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The Experience of Dislocated Listening
Rashida K. Braggs

“It is only in his music [. . .] that the Negro in America has been able to tell his story. It is a story which otherwise has yet to be told and which no American is prepared to hear,” so wrote James Baldwin in “Many Thousands Gone.” Throughout his career, James Baldwin returned to this incomprehension of African-American experience. He continually privileged music in his literature, crafting his own literary blues to address it. Baldwin’s blues resonated even more powerfully and painfully for its emotional and geographical dislocation. In this article, Rashida K. Braggs argues that it was the combination of music, word, and migration that prompted Baldwin’s own deeper understanding. Exploring her term dislocated listening, Braggs investigates how listening to music while willfully dislocated from one’s cultural home prompts a deeper understanding of African-American experience. The distance disconcerts, leaving one more vulnerable, while music impels the reader, audience, and even Baldwin to identify with some harsh realities of African-American experience. Baldwin evokes the experience of dislocated listening in his life and in “Sonny’s Blues.” Braggs also creates an experience of dislocated listening through her video performance of Baldwin’s words, thus attempting to draw the reader as well into a more attuned understanding of African-American experience.

James Baldwin Review
James Baldwin’s Just Above My Head
Jenny M. James

This article considers James Baldwin’s last published novel, Just Above My Head (1979), as the culmination of his exploration of kinship, reflecting on the ways distance and loss characterize African-American familial relations. By analyzing Baldwin’s representation of Hall Montana’s relationship to, and mourning of, his younger brother Arthur, this article argues that JAMH revises the terms of the black family to imagine an alternative, errant kinship that is adoptive, migratory, and sustained through songs of joy and grief. My approach to the novel’s portrayal of kinship is indebted to Édouard Glissant’s Poetics of Relation (1990), in which he defines “errantry” as a fundamental characteristic of diaspora that resists the claustrophobic, filial violence and territorial dispossession that are slavery’s legacies. Baldwin represents errant kinship in JAMH through his inclusion of music and formal experimentation. Departing from previous scholarship that reads JAMH as emblematic of the author’s artistic decline, I interpret the novel’s numerous syntactic and figurative experiments as offering new formal insight into his portrait of brotherly love. Baldwin’s integration of two distinctive leitmotifs, blood and song, is therefore read as a formal gesture toward a more capacious and migratory kinship.

James Baldwin Review
Reflections on new historicism and cultural materialism
Simon Wortham

American tradition, epitomised at its height by New Criticism, that seems primarily concerned with the ‘cultivation of “emotional distance’”. 8 Thus, for example, Graham Holderness in a recent article in the Times Higher Education Supplement remarks that new historicists appear less interested in political intervention than detached academic interpretation. 9

in Rethinking the university
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Staging the wound
Carl Lavery

by Manceaux about the possible direction his writing might take in the light of his political commitment to the Black Panther Party, Genet was quick to distance his theatre from that of Brecht. For Genet, the type of engagement practised by Brecht is beset with a worrying paradox: I don’t think that Brecht did anything for communism, and the revolution [of 1789] was not set offby Beauchmarchais’s The Marriage of Figaro . I also think that the closer a work of art is to perfection, the more it is enclosed within itself. Worse than that – it inspires nostalgia

in The politics of Jean Genet’s late theatre
‘No interest. Not suitable for treatment’
Lance Pettitt

Cartmell’s injunction to ‘distance adaptation studies from fidelity criticism’.2 Trevor’s career as a writer for the screen and radio dates from his earliest days as a recognised short-story writer and novelist in the mid-1960s. The essay draws on interview material to demonstrate Trevor’s own ambiguous attitudes and insights into writing for the screen. It also surveys different phases of activity, making use of selected production file material, but takes as its central case study the pivotal, BAFTA-award winning film The Ballroom of Romance (1982). It concludes with

in William Trevor
A critical blindspot
Glyn White

surface must be an interpretative blindspot for any critical scheme that includes the idea of an antagonism between art and reality. Mimesis and postmodern criticism The effect of modernism distancing itself from realism and thus, somehow, from reality, seems to have been encouraged by favourable as well as hostile criticism and this has its legacy today in the postwar

in Reading the graphic surface
Glyn White

angles, a bad one. Linguistics-based analysis routinely ignores the material aspect of any text, despite the fact that it is this materiality, the process of publication, that gives the text its communicative power through distance and time and allows it to be discussed by critics. The reasoning behind this attitude appears to emerge from an interdisciplinary dispute between linguists, whose interest in

in Reading the graphic surface
Michèle Mendelssohn

ego, grief is a testing ground for the self. Erotic, literary and visual allusions measure the distance between Hollinghurst’s characters. This is more than a postmodern pose. Turning from poetry to prose fiction enabled him to expand his use of allusion, camp and parody into pathos, eros, humour and verbal subterfuge. His works offer no solutions, but they relentlessly seek connection, even as it eludes them and they remain suspicious of it. In doing so, they redirect the narratives beyond their immediate allusions, towards darker truths about the human condition

in Alan Hollinghurst
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Beatrice Grimshaw and the commercial woman writer
Jane Mahony and Eve Patten

successfully adapted an instinctive feminism to the increasing conservatism of the international print culture marketplace in the 1890s. In this context we touch on her first novel, Broken Away, as a detailed portrait of the fin-de-siècle commercial Irish author. We consider at the same time the novel’s commentary on the pressurised concept of the ‘New Woman’ against the changing editorial priorities of Grimshaw’s 82 Grimshaw and the commercial woman writer first publisher, John Lane, The Bodley Head, as the company attempted to distance itself from the decadence of Oscar

in Irish women’s writing, 1878–1922
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Writing the sociological and the personal
Carol Smart

In her essay, Carol Smart looks back on her work as a sociologist of family relations, challenging the academic requirement to retain distance and objectivity, and exploring how the personal connection intervenes, despite oneself, in the encounter with some of those studied. As with other essays in this volume, though in a rather different way, she comes back to questions of affect, in her account of being touched by the stories she uncovers.

in Writing otherwise