentation and an unusual approach to narrative help to qualify it as a neo-historical novel. The author’s thoughts on historical fiction help to clarify its positioning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Contemporary Historical Fiction)
Open AccessArticle
Music of the Tabom: An Emblem of Identity
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020095
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 4 April 2019 / Accepted: 29 April 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract
This paper discusses how music functions as an emblem of identity for the Afro-Brazilian community in Accra, Ghana, known as the Tabom. The paper provides a contextual and analytical study of the complete musical enactment as practiced by this community, and argues, [...] Read more.
This paper discusses how music functions as an emblem of identity for the Afro-Brazilian community in Accra, Ghana, known as the Tabom. The paper provides a contextual and analytical study of the complete musical enactment as practiced by this community, and argues, that the Tabom musical genre, known as Agbe, serves the purpose of creating and negotiating identity as found in their use of music within Tabom socio-cultural, religious, and political ceremonies. In this paper, I argue that Agbe is not only an organized sound in Tabom culture, but rather, it is one of the strongest cultural elements that serves as an emblem of identity relating to the life and culture of the Tabom community in Accra. Relying on ethnographic research design, Agbe is presented as the focus of study, subjecting the context in which it is performed to study and analysis. Moreover, the relationships between the Agbe ensemble and their performance context, as well as live events are discussed with the intent of conveying meanings of singing, drumming, dancing, and other related artistic expressions as they all contribute to help the Tabom to negotiate their identity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
National Trauma and Romantic Illusions in Percy Shelley’s The Cenci
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020094
Received: 18 March 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
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Abstract
Percy Shelley responded to the 1819 Peterloo Massacre by declaring the government’s response “a bloody murderous oppression.” As Shelley’s language suggests, this was a seminal event in the socially conscious life of the poet. Thereafter, Shelley devoted much of his writing to delineating [...] Read more.
Percy Shelley responded to the 1819 Peterloo Massacre by declaring the government’s response “a bloody murderous oppression.” As Shelley’s language suggests, this was a seminal event in the socially conscious life of the poet. Thereafter, Shelley devoted much of his writing to delineating the sociopolitical milieu of 1819 in political and confrontational works, including The Cenci, a verse drama that I argue portrays the coercive violence implicit in nationalism, or, as I term it, national trauma. In displaying the historical Roman Cenci family in starkly vituperous manner, that is, Shelley reveals his drive to speak to the historical moment, as he creates parallels between the tyranny that the Roman pater familias exhibits toward his family and the repression occurring during the time of emergent nationhood in Hanoverian England, which numerous scholars have addressed. While scholars have noted discrete acts of trauma in The Cenci and other Romantic works, there has been little sustained criticism from the theoretical point of view of trauma theory, which inhabits the intersections of history, cultural memory, and trauma, and which I explore as national trauma. Through The Cenci, Shelley implies that national trauma inheres within British nationhood in the multiple traumas of tyrannical rule, shored up by the nation’s cultural memory and history, instantiated in oppressive ancestral order and patrilineage. Viewing The Cenci from the perspective of national trauma, however, I conclude that Shelley’s revulsion at coercive governance and nationalism loses itself in the contemplation of the beautiful pathos of the effects of national trauma witnessed in Beatrice, as he instead turns to a more traditional national narrative. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Romanticism and Contemporary Literary Theory)
Open AccessArticle
‘A Marriage of Freud and Euclid’: Psychotic Epistemology in The Atrocity Exhibition and Crash
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020093
Received: 25 March 2019 / Revised: 19 April 2019 / Accepted: 4 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
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Abstract
The writings of J.G. Ballard respond to the sciences in multiple ways; as such his (early) writing may productively be discussed as science fiction. However, the theoretical discipline to which he publicly signalled most allegiance, psychoanalysis, is one whose status in relation to [...] Read more.
The writings of J.G. Ballard respond to the sciences in multiple ways; as such his (early) writing may productively be discussed as science fiction. However, the theoretical discipline to which he publicly signalled most allegiance, psychoanalysis, is one whose status in relation to science is highly contested and complex. In the 1960s Ballard signalled publicly in his non-fiction writing a belief in psychoanalysis as a science, a position in keeping with psychoanalysis’ contemporary status as the predominant psychological paradigm. Various early Ballard stories enact psychoanalytic theories, while the novel usually read as his serious debut, The Drowned World, aligns itself allusively with an oft-cited depiction by Freud of the revelatory and paradigm-changing nature of the psychoanalytic project. Ballard’s enthusiastic embrace of psychoanalysis in his early 1960s fiction mutated into a fascinatingly delirious vision in some of his most experimental work of the late 1960s and early 1970s of a fusion of psychoanalysis with the mathematical sciences. This paper explores how this ‘Marriage of Freud and Euclid’ is played out in its most systematic form in The Atrocity Exhibition and its successor Crash. By his late career Ballard was acknowledging problems raised over psychoanalysis’ scientific status in the positivist critique of Karl Popper and the work of various combatants in the ‘Freud Wars’ of the 1990s; Ballard at this stage seemed to move towards agreement with interpretations of Freud as a literary or philosophical figure. However, despite making pronouncements reflecting changes in dominant cultural appraisals of Freud, Ballard continued in his later writings to extrapolate the fictive and interpretative possibilities of Freudian and post-Freudian ideas. This article attempts to develop a deeper understanding of Ballard’s ‘scientific’ deployment of psychoanalysis in The Atrocity Exhibition and Crash within the context of a more fully culturally-situated understanding of psychoanalysis’ relationship to science, and thereby to create new possibilities for understanding the meanings of Ballard’s writing within culture at large. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue J. G. Ballard and the Sciences)
Open AccessArticle
Terrestrial Cosmopolitanism, Posthumanism, and Multispecies Modes of Being in Cereus Blooms at Night
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020092
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 1 May 2019 / Accepted: 2 May 2019 / Published: 13 May 2019
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Abstract
Cosmopolitanism has generally been used to describe a philosophy that imagines all humans as citizens of a single “human” community. This article explores a terrestrial cosmopolitanism that challenges the colonial discourse of human exceptionalism by extending the democratization of people to include environmental [...] Read more.
Cosmopolitanism has generally been used to describe a philosophy that imagines all humans as citizens of a single “human” community. This article explores a terrestrial cosmopolitanism that challenges the colonial discourse of human exceptionalism by extending the democratization of people to include environmental bodies within their global context, replacing hierarchies with collectivities to reveal humanism’s underrepresented others. Examining interspecies alliances in Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night, I look towards terrestrial cosmopolitanism as an alternative to anthropocentric forms of cosmopolitanism that continue to reinscribe colonialist aspirations and ontologically exclusionary practices. Mootoo’s work decenters how we think about humans and the environment and offers a nuanced depiction of a positive interspecies community that resists harmful humanist taxonomies. Reading the novel’s protagonist, Mala, as a posthuman figure, I argue that her rejection of human language, in conjunction with her nonhuman interactions, positions her as a keeper of collectivity, as she creates a third space of subjectivity in her garden that blurs the boundaries between humans and nonhumans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue (Re)Mapping Cosmopolitanism in Literature and Film)
Open AccessArticle
The Civic Scale: Strategies of Emplacement in Dambudzo Marechera and Ivan Vladislavić
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020091
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 29 April 2019 / Accepted: 1 May 2019 / Published: 10 May 2019
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Abstract
This paper identifies and intervenes in the problems posed by reading postcolonial texts as representative, or encompassing of, the nation with which they are associated. Alternatively, it proposes that reading at the scale of the city offers a method for circumventing the elision [...] Read more.
This paper identifies and intervenes in the problems posed by reading postcolonial texts as representative, or encompassing of, the nation with which they are associated. Alternatively, it proposes that reading at the scale of the city offers a method for circumventing the elision of particularity which occurs when the nation, continent or globe are foregrounded in Western or Western-facing responses to these texts. The paper models what such a “scaled-down” reading might look like, attending to Dambudzo Marechera’s House of Hunger (1978) and Ivan Vladislavic’s Portrait With Keys: Joburg and What-What (2006), and their intricate relationships to the urban spaces of Harare and Johannesburg, respectively. At stake in these analyses are opportunities to identify what Jacques Rancière terms dissensus, or political contestation, rendered in spatial terms. This establishes a pliable counterdiscourse of the city which seeks and discerns meaning not through consensus or “sanctioned representation”; but through the complexities of affective attachments, the plurality of experiences, and the teeming heterogeneity of physical and literary spaces that have been previously flattened. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue (Re)Mapping Cosmopolitanism in Literature and Film)
Open AccessArticle
Destination Antwerp! Fan Tourism and the Transcultural Heritage of A Dog of Flanders
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020090
Received: 19 February 2019 / Revised: 20 March 2019 / Accepted: 5 May 2019 / Published: 9 May 2019
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Abstract
Antwerp, the fictional home of Nello & Patrasche from A Dog of Flanders (1872) written by Marie Louise de la Ramée, attracts thousands of tourists every year to see the city and get close to the fictional text. European children’s literature such as [...] Read more.
Antwerp, the fictional home of Nello & Patrasche from A Dog of Flanders (1872) written by Marie Louise de la Ramée, attracts thousands of tourists every year to see the city and get close to the fictional text. European children’s literature such as this inspires dedicated fans who long to make more real the imagined spaces described by authors. The city and associated monuments and markers become sites of secular pilgrimage; people traveling to them experience children’s literary culture as localheritage. Traveling across borders, visiting these European spaces of children’s literature, taking official and unofficial tours, and listening to the stories which people share while physically present help to secure a place in which international fans can play with notions of local identity and culturalheritage. Or, as Yi-Fu Tuan argues, “When space feels thoroughly familiar to us, it has become place.” This case study seeks to interrogate the importance of place in the transcultural fan community of A Dog of Flanders. I analyse the touristic pilgrimage to Antwerp and the social/communal rituals associated with what John Urry calls the “mediatised gaze” as fans inhabit spaces typically reserved for city locals. This paper also considers the importance of place in the transcultural fan community of European children’s literature, discussing how glocalization allows texts to travel across international borders and encourage transcultural appropriation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Narratives as Transnational Cultural Heritage)
Open AccessArticle
Appetite, Anatomy, and Desire in Caroline Era Poetry and Theatre
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020089
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 21 April 2019 / Accepted: 30 April 2019 / Published: 8 May 2019
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Abstract
The Caroline Era in early modern England was characterized by political instability and theological revolution. In response, there were ideological attempts to regulate desire and a distinct focus on the creation of a public persona. These crises led to anxieties about gender, performance, [...] Read more.
The Caroline Era in early modern England was characterized by political instability and theological revolution. In response, there were ideological attempts to regulate desire and a distinct focus on the creation of a public persona. These crises led to anxieties about gender, performance, and the body. Literary production at this time was founded in political conflict and was both a response to and an escape from these events. In this article, I argue that early modern writers literarily regulate gender and bodies through the personal, political and theological happenings that they respond to within their work. John Donne’s metaphysical poetry and George Herbert’s The Temple express the anxiety of desire involved in the process of seeking God. These texts translate this through the language of eros, bodily sacrificial connection to the Divine Logos, and communion that focuses on digestion and inclusion in the corporeal universe as a means to achieve the divine moment. Similarly, John Ford’s The Broken Heart portrays anxieties about desire and appetite through female anatomization. The portrayals of desire, anxiety, and appetite in these texts (all first published in 1633) are representative of the historical, political, and religious ideological structures that informed their creation. Full article
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