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Robert Duggan

Chapter 1 The contemporary British grotesque The object of this chapter is to give a brief account of the historical tradition of the grotesque in literature and the visual arts and so to develop, rather than a singular definition of the grotesque, a set of core qualities and theoretical debates in which the grotesque partakes and with which we can examine the works of Angela Carter, Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, Iain Banks, Will Self and Toby Litt as well as the links between their texts. Through an examination of manifestations of the grotesque throughout history

in The grotesque in contemporary British fiction
Author: Robert Duggan

Contemporary British writing moves in a variety of directions, and the object of this study is the exploration of a particularly fertile path some recent British fiction has taken. This book reveals the extent to which the grotesque endures as a dominant artistic mode in British fiction. It presents a new way of understanding authors who have been at the forefront of British literature over the past four decades. The book examines the history of the grotesque in visual art and literature together with its historical and theoretical accounts. Criticism historically has often represented the grotesque in the work of an author as the product of the personal habits and idiosyncrasy of the writer. Devoted to the late Angela Carter, the book considers the hallucinating characters, monstrous metamorphoses and disorientating play with perspective and scale that all point to the importance of the grotesque in fiction. Looking at the work of Martin Amis in the light of the grotesque in literature, it examines his novels Money: A Suicide Note and London Fields. The presence of the grotesque, with its characteristic contradictory elements, in Ian McEwan's fiction offers a sustained engagement with issues of subject formation. The grotesque provides a theoretical model capable of investigating both the principal narrative energies and the controlled structures of Iain Banks's fiction, acknowledging his place within the Scottish and wider European literary traditions of the grotesque. The book also looks at works of Will Self and Toby Litt.

Manu Samriti Chandler

Innocence the magic charm is, Keeping sorrow’s form at bay; By its influence, every harm is Banished ruthlessly away; Ill and danger fright her not, Happy is her simple lot. –E.M. 1 ‘By the Lake: An Indian Eclogue’ by ‘E.M.’ appeared in the British Guianese newspaper the Colonist in 1882 and was not, to my knowledge, ever republished. It did not really need to be. Its central trope – the Indigenous subject as innocent, childlike, and idle – is so often repeated in settler descriptions of native peoples, so

in Worlding the south
William Welstead

10 Signs and sentiment in British wildlife art William Welstead It can be argued that depictions of wildlife are among the oldest extant subject matters for human creativity, going back to the cave paintings of prehistoric times. This chapter is concerned with contemporary wildlife art in Britain covering the period from the formation of the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) in 1964 to the present time. Over that time a considerable body of work has been produced by SWLA artists and exhibited in the Society’s annual exhibitions. This chapter considers the

in Extending ecocriticism

Sanctity as literature in late medieval Britain explores how sanctity and questions of literariness are intertwined across a range of medieval genres. “Sanctity” as a theme and concept figures as a prominent indicator of the developments in the period, in which authors began to challenge the predominant medieval dichotomy of either relying on the authority of previous authors when writing, or on experience. These developments are marked also by a rethinking of the intended and perceived effects of writings. Instead of looking for clues in religious practices in order to explain these changes, the literary practices themselves need to be scrutinised in detail, which provide evidence for a reinterpretation of both the writers’ and their topics’ traditional roles and purposes. The essays in the collection are based on a representative choice of texts from the fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries, covering penitential literature, hagiographical compilations and individual legends as well as romance, debates, and mystical literature from medieval and early modern England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. For researchers and advanced students of medieval literature and culture, the collection offers new insights into one of the central concepts of the late medieval period by considering sanctity first and foremost from the perspective of its literariness and literary potential.

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Food, family and national identity in Susan Ferrier’s fiction
Sarah Moss

Romantic-period women writers developed the particular form of reading relations that made the postulate of depth possible and necessary. They had the forms for interiority. 1 — Deirdre Lynch, The Economy of Character What is at stake in the Scottish novel, however, is not simply a mode of reading but the future of British literary culture and cross-cultural understanding

in Spilling the beans
Travel fiction and travelling fiction from D.H. Lawrence to Tim Parks
Suzanne Hobson

8 ‘I am not the British Isles on two legs’: travel fiction and travelling fiction from D.H. Lawrence to Tim Parks Suzanne Hobson Time and again, D.H. Lawrence made it clear that his argument was above all with English, the language in which his society’s values were enshrined, to the extent, he claims, that he had to invent ‘a foreign language’ to write his first great novel, The Rainbow.  (Tim Parks1) Tim Parks does not see his novels as belonging to the archive of Anglo-British fiction. As noted by an interviewer in 1999, Parks locates himself firmly in the

in End of empire and the English novel since 1945

This volume of twelve essays, preceded by an introduction that succinctly frames the problematic and history of the notion of the ‘self’, examines the various ways the ‘self’ was perceived, fashioned and written in the course of the long eighteenth century in Great Britain. It highlights, in particular, the interface between literature and philosophy. The chapters include discussion of philosophers such as Locke, Shaftesbury, Mandeville, Hume, Hutcheson and Smith, churchmen such as Isaac Barrow and John Tillotson, the novelists Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson and Laurence Sterne, the poets Anne Killigrew, Alexander Pope, William Blake and William Wordsworth, the writers and sometime diarists Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, and the radical writer Sampson Perry.

The originality of the studies lies in their focus on the varied ways of seeing and saying the self, and what Locke called personal identity. They foreground the advent of a recognisably modern, individualistic and ‘sustainable’ self, which, still today, remains plural and enigmatic. The book should appeal to a wide public, both undergraduate and graduate students working in Literature and the Humanities, in particular those interested in the Enlightenment period, as well as researchers and the general public interested in questions related to identity and consciousness and their formulation in the past and present.

The volume follows a chronological narrative which surveys the intriguing and protean nature of the ‘self’ from varied perspectives and as expressed in different genres. It assembles contributions from both confirmed and young researchers from Britain, Europe and the United States.

Ireland, Britain and the poetics of space, 700–1250
Author: Amy C. Mulligan

In recent decades, spatiality—the consideration of what it means to be situated in space and place—has become a key concept in understanding human behavior and cultural production across the disciplines. Texts produced by and about the medieval Irish contain perhaps the highest concentration of spatial writing in the wider medieval European milieu, and only in Ireland was a distinct genre of placelore formalized. As Mulligan shows, Ireland provides an extensively documented example of a culture that took a pre-modern ‘spatial turn’ and developed influential textual models through which audiences, religious and secular, in Ireland and Europe, could engage with landscapes near and far. Ireland’s peripheral geographic position, widespread monastic practices of self-imposed exile and nomadism, and early experiences of English colonialism required strategies for maintaining a place-based identity while undergoing dispossession from ancestral lands. These cultural developments, combined with the early establishment of Latin and vernacular literary institutions, primed the Irish to create and implement this poetics of place. A landscape of words traces the trajectory of Irish place-writing through close study of the ‘greatest hits’ of (and about) medieval Ireland—Adomnán’s De locis sanctis, Navigatio Sancti Brendani, vernacular voyage tales, Táin Bó Cualnge, Acallam na Senórach, the Topographia and Expugnatio Hibernica of Gerald of Wales, and Anglo-Latin accounts of Saint Patrick’s Purgatory. A landscape of words provides rigorous source analysis in support of new ways of understanding medieval Irish literature, landscape and place-writing that will be essential reading for scholars on medieval Ireland and Britain. Mulligan also writes for non-specialist students and researchers working on the European Middle Ages, travel and pilgrimage, spatial literature, and Irish and British history and culture, and allows a wide readership to appreciate the extensive impact of medieval Irish spatial discourse.

Representations of slavery
Author: Abigail Ward

Slavery is a recurring subject in works by the contemporary British writers Caryl Phillips, David Dabydeen and Fred D'Aguiar, yet their return to this past arises from an urgent need to understand the racial anxieties of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Britain. This book examines the ways in which their literary explorations of slavery may shed light on current issues in Britain today, or what might be thought of as the continuing legacies of the UK's largely forgotten slave past. It looks at a range of novels, poetry and non-fictional works by Phillips, Dabydeen and D'Aguiar in order to consider their creative responses to slavery. The study focuses exclusively on contemporary British literary representations of slavery, and thoughtfully engages with such notions as the history, memory and trauma of slavery and the ethics of writing about this past. It offers a guide to the ways in which the transatlantic slave trade is represented in recent postcolonial literature.