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Author: Rachael Gilmour

At a time when monolingualist claims for the importance of ‘speaking English’ to the national order continue louder than ever, even as language diversity is increasingly part of contemporary British life, literature becomes a space to consider the terms of linguistic belonging. Bad English examines writers including Tom Leonard, James Kelman, Suhayl Saadi, Raman Mundair, Daljit Nagra, Xiaolu Guo, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, and Caroline Bergvall, who engage multilingually, experimentally, playfully, and ambivalently with English’s power. Considering their invented vernaculars and mixed idioms, their dramatised scenes of languaging – languages learned or lost, acts of translation, scenes of speaking, the exposure and racialised visibility of accent – it argues for a growing field of contemporary literature in Britain pre-eminently concerned with language’s power dynamics, its aesthetic potentialities, and its prosthetic strangeness. Drawing on insights from applied linguistics and translation studies as well as literary scholarship, Bad English explores contemporary arguments about language in Britain – in debates about citizenship or education, in the media or on Twitter, in Home Office policy and asylum legislation – as well as the ways they are taken up in literature. It uncovers both an antagonistic and a productive interplay between language politics and literary form, tracing writers’ articulation of linguistic alienation and ambivalence, as well as the productivity and making-new of radical language practices. Doing so, it refutes the view that language difference and language politics are somehow irrelevant to contemporary Britain and instead argues for their constitutive centrality to the work of novelists and poets whose inside/outside relationship to English in its institutionalised forms is the generative force of their writing.

Author: Robert Duggan

Contemporary British writing moves in a variety of directions, and the object of this study is the exploration of a particularly fertile path some recent British fiction has taken. This book reveals the extent to which the grotesque endures as a dominant artistic mode in British fiction. It presents a new way of understanding authors who have been at the forefront of British literature over the past four decades. The book examines the history of the grotesque in visual art and literature together with its historical and theoretical accounts. Criticism historically has often represented the grotesque in the work of an author as the product of the personal habits and idiosyncrasy of the writer. Devoted to the late Angela Carter, the book considers the hallucinating characters, monstrous metamorphoses and disorientating play with perspective and scale that all point to the importance of the grotesque in fiction. Looking at the work of Martin Amis in the light of the grotesque in literature, it examines his novels Money: A Suicide Note and London Fields. The presence of the grotesque, with its characteristic contradictory elements, in Ian McEwan's fiction offers a sustained engagement with issues of subject formation. The grotesque provides a theoretical model capable of investigating both the principal narrative energies and the controlled structures of Iain Banks's fiction, acknowledging his place within the Scottish and wider European literary traditions of the grotesque. The book also looks at works of Will Self and Toby Litt.

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Author: Andrew Teverson

Salman Rushdie is one of the world's most important writers of politicised fiction. He is a self-proclaimed controversialist, capable of exciting radically divergent viewpoints; a novelist of extraordinary imaginative range and power; and an erudite, and often fearless, commentator upon the state of global politics today. This critical study examines the intellectual, biographical, literary and cultural contexts from which Rushdie's fiction springs, in order to help the reader make sense of the often complex debates that surround the life and work of this major contemporary figure. It also offers detailed critical readings of all Rushdie's novels, from Grimus through to Shalimar the Clown.

Poetry, science, and religion in the eighteenth century
Author: Rosalind Powell

Perception and analogy explores ways of seeing scientifically in the eighteenth century. It discusses literary, theological, and didactic texts alongside popular works on astronomy, optics, ophthalmology, and the body to demonstrate how readers are prompted to take on a range of perspectives in their acquisition of scientific knowledge. With reference to topics from colour perception to cataract surgery, the book examines how sensory experience was conceptualised during the eighteenth century. It argues that by paying attention to the period’s documentation of perception as an embodied phenomenon we can better understand the creative methods employed by disseminators of diverse natural philosophical ideas. This book argues for the central role of analogy in conceptualising and explaining new scientific ideas. It centres on religious and topographical poetry by writers including James Thomson, Richard Blackmore, Mark Akenside, Henry Brooke, David Mallet, Elizabeth Carter, and Christopher Smart. Together with its readings of popular educational dialogues on scientific topics, the book also addresses how this analogical approach is reflected in material culture through objects – such as orreries, camera obscuras, and Aeolian harps – that facilitate acts of perception and tactile engagement within polite spaces. The book shows how scientific concepts become intertwined with Christian discourse through reinterpretations of origins and signs, the scope of the created universe, and the limits of embodied knowledge.

Twenty-first-century voices
Author: Sara Upstone

This text focuses solely on the writing of British writers of South Asian descent born or raised in Britain. Exploring the unique contribution of these writers, it positions their work within debates surrounding black British, diasporic, migrant and postcolonial literature in order to foreground both the continuities and tensions embedded in their relationship to such terms, engaging in particular with the ways in which this ‘new’ generation has been denied the right to a distinctive theoretical framework through absorption into pre-existing frames of reference. Focusing on the diversity of contemporary British Asian experience, the book deals with themes including gender, national and religious identity, the reality of post-9/11 Britain, the post-ethnic self, urban belonging, generational difference and youth identities, as well as indicating how these writers manipulate genre and the novel form in support of their thematic concerns.

Abigail Ward

tensions and anxieties continue to undermine claims of Britain’s identity in the twenty-first century as a multicultural society. When these three writers have been brought together previously, it has often been under the guise of ‘black British literature’. Procter, for instance, includes writing by each author in his anthology Writing Black Britain 1948–1998 , and Phillips, Dabydeen and D’Aguiar also all feature in Mark Stein’s Black British Literature (2004). However, while these authors may be thought of as important figures in black

in Caryl Phillips, David Dabydeen and Fred D’Aguiar
Sara Upstone

, important principally for their relationship to ideas of empire? Are they national authors, whose relevance lies most in their relationship to their countries of birth? Or, indeed, are they British authors, needing to be read within the context of an increasingly multicultural British literature? 13 chap1.indd 13 05/03/2010 09:40:57 British Asian fiction The latter possibility is the one denied by both library classifications. Rushdie and Naipaul, it seems, are ‘expatriates’: they ‘belong’ elsewhere.2 Their accolades seemingly acknowledge not British success, but the

in British Asian fiction
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Sara Upstone

Conclusion Is a conclusion the same as an ending? In some ways, this book marks just a beginning. The authors it focuses on are all still writing, seven of them are under the age of fifty. Their presence has realised Salman Rushdie’s ‘newness’: a reinvigoration of British fiction from a perspective that can be compared to neither the postcolonial writing of their parents’ generation nor an earlier British literature written from a predominantly white, predominantly Christian, perspective. Such ‘newness’, as we have seen, takes many divergent forms. It cannot be

in British Asian fiction
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Beyond the mid-century
Lisa Mullen

’s New Wave refused to be bullied by over-assertive objects, and instead set out to prove that they could seize hold of them and repurpose them at will. An early example of this new attitude can be seen in Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim (1954). Jim Dixon’s epiphanic realisation that ‘nice things are nicer than nasty ones’ marks the moment when this turn begins in British literature. Amis presents his banal observation as a revolutionary insight because he wishes to make explicit his own rejection of the norms against which Dixon – a stroppy young historian – is rebelling

in Mid-century gothic
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Changing noses, changing fortunes
Emily Cock

The conclusion uses two of the most famously disfigured noses in British literature to cohere strands of analysis pursued throughout the book. In both Henry Fielding’s Amelia and Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, the eponymous character’s nose is crushed in an accident. In Amelia, Fielding was attempting to create an unimpeachable heroine whose forbearance is testimony to her good character. The ridicule with which critics greeted Amelia’s injury, including tying it to Taliacotian rhinoplasty, attests to the continued significance of the damaged nose. Sterne, meanwhile, openly ridiculed the stigmatisation of nasal injuries by casting this as naive and ostensibly outdated. Though he mentions Tagliacozzi, it is only briefly, and this and further evidence from his library suggests that he was not particularly familiar with De curtorum chirurgia. Physician John Ferriar’s essay on the nose in Sterne’s book is the most fully informed about Tagliacozzi’s procedure and its historiography. Ferriar’s essay, alongside Fielding’s and Sterne’s novels, serves to elucidate how the reception of Tagliacozzi, and wider themes attached to autograft and allograft rhinoplasty, persisted, but also shifted to allow for the successful revival of rhinoplasty at the end of the eighteenth century.

in Rhinoplasty and the nose in early modern British medicine and culture