The specter of Famine
In his 1967 documentary film, Rocky Road to Dublin, Irish filmmaker Peter Lennon took an intimate look at postcolonial Irish
life. The opening voice-over narration indicated that mid-century
Ireland was in a state of arrested development:
In the 40s, while Europe was tearing itself to pieces, Ireland, neutral,
drifted even further from the reality of the outside world. We weren’t
even allowed to call it a war; officially it was The Emergency – For
us a tranquil and serene emergency. The 50s brought a deepening
over new lands.
These Asian affairs are important, for they involved frictions and conflict that led to large-scale war in the late 1930s. The war affected all of Asia – at a time when the League of Nations had deteriorated into a mere arena for diplomatic posturing and large-scale conflict was brewing in Europe. The war would eventually pull in the United States as well – first against Japan in Asia and, a few days later, against Germany, Japan’s ally, in Europe. WorldWarII, then, was not one war; it was two wars that merged into one. The two were
Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me and the Crooked Game
of Post-World War II America
Though presenting itself as pulpy example of hardboiled American fiction, Jim
Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me opens up in important and
unexpected ways when read as a subversive Gothic novel. Such a reading sheds
light on a range of marginalized characters (especially women and rural peoples)
who often remain shadowed by more conventional readings. Reading the novel as
Gothic also highlights thematic concerns which counter the halcyon image of
post-World War II America as a golden age and reveal instead a contemporary
landscape fraught with violence, alienation, and mental instability.
This book is about the public language of the 'war on terrorism' and the way in which language has been deployed to justify and normalise a global campaign of counter-terrorism. It explains how the war on terrorism has been reproduced and amplified by key social actors and how it has become the dominant political narrative in America today, enjoying widespread bipartisan and popular support. The book also explains why the language of politics is so important and the main methodological approach for analysing the language of counter-terrorism, namely, critical discourse analysis. Then, it provides the comparison drawn between the September 11, 2001 attacks and World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor. One of the most noticeable aspects of the language surrounding the attacks of September 11, 2001 is its constant reference to tragedy, grievance and the exceptional suffering of the American people. The book focuses on the way in which language was deployed to construct the main identities of the protagonists. It demonstrates how terrorism is rhetorically constructed as posing a catastrophic threat to the American 'way of life', to freedom, liberty and democracy and even to civilisation itself. The book analyses how the administration's counter-terrorism campaign has been rhetorically constructed as an essentially 'good' and 'just war', similar to America's role in World War II. Finally, the book concludes that responsible citizens have a moral duty to oppose and resist the official language of counter-terrorism.
This essay analyses the literature on the foibe to illustrate a political use of human
remains. The foibe are the deep karstic pits in Istria and around Trieste where
Yugoslavian Communist troops disposed of Italians they executed en masse during World War
II. By comparing contemporary literature on the foibe to a selection of archival reports
of foibe exhumation processes it will be argued that the foibe literature popular in Italy
today serves a political rather than informational purpose. Counterpublic theory will be
applied to examine how the recent increase in popular foibe literature brought the
identity of the esuli, one of Italy‘s subaltern counterpublics, to the national stage. The
paper argues that by employing the narrative structure of the Holocaust, contemporary
literature on the foibe attempts to recast Italy as a counterpublic in the wider European
public sphere, presenting Italy as an unrecognised victim in World War II.
Frank Sinatra, Postwar Liberalism and Press Paranoia
Anti-Communist hysteria had a wide-ranging impact on Hollywood across the postwar
period. As writers, directors and stars came under the scrutiny of the House
Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) due to the content of their films and their
political activities, careers were interrupted indefinitely and Hollywood‘s ability
to promote cultural change in the new era following World War II was severely
hampered. Frank Sinatra‘s heavy involvement in liberal politics during this period
illustrates the problems confronting the American film industry as it attempted to
address the country‘s imperfections.
Surfaces and Subtexts in the Popular Modernism of Agatha
Christie‘s Hercule Poirot Series
In Detective Writers in England, Christie claims a detective story is an escape from the
realism of everyday life; however, her Poirot series represents anxieties about the
conditions of modernity through the conventions, images, and tones of the classic Gothic,
a genre well established as providing a balance between escapism and historical commentary
(xiii). While the earlier Poirot texts juxtapose the trappings of the Gothic– séances,
curses, ghosts– against a rational modern world and produce a comical effect when these
conventions are revealed as staged, as the conditions of modernity weigh upon Christie,
particularly during World War II, her Poirot texts take on an increasingly sinister
quality in which history itself is coded in Gothic terms.
Mid-Century Gothic defines a distinct post-war literary and cultural moment in Britain, lasting ten years from 1945 to 1955. This was a decade haunted by the trauma of fascism and war, but equally uneasy about the new norms of peacetime and the resurgence of commodity culture. As old assumptions about the primacy of the human subject became increasingly uneasy, culture responded with gothic narratives which reflected two troubling qualities of the newly assertive objects of modernity: their uncannily autonomous agency, and their disquieting intimacy with the reified human body. This book offers original readings of novels, plays, essays and cinema of the period, unearthing neglected texts as well as reassessing canonical works. The post-war decade has often been defined either as the bathetic terminus of high modernism, or as the stiflingly hidebound context from which later countercultural and avant-garde movements erupted. Yet historically, this was an important and resonant cultural turning point, as still-fresh war trauma intersected with new paradigms of modernity. By looking beneath the surface of its literature and culture, it is possible to resurrect a sense of this decade as a moment of urgent cultural crisis, rife with repressed tensions which could only be expressed in a gothic mode. By bringing these into dialogue with mid-century architecture, exhibitions, technology, and material culture, Mid-Century Gothic provides a new perspective on a notoriously neglected historical moment, and paints a picture of a decade roiling with intellectual and aesthetic upheaval.
established global order has been greatly exaggerated, then you will doubt that
those changes are likely to pose any existential challenge to the humanitarian international, be
it in terms of the efficacy of what relief groups do in the field or in terms of the political
and moral legitimacy they can aspire to enjoy.
But if, on the contrary, you believe that we are living in the last days of a doomed system
– established in the aftermath of WorldWarII and dominated by the US – then the
humanitarian international is no more likely to survive (or to put
An Interview with Rainer Schlösser, Spokesperson of the Association of the Red Cross Museums in Germany (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der deutschen Rotkreuz-Museen)
films and interviews. We also have a station where visitors can listen to original records recorded by German soldiers to send their wishes home during WorldWarII. You certainly need those kinds of things, but you have to be aware that they do have their own problems: the media equipment may stop working, it may break down, and then you have to replace it, which means it creates costs that you have to refinance.
SK: How do you decide what objects you put on display?
RS: The first criterion is whether an object fits with the main themes of our museum: the