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Britain and Germany in a (Post)Colonial World
While cultural diversity and hybridity have often been celebrated, they also challenge traditional concepts of national and cultural identity – challenges which have caused considerable anxiety. Various disciplines have often investigated the impact of cultural hybridity, multiculture, and (post)colonialism in relative isolation and with a tendency towards over-theorization and loss of specificity. Greater interdisciplinary cooperation can counter this tendency and encourage sustained comparisons between different former empires and across language boundaries.
This volume contributes to such developments by combining contributions from history, English and German studies, cultural geography, theatre studies, and film studies; by covering both the colonial and the postcolonial period; and by looking comparatively at two different (post)colonial contexts: the United Kingdom and Germany.
The result is productive dialogue across the distinct colonial and migration histories of the UK and Germany, which brings out divergent concepts of cultural difference – but, importantly, without neglecting similarities and transnational developments. The interdisciplinary outlook extends beyond political definitions of identity and difference to include consumer culture, literature, film, and journalism – cultural and social practices that construct, represent, and reflect personal and collective identities.
Section I discusses the historical and contemporary role of colonial experience and its remembrance in the construction of national identities. Section II follows on by tracing the reflections of (post)coloniality and twentieth-century migration in the specific fields of economic history and consumer culture. Section III centres on recent debates about multiculture and national/cultural identity in politics, literature, and film.
Rather than solid frames, some less than perfect aesthetic objects have permeable membranes which allow them to diffuse effortlessly into the everyday world. In the parallel universes of music and literature, Linda Cummins extols the poetry of such imperfection. She places Debussy's work within a tradition thriving on anti-Aristotelian principles: motley collections, crumbling ruins real or fake, monstrous hybrids, patchwork and palimpsest, hasty sketches, ellipses, truncated beginnings and endings, meandering arabesques, irrelevant digressions, auto-quotations. Sensitive to the intermittences of memory and experience and with a keen ear for ironic intrusion, Cummins draws the reader into the Western cultural past in search of the surprisingly ubiquitous aesthetic of the unfinished, negatively silhouetted against expectations of rational coherence. Theories popularized by Schlegel and embraced by the French Symbolists are only the first waypoint on an elaborately illustrated tour reaching back to Petrarch. Cummins meticulously applies the derived results to Debussy's scores and finds convincing correlations in this chiasmatic crossover.
The simultaneously tautological and oxymoronic nature of word / image relations has become a subject of massive debate in the post-modern period. This is not only because of the increasing predominance of word / image messages within our modern media-saturated culture, but also because intellectual disciplines are becoming increasingly sensitized to the essentially hybrid nature of the way we construct meaning in the world. The essays in this volume offer an exemplary insight into both aspects of this phenomenon. Focussing on both traditional and modern media (theatre, fiction, poetry, graphic art, cinema), the essays of Reading Images and Seeing Words are deeply concerned to show how it is according to signifying codes (rhetoric, poetics, metaphor), that meaning and knowledge are produced. Not the least value of this collection is the insight it gives into the multiple models of word / image interaction and the rich ambiguity of the tautological and oxymoronic relations they embody.
Study of a Transformational Process
Perhaps no other art form in the Western world has polarized opinion to the same extent as opera. While its devotees can be almost fanatical in their enthusiasm, its detractors will dismiss lyric theatre as an impossible hybrid. Literature and music undermine one another when brought together, they maintain. Their contempt for the genre is more often than not motivated by the supposedly mediocre quality of the librettos or scripts to which the works are set as well as the implausibility of characters singing instead of speaking their emotions. But what if these much maligned scripts provided composers with the raw material necessary to convert stereotypes into exemplary figures and place them in powerfully dramatic situations? What if the unreality of opera opened up gripping vistas onto the reality of human emotions? When Literature Becomes Opera strives to answer these questions by analyzing the artistic process through which literary texts are simplified then transformed into lyric dramas. Using as examples eight outstanding operas inspired by works of French writers ( Rigoletto, La traviata, Carmen, Thaïs, La Bohème, Tosca, Pelléas et Mélisande and Dialogues des Carmélites), this study demonstrates that a libretto, like a film script, enters into a partnership with the art it serves: music. When the quality of the partnership is high, all of opera's liabilities that purists take pleasure in deriding become stunning assets.
In the wake of proliferating discourses around globalisation and culture, some central questions around cultural politics have acquired a commonsensical and hegemonic character in contemporary intellectual discourse. The politics of difference, the possibilities of hybridity and the potential of multiple liminalities frame much discussion around the transnational dimensions of culture and post-identity politics. In this volume, the economic, political and social consequences of the focus on ‘culture’ in contemporary theories of globalization are analysed around the disparate fields of architecture, museum discourse, satellite television, dub poetry, carnival and sub-national theatre. The discourses of hybridity, diaspora, cultural difference minoritization are critically interrogated and engaged with through close analysis of cultural objects and practices. The essays thus intervene in the debate around modernity, globalization and cultural politics, and the volume as a whole provides a critical constellation through which the complexity of transnational culture can be framed. Thinking through the particular, the essays limn the absent universality of forms of capitalist globalization and the volume as a whole provides multiple perspectives from which to enter the singular modernity of our times in all its complexity.
Adaptation, Intertextuality, Authorship
Editor: Mireia Aragay
Books in Motion addresses the hybrid, interstitial field of film adaptation. The introductory essay integrates a retrospective survey of the development of adaptation studies with a forceful argument about their centrality to any history of culture—any discussion, that is, of the transformation and transmission of texts and meanings in and across cultures. The thirteen especially composed essays that follow, organised into four sections headed ‘Paradoxes of Fidelity’, ‘Authors, Auteurs, Adaptation’, ‘Contexts, Intertexts, Adaptation’ and ‘Beyond Adaptation’, variously illustrate that claim by problematising the notion of fidelity, highlighting the role played by adaptation in relation to changing concepts of authorship and auteurism, exploring the extent to which the intelligibility of film adaptations is dependent on contextual and intertextual factors, and making a claim for the need to transcend any narrowly-defined concept of adaptation in the study of adaptation. Discussion ranges from adaptations of established classics like A Tale of Two Cities, Frankenstein, Henry V, Le temps retrouvé, Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, ‘The Dead’ or Wuthering Heights, to contemporary (popular) texts/films like Bridget Jones’s Diary, Fools, The Governess, High Fidelity, The Hours, The Orchid Thief/Adaptation, the work of Doris Dörrie, the first Harry Potter novel/film, or the adaptations made by Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Walt Disney. This book will appeal to both a specialised readership and to those accessing the dynamic field of adaptation studies for the first time.
Paris, 1910-1915. Artists, intellectuals, and international celebrities crowd the city as never before. Decadent dreams and avant-garde manifestos celebrate the marriage between art and life. Creative experiments and vital joy dance hand in hand—on the edge of the abyss of WWI. Gabriele D’Annunzio is one of the highly influential yet semi-forgotten protagonists of this season and an emblem of its contradictions. A child of the Decadence, but also a forerunner of Modernism, the Italian poet defies the barriers between art forms, languages, and aesthetic practices. Tellingly, some of the period’s major figures across the arts are involved in D’Annunzio’s projects, including Canudo, Bakst, Brooks, Debussy, Montesquiou, and Rubinstein. In particular, in his sacred drama Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien, the poet combines French, Italian, literature, theater, mime, dance, music, painting, and cinema in a way that fuses old and new. D’Annunzio’s hybrid experiments challenge Wagner’s ‘total artwork’ theories, search for a synthesis between pictorial stillness and filmic movement, and anticipate contemporary multimedia experiences. These artistic collaborations end suddenly at the outbreak of the Great War, when Dannunzian total artworks migrate from the stage to the battlefield, generating a controversial legacy that calls for renewed critical investigations.
Postcolonial Fusions
The essays in this volume examine the tensions between two major political and intellectual structures: the global and the postcolonial, charting the ways in which such tensions are constitutive of changing power relations between the individual, the nation-state and global forces. Contributors ask how postcolonialism, with its emphasis on cultural difference and diversity, can respond to the new, neo-imperialist imperatives of globalization. Signalling the discursive grounds for debate is the fissures/fusions title, suggesting alternative categorizations of stereotypes like ‘global homogenization’ and ‘postcolonial resistance’. Interwoven are considerations of the intellectual or writer’s position today.
Literary texts from a wide range of countries are analysed for their resistance to global hegemony and for representations of manipulative power structures, in order to highlight issues such as environmental loss, nationality, migrancy, and marginality. Specific topics covered include ‘westernizing’ the Indian academy, ecotourism and the new media of computer technology, the corporatization of creativity in ‘re-branding’ New Zealand (including film), and the hybrid forms of Latin American photography. Writers discussed include Chinua Achebe, Samuel Beckett, Hafid Bouazza, Bei Dao, Mahmoud Darwish, Witi Ihimaera, James Joyce, Yann Martel, Rohinton Mistry, Ellen Ombre, Michael Ondaatje, George Orwell, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, and Edward Said. Different essays stress the hegemony of global networks; the technological revolution’s revitalizing of niche marketing while marginalizing postcolonial resistance; the implications of the internationalization of culture for the indigene; and the potential of cultural hybridity to collapse cultural hierarchies.
Urban displacement and failed encounters in surrealist and postmodern writing
This book traces the origins of the Postmodern eclectic grammar of linguistic collision back in the Surrealist poetics of ruins. Keeping in mind the images of lost direction in the big city as a central figure in the discussion of both the Modern and Postmodern aesthetics of displacement, Daniele starts comparing the epiphanic encounters of the Baudelairian flâneur in metropolitan Paris - in constant search for the traces of a lost symbolic order - with Breton's enigmatic pursuit of Nadja, the elusive sphinx in the crowd who moves in a mental territory of puzzling condensations and of ineffable objets trouvé. In his visual and written work, Marcel Duchamp was probably the first artist to envision the space of the crowd as a trans-urban, multiple dimension: a cool arena of disjunctive encounters contributing to transform the Surrealist erotic space of desire in a cooler, open field of performance.
Deeply influenced by Duchamp's hybrid aesthetics, American Postmodern writers such as Donald Barthelme and Thomas Pynchon, and the performance artist Laurie Anderson, represent metropolis as a “geographical incest”, as a plural, entropic semiosphere which transcends the notion of urban community to become the tolerant receptacle of an ethnic and discoursive multiplicity, an electronic area of linguistic collisions translatable in new fragmented and unfinished narratives. Evoking the assemblages of Abstract Expressionists, the debris of Simon Rodia “junk art”, and the hybrid language of Postmodern architecture, this neo-Surrealist narrative discourse transforms the epiphanic traces envisioned by the Baudelairian and Bretonian heroes in partial parodies, in enigmatic fragments whose ultimate source transcends the narrator's knowledge. The conceptual strategy which is constitutive of these texts implicitly asks the puzzled reader to disentangle the entropic plots, immerging him in the midst of a “linguistic wilderness,” where all opposites - fact and fiction, man and machine, man and female - enigmatically and humorously coexist.
Chinese Contemporary Art in the Post-Mao Era
Between State and Market: Chinese Contemporary Art in the Post-Mao Era examines the shift in the system of support for contemporary art in China between 1979 and 1993, from state patronage to the introduction of the market, and the hybrid space that developed in between. Today, soaring prices for contemporary art have triggered a debate about the deleterious effect of the market on art. Yet Jane DeBevoise argues that, in the post-Mao period, the imaginary of the marketplace was liberating, offering artists an alternative framework of legitimacy and support. Based on primary research, DeBevoise explores the entangled role of the state and the market, and how experimental artists and their champions in China negotiated to find a creative space between the two systems to produce and promote their work.