Literature and Theatre

Costas Douzinas

Human rights were initially linked with specific class interests and were the ideological and political weapons in the fight of the rising bourgeoisie against despotic political power and static social organisation. Human rights are the fate of postmodernity, the energy of our societies, the fulfilment of the Enlightenment promise of emancipation and self-realisation. This chapter offers, in seven inevitably condensed epigrammatic theses, an alternative genealogy and philosophy of rights. Nature (the most cultured of concepts), the idea of the good and political philosophy were all born together in an act of rebellion. The critical function of nature was in evidence in the appeal to natural rights by the great revolutions of the eighteenth century and again in the popular rebellions in Eastern Europe in the 1980s. The great eighteenth-century declarations pronounced natural rights inalienable because they were independent of both governments and temporal and local factors.

in Postmodernism. What Moment?
Catherine Rodgers

Most of the relevant texts by French feminist writers were published after 1970, after the beginning of the French feminist movement. However, these feminists had come into contact with The Second Sex before that time, often having read it in isolation during their formative years. Although French feminists are often, for clarity of exposition, classified into the differentialists and the egalitarians - and to some extent the author organises the presentation of individual thinkers on a loose spectrum going from the most differentialist (Antoinette Fouque) to the most constructionist (Christine Delphy, Monique Wittig) - reactions to The Second Sex show a more complex picture, one which highlights the richness and individualistic nature of French feminism, but which also points to the difficulty it experiences in creating a history for itself.

in Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex
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Rehana Ahmed

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the chapters of this book. The book explores the literary text as a site of struggle between competing and unequal discourses, and as an object of struggle in disputes between the intelligentsia and some British Muslims. In view of the humanistic, bourgeois heritage of the novel, and in the light of the New Atheist understanding of the novel as emblematising 'free speech', 'individuality' and 'rationality' in opposition to an intolerant, oppressive Islam, it examines the extent to which contemporary fiction authored by writers of South Asian Muslim heritage pushes beyond liberal secularist parameters in its representation of British Muslims and multiculturalism. By combining detailed readings of texts with a sustained engagement with their social context, the book demonstrates the significant contribution that literature can make to our understanding of multicultural Britain and the place of Muslim citizens within it.

in Writing British Muslims
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The sublime object of subalternity
Conor Carville

This book is concerned with the work of a generation of critics emerging from Ireland from the 1980s onwards whose work examines the idea of the 'ends of Ireland' in the sense of a focus on the purpose and consequences of a range of concepts of the nation and national identity. Yet these critics - Luke Gibbons, David Lloyd, Seamus Deane, W.J. McCormack, Gerardine Meaney and Emer Nolan - have the notion of 'ends' and 'endings' as their object in other ways. These critics examine the margin between Ireland and its others in order to elaborate a sense of what it might mean to speak of Ireland in the wake of the new ideas that began to circulate in the 1980s: deconstruction, psychoanalytic theory, feminism, subaltern studies, postcolonialism and not least the revisionist approaches that have revolutionized Irish historiography.

in The ends of Ireland
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Martin Coyle

The image of Machiavelli has played an important part in Western cultures since the early sixteenth century. With the French Revolution of 1789 Machiavelli comes to take on yet other significances as first a text supporting republicanism and the people, but then secondly as a text supporting Napoleon's ending of the Revolution. One of the features of the chapters in this book is the extent to which they focus on the complex texture of Machiavelli's writing and on the complex reading processes this in turn calls forth. The book includes chapters by scholars and critics from departments of French, Italian, English, History, Politics, Philosophy and Government. What is clear, however, is that The Prince remains an important text in the attempt to understand cultural history and one that reminds us how difficult but rewarding that task is.

in Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince
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A glorious resurrection
Emma L. E. Rees

This book examines critical assessments of the woman and her work (again, that almost unavoidable conflation) from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first. The woman who emerges from the author's study is not the one hampered by anomaly, depicted as spectacularly eccentric, even mentally (or, as some critics would have it, physically) ill. Instead she is a sane and wily contributor to mid-century intellectual debates, aware of others' opinions and expectations of her, and exploiting these same with the aim of propagating a unique and intrepid voice under a set of circumstances where others - like her husband - could not (or dared not) make themselves heard. The book provides a brief consideration of whether the Restoration changed Cavendish's use of genre, and the way in which many of her later texts function as the culmination of earlier generic experiments.

in Margaret Cavendish
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Anthony Mellors

This book explores the uses of obscurity in the poetry of the Pound tradition. It explores the origins of hermetic poetry with the aim of theorising and historicising Pound's arcana and developing the theory of late modernism by comparing Olson's poetics of nature with that of Pound. The book draws together the strands of the previous chapters to provide an account of late modernism's revision of the fundamental romantic and modernist tropes of obscurity and fragmentation. It theorises the dialectical grounds of the relationship between hermetic poetry and philosophical commentary. The survival of romantic aesthetics in modernism is considered, leading into preliminary remarks on the deconstruction of the romantic fragment and Heidegger's theory of the Unheimliche. A comment on Objectivism, phenomenology and subjectivity prefaces a description of Derrida's analysis of identity and genre.

in Late modernist poetics
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Histories, representations, autobiographies in The Interpretation of Dreams
Laura Marcus

The Interpretation of Dreams is one of the founding texts of the twentieth century. Freud provides the most comprehensive account of the psychoanalytic conception of the mind. The leading metaphor of the text is that of the journey, with Freud guiding the reader through the landscape of mental life. The play of light and darkness in Freud's conceptual schema is also a movement between revelation and disguise, manifest and latent contents, progression and regression, interpretation and obfuscation. The Interpretation of Dreams is a textual artefact, whereas it is less certain where and in what forms Freud's 'self-analysis' exists. Marthe Robert suggests that there is reason to believe that it continued beyond 1902, the year in which Freud's letters to Fliess informing him about its progress ceased, and 'that Freud had to resume it at certain intervals over a long period of time'.

in Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams
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Richard Wilson

This book is about what Shakespeare did not write. In view of the number of books published on what he did, this might seem perverse, but for the fact that Shakespeare's silence has become a focus of current interpretations of his life and work. The silence in question is his effacement of the religious politics of his age. The book is about how Shakespeare's muteness on the persecution of his family and friends relates to the conditions in which he wrote, when, as Bossy argues in his account of one of the many Catholic plots that originated in the dramatist's backyard, the division was not between Protestants and Catholics but between the silent ones and zealots such as the Throckmortons. Shakespeare's theatre seems to echo with the ghosts of his Catholic past. But the book is about why, apart from these fading voices from the grave, 'The rest is silence'.

in Secret Shakespeare
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Pelagia Goulimari

Postmodernism - the vast interdisciplinary debate on postmodernism and postmodernity of the 1980s and early 1990s - has been a crossroads for historical descriptions of the latter half of the twentieth century. The texts assembled in this book emerge out of multiple, possibly incommensurable, paradigms and genealogies. Depending on their particular emphasis, texts are classified under three headings: genealogies of the postmodern; mapping the postmodern; and the postmodern and the twenty-first century. This introduction sets out to present the texts to an undergraduate interdisciplinary audience, in their full complexity. The book seeks to plot the ways in which a number of leading exponents of postmodern theory see the theoretical matrices of ten, fifteen, and twenty years ago, transmuting to address the contemporary now; transmuting to serve new imaginations of our global present, of our ongoing intellectual and political work, and of a possible global future radically different from the present.

in Postmodernism. What Moment?