PART III Strategies of translation, mitigation
and exchange In all
societies … the issue of death throws into relief the most important
cultural values by which people live their lives and evaluate their
experiences. Life becomes transparent against the background of death, and
fundamental social and cultural issues are revealed. Richard
Huntington and Peter Metcalf
James Baldwin, William F. Buckley,
Jr., and the 1965 Cambridge Debate
Daniel Robert McClure
The 1965 debate at Cambridge University between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley,
Jr., posed the question: “Has the American Dream been achieved at the Expense of the
American Negro?” Within the contours of the debate, Baldwin and Buckley wrestled with the
ghosts of settler colonialism and slavery in a nation founded on freedom and equality.
Framing the debate within the longue durée, this essay examines the deep cultural currents
related to the American racial paradox at the height of the Civil Rights movement.
Underscoring the changing language of white resistance against black civil rights, the
essay argues that the Baldwin and Buckley debate anticipated the ways the U.S. would
address racial inequality in the aftermath of the civil rights era and the dawn of
neoliberalism in the 1970s.
Money, Commerce, Language, and the Horror of Modernity in ‘The Isle of Voices’
Money, not merely as subject in literature but also in its very form and function, exhibits qualities of spectral evanescence, fetishised power over the imagination, and the uncontrollable transgression of boundaries and limits, which closely parallel the concerns and anxieties of Gothic literature. Yet it is in the writings of economic theorists and commentators on market society like Adam Smith and Karl Marx that these Gothic anxieties about money are most clearly articulated. Stevensons short story ‘The Isle of Voices’, read in the context of his comments on money in his other writings, is one of the few fictional texts which uses these properties of money to create what might be called a ‘financial Gothic’ narrative, which nevertheless has insights and implications for the narratives of capitalist modernity in general.
The papers in this volume consider Gothic Ex/Changes, a concept at the heart of the essentially hybrid mode of Gothic, which constantly challenges prevailing orthodoxies. Papers foreground the confusion of boundaries and definitions of the human. A number take this examination of the hybrid into the realm of form and genre, including music and historiography. The analysis of Gothic in the collection demonstrates the way in which Gothic criticism has extended the subversive role of Gothic texts into the academy. It might be that as part of the ongoing process of change and exchange with a range of theoretical approaches, we are entering the period of ‘postGothic studies.’
There is danger in a prolonged gaze, for it projects you into what you see. Julio Cortázar‘s story ‘Axolotl’ describes the narrators fascination with a species of salamander notable particularly for their eyes, that he discovers in the aquarium of the Jardin des Plantes. Near the story‘s end the narrator loses himself in those eyes and suddenly sees his own face pressed against the aquarium glass: he has become an axolotl. The exchange depicted here is akin to the trajectories of the gaze as depicted in Lacans Seminar XI. Together these two works suggest a gothic optics of uncanny power.
In this introduction, we consider the intersection of two much debated and controversial concepts: postfeminism and Gothic, and we designate a new analytical category of ‘Postfeminist Gothic’. We suggest that postfeminism and Gothic are linked by their eschewal of a binary logic and their ‘anxiety about meaning’. As we contend, ‘Postfeminist Gothic’ moves beyond the Female Gothic with its historical associations with second wave feminism and female/feminine victimisation and it circumscribes a new space for critical exchange that re-examines notions of gender, agency and oppression.
Interviewing can be a vampiric act especially when it involves leeching from its subject
the fluidic exchange which exists between life and art. The vampire novelist Anne Rice had
agreed to let me interview her at Waterstones Bookshop in Bristol, England, on 26 January
1993 about the fourth book in her Vampire Chronicles, The Tale of the Body
Thief (1992). In the interview she describes the novel as dealing with the
differences between art and life and mortality and immortality. Specifically, the story
examines the paradox of choosing to be Undead for the sake of life, and the way in which
art opens up a locus for a redemption that is outside of life. In my view, the text is as
much about the process of interviewing as about authorship. A more obvious example is
Rice‘s well-known novel Interview with the Vampire (1976) in which the
hapless interviewer eventually enters into the very narrative he is recording by becoming
another Ricean revenant.
When James Baldwin in No Name in the Street discusses the case of Tony Maynard, who had
been imprisoned in Hamburg in 1967, he emphasizes that his efforts to aid his unjustly
imprisoned friend were greatly supported by his German publishing house Rowohlt and, in
particular, by his then-editor Fritz Raddatz (1931–2015). While the passages on Maynard
remain the only instance in Baldwin’s published writings in which Raddatz—praised as a
courageous “anti-Nazi German” and a kindred ally who “knows what it means to be beaten in
prison”—is mentioned directly, the relation between Baldwin and Raddatz has left traces
that cover over fifty years. The African-American writer and Rowohlt’s chief editor got to
know each other around 1963, when Baldwin was first published in Germany. They exchanged
letters between 1965 and 1984, and many of Raddatz’s critical writings from different
periods—the first piece from 1965, the last from 2014—focus of Baldwin’s books. They also
collaborated on various projects—among them a long interview and Baldwin’s review of
Roots—which were all published in the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, where Raddatz
served as head of the literary and arts sections from 1977 to 1985. Drawing on published
and unpublished writings of both men, this article provides a discussion of the most
significant facets of this under-explored relationship and its literary achievements.
Thereby, it sheds new light on two central questions of recent Baldwin scholarship: first,
the circumstances of production and formation crucial to Baldwin’s writings of the 1970s
and 1980s, and secondly, Baldwin’s international activities, his transcultural
reception and influence.
This volume considers transnational and intercultural aspects of early modern
theatre, drama and performance. Its twelve chapters, loosely cosmographically
grouped into West, North and South, compose a complex image of early modern
theatre connections as a socially, economically, politically and culturally
realised tissue of links, networks, influences and paths of exchange. With
particular attention to itinerant performers, court festival, and the
significant black, Muslim and Jewish impact, they combine disciplines and
methods to place Shakespeare and his contemporaries in the wider context of
early performance culture in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Czech and
Italian speaking Europe. Their shared methodological approach examines
transnational connections by linking abstract notions of wider theatre
historical significance to concrete historical facts: archaeological findings,
archival records, visual artefacts, and textual evidence. Crucial to the volume
is this systematic yoking of theories with surviving historical evidence for the
performative event – whether as material object, text, performative routine,
theatregrams, rituals, festivities, genres, archival evidence or visual
documentation. This approach enables it to explore the infinite variety of early
modern performance culture by expanding the discourse, questioning the received
canon, and rethinking the national restrictions of conventional maps to reveal a
theatre that truly is without borders.
The essays in this book demonstrate the importance of translation and European writing in the development of the Gothic novel. Cross-cultural exchanges occurred with the translation of novels by English writers into French. The book first situates works by British writers and American writers within a European context and legacy. Next, it offers readings of less-known works by Gothic authors. The book introduces the reader to a range of neglected, albeit influential, European Gothic texts which originated in Russian, Spanish, French and German. It argues that the level of ideological manipulation, which occurred as texts were translated, mistranslated, appropriated, misappropriated, altered and adapted from one language to another, was so considerable and so systematic that generic mutations were occasioned. The book suggests that Matthew Lewis's The Monk offers a few models of femininity, all deriving from and intended to disrupt, previous literary representations. It focuses on the automatic and the systematic in Charles Maturin's work in relation to Denis Diderot's contemporary philosophical conceptualizations of consciousness and identity. Gothic treacheries are dealt with through Samuel Coleridge's analysis of misappropriation of Friedrich Schiller's Die Rauber. The book also discusses the representations of ritual violence, as sanctioned by the Catholic Church, in English and Spanish pictorial and literary texts between 1796 and 1834. It talks about the Arabesque narrative technique of embedding tales within tales to create a maze in which even the storyteller becomes lost, reflecting the Eastern notion that the created is more important than the creator.