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The work of Bruce Chatwin

Bruce Chatwin's writing career was a litany of success. This book provides the definitive critical perspective upon the literary life and work of this enigmatic and influential author. Though his career spanned merely twelve years, his impact and influence was profoundly felt; Chatwin's first book In Patagonia 'redefined travel writing', whilst his later work The Songlines became one of the literary sensations of the 1980s. All of Chatwin's major themes - besides restlessness, include such related topics as liminality, the psychology of exile, the innate goodness of man, the appeal of asceticism and the anxiety of the collector, amongst others - found their wellspring in the author's life. His tendency to romanticise the manner and motivation behind relatively prosaic life-decisions results partly from his writerly tendency to form narrative from incoherence and ambiguity. The book then presents a linear analysis of the argument of The Nomadic Alternative, and presents fuller citations than would necessarily be the case in the discussion of a publicly available text. In Patagonia relentlessly focusses on the individual story, eschewing the conventions of narratorial reflection or environmental description. The Viceroy of Ouidah is essentially a work about the perils of restlessly travelling in search of illusory goals - and ultimately getting stuck. The opening pages of On the Black Hill, introduces the dualistic framework which Chatwin sets up in the conceit of the characters, Lewis and Benjamin Jones.

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Jonathan Chatwin

In December of 1977, Bruce Chatwin wrote to his agent, Deborah Rogers, with some suggestions for the forthcoming American edition of In Patagonia. In Patagonia relentlessly focusses on the individual story, eschewing the conventions of narratorial reflection or environmental description. In Patagonia extends this specific South American mythical metropolis to become metaphorical of the wider historical fascination of those who travel in the hope of locating a utopia. In the specific migrant experience, which recurs as a subject throughout In Patagonia, Chatwin found a neat allegory for his philosophy of restlessness. The narratorial encounters with such characters provide the thematic heart of In Patagonia; they come to embody literally the abstract questions he posed in the introduction to The Nomadic Alternative. However, the text of In Patagonia is constituted by more than simply these specific accounts of the migrant experience.

in Anywhere out of the world
Reading attributions in early modern manuscript recipe books
Michelle DiMeo

Across the early modern period and well into the eighteenth century, recipe-book compilers named the author or donor for some individual recipes in their collections. Elaine Leong's study demonstrates that the majority of medical recipes were taken from either the compiler's circle of family and friends, or medical practitioners; however, the percentage of each category varied greatly between each manuscript. This chapter offers two case studies of seventeenth-century manuscript recipe books in the British Library, a copy of Lady Katherine Ranelagh's recipe collection, and two related recipe books from the Brockman family. Through these case studies of a recipe book associated with Lady Ranelagh and those of two generations of Brockman family women, the process of re-creating an individual's medical network only through attributions in his or her recipe book appears flawed.

in Reading and writing recipe books, 1550–1800
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Mark Robson

Partisan polemic only leads to a blindness to the truth. This chapter discusses Thomas More's representation and focuses on the ways in which truth may be perceived. It examines truth's emergence through a deliberate testimonial blindness. Throughout his book on the posthumous pictorial representations of More, Stanley Morison has frequent recourse to concepts of authenticity. For Morison the origin of the work of art may be located in the known and remembered world, a world in which memory functions unproblematically as a transparent and stable faculty which records in a literal manner. Behind Morison's denial of the Godran picture lies an identification of the artwork as dependent upon its concordance with a notion of mimesis which can be characterised as a reflection of a known and remembered reality.

in The sense of early modern writing
Economy, exchange and cultural theory
Simon Wortham

This chapter shows disorientation and leverage in the university by exploring the problematic doubleness of economics as indeterminately both inside and outside contemporary cultural theory. It presents the question of the interdisciplinary nature of cultural analysis, particularly in relation to the complex interchange between the economy of criticism, and the location and deployment of the field of economics itself within the intellectual and discursive economy. To account for the problematic yet productive interaction between cultural criticism's own economy and the field of economics, the chapter presents the question of gift-exchange that has so interested theorists across the various disciplines of anthropology, sociology, economics, semiotics and philosophy. The chapter focuses specifically on the implications for cultural criticism of the close relationship between the concept of the gift and that of culture itself arising from Jacques Derrida's discussion.

in Rethinking the university
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A mythology for every man
Jonathan Chatwin

Bruce Chatwin had reached the point in his own life that had so frequently formed the subject of his elusive and grand theories, returning from a career of wandering to die at his appointed time. His literature continues to be both influential and well read is, of course, a primary consequence of the inherent formal qualities of his work. His prose style was inimitable and atypical of the period, its brevity contrasting the prolixity of many of his contemporaries. The connection between Chatwin's public image and his preoccupation with the topic of restlessness is most strongly evidenced by the phenomenon of the Moleskine notebook. The overall significance and importance of Chatwin's work builds a sense of the concept through repeated invocation, in both a descriptive and explanatory manner, setting up what has been succinctly defined by John Verlenden as a lyrical mythos.

in Anywhere out of the world
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The art of memory
Simon Wortham

In the vicinity of a number of different issues and contexts ranging across the modern academic institution, the author suggests an intractable problem of disorientation in the university that nevertheless provides the conditions for certain kinds of leverage to occur. In 'The art of memoires', the second in a series of three lectures given in memory of Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida draws attention to de Man's strong reading of Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's Aesthetics. For de Man allegory remains, both 'before and after Hegel', in a way that makes possible the concept and the construction of history. Thus, Derrida tells us, one cannot simply 'rely on something like history', the concept of which is in fact an effect of the allegorical, 'to account for this "allegoricity"'.

in Rethinking the university
Margaret J. M. Ezell

The study of recipe books as a genre has had a long tradition, especially for those interested in early modern women's texts. From her first publication in 1661, The Ladies Directory, Hannah Woolley was consistently in print with her collections of recipes and household management advice, even having one of her works, The Queen-Like Closet, translated into German. The dynamics of the dual function, of setting down established truth while incorporating the 'mode', is illustrated in the books attributed to Woolley. Woolley's texts certainly can be described as familial, if not indeed incestuous, in their relation to each other. In accounts of Woolley's works, printers and booksellers are typically cast as villains, literary 'pirates' who steal, maim and sell into bondage the individual author's words and works and manufacture images to suit the needs of the volume, not the author.

in Reading and writing recipe books, 1550–1800
Tim Woods

This chapter focuses upon the problems thrown into relief by realist fiction and its attempts to interrogate the African colonial past. It examines how the fiction of principally Ngugi wa Thiong'o, but also the novels of people like Wole Soyinka, Festus Iyayi and Eddie Iroh, have constantly probed the ethical problem of how the novelist can represent history without compromising it or becoming imprisoned within the past. James Ogude's significant study Ngugi's Novels and African History explores the change in Ngugi's theory and representation of history, tied to the changes in Kenyan political circumstances. One of the principal causes to which Ogude attributes Ngugi's shift in his thesis of history is Kenya's disposition in the 1970s to underdevelopment and dependency on colonial structures of economy.

in African pasts
Domestic recipe collections in early modern Wales
Alun Withey

This chapter explores the nature and spread of medical information, and the importance of manuscript recipe collections as a vehicle in this process. Using Welsh sources, it argues that medical recipes were neither physically nor linguistically static, but instead moved across geographical, social and cultural spaces with ease. Literacy levels in early modern Wales were comparatively low in comparison with England. The issue of language also raises questions of the structure and function of Welsh-language recipe collections. As they travelled from person to person, certain recipes were augmented, added to and altered. Even amongst the literate, medical recipes probably travelled verbally first and foremost, their committal to paper being a secondary result of this initial knowledge transaction. The Welsh language certainly had its own lexicon of medical terminology and nomenclature, in many cases derived from original Latin texts that began to arrive in numbers in Wales around the tenth century.

in Reading and writing recipe books, 1550–1800