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The African Palimpsest

Indigenization of Language in the West African Europhone Novel. Second Enlarged Edition

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Chantal Zabus

Uniting a sense of the political dimensions of language appropriation with a serious, yet accessible linguistic terminology, The African Palimpsest examines the strategies of ‘indigenization’ whereby West African writers have made their literary English or French distinctively ‘African’. Through the apt metaphor of the palimpsest – a surface that has been written on, written over, partially erased and written over again – the book examines such well-known West African writers as Achebe, Armah, Ekwensi, Kourouma, Okara, Saro–Wiwa, Soyinka and Tutuola as well as lesser-known writers from francophone and anglophone Africa. Providing a great variety of case-studies in Nigerian Pidgin, Akan, Igbo, Maninka, Yoruba, Wolof and other African languages, the book also clarifies the vital interface between Europhone African writing and the new outlets for African artistic expression in (auto-)translation, broadcast television, radio and film.

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Glenn W. Fetzer

The richness and diversity of poetic voices in France since the mid-twentieth century sharpen the challenge of charting the poetic landscape in ways that are accessible and cohesive. Since poetry in France has long demonstrated a predisposition to philosophical questions. Palimpsests of the Real in Recent French Poetry reads the work of six poets through the lens of the Pre-Socratics. The poets discussed range from the well-known – Jacques Dupin, André du Bouchet, Eugène Guillevic – to the lesser celebrated – Jean-Louis Chrétien, Céline Zins, and Emmanuel Hocquard. What binds these six together is an interest in the real, and a fascination with the ways of sensing one’s world, of experiencing time, unity, memory, and change. For each poet, the aesthetic character of the work takes precedence, and its presentation is informed by the philosophical groundwork laid by ancient thinkers.
Written not only for specialists but also for students and all readers with a general interest in literature and poetry, this book provides introductory material to each poet considered as well as offers critical readings that never stray far from the poetic texts.

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Linda Cummins

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.

Disorienting Vision

Rereading Stereotypes in French Orientalist Texts and Images

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Inge E. Boer

This book begins with a painting. Loyalty to cultural artefacts, listening carefully to what they have to say, is the secret of Inge E. Boer’s approach to the French Orientalists tradition. In a post-Said manner, Boer provides close readings of philosophical and literary texts, paintings, prints and other artefacts. Her readings establish a dialogue with critical post-colonial and feminist theory as well as (art-) historical and literary scholarship. She treats all these artefacts like subjects in their own right, enabling them to show and tell. This dialogic attention to detail makes for an innovative vision that shuns the sweeping statements of a priori conviction, as much as avoiding the unwitting endorsements that the rhetoric of scholarship sometimes promotes.

August Strindberg and the Other

New Critical Approaches

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Edited by Poul Houe, Sven Hakon Rossel and Göran Stockenström

The recent sesquicentennial of August Strindberg's (1849-1912) birth was an appropriate occasion for investigating the role of this towering figure in Nordic literature. By Eugene O'Neill once labeled the most modern of moderns, Strindberg the playwright has commanded a prophetic influence on 20th century drama and theater, and his voluminous production in several other genres continues to constitute a watershed and some of the highpoints in Swedish letters.
Yet, Strindberg remains as controversial today as he was in his lifetime. The nature and degree of his modernity are still under discussion, and so is the impact of his remarkable genre-proliferation and border-transgressing Swedishness. Once considered too unruly for the pillars of society and too pious for the radicals, his artistic and existential points of gravity remain in critical dispute. Generally subjected to traditional modes of inquiry, Strindberg's complexity calls for new critical approaches.
Strindberg and the Other brings together scholars, younger and older, from Scandinavia and abroad, who either venture such new approaches or engage their practitioners in fruitful dialogue. Especially promising among the volume's methodological and theoretical propositions is the notion of the 'other' and 'otherness.' Indeed, the image of August Strindberg himself is quite an-other at this millennium than it was just half a century ago.

"Por le soie amisté"

Essays in Honor of Norris J. Lacy

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Edited by Keith Busby and Catherine M. Jones

These essays are a tribute to one of North America’s most distinguished scholars of Old French literature, Norris J. Lacy. Dealing with a wide range of medieval works, they reflect the honorand’s own scholarly interests in medieval narrative and its reception in later periods. Together, the contributions are witness not only to the esteem in which Norris Lacy is held by the profession but also to the collegial spirit of the international community of medievalists.

Neo-Victorian Cities

Reassessing Urban Politics and Poetics

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Edited by Marie-Luise Kohlke and Christian Gutleben

This volume explores the complex aesthetic, cultural, and memory politics of urban representation and reconfiguration in neo-Victorian discourse and practice. Through adaptations of traditional city tropes – such as the palimpsest, the labyrinth, the femininised enigma, and the marketplace of desire – writers, filmmakers, and city planners resurrect, preserve, and rework nineteenth-century metropolises and their material traces while simultaneously Gothicising and fabricating ‘past’ urban realities to serve present-day wants, so as to maximise cities’ potential to generate consumption and profits. Within the cultural imaginary of the metropolis, this volume contends, the nineteenth century provides a prominent focalising lens that mediates our apperception of and engagement with postmodern cityscapes. From the site of capitalist romance and traumatic lieux de mémoire to theatre of postcolonial resistance and Gothic sensationalism, the neo-Victorian city proves a veritable Proteus evoking myriad creative responses but also crystallising persistent ethical dilemmas surrounding alienation, precarity, Othering, and social exclusion.

Weltseitigkeit

Jörg-Ulrich Fechner zu Ehren

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Edited by Dirk Kemper

»Weltseitigkeit« perspektiviert das wissenschaftliche Schaffen des zu Ehrenden wie auch die Beiträge seiner Freunde und Kollegen in diesem Band.
Schon 1808 prägte Jean Paul in seiner »Friedens-Predigt an Deutschland« den Begriff der ›Weltseitigkeit‹ der Deutschen (»Aber wir weltseitigen Deutschen, schon längst im geistigen Verkehr mit allen Völkern«), mit dem er der Angst vor kultureller Überfremdung durch die Franzosen entgegenzuwirken suchte. In dieser Perspektive gehört »Weltseitigkeit« in die Vorgeschichte der Reflexion über Weltliteratur und darf als Leitbegriff für eine Art von Literaturwissenschaft in Anspruch genommen werden, die sich weder durch nationalstaatliche noch durch nationalsprachliche Trennlinien begrenzen lassen will, die um die Verwurzelung des Eigenen nicht zuletzt im Fremden weiß und dem Palimpsest fremdkultureller Erfahrungsschichten auch in Texten der eigenen Kultur nachspürt.

Venetian Views, Venetian Blinds

English Fantasies of Venice

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Edited by Manfred Pfister and Barbara Schaff

Half a millennium of English and American fantasies of Venice: this collection of essays by leading critics in the field explores the continued and continuing fascination of travellers, writers, artists, theatre workers and film makers with the amphibious and ambiguous city in the lagoon. There is hardly another place in Europe that has become so much of a palimpsest, inscribed with the fantasies, the dreams and nightmares of generations of foreigners, and this turns Venetian Views, Venetian Blinds into a particularly pertinent case study of the ways cultural difference within Europe is experienced, enacted and constructed. The essays range across five centuries - from the Renaissance to our postmodern present, from Shakespeare and his contemporary Coryate to recent novels, detective fiction and films - and, in contrast to previous studies focussing on the Grand Tour, they emphasise more recent developments and how they continue or disrupt traditional ways of perceiving - or being blind to! - Venice.

Crime Scenes

Detective Narratives in European Culture since 1945

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Edited by Anne Mullen and Emer O'Beirne

The essays in this collection are based on papers given at a conference on detective fiction in European culture, held at the University of Exeter in September 1997. The range of topics covered is designed to show not only the presence and variety of narratives of detection across different European countries and their different media (although there is a predictable emphasis on the novel). It also illustrates the fertility of the genre, its openness to a spectrum of readings with different emphases, formal as well as thematic.
Approaches to detective fiction have often tended to confine them-selves to ‘symptomatic’ interpretation, where details of the fictional world represented are used to diagnose a specific set of social preoccupations and priorities operative at the time of writing. Such approaches can yield valuable insights. Nonetheless there is a risk of limiting the value of the genre as a whole solely to its role as a mirror held up to society. In this perspective, issues of structure and style are sidelined, or, if addressed, are praised to the extent that they approach invisibility — concision, spareness, realism are the qualities singled out for praise. The genre also gives much scope for formal innovation — and indeed has often attracted already established ‘mainstream’ writers and filmmakers for just this reason.
The eclectic diversity of the detective narratives considered in this volume reveal the malleability of the traditional constraints of the genre. The essays bear rich testimony to the value of considering the interplay of thematic and structural issues, even in the most apparently unselfconscious and popular (or populist) forms of narrative. The patterns of reassurance, the triumph of intellect and the ordered, rational world ‘of old’ are now challenged by the need to foreground the problems, ambiguities and uncertainties of the self and of society. The plurality of meanings and the antithetical imperatives explored in these detective narratives confirm that the most recent forms of the genre are not mere palimpsests of their ‘golden age’ precursors. The subversion of traditional expectations and the implementation of diverse stylistic devices take the genre beyond mere homage and pastiche. The role of the reader/spectator and critic in conferring meaning is a crucial one.