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.
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.
Caryl Churchill’s Identical Twins as neo-avant-garde (radio) drama
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.
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.
Thomas Baines on expedition to the coronation of Cetshwayo kaMpande,
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.
Cultural geographies of poetry in colonial Aotearoa
This chapter examines the ways in which Thomas Babington Macaulay’s verse was
used to articulate the cultural, literary, and political aspirations of
nineteenth-century Māori in Aotearoa. The chapter centres around the Ngāti
Porou rangatira (chief) Mōkena Kōhere (?–1894), a leading figure in the
politics of late-nineteenth-century Aotearoa, and the way in which Kōhere’s
words, actions, and legacies were framed via lines from Macaulay’s poems. It
treats poetry generally, and Macaulay’s poetry in this instance, as a
literary example of what the legal historian Mark Hickford has called
‘portals of communicability’ in Aotearoa’s colonial relationships.
Radio history has many examples that illustrate the long-standing collaboration between the worlds of literature and the tools that the radio medium delivers. The intermediality at the heart of such collaborations understands radio production as a form that combines the textual modes bound up within the literary and the aural/spatial modes bound up within sound. Intermediality references how a discrete work always exists within a series of medial configurations that provide it with a network of possible meanings and legitimacies. This chapter explores how radiophonic space organises a notion of intermediality that features the compositional minds of artists and listeners as the site where these meanings and legitimacies take shape. It examines three poetry-based sound works by two Austrian radio artists, Petra Ganglbauer and Peter Pessl. It draws on radio theoretical writings by Otto Palitzsch and his early understanding of the Sendespiel and engages connections to the contours of the Neues Hörspiel and Ars Acustica developed by Klaus Schöning. These definitional pieces help explore the layered relationships between sound, dramaturgy and broadcast, and uncover some of the paradoxical forces at play in creating such intermedial works within the institutional frameworks of radio production and radio consumption.
An aesthetic controversy during the establishment of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and the radiophonic poem Private Dreams and Public Nightmares
After the Second World War the broadcasting corporations in Europe started to establish special facilities to produce music, sound and effects by electroacoustic means. The first electronic music studios established between 1951 and 1955 in Paris, Cologne and Milan were major actors in the development of avant-garde electroacoustic music. Although the BBC Radiophonic Workshop built on the technical and aesthetic experience of the continental studios, it adopted a decisive counterposition, categorically rejecting the composition of electroacoustic music and producing electroacoustic sound exclusively for radio and television. Following the question of the relationship between radiophonic art and electroacoustic music, this chapter focuses, on the one hand, on the establishment of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and traces the internal aesthetic controversy between its Entertainment and Music divisions, which in the 1950s marked a clash between the traditional and the avant-garde in the arts. On the other hand, the analysis of the radiophonic poem Private Dreams and Public Nightmares and the comparison of the script with the final recording reveals the production of a new form of radiophonic art in which speech, music, noise and silence form equal elements of an inseparable whole.
Nineteenth-century British Guiana witnessed the rise of multiple, conflicting
reading audiences, who collided over matters political and aesthetic. The
colonial situation was complicated: Afro-creole Guianese periodical culture
was defined directly in opposition to the oral cultures of native Blacks and
Indians, who were understood to be objects of discussion but never serious
participants within the public sphere. Discussing the representation of oral
traditions across a range of missionary texts and Guianese journals, this
chapter demonstrates the ways in which the ‘reading nation’ is constructed
against the speaking tribe, grounding ideas of humanity in the capacity to
read and thereby participate fully in the social life of the colony.
Focusing on the poetry of Egbert Martin (1861–90), the chapter argues that
the Guianese literati capitalised on assumptions about Black and Indian
natives’ illiteracy to signal to European audiences the relative value of
Guianese readers and writers, and to substantiate claims of ‘Creole
indigeneity’ at the expense of Indigenous peoples. By way of conclusion, the
chapter suggests that decolonising cultural recognition not only involves
the refusal of recognition from the Global North but also offering
recognition to Amerindian communities.
The island as collective in the works of Louis Becke
This chapter repositions the overlooked short stories of Australian-born
author Louis Becke as a colonial experiment in archipelagic writing. By
examining the stories as a collective, readers are able to view the South
Seas of the colonial imagination as a networked vision defined by
circulation and exchange. To this end, this chapter offers a reading of each
of the stories of Becke’s first collection, By Reef and Palm (1894),
allowing readers to construct a literary world. By shifting between story
and anthology, the singular tale and the collective experience, Becke
attempts to narrate the process of globalisation. By refusing to allow a
single narrative or viewpoint to dominate the collection, Becke moves
readers into a network of literature than can only be fully understood in an
interdependent, transoceanic context.