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Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 1 (March 2020) – 27 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) In early modern England, the term “piracy” is remarkably instable. As a legal term, it denominates [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring Intimacy in Collaborative Photographic Narratives of Breast Cancer
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010027 - 18 Mar 2020
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Abstract
A life-limiting illness brings about heightened awareness of mortality and reshapes close relationships. Couples must often negotiate and adjust their actions to sustain intimate bonds. Through analysis of two projects—Dorothea Lynch’s and Eugene Richards’s collaborative project Exploding into Life (1986) that documents Lynch’s [...] Read more.
A life-limiting illness brings about heightened awareness of mortality and reshapes close relationships. Couples must often negotiate and adjust their actions to sustain intimate bonds. Through analysis of two projects—Dorothea Lynch’s and Eugene Richards’s collaborative project Exploding into Life (1986) that documents Lynch’s experience living with breast cancer through photographs and text, and Angelo Merendino’s e-book The Battle we Didn’t Choose—My Wife’s Fight with Breast Cancer (2013), I explore how couples make sense of and communicate illness experience. Exploding into Life and Merendino’s project are not only explorations of Lynch’s and Jennifer’s experiences living with breast cancer; the works also question what it means to be seen through the eyes of the other. The projects share similar experiences; however, they are situated in two different historical moments. Taking Arthur Kleinman’s argument of illness experience as social and political as a starting point, I question the limits of experience and examine how the photographs and the accompanying text articulate and mediate private expressions of illness, and what motivates the participants of the photographic act to make their experiences public. The study is informed by Arthur W. Frank’s dialogical narrative analysis and some of the writings by Thomas G. Couser, Roland Barthes, and Michel Foucault. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photo-Textual Disorders: Writing, Photography and Illness)
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Open AccessArticle
Shell Shock and the Legacy of the Victorian Past in the Present: Remembering WWI in Pat Barker’s Another World
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010026 - 16 Mar 2020
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Abstract
In her 1998 novel Another World, Pat Barker draws from a topic on which she has written previously with great success—the First World War and the experiences of its combatants—and yet approaches that topic from a completely different perspective. The novel returns [...] Read more.
In her 1998 novel Another World, Pat Barker draws from a topic on which she has written previously with great success—the First World War and the experiences of its combatants—and yet approaches that topic from a completely different perspective. The novel returns to the Great War to consider notions of ‘shell shock’, attitudes towards WWI veterans, and the problems surrounding remembering past violence, but what is perhaps surprising about Another World is that it uses a Victorian storyline to address these concerns, and presents the First World War through the means of references to nineteenth-century culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Contemporary Historical Fiction)
Open AccessArticle
The Great Displacement: Reading Migration Fiction at the End of the World
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010025 - 09 Mar 2020
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Abstract
This paper examines how contemporary works of fiction and nonfiction reflect on anticipated cases of climate dislocation. Building on existing research about migrant agency, climate fiction, and human rights, it traces the contours of climate migration discourse before analyzing how three twenty-first-century novels [...] Read more.
This paper examines how contemporary works of fiction and nonfiction reflect on anticipated cases of climate dislocation. Building on existing research about migrant agency, climate fiction, and human rights, it traces the contours of climate migration discourse before analyzing how three twenty-first-century novels enable us to reimagine the “great displacement” beyond simplistic militarized and humanitarian frames. Zooming in on stories by Mohsin Hamid, John Lanchester, and Margaret Drabble that envision hypothetical calamities while responding to present-day refugee “crises”, this paper explains how these texts interrogate apocalyptic narratives by demilitarizing borderscapes, exploring survivalist mindsets, and interrogating shallow appeals to empathy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Humanities Approaches to Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle
Modernist Women Writers and Whimsy: Marianne Moore and Dorothy Parker
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010024 - 06 Mar 2020
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Abstract
This article assesses the work of Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) and Marianne Moore (1887–1972) in relation to the aesthetic category of whimsy. It considers how whimsy has been used as a term of dismissal for American women poets, outlines ways both writers’ receptions have [...] Read more.
This article assesses the work of Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) and Marianne Moore (1887–1972) in relation to the aesthetic category of whimsy. It considers how whimsy has been used as a term of dismissal for American women poets, outlines ways both writers’ receptions have been informed by this context, and explores questions of cost, worth, and value raised by their work. It situates whimsy in relation to Sianne Ngai’s account of diminutive modes in Our Aesthetic Categories (2015) and suggests why American women’s modernist poetry can be a useful context for exploring the aesthetic and cultural associations of whimsy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modernist Women Poets: Generations, Geographies and Genders)
Open AccessArticle
Entropy’s Enemies: Postmodern Fission and Transhuman Fusion in the Post-War Era
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010023 - 05 Mar 2020
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Abstract
In the early to mid-twentieth century, thermodynamic entropy—the inevitable diffusion of usable energy in the Universe—became a ubiquitous metaphor for the dissolution of Western values and cultural energy. Many Golden Age science fiction writers portrayed twentieth century technological progress as anti-entropic, a sign [...] Read more.
In the early to mid-twentieth century, thermodynamic entropy—the inevitable diffusion of usable energy in the Universe—became a ubiquitous metaphor for the dissolution of Western values and cultural energy. Many Golden Age science fiction writers portrayed twentieth century technological progress as anti-entropic, a sign of Universal progress and unity which might postpone or negate both cultural and thermodynamic forms of entropy. Following the evolutionary metaphysics of Georg Hegel and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Golden Age science fiction writers like Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov imagined the creation of powerful collective beings whose unitary existence signified the defeat of entropy. In contrast, later literary postmodernists like Thomas Pynchon and Pamela Zoline often accepted and even exalted in the chaotic, liberating potential of entropy. In postmodern fiction, the disorder of entropy was often compared favorably to the stifling hegemony of cultural universalism. More broadly, these two responses might be understood to represent two societal stages of grief-- denial and acceptance—to the new trauma introduced to the world by the parallel concepts of cultural entropy and a Universal “heat death.” Full article
Open AccessArticle
“Sing the Bones Home”: Material Memory and the Project of Freedom in M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong!
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010022 - 22 Feb 2020
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Abstract
M. NourbeSe Philip’s 2008 book-length poem Zong! represents maritime materialities below the sea’s surface in relation to aesthetic geographies of the sea in the aftermath of slavery as an abyss of loss, thereby extending modernist aesthetics while offering a strategic and revisionary response [...] Read more.
M. NourbeSe Philip’s 2008 book-length poem Zong! represents maritime materialities below the sea’s surface in relation to aesthetic geographies of the sea in the aftermath of slavery as an abyss of loss, thereby extending modernist aesthetics while offering a strategic and revisionary response to male-centered modernist writing. Keen attention into the sea as an innovating and renewing source reveals that the poem imagines the sea as a literal, formal, and thematic agent for the “decontamination” of language—which, Philip maintains, is contaminated by imperialism—and of the received history about slavery. The poem focuses its investigation on the case of the 1781 Zong massacre and the Gregson v. Gilbert maritime insurance case that arose in its wake. Zong! mourns the massacre of 150 Africans who were thrown overboard so that owners of the slave ship could collect insurance money on lost “cargo”. In conversation with Caribbean poets and thinkers, such as Grace Nichols, and African oral traditions, the poem explores forms of memory that go beyond the non-history officially afforded to the enslaved and their descendants. Throughout the poem, the sea is a site of decontamination through which Zong! stages its attempt to recover the unrecoverable. While many scholars have understandably focused on the events aboard the ship, a small number of ecocritical readings have highlighted the poem’s engagement with the materiality of the sea. Drawing on postcolonial ecocriticism and black feminist theories of the human, this article will discuss the sea as a material geography, going deeper to investigate the poem’s rarely discussed focus on biological and chemical materiality as juxtaposed to representations of black women’s flesh, arguing that it functions as a feminist provocation to both human exceptionalism and the racial boundaries of the human. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modernist Women Poets: Generations, Geographies and Genders)
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Open AccessArticle
The Open Constructed Public Sphere: Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Women in a Version by David Greig
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010021 - 18 Feb 2020
Viewed by 287
Abstract
This article looks at the ‘public’ ‘place’ of drama in Britain at present by offering an analysis of a contemporary version of an ancient Greek play by Aeschylus, entitled The Suppliant Women, written by David Greig, directed by Ramin Gray, and first [...] Read more.
This article looks at the ‘public’ ‘place’ of drama in Britain at present by offering an analysis of a contemporary version of an ancient Greek play by Aeschylus, entitled The Suppliant Women, written by David Greig, directed by Ramin Gray, and first performed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in 2016. Following an agonistic (Chantal Mouffe), rather than a consensual (Jürgen Habermas) model of the public sphere, it argues that under globalisation, three cumulative and interwoven senses of the public sphere, the discursive, the spatial, and the individual and his/her/their relation to a larger form of organisation, despite persisting hegemonic structures that perpetuate their containment, have become undone. This is the kind of unbounded model of public sphere Greig’s version of Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Women seems to suggest by precisely offering undoings of discourses, spaces, and individualisations. In order to frame the first kind of undoing, that is, the unmarking of theatre as contained, the article uses Christopher Balme’s notion of ‘open theatrical public sphere’, and in order to frame the second, that is, the undoing of elements ‘in’ Greig’s version, the article utilises Greig’s concept of ‘constructed space’. The article arrives then at the notion of the open constructed public sphere in relation to The Suppliant Women. By engaging with this porous model of the public sphere, The Suppliant Women enacts a protest against exclusionary, reductive models of exchange and organisation, political engagement, and belonging under globalisation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Public Place of Drama in Britain, 1968 to the Present Day)
Open AccessArticle
‘I see where I stand’ Detachment and Engagement in Harry Clifton’s Poetry
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010020 - 16 Feb 2020
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Abstract
This essay reads Harry Clifton’s poetry as a body of work that illustrates the poet’s engagement with and detachment from the poetry of his peers. It notes Clifton’s chosen routes of travel in Africa, Asia, and Europe, his interest in Ireland and its [...] Read more.
This essay reads Harry Clifton’s poetry as a body of work that illustrates the poet’s engagement with and detachment from the poetry of his peers. It notes Clifton’s chosen routes of travel in Africa, Asia, and Europe, his interest in Ireland and its elsewheres and his endeavours to find an ideal distance to write from. It also elucidates his Irish subject matter, his involvement with journals, editors and publishers as well as his critical readings of 20th-century Irish poetry. The essay engages with important strands of current critical thinking that have sought to examine a post-nationalist Ireland with Clifton being seen as a bridge between an older and younger circle of writers. Neither hermetic nor sociable, Clifton emerges as a poet engaging with concentric circles of Irish poetry on his own terms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Circles of Contemporary Irish Poetry)
Open AccessArticle
Somatic Narratives about Illness. Biometric Visualization of Diseased and Disabled Bodies in Art and Science Projects
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010019 - 14 Feb 2020
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Abstract
This article proposes investigating how the problem of chronic and deadly diseases and bodily injuries is explored in selected contemporary artistic projects based on biometric technologies and medical imaging. All of the projects that will be analysed use specific medical tools and methods [...] Read more.
This article proposes investigating how the problem of chronic and deadly diseases and bodily injuries is explored in selected contemporary artistic projects based on biometric technologies and medical imaging. All of the projects that will be analysed use specific medical tools and methods (e.g., roentgenography or bio-tracking) to provide detailed, affective images of disability and illness. Nonetheless, these projects were created as pieces of art that combine visual and verbal elements: photographs, collages, and other illustrated stories (e.g., “biometric diaries” or open-source art). On the one hand, they show the “inner” and often invisible face of illness and suffering, but on the other hand they also raise questions related to algorithmic reductionism and politicization of such forms of representation of disease. This article will focus on artistic projects created by Diane Covert, Salvatore Iaconesi and Laurie Frick. It refers to the ‘ethos of health’ and the conception of ethopolitics (Nicolas Rose) to show the place in contemporary biopolitical society of illness (Thomas Lemke), which can be seen as an exceptional form of the body’s condition. Moreover, it considers the problem of the politicization of the biological body and affective experiences (Britta Timm Knudsen and Carsten Stage) and the category of untold histories explored by Joanne Garde-Hansen and Kristyn Gorton. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photo-Textual Disorders: Writing, Photography and Illness)
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Introduction to “Re-Mapping Cosmopolitanism”. Humanities 2019, 8, 127
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010018 - 10 Feb 2020
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Abstract
The authors would like to make the following changes to the published paper (Barker and Zorn 2019): [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue (Re)Mapping Cosmopolitanism in Literature and Film)
Open AccessArticle
Something Super-Wicked This Way Comes: Genre, Emergency, Expectation, and Learning to Die in Climate-Change Scotland
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010017 - 07 Feb 2020
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Abstract
This article approaches the issue of climate change and the response to it in Scotland from the perspective of genres of expectation and normality, focusing in particular on the relationship between genre, the political imagination, and calls for ‘climate realism’. Functioning partly as [...] Read more.
This article approaches the issue of climate change and the response to it in Scotland from the perspective of genres of expectation and normality, focusing in particular on the relationship between genre, the political imagination, and calls for ‘climate realism’. Functioning partly as provocation and partly as a piece of critical theory on the problematic aspects of contemporary genres of expectation in Scotland, it discusses the push for normality as a driving force in the construction of imagined futures in the context of climate change, problematising how this fits with established expectations of the Scottish political imaginary and its futurity. Using the work of the scholar of genre and affect Lauren Berlant and her identification of genre as a means of ‘moving on’, it considers the idea of materially contingent narratives as an exit strategy from the present moment. To illustrate this, it briefly discusses Jenni Fagan’s contemporary climate change novel The Sunlight Pilgrims as an example of ‘irrealist’ confrontation of climate change and how this relates to the concept of the Anthropocene as an everyday experience. Ultimately, it concludes that contemporary attempts at climate realism require engagement with the irreal material circumstances of climate change and the fundamentally ‘super-wicked’ nature of climate processes in order to escape the constraints of progress, restoration, and normalisation as genre structures in discussion of climate futures. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Introduction: Alienated Majesty: On Reading as Othering
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010016 - 06 Feb 2020
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Abstract
Diese Gewähr eines moralischen Gewinns liegt in einer geistigen Disziplin, die gegenüber dem einzigen, was ungestraft verletzt werden kann, der Sprache, das höchste Maß einer Verantwortung festsetzt und wie keine andere geeignet ist, den Respekt vor jeglichem andern Lebensgut zu lehren [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Literary Practice)
Open AccessArticle
Detective Fiction in a Post-Truth World: Eva Rossmann’s Patrioten
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010015 - 05 Feb 2020
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Abstract
Detective fiction is known as a genre that is concerned with revealing truths, both in the fictional world of the text as well as in the society after which it is patterned. The current socio-political environment, however, has been described as an era [...] Read more.
Detective fiction is known as a genre that is concerned with revealing truths, both in the fictional world of the text as well as in the society after which it is patterned. The current socio-political environment, however, has been described as an era of post-truth politics and political propaganda, in which truth is more often determined by the relative strength of its representation. While some contemporary crime novels continue to propagate a reassuring message of truth, select Austrian narratives reflect this new so-called post-truth world. Bringing together theories of detective fiction and post-truth discourse, this article demonstrates how Eva Rossmann’s 2017 crime novel Patrioten (Patriots) adapts the themes and structures of traditional detective narratives to expose a society in which certainty is determined less by objective facts than by their construction in the media and socio-political discourse. The analysis concludes that the novel’s thematic and formal innovations help to redefine the socio-critical potential of contemporary detective fiction by showing the imminent dangers of an unregulated post-truth society. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Pirates and Publicity: The Making and Unmaking of Early Modern Pirates in English and Scottish Popular Print
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010014 - 05 Feb 2020
Viewed by 579
Abstract
This essay contrasts scholarship on printed authority within buccaneer ethnographies, contemporary apologetics for colonial enterprise, and the role of publicity in the delineation of piracy within print to ask: ‘when is a pirate not a pirate?’. Beginning with the ethnographies relating to the [...] Read more.
This essay contrasts scholarship on printed authority within buccaneer ethnographies, contemporary apologetics for colonial enterprise, and the role of publicity in the delineation of piracy within print to ask: ‘when is a pirate not a pirate?’. Beginning with the ethnographies relating to the buccaneers’ crossing of the Isthmus of Darien during the ‘Pacific Adventure’ (1679–1682), this paper describes how the buccaneers escaped prosecution through their literary materials and became socially rehabilitated as credible explorers. Drawing on materials which highlight the diverse readings of piracy within the different ‘news-cultures’ and maritime traditions which existed in the Atlantic archipelago, this paper develops an argument for a ‘popular’ conception and interpretation of piracy within publicity and periodical print which reflects its utility within competing political and maritime enterprises. Using contrasting examples of the negotiation and renegotiation of what constituted ‘piracy’ within the promotion of the attempted colonisation of the Isthmus of Darien by the Company of Scotland (1696–1700), and the literary campaign which surrounded the trial of the crew of the Worcester for piracy in 1705, this essay argues for the role of ‘public opinion’ and popular print culture in the making and unmaking of pirates in early modern anglophone print. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pirates in English Literature)
Open AccessArticle
Sonic Rhetorics as Ethics in Action: Hidden Temporalities of Sound in Language(s)
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010013 - 29 Jan 2020
Viewed by 767
Abstract
Sonic rhetorics has become a major area of study in the field of rhetoric, as well as composition and literature. Many of the underlying theories of sonic rhetorics are based on post-Heideggerian philosophy, new materialism, and/or posthumanism, among others. What is perhaps similar [...] Read more.
Sonic rhetorics has become a major area of study in the field of rhetoric, as well as composition and literature. Many of the underlying theories of sonic rhetorics are based on post-Heideggerian philosophy, new materialism, and/or posthumanism, among others. What is perhaps similar across these theories of sonic rhetoric is their “turn” from language and the human in general. This short essay explores sonic rhetorics by examining three temporal dimensions found in language. Specifically, the essay focuses on the more obvious sonic dimensions of time in prosody, and then at deeper levels temporal dimensions in a couple of brief but revealing examples from ancient languages (classical Greek, and Biblical Hebrew). Further, this essay suggests some ways in which time is related to ethics in practice and action. For example, just as time is involved in the continuous creation of our increasingly vast, expanding, infinite but bounded universe, Levinas might say that time is necessary to create the ethical space, or perhaps “hypostasis,” one needs for the possibility to encounter “l’autre”—the Other. Beyond prosody, propriety, even kairos, are hidden temporal dimensions of language that may render sonic rhetorics forms of ethical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Literary Practice)
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Humanities in 2019
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010012 - 22 Jan 2020
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Abstract
The editorial team greatly appreciates the reviewers who have dedicated their considerable time and expertise to the journal’s rigorous editorial process over the past 12 months, regardless of whether the papers are finally published or not[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Disability Ethos as Invention in the United States’ Twentieth and Early Twenty-First Centuries
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010011 - 16 Jan 2020
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Abstract
This article posits that disability activists routinely present a disability “ethos of invention” as central to the reformation of an ableist society. Dominant societal approaches to disability injustice, such as rehabilitation, accessibility, and inclusion, may touch upon the concept of invention; but, with [...] Read more.
This article posits that disability activists routinely present a disability “ethos of invention” as central to the reformation of an ableist society. Dominant societal approaches to disability injustice, such as rehabilitation, accessibility, and inclusion, may touch upon the concept of invention; but, with ethotic discourse, we emphasize disability as generative and adept at producing new ways of knowing and being in the world. We identify an “ethos of invention” as driving early resistance to socially constructed “normalcy”, leading the push for cross-disability alliances to incorporate intersectional experiences and propelling the discursive move from inclusion to social justice. Through our partial re-telling of disability rights history, we articulate invention as central to it and supporting its aims to affirm disability culture, reform society through disabled perspectives and values, and promote people with disabilities’ full participation in society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Histories of Ethos: World Perspectives on Rhetoric)
Open AccessArticle
From Braemar to Hollywood: The American Appropriation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Pirates
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010010 - 11 Jan 2020
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Abstract
The pirate tropes that pervade popular culture today can be traced in large part to Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 novel, Treasure Island. However, it is the novel’s afterlife on film that has generated fictional pirates as we now understand them. By tracing [...] Read more.
The pirate tropes that pervade popular culture today can be traced in large part to Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 novel, Treasure Island. However, it is the novel’s afterlife on film that has generated fictional pirates as we now understand them. By tracing the transformation of the author’s pirate captain, Long John Silver, from N. C. Wyeth’s illustrations (1911) through the cinematic performances of Wallace Beery (1934) and Robert Newton (1950), this paper demonstrates that the films have created a quintessentially “American pirate”—a figure that has necessarily evolved in response to differences in medium, the performances of the leading actors, and filmgoers’ expectations. Comparing depictions of Silver’s dress, physique, and speech patterns, his role vis-à-vis Jim Hawkins, each adaptation’s narrative point of view, and Silver’s departure at the end of the films reveals that while the Silver of the silver screen may appear to represent a significant departure from the text, he embodies a nuanced reworking of and testament to the author’s original. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pirates in English Literature)
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Open AccessArticle
Why the West Could Not Hear Beale Street: Baldwin’s World-Sense of Female Sexuality
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010009 - 10 Jan 2020
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Abstract
While scholars have noted James Baldwin’s revisionary and transformative literary approach to social constructions of race, class, gender, and crime, there has been very little conversation in that vein regarding If Beale Street Could Talk (1974). Upon its publication, many critics issued negative [...] Read more.
While scholars have noted James Baldwin’s revisionary and transformative literary approach to social constructions of race, class, gender, and crime, there has been very little conversation in that vein regarding If Beale Street Could Talk (1974). Upon its publication, many critics issued negative reviews of the novel, failing to recognize how Baldwin’s view of female sexuality both embraced notions of the body and constructs from an African-centered world-sense. Using a range of theoretical resources from Africana Studies, this paper analyzes how moving beyond Western frameworks regarding knowledge, sexual discourse, and behavior offers a new interpretation of Baldwin’s aims that reclaims and re-imagines Black sexual politics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unsilencing Black Sexuality in the African Diaspora)
Open AccessArticle
‘There’s No Return Route, Is There?’: Conor O’Callaghan’s After-Irish Diasporic Aesthetic
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010008 - 10 Jan 2020
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Abstract
In this article, I examine Conor O’Callaghan’s poetry in the context of post- or after-Irishness and migration. The idea of a traditional Irish national literature has diminished in importance and relevance in recent years. Irish writers are now more sensitized to alternative modes [...] Read more.
In this article, I examine Conor O’Callaghan’s poetry in the context of post- or after-Irishness and migration. The idea of a traditional Irish national literature has diminished in importance and relevance in recent years. Irish writers are now more sensitized to alternative modes of identification, unbound by the constraints of a singular concept of ‘Irishness’. This is especially significant for migrant writers, who are geographically removed from Ireland. O’Callaghan (born 1968) is himself a migrant: having lived in America, he now lives in England. Drawn from his experiences of transnational migration, O’Callaghan explores the different locales that he has known. He also feels free to write about suburban life, love, and the internet in an often quick-witted vernacular. What then is O’Callaghan’s aesthetic response to the experience of migrancy? Does O’Callaghan’s poetry exhibit an after-Irish diasporic aesthetic? Although O’Callaghan’s poetry is imbued with a diasporic multi-locatedness, both intellectual and geographical, his sense of Irish identity remains strong, and his poetry also often expresses a desire for rootedness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Circles of Contemporary Irish Poetry)
Open AccessArticle
Slippery Pirates: Generic Conventions and Discursive Instability in John Fletcher and Philip Massinger’s Pirate Plays
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010007 - 31 Dec 2019
Viewed by 743
Abstract
The term piracy marks a slippery category in early modern England: as a legal denomination, it describes the feats of armed robbery at sea for which pirates were prosecuted but their state-sanctioned counterparts, privateers, were not; in a seaman’s professional life, being a [...] Read more.
The term piracy marks a slippery category in early modern England: as a legal denomination, it describes the feats of armed robbery at sea for which pirates were prosecuted but their state-sanctioned counterparts, privateers, were not; in a seaman’s professional life, being a pirate was often a phase rather than a stable marker of self-identification. Like their real-life models, literary pirates are contradictory creatures—they shed their pirate identity as quickly as they have adopted it, are used for veiled socio-political commentary, or trimmed to size in order to fit generic constraints. The slipperiness of the pirate has made him (and sometimes her) an attractive figure for early modern playwrights. I argue that John Fletcher and Philip Massinger appropriate the discursive instability of piratical individuals for their pirate plays. Rather than looking at the ideological and political implications of piracy, I analyze the pirate figures in Fletcher and Massinger’s The Double Marriage (1621) and The Sea Voyage (1622) as well as in Massinger’s The Renegado (1623–1624) and The Unnatural Combat (1624–1625) as literary creations. Alternating between the heroic and the villainous, their pirates are convenient plot devices that are attuned to the evolving generic conventions of the early Stuart stage in general and early Stuart tragicomedy in particular. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pirates in English Literature)
Open AccessArticle
The Early Literary Evolution of the Notorious Pirate Henry Avery
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010006 - 30 Dec 2019
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Abstract
Henry Avery (alternately spelled Every) was one of the most notorious pirates of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and scholars have written much about Avery in an effort to establish the historical details of his mutiny and acts of piracy. Other [...] Read more.
Henry Avery (alternately spelled Every) was one of the most notorious pirates of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and scholars have written much about Avery in an effort to establish the historical details of his mutiny and acts of piracy. Other scholars have focused on the substantial literary production that his life occasioned; the early literary history of Avery’s exploits evolves quickly away from the known facts of his life, offering instead a literary trajectory of accumulated tropes about Avery’s motivations, actions, and transformations. This literary invention of Avery is a compelling subject in itself, particularly as writers used his story to explore pressing philosophical and political concerns of the period. In this essay, I consider how early fictions about Avery look well beyond the history of a particular pirate to ruminate on topical ideas about the state of nature, the origins of civil society, and human tendencies toward self-interest and corruption that seem—inevitably—to accompany power and threaten civil order, however newly formed or ostensibly principled. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pirates in English Literature)
Open AccessArticle
Orkney Ecologies
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010005 - 24 Dec 2019
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Abstract
Inspired by Felix Guattari’s Three Ecologies ([1989] 2000), this article explores recent Orkney literature with an environmental focus (Working the Map—ed. J & F Cumming and M. MacInnes; Ebban an’ Flowan—Finlay, A., Watts, L. and Peebles, A.; The Outrun—A. [...] Read more.
Inspired by Felix Guattari’s Three Ecologies ([1989] 2000), this article explores recent Orkney literature with an environmental focus (Working the Map—ed. J & F Cumming and M. MacInnes; Ebban an’ Flowan—Finlay, A., Watts, L. and Peebles, A.; The Outrun—A. Liptrot; Swimming With Seals—V. Whitworth) in terms of Orkney ecologieswhich are always personal, environmental and cultural. Informed by fieldwork carried out in Orkney, looking at discourse around the development of marine renewable energy in the islands, it argues for the use of ecological dialogism, an approach to language and communication which recognises meaning-making as embodied and emergent within a meshwork (Ingold 2011) of lived experience. It explores the texts as part of an ecology of meaning-making within the naturalcultural (Haraway 2007) world, in which environment, social relations and human subjectivity are inextricably entangled. In this view, literary texts can be approached, not as isolated examples of individual creative expression, but as moments of emergent meaning-making in the dialogue between individual, cultural and environmental ecologies, reaching beyond the page into a living meshwork, where we can think in terms of ‘Ecology as Text, Text as Ecology’ (Morton 2010). These Orkney ecologies entangle the natural, personal, cultural and technological, through and as, stories, emphasising interdependence and care for both human and more-than-human relationships. Such moments of connection offer hope of new narrative possibilities with which to face the uncertainty of an Anthropocene future. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
The Amazon Rainforest of Pre-Modern Literature: Ethics, Values, and Ideals from the Past for Our Future. With a Focus on Aristotle and Heinrich Kaufringer
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010004 - 24 Dec 2019
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Abstract
The tensions between the STEM fields and the Humanities are artificial and might be the result of nothing but political and financial competition. In essence, all scholars explore their topics in a critical fashion, relying on the principles of verification and falsification. Most [...] Read more.
The tensions between the STEM fields and the Humanities are artificial and might be the result of nothing but political and financial competition. In essence, all scholars explore their topics in a critical fashion, relying on the principles of verification and falsification. Most important proves to be the notion of the laboratory, the storehouse of experiences, ideas, imagination, experiments. For that reason, here the metaphor of the Amazon rainforest is used to illustrate where the common denominators for scientists and scholars rest. Without that vast field of experiences from the past the future cannot be built. The focus here is based on the human condition and its reliance on ethical ideals as already developed by Aristotle. In fact, neither science nor humanities-based research are possible without ethics. Moreover, as illustrated by the case of one of the stories by Heinrich Kaufringer (ca. 1400), human conditions have always been precarious, contingent, puzzling, and fragile, especially if ethics do not inform the individual’s actions. Pre-modern literature is here identified as an ‘Amazon rainforest’ that only waits to be explored for future needs. Full article
Open AccessArticle
‘I’ve Put a Yule Log on Your Grate’: Lynette Roberts’s ‘Naïve’ Modernism
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010003 - 19 Dec 2019
Viewed by 447
Abstract
In this article, I suggest that Lynette Roberts develops a ‘naïve’ modernism that emphasizes tropes of folk art, home-made craft, and creative labour as a therapeutic response to war and a means of carving out a public role for the woman writer in [...] Read more.
In this article, I suggest that Lynette Roberts develops a ‘naïve’ modernism that emphasizes tropes of folk art, home-made craft, and creative labour as a therapeutic response to war and a means of carving out a public role for the woman writer in the post-war world. Bringing high modernist strategies down to earth through an engagement with localized rural cultures, she strives to bridge the divide between the public and the private in order to open up a space for the woman writer within public life. As part of my discussion, I draw on Rebecca L. Walkowitz’s contention that literary style—conceived broadly as ‘attitude, stance, posture, and consciousness’—is crucial to modernist writers’ attempts to think in—and beyond—the nation. Embracing a liberating openness to experience and ‘amateurish’ passion, Roberts’s ‘home-made’ style challenges imperial constructions of nationhood centred in authority and control with a more collective, constructivist, improvisatory concept of belonging (Roberts 2005, p. xxxvi). Probing the intersections between folk art, national commitments, and global feminist projects in British modernism, I investigate how a radically transformed ‘naïve’ subtends the emergence of a new kind of feminist modernism, rooted in concepts of collective making and creative labour. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modernist Women Poets: Generations, Geographies and Genders)
Open AccessArticle
Gendered Spaces Captured in Cultural Representations: Conceptualising the Indian Experience in Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010002 - 19 Dec 2019
Viewed by 459
Abstract
Spatiality has emerged as a significant component in analyzing gendered experiences, and cultural expressions reveal this complex yet dynamic relationship in several ways. While some forms of art approach it in a direct, straightforward manner, literature does it, perhaps, in aesthetically diverse ways. [...] Read more.
Spatiality has emerged as a significant component in analyzing gendered experiences, and cultural expressions reveal this complex yet dynamic relationship in several ways. While some forms of art approach it in a direct, straightforward manner, literature does it, perhaps, in aesthetically diverse ways. Arundhati Roy has foregrounded the space and gender relationship in several ways, with language emerging as the most intricate tool to depict this relationship. Her second and latest novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017) is a novel that has space as a prominent character and the gender identities, depicted in this novel, are challenging and interesting, especially in the context of modern India. From the transgender identity of the protagonist who resides in the heterotopic space of a cemetery to the female characters who sustain themselves in the conflict-ridden Kashmir valley, the novel experiments with possibilities using linguistic styles as the most appropriate and significant tool. Roy’s experiments with form, with regards to gendered spatial experiences, will be explored in this paper. I will work within the framework of thirdspace and heterotopia as postulated by Soja and Foucault. This paper will analyse the depiction of gender within social spaces using the tools of Cultural Studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)
Open AccessArticle
(Un)Earthing Civilization: Holocene Climate Crisis, City-State Origins and the Birth of Writing
Humanities 2020, 9(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9010001 - 18 Dec 2019
Viewed by 513
Abstract
Today, concern about population displacement triggered by climate change is prompting some sovereign states to tighten security measures, as well as inciting ethically and politically motivated calls to relax border controls. This paper explores resonances between the current climate predicament and events in [...] Read more.
Today, concern about population displacement triggered by climate change is prompting some sovereign states to tighten security measures, as well as inciting ethically and politically motivated calls to relax border controls. This paper explores resonances between the current climate predicament and events in the mid-Holocene. Paleoclimatic and archaeological evidence is reviewed, suggesting that an abrupt turn to cooler, drier weather in the 4th millennium BCE triggered high volume migration to fertile river valleys—most fully documented in Mesopotamia but also visible in other regions around the world. This unprecedented agglomeration of bodies has been linked to the emergence of intensive irrigated agriculture and the rise of city-states. In conversation with the ancient Sumerian Gilgamesh epic, this paper draws upon archaeological research to conceptualize urban wall building and emergent practices of graphical notation as different forms of mediation. Both city walls and early writing, it is argued, deal with the interplay of mobilism and sedentarism, and both ‘media’ entail tactile, plastic use of local materials—namely riverbank clay. This paper addresses the paradox that the underpinning of ‘civilization’ by these once experimental media may now be fundamentally restricting socio-political, cultural, cognitive and embodied capacities to engage effectively with climate-driven upheaval. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Humanities Approaches to Climate Change)
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