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Reimagining Nineteenth-Century Historical Subjects
This volume explores the many paradoxes of neo-Victorian biofiction, a genre that yokes together the real and the imaginary, biography and fiction, and generates oxymoronic combinations like creative facts, fictional truth, or poetic truthfulness. Contemporary biofictions recreating nineteenth-century lives demonstrate the crucial but always ethically ambiguous revision and supplementation of the historical archive. Due to the tension between ethical empathy and consumerist voyeurism, between traumatic testimony and exploitative exposé, the epistemological response is per force one of hermeneutic suspicion and iconoclasm. In the final account, this volume highlights neo-Victorianism’s deconstruction of master-narratives and the consequent democratic rehabilitation of over-looked microhistories.
In Pathos, Poetry and Politics in Michel Houellebecq's fiction, Russell Williams examines the literary style of France's most notorious novelist. Houellebecq is frequently the focus of debate for his provocative comments about Islam and the decline of Western civilisation. This book refocuses attention on how such provocation is an integral part of the texture of his novels.
Williams considers Houellebecq's writing about literature and outlines the key principles of the author's poetics, founded on an acute sensitivity to reading experience. He then explores Houellebecq's earliest poetry before mapping this poetic voice into his subsequent fiction, including Sérotonine (2019). Houellebecq's relationship with genre fiction and the crucial issue of the authorial persona that exists in and around his texts are also explored.
Tracing the Development of the Pirate Motif with Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean
Author:
Postmodern Pirates offers a comprehensive analysis of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean series and the pirate motif through the lens of postmodern theories. Susanne Zhanial shows how the postmodern elements determine the movies’ aesthetics, narratives, and character portrayals, but also places the movies within Hollywood’s contemporary blockbuster machinery. The book then offers a diachronic analysis of the pirate motif in British literature and Hollywood movies. It aims to explain our ongoing fascination with the maritime outlaw, focuses on how a text’s cultural background influences the pirate’s portrayal, and pays special attention to the aspect of gender. Through the intertextual references in Pirates of the Caribbean, the motif’s development is always tied to Disney’s postmodern movie series.
Explorations of Consciousness in Contemporary Fiction is a collection of essays examining the potential of the contemporary English-language novel to represent and inquire into various aspects of the human mind. Grounded in contemporary literary theory as well as consciousness studies, the essays consider both narrative techniques by means of which writers attempt to render various states of consciousness (such as multimodality in digital fiction or experimental typography in post-traumatic narratives), and novelistic interpretations of issues currently being investigated by neurobiologists, cognitive scientists and philosophers of the mind (such as the adaptive value of consciousness or the process of self-integration by means of self-narration). The volume thus offers critical reflection upon the novel’s cognitive accomplishment in this challenging area.

Contributors are: Nathan D. Frank, Judit Friedrich, Justyna Galant, Marta Komsta, Péter Kristóf Makai, Ajitpaul Mangat, Grzegorz Maziarczyk, James McAdams, Daniel Panka, Barbara Puschmann-Nalenz, Joanna Klara Teske, Lloyd Issac Vayo, Dóra Vecsernyés, Sylwia Wilczewska
Comic Subversions and Unlaughter in Contemporary Historical Re-Visions
This volume highlights humour’s crucial role in shaping historical re-visions of the long nineteenth century, through modes ranging from subtle irony, camp excess, ribald farce, and aesthetic parody to blackly comic narrative games. It analyses neo-Victorian humour’s politicisation, its ideological functions and ethical implications across varied media, including fiction, drama, film, webcomics, and fashion. Contemporary humour maps the assumed distance between postmodernity and its targeted nineteenth-century referents only to repeatedly collapse the same in a seemingly self-defeating nihilistic project. This collection explores how neo-Victorian humour generates empathy and effective socio-political critique, dispensing symbolic justice, but also risks recycling the past’s invidious ideologies under the politically correct guise of comic debunking, even to the point of negating laughter itself.


"This rich and innovative collection invites us to reflect on the complex and various deployments of humour in neo-Victorian texts, where its consumers may wish at times that they could swallow back the laughter a scene or event provokes. It covers a range of approaches to humour utilised by neo-Victorian writers, dramatists, graphic novelists and filmmakers – including the deliberately and pompously unfunny, the traumatic, the absurd, the ribald, and the frankly distasteful – producing a richly satisfying anthology of innovative readings of ‘canonical’ neo-Victorian texts as well as those which are potential generic outliers. The collection explores what is funny in the neo-Victorian and who we are laughing at – the Victorians, as we like to imagine them, or ourselves, in ways we rarely acknowledge? This is a celebration of the parodic playfulness of a wide range of texts, from fiction to fashion, whilst offering a trenchant critique of the politics of postmodern laughter that will appeal to those working in adaptation studies, gender and queer studies, as well as literary and cultural studies more generally."
- Prof. Imelda Whelehan, University of Tasmania, Australia
From Latin America to the Hollywood Blockbuster
The Baroque is back in contemporary culture. The ten essays authored by international scholars, and three interventions by artists, examine the return of the baroque as Neo-Baroque through interdisciplinary perspectives. Understanding the Neo-Baroque as transcultural (between different cultures) and transhistorical (between historical moments) the contributors to this volume offer diverse perspectives that suggest the slipperiness of the Neo-Baroque may best be served by the term ‘Neo-Baroques’. Case studies analysed reflect this plurality and include: the productions of Belgian theatre company Abattoir Fermé; Claire Denis’ French New Extremist film Trouble Every Day; the novel Lujuria tropical by exiled El Salvadorian Quijada Urias; the science fiction blockbuster spectacles The Matrix and eXistenZ; and the spectacular grandeur of early Hollywood movie palaces and the contemporary Las Vegas Strip.

Contributors: Jens Baumgarten, Marjan Colletti, Bolívar Echeverría, Rita Eder, Hugh Hazelton, Monika Kaup, Peter Krieger, Patrick Mahon, Walter Moser, Angela Ndalianis, Richard Reddaway, Karel Vanhaesebrouck, Saige Walton.
The Distortion of Time and Space in The Goon Show
Author:
“It’s all rather confusing, really” was one of the catchphrases used by Spike Milligan in his ground-breaking radio comedy program The Goon Show. In a series of mock-epics broadcast over the course of a decade, Milligan treated listeners to a cosmology governed by confusion, contradictions, fluidity and uncertainty. In The Goon Show’s universe, time and space expand and contract seemingly at will and without notice.

The worldview featured in The Goon Show looked both backward and forward: backward, in the sense that it paralleled strategies used by schoolchildren to understand time and space; forward, in the ways it anticipated and prefigured a number of key features of postmodern thought.

Winner of the Ann Saddlemyer Award 2017 of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research.
Author:
Priya Wadhera’s Original Copies in Georges Perec and Andy Warhol is the first book to explore striking similarities between the works of these celebrated figures of the twentieth century. Copies abound in Perec’s œuvre, where pastiches, paintings, and intertexts dialogue with the history of copying in the past and present, in literature and in art. Both here and in Warhol’s works, the source of the copies is difficult to pinpoint, shrouded in a fog linked to death. This remarkable parallel provides insight into their widely-admired works and a postmodern aesthetic where the original is stripped of its value and the copy reigns supreme. In this study of the original and the copy, Wadhera illuminates the nature of art itself.
Sleep in Modernist and Postmodern Representation
Nathaniel Wallace’s Scanning the Hypnoglyph chronicles a contemporary genre that exploits sleep’s evocative dimensions. While dreams, sleeping nudes, and other facets of the dormant state were popular with artists of the early twentieth century (and long before), sleep experiences have given rise to an even wider range of postmodern artwork. Scanning the Hypnoglyph first assesses the modernist framework wherein the sleeping subject typically enjoys firm psychic grounding. As postmodernism begins, subjective space is fragmented, the representation of sleep reflecting the trend. Among other topics, this book demonstrates how portrayals of dormant individuals can reveal imprints of the self. Gender issues are taken up as well. “Mainstream,” heterosexual representations are considered along with depictions of gay, lesbian, and androgynous sleepers.
Making and Unmaking the Postcolonial Novel
Australian Fiction as Archival Salvage examines key developments in the field of the Australian postcolonial historical novel from 1989 to the present. In parallel with this analysis, A. Frances Johnson undertakes a unique study of in-kind creativity, reflecting on how her own nascent historical fiction has been critically and imaginatively shaped and inspired by seminal experiments in the genre – by writers as diverse as Kate Grenville, Mudrooroo, Kim Scott, Peter Carey, Richard Flanagan, and Rohan Wilson.
Mapping the postcolonial novel against the impact of postcolonial cultural theory and Australian writers’ intermittent embrace of literary postmodernism, this survey is also read against the post-millenial ‘history’ and ‘culture wars’ which saw politicizations of national debates around history and fierce contestation over the ways stories of Australian pasts have been written.