UK are implicitly charged to forget, or at any rate not think about, the fundamental indebtedness of ‘Brexit’ to the nonsensical portmanteau-making of Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty) 70 seems set to make the kinds of translational, translanational, transliterational, transgenic, telephonic might of ‘side thinking’ appear more irrelevant than ever. 71
But in the same breath, the same sigh, we might also suggest that now – more than ever – side thinking is needed. This postscript, seeking to return us to the beginning ‘at last’, offers another O, a side
What does it feel like to be on the brink of transition? 1
The date of writing is important. Much of this book was written during two years of negotiations counting down to Britain’s exit from the European Union. As I worked towards this book’s first deadline, I watched the political clock tick down several times as exit dates came and went. I hoped for infinite delay.
As the late medieval playmakers understood, our experiences of time, and of writing, are heavily influenced by our politics. Underpinning much of the desire for Brexit is a nostalgic desire
Bride of Clintonstein ( A Double Take Presidential Primary Rib , July 2016).
Outside of the USA, a major news story with political impact has been the UK’s referendum about whether to remain in the European Union. It was a heated campaign which resulted – in June 2016 – in the decision to leave the EU. Generally, pundits assumed that the anti-EU campaign (‘Brexit’) would lose and the arguments and rhetoric they deployed (principally in regard to immigrants and refugees) were seized upon by critics with articles in British newspapers such as Dan
At a time when monolingualist claims for the importance of ‘speaking English’ to the national order continue louder than ever, even as language diversity is increasingly part of contemporary British life, literature becomes a space to consider the terms of linguistic belonging. Bad English examines writers including Tom Leonard, James Kelman, Suhayl Saadi, Raman Mundair, Daljit Nagra, Xiaolu Guo, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, and Caroline Bergvall, who engage multilingually, experimentally, playfully, and ambivalently with English’s power. Considering their invented vernaculars and mixed idioms, their dramatised scenes of languaging – languages learned or lost, acts of translation, scenes of speaking, the exposure and racialised visibility of accent – it argues for a growing field of contemporary literature in Britain pre-eminently concerned with language’s power dynamics, its aesthetic potentialities, and its prosthetic strangeness. Drawing on insights from applied linguistics and translation studies as well as literary scholarship, Bad English explores contemporary arguments about language in Britain – in debates about citizenship or education, in the media or on Twitter, in Home Office policy and asylum legislation – as well as the ways they are taken up in literature. It uncovers both an antagonistic and a productive interplay between language politics and literary form, tracing writers’ articulation of linguistic alienation and ambivalence, as well as the productivity and making-new of radical language practices. Doing so, it refutes the view that language difference and language politics are somehow irrelevant to contemporary Britain and instead argues for their constitutive centrality to the work of novelists and poets whose inside/outside relationship to English in its institutionalised forms is the generative force of their writing.
Responding to the resurgence of verbatim theatre that emerged in Britain, Australia, the United States and other parts of the world in the early 1990s, this book offers one of the first sustained, critical engagements with contemporary verbatim, documentary and testimonial dramaturgies. Offering a new reading of the history of the documentary and verbatim theatre form, the book relocates verbatim and testimonial theatre away from discourses of the real and representations of reality and instead argues that these dramaturgical approaches are better understood as engagements with forms of truth-telling and witnessing. Examining a range of verbatim and testimonial plays from different parts of the world, the book develops new ways of understanding the performance of testimony and considers how dramaturgical theatre can bear witness to real events and individual and communal injustice through the re-enactment of personal testimony. Through its interrogation of different dramaturgical engagements with acts of witnessing, the book identifies certain forms of testimonial theatre that move beyond psychoanalytical accounts of trauma and reimagine testimony and witnessing as part of a decolonised project that looks beyond event-based trauma, addressing instead the experience of suffering wrought by racism and other forms of social injustice.
proliferates within current discourses of truth, falsity
and post-truth, not least because it was not entirely clear whether this
student viewed the post-truth context as a de facto state of affairs or a
tendency that needed to be critiqued and resisted. Regardless of this, the
student’s question was, of course, very timely. For in 2016, the Oxford
Dictionary named ‘post-truth’ as its word of the year. This came at a time
when the UK was in the first phase of the political turmoil following the
Brexit referendum, won by a political campaign constructed around a
Beholding young people’s experiences and expressions of care through oral history performance
Kathleen Gallagher and Rachel Turner-King
caring and generous through this collaboration that was most certainly heightened by the surrounding cold-heartedness and self-interest of the larger social and political context, specifically the 2016 Brexit referendum in the UK and the rising popularity of divisive populism in the USA. Our chapter focuses on an oral history performance project in which the pedagogies of ‘youth theatre’ and ‘youth work’ coalesced, enabling new ways of understanding the aesthetics, pedagogy, politics and sociality of caring, in these most ‘care-less’, global times.
italicised by an historical and contemporary
understanding of the resistance to international mobility,
which is being manifested all too clearly in the Brexit and Trump
era. The very mobility of performing Jews in Venice and Mantua, as
Erith Jaffe-Berg shows in the present volume, emerged from their
separation and confinement in the Ghetto.
Studies of mobility can do well to examine
Cameron succinctly summarises, this is a variety of discourse in
which ‘the key opposition is between cohesion, symbolised by English
monolingualism, and fragmentation, associated with the maintenance
of other languages: fragmentation is figured as a threat, but the nature
or source of the threat is only vaguely evoked using generic terms
like “extremism” and “radicalization” ’.22 In the context of a proposed
Brexit which was largely campaigned for on an anti-immigration
agenda (prepared for by Prime Minister Theresa May, during her own
time as Home Secretary, with her
transnationalism, and in dialogue with
scholarship that takes transnationalism as its overarching premise, this
book is very much concerned with language and the nation, and the
particular status of the English language in Britain. The way in which
lingering postimperial nostalgia works through language can be seen
in visionary articulations of a post-Brexit ‘Global Britain’ imagined as
being about to reclaim its status as the centre of the English-speaking
world.89 Arguments about ‘correct’ language, meanwhile, continue to
mediate classed and regional power. Although it is by