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Series:

Menno Spiering

Abstract

As in other countries, food and national identity are closely linked in England. Since the sixteenth century the English have considered beef as the commodity that best expresses their perceived national characteristics of common sense, love of liberty, manliness and martial prowess. Even today beef remains a popular emblem of nationhood, as witness the deep national indignation when the product was declared unsafe in the 1990s. Discussing the relationship between diet, food and national identity, this article explores the history and meaning of beef in England, and also instances of food imagery employed in nationalist discourse in the past and in the present. Once a familiar figure in prints and literature, ‘the eating Englishman’ has been replaced by images of ‘the Englishman being eaten’, an indication of increasing national uncertainty, especially since the end of the Second World War. It is proposed that this phagophobic reaction is the result of continuing strains in Anglo-European relations.

Signs of Masculinity

Men in Literature 1700 to the Present

Series:

Edited by Antony Rowland, Emma Liggins and Eriks Uskalis

Masculinity is becoming an increasingly popular area of study in areas as diverse as sociology, politics and cultural studies, yet significant research is lacking into connections between masculinity and literature. Signs of Masculinity aims at beginning to fill the gap. Starting with an introduction to, and intervention within, numerous debates concerning the cultural construction of various masculinities, the volume then continues with an investigation of representations of masculinity in literature from 1700 to the present. Close readings of texts are intended to demonstrate that masculinity is not a theoretical abstract, but a definitive textual and cultural phenomenon that needs to be recognised in the study of literature. It is hoped that the wide-ranging essays, which raise numerous issues, and are written from a variety of methodological approaches, will appeal to undergraduate, postgraduates and lecturers interest in the crucial but under-researched area of masculinity.

Constellation Caliban

Figurations of a Character

Series:

Edited by Nadia Lie and Theo D'haen

We are now in the Age of Caliban rather than in the Time of Ariel or the Era of Prospero, Harold Bloom claimed in 1992. Bloom was specifically referring to Caliban's rising popularity as the prototype of the colonised or repressed subject, especially since the 1980s. However, already earlier the figure of Caliban had inspired artists from the most divergent backgrounds: Robert Browning, Ernest Renan, Aimé Césaire, and Peter Greenaway, to name only some of the better known.
Much has already been published on Caliban, and there exist a number of excellent surveys of this character's appearance in literature and the other arts. The present collection does not aim to trace Caliban over the ages. Rather, Constellation Caliban intends to look at a number of specific refigurations of Caliban. What is the Caliban-figure's role and function within a specific work of art? What is its relation to the other signifiers in that work of art? What interests are invested in the Caliban-figure, what values does it represent or advocate? Whose interests and values are these?
These and similar questions guided the contributors to the present volume. In other words, what one finds here is not a study of origins, not a genealogy, not a reception-study, but rather a fascinating series of case studies informed by current theoretical debate in areas such as women's studies, sociology of literature and of the intellectuals, nation-formation, new historicism, etc.
Its interdisciplinary approach and its attention to matters of multi-culturalism make Constellation Caliban into an unusually wide ranging and highly original contribution to Shakespeare-studies. The book should appeal to students of English Literature, Modern European Literature, Comparative Literature, Drama or Theatre Studies, and Cultural Studies, as well as to anyone interested in looking at literature within a broad social and historical context while still appreciating detailed textual analyses.

Coterminous Worlds

Magical realism and contemporary post-colonial literature in English

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Edited by Elsa Linguanti, Francesco Casotti and Carmen Concilio

The present collection of essays endeavours to furnish informed responses to central questions posed by the editors: Is the fact that the marvellous coexists with the factual and never resolves itself into the supernatural an indication that the whole literary project of 'magical realism' is an instrumental and representational form which can be regarded as particularly suitable for reconciling dichotomies and oppositions otherwise experienced as intolerable? Was 'magical realism' an explosive process in cultural dynamics, taking place at intersections of heterogeneous cultures most favourable to the efflorescence of this type of literature? The authors of the various essays - on Patrick White and David Malouf, Ben Okri, Syl Cheney-Coker, Robert Kroetsch, Gwendolyn MacEwan, Jack Hodgins, Salman Rushdie, Janet Frame, Wilson Harris and others - provide a dynamic focus on the reality at stake beneath the surface representations of 'magical realism' in post-colonial literatures.

Fabulous Identities

Women’s Fairy Tales in Seventeenth-Century France

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Patricia Hannon

Fabulous Identities revises traditional interpretations of the fairy-tale vogue which was dominated by salon women in the last decade of the French seventeenth century. This study of women's tale narratives is set into an investigation of how aristocratic identity was transformed by political and social realignments forced by royal absolutism or ambitious materialism. Women's distinctive contributions to the genre are defined by drawing upon various texts that articulated the century's moral, cultural, and aesthetic values, as well as upon contemporary critical perspectives including seventeenth-century historical and cultural studies.
Caught up in the philosophical, political and social controversy over woman's nature, seventeenth-century women writers benefited from salon culture and their access to writing through the literary genres of fairy tales and novels, to explore new identities and expand representations of subjectivity. Women's tales can be seen as a theater for staging an authorial persona at odds with their portrait as presented in male-authored didactic treatises and in the fairy tales of Charles Perrault. At a time when the pressures of social conformity weighed heavily upon them, the conteuses highlight through metamorphosis the affective dimension together with its impact on evolving notions of personal autonomy.

Between Sarmatia and Socialism

The Life and Works of Johannes Bobrowski

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John P. Wieczorek

Interest in Johannes Bobrowski (1917-1965) has suffered from an impression of the complexity of his works and of the narrowness of his focus: on 'The Germans and their Eastern European neighbours'. The current study re-examines aspects of Bobrowski's 'Sarmatian' works, especially their chronological development, but places them within the wider context of the whole of his oeuvre. It looks at the long period of development before he discovered his 'theme' in the early 1950s and examines his development after Sarmatische Zeit and Schattenland Ströme, seeing the volume Wetterzeichen as moving increasingly away from the past and towards more contemporary issues. His short stories and novels are related to the issues confronting him in East Germany and develop increasingly into responses to immediate poetic and social problems.
Far from being a remote and backward orientated 'Sarmatian', Bobrowski emerges as a writer attempting to communicate with a society which, he felt, threatened to ignore basic human needs and aspirations. The study makes use of material from Bobrowski's Nachlaß to present a figure looking for and offering patterns for orientation in his East German society, but with renewed relevance for post-unification Germany.

Series:

Ina Schabert

Abstract

Because of the excessive cult of the sphere of the mind, reason and artificial intelligence at the expense of the body, the last ten years of the 20th century have been called the ‘flesh-eating nineties’. Yet with the extremes of Cartesian alienation from corporeal reality, a reaction set in. Recently the book-body has received a new kind of attention. It has been reconstructed and reimagined as a privileged site where a special kind of meaning is created and enacted, a meaning unattainable to enlightenment reason. Theoretical writers as well as artists are eager to explore this area where body and mind intersect, where flesh and meaning become inseparable, like the two sides of one coin. Not only do the visual arts and the theatre turn to the body and try to dissolve the deeply ingrained dichotomy of body and mind; even literature takes part in this movement, although writing normally thrives on the absence of material things, language serving as a stand-in for the real. As is shown in some detail and with special regard to two novels by Jeanette Winterson (1992) and Michèle Roberts (1997), contemporary writers press the disembodied mode of writing into the service of presenting, representing, ‘remembering’ and reliving the body. A special and especially obvious technique of ‘writing the body’ is the genre of ‘body type’. Here, painting, bodily performance and writing meet in the attempt of fashioning letters by means of real human bodies or their pictures. From an historical perspective, the new attention to the body can be seen as a return to the culture of the body which partly characterized the Middle Ages and early modern times. There are obvious parallels between forms of medieval and late 20thcentury body art, although the old devices are being modified and gradually replaced by modes of expression peculiar to our own time.

The Conscience of Humankind

Literature and Traumatic Experiences

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Edited by Elrud Ibsch, Douwe Fokkema and Joachim von der Thüsen

The traumatic experiences of persecution and genocide have changed traditional views of literature. The discussion of historical truth versus aesthetic autonomy takes an unexpected turn when confronted with the experiences of the victims of the Holocaust, the Gulag Archipelago, the Cultural Revolution, Apartheid and other crimes against humanity. The question is whether - and, if so, to what extent - literary imagination may depart from historical truth. In general, the first reactions to traumatic historical experiences are autobiographical statements, written by witnesses of the events. However, the second and third generations, the sons and daughters of the victims as well as of the victimizers, tend to free themselves from this generic restriction and claim their own way of remembering the history of their parents and grandparents. They explore their own limits of representation, and feel free to use a variety of genres; they turn to either realist or postmodernist, ironic or grotesque modes of writing.

Essays in Migratory Aesthetics

Cultural Practices Between Migration and Art-making

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Edited by Sam Durrant and Catherine M. Lord

This volume addresses the impact of human movement on the aesthetic practices that make up the fabric of culture. The essays explore the ways in which cultural activities—ranging from the habitual gestures of the body to the production of specific artworks—register the impact of migration, from the forced transportation of slaves to the New World and of Jews to the death camps to the economic migration of peoples between the West and its erstwhile colonies; from the internal and external exile of Palestinians to the free movement of cosmopolitan intellectuals. Rather than focusing exclusively on art produced by those identified as migrant subjects, this collection opens up the question of how aesthetics itself migrates, transforming not only its own practices and traditions, but also the very nature of our being in the world, as subjects producing, as well as produced by, the cultures in which we live. The transformative potential of cultures on the move is both affirmed and critiqued throughout the collection, as part of an exploration of the ways in which globalisation implicates us ever more tightly in the unequal relations of production that characterise late modernity. This collection brings academic scholars from a variety of disciplines into conversation with practising visual and verbal artists; indeed, many of the essays break down the distinction between artist and academic, suggesting a dynamic interchange between critical reflection and creativity.

Series:

Edited by Theo D'haen and Patricia Krüs

Over the last two decades, the experiences of colonization and decolonization, once safely relegated to the margins of what occupied students of history and literature, have shifted into the latter's center of attention, in the West as elsewhere. This attention does not restrict itself to the historical dimension of colonization and decolonization, but also focuses upon their impact upon the present, for both colonizers and colonized. The nearly fifty essays here gathered examine how literature, now and in the past, keeps and has kept alive the experiences - both individual and collective - of colonization and decolonization. The contributors to this volume hail from the four corners of the earth, East and West, North and South. The authors discussed range from international luminaries past and present such as Aphra Behn, Racine, Blaise Cendrars, Salman Rushdie, Graham Greene, Derek Walcott, Guimarães Rosa, J.M. Coetzee, André Brink, and Assia Djebar, to less known but certainly not lesser authors like Gioconda Belli, René Depestre, Amadou Koné, Elisa Chimenti, Sapho, Arthur Nortje, Es'kia Mphahlele, Mark Behr, Viktor Paskov, Evelyn Wilwert, and Leïla Houari. Issues addressed include the role of travel writing in forging images of foreign lands for domestic consumption, the reception and translation of Western classics in the East, the impact of contemporary Chinese cinema upon both native and Western audiences, and the use of Western generic novel conventions in modern Egyptian literature.