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Author: Steven Earnshaw

Drinking to excess has been a striking problem for industrial and post-industrial societies – who is responsible when a ‘free’ individual opts for a slow suicide? The causes of such drinking have often been blamed on heredity, moral weakness, ‘disease’ (addiction), hedonism, and Romantic illusion. Yet there is another reason which may be more fundamental and which has been overlooked or dismissed, and it is that the drinker may act with sincere philosophical intent. The Existential Drinker looks at the convergence of a new kind of excessive, habitual drinking, beginning in the nineteenth century, and a new way of thinking about the self which in the twentieth century comes to be labelled ‘Existential’. A substantial introduction covers questions of self, will, consciousness, authenticity, and ethics in relation to drinking, while introducing aspects of Existential thought pertinent to the discussion. The Existential-drinker canon is anchored in Jack London’s ‘alcoholic memoir’ John Barleycorn (1913), where London claims he can get at the truth of existence only through the insights afforded by excessive and repeated alcohol use. The book then covers drinker-texts such as Jean Rhys’s interwar novels, Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano, Charles Jackson’s The Lost Weekend and John O’Brien’s Leaving Las Vegas, along with less well-known works such as Frederick Exley’s A Fan’s Notes, Venedikt Yerofeev’s Moscow–Petushki, and A. L. Kennedy’s Paradise. The book will appeal to anybody with an interest in drinking and literature, as well as those with more specialised concerns in drinking studies, Existentialism, twentieth-century literature, and medical humanities.

Suicide and the Gothic is the first protracted study of how the act of self-destruction recurs and functions within one of the most enduring and popular forms of fiction. Comprising eleven original essays and an authoritative introduction, this collection explores how the act of suicide has been portrayed, interrogated and pathologised from the eighteenth century to the present. The featured fictions include both the enduringly canonical and the less studied, and the geographical compass of the work embraces not merely British, European and American authors but also the highly pertinent issue of self-destruction in modern Japanese culture. Featuring detailed interventions into the understanding of texts as temporally distant as Thomas Percy’s Reliques and Patricia Highsmith’s crime fictions, and movements as diverse as Wertherism, Romanticism and fin-de-siècle decadence, Suicide and the Gothic provides a comprehensive and compelling overview of this recurrent crisis – a crisis that has personal, familial, religious, legal and medical implications – in fiction and culture. Suicide and the Gothic will prove a central – and provocative – resource for those engaged in the study of the genre from the eighteenth century onwards, but will also support scholars working in complementary literary fields from Romanticism to crime fiction and theoretical disciplines from the medical humanities to Queer Studies, as well as the broader fields of American and European studies. Its contents are as relevant to the undergraduate reader as they are to the advanced postgraduate and the faculty member: suicide is a crucial subject in culture as well as criticism.

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Jana Funke

writings, to encourage a broader understanding of her work and to make possible a reassessment of her position in early twentieth-century literature and culture. The turn to fiction and the short story Hall is not generally known for her short fiction, and she published only one collection of short stories in her lifetime, a volume entitled Miss Ogilvy Finds Herself (1934). Yet, numerous short stories are among Hall’s unpublished works, and her very career as a writer of fiction began with her turn to short fiction in the second half of 1914. At this time, Hall was 34

in ‘The World’ and other unpublished works of Radclyffe Hall
Towards the absurd
Neil Cornwell

This chapter explores the absurdist tendencies in twentieth-century literature, noting that prose fiction had its own proto-absurdist moments, which can be seen in the works of Peter Conrad and Henry James. It then examines avant-garde theory and some related concepts, including futurism and surrealism, concluding with a discussion on the move towards ‘absurdism’.

in The absurd in literature
Editor: Jana Funke

This book presents a wide range of previously unpublished works by Radclyffe Hall. These new materials significantly broaden and complicate critical views of Hall’s writings. They demonstrate the stylistic and thematic range of her work and cover diverse topics, including outsiderism, gender, sexuality, race, class, religion, the supernatural, and World War I. Together, these texts shed a new light on unrecognised or misunderstood aspects of Hall’s intellectual world. The volume also contains a substantial 20,000-word introduction, which situates Hall’s unpublished writings in the broader context of her life and work. Overall, the book invites a critical reassessment of Hall’s place in early twentieth-century literature and culture and offers rich possibilities for teaching and future research. It is of interest to scholars and undergraduate and postgraduate students in the fields of English literature, modernism, women’s writing, and gender and sexuality studies, and to general readers.

The Shadow of the Sun and The Game
Alexa Alfer and Amy J. Edwards de Campos

This chapter focuses on the early intersections of Byatt's fiction with both modern debates on the novel and the continuing relationship of mid-twentieth-century literature with the Romantic legacy. It provides readings of The Shadow of the Sun and The Game, which indicate Byatt's life long project of ‘critical storytelling’. It is a practice of storytelling that does not separate the literary from the critical imagination, but instead aims at a deliberate and thoughtful combination of the two ways of seeing and describing the world.

in A. S. Byatt
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Steven Earnshaw

This chapter considers the decline of representations of the Existential drinker figure, partly a consequence of Existentialism’s fading from view as its ideas became assimilated, diluted, or discredited, and its major proponents faded away. It also notes an increasing antagonism towards the writer-drinker, once a staple of twentieth-century literature. The change in the philosophical, literary, and cultural landscape is seen in a number of texts where the protagonist is a committed drinker: Ivan Gold’s Sams in a Dry Season (1990), John O’Brien’s Better (2009, published posthumously), and Patrick de Witt’s Ablutions (2009). The acceptance of a neo-liberal world devoid not just of meaning but the search for meaning often characterises the nihilistic and hedonistic impulses of these novels.

in The Existential drinker
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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.

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Alexa Alfer and Amy J. Edwards de Campos

critical offering, a contextualising study of the Romantics entitled Unruly Times: Wordsworth and Coleridge in Their Time (1970). Chapter 2 of the present study explores the early intersections of Byatt’s fiction with both contemporary debates on the novel and the continuing, if difficult, relationship of mid-twentieth-century literature with the Romantic legacy. What emerges from our readings of

in A. S. Byatt
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with Postmodernism’, Twentieth-Century Literature , 75:3–4 (Fall/Winter 2011), pp. 391–422 (392); Andrew Hoberek, ‘Introduction: After Postmodernism’, Twentieth-Century Literature , 53:3 (Fall, 2007), pp. 233–247 (233). 87 Robert McLaughlin, ‘Post-Postmodern Discontent: Contemporary Fiction and the Social World’, symplokē, 12:1/2 (2004), pp. 53–68 (55, 58); Ian Williams, ‘(New) Sincerity in David Foster Wallace’s “Octet”’, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction , 56:3 (2015), pp. 299–314 (301). 88 Amy Hungerford, ‘On the Period Formerly Known as

in The politics of male friendship in contemporary American fiction