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Striding Both Worlds

Witi Ihimaera and New Zealand’s Literary Traditions

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Melissa Kennedy

Striding Both Worlds illuminates European influences in the fiction of Witi Ihimaera, Aotearoa New Zealand’s foremost Māori writer, in order to question the common interpretation of Māori writing as displaying a distinctive Māori world-view and literary style. Far from being discrete endogenous units, all cultures and literatures arise out of constant interaction, engagement, and even friction. Thus, Māori culture since the 1970s has been shaped by a long history of interaction with colonial British, Pakeha, and other postcolonial and indigenous cultures. Māori sovereignty and renaissance movements have harnessed the structures of European modernity, nation-building, and, more recently, Western global capitalism, transculturation, and diaspora – contexts which contest New Zealand bicultural identity, encouraging Māori to express their difference and self-sufficiency.
Ihimaera’s fiction has been largely viewed as embodying the specific values of Māori renaissance and biculturalism. However, Ihimaera, in his techniques, modes, and themes, is indebted to a wider range of literary influences than national literary critique accounts for. In taking an international literary perspective, this book draws critical attention to little-known or disregarded aspects such as Ihimaera’s love of opera, the extravagance of his baroque lyricism, his exploration of fantasy, and his increasing interest in taking Māori into the global arena. In revealing a broad range of cultural and aesthetic influences and inter-references commonly seen as irrelevant to contemporary Māori literature, Striding Both Worlds argues for a hitherto frequently overlooked and undervalued depth and complexity to Ihimaera’s imaginary.
The present study argues that an emphasis on difference tends to lose sight of fiction’s capacity to appreciate originality and individuality in the polyphony of its very form and function. In effect, literary negotiation of Māori sovereign space takes place in its forms rather than in its content: the uniqueness of Māori literature is found in the way it uses the common tools of literary fiction, including language, imagery, the text’s relationship to reality, and the function of characterization. By interpeting aspects of Ihimaera’s oeuvre for what they share with other literatures in English, Striding Both Worlds aims to present an additional, complementary approach to Māori, New Zealand, and postcolonial literary analysis.

Chaos and Madness

The Politics of Fiction in Stephen Marlowe’s Historical Narratives

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Mónica Calvo-Pascual

In the 1950s prolific U.S. fiction writer Stephen Marlowe became a cult author for lovers of noir fiction mainly for his Drumbeat series, which present his best-known character: private eye Chester Drum. Yet, the academia never paid much attention to his multifaceted, extensive oeuvre. Chaos and Madness is the first volume offering a critical approach to Marlowe’s riveting historical novels. Their relevance in the field of literary studies derives from their well-wrought structure and captivating prose as well as from their portrayal of remote European history – a distinctive feature that makes Marlowe a unique figure in the North American trend of historiographic metafiction.
Chaos and Madness provides a comprehensive narratological and ideological analysis of three novels in which Marlowe deals with Spanish history. Preceded by an in-depth if reader-friendly theoretical chapter that traces the evolution of the historical novel as a genre, Calvo-Pascual’s meticulous investigation into Marlowe’s fiction proves compelling for anyone interested in contemporary American fiction, in Spanish history, or in the interaction of metafiction and the scientific discourse of chaos theory.

Caryl Phillips

Writing in the Key of Life

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Edited by Bénédicte Ledent and Daria Tunca

Writing in the Key of Life is the first critical collection devoted to the British-Caribbean author Caryl Phillips, a major voice in contemporary anglophone literatures. Phillips’s impressive body of fiction, drama, and non-fiction has garnered wide praise for its formal inventiveness and its incisive social criticism as well as its unusually sensitive understanding of the human condition.
The twenty-six contributions offered here, including two by Phillips himself, address the fundamental issues that have preoccupied the writer in his now three-decades-long career – the enduring legacy of history, the intricate workings of identity, and the pervasive role of race, class, and gender in societies worldwide.
Most of Phillips’s writing is covered here, in essays that approach it from various thematic and interpretative angles. These include the interplay of fact and fiction, Phillips’s sometimes ambiguous literary affiliations, his long-standing interest in the black and Jewish diasporas, his exploration of Britain and its ‘Others’, and his recurrent use of motifs such as masking and concealment.
Writing in the Key of Life testifies to the vitality of Phillipsian scholarship and confirms the significance of an artist whose concerns, at once universal and topical, find particular resonance with the state of the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
Contributors: Thomas Bonnici, Fatim Boutros, Gordon Collier, Sandra Courtman, Stef Craps, Alessandra Di Maio, Malik Ferdinand, Cindy Gabrielle, Lucie Gillet, Dave Gunning, Tsunehiko Kato, Wendy Knepper, Bénédicte Ledent, John McLeod, Peter H. Marsden, Joan Miller Powell, Imen Najar, Caryl Phillips, Renée Schatteman, Kirpal Singh, Petra Tournay–Theodotou, Chika Unigwe, Itala Vivan, Abigail Ward, Louise Yelin

The Margins of Meaning

Arguments for a Postmodern Approach to Language & Text

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Robin Melrose

The title of this book is inspired by Jacques Derrida and by his seminal work, The Margins of Philosophy. The study of meaning in the past thirty years has focused on core meaning, and largely ignored the margins of meaning, where much of the power of language is to be found. The present work seeks to shift this focus by taking a postmodern approach that sees meaning as an accretion of verbal, social, cultural and personal sign systems, with fluid boundaries that shrink or expand with each meaner.
Chapter 1 begins with a brief examination of present-day approaches to meaning, and goes on to a deconstruction of four twentieth century linguists. Chapter 2 takes as its starting point two aspects of the 20th century scientific paradigm, non-deterministic causation and relativity, and considers a number of thinkers who have worked within this paradigm. A major aim of this work is to convince students and teachers of literary theory, cultural studies and feminist theory of the validity of a linguistics of indeterminacy, so Chapter 3 focuses on an analytical approach that models indeterminacy in language, and Chapter 4 applies the model to a newspaper editorial, a Wallace Stevens' poem, and an extract from a Patrick White novel.

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Edited by Peter H. Marsden and Geoffrey V. Davis

Studying postcolonial literatures in English can (and indeed should) make a human rights activist of the reader – there is, after all, any amount of evidence to show the injustices and inhumanity thrown up by processes of decolonization and the struggle with past legacies and present corruptions. Yet the human-rights aspect of postcolonial literary studies has been somewhat marginalized by scholars preoccupied with more fashionable questions of theory.
The present collection seeks to redress this neglect, whereby the definition of human rights adopted is intentionally broad. The volume reflects the human rights situation in many countries from Mauritius to New Zealand, from the Cameroon to Canada. It includes a focus on the Malawian writer Jack Mapanje.
The contributors’ concerns embrace topics as varied as denotified tribes in India, female genital mutilation in Africa, native residential schools in Canada, political violence in Northern Ireland, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the discourse of the Treaty of Waitangi. The editors hope that the very variety of responses to the invitation to reflect on questions of “Literature and Human Rights” will both stimulate further discussion and prompt action.
Contributors are: Edward O. Ako, Hilarious N. Ambe, Ken Arvidson, Jogamaya Bayer, Maggie Ann Bowers, Chandra Chatterjee, Lindsey Collen, G.N. Devy, James Gibbs, J.U. Jacobs, Karen King–Aribisala, Sindiwe Magona, Lee Maracle, Stuart Marlow, Don Mattera, Wumi Raji. Lesego Rampolokeng, Dieter Riemenschneider, Ahmed Saleh, Jamie S. Scott, Mark Shackleton, Johannes A. Smit, Peter O. Stummer, Robert Sullivan, Rajiva Wijesinha, Chantal Zabus

Body Show/s

Australian viewings of live performance

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Edited by Peta Tait

Body Show/s: Australian Viewings of Live Performance asks: in what ways do physical bodies in live performance present vital and compelling expressions of ideas?
This collection contains critical analyses of cultural spectacle and social identity by eighteen major Australian scholars and practitioners. It discusses and describes bodies in contemporary performance, theatre, visual art and dance; in circus and ethnographic shows; in performance training, butoh and wrestling; at gay and lesbian dance parties; and in relation to digital images. It explores historical and theoretical issues of gender and postcoloniality, technology, and the location of bodies in architectural, social and virtual spaces.
Artistes and groups discussed include Sydney Front, Open City, The Performance Space, Meryl Tankard’s Australian Dance Theatre, Chrissie Parrott, the Bell Shakespeare Company, Tess De Quincey, Yumi Umiumare, Gilgul Theatre, Lyndal Jones, Stelarc, Death Defying Theatre, colonial circus, ethnographic displays, the horse as performer, and wrestling legends Gorgeous George and Ravishing Ricky Rude.

Convergences and Interferences

Newness in Intercultural Practices / Écritures d’une nouvelle ère/aire

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Edited by Kathleen Gyssels, Isabel Hoving and Maggie Ann Bowers

How does one imagine plurality? How does one find new strategies for writing diversity and polyphony? How does one read the most challenging creative and critical works of the present time? This bi-lingual volume of twelve English and eight French papers proposes to breach linguistic critical frontiers by placing careful analysis of texts from different language traditions in a multi-lingual and multi-cultural dialogue. In this collection of theoretically and politically aware close readings of contemporary cultural production, the focus of analysis rests on the multiple and complex global convergences and interferences of cultural influences. The collection foregrounds the work of innovative writers who seek to express the ungraspable presence of cultural “newness” at the same time as situating themselves in the richness of detail of local lives. This volume, most particularly, finds a balance of critical approach between the everyday attempts at negotiation and survival, and the insight brought to the reader by postcolonial, syncretic and feminist theoretical analysis.

Tricks with a Glass

Writing Ethnicity in Canada

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Edited by Rocío G. Davis and Rosalía Baena

Studies of literary reflections on ethnicity are essential to the ever-renewed definition of Canadian literature. The essays in this collection explore the diverse ways of negotiating identity and the articulation of space in Canada, taking ethnicity as a driving force with ideological and cultural implications that lend public and literary discourse an urgent dynamism. While theorizing ethnicity is a valuable critical enterprise, these essays centre on the concrete realization of the problematics of ethnicity in creative writing, covering a wide range of Canada's mosaic. The creative inscription of ethnicity stimulates the evolution and expansion of Canada's literary heritage, the complexity of this cultural experience being the focus of the present collection. Fourteen essays, including a personal account by the Ukrainian-Canadian Janice Kulyk Keefer on the merging of private and public history, and two interviews - with the Chinese-Canadian writer Wayson Choy and the critic Linda Hutcheon - analyze the manifestations of the pluralism that has always characterized Canadian writers' consciousness of themselves, their engagement with the notion of the ‘multicultural' and its significance in contemporary society and, in particular, its effect on creativity.

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Edited by Theo D'haen

The contributors to the present volume, in espousing and extending the programme of such writers as Edward Said, Benedict Anderson, Homi Bhabha, and Gayatri Spivak, lay bare the genealogy of 'writing' empire (thereby, in a sense, ' un-writing' it). One focus is the Caribbean: the retrograde agenda of francophone créolité; the re-writing of empire in the postmodern disengagement of Edouard Glissant; resistance to post-colonial allegiances, and the dissolving of binary categories, in contemporary West Indian writing. Essays on India, Malaysia, and Indonesia explore various aspects of cultural self-understanding in Asia: un-writing high culture through hybrid 'shopping' among Western styles; the use of indigenous oral forms to counter Western hegemony; romantic and anti-romantic attitudes towards empire and the land. A shift to Africa brings a study of Nadine Gordimer's feminist un-writing of Hemingway's masculinist colonising narrative, a searching analysis of Soyinka's restoration of ancient syncretic elements in his West African re-visions of Greek tragedy, changing evaluations of the validity of European civilization in André Gide's representations of Africa, and tensions of linguistic allegiance in Maghreb literature. North America, finally, is brought back into the imperial fold through discussions of Melville's re-writing of travel and captivity narratives to critique the mission of American empire, Leslie Marmon Silko's re-territorialization of expropriated Native American oral traditions, and Timothy Findley's representation of Canada's troubled involvement with its three shaping empires (French, British, American).

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Edited by Maria Margaroni and Effie Yiannopoulou

This collection of essays investigates the convergence between the postmodern politics of mobility and a politics of metaphor, a politics, in other words, in the context of which the production and displacement of meaning(s) constitute the major stakes. Ranging from discussions of re-territorialization, multiculturalism, “digisporas” and transnational politics and ethics, to September 11th, the Pentagon’s New Map, American legislation on Chinese immigration, Gianni Amelio’s film Lamerica, Keith Piper’s online installations and Doris Salcedo’s Atrabiliarios, the collection aims to follow three different theoretical trajectories. First, it seeks to rethink our concepts of mobility in order to open them up to the complexity that structures the thoughts and practices of a global order. Second, it critically examines the privileged position of concepts and metaphors of mobility within postmodern theory. In juxtaposing conflictual theoretical formulations, the book sets out to present the competing responses that fuel academic debates around this issue. Finally, it evaluates the influence of our increasingly mobile conceptual frameworks and everyday experience on the redefinition of politics that is currently under way, especially in the context of Post-Marxist theory. Its hope is to contribute to the production of alternative political positions and practices that will address the conflicting desires for attachment and movement marking postmodernity.