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Editor: Miles Leeson

This is the first edited collection of essays which focuses on the incest taboo and its literary and cultural presentation from the 1950s to the present day; it considers a number of authors rather than a single author from this period. This study discusses the impact of this change in attitudes on literature and literary adaptations in the latter half of the twentieth century, and early years of the twenty-first century. Although primarily concerned with fiction, the collection includes work on television and film. This collection will enhance the growing academic interest in trauma narratives and taboo-literature, offering a useful contribution to a fast-evolving field of artistic criticism which is concerned with the relationship between social issues and creativity. Authors discussed include Iain Banks, A.S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Simone de Beauvoir, Ted Hughes, Doris Lessing, Ian McEwan Iris Murdoch, Vladimir Nabokov, Andrea Newman and Pier Pasolini and Sylvia Plath.

This book explores representations of queer migrant Muslims in international literature and film from the 1980s to the present. It brings together a variety of contemporary writers and filmmakers of Muslim heritage engaged in vindicating same-sex desire from several Western locations. The book approaches queer Muslims as figures forced to negotiate their identities according to the expectations of the West and of their migrant Muslim communities. It coins the concept of queer micropolitical disorientation via the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Sara Ahmed and Gayatri Gopinath. The author argues that depictions of queer Muslims in the West disorganise the social categories that make up contemporary Western societies. The study covers three main themes: queer desire across racial and national borders; Islamic femininities and masculinities; and the queer Muslim self in time and place. These thematic clusters examine the nuances of artistic depictions of queer Muslims’ mundane challenges to Western Islamophobia and Islamicate heteronormativity. Written in a scholarly but accessible style, this is a timely contribution to the controversial topic of Islam and homosexuality, forging understanding about the dissident position of Muslims who contravene heteronormative values and their equivocal political position in the West.

Michelle J. Smith

The Gothic has become a dominant mode in children’s and young adult fiction published in the past decade. This chapter considers how Sonya Hartnett’s The Ghost’s Child (2007), Chris Priestley’s Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror (2007), Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (2008), and Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2011) all represent dead or ghostly children who, in diverse ways, work to critique or remedy adult actions, particularly through their interactions with history. Contemporary Gothic children’s literature is, this chapter argues, distinctly different from Gothic fictions for adults, which often represent children as the bearers of death. In contrast, Gothic children’s literature displaces the anxieties that ordinarily accompany the representation of child death in realist fiction.

in The Gothic and death
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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.

Louise Zamparutti

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.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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A complexity theory of literature
Author: Lydia R. Cooper

Cormac McCarthy: a complexity theory of literature examines McCarthy’s works as a case study demonstrating how literary texts can make chaotic and complex systems imaginable. This book offers the first sustained analysis of McCarthy’s literary engagement with complex systems, from food webs to evolutionary economics. Focusing on McCarthy’s depiction of the role of economics and art on global inequality and eco-disaster, it argues that McCarthy’s works offer a case study in the role of literature in challenging us to imagine the consequences of our world’s unmaking, and to recognize what creativity and ethos is needed to make it again in the ‘very maelstrom of its undoing.’

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Best known for a trilogy of historical novels set in the fictional town of Gilead, Iowa, Marilynne Robinson is a prolific essayist, teacher, and public speaker, routinely celebrated as a singular author of contemporary American fiction. This collection intervenes in the author’s growing critical reputation, pointing to new and exciting links between the author, the historical settings of her novels, and the contemporary themes of her fictional, educational, and theoretical work. Touching on ongoing debates in race, gender, and environmental politics, as well as education, democracy, and the state of critical theory, New Perspectives on Marilynne Robinson demonstrates the wider secular and popular impact of the author’s work, building on the largely theological focus of previous criticism to suggest new and innovative interpretations of her oeuvre.

The collection’s four sections are dedicated to: Robinson’s use of form and style; her exploration of the relationship between gender and the environment; her use of history and the intersection of race, rights, and religion in her work; and a discussion of Robinson and her contemporaries. As such, the collection argues for a reconsideration of Robinson within the field of American and English Studies, by bringing together 16 new, vibrant, and undoubtedly contemporary analyses of her work. Authors include: Bridget Bennett, Richard King, Sarah Churchwell, Jack Baker, Maria Elena Carpintero Torres-Quevedo, Daniel King, Anna Maguire Elliott, Makayla Steiner, Lucy Clarke, Christopher Lloyd, Tessa Roynon, Alexander Engebretson, Emily Hammerton-Barry, Steve Gronert Ellerhoff, Kathryn E. Engebretson, Paul Jenner, and Rachel Sykes."

Diana Cullell

, that of poesía de la experiencia, and its opposing faction, that of poesía de la diferencia, with a metaphysical trend intersecting between them. A review of critical works and poetic publications throughout the last twenty years demonstrates that poesía de la experiencia is the label, and the trend, that has created the greatest controversy in Spanish contemporary literature. It has also given rise to a high number of debates around poetry, the reader and the monopolisation of the poetic market in Spain that cannot be ignored. The term poetry of experience was first

in Spanish contemporary poetry
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Improbable possibilities
Robert Duggan

, transforming his novels into mechanisms of fiendish intent and elaborate plotting. Banks’s writing often embodies a duality characteristic of much contemporary literature, involving a disjunctive fusion of violent force with carefully calibrated and organised literary form. From this dissonance emerges the grotesque play with improbable possibilities and ingenious inversions and reversals. 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

in The grotesque in contemporary British fiction
Extremism and the ‘politics of mutual envy’ in Nigeria?
Akinyemi Oyawale

Nigerian way of defining and combating threat has been expanded (at least nominally) from countering terrorism to countering ideology, i.e., violent extremism, and what purpose this transformation serves. This chapter argues that countering violent extremism (CVE) in Nigeria is a form of mimicry of Western – especially Anglo-American – ways of constructing and dealing with threat, and that this introduction of a ‘softer’ approach to countering terrorism ignores the cultural, political and historical realities of Nigeria. First, the chapter engages with contemporary

in Encountering extremism