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Edited by Jay Paul Gates and Brian T. O'Camb

This volume of essays focuses on how individuals living in the late tenth through fifteenth centuries engaged with the authorizing culture of the Anglo-Saxons. Drawing from a reservoir of undertreated early English documents and texts, each contributor shows how individual poets, ecclesiasts, legists, and institutions claimed Anglo-Saxon predecessors for rhetorical purposes in response to social, cultural, and linguistic change. Contributors trouble simple definitions of identity and period, exploring how medieval authors looked to earlier periods of history to define social identities and make claims for their present moment based on the political fiction of an imagined community of a single, distinct nation unified in identity by descent and religion.

Contributors are Cynthia Turner Camp, Irina Dumitrescu, Jay Paul Gates, Erin Michelle Goeres, Mary Kate Hurley, Maren Clegg Hyer, Nicole Marafioti, Brian O’Camb, Kathleen Smith, Carla María Thomas, Larissa Tracy, and Eric Weiskott.

Cultures of Uneven and Combined Development

From International Relations to World Literature

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Edited by James Christie and Nesrin Degirmencioglu

Cultures of Uneven and Combined Development seeks to explore and develop Leon Trotsky’s concept of uneven and combined development. In particular, it aims to adapt the political and historical analysis which originated in Trotsky’s Russia for use within the contemporary field of world literature. As such, it draws together the work of scholars from both the field of international relations and the field of literature and the arts. This collection will therefore be of particular interest to anyone who is interested in new ways of understanding world literary texts, or interested in new ways of applying Trotsky’s revolutionary politics to the contemporary world order.

Contributors: Alexander Anievas, Gail Day, James Christie, Kamran Matin, Kerem Nisancioglu, Luke Cooper, Michael Niblett, Neil Davidson, Nesrin Degirmencioglu, Robert Spencer, Steve Edwards.

Odysseys / Odyssées

Travel Narratives in French / Récits de voyage en français

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Edited by Jeanne M. Garane

The volume explores diverse aspects of French-language travel writing. Arranged chronologically by topic, the essays cover the medieval Anglo-Norman story of the Irish traveller Saint Brendan's fantastical visit to hell; the sixteenth-century French expeditions to Florida; the seventeenth-century Dernières découvertes dans l’Amérique septentrionale de M. de la Sale mises au jour par le chevalier Tonti, 1697; the eighteenth-century Histoire générale des voyages by l’abbé Prévost; the eighteenth-century Impressions d' Orient et d'Arabie written in French by the Polish count Waclaw Seweryn Rzewuski; nineteenth-century tales of travel in Algeria by the orientalist painter Eugène Fromentin; early twentieth-century travel narratives by the modernist Blaise Cendrars; the 1936 visit to the Soviet Union by Louis-Ferdinand Céline and André Gide, odyssean thematics in the late twentieth-century work of Nobel prize winner Patrick Modiano; the thematics of nomadism in the twentieth-century writing of Albert Memmi, and the thematics of travel in works by Bernard Ollivier, Rachid Bouchareb, Fatou Diome, Christine Montalbetti, Marie Ndiaye and Emmanuel Lepage.

Facing Diasporic Trauma

Self-Representation in the Writings of John Hearne, Caryl Phillips, and Fred D’Aguiar

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Fatim Boutros

Fictional writing has an important mnemonic function for the Afro-Carib-bean community. It facilitates an encounter between contemporary societies and their historical origins. The representation of diasporic trauma in the novels of Fred D’Aguiar, John Hearne, and Caryl Phillips challenges territorial under¬standings of nationality and raises awareness of the eurocentric basis of Western historiography. Slavery is a recurring motif of the nine novels analysed in this study. They narrate the fates of silenced victims who all share the traumatic experience of racial violence even if otherwise separated through time, space, gender and age.
These charismatic fictional characters facilitate an empathic access to the history of slavery that goes beyond the anonymity of traditional historical sources. Their most private and intimate sorrows make the traumatic conditions of slavery appear much less remote and reveal their suffering. The euphemistic and distorting selection of the events that has been passed down by the dominant culture is thus countered by a relentless display of historical violence. These literary images establish an important symbolic repertoire and introduce powerful founding myths of the diaspora.
In spite of the traumatic foundations of the community, the nine novels display considerable optimism about the possibility of a convivial future that transcends racial boundaries.The capacity and willingness to improvise and adapt to new environments and to do so even in face of a traumatic heritage can be regarded as the most important precondition for positive future developments within the matrix of a rapidly transforming global environment.

The Politics of Adaptation

Contemporary African Drama and Greek Tragedy

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Astrid Van Weyenberg

This book explores contemporary African adaptations of classical Greek tragedies. Six South African and Nigerian dramatic texts – by Yael Farber, Mark Fleishman, Athol Fugard, Femi Osofisan, and Wole Soyinka – are analysed through the thematic lens of resistance, revolution, reconciliation, and mourning.
The opening chapters focus on plays that mobilize Greek tragedy to inspire political change, discussing how Sophocles’ heroine Antigone is reconfigured as a freedom fighter and how Euripides’ Dionysos is transformed into a revolutionary leader.
The later chapters shift the focus to plays that explore the costs and consequences of political change, examining how the cycle of violence dramatized in Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy acquires relevance in post-apartheid South Africa, and how the mourning of Euripides’ Trojan Women resonates in and beyond Nigeria.
Throughout, the emphasis is on how playwrights, through adaptation, perform a cultural politics directed at the Europe that has traditionally considered ancient Greece as its property, foundation, and legitimization. Van Weyenberg additionally discusses how contemporary African reworkings of Greek tragedies invite us to reconsider how we think about the genre of tragedy and about the cultural process of adaptation.
Against George Steiner’s famous claim that tragedy has died, this book demonstrates that Greek tragedy holds relevance today. But it also reveals that adaptations do more than simply keeping the texts they draw on alive: through adaptation, playwrights open up a space for politics. In this dynamic between adaptation and pre-text, the politics of adaptation is performed.

Spatial Relations. Volume Two

Essays, Reviews, Commentaries, and Chorography

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John Kinsella

These volumes present John Kinsella’s uncollected critical writings and personal reflections from the early 1990s to the present. Included are extended pieces of memoir written in the Western Australian wheatbelt and the Cambridge fens, as well as acute essays and commentaries on the nature and genesis of personal and public poetics. Pivotal are a sense of place and how we write out of it; pastoral’s relevance to contemporary poetry; how we evaluate and critique (post)colonial creativity and intrusion into Indigenous spaces; and engaged analysis of activism and responsibility in poetry and literary discourse. The author is well-known for saying he is preeminently an “anarchist, vegan, pacifist” – not stock epithets, but the raison d’être behind his work.
The collection moves from overviews of contemporary Australian poetry to studies of such writers as Randolph Stow, Ouyang Yu, Charmaine Papertalk–Green, Lionel Fogarty, Les Murray, Peter Porter, Dorothy Hewett, Judith Wright, Alamgir Hashmi, Patrick Lane, Robert Sullivan, C.K. Stead, and J.H. Prynne, and on to numerous book reviews of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, originally published in newspapers and journals from around the world.
There are also searching reflections on visual artists (Sidney Nolan, Karl Wiebke, Shaun Atkinson) and wide-ranging opinion pieces and editorials. In counterpoint are conversations with other writers (Rosanna Warren, Rod Mengham, Alvin Pang, and Tracy Ryan) and explorations of schooling, being struck by lightning, ‘international regionalism’, hybridity, and experimental poetry. This two-volume argosy has been brought together by scholar and editor Gordon Collier, who has allowed the original versions to speak with their unique informal–formal ductus.
Kinsella’s interest is in the ethics of space and how we use it. His considerations of the wheatbelt through Wagner and Dante (and rewritings of these), and, in Thoreauvian vein, his ‘place’ at Jam Tree Gully on the edge of Western Australia’s Avon Valley form a web of affirmation and anxiety: it is space he feels both part of and outside, em¬braced in its every magnitude but felt to be stolen land, whose restitution needs articulating in literature and in real time.
Beneath it all is a celebration of the natural world – every plant, animal, rock, sentinel peak, and grain of sand – and a commitment to an ecological poetics.

Common Places

The Poetics of African Atlantic Postromantics

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Seanna Sumalee Oakley

While a great deal of postcolonial criticism has examined how the processes of hybridity, mestizaje, creolization, and syncretism impact African diasporic literature, Oakley employs the heuristic of the “commonplace” to recast our sense of the politics of such literature. Her analysis of commonplace poetics reveals that postcolonial poetic and political moods and aspirations are far more complex than has been admitted. African Atlantic writers summon the utopian potential of Romanticism, which had been stricken by Anglo-European exclusiveness and racial entitlement, and project it as an attainable, differentially common future. Putting poets Frankétienne (Haiti), Werewere Liking (Côte d’Ivoire), Derek Walcott (St Lucia), and Claudia Rankine (Jamaica) in dialogue with Romantic poets and theorists, as well as with the more recent thinkers Édouard Glissant, Walter Benjamin, and Emmanuel Levinas, Oakley shows how African Atlantic poets formally revive Romantic forms, ranging from the social utopian manifesto to the poète maudit, in their pursuit of a redemptive allegory of African Atlantic experiences. Common Places addresses issues in African and Caribbean literary studies, Romanticism, poetics, rhetorical theory, comparative literature, and translation theory, and further, models a postcolonial critique in the aesthetic-ethical and “new aestheticist” vein.

Spheres Public and Private

Western Genres in African Literature

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Edited by Gordon Collier

The coverage displayed here is predominantly on sub-Saharan literary production, and with a – perhaps systemic – focus on important aspects of political history and socio-political structures (including marxian analyses of the ‘public sphere’) and such crucial arenas as religious discipline, the tension between tradition and modernity, ecological awareness, family, and gender.
Most of the discussions are traditionally content-oriented, but there are at least two essays (on Soyinka’s Aké and on Amma Darko’s The Housemaid) that attempt to come to grips narratologically with the medium of prose fiction itself. A quartet of essays with a more general purview – including a refreshing demontage of exclusive obeisance to (Western) écriture – is followed by a section on poets, some canonical, others emergent: Ogaga Ifowodo, Jack Mapanje, Olu Oguibe, Tanure Ojaide, Okot p’Bitek, Wole Soyinka, Ladé Wosornu. Essays on fiction cover general topics (women’s fiction; political writing in Nigeria; the nightmare of Biafra), and landmark texts both anglophone (Chinua Achebe, Amma Darko, Festus Iyayi, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Wole Soyinka), francophone (Mariama Bâ, Mongo Beti, and Ousmane Sembène), and – a novum for Matatu – hispanophone (Donato Ndongo). The theatre section has essays on Ama Ata Aidoo, Zakes Mda, Anne Tanyi–Tang, Soyinka, and Ahmed Yerima, as well as Ngũgĩ and Mugo.
We are especially pleased to be able to offer accomplished original poetry, short stories, and a complete drama text. Four comprehensive essay-reviews (on literary criticism, cinema, graphic art, and traditional African society) round out this issue.

Chewing Over the West

Occidental Narratives in Non-Western Readings

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Edited by Doris Jedamski

The orientation of academic institutions has in recent years been moving away from highly specialized area studies in the classical sense towards broader regional and comparative studies. Cultural studies points to the limitation of Western approaches to non-Western cultures – a development not yet reflected in actual research and data collections. Bringing together scholars from all over the world with specialized knowledge in both Western and non-Western languages, literatures, and cultures, this collection of essays provides new insights into the agency of non-Western literatures in relation to the West – a term used with critical caution and, like other common binary dualisms, challenged here. Inter-cultural expertise, seldom applied in the combination of Asian, African, and ‘oriental’ perspectives, makes this compilation of essays an important contribution to the study of colonialism and postcoloniality.
Topics covered include postcolonial Arabic writing; T.S. Eliot in contemporary Arabic poetry; Algerian (and Berber) literature; the English language and narratives in Kenyan art; characterization, dialogism, gender and Western infuence in modern Hindi fiction; Naya drama in India; modern Burmese theatre and literature under Western influence; Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front and the Vietnamese Novel Without a Name; Western Marxism and vernacular literature in colonial Indonesia; hybridity in Komedi Stambul; and Sherlock Holmes in/and the crime fiction of Siam and Indonesia
Contributors: Amina Azza Bekkat; Thomas de Bruijn; Matthew Isaac Cohen; Rasheed El-Enany; Keith Foulcher; Saddik M. Gohar; Rachel Harrison; Doris Jedamski; Ursula Lies; Daniela Merolla; Evan Mwangi; Guzel Vladimirovna Strelkova; Anna Suvorova; U Win Pe

From Creole to Standard

Shakespeare, Language, and Literature in a Postcolonial Context

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Roshni Mooneeram

This book gives a fascinating account of the unique history of the national – creole – language of Mauritius and the process of standardization that it is undergoing in postcolonial times. The central question is how far a creative writer's activity may affect the status and linguistic forms of a regional language. The book focuses on the work of the author Dev Virahsawmy, who, particularly through his Shakespeare translations, is an active agent in the standardization of Mauritian creole.
The approaches employed in From Creole to Standard combine a sociolinguistic examination of (changing) language attitudes with detailed textual studies of some of Virahsawmy's works to show the relation of his work to the process of language development. This book is relevant to the study of other creole languages undergoing standardization as well as to questions of language development more widely. Its strength lies precisely in its interdisciplinary approach, which addresses different readerships. Mooneeram’s study is of great interest to both postcolonial thinking and sociolinguistics but also has important implications for debates about the role of canonical literary works and their transmission in the wider world.
Her book is also a contribution to Shakespeare studies and the field of literary linguistics. There are interesting parallels between the contemporary situation of Mauritian creole and English in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Virahsawmy’s adaptations and translations into creole echo the role Shakespeare’s ‘originals’ played for English, and Mooneeram demonstrates how other writers have followed Virahsawmy in using literary forms to enrich the language.