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Julia Kavanagh, 1824–77

Julia Kavanagh was a popular and internationally published writer of the mid-nineteenth century whose collective body of work included fiction, biography, critical studies of French and English women writers, and travel writing. This critically engaged study presents her as a significant but neglected writer and returns her to her proper place in the history of women's writing. Through an examination of Kavanagh's work, letters and official documents, it paints a portrait of a woman who achieved not simply a necessary economic independence, but a means through which she could voice the convictions of her sexual politics in her work. The study addresses the current enthusiasm for the reclamation of neglected women writers, and also brings to light material that might otherwise have remained unknown to the specialist.

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Staging the wound

An art is emancipated and emancipating when it renounces the authority of the imposed message, the target audience, and the univocal mode of emancipating the world, when, in other words, it stops wanting to emancipate us. (Rancière, 2007 : 258) Introduction One of the great unresolved mysteries of Genet’s career is his steadfast refusal to admit that his plays are politically motivated, even though they deal with some of the most inflammatory political material staged in modern theatre. In broad terms, Genet’s ‘abrasiveness’, to borrow a word from

in The politics of Jean Genet’s late theatre
Spaces of revolution

Jean Genet has long been regarded as one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Since the publication of Jean-Paul Sartre's existential biography Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr in 1952, his writing has attracted the attention of leading French thinkers and philosophers. In the UK and US, his work has played a major role in the development of queer and feminist studies, where his representation of sexuality and gender continues to provoke controversy. This book aims to argue for Genet's influence once again, but it does so by focusing uniquely on the politics of his late theatre. The first part of the book explores the relationship between politics and aesthetics in Genet's theatre and political writing in the period 1955 to 1986. The second part focuses on the spatial politics of The Balcony, The Blacks and The Screens by historicising them within the processes of modernisation and decolonisation in France of the 1950s and 1960s. The third part of the book analyses how Genet's radical spatiality works in practice by interviewing key contemporary practitioners, Lluís Pasqual, JoAnne Akalaitis, and Ultz and Excalibah. The rationale behind these interviews is to find a way of merging past and present. The rationale so explores why Genet's late theatre, although firmly rooted within its own political and historical landscape, retains its relevance for practitioners working within different geographical and historical contexts today.


’s influence once again, but it does so by focusing uniquely on the politics of his late theatre. Unlike those anthologists who continue to define him, erroneously, as an absurdist theatre maker, I intend to argue for Genet as a revolutionary playwright by engaging with, and building on, the uncompromising political readings that have started to emerge in Genet scholarship in France, the UK and the USA in the past decade. 2 Writing at the dawn of the new millennium, the French novelist and critic Marie Redonnet has no doubts about the burning relevance of Genet’s political

in The politics of Jean Genet’s late theatre

experience – a council estate, a mother, a father, a lost job. Very few writers had the courage or even the energy to bite off a big chunk of the universe and chew it over. Very few showed any linguistic or formal innovation. Many were dulled, and therefore dull. (SAL, 38) Putting aside discussion of whether this assessment of British fiction in the late 1980s is accurate, it is clear that Rushdie means to contrast the perceived timidity of this later generation with the political robustness and aesthetic intrepidity of his own. Emerging from the

in Salman Rushdie

1858, Kavanagh adopts a similar domestic approach as she comments on the cultural contradictions and gender politics of life in the two Sicilies4 from a predominantly female social perspective.5 Such a perspective was not unique to Kavanagh, of course, as Italy had already been written and rewritten by British travel writers many times. However, throughout my discussion I will refer mainly to women travellers, although some of the considerations raised here are not necessarily restricted by gender. From the early nineteenth century British women had perceived Italy

in The politics of writing
Contemporary poetry

It’s a curious fact, one that might help us to distinguish literary texts from other forms of writing – history books, say, or political memoirs, or scientific textbooks, or certain kinds of philosophical writing – it’s a curious fact that, as I have tried to suggest throughout this book, ignorance, authorial nescience, is well founded as a principle of literary composition, particularly in Romantic and post-Romantic writing. But it is even more striking that declarations of authorial ignorance became, in the twentieth century, something

in Ignorance

10 The epigram and political comment Through the period 1590 to 1640 epigrams of explicit political satire were widespread in manuscript and oral circulation, but limited in printed epigram books,1 where they were by necessity either more general or oblique. A consideration of epigrammatic libels on great figures could be a book of its own; thus, this chapter explores the political dimensions and possibilities of the epigram in the period through a number of limited focuses. The first is the flurry of manuscript political epigrams that appeared in the late 1590

in The epigram in England, 1590–1640

 1 1 VULNERABILITY AS A POLITICAL LANGUAGE A nu Koi v une n, K atar iina K yröl ä a nd I ngr id  Ry berg I n present-​ day public discussions, questions of power, agency, and the media are debated more intensely than ever as issues of injury or empowerment. Vulnerability has emerged as a key concept circulating in these discussions and their academic analyses. The #MeToo campaign, as well as its extensions like #TimesUp and versions in various languages across the globe, has been taken up as a key example of these tendencies, showing how the public

in The power of vulnerability
Tragedy and the Risorgimento in Byron and Manzoni

130 7 The politics of the unities: tragedy and the Risorgimento in Byron and Manzoni Arnold Anthony Schmidt Scholars have traditionally stressed the influence of Vittorio Alfieri on Byron’s plays, particularly in regard to Byron’s attraction to the dramatic unities.1 At the same time, however, Alessandro Manzoni’s tragedy Il conte di Carmagnola, which gained fame in its day for violating Aristotle’s unities of time and place, also left its mark on Byron’s The Two Foscari. Both plays illustrate the difficulties of accurately ascribing causes to historical events

in Byron and Italy