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Angie Blumberg

Chapter 3 tracks a powerful and pervasive connection between archaeology, desire, and wider discourses of authenticity at the fin de siècle. This chapter considers such spurious objects as the Tiara of Saitaphernes, the Neolithic implements of Flint Jack, the medieval ecclesiastical ornaments of Louis Marcy, Victorian Tanagra figurines, the dubious Neolithic discoveries at Dumbuck, Scotland, and the forged artefacts possibly pedalled by Howard Carter, and the stories that circulated around them. Delving into archaeological handbooks and articles in the popular press by a range of archaeologists, anthropologists, art collectors, and critics (such as Scottish archaeologist Robert Munro, English archaeologist John Evans, and fantasy writer Andrew Lang), and reading these discussions alongside aesthetic debates about realism and aestheticism, this chapter ultimately reveals how the fragmentariness of the material record and the subjective experience of archaeological encounter helped rewrite conceptions of intellectual hierarchy, legitimacy, the sanctioned historical narrative, and who gets to write the stories of the past. The chapter concludes by examining Damien Hirst’s controversial exhibit and documentary film, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable (2017), offering a new way to read this provocative project through the lens of the Victorian archaeological imagination and the fin-de-siècle discourses of authenticity that it shaped.

in British literature and archaeology, 1880– 1930
Angie Blumberg

This chapter takes up the innovative ways of reading and knowing the past introduced in Chapter 1, and shows that aesthetic innovators at the fin de siècle found archaeology-inspired ways of reading portraits, crafting portraits out of prose, and creating a Decadent prose style shaped by the sensual experience of archaeological discovery. Examining Walter Pater’s collection Imaginary Portraits (1885–1887) alongside Lee’s ‘Oke of Okehurst’ (1890) and Louis Norbert (1914), as well as Lee’s essay ‘Faustus and Helena’ (1880, 1881) and some of her travel writing (e.g., Genius Loci, 1899), this chapter argues that Pater and Lee create an archaeological epistemology of portraiture—one that is both inspired by archaeological excavation and also embedded in their prose styles. Additionally, readings of Lee reveal how she draws from Decadent aesthetics in her transhistorical tales of ghosts and archival mysteries to craft an experimental Decadent prose which also gestures to the iconoclasm and severed perspectives of modernism. Exploring additional works by Pater, including Appreciations (1889), as well as Virginia Woolf’s Orlando (1928), this chapter simultaneously unearths the influence of seventeenth-century polymath Thomas Browne’s archaeological tract Urn Burial (1658) on these Decadent stylists. In its examination of the formal styles of prose portraits and archaeological meditations, this chapter teases out the archaeological methods and encounters woven into the fabric of experimental Decadent prose at the fin de siècle.

in British literature and archaeology, 1880– 1930
Monika Gehlawat

Using political and critical theory, this article identifies in James Baldwin a model for citizenship unique to the Black artist who assumed the dual responsibilities of art practice and political activism. I engage with Baldwin’s fiction and his writing about other Black artists working in theater, film, dance, and music during the period of the civil rights movement. Across his career, Baldwin’s prevailing view was that, because of their history, Black artists have the singular, and indeed superlative, capacity to make art as praxis. Baldwin explains that the craft of the Black artist depends upon representing truths, rather than fantasies, about their experience, so that they are at once artists pursuing freedom and citizens pursuing justice. This article pays particular attention to the tension between living a public, political life and the need for privacy to create art, and ultimately the toll this takes on the citizen artist. Baldwin demonstrates how the community of mutual support he finds among Black artists aids in their survival. In his writings on Sidney Poitier and Lorraine Hansberry, his friendships with Beauford Delaney and Josephine Baker, as well as his reviews of music and literature, Baldwin assembles a collective he refers to as “I and my tribe.”

James Baldwin Review
A Review
Herb Boyd

This review of the James Baldwin symposium at Virginia State University weighs the insights presented by a number of Black and white scholars, only a few of whom might be considered deeply informed about his life and legacy. Even so, the emerging thinkers provide a wealth of new and interesting perspectives on Baldwin, and the event was highlighted by Molefi Kete Asante’s critical lecture. His comments are a veritable call to arms, an invitation to Baldwin devotees to contend with his conclusions, a process which this article will begin.

James Baldwin Review
Author: Angie Blumberg

This book uncovers how British writers and artists engaged with archaeological discourse—its artefacts, landscapes, bodies, and methods—uncovering the materials of the past to envision radical possibilities for the present and future. The project traces how a range of canonical and less familiar figures turned to archaeology to shape major late-Victorian and modern discussions: informing debates over shifting gender roles; facilitating the development of queer iconography and the recovery of silenced or neglected histories; inspiring artefactual forgery and transforming modern conceptions of authenticity; and helping writers and artists historicise the traumas of the First World War. Ultimately unearthing archaeology at the centre of these major discourses through which writers and artists conceived of modernity, this book simultaneously positions literary and artistic engagements with the archaeological imagination as forms of archaeological knowledge in themselves, providing a valuable study for scholars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with a range of interdisciplinary interests in literature, art history, and cultural studies.

Open Access (free)
Justin A. Joyce

Justin A. Joyce introduces the eighth volume of James Baldwin Review with a discussion of the US Supreme Court, the misdirected uproar over Critical Race Theory, a survey of canonical dystopian novels, and the symbolism of masking during COVID-19.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Michael A. L. Broyles

In this mixture of memoir, reflection, and scholarship, the author details how, during a time of suffering, James Baldwin and singer Celia Cruz helped him understand his tense relationship with his toxic paternal grandparents and celebrate the reclamation of his stifled Mexican heritage.

James Baldwin Review
Abstract only
Archaeology from a distance
Angie Blumberg

This brief coda considers how archaeological methods have changed since the mid twentieth century with the rise of aerial archaeology and remote sensing, and queries how representations of the archaeological encounter may likewise change to reflect the particular conditions of our own modernity. The coda connects Paul Nash’s use of aerial photographs of archaeological sites in his mid-twentieth-century paintings to recent re-valuations in both archaeology and literary scholarship of critical distance. Addressing how archaeologists during the Covid-19 pandemic have turned to remote data-collecting techniques, discussing the rise of distant reading practices, and considering the concept of ‘shadow sites’—shapes and structures made visible only at a distance and in certain light—this coda ponders how the shift from intimate, proximate excavation techniques to more distanced approaches might provide new ways of knowing and representing the past.

in British literature and archaeology, 1880– 1930
Circulating Baldwin in Contemporary Europe
Remo Verdickt

For several years now, James Baldwin’s life, portrait, and work have enjoyed a central place in the public eye. Although social and audiovisual media have made significant contributions to Baldwin’s return to the cultural and political limelight, the circulation of his published writings remains a vital part of the author’s ubiquity. Moreover, since Baldwin’s omnipresence in bookstores transcends an American or even Anglophone context, this international and multilingual circulation contributes to Baldwin’s world literary standing, as befits the self-described “transatlantic commuter.” This article moves beyond the customary approach to Baldwin’s published success by tracing presently circulating European translations of his work. The article examines the historical developments in Baldwin’s European circulation-through-translation from the time of his death (1987) up until the present, including brief discussions of the French, Italian, and West German translations from the 1960s onward. Of special interest are the pioneering and dominant roles that French and Italian publishers have played since the late 1990s, and the acceleration in circulation that took place across the continent in the wake of the films I Am Not Your Negro and If Beale Street Could Talk. The article concludes with a few remarks on the translation strategies of several key publishers in France, Italy, Germany, and Romania.

James Baldwin Review
A New Spatiotemporal Logic in James Baldwin’s The Evidence of Things Not Seen
Özge Özbek Akıman

This article examines James Baldwin’s late text The Evidence of Things Not Seen (1985) as one of his substantial attempts at “forging a new language,” which he tentatively mentions in his late essays and interviews. As an unpopular and difficult text in Baldwin’s oeuvre, Evidence carries the imprint of a new economy of time, casting the past into the present, and a new economy of space, navigating across other geographies in appraising the serial killings of children in one of Atlanta’s poorest Black neighborhoods. This article suggests that a new economy of time emerges earlier in No Name in the Street (1972), as a result of Baldwin’s self-imposed exile in Europe. The article then analyzes his spatiotemporal logic in the specifics of Evidence with reference to a Black middle class, urbanization, the ghetto, gentrification, and other colonized spaces.

James Baldwin Review