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A Rendering of True Monstrosity
Angela Tenga
Elizabeth Zimmerman

Many vampires in popular fiction have developed a conscience that mitigates their monstrosity and makes them objects of human love and admiration. With the advent of the reformed vampire, Western culture has, perhaps, lost an icon of true horror. As the vampire has become increasingly humanized and sympathetic, the zombie has stepped up to take its place. Zombies remind us that we will soon be decomposing flesh; the zombie horde embodies fear of loss of self and individuality; zombies expose the dark side of mass consumer culture; and zombies highlight the fragility of human identity in an advanced, globalised society.

Gothic Studies
Monstrosity, Ecocriticism and Socio-Political Anxieties in Two Sea Narratives
Mariaconcetta Costantini

This article analyses two recent American rewritings of the Leviathan myth: Dan Simmons‘s The Terror (2007) and Tim Curran‘s Leviathan (2013). Belonging to a tradition that has fruitfully elaborated the sea monster paradigm, both novels respond to current concerns about the spiritual and ethical decline of Western culture, the perils of anarchy, the monetarization of relations, and the impending ecological disasters. Besides exploring the biblical and Hobbesian intertextuality of the two novels, the article investigates various meanings coalescing into the scary creatures represented by Simmons and Curran. Two other objects of scrutiny are the increasing spectacularization of horror in todays literature and the potentiality of nautical Gothic, a form of writing that connotes the sea as a perturbing generator of psychoontological distress.

Gothic Studies
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Women and body hair

This is an academic book on women and body hair, a subject which has, until now, been seen as too trivial, ridiculous or revolting to write about. Even feminist writers or researchers on the body have found remarkably little to say about body hair, usually not mentioning it at all. If women's body hair is noted, it is either simply to accept its removal as an inevitable aspect of female beautification, or to argue against hair removal as a return to a ‘natural’ and un-oppressed female body. The only texts to elaborate on body hair are guides on how to remove it, medical texts on ‘hirsutism’ or fetishistic pornography on ‘hairy’ women. This book asks how and why any particular issue can become defined as ‘self-evidently’ too silly or too mad to write about. Using a wide range of thinking from gender theory, queer theory, critical and literary theory, history, art history, anthropology and psychology, the contributors argue that, in fact, body hair plays a central role in constructing masculinity and femininity, as well as sexual and cultural identities. Arguing from the theoretical position that identity and the body are culturally and historically constructed, the chapters each analyse, through a specific focus, how body hair underpins ideas of the ‘cultural’ and ‘natural’ in Western culture.

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Death, femininity and the aesthetic

Narrative and visual representations of death, drawing their material from a common cultural image repertoire, can be read as symptoms of our culture. The feminine body appears as a perfect, immaculate aesthetic form because it is a dead body, solidified into an object of art. This book explores the conjunction of death, art and femininity, which forms a rich and disturbing strata of Western culture. It unfolds the psychoanalytic and semiotic terminology and raises issues concerning representation, the interstice between the dead body and the image, sacrifice of the body for the production of art and re-establishment of order. The book then explores myths of femininity and beauty, and presents a socio-historical discussion of death since the mid eighteenth century and in its relation to the new value ascribed to femininity during this period. Using Lacan's typology of gender constructions, it presents Jane Eyre as the typical Victorian example for a tripartite feminine death figure. The book also focuses on the way that the death of the bride constitutes social bonds much as the more obvious bartering of daughters for purposes of marriage does. The concluding chapters focus on the issue of dead brides, and how women writers install, comply with, critique and rewrite the cultural image repertoire that links the feminine subject position to a speaking through and out of death. The book is richly illustrated throughout with thirty-seven paintings and photographs.

Open Access (free)

In 2002, the French party system seems to be demonstrating a fluidity, if not outright instability, equal to any period in the Fifth Republic's history. This book explores the extent to which this represents outright change and shifts within a stable structure. Portrayals of French political culture point to incivisme, individualism and a distrust of organizations. The book focuses on three fundamental political issues such as 'politics', 'power' and 'justice', which appear in almost all political discussions and conflicts. It identifies different 'types' of state in political theory and looks at the major challenges to practical state sovereignty in the modern world. Discussing the concept of the nation in the United Kingdom, the book identifies both cultural and political aspects of nationhood. These include nation and state; race and nation; language and the nation; religion and national identity; government and nation; common historical and cultural ties; and a sense of 'nationhood'. Liberal democracy, defensive democracy and citizen democracy/republican democracy are explained. The book also analyses John Stuart Mill's and Isaiah Berlin's views on 'negative' and 'positive' freedom. Conservatism is one of the major intellectual and political strains of thought in Western culture. Liberalism has become the dominant ideology in the third millennium. Socialism sprang from the industrial revolution and the experience of the class that was its product, the working class. Events have made 'fascism' a term of political abuse rather than one of serious ideological analysis. Environmentalism and ecologism constitute one of the most recent ideological movements.

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An inspiring model
Meir Hatina

and did not skip over the liberal camp. Sadat’s peace initiative in 1977, followed by the Camp David Accords two years later and the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, only intensified the debate over the Arabs’ attitude toward the West and Israel. Western modernity: compromise and integration The main thrust of the Arab liberal argument was that there was more to Western culture than colonialism and conspiracy against Islam and the Arabs. Arab liberals were convinced that the West could be a role

in Arab liberal thought in the modern age
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Guy Austin

Since Aristotle, there has been ‘a long history of criticism that has viewed comedy as inferior to other genres in Western culture’ (Horton 1991 : 2). Within the French film industry, the critical denigration of genre cinema, the dominance of a realist aesthetic and the lasting influence of la politique des auteurs (see chapter 1 ) have all contributed to the neglect of comedy. This is in spite

in Contemporary French cinema
Charles Bernstein

that inscribes ‘us’ in the ‘West’ in the wake of the war. They are stones with which we might build a new world, word by word; but they are also the weights of that other demonic world (of which the New World is not innocent). This dead-mid-century poem marks a liminal moment between a controlled Poundian montage (ideogram) and the possibility for a more open-ended collage that might come after. ‘The Kingfishers’’ acknowledgment of the crisis for Western culture in the wake of the war is the postmodern turn, where the call of the poet is so much bird feed. ‘The

in Contemporary Olson
Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

than establishing definitions is to trace the ways in which single women have been regarded in Western culture, specifically Britain and America, over the past two centuries. I feel myself on some kind of mission to reclaim the word ‘spinster’ as, if not positive, at least neutral, though I think this may be doomed. Most dictionaries have a note that the term is usually derogatory. Even the lovely sounding Italian name for spinster – Zitella – has ‘pej.’ in brackets after the word in the dictionary. hH In my father’s family, there have been women who never married

in Austerity baby
Nicola McDonald

and honey-soaked dates; add fresh cheese and put cloves, cubebs and sugar on top. Then lay on a face with plenty of ground pistachio; the filling will be coloured red, yellow and green. Dress the head in black, in the manner of a woman’s hair, and place it on a black dish. A man’s face should be visible on the top.] ‘Eating people is wrong.’2 Western culture has always treated the eating of human flesh as taboo. Reluctant or not, cannibals evoke fear, loathing or, at best, horrified pity; by disturbing the neat, almost sacred, divide between edible and inedible

in Pulp fictions of medieval England