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Really existing democracy

reference outside of Polish contexts in the shaping and contesting of cultural identity. Krzysztof Warlikowski, a member of the first generation to work exclusively in a ‘free’ Poland, has undoubtedly had the greatest impact on Polish theatre since the late 1990s. Kopciński (2000) argues that Krystian Lupa introduced Warlikowski to subjects that would come to shape his work, such as cultural dispossession, spiritual atrophy, a deficiency of collective identity, internal chaos and immaturity. Warlikowski eschewed texts and directing styles that rely on assimilationist or

in After ’89
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Polish theatre and the political

This monograph takes as its subject the dynamic new range of performance practices that have been developed since the demise of communism in the flourishing theatrical landscape of Poland. After 1989, Lease argues, the theatre has retained its historical role as the crucial space for debating and interrogating cultural and political identities. Providing access to scholarship and criticism not readily accessible to an English-speaking readership, this study surveys the rebirth of the theatre as a site of public intervention and social criticism since the establishment of democracy and the proliferation of theatre makers that have flaunted cultural commonplaces and begged new questions of Polish culture. Lease suggests that a radical democratic pluralism is only tenable through the destabilization of attempts to essentialize Polish national identity, focusing on the development of new theatre practices that interrogate the rise of nationalism, alternative sexual identities and forms of kinship, gender equality, contested histories of antisemitism, and postcolonial encounters. Lease elaborates a new theory of political theatre as part of the public sphere. The main contention is that the most significant change in performance practice after 1989 has been from opposition to the state to a more pluralistic practice that engages with marginalized identities purposefully left out of the rhetoric of freedom and independence.

dressing room of the Stary Teatr, where the audience was squeezed in on wooden benches, Budzisz-Krzyżanowska changed into period costume, a black velvet doublet and hose. Spectators observed the actress’ transformation into Hamlet, a copy of the play and the production program on her dressing table. Only visible through the dressing-room door, Wajda inverted the social function of the main stage of the Stary  – the paradigmatic space for sustaining national cultural identity and maintaining active resistance to foreign domination in the twentieth century. What had been

in After ’89
Critical essays on W. G. Sebald

In an essay "Ein Versuch der Restitution (An Attempt at Restitution)" delivered as a form of a speech at the opening of Stuttgart's House of Literature, W. G. Sebald asked about the usefulness of literature. This book illustrates some of the recurring concerns of, and tensions in, Sebald's writing: the interanimation of historical and literary discourses, and the clash of individual and collective memories. The coincidence of life and death, and the collision of documentary evidence with the contingent powers of the imagination are also explored. The first set of essays is devoted to issues of translation and style, and explores the revisionist potential of translation, and the question of translation into Sebald's poetry. It is argued that Sebald sought to follow Franz Kafka's stricture through the strategic deployment of 'unwords'. The book examines Sebald's prose works with a reading of Vertigo as an exercise in Surrealist literary historiography, and suggests that The Emigrants can be read as a contest between vision and obscurity. The implications of historical blind spots are pursued in the reading of Anglo-Irish themes in The Rings of Saturn. The various fragments of Sebald's aborted 'Corsica Project' offer a precious glimpse into a work-in-progress. The book investigates the extent to which H.G. Adler's work functions as a key intertext for Austerlitz, and helped determine Sebald's role and identity as a writer attempting to render aspects of the Holocaust. It also explores the two key aspects of Sebald's aesthetic technique, namely prose and photography.

Agreement, agreed to the snap elections in June 1989 Jaruzelski hoped they would shoulder the burden of the economic disaster. Although the elections were only partially free – Solidarity was only allowed to contest 35 percent of the seats in the lower house of Parliament  – the electorate overwhelmingly sided with Solidarity with most of the Communists losing their seats. With the governing authority in disarray and the Solidarity party refusing to join forces with a Communist coalition, Solidarity found itself leading the government of Poland in September 1989. The

in After ’89

The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building, idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English texts.

Chaucer, Spenser and Luke Shepherd’s ‘New Poet’

, committed ‘to a humanist tradition of public service’, by drawing on the desire of, for example, John Leland, ‘to recover a native literary tradition’. 51 Old Chaucer had been made new by the renovating ardour of Protestant reform, and as his heir, the ‘new Poete’ represented the epitome of vernacular Protestant Englishness. In addition to a newly created Protestant identity, or humanist educative programme, though, ‘novelty’ and its cognates as readily connoted an opposing set of ideas. The sixteenth-century sees the emergence

in Rereading Chaucer and Spenser
Intercultural exchanges and the redefinition of identity in Hugo Hamilton’s Disguise and Hand in the Fire

(2008) and Hand in the Fire (2010), Hamilton explores the limitations that monological, especially ethnocultural, constructs of collective identity impose on individuals, and how these are contested in a contemporary context of increased globalisation and intercultural exchanges. By examining this issue in the two different national contexts that influence his sense of identity, namely Germany and Ireland, Hamilton redefines Kearney’s ethnocultural definition of the internationalisation of Irishness in postnationalist Ireland,3 and suggests rather a civic

in Literary visions of multicultural Ireland
De-scribing Imperial identity from alien to migrant

and British urban racism in Through Brown Eyes (1985) to Firdaus Kanga’s tempered Anglophilia, from Bombay to Finchley, in Heaven on Wheels (1991). The need for a realignment of identity from an axis of belonging/ alienation to a continuum of translocated migrancy is evident in the discourse of essentialised national identities. Like all metaphysical identities, Englishness is essentially only a vacant term; to acknowledge its history and negotiate its political uses, its vacancy needs to be continually restated and its space contested. This can best happen through

in Across the margins
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train of promiscuity’,2 which would have referred to the behaviour of all sexually active unmarried women. Outside the realm of heteronormativity were the crimes of promiscuity and chastity, as well as lesbianism, which ensured that the illicit, ‘peripheral sexualities’3 of odd women remained conflicted and contested, both enticingly modern and dangerously abnormal. Judith Butler’s account of the undermining of the stabilising concepts of sex, gender and sexuality by ‘the spectres of discontinuity and incoherence, themselves thinkable only in relation to existing

in Odd women?