This is a full-length study of Jeanette Winterson's work as a whole, containing in-depth analyses of her eight novels and cross-references to her minor fictional and non-fictional works. It establishes the formal, thematic and ideological characteristics of the novels, and situates the writer within the general panorama of contemporary British fiction. Earlier critics usually approached Winterson exclusively either as a key lesbian novelist, or as a heavily experimental and ‘arty’ writer, whose works are unnecessarily difficult and meaningless. By contrast, this book provides a comprehensive, ‘vertical’ analysis of the novels. It combines the study of formal issues – such as narrative structure, point of view, perspective and the handling of narrative and story time – with the thematic analysis of character types, recurrent topoi, intertextual and generic allusions, etc., focused from various analytical perspectives: narratology, lesbian and feminist theory (especially Cixous and Kristeva), Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, Jungian archetypal criticism, Tarot, Hermetic and Kabalistic symbolism, myth criticism, Newtonian and Post-Newtonian Physics, etc. Novels that read superficially, or appear simple and realistic, are revealed as complex linguistic artifacts with a convoluted structure and clogged with intertextual echoes of earlier writers and works. The conclusions show the inseparability of form and meaning (for example, the fact that all the novels have a spiralling structure reflects the depiction of self as fluid and of the world as a multiverse) and place Winterson within the trend of postmodernist British writers with a visionary outlook on art, such as Maureen Duffy, Marina Warner or Peter Ackroyd.
Gothic, in a sense, has always been 'queer'. This book illustrates the rich critical complexity which is involved in reading texts through queer theories. It provides a queer reading of such early Gothic romances as William Beckford's Vathek, Matthew Gregory Lewis's The Monk, and Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer. Building upon critical trend of desire between men, the book examines Frankenstein's engagement with sexual rhetoric in the early nineteenth century. It explores some ways in which the signifying practices of queerness are written into the language and, therefore, the signifying practices of Gothic fiction. Teleny's apparently medicalised representation of homosexual erotic love contains some strikingly Gothic elements. The book examines how the courtroom drama of the E. M. Forster's A Passage to India focuses on the monstrous possibility of miscegenation, an Indian accused of raping an Englishwoman. Antonia White's Frost in May can be contextualised to the concept of the 'lesbian Gothic', which helpfully illuminates the representation of adolescent female subjectivity and sexuality. Same-sex desire is represented indirectly through sensuous descriptions of the female body and intertextual allusions to other erotic texts. The book considers how the vampire has become an ambivalent emblem of gay sexuality in late twentieth-century Gothic fiction by examining Interview with the Vampire and Lost Souls. The understanding of the Gothic and queer theory in a pop video is achieved by considering how Michael Jackson's use of the Gothic in Thriller and Ghosts queers the temporality of childhood.
The works of Eliot, Yeats, and Joyce feature suggestive references to Spenser
and Donne which are eclectic and programmatic in equal measure. The essays
of Eliot and Yeats evidence a determination to re-evaluate and appropriate
early modern authors, amongst them Spenser and Donne. Eliot is partly
responsible for the rediscovery of and newly established appreciation for
metaphysical poetry, especially Donne, while Yeats and Joyce share an uneasy
relationship to Spenser as an Irish colonialist forebear, whom they feel
compelled to confront. However, a tension exists between the artistic use
made of Spenser and Donne by Eliot, Yeats, and Joyce. The complex
intertextual allusions to Spenser and Donne embedded in their works indicate
the various ways in which they repurpose them to befit a modernist aesthetic
and intermesh them with the symbolic patterns of their texts. Additionally,
contradictory accounts of the lines of division between the medieval, the
Renaissance and the modern are put forward by Eliot, Yeats, and Joyce that
often diverge from the view that Spenser and Donne are proponents of sharply
opposed poetic practices. In modernist writing, Spenser and Donne are held
to be as much part of a literary continuum as to represent clashing styles
storytelling and touched off a revolution in the medium that is
still expanding today.’ 4 Moore transformed his received subject matter from
the undemanding horror of DC’s creature comic into a
psychologically and symbolically evolved narrative, rich in literary
allusion. It was with his skill and taste in intertextualallusion
to canonical literature that Moore signalled the maturity and
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.
Maria Holmgren Troy, Elizabeth Kella, and Helena Wahlström
, writers draw on, extend, alter,
or disrupt earlier literary representations of orphans, families, and the
USA. Literary orphans of the last several decades, we argue, function
as a means to examine the conditions and limits for incorporating difference into the American family and, by extension, into the American
nation, conceived in an increasingly multicultural and global fashion.
In the works we examine, then, orphans become agents in making
new kinds of home.
Making Home investigates contemporary novels as sites of cultural
memory – in terms of genres, intertextual
’ does not appear in the novel,
same-sex desire is represented indirectly through sensuous descriptions
of the female body and intertextualallusions to other erotic texts.
Lesbian attachments, though recognised as potentially subversive, are
none the less depicted as easily contained by the heterosexual status
quo. Palmer explores how such images are developed through a Gothic
ambiance which can be
achieves by ‘design[ing] in light’ rather than
‘“stuff”’ (Hampton-Reeves and Rutter 86).
Hands’s focus on a magnificent, highly emotional hero driven by
personal relationships relied not just on the austerity of the bare
black stage space and striking light effects that allowed him to build
up a series of intertextuallyallusive images but also on Howard’s
remarkably physical performance and wide
is not whether one mode is more critical than the other, so
much as the fact that both modes depend on a gesture towards a vanished or
vanishing original. 12
A second point raised by intertextualallusions or quotations
is that of fragmentation, since, logically, the more functionless
intertextualallusions there are in a film, the more difficult it will be to
perceive a coherent narrative. The film will appear to go off in
experimental protocols would have us do. On the contrary, recognitional understanding works on the assumption that knowledge
(of this kind, at any rate) is immanent, or remaining within, buried
beneath and within the ‘cotto aspetto’, rather than discovered
outside the pale of the previously known.
Our texts, that is, train us how to read and recognise them. What
in an earlier critical idiom we might have called intertextualallusion, we might now call cognitive cues.
The paradox objection
We can only know what we re-know. This apparently nonsensical paradox is