Race, class, and poetry in a South American colony
Jason Rudy, Aaron Bartlett, Lindsey O'Neil, and Justin Thompson
Hundreds of white supremacist working-class Australians settled in Paraguay
at the end of the nineteenth century, establishing a community there called
Colonia Cosme. In the poetry and song of their newspaper, the Cosme Monthly,
these settler colonialists reflected on the racial and class dynamics of
their community, imagining affinities between their community, the defeated
American Confederacy, and the White Australia policy that would accompany
Australian Federation at the turn of the century. Blackface minstrelsy in
particular played an important role in the colony’s cultural life, helping
to establish a retrograde sense of belonging in a place largely inhospitable
to their efforts. This essay considers how the Australians in Paraguay used
genre and medium to fix racist identifications at the heart of their
‘All good letters were layde a slepe’: medieval sleep and early modern heirs
Megan G. Leitch
As the Coda explores, Shakespeare inherits this medieval cultural understanding of sleep, and it in turn shapes his representations of the fates of, and guilty consciences inspired by, heirs in Macbeth and Richard III. Shakespeare’s Macbeth may ‘murder sleep’, but he does so as the spawn of medieval conventions for signifying through sleep. And two hundred years after Chaucer’s Symkin the Miller is cuckolded while ‘as an hors he fnorteth in his sleep’ in the bawdy ‘Reeve’s Tale’, Shakespeare’s Falstaff, a figure not incommensurate with the medieval genre of fabliau, is found onstage ‘Fast asleep / [...] and snorting like a horse’. The coda argues for a greater recognition of similarities between the likes of the works of the Gawain-poet and Shakespeare’s plays, not to claim that Shakespeare must have read a text such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – though he is rather more likely to have come across Chaucer’s dream visions, and was certainly familiar with both Chaucer’s ‘Knight’s Tale’ and other medieval romances – but rather to foreground continuities within a shared habit of signifying through sleep.
This chapter investigates how media historical transformations in the decades after the Second World War affected radio art and sound poetry and, especially, their (re)presentations of humans and animals. Apart from new sound technologies (e.g. the tape recorder), information technology and cybernetics are crucial here, not least in promoting an ‘ecologisation’ (Erich Hörl) of thinking and being, which problematises anthropocentrism and subject-object configurations. Instead, there is a transition to relationality and immersion. In this chapter, the potential of sound for staging and exploring such a transition is investigated and underlined through analyses of radio art and poetry by Swedish artists and poets Åke Hodell and Öyvind Fahlström, partly framed by a discussion of Samuel Beckett’s early radio play, All That Fall (1956). In the Swedish works, attention is paid to birds and their calls primarily, but also to other sounds, which displace the human voice and gaze as organising agencies and establish a more diffuse and open acoustic space and time. The latter is designated as a ‘posthuman sound ecology’, which stresses not only the sonic presence of other beings, but also a poetically shaped and playful transmutation of the established, almost naturalised, hierarchies and relations between humans and non-humans.
Chapter 1 begins by exploring the operations and implications of sleep in medieval science, focusing on sleep’s medical and emotional benefits in particular. In the humoral theory of the body, in which health and well-being were determined by an individual’s fluctuating economy of liquids with emotional attributes, sleep had a powerful role to play in generating balance by transforming food into the four humours during digestion. Thus, while sleep was important for physical health, sleep was also significant for mental health, offering relief from the ‘unhealthful’ humours of melancholy and choler in ways that are distinctively realised in Middle English literature. This chapter shows how, as a form of sorrow-making and anger management, sleep shapes subjectivities and judgements in romances, cycle plays and dream visions. By considering medieval writers’ and readers’ knowledge of Aristotelian theories of dreams as well as the (more well-known today) Macrobian theories of dreams, this chapter concludes by suggesting that ideas about dreams caused by individuals’ waking preoccupations – dreams generated from lived experience and humoral imbalances – have more to tell us about late medieval English dream visions than has been recognised.
Chapter 2 focuses on the dangers of sleep, exploring how the prescriptions and proscriptions regarding sleeping practices in conduct manuals – especially the strenuous injunctions against daytime sleep – illuminate literary representations of sleep. In Middle English romances, fabliaux, dream visions and drama, untimely sleep is dangerous, with risks to reputation and/or well-being. These genres share their interest in untimely sleep as a mode of admonition, but generic expectations also shape the consequences in distinctive ways. Across these genres, an appetite for sleep, especially when linked to other appetites – for food, for drinking to excess, for sex or sloth – marks a neglect of duties (ranging from chivalric endeavour to Christian labour and prayer), a lack of perception (of right conduct or religious truths) or a lack of vigilance (against attacks or abduction). Moments where characters sink into untimely sleep shape their identities and reputations, offering readers reminders of what not to do, and exempla of the dangers of transgressing expectations.
Recorded sound and the state of audio play on post-‘golden age’ US network radio
Redressing a critical neglect, this chapter examines the extent of innovation achieved by plays broadcast on US network radio during the 1950s in light of two developments: advances in sound recording and editing technology, which ended three decades of live radio drama, and the establishment of television as the main medium for commercially sponsored home entertainment. These developments curtailed radio drama production, but they also gave rise to an enthusiastically received form of ‘non-acted’ play: the taped documentary. The 1956–57 revival of the Columbia Broadcasting System’s Radio Workshop, the last of the networks’ play anthologies, demonstrates how magnetic tape enhanced the realism and diversified the subject matter of earlier, studio-bound re-enactments of events without requiring their creators to abandon conventional modes of storytelling. Even as national broadcasters learned to target audiences with recorded music packaged as disc jockey programmes, they failed to create a niche for alternatives to the radio theatricals that television suggested to be outmoded. Acknowledging the system in which plays for radio are embedded, contextual readings enable us to appreciate how and why network radio’s controlled experiments differ from the avant-garde sound art emerging after the Second World War via alternative channels and media.
Gerhard Rühm's radio plays, created over a period of sixty years, show consistent characteristics. They conform to the basic impulse of the neo-avant-garde insofar as Rühm refuses to regard fiction as a naive representation of reality. His first radio play (written with Konrad Bayer in 1958) already breaks open conventional logical-grammatical and especially psychological-causal contexts, leading to the release of individual linguistic elements through language play. As the chapter demonstrates, Rühm's radiophonic works since 1968 have used the methods of linguistic reduction and abstraction to bring out the acoustic values of the linguistic material in a new and intensified way. This results in a constant bidirectional border crossing between music and language. The interaction of various acoustic phenomena and messages opens up possibilities of sensual insight beyond what can be experienced in empirical and discursive ways. However, the chapter is directed against the view that Rühm's radio plays are asemantic, for semantics are by no means extinguished in these works. On the contrary, they gain urgency through the formal procedures applied. Semantic meanings do not result from causal or final contexts, but crystallise out of net-like fields of association.
While dream visions are addressed in each of the main chapters of this book, Chapter 4 scrutinises the sleep in Chaucer’s dream visions in light of this study’s broader analysis of sleep. How Chaucer writes about sleep in the Book of the Duchess, the Parliament of Fowls and the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women participates in Middle English literary culture’s pronounced interest in thematising the ethics and affect of sleep’s causation and consequences, and in deploying the connotations of its spaces; rarely, however, has it been observed that Chaucer navigates debts to English literary traditions, alongside French and Italian ones, in his dream visions. Focusing on the Book of the Duchess in particular, Chapter 4 rediscovers Chaucer’s interest in the mind–body connections that sleep foregrounds through sleep’s role in digestion, in the balancing of the humours and passions, and in the generation of dreams in the inward wits. It argues that Chaucer’s dream poetry medicalises sleep in ways that invite analysis in relation to Galenic science, and that in turn illuminate the embodied endeavour of the medieval poet, especially through Chaucer’s consideration of Aristotelian (alongside the more commonly invoked Macrobian) theories of dreams.
The introduction to this collection proposes a new literary history of the
Anglophone southern hemisphere in the long nineteenth century. Drawing on
the methodologies of ‘worlding’, southern theory, hemispheric analysis, and
Indigenous studies, it rethinks the conceptual paradigms, periodisations,
and canons of the nineteenth-century ‘British world’ by focusing on southern
cultural perspectives in multiple regional centres from Cape Town to the
Pacific Islands. Adopting a perspective that Isabel Hofmeyr has called a
‘southern latitude’, it argues for the importance of considering the shared
and interconnected histories of imperialism, colonialism, and structural
inequality that shape the literatures and experiences of the peoples of the
southern colonies, deprioritising Eurocentric orientations and identities in
favour of southern viewpoints and south–south relations across a complex of
oceanic and terracentric spaces. Considering each of the chapters within the
collection as part of a related unit of literary and cultural analysis, its
aim is to produce a more inclusive literary model of the nineteenth century
that takes into account southern histories of cultural estrangement and
marginalisation and draws its proof-texts from so-called ‘minor’ and
‘minority’ writers, as well as identifying shared thematic concerns,
literary forms and tropes, and aesthetic and stylistic practices that are
distinctive to the region.
The acoustic neo-avant-gardes between literature and radio
Inge Arteel, Lars Bernaerts, Siebe Bluijs, and Pim Verhulst
The introductory chapter explains what is at stake in the exploration of postwar radiophonic experimentation and discusses some recent perspectives, such as those of sound studies and theories of the avant-garde. In particular, the chapter relates the radiophonic adventures of literary authors and other artists to the tradition of the avant-garde and the debates surrounding it. A lot of postwar creative radio art, for example pieces by Antonin Artaud or Georges Perec, continued the aims and strategies of the historical avant-garde. At the same time, they confronted and dealt with the intrinsic limitations of radio as a mass medium. This leads us to reconsider the question, raised by Peter Bürger, whether the neo-avant-garde is a failed avant-garde. Referring to a rich variety of radio plays and offering an outline of the volume, the introductory chapter argues that the neo-avant-gardes across Europe and North America both continued and renewed the views and means of the historical avant-gardes.