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Rape and Marriage in Go Tell It on the Mountain
Porter Nenon

To consider how James Baldwin resisted racialized notions of sexuality in his first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, I employ a number of black feminist critics—including Saidiya Hartman, Patricia Williams, Hortense Spillers, and Patricia Hill Collins—to analyze three under-studied minor characters: Deborah, Esther, and Richard. Those three characters are best understood as figures of heterosexual nonconformity who articulate sophisticated and important critiques of rape and marriage in America at the turn of the twentieth century. Baldwin thus wrote subversive theories of race and sexuality into the margins of the novel, making its style inextricable from its politics. Baldwin’s use of marginal voices was a deft and intentional artistic choice that was emancipatory for his characters and that remains enduringly relevant to American sexual politics. In this particularly polarizing transition from the Obama era to the Donald J. Trump presidency, I revisit Baldwin’s ability to subtly translate political ideas across fault lines like race, nationality, and sex.

James Baldwin Review
Richardson‘s Gothic Bodies
Judith Broome

In Sir Charles Grandison, Richardson anticipates the imaginary Italy of the Gothic novel. The categories of gender and nationality that Richardson constructs in the division of the ‘Names of the Principal Persons’ into ‘Men’, ‘Women’ and ‘Italians’ intersect with categories of health and illness to reinforce the opposition of a sensible, enlightened England, home of liberty and social stability, against a passionate, unstable and irrational Catholic Italy, home of wounded, mad and dangerous ‘Italians’. While the Gothic novel relies on landscape descriptions, banditti and abandoned castles to create a sense of terror, in Sir Charles Grandison, the Gothic is located, not in Italy, imaginary or otherwise, but in the bodies of the Italian characters.

Gothic Studies