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Jeffrey Richards

The Scarlet Pimpernel, in reality Sir Percy Blakeney, Baronet, is a character who decisively fixed the image of the French Revolution in the minds of successive generations of British readers. In the Pimpernel saga, liberty, equality and fraternity came off a definite second best to chivalry, duty and noblesse oblige. Several important factors explain the durability of the Pimpernel in the popular imagination. He is one of the most notable examples of the 'masked avenger', a staple figure in swashbuckling literature and film. The 1935 film The Scarlet Pimpernel became the definitive screen version and one of the most fondly remembered British films of the 1930s. Although The Scarlet Pimpernel, made in 1998, had the first of the three episodes, retold the basic story familiar from the 1935, 1950 and 1982 versions, there were changes. A second series of three ninety-minute episodes was produced in 2000.

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Jeffrey Richards

Sherlock Holmes has had such enduring appeal because he embodied the strengths, the complexities and the contradictions of the late-Victorian age. Every generation since Conan Doyle has had its perfect Holmes. It is impossible to overestimate the importance of William Gillette as an interpreter of Holmes. Although Holmes is now indelibly associated with the nineteenth century, the Holmes films of the 1930s, like those of the 1920s, all have contemporary twentieth-century settings. British radio only belatedly took up the Holmes saga. The first BBC Holmes radio play was Silver Blaze, broadcast on 12 April 1938 with F. Wyndham Goldie as Holmes and Hubert Harben as Watson. Thanks to audio cassette, we can enjoy a plethora of Holmeses. The short stories leant themselves perfectly to half-hour adaptation and radio provided pictures that no film or television version could ever equal.

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Heather Walton

This chapter argues that Luce Irigaray's work has great significance for religious feminists seeking new reading strategies and new means of understanding the relations between literature and theology. The narrative of Irigaray's expulsion from her lecturing position can be seen as a parabolic representation of the thesis of Speculum. This is that the symbolic order functions continually to silence women and annihilate their cultural specificity. Although Irigaray moves in a similar way to Jacques Derrida when she assumes the role of the philosopher's wife, she is, at the same time, seeking to nurture the birth of a new language. Irigaray is familiar with the Belgian traditions of powerful women mystics living independent lives and making audacious speculations on the divine. The chapter suggests that Irigaray's reflections on the sensible transcendental point to an understanding of the divine economy which aids in reconceptualising the threshold that exists between literature and theology.

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Heather Walton

This book generates a critical framework through which to interrogate the way in which religious feminists have employed women's literature in their texts. This is in order that both the way we read literature and the literature we read might be subject to scrutiny, and that new reading practices be developed. Having both the critical and constructive agenda, this is a book in two parts. The first part locates the study of the use of women's writing by religious feminists in a much wider frame than has previously been attempted. In the past individual religious feminists have been criticised, often publicly and loudly, for the use they have made of particular literary texts. Having critically surveyed previously unacknowledged constraints under which religious feminists read women's literature, the second part of the book explores how the work of women poststructuralist thinkers and theorists can enrich the reading practices. It offers alternative models for an engagement between literature and theology. Julia Kristeva is best known within the academy for her unorthodox application of Lacanian theory to contemporary culture. Her work challenges religious feminists to reassess the utilitarian approaches to literary texts and enquire into whether these might have a more powerful political role when their status as literature is recognised and affirmed. The book elucidates Luce Irigaray's thinking on sexual difference and also demonstrates its significance for feminist religious readers.

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Heather Walton

This chapter explores the work of women poststructuralist writers with a new reading of Julia Kristeva. It presents a close reading of her oeuvre which will display how she has taken the gendered distinctions between the realms of literature and theology and reshaped them in distinctive and provocative ways. Her famous trilogy Powers of Horror, Tales of Love and Black Sun shows her tracing the impress of the 'maternal' upon three classic sites of psychoanalytic interest: abjection, love and melancholy. These texts exemplify Kristeva's continuing concern to display how the repression (murder) of the mother offers the key to interpreting psycho-social traumas via the liminal insights of art and religion. Kristeva's preference for border territory beyond emigration and immigration controls places her own writing in the tradition of modernist literature. The writer, whose status is that of traveller and observer, offers her commentary upon this interrupted journey.

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Stuart Hanson

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book charts the development of cinema exhibition and cinema-going in Britain from the first public film screening, the Lumière Brothers' showing of their Cinematographe show at London's Regent Street Polytechnic in February 1896, through to the opening of 30-screen 'megaplexes'. In part the existence of cinema is the result of an array of technological developments going back arguably to the sixteenth century with the camera obscura and encompassing the development of celluloid film and its projection to a large audience. It is also the result of the efforts to create spaces for the public exhibition of moving images; grand spaces which have embraced and reflected the great modernist project of the twentieth century. The book places the development of cinema in a broad social, economic, cultural and political context.

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Heather Walton

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book presents a critical framework to interrogate the way in which religious feminists have employed women's literature in their texts. It begins by establishing the ways in which a gendered complementarity is assumed to exist between literature and the logocentric discourses of theology and philosophy. The book employs gender as a lens through which to examine the way that literature and theology have been related in contemporary debate. It considers the reasons why many feminist theologians have displayed a resistance to use poststructuralist theory in their reading of female-authored literary texts. The book argues for a greater openness towards the insights of poststructuralist theory in order to create alternative patterns of engagement between women's literature and feminist theology.

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Heather Walton

Feminism is a peculiarly literary movement and many of the intellectual and political leaders of the women's struggle have been celebrated writers. Women's literature has been very useful to religious feminists. This chapter discusses canonical narrative theology with Hans Frei's important book, The Decline of Biblical Narrative. The project Frei initiated stands in contrast to the attempts of liberal and liberation theologians to discover, through conversation with secular culture, an appropriate register in which to reiterate Christian convictions. In the canonical narrative theologies of Frei and Stanley Hauerwas a distinction is being implicitly drawn between the realistic narrative and the values of contemporary culture which are illusory, seductive, immoral and dangerous. Through making this distinction literature becomes available as a resource that can be used to construct a theological position which then erases its vital contribution.

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Hollywood and radio

The creative nexus

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Jeffrey Richards

The power of films in the imaginative lives of audiences can only be properly understood when films are located within the wider cinema culture. These comprised fan magazines, cigarette cards, postcards, cheap biographies, the book of the film, the sheet music of the film and above all radio. But during the 1930s, Hollywood began to appreciate the value of radio in publicizing and promoting its films. It discovered that radio complemented films rather than substituted for them. For three decades in both the United Kingdom and the United States from the 1930s to the late 1950s radio was the dominant medium for the daily domestic consumption of news, music and drama. The major structural development in the 1920s was the emergence of national networks: the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), initially two networks, Red and Blue, in 1926 and the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1927.

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Heather Walton

Hélène Cixous' unusual position as an academic critic/poet has made the reception of her work problematic. In marking the continuity between writing and the feminine Cixous is deeply indebted to Jacques Derrida who was a personal friend and intellectual soul-mate for many years. Her work leads her to acknowledge that her feminist politics do not promise a resolution to the darkest mysteries. Thus she declares that politics leads her to faith and faith leads her to cast her lot with those who do not deny 'the mysteries that beat in the heart of the world'. The image of writing as child returns us to the central theme of Cixous' work, and that is that writing belongs to the body, but not only to the body in its procreative power.