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  • Postmodernism x
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The Postmodern Chronotope

Reading Space and Time in Contemporary Fiction

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Paul Smethurst

The Postmodern Chronotope is an innovative interdisciplinary study of the contemporary. It will be of special interest to anyone interested in relations between postmodernism, geography and contemporary fiction. Some claim that postmodernism questions history and historical bases to culture; some say it is about loss of affect, loss of depth models, and superficiality; others claim it follows from the conditions of post-industrial society; and others cite commodification of place, Disneyfication, simulation and post-tourist spectacle as evidence that postmodernism is wedded to late capitalism. Whatever postmodernism is, or turns out to have been, it is bound up in rethinking and reworking space and time, and Paul Smethurst’s intervention here is to introduce the postmodern chronotope as a term through which these spatial and temporal shifts might be apprehended. The postmodern chronotope constitutes a postmodern world-view and postmodern way of seeing. In a sense it is the natural successor to a modernist way of seeing defined through cubism, montage and relativity. The book is arranged as follows: • Part 1 is an interdisciplinary study casting a wide net across a range of cultural, social and scientific activity, from chaos theory to cinema, from architecture to performance art, from IT to tourism. • Part 2 offers original readings of a selection of postmodern novels, including Graham Swift’s Waterland and Out of this World, Peter Ackroyd’s Hawksmoor and First Light, Alasdair Gray’s Lanark, J. M. Coetzee’s Foe, Marina Warner’s Indigo, Caryl Phillips’ Cambridge, and Don DeLillo’s The Names and Ratner’s Star.

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Edited by Theo D'haen and Hans Bertens

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.

The Theater of Transformation

Postmodernism in American Drama

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Kerstin Schmidt

The Theater of Transformation: Postmodernism in American Drama offers a fresh and innovative reading of the contemporary experimental American theater scene and navigates through the contested and contentious relationship between postmodernism and contemporary drama. This book addresses gender and class as well as racial issues in the context of a theoretical discussion of dramatic texts, textuality, and performance. Transformation is contemporary drama's answer to the questions of postmodernism and a major technique in the development of a postmodern language for the stage. In order to demonstrate the multi-faceted nature of the postmodern theater of transformation, this study draws on a wide range of plays: from early experimental plays of the 1960s by Jean-Claude van Itallie through feminist plays by Megan Terry and Rochelle Owens to more recent drama by the African-American playwright Suzan-Lori Parks.
The Theater of Transformation: Postmodernism in American Drama is written for anyone interested in contemporary American drama and theater as well as in postmodernism and contemporary literary theory. It appeals even more broadly to a readership intrigued by the ubiquitous aspects of popular culture, by feminism and ethnicity, and by issues pertaining to the so-called 'society of spectacle' and the study of contemporary media.

The Philosophical Baroque

On Autopoietic Modernities

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Erik S. Roraback

In his pioneering study The Philosophical Baroque: On Autopoietic Modernities, Erik S. Roraback argues that modern culture, contemplated over its four-century history, resembles nothing so much as the pearl famously described, by periodizers of old, as irregular, barroco. Reframing modernity as a multi-century baroque, Roraback steeps texts by Shakespeare, Henry James, Joyce, and Pynchon in systems theory and the ideas of philosophers of language and culture from Leibniz to such dynamic contemporaries as Luhmann, Benjamin, Blanchot, Deleuze and Guattari, Lacan, and Žižek. The resulting brew, high in intellectual caffeine, will be of value to all who take an interest in cultural modernity—indeed, all who recognize that “modernity” was (and remains) a congeries of competing aesthetic, economic, historical, ideological, philosophical, and political energies

Neo-Victorian Humour

Comic Subversions and Unlaughter in Contemporary Historical Re-Visions

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Edited by Marie-Luise Kohlke and Christian Gutleben

This volume highlights humour’s crucial role in shaping historical re-visions of the long nineteenth century, through modes ranging from subtle irony, camp excess, ribald farce, and aesthetic parody to blackly comic narrative games. It analyses neo-Victorian humour’s politicisation, its ideological functions and ethical implications across varied media, including fiction, drama, film, webcomics, and fashion. Contemporary humour maps the assumed distance between postmodernity and its targeted nineteenth-century referents only to repeatedly collapse the same in a seemingly self-defeating nihilistic project. This collection explores how neo-Victorian humour generates empathy and effective socio-political critique, dispensing symbolic justice, but also risks recycling the past’s invidious ideologies under the politically correct guise of comic debunking, even to the point of negating laughter itself.


"This rich and innovative collection invites us to reflect on the complex and various deployments of humour in neo-Victorian texts, where its consumers may wish at times that they could swallow back the laughter a scene or event provokes. It covers a range of approaches to humour utilised by neo-Victorian writers, dramatists, graphic novelists and filmmakers – including the deliberately and pompously unfunny, the traumatic, the absurd, the ribald, and the frankly distasteful – producing a richly satisfying anthology of innovative readings of ‘canonical’ neo-Victorian texts as well as those which are potential generic outliers. The collection explores what is funny in the neo-Victorian and who we are laughing at – the Victorians, as we like to imagine them, or ourselves, in ways we rarely acknowledge? This is a celebration of the parodic playfulness of a wide range of texts, from fiction to fashion, whilst offering a trenchant critique of the politics of postmodern laughter that will appeal to those working in adaptation studies, gender and queer studies, as well as literary and cultural studies more generally."
- Prof. Imelda Whelehan, University of Tasmania, Australia