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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Works of art such as paintings with words on them or poems shaped as images communicate to the viewer by means of more than one medium. Here is presented a particular group of hybrid art works from the early twentieth century, to discover in what way words and images can function together to create meaning. The four central artists considered in this study investigate word/image forms in their work. F.T. Marinetti invented
parole in libertà, among other ideas, to free language from syntactic connections. Umberto Boccioni experimented with newspaper clippings on the canvas from 1912-1915, and these collages constitute an important exploration into word/image forms. André Breton's collection of poems
Clair de terre (1923) contains several typographical variations for iconographic effect. René Magritte explored the relationship between words and images, juxtaposing signifiers to contradictory signifieds on the canvas. A final chapter introduces media other than poetry and painting on which words and images appear. Posters, the theater, and the relatively new medium of cinema foreground words and images constantly. This volume will be of interest to scholars of twentieth-century French or Italian literature or painting, and to scholars of word and image studies.
This comparative, interdisciplinary study investigates the relationship between literature and the visual arts in France and Britain from 1750-1900. Through a close examination of the prose writings of Diderot, Baudelaire and Ruskin, read against the background of contemporary philosophy, aesthetics and theories of language,
In the Mind’s Eye proposes a new interpretation of the influence and rivalries underlying the development of art criticism as a genre during this period. The visual impulse – the desire to transcend the limitations of language and make the reader
see – is located within the historical traditions of
ekphrasis, enargeia and the
paragone, while in each chapter, the individual author’s theories of the mind, memory and imagination provide a critical framework for his stylistic experiments.
In the Mind’s Eye presents an in-depth analysis of the cultural, theoretical and aesthetic implications of artistic border crossings, and by contextualizing the movement toward visual/verbal hybridity in the fiction and criticism of Diderot, Baudelaire and Ruskin, brings new perspectives to nineteenth-century studies in art and literature.
In this book the author takes an unusual multi-disciplinary approach to debates about contemporary art and poetry, ideas about the mind and its representations, and theories of knowledge and being. Arts practices are considered as enactments of mind and as transformative modes of consciousness. Ideas drawn from poetics, philosophy and consciousness studies are used to illuminate the conceptual and aesthetic frameworks of a diverse array of visual artists. Themes explored include: the interconnectedness of existence; art as a way of interrogating appearances; identity and otherness; art and the self as ‘open work’; Buddhist concepts of ‘emptiness’ and ‘suchness’; scepticism, mysticism and the arts; and mind in the landscape. The book contains an important and distinctive visual dimension with photographs and drawings by the author and texts employing unorthodox syntax and layouts that exemplify the themes under discussion. The author hints at a new aesthetics and philosophy of indeterminacy, paradox, uncertainty and discontinuity - a
contrarium - in which we negotiate our way through the instabilities and contradictions of contemporary life. Written in a lively and accessible style this volume is of interest to scholars, arts practitioners, teachers and to anyone with an interest in art, poetry, consciousness studies, philosophy and nature.
Artists, poets and philosophers discussed, include: Cy Twombly, Helen Chadwick, John Ruskin, Ad Reinhardt, Richard Long, James Turrell, Anish Kapoor, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Agnes Martin, Land Art, Arte Povera, Minimalism, Charles Olson, Kenneth White, Robin Blaser, Fred Wah, Gary Snyder, RS Thomas, Alice Oswald, John Cage, Jorge Luis Borges, Guy Davenport, Kenneth Rexroth, Heidegger, Marjorie Perloff, Thomas McEvilley, Merleau-Ponty, Spinoza, Wittgenstein, Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco, David Abram, Thomas Merton, Pyrrho & Nagarjuna.