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.

Gothic Studies
Abstract only

Laurent Cantet is of one France’s leading contemporary directors. He probes the evolution and fault-lines of contemporary society from the home to the workplace and from the Republican school to globalized consumption more acutely than perhaps any other French film-maker. His films always challenge his characters’ assumptions about their world. But they also make their spectators rethink their position in relation to what they see. This is what makes Cantet such an important film-maker, the book argues. It explores Cantet’s unique working ‘method,’ his use of amateur actors and attempt to develop an egalitarian authorship that allows other voices to be heard rather than subsumed. It discusses his way of constructing films at the uneasy interface of the individual, the group and the broader social context and his recourse to melodramatic strategies and moments of shame to force social tensions into view. It shows how the roots of the well-known later films can be found in his early works. It explores the major fictions from Ressources humaines to the recent Foxfire, Confessions of a Girl Gang. It combines careful close analysis with attention to broader cinematic, social and political contexts while drawing on a range of important theorists from Pierre Bourdieu to Jacques Rancière, Michael Bakhtin and Mary Ann Doane. It concludes by examining how, resolutely contemporary of the current moment, Cantet helps us rethink the possibilities and limits of political cinema in a context in which old resistances have fallen silent and new forms of protest are only emergent.

though the latter had long since moved on from the marketplace. This chapter will examine that affinity, focusing in the first section on how and why contemporary observers saw in the street markets an urban space that was about both rough and ready commerce and cheap and cheerful entertainment – a combination that can be understood by bringing together the idea of economic informality with Bakhtin’s notion of the carnival. Several aspects of the material and sensory qualities of the street markets have been examined in previous chapters: in section two this chapter

in Cheap Street
Abstract only
The play’s the thing

first published 1979) or in the female performances of Nights at the Circus (1985) and Wise Children (1992, first published 1991), has been a hugely influential and at times controversial aspect of the work of this key post-war British writer. Carter’s artistic legacy has inspired sometimes vexed Grotesque.indd 53 20/03/2013 09:24:29 54  The grotesque in contemporary British fiction critical debates over her fiction’s engagement with sexual and cultural politics, not least in relation to Mikhail Bakhtin’s work on carnival discussed in the previous chapter. It is

in The grotesque in contemporary British fiction

and in the light of more recent work on the subject by critics such as Mikhail Bakhtin, Arthur Clayborough and Geoffrey Galt Harpham, I will develop this set of core qualities while also engaging in the critical debates surrounding the use of the term ‘grotesque’. It is out of this grotesque tradition that contemporary British fiction draws so many its preoccupations and narrative strategies. Definitions and origins Finding an accurate description of the grotesque has proved an insurmountable problem for the many critics who have explored the subject, yet it has

in The grotesque in contemporary British fiction
Abstract only

functions of the unruly body. French comic tradition and the grotesque body The most important attempt to theorise the importance of comedy in Western culture is Mikhail Bakhtin’s work on the sixteenth-century French writer Rabelais. In The Art of Rabelais , Bakhtin describes how a universal strand of comedy developed in the Middle Ages and continued into modern times in popular forms such as

in Contemporary French cinema
Abstract only
The carnival as structuring motif

and habits, and his parodie ludic focus on the dramatic manifestations of this, are further indicative of a concept of festivity in his treatment of matters of social interaction. The concept of ‘festive madness’, where the observer looks at the world through different eyes, ‘not dimmed by “normal”, that is by commonplace ideas and judgements’ (Bakhtin 1984 : 39) is central to Mikhail Bakhtin’s assessment of the popular

in Bertrand Blier
Abstract only
The grotesque

Schwitters himself observed in 1937, the Merzbau became ‘a sculpture in space, which one can enter, in which one can go for a walk’ (quoted in Cardinal and Webster 2011: 73). The founding private domestic space collapses into public construction, the Merzbau’s proliferating organic forms, orifices and excrescences gradually evoking both the interior and exterior of the body. Constructed as an unfinished, organic entity housing an array of part-bodies, the Merzbau lends itself to a reading informed by Bakhtin’s ‘grotesque realism’, as suggested by Leah Dickerman (2005b: 111

in Dada bodies

attempts to put the case for each of these views as persuasively as possible, examining them in terms of Mikhail Bakhtin’s distinction between the conservative monologic work and the more subversive, dialogic text (a distinction set out in section i), before going on to offer an assessment of their relative merits (section iv). Chapters 3 and 4 then show how this controversy spills over into debates

in Chaucer in context
Abstract only
James Tod’s role in knowledge exchanges with the Rajputs

reject Europe while consolidating ascriptive hierarchies and traditional forms of authority within non-European societies. 44 As a way of countering these regrettable consequences of Colonial Discourse Theory and Critique, Washbrook proposes a ‘dialogic’ approach inspired by Mikhail Bakhtin, 45 in order to take on board dissonance and many-voiced, finely graded

in Knowledge, mediation and empire