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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
In: The Poetic Eye: Occasional Writings 1982-2012
Author: Michael Sharkey
This volume contains a selection of the Australian poet Michael Sharkey’s uncollected essays and occasional writings on poetics and poets, chiefly Australian and New Zealand. Reviews and conversations with other poets highlight Sharkey’s concern with preserving and interrogating cultural memory and his engagement with the practice and championing of poetry. Poets discussed range from Lord Byron to colonial-era and early-twentieth-century poets (Francis Adams, David McKee Wright, and Zora Cross), under-represented Australian women poets of World War I, traditionalists and experimentalists, including several ‘New Australian Poetry’ activists of the 1970s, and contemporary Australian and New Zealand poets. Writings on poetics address form and tradition, the teaching and reception of poetry, and canon-formation. The collection is culled from commissioned and occasional contributions to anthologies of practical poetics, journals devoted to literary and cultural history and book reviewing, as well as newspaper and small-magazine features from the 1980s to the present. The writing reflects Sharkey’s poetic practice and pedagogy relating to the teaching of literature, rhetorical analysis, cultural studies, and writing in universities, schools, and cultural organizations in Australia, New Zealand, China, and Germany. It also evidences Sharkey’s familiarity with literatures written in English and his wider career in publishing, editing, free-lance journalism, and the promotion of Australian and New Zealand literature, especially poetry.
In: The Poetic Eye: Occasional Writings 1982-2012
In: The Poetic Eye: Occasional Writings 1982-2012
In: The Poetic Eye: Occasional Writings 1982-2012
In: The Poetic Eye: Occasional Writings 1982-2012
In: The Poetic Eye: Occasional Writings 1982-2012
In: The Poetic Eye: Occasional Writings 1982-2012
Landscapes of Tomorrow
An innovative volume of interdisciplinary essays on the significant British writer J. G. Ballard (1930-2009), exploring the physical, cultural and intertextual landscapes in several key novels with a central focus on The Atrocity Exhibition (1970), one of the most challenging texts in contemporary literature. Contributors include established critics of Ballard alongside newcomers. Different spatial concepts underpin the essays, from the landscapes of Ballard’s youth in Shanghai and his life in suburban London, to nuclear testing spaces and outer space exploration. Figurative locations typical of Ballard’s work are explored, including the beach, the motorway, the high-rise and the shopping mall. Textual spaces are explored through Ballard’s affiliation with modernist literary forms, including surrealist prose writing and collage, and poetic romanticism.