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Megan G. Leitch

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.

in Sleep and its spaces in Middle English literature
Open Access (free)
Southern worlds, globes, and spheres
Sarah Comyn and Porscha Fermanis

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.

in Worlding the south
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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.

in Tuning in to the neo-avant-garde
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Remarkable sleep
Megan G. Leitch

The Introduction explores what it means for literary characters such as Malory’s Launcelot and Chaucer’s narrator, among many others, to have a ‘lust’ for sleep. As an object of desire in Middle English literature, sleep is also a generative subject. Representations of figures who long for or are overcome by sleep abound in a range of Middle English genres, from popular romances to Ricardian dream visions, from fabliaux to saints’ lives and biblical drama. As the Introduction shows, one of the most remarkable things about sleep in Middle English textual culture is the extent to which it is remarked upon, in a wide variety of genres, and in ways that bespeak attentiveness to both its performance and its interpretation. The performance of literary sleep animates ethical codes and emotive scripts, and in the ways that it provokes interpretation (both diegetic and exegetic), it is inherently epistemological: it contributes to what and how characters and readers know, and desire to know.

in Sleep and its spaces in Middle English literature
An audionarratological analysis of Andreas Ammer and FM Einheit’s Lost & Found: Das Paradies
Jarmila Mildorf

This chapter analyses Andreas Ammer and FM Einheit’s radio piece Lost & Found: Das Paradies, which was originally staged in a live performance, from an audionarratological perspective, paying attention to how sound, music and voices contribute to storytelling in this adaptation of Milton’s Paradise Lost. More specifically, it shows how the radio piece, which is also labelled an ‘oratorio’, transgresses generic boundaries and employs metalepsis and a laying bare of its medial properties, among other features. The overall structure resembles a musical composition, thus nodding to the genre of the oratorio. To assess the radio piece’s neo-avant-garde status, the chapter draws on Harry Lehmann’s reflections on the avant-garde today. The main argument is that Ammer and FM Einheit, by creatively and playfully engaging with the original text while never compromising the art of storytelling as such, achieve a level of artistry that is intended to pay homage to Milton’s work rather than deconstructing it. The chapter thus demonstrates that ‘avant-garde’ and ‘neo-avant-garde’ are increasingly difficult to define at a time when artists have a range of different responses to previous art at their disposal.

in Tuning in to the neo-avant-garde
An unexpected text in an unexpected place
Michelle Elleray

In 1850 the London Missionary Society published ‘Kiro’s Thoughts about England’, consisting of translated and abridged excerpts from the travel journal of Kiro, a Cook Islander from the South Pacific who had arrived in England in 1847. Originally intended for Cook Islanders, through its publication in the Juvenile Missionary Magazine Kiro’s journal instead becomes a narrative for British children. Kiro’s writing prompts us to consider how we are to read literary texts by peoples disempowered through imperial processes, when those texts are only deemed worthy of publication and preservation through their conformity with the dominant structures of power, in this case the London Missionary Society and its British Protestant norms. How do we wrest such texts from the evangelical framework that enabled their publication? How do we position the text’s observance of evangelical expectations within a spectrum from accommodation to consent? What work is done by the editor’s silent selections and elisions in the process of publication? In disentangling Kiro’s text from a pervasive British missionary ontology, this essay demonstrates the agency of Pacific Islanders as they negotiated the new technology of alphabetic literacy, a literacy accessed through Christianity, but not restricted to the cultural parameters of British evangelicalism.

in Worlding the south
Clara Tuite

This chapter engages the rich social, linguistic, and aesthetic repertoire of the flash (originally a cant language of thieves and convicts), using the convict phenomenon of ‘lag fever’ to complicate the idea of colonial belatedness in Australia. It argues that the flash language of thieves, gypsies, and convicts can be understood as an early kind of ‘world language’ that connected underclasses with upper classes within and across metropolitan Regency London and the southern climes and convict spaces of colonial Australia (Botany Bay, Newcastle, and Van Diemen’s Land). Connecting genealogies of masculine style and self-fashioning, and print-visual form, with the social arenas of fashionability, respectability, exile, convictism, and settler culture across Britain, Ireland, Europe, and Australia, this chapter throws new light on the liminal yet transformative Regency cultures of scandalous celebrity, exile, and convictism.

in Worlding the south
Caryl Churchill’s Identical Twins as neo-avant-garde (radio) drama
Pim Verhulst

Pim Verhulst uses Caryl Churchill’s Identical Twins (1968) as a case study to investigate the role of radio in the neo-avant-garde, relating it to the historical avant-garde and (late) modernism, as well as movements such as postdramatic theatre and the Theatre of the Absurd. While Churchill’s destabilising treatment of language and speech as sound or noise aligns her with avant-garde predecessors in Britain and abroad, the postwar institutional context of the BBC is explored archivally as a typically neo-avant-garde environment that aims to reconcile new aesthetic experiences with concerns about audience reception, particularly through stereo. Usually exploited by neo-avant-garde artists as an experimental feature, it is atypically used by the BBC production team as a means to constrain the radical identity-blurring so characteristic of Identical Twins. An intermedial analysis investigates its status as an ‘interior duologue’, as well as the friction between theatre performance, textuality and recording. Finally, the chapter studies the formative role of radio in Churchill’s oeuvre and its lasting effect on her later drama, to argue more generally that the medium played an important but neglected part in the theatrical revolution that innovated the British stage from the 1950s onwards.

in Tuning in to the neo-avant-garde
Globes, panoramas, fictions, and oceans
Peter Otto

This chapter considers how the first full-scale panorama of Sydney, ‘A View of the Town of Sydney’, exhibited at Robert Burford’s Leicester Square Panorama from 1828 until at least March 1831, conjured an Umwelt rather than just a view or prospect. As an object able to be viewed from numerous points of view, its hyper-realistic illusion aroused audience interest in how it had been constructed, which in turn suggested that the actual world, like the panorama’s virtual world, is an appearance within material, psychological, and cultural systems of perception. In this hybrid, fictional space, the real and the imaginary, the objective and the mythological, settler and colonised, even settlement and unsettlement move into surprising proximity with each other.

in Worlding the south
Open Access (free)
Thomas Baines on expedition to the coronation of Cetshwayo kaMpande, Zululand, 1873
Lindy Stiebel

In 1873 Thomas Baines – explorer, artist and cartographer – joined the retinue of Theophilus Shepstone, then Secretary for Native Affairs in the colony of Natal, into Zululand to ‘crown’ Cetshwayo as Zulu king. As Special Correspondent to the Natal Mercury, Baines wrote comprehensive descriptions of the events in which he took part. Moreover, Baines’ participation in the ‘coronation’ encouraged him to produce a detailed map of Zululand, now housed in the Royal Geographical Society in London. This map sheds light on the geo-political state of Natal at that time while also suggesting the later dramatic changes in Anglo-Zulu relations. Baines’ friendship with William Emery Robarts en route also yielded a sketch, journal entries, and a sketch map held in the Robarts family archives. The purpose of this chapter is to look more closely at Baines on his last expedition as a writer and mapper of settler interests using the above mentioned resources.

in Worlding the south