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Intertextuality & Subversion
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.
Negotiating Multi-Ethnic Identities on the Contemporary North American Stage
This book, the first cross-cultural study of post-1970s anglophone Canadian and American multi-ethnic drama, invites assessment of the thematic and aesthetic contributions of this theater in today’s globalized culture. A growing number of playwrights of African, South and East Asian, and First Nations heritage have engaged with manifold socio-political and aesthetic issues in experimental works combining formal features of more classical European dramatic traditions with such elements of ethnic culture as ancestral music and dance, to interrogate the very concepts of theatricality and canonicity. Their “mouths on fire” (August Wilson), these playwrights contest stereotyped notions of authenticity. In¬spired by songs of anger, passion, experience, survival, and regeneration, the plays analyzed bespeak a burning desire to break the silence, to heal and empower. Foregrounding questions of hybridity, diaspora, cultural memory, and nation, this comparative study includes discussion of some twenty-five case studies of plays by such authors as M.J. Kang, August Wilson, Suzan–Lori Parks, Djanet Sears, Chay Yew, Padma Viswanathan, Rana Bose, Diane Glancy, and Drew Hayden Taylor. Through its cross-cultural and cross-national prism, “Mouths on Fire with Songs” shows that multi-ethnic drama is one of the most diverse and dynamic sites of cultural production in North America today.
The Politics of Fiction in Stephen Marlowe’s Historical Narratives
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.
Author: Jeffrey Herlihy
Alongside a liberating treatment of the English language, Ernest Hemingway realized some often overlooked innovations in multicultural subject matter. In six of the seven novels published during his lifetime, the protagonist is abroad, bilingual, and bicultural—and these archetypes have significant implications for each character’s sense of identity. In Paris or Paname interprets Hemingway’s overdetermined use of foreignness as a literary device, characterizing how cultural displacement informs plot dynamics. The investigation historicizes the archetypal protagonist’s process of (re)orientation through attention to his intercultural adoptions in language, alcohol consumption, sports, and betrothal rites. Herlihy situates his argument within an apposite research framework from psychological studies on migration, anthropological examinations of cultural ceremony, and literary theory on the poetics of displacement. The analysis offers groundbreaking insights on the distribution of previously overlooked structural patterns (themes, motifs, and symbols) that are present throughout Hemingway’s novelistic corpus, and provides a compelling perspective on the aesthetics of the expatriate/immigrant writing process.
Images of Eastern European Jewish Migration to America in Contemporary American Children’s Literature
Author: Jana Pohl
How is the life-altering event of migration narrated for children, especially if it was caused by Anti-Semitism and poverty? What of the country of origin is remembered and what is forgotten, and what of the target country when the migration is imagined there a century later? Looking Forward, Looking Back examines today’s representation of Jewish mass migration from Eastern Europe to America around the turn of the last century. It explores the collective story that emerges when American authors look back at this exodus from an Eastern European home to a new one to be established in America. Focusing on children’s literature, it investigates a wide range of texts including young adult literature as well as picture books and hence sheds light on the dynamics of the verbal and the visual in generating images of the self and other, the familiar and the strange.
This book is of interest to scholars in the field of imagology, children’s literature, cultural studies, American studies, Slavic studies, and Jewish studies.
An Exploration of Cultural Hybridity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry
In interpreting contemporary Asian American poetry, it is important to understand the cultural hybridity of Asian America identity, located at the interstices of the fixed identifications ‘American’, ‘Asian American’, and ‘Asian’. This rootedness in more than one culture exposes the inapplicability of binary concepts (foreigner/national, etc.). Hybridity, opposing essentialism and ‘the original’, favors multivocality and ambivalence. The exploration of Asian American cultural hybridity is linked both to material realities and poetic manifestations.
Asian American hybrid subjectivity is explored through in-depth interpretations of works from well-established contemporary poets such as Kimiko Hahn, Marilyn Chin, Li-Young Lee, and Arthur Sze, as well as that of many new talents and hitherto neglected writers.
This study examines how language and power interrelate, with translation and linguistic fusion being two approaches adopted by hybrid authors in their creation of alternative discourse. Culturally hybrid subjectivity is independent of and at the same time interconnected with more than one culture, thus enabling innovative political and identitarian positions to be articulated. Also examined are such traditional poetic forms as the zuihitsu, the sonnet, and the ghazal, which continue to be used, though in modernized and often subversive guise. The formal liminal space is revealed as a source of newness and invention deconstructing eurocentric hierarchy and national myth in American society and expanding or undercutting binary constructs of racial, national, and ethnic identities.
A further question pursued is whether there are particular aesthetic modes and concepts that unite contemporary Asian American poetry when the allegiances of the practitioners are so disparate (ultimate geocultural provenience, poetic schools, regions in the USA, generations, sexual orientation, etc.). Wide-ranging interviews with Kimiko Hahn and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni on identity and roots, language and power, feminism, and the American poetry scene provide illuminating personal yet representative answers to this and other questions.
Reading Contemporary Ethnic American Women’s Fiction
Author: Stella Bolaki
What kinds of uncertainties and desires do generic issues evoke? How can we account for the continuing hold of the Bildungsroman as a model of analysis? Unsettling the Bildungsroman: Reading Contemporary Ethnic American Women’s Fiction combines genre and cultural theory and offers a cross-ethnic comparative approach to the tradition of the female novel of development and the American coming-of-age narrative. Examining closely the work of Jamaica Kincaid, Sandra Cisneros, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Audre Lorde, the chapters foreground processes of constructing an alternative “art of living” which challenges the Bildungsroman’s drive for either assimilation or ethnic homogeneity and pushes for new configurations of ethnic and American female identity. Drawing on feminist/gender studies, psychoanalytic theory, translation theory, queer theory, and disability studies, the book provides a theoretically engaged rethinking of the Bildungsroman’s form and function. Addressing questions of aesthetics and politics, freedom and belonging, betrayal and responsibility, and tracing the Bildungsroman’s links with life-writing forms such as immigrant narrative, mother-daughter story, biomythography, and illness narrative, the study outlines the various ways in which the novel of individual development becomes an appropriate site for the negotiation of several enduring and contentious tensions in ethnic American writing. Of potential interest to scholars of American literature, but also ethnic, feminist and postcolonial literatures, and to students of American literature and culture, the book demonstrates the Bildungsroman’s ongoing relevance and expanded capacity of representation in an ethnic American and postcolonial context.
Volume Editor: Cecilia Donohue
This addition to Rodopi Press’s Dialogue Series presents a collection of essays solely dedicated to Woman Hollering Creek (1991), Sandra Cisneros’s groundbreaking collection of short fiction stories and sketches. The emerging and veteran scholars who have contributed to this text approach Cisneros’s work from varied perspectives, including negotiation of geographic and sociocultural borders, popular and material culture, and gender portrayals. Author dialogues, in which the scholars comment upon each other’s research, constitute a unique, innovative feature of this particular volume. This book will be of interest to those engaged in Chicano/a literature and feminist/gender studies, as well as instructors of literary critical analysis.
Volume Editor: Cara Cilano
From Solidarity to Schisms is the first collection to expand discussions of the effects the events of 11 September 2001 and their aftermath have had on fiction and film beyond an exclusively US-based focus. The essays brought together here go beyond critiquing the US to examine the cultural shifts taking place in fiction and cinema from places such as Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Pakistan, Canada, Israel, and Iran. From these many sites of production, the works discussed in this collection illustrate more precisely how 9/11 was “global” without succumbing to neat categorizations, such as “us vs. them,” “East vs. West,” “Christianity vs. Islam,” and so on. From Solidarity to Schisms is an important supplement to the US-centered cultural and critical production addressing 9/11, providing researchers and teachers alike with resources and contexts that will allow them to broaden their own examinations of novels and films by Americans and about the US. It also provides a valuable resource for students and scholars of contemporary global history and international politics who are interested in approaching 9/11, terrorism and counter-terrorism, and related topics from a cultural standpoint.
Uncertain Mirrors realigns magical realism within a changing critical landscape, from Aristotelian mimesis to Adorno’s concept of negative dialectics. In between, the volume traverses a vast theoretical arena, from postmodernism and postcolonialism to Lévinasian philosophy and eco-criticism. The volume opens and closes with dialectical instability, as it recasts the mutability of the term “mimesis” as both a “world-reflecting” and a “world-creating” mechanism. Magical realism, the authors contend, offers another stance of the possible; it also situates the reader at a hybrid aesthetic matrix inextricably linked to postcolonial theory, postmodernism, Bakhtinian theory, and quantum physics. As Uncertain Mirrors explores, magical realist texts partake of modernist exhaustion as much as of postmodernist replenishment, yet they stem from a different “location of culture” and “direction of culture;” they offer complex aesthetic artifacts that, in their recreation of alternative geographic and semiotic spaces, dislocate hegemonic texts and ideologies. Their unrealistic excess effects a breach in the totalized unity represented by 19th century realism, and plays the dissonant chord of the particular and the non-identical.