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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
Volume Editors: Jana Gohrisch and Ellen Grünkemeier
Bringing together contributions from various disciplines and academic fields, this collection engages in interdisciplinary dialogue on postcolonial issues. Covering African, anglophone, Romance, and New-World themes, linguistic, literary, and cultural studies, and historiography, music, art history, and textile studies, the volume raises questions of (inter)disciplinarity, methodology, and entangled histories.
The essays focus on the representation of slavery in the transatlantic world (the USA, Jamaica, Haiti, and the wider Caribbean, West Africa, and the UK). Drawing on a range of historical sources, material objects, and representations, they study Jamaican Creole, African masks, knitted objects, patchwork sculpture, newspapers, films, popular music, and literature of different genres from the Caribbean, West and South Africa, India, and Britain. At the same time, they reflect on theoretical problems such as intertextuality, intermediality, and cultural exchange, and explore intersections – postcolonial literature and transatlantic history; postcolonial and African-American studies; postcolonial literary and cultural studies. The final section keys in with the overall aim of challenging established disciplinary modes of knowledge production: exploring schools and universities as locations of postcolonial studies. Teachers investigate the possibilities and limits of their respective institutions and probe new ways of engaging with postcolonial concerns.
With its integrative, interdisciplinary focus, this collection addresses readers interested in understanding how colonization and globalization have influenced societies and cultures around the world.
Contributors: Anja Bandau, Sabine Broeck, Sarah Fekadu, Matthias Galler, Janou Glencross, Jana Gohrisch, Ellen Grünkemeier, Jessica Hemmings, Jan Hüsgen, Johannes Salim Ismaiel–Wendt, Ursula Kluwick, Henning Marquardt, Dennis Mischke, Timo Müller, Mala Pandurang, Carl Plasa, Elinor Jane Pohl, Brigitte Reinwald, Steffen Runkel, Andrea Sand, Cecile Sandten, Frank Schulze–Engler, Melanie Ulz, Reinhold Wandel, Tim Watson
In: Striding Both Worlds
In: Striding Both Worlds
In: Striding Both Worlds
In: Striding Both Worlds
Witi Ihimaera and New Zealand’s Literary Traditions
Author: Melissa Kennedy
Striding Both Worlds illuminates European influences in the fiction of Witi Ihimaera, Aotearoa New Zealand’s foremost Māori writer, in order to question the common interpretation of Māori writing as displaying a distinctive Māori world-view and literary style. Far from being discrete endogenous units, all cultures and literatures arise out of constant interaction, engagement, and even friction. Thus, Māori culture since the 1970s has been shaped by a long history of interaction with colonial British, Pakeha, and other postcolonial and indigenous cultures. Māori sovereignty and renaissance movements have harnessed the structures of European modernity, nation-building, and, more recently, Western global capitalism, transculturation, and diaspora – contexts which contest New Zealand bicultural identity, encouraging Māori to express their difference and self-sufficiency.
Ihimaera’s fiction has been largely viewed as embodying the specific values of Māori renaissance and biculturalism. However, Ihimaera, in his techniques, modes, and themes, is indebted to a wider range of literary influences than national literary critique accounts for. In taking an international literary perspective, this book draws critical attention to little-known or disregarded aspects such as Ihimaera’s love of opera, the extravagance of his baroque lyricism, his exploration of fantasy, and his increasing interest in taking Māori into the global arena. In revealing a broad range of cultural and aesthetic influences and inter-references commonly seen as irrelevant to contemporary Māori literature, Striding Both Worlds argues for a hitherto frequently overlooked and undervalued depth and complexity to Ihimaera’s imaginary.
The present study argues that an emphasis on difference tends to lose sight of fiction’s capacity to appreciate originality and individuality in the polyphony of its very form and function. In effect, literary negotiation of Māori sovereign space takes place in its forms rather than in its content: the uniqueness of Māori literature is found in the way it uses the common tools of literary fiction, including language, imagery, the text’s relationship to reality, and the function of characterization. By interpeting aspects of Ihimaera’s oeuvre for what they share with other literatures in English, Striding Both Worlds aims to present an additional, complementary approach to Māori, New Zealand, and postcolonial literary analysis.
In: Striding Both Worlds
In: Striding Both Worlds
In: Striding Both Worlds