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Tim Snelson

This article focuses on a cycle of late 1960s true crime films depicting topical mass/serial murders. It argues that the conjoined ethical and aesthetic approaches of these films were shaped within and by a complex climate of contestation as they moved from newspaper headlines to best-sellers lists to cinema screens. While this cycle was central to critical debates about screen violence during this key moment of institutional, regulatory and aesthetic transition, they have been almost entirely neglected or, at best, misunderstood. Meeting at the intersection of, and therefore falling between the gaps, of scholarship on the Gothic horror revival and New Hollywood’s violent revisionism, this cycle reversed the generational critical divisions that instigated a new era in filmmaking and criticism. Adopting a historical reception studies approach, this article challenges dominant understandings of the depiction and reception of violence and horror in this defining period.

Film Studies
Countercultural Blake in the Therapoetic Practice of maelstrÖm reEvolution
Franca Bellarsi

This article explores the reception and transformation of William Blake’s countercultural legacy by focusing on the neo-Romantic resurgences within maelstrÖm reEvolution, an experimental performance and arts collective based in Brussels but with heavy transnational affiliations. In relation to the company’s neo-shamanic and therapeutic conception of poiesis, Blake is an inspirational figure amongst a broader family of mentors ranging from Beat Generation writers to Arthur Rimbaud and Alexandro Jodorowsky. The Blake–maelstrÖm connection is here examined for the first time. Blending classical reception studies with a broader interest in the intersections between poiesis and the ‘sacred’, this article approaches countercultural Blake as the archetypal embodiment of the shamanic poet. More specifically, it reflects on how, as the poet of ‘double-edged madness’ and ‘Spiritual Strife’, Blake’s subversion of alienation into ecstasy feeds maelstrÖm’s own ‘therapoetic’ experimentalism and psycho-aesthetic endeavours to restore the lines of communication between the ‘visible’ and the ‘invisible’.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Vinland and historical imagination

From Iceland to the Americas, an anthology of thirteen original critical essays, is an exercise in the reception of a small historical fact with wide-ranging social, cultural, and imaginative consequences. Medieval records claim that around the year 1000 Leif Eiriksson and other Nordic explorers sailed westwards from Iceland and Greenland to a place they called Vinland. Archaeological evidence has in fact verified this claim, though primarily by way of one small, short-lived Norse settlement in Newfoundland, which may not even have been Leif’s. Whether or not this settlement was his, however, the contact associated with him has had an outsized impact on cultural imagination in and of the Americas. Since the middle of the nineteenth century, indeed, novels, poetry, history, politics, arts and crafts, comics, films and video games have all reflected a rising interest in the medieval Norse and their North American presence. Uniquely in reception studies, From Iceland to the Americas approaches this dynamic between Nordic history and its reception by bringing together international authorities on mythology, language, film, and cultural studies, as well as on the literature that has dominated critical reception. Collectively, the essays not only explore the connections among medieval Iceland and the modern Americas, but also probe why medieval contact has become a modern cultural touchstone.

Interpreting identities from the Graeco-Roman period

Golden Mummies of Egypt presents new insights and a rich perspective on beliefs about the afterlife during an era when Egypt was part of the Greek and Roman worlds (c. 300 BCE–200 CE). This beautifully illustrated book, featuring photography by Julia Thorne, accompanies Manchester Museum’s first-ever international touring exhibition. Golden Mummies of Egypt is a visually spectacular exhibition that offers visitors unparalleled access to the museum’s outstanding collection of Egyptian and Sudanese objects – one of the largest in the UK.

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Post-Reformation memory and the medieval romance

Difficult pasts combines book history, reception history and theories of cultural memory to explore how Reformation-era audiences used medieval literary texts to construct their own national and religious identities. It argues that the medieval romance book became a flexible site of memory for readers after the Protestant Reformation, allowing them to both connect with and distance themselves from the recent ‘difficult past’. Central characters in this study range from canonical authors like Geoffrey Chaucer and Edmund Spenser to less studied figures, such as printer William Copland, Elizabethan scribe Edward Banister and seventeenth-century poet and romance enthusiast, John Lane. In uniting a wide range of romance readers’ perspectives, Difficult pasts complicates clear ruptures between manuscript and print, Catholic and Protestant, or medieval and Renaissance. It concludes that the romance book offers a new way to understand the simultaneous change and continuity that defines post-Reformation England. Overall, Difficult pasts offers an interdisciplinary framework for better understanding the role of physical books and imaginative forms in grappling with the complexities of representing and engaging with the past.

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Anna Ariadne Knight

against films having ‘immanent’ meanings and show that historical audiences have a more dynamic relationship to film by creating their own understanding from prevalent social and critical discourses. In their respective books, Interpreting Films and Melodrama and Meaning, Staiger and Klinger recover ‘lost’ historical audiences through an evaluation of critical reviews and commentary, publicity and promotional materials surrounding particular films.7 In her later essay on reception studies (1997), Klinger proposes that, while no ‘total history’ is ever possible, an

in Screening the Hollywood rebels in 1950s Britain
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Metabiographical method
Justin D. Livingstone

situatedness in the world’ and everything that we bring to bear on interpretation: the horizon is that ‘over which we cannot see’. 42 In Gadamer’s wake, one of his students and one of reception studies’ early theorists, Hans Robert Jauss, began to take account of ‘the reader’s constructive activity’ in approaching a text, and the importance of the ‘paradigms, beliefs and values’ that

in Livingstone’s ‘Lives’
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Personal journeys with film

The question of how audiences form to watch specialised and mainstream films within regional film provision goes to the heart of current debates in audience studies. Audience reception studies have made audiences increasingly visible, while audience surveys track trends and film policy makers gather information about audience preferences and demographics. Little attention has been paid to the specific contextual relationships and interactions between films and individuals that generate and sustain audiences. Online film consumption and an increasing array of cultural events mean that the nature and formation of film audiences is changing and that film watching is a diverse and extensive experience. This has sharpened the debate about how to conceptualise audiences and their formation. This monograph extends and develops the conceptualisation of audiences as being interactive and relational by introducing three innovative concepts: ‘personal film journeys’, five types of audience formation, and five geographies of film provision within new theorisation of audiences that sees them as a process. A challenge of audience research is how to capture the richness of people’s social and cultural engagement with film that materialises in broader audience trends within contexts of provision; to achieve this, an innovative mixed-methods research and computational ontology approach is used. The book is significant because it develops new, ground-breaking theory and concepts and an innovative research methodology based on an extensive dataset derived from empirical research in the under-researched area of regional film audiences.

Screening the Hollywood Rebels in 1950s Britain explores the relationship between classic American films about juvenile delinquency and British popular youth culture in the mid-twentieth century. The book examines the censorship, publicity and fandom surrounding such Hollywood films as The Wild One, Blackboard Jungle, Rebel Without a Cause, Rock Around the Clock and Jailhouse Rock alongside such British films as The Blue Lamp, Spare the Rod and Serious Charge. Intersecting with star studies and social and cultural history, this is the first book to re-vision the stardom surrounding three extraordinarily influential Hollywood stars: Marlon Brando, James Dean and Elvis Presley. By looking specifically at the meanings of these American stars to British fans, this analysis provides a logical and sustained narrative that explains how and why these Hollywood images fed into, and disrupted, British cultural life. Screening the Hollywood Rebels in 1950s Britain is based upon a wide range of sources including censorship records, both mainstream and trade newspapers and periodicals, archival accounts and memoirs, as well as the films themselves. The book is a timely intervention of film culture and focuses on key questions about screen violence and censorship, masculinity and transnational stardom, method acting and performance, Americanisation and popular post-war British culture. The book is essential reading for researchers, academics and students of film and social and cultural history, alongside general readers interested in the links between the media and popular youth culture in the 1950s.

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Eleanor Dobson

to plays and poetry, from illustrations to advertising, that truly demonstrates that ancient Egypt permeated Victorian culture in ways that have heretofore been left undocumented. These chapters bring new sources to light, analyse underused material and re-read canonical and well-known works, highlighting the sheer scale of this multifarious cultural employment of ancient Egypt in the nineteenth century as their backdrop. Recent years have seen a rise in interest in ‘Ancient Egypt Reception Studies’, the most common appellation given to the

in Victorian literary culture and ancient Egypt