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Contemporary Fairy-Tale Magic

Subverting Gender and Genre

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Edited by Lydia Brugué and Auba Llompart

Contemporary Fairy-Tale Magic, edited by Lydia Brugué and Auba Llompart, studies the impact of fairy tales on contemporary cultures from an interdisciplinary perspective, with special emphasis on how literature and film are retelling classic fairy tales for modern audiences. We are currently witnessing a resurgence of fairy tales and fairy-tale characters and motifs in art and popular culture, as well as an increasing and renewed interest in reinventing and subverting these narratives to adapt them to the expectations and needs of the contemporary public. The essays also observe how the influence of academic disciplines like Gender Studies and current literary and cinematic trends also play an important part in the revision of fairy-tale plots, characters and themes.

Lacan and Cassirer

An Essay on Symbolisation 

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Antoine Mooij

The Neo-Kantian philosopher Cassirer and the psychoanalyst Lacan are two key figures in the so-called medial turn in philosophy: the notion that any form of access to reality is mediated by symbols (images, words, signifiers). This explains why the theories of both philosophers merit a description in their own unique idioms, as well as having their respective basic tenets compared. It will be argued that, rather surprisingly, these tenets turn out be complementary - actually correcting each other – based on their shared notion of man as an animal symbolicum. Its fruitfulness will be substantiated for a limited number of topics within the humanities: perception, language, politics and ethics, and mental disorder, all to be considered from this perspective.

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Edited by Stefano Ercolino, Massimo Fusillo, Mirko Lino and Luca Zenobi

Since cinema is a composite language, describing a movie is a complex challenge for critics and writers, and greatly differs from the ancient and successful genre of the ekphrasis, the literary description of a visual work of art. Imaginary Films in Literature deals with a specific and significant case within this broad category: the description of imaginary, non-existent movies – a practice that is more widespread than one might expect, especially in North American postmodern fiction. Along with theoretical contributions, the book includes the analyses of some case studies focusing on the borders between the visual and the literary, intermedial practices of hybridization, the limits of representation, and other related notions such as “memory”, “fragmentation”, “desire”, “genre”, “authorship”, and “censorship”.

Fantasy, Politics, Postmodernity

Pratchett, Pullman, Miéville and Stories of the Eye

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Andrew Rayment

“The books are true while reality is lying…” Championing the popular Fantasy genre on the same terms as its readers, Rayment casts a critical eye over the substance and methods of political critique in the Fantasy novels of Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman and China Miéville. Ranging across subjects as diverse as exquisite fundamentalism and revolutionary trains, encountering pervert-priests, dwarf hermaphrodites and sex-scarred lovers and pondering the homicidal tendencies of fairy tales and opera, Fantasy, Politics, Postmodernity develops a theoretically wide-ranging and illuminating account of how the novels of these writers do and do not sustain politically insightful critique of the real world, while bringing intellectual and ethical concerns to bear on the popular Fantasy form.

Mosaic of Juxtaposition

William S. Burroughs’ Narrative Revolution

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Micheal Sean Bolton

William S. Burroughs’ experimental narratives, from the 1959 publication of Naked Lunch through the late trilogy of the 1980s, have provided readers with intriguing challenges and, for some, disheartening frustrations. Yet, these novels continue to generate new interest and inspire new insights among an increasing and evolving readership. This book addresses the unique characteristics of Burroughs’ narrative style in order to discover strategies for engaging and navigating these demanding novels. Bolton advises, “Burroughs’ subversive themes and randomizing techniques do not amount to unmitigated attacks on conventions, as many critics suggest, but constitute part of a careful strategy for effecting transformations in his readers”. Utilizing various poststructuralist theories, as well as recent theories in electronic literature and posthumanism, Mosaic of Juxtaposition examines the various strategies that Burroughs employs to challenge assumptions about textual interpretation and to redefine the relationship between reader and text.

Poetic Revolutionaries

Intertextuality & Subversion

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Marion May Campbell

Poetic Revolutionaries is an exploration of the relationship between radical textual practice, social critique and subversion. From an introduction considering recent debates regarding the cultural politics of intertextuality allied to avant-garde practice, the study proceeds to an exploration of texts by a range of writers for whom formal and poetic experimentation is allied to a subversive politics: Jean Genet, Monique Wittig, Angela Carter, Kathy Acker, Kathleen Mary Fallon, Kim Scott and Brian Castro. Drawing on theories of avant-garde practice, intertextuality, parody, representation, and performance such as those of Mikhaïl Bakhtin, Julia Kristeva, Gérard Genette, Margaret A. Rose, Linda Hutcheon, Fredric Jameson, Ross Chambers and Judith Butler, these readings explore how a confluence of writing strategies – covering the structural, narratological, stylistic and scenographic – can work to boost a text’s subversive power.

Collage Culture

Readymades, Meaning, and the Age of Consumption

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David Banash

Collage Culture develops a comprehensive theory of the origins and meanings of collage and readymades in modern and postmodern art, literature, and everyday life. Demonstrating that the origins of collage are found in assembly line technologies and mass media forms of layout and advertising in early twentieth-century newspapers, Collage Culture traces how the historical avant-garde turns the fragmentation of Fordist production against nationalist, fascist, and capitalist ideologies, using the radical potential unleashed by new technologies to produce critical collages. David Banash adeptly surveys the reinvention of collage by a generation of postmodern artists who develop new forms including cut-ups, sampling, zines, plagiarism, and copying to cope with the banalities and demands of consumer culture. Banash argues that collage mirrors the profoundly dialectical relations between the cut of assembly lines and the readymades of consumerism even as its cutting-edges move against the imperatives of passive consumption and disposability instituted by those technologies, forms, and relations. Collage Culture surveys and analyzes works of advertising, assemblage, film, literature, music, painting, and photography from the historical avant-garde to the most recent developments of postmodernism.

Beyond Aesthetics and Politics

Philosophical and Axiological Studies on the Avant-Garde, Pragmatism, and Postmodernism

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Krzysztof Piotr Skowroński

The book presents five philosophical and axiological studies devoted to the relationship between aesthetics and politics. It shows this relationship throughout the works of some avant-gardists, pragmatists, and postmodernists. It is also a voice in the discussion about the meaning of the fine arts and aesthetics in the context of the political aims and norms. This voice claims that the political dimension of art and aesthetics should be studied much more seriously than it has been till today, and needs more courageous re-interpretations and re-readings.

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Edited by Jorge Sacido

How can the short story help to redefine modernism, postmodernism and their interrelationship? What is the status of the short story in modern literary history? These are the central questions that the essays collected in this volume try to answer from different perspectives through readings of short fiction in English and accounts of the genre’s theorisations. The essays by a group of international scholars tackle theoretical issues that are central in approaches to both “movements” such as periodisation, autonomy, high vs. popular literature, totality vs. fragmentation, surface vs. depth, otherness, representation, and, above all, the subject and its vicissitudes. Because it blends theory-based arguments into the approaches to the short fiction of mainly canonical authors (Joyce, Woolf, Lewis, Ballard, Carter, Rushdie, or Wallace), Modernism, Postmodernism, and the Short Story in English is of interest not only to readers and scholars of the short story, but also to those coming from the fields of literary theory and literary history.

Chaos and Madness

The Politics of Fiction in Stephen Marlowe’s Historical Narratives

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Mónica Calvo-Pascual

In the 1950s prolific U.S. fiction writer Stephen Marlowe became a cult author for lovers of noir fiction mainly for his Drumbeat series, which present his best-known character: private eye Chester Drum. Yet, the academia never paid much attention to his multifaceted, extensive oeuvre. Chaos and Madness is the first volume offering a critical approach to Marlowe’s riveting historical novels. Their relevance in the field of literary studies derives from their well-wrought structure and captivating prose as well as from their portrayal of remote European history – a distinctive feature that makes Marlowe a unique figure in the North American trend of historiographic metafiction.
Chaos and Madness provides a comprehensive narratological and ideological analysis of three novels in which Marlowe deals with Spanish history. Preceded by an in-depth if reader-friendly theoretical chapter that traces the evolution of the historical novel as a genre, Calvo-Pascual’s meticulous investigation into Marlowe’s fiction proves compelling for anyone interested in contemporary American fiction, in Spanish history, or in the interaction of metafiction and the scientific discourse of chaos theory.