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Don DeLillo‘s Underworld and the End of the Cold War Gothic
Brian McDonald

Gothic Studies
A Session at the 2019 American Studies Association Conference
Magdalena J. Zaborowska, Nicholas F. Radel, Nigel Hatton, and Ernest L. Gibson III

“Rebranding James Baldwin and His Queer Others” was a session held at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association in November 2019 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The papers gathered here show how Baldwin’s writings and life story participate in dialogues with other authors and artists who probe issues of identity and identification, as well as with other types of texts and non-American stories, boldly addressing theoretical and political perspectives different from his own. Nick Radel’s temporal challenge to reading novels on homoerotic male desire asks of us a leap of faith, one that makes it possible to read race as not necessarily a synonym for “Black,” but as a powerful historical and sexual trope that resists “over-easy” binaries of Western masculinity. Ernest L. Gibson’s engagement with Beauford Delaney’s brilliant art and the ways in which it enabled the teenage Baldwin’s “dark rapture” of self-discovery as a writer reminds us that “something [has been missing] in our discussions of male relationships.” Finally, Nigel Hatton suggests “a relationship among Baldwin, Denmark, and Giovanni’s Room that adds another thread to the important scholarship on his groundbreaking work of fiction that has impacted African-American literature, Cold War studies, transnational American studies, feminist thought, and queer theory.” All three essays enlarge our assessment of Baldwin’s contribution to understanding the ways gender and sexuality always inflect racialized Western masculinities. Thus, they help us work to better gauge the extent of Baldwin’s influence right here and right now.

James Baldwin Review
Charles Bernstein

associated with this proto Cold War moment in US history. Olson’s rhetorical power is a blast against conformity, against the postwar methodology of ‘prosperity’ through repression. ‘What pudor pejorocracy affronts’: our decency, if we still have it, in the human dethronement of that moment, 1949 (or 2014), is offended by the worsening rule of government (CP, 92). And Olson breaks beyond ‘the Western box’ with his opening, signal, invocation of Heraklitus: all is change, stasis is Thanatos (a death wish). And so the poem enacts this very Heraklitian change

in Contemporary Olson
Forbidden Planet, Frankenstein, and the atomic age
Dennis R. Perry

and Forbidden Planet provides a good example of the how the Frankenstein Complex can expose unexpected affinities between texts to reveal unrecognised adaptations. While the source texts suggested by Buchanan and others are plausible lenses through which to read Forbidden Planet , none takes account of the film’s Cold War context. It is this anxious post-war period, combining fear of a nuclear holocaust with unprecedented economic bounty (Worland and Slayden 140, 143), that sets the stage for seeing the film as a contemporary

in Adapting Frankenstein
The Theatre of the Absurd
Neil Cornwell

‘grotesque incongruity’ of human affairs (ibid., 180). Kharms and Vvedensky were repressed at the beginning of the 1940s, and, as Listengarten stresses (180), a postwar Theatre of the Absurd could have no existence in Soviet Russia; however, she counts their plays ‘among the earliest examples of absurdism in the history of the theater’. (Cold-War) Poland and Czechoslovakia Towards the later end of the epoch of classic Theatre of the Absurd (if we may employ such an expression), we encounter contributions from . Eastern Europe in the shape of the earlier plays of Sl

in The absurd in literature
Mariko Hori Tanaka

creating ideological enemies. Ordinary people’s fear and anxiety about nuclear wars became nightmarish. In the tension between politically divided worlds that was termed the Cold War, people were affected by the conditions and even traumatically afflicted. The notion of human annihilation and the end of the world took on an air of feasibility in the 1950s, when Beckett, with the success of Waiting for Godot, began to write frenziedly. It is unthinkable that so sensitive a writer as Beckett would not feel the influence of such a collective cultural nightmare. He could not

in Samuel Beckett and trauma
Facing the apocalypse in Watchmen
Christian W. Schneider

have become unavoidable, since the danger of a nuclear war between the USA and the USSR becomes increasingly certain. In Watchmen ’s 1980s mindset, the logic of the Cold War’s nuclear arms race is re-created within the context of superhero comics; Judgement Day could happen at any moment, as every character, superhero or not, realises. This is the prevalent trait of

in Alan Moore and the Gothic Tradition
Melancholy cosmopolitanism
Susan Watkins

rewrites the experience of loss as potentially creative, productive and transformative. In her vision of what I am calling a ‘melancholy cosmopolitanism’, 4 Lessing challenges the closed-off, paranoid legacy of the Cold War in the 1950s. In Memoirs and Briefing she further develops the distinction between the claustrophobic, nostalgic relation to loss that is characteristic of mourning and the creative work of melancholia. In the context of the late 1960s and early 1970s, however, it is only in the metafictional world of the novels, rather than the characters’ lived

in Doris Lessing

Samuel Beckett and trauma is a collection of essays that opens new approaches to Beckett’s literary and theoretical work through the lens of trauma studies. Beginning with biographical and intertextual readings of instances of trauma in Beckett’s works, the essays take up performance studies, philosophical and cultural understanding of post-traumatic subjectivity, and provide new perspectives that will expand and alter current trauma studies.

Chapter 1 deals with a whole range of traumatic symptoms in Beckett’s personal experiences which find their ways into a number of his works. Chapter 2 investigates traumatic symptoms experienced by actors on stage. Chapter 3 examines the problem of unspeakability by focusing on the face which illuminates the interface between Beckett’s work and trauma theory. Chapter 4 explores the relationship between trauma and skin – a psychic skin that reveals the ‘force and truth’ of trauma, a force that disrupts the apparatus of representation. Chapter 5 considers trauma caused by a bodily defect such as tinnitus. Chapter 6 focuses on the historically specific psychological structure in which a wounded subject is compelled to stick to ordinary life in the aftermath of some traumatic calamity. Chapter 7 provides a new way of looking at birth trauma by using the term as ‘creaturely life’ that is seen in the recent biopolitical discourses. Chapter 8 speculates on how Beckett’s post-war plays, responding to the nuclear age’s global trauma, resonate with ethical and philosophical thoughts of today’s post-Cold War era.

Abstract only
American horror comics as Cold War commentary and critique

Printing Terror places horror comics of the mid-twentieth century in dialogue with the anxieties of their age. It rejects the narrative of horror comics as inherently and necessarily subversive and explores, instead, the ways in which these texts manifest white male fears over America’s changing sociological landscape. It examines two eras: the pre-CCA period of the 1940s and 1950s, and the post-CCA era to 1975. The authors examine each of these periods through the lenses of war, gender, and race, demonstrating that horror comics are centred upon white male victimhood and the monstrosity of the gendered and/or racialised other. It is of interest to scholars of horror, comics studies, and American history. It is suitably accessible to be used in undergraduate classes.