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Words and Images of Postmodernism in the late Poetry of William Carlos Williams. A Case Study
This volume, without negating Williams' strong ties with modernism, intends to dislodge this deeply ingrained critical positioning by presenting him as an overlooked figure in the emerging tradition of postmodernism. The study advances the claim that Williams clearly recognized this nascent discourse and, rather than pursuing his earlier mode of writing, consciously sought a new language for a rapidly changing cultural context. Drawing on wide-ranging, multidisciplinary critical texts, this book will be of interest not only to Williams scholars but to all those who continue to be intrigued by the elusive boundaries between word and image as well as modernism and postmodernism.
John Donne to Don DeLillo
Contemporary studies of memory focus either on the psychology of remembering, on its archives and media, or on the traditional ars memoriae. The general cultural framework with its social and material factors is largely neglected, despite the obvious impact on both collective and individual mnemonic mentality. But, as in the first half of the seventeenth century or the later twentieth century, the literary and political invocation of religious, collective or national memory occurs most of all in times of historical rupture, and attendant changes of a radical technological and cultural nature. Appeals to the power of memory are not only indicative of the anxiety about the loss of its binding or absolving character. They are already symptomatic of a deep crisis of cultural memory in itself, resulting from an erosion of firm spatial, temporal and historical references along with an increasing tendency towards reflexivity, which calls the apparently self-evident facts of past and present into question. The continuity of remembering, however, as this study argues, presupposes the permanence and recurrence of social and material relations, of representative or symbolic persons, objects and events, in which it can inscribe itself. But owing to the shift in historical consciousness from (typological) past to progressive future and novelty and under the impress of industrial production and modern media (mobility and communications), the Western subject has to cope constantly with new empirical situations, symbolic values and historical or current information whose origin and evolution – indeed, the very memory of them – remain alien to personal identity and memory. The promise of redemption and salvation, still inherent in seventeenth-century collective memory, loses credibility.
The study includes a wide range of authors from Donne to Pope, Tennyson to George Eliot and Walter Pater, W.B. Yeats to Don DeLillo and covers the whole period from early modern England to postmodernism. It can thus also be read as a brief history of Western memory and its continuing crises.
Domestic Politics and the American Novel of World War I
Embattled Home Fronts is an inquiry into the highly conflicted US American experience of World War I as it plays itself out in the diverse body of novelistic works to which it has given rise and by which it has been, in turn, shaped and commemorated. As such, this book naturally concerns itself with the formal aspects of artistic war representation. But rather than merely endeavoring to illustrate how American writers from various backgrounds chose to depict World War I, the present work seeks to uncover the particular ideologies and political practices that inform these representational choices.
To this end, Embattled Home Fronts examines both canonized and marginalized US American World War I novels within the context of contemporaneous debates over shifting class, gender, and race relations. The book contends that American literary representations of the Great War are shaped less by universal insights into modern society’s self-destructiveness than by concerted efforts to fashion class-, gender-, and race-specific experiences of warfare in ways that stabilize and heighten political group identities. In moving beyond the customary focus on ironic war representations, Embattled Home Fronts illustrates that the representational and ideological battles fought within American World War I literature not only shed light on the emergence of powerful identity-political concepts such as the New Woman and the New Negro, but also speak to the reappearance of utopian, communitarian, and social protest fictions in the early 1930s.
This study Embattled Home Fronts provides a new understanding of the relationship between war literature and home front politics that should be of interest to students and scholars working from a variety of disciplines and perspectives
The Case of Henry James
Opera and the Novel: The Case of Henry James offers the first full-length study of the theory and practice of the adaptation of fiction into opera: the transference of a work from one medium to another – metaphrasis – is its point of departure. Starting with a survey of the current thinking regarding the nexus between words and music with specific reference to operatic adaptation of existing literary works, it traces the four-hundred-year history of opera, demonstrating that the novel has become increasingly attractive to librettists and composers as an operatic source. As the resources of modern music theatre have increased in sophistication, so too have the possibilities for an expanded engagement with complex fictional works. The intricate relationship between fictional and musical narrative is examined: the proposition that the orchestra assumes much of the function of the narrator in fiction is explored. The second section is a detailed examination of eight operatic works based on Henry James’s fiction. It is opera’s unique capability to present the intense emotional and psychological situations central to James’s fiction as well as the ability to engage with his synthesis of melodrama and psychological ambiguity which makes James’s work peculiarly amenable to operatic adaptation. Composers who have used James as a source include Douglas Moore, Benjamin Britten, Thomas Pasatieri, Donald Hollier, Thea Musgrave, Philip Hagemann and Dominick Argento. The operas discussed represent a contemporary critical and often self-conscious engagement with the art form itself as well as illustrating current adaptive strategies, and suggest ways in which new operatic paths may be forged. This volume is of relevance to students and scholars of English literature and opera as well as readers who take an interest in intermedial research and the question of adaptation in general.
Coinciding with the preparations for the celebration in 2008 of Richard Wright’s 100th birthday, this new collection of critical essays on Native Son attests to the importance and endurance of Wright’s controversial work. The eleven essays collected in this volume engage the objective of Rodopi’s Dialogue Series by creating multidirectional conversations in which senior and younger scholars interact with each other and with previous scholars who have weighed in on the novel’s import. Speaking from distant corners of the world, the contributors to this book reflect an international interest in Wright’s unique combination of literary strategies and social aims. The wide range of approaches to Native Son is presented in five thematic sections. The first three sections cover aspects such as the historical reception of Wright’s novel, the inscription of sex and gender both in Native Son and in other African American texts, and the influence of Africa and of vortical symbolism on Wright’s aesthetics; following is the study of the novel from the point of view of its adoption and transformation of various literary genres—the African American jeremiad, the protest novel, the crime novel and courtroom drama, the Bildungsroman, and the Biblical modes of narration. The closing section analyzes the novel’s lasting influence through its adaptation to other artistic fields, such as the cinema and song in the form of hip-hop. The present volume may, therefore, be of interest for students who are not very familiar with Wright’s classic text as well as for scholars and Richard Wright specialists.
Hemingway’s Expatriate Nationalism
Alongside a liberating treatment of the English language, Ernest Hemingway realized some often overlooked innovations in multicultural subject matter. In six of the seven novels published during his lifetime, the protagonist is abroad, bilingual, and bicultural—and these archetypes have significant implications for each character’s sense of identity. In Paris or Paname interprets Hemingway’s overdetermined use of foreignness as a literary device, characterizing how cultural displacement informs plot dynamics. The investigation historicizes the archetypal protagonist’s process of (re)orientation through attention to his intercultural adoptions in language, alcohol consumption, sports, and betrothal rites. Herlihy situates his argument within an apposite research framework from psychological studies on migration, anthropological examinations of cultural ceremony, and literary theory on the poetics of displacement. The analysis offers groundbreaking insights on the distribution of previously overlooked structural patterns (themes, motifs, and symbols) that are present throughout Hemingway’s novelistic corpus, and provides a compelling perspective on the aesthetics of the expatriate/immigrant writing process.
The stimulating mix of academics and practising poets that have contributed to this volume provides an unusual and illuminating integration of critical and creative practice and a vibrantly diverse approach to questions of poetry and sexuality. Each section of essays is complemented by poems which creatively illustrate or develop the theme with which the essays critically engage. Rather than being limited to a specific genre, tradition, time or place, this collection seeks to make a virtue of contrast, comparison and juxtaposition. The collection is arranged into sections that range broadly across the thematic ground of dichotomies, traditions and revisions, microscopic and macroscopic perspectives, women and embodiment, and the notion of play and performance. Positioning eighteenth-century tinkers ballads alongside medieval Hebrew lyrics and the Blues of Gorgeous Puddin’, or making Dionysus rub shoulders with Sharon Olds and Mrs Rochester provides new perspectives on familiar material and valuable insights into more obscure work and the nature of sensual poetry as a mode of expression. As the editors suggest, the essays and poems presented collectively argue that writings about sexuality are always already about the way poets see and represent our bodies, the world and poetic language itself.
The subject of Images of America in Scandinavia, the first comprehensive study of its kind, is as multifaceted, complex, and overwhelming as America or the United States, itself. It concerns the nature and function, reality and fiction of such images in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden past and present. The book is intended to be a source of solid information as well as a starting point for further inquiries into its cultural territory.
Part of its focus is on images of America rooted in printed sources, but, in addition, general surveys of other cultural signs of America in the Scandinavian countries present a broader picture and provide some of the background for the predominantly literary images. Issues such as government and politics, popular and vanguard music and art, and socio-cultural institutions intermittently come to the fore.
Framing the volume's three pairs of national surveys is an introductory chapter, which addresses the entire subject from a bird's-eye view, and a concluding chapter, which, by contrast, delves into the cross-fire of sentiments defining people whose images of America, are both American and Scandinavian. The discussion of America as perceived in Scandinavia sheds new light on intriguing inter-Scandinavian cultural distinctions and borderlines.
Countless books and articles, methods and theories, have been devoted to the study of national and cultural identity. Still, the exchanges between such identities and the images they engender - so indispensable for the participants in a global culture - remain clouded by many misconceptions. Images of America in Scandinavia whose editors and authors all have Scandinavian backgrounds, will contribute an improved understanding of the cultural interplay between Scandinavia and the United States of America.
Photography and the Sense of Place
Picturing America: Photography and the Sense of Place argues that photography is a prevalent practice of making American places. Its collected essays epitomize not only how pictures situate us in a specific place, but also how they create a sense of such mutable place-worlds. Understanding photographs as prime sites of knowledge production and advocates of socio-political transformations, a transnational set of scholars reveals how images enact both our perception and conception of American environments. They investigate the power photography yields in shaping our ideas of self, nation, and empire, of private and public space, through urban, landscape, wasteland and portrait photography. The volume radically reconfigures how pictures alter the development of American places in the past, present, and future.
Calvin S. Brown in Memoriam
The volume is dedicated to the memory of the late Calvin S. Brown of the University of Georgia, author of the first systematically conceived survey - Music and Literature: A Comparison of the Arts (1948) - of the branch of interart studies now generally known as Melopoetics. Part One consists of six original contributions by experts from Austria, Belgium, France, and the United States. Authored by a novelist and a composer/scholar, respectively, the first two essays - Jean Libis's “Inspiration musicale et composition littéraire: Réflexions sur un roman schubertien” and David M. Hertz's “The Composer's Musico-Literary Experience: Reflections on Song Writing” - focus, not surprisingly, on the creative process. The third piece - Francis' Claudon's review of the pertinent research done between 1970 and 1990 - complements the honoree's analogous report on the preceding decades, reprinted in the present volume, whereas the fourth - Jean-Louis Cupers' “Métaphores de l'écho et de l'ombre: Regards sur l'évolution des études musico-littéraires” - surveys the plethora of metaphorical applications, in music and literature, of two significant natural phenomena, the one acoustic and the other optical. Linked to each other, the two remaining papers - Ulrich Weisstein's ”The Miracle of Interconnectedness: Calvin S. Brown, a Critical Biography” and Walter Bernhart's “A Profile in Retrospect: Calvin S. Brown as a Musico-Literary Scholar” - offer critical accounts of the honoree's theoretical and methodological stance as viewed, in the first case, from a biographical angle and, in the second, in the light of subsequent scholarly practice.
Part Two bundles eleven of Professor Brown's previously uncollected articles, covering a period of nearly half a century of significant scholarly activity in the field. The selection demonstrates Brown's poignant interest in transpositions d'art exemplifying the “musicalization” of literature in the formal and structural, rather than thematic, domain as culminating in his trenchant critique of “music in poetry” as understood, somewhat naïvely, by Mallarmé and his critics, and, to a slightly lesser extent, by his translation of Josef Weinhebers' variations on Friedrich Hölderlin's ode “An die Parzen”. Just as Professor Brown's successive anatomies of melopoetic theory and practice illustrate his steadily growing sophistication and the maturing of his mind, so his Bloomington lecture “The Writing and Reading of Language and Music: Thoughts on Some Parallels Between two Artistic Media” reflects his unique ability to assemble, and organize, vast materials and comprehensive data in such a way as to reveal the underlying pattern.