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Metamorphosis

Transformations of the Body and the Influence of Ovid’s Metamorphoses on Germanic Literature of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

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David Gallagher

The origins of selected instances of metamorphosis in Germanic literature are traced from their roots in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, grouped roughly on an ‘ascending evolutionary scale’ (invertebrates, birds, animals, and mermaids). Whilst a broad range of mythological, legendary, fairytale and folktale traditions have played an appreciable part, Ovid’s Metamorphoses is still an important comparative analysis and reference point for nineteenth- and twentieth-century German-language narratives of transformations. Metamorphosis is most often used as an index of crisis: an existential crisis of the subject or a crisis in a society’s moral, social or cultural values. Specifically selected texts for analysis include Jeremias Gotthelf’s Die schwarze Spinne (1842) with the terrifying metamorphoses of Christine into a black spider, the metamorphosis of Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s Die Verwandlung (1915), ambiguous metamorphoses in E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Der goldne Topf (1814), Hermann Hesse’s Piktors Verwandlungen (1925), Der Steppenwolf (1927) and Christoph Ransmayr’s Die letzte Welt (1988). Other mythical metamorphoses are examined in texts by Bachmann, Fouqué, Fontane, Goethe, Nietzsche, Nelly Sachs, Thomas Mann and Wagner, and these and many others confirm that metamorphosis is used historically, scientifically, for religious purposes; to highlight identity, sexuality, a dream state, or for metaphoric, metonymic or allegorical reasons.

On John Berger

Telling Stories

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Edited by Ralf Hertel and David Malcolm

This volume offers the first collection of essays on the work of John Berger, one of the most intriguing contemporary English writers. Comprising pieces by an interdisciplinary group of academics, On John Berger spans the full range of Berger’s prolific output as art critic, novelist, collaborator on films and photo-text books, and essayist.

Writing polemic art criticism, passing on part of the Booker Prize money to the Black Panthers, and quitting the London literary scene in the 1960s in order to settle in the French Alps, Berger has always been a controversial figure. On John Berger explores his self-fashioning as a public figure and simultaneously examines the literary, visual, and collaborative strategies of his work.

Contributors: Marta Aleksandrowicz-Wojtyna, John Bowen, Rachel Bower, Jonathan Conlin, Ralf Hertel, Charlotte Kent, Bartosz Lutostański, David Malcolm, Timothy Neat, Tom Overton, Pilar Sánchez Calle, Joshua Sperling, Monika Szuba, Richard Turney, Stefan Welz, Miłosz Wojtyna

The Pleasures of Crime

Reading Modern French Crime Fiction

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David Platten

For 150 years the French public and literati have enjoyed a love affair with crime fiction. This book investigates the nature of this relationship and how through periods of dramatic social and political change in France it has flourished. It challenges the conventional view of a popular genre feeding a niche market, depicting crime fiction instead as a field of creative endeavour, which has gradually matured into one of considerable literary fertility. By inviting us to share secrets and crack codes, creating suspense and (at times) not shirking from presenting horrific events in graphic language, the crime story brings into play the intellect and emotions of its readership. This book explores both this intrinsic literary value of the crime novel and its extrinsic witness to historical events and cultural trends, arguing that these apparently distinct aspects are in fact dynamic, interrelated parts of the same whole. This blend of cultural history with literary analysis allows for the discussion of themes such as politics, memory, the urban environment and youth cultures, mixed with case studies of major French crime writers, including Gaston Leroux, Georges Simenon, Jean-Patrick Manchette, Daniel Pennac and Fred Vargas.

Postcolonialism & Autobiography

Michelle Cliff, David Dabydeen, Opal Palmer Adisa

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Edited by Alfred Hornung and Ernstpeter Ruhe

The two volumes on Postcolonialism and Autobiography examine the affinity of postcolonial writing to the genre of autobiography. The contributions of specialists from Northern Africa, Europe and the United States focus on two areas in which the interrelation of postcolonialism and autobiography is very prominent and fertile: the Maghreb and the Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean. The colonial background of these regions provides the stimulus for writers to launch a program for emancipation in an effort to constitute a decolonized subject in autobiographical practice. While the French volume addresses issues of the autobiographical genre in the postcolonial conditions of the Maghreb and the Caribbean with reference to France, the English volume analyzes the autobiographical writings of David Dabydeen (Guyana), Michelle Cliff, Opal Palmer Adisa, George Lamming, Wilson Harris (Jamaica), and Jamaica Kincaid (Antigua) who have maintained their cultural Caribbean origin while living in England or the United States. Critics such as William Boelhower, Leigh Gilmore, Sidonie Smith, and Gayatri Spivak reveal the many layers of different cultures (Indian, African, European, American) that are covered over by the colonial powers. The homeland, exile, the experience of migration and hybridity condition the postcolonial existence of writers and critics. The incorporation of excerpts from the writers' works is meant to show the great variety and riches of a hybrid imagination and to engage in an interactive dialogue with critics.