Literature and Theatre

You are looking at 81 - 90 of 450 items for :

  • Manchester University Press Journals x
  • All content x
Clear All
Open Access (free)
James Baldwin and the "Closeted-ness" of American Power
David Jones

This article reads the work of James Baldwin in dialogue with that of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. Taking its cue from Baldwin’s claim that Americans “live […] with something in [their] closet” that they “pretend […] is not there,” it explores his depiction of a United States characterized by the “closeted-ness” of its racial discourse. In doing so, the article draws on Sedgwick’s work concerning how the containment of discourses pertaining to sexuality hinges on the closeting of non-heteronormative sexual practices. Reconceptualizing Sedgwick’s ideas in the context of a black, queer writer like Baldwin, however, problematizes her own insistence on the “historical gay specificity” of the epistemology she traces. To this end, this article does not simply posit a racial counterpart to the homosexual closet. Rather, reflecting Baldwin’s insistence that “the sexual question and the racial question have always been entwined,” I highlight here the interpretive possibilities opened up by intersectional analyses that view race, sexuality, and national identity as coextensive, reciprocal epistemologies.  

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Dennis Ray Knight Jr.

If he is known for anything other than his writings, James Baldwin is best known for his work as a civil rights activist. What is often overlooked is Baldwin’s work toward uniting two under-represented and oppressed groups: African Americans and homosexuals. With his first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Baldwin began a career of speaking about and for homosexuals and their relationship with the institutions of African-American communities. Through its focus on a sensitive, church-going teenager, Go Tell It on the Mountain dramatizes the strain imposed upon homosexual members of African-American communities within the Pentecostal Church through its religious beliefs.

James Baldwin Review
D.Quentin Miller

The acceleration of interest in Baldwin’s work and impact since 2010 shows no signs of diminishing. This resurgence has much to do with Baldwin—the richness and passionate intensity of his vision—and also something to do with the dedicated scholars who have pursued a variety of publication platforms to generate further interest in his work. The reach of Baldwin studies has grown outside the academy as well: Black Lives Matter demonstrations routinely feature quotations from Baldwin; Twitter includes a “Son of Baldwin” site; and Raoul Peck’s 2016 documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, has received considerable critical and popular interest. The years 2010–13 were a key period in moving past the tired old formula—that praised his early career and denigrated the works he wrote after 1963—into the new formula—positing Baldwin as a misunderstood visionary, a wide-reaching artist, and a social critic whose value we are only now beginning to appreciate. I would highlight four additional prominent trends that emerged between 2010 and 2013: a consideration of Baldwin in the contexts of film, drama, and music; understandings of Baldwin globally; Baldwin’s criticism of American institutions; and analyses of Baldwin’s work in conversation with other authors.

James Baldwin Review
Rhetoric and Identity in James Baldwin’s Revolution from Within
Davis W. Houck

Despite the proliferation of interest in James Baldwin across popular culture and the academy, few, if any, critical studies of his public oratory have been conducted. This is unfortunate and ironic—unfortunate because Baldwin was a marvelous orator, and ironic in that his preferred solution to what ailed whites and blacks as the Civil Rights movement unfolded was thoroughly rhetorical. That is, Baldwin’s racial rhetorical revolution involved a re-valuing of the historical evidence used to keep blacks enslaved both mentally and physically across countless generations. Moreover, for Baldwin the act of naming functions to chain both whites and blacks to a version of American history psychologically damaging to both. Three speeches that Baldwin delivered in 1963 amid the crucible of civil rights protest illustrate these claims.

James Baldwin Review
The Return of the Hibernian Repressed During the Rise and Fall of the Celtic Tiger
Stephen Carleton

Whilst debate rages in certain circles as to what constitutes an Irish Gothic tradition and whether imposing canonical status upon it is even possible or desirable, very little of this discussion focuses on twenty-first century writing, and certainly not upon writing for the stage. The aims of this essay are twofold: to argue the case for a contemporary Irish Gothic theatre school (whose primary proponents I will identify as Martin McDonagh, Conor McPherson, Marina Carr and Mark ORowe); and to place this contemporary school in conversation with the Irish Gothic literary corpus identified by the scholarship of Terry Eagleton, Seamus Deane, W. J. McCormack, Jarlath Killeen, Christopher Morash, Richard Haslam, Sinéad Mooney and David Punter. The resulting intention here is to open up a fresh way of reading and comparing contemporary Irish playwrights,that allows us to place their work into sharper focus when it comes to comparing them to each other as pre-eminent Irish writers of the millennial period.

Gothic Studies
Abstract only
Colonial Structures and the Gothic Genre in Contemporary Puerto Rican Narrative
Sandra M. Casanova-Vizcaíno

This article analyses the representation of several colonial structures in the Caribbean reconfiguration of the Gothic genre, specifically in two works of contemporary Puerto Ricanfiction: Miss Florences Trunk: Fragments for a Romantic Trash Novel (1991) by Ana Lydia Vega and Over My Dead Body (2012) by Marta Aponte Alsina. In these novellas, specifically through the main characters reading of diaries and confessions, we are presented with a description of the physical structures. At the same time, the colonial structure also emerges, a context in which slavery, sexual abuse and mulataje are described as ubiquitous sources of terror.

Gothic Studies
The Case of Sophia Berkley
Richard Haslam

In an influential essay, Rolf Loeber and Magda Stouthamer-Loeber have claimed that The Adventures of Miss Sophia Berkley, by A Young Lady, which was published in 1760 (four years before Horace Walpoles The Castle of Otranto), is an Irish Gothic novel. The Loebers claims have been supported and developed by later critics, such as Christina Morin and Jarlath Killeen. Using the methodology of rhetorical hermeneutics, this essay investigates the validity, from a literary poetics perspective, of categorising Sophia Berkley as an Irish Gothic novel. I argue that the Loebers, Morin, and Killeen do not make a convincing case for doing so.

Gothic Studies
Abstract only
Dental Degeneracy and the Savage Mouth
Clayton Carlyle Tarr

At roughly the same time that dentistry became a respected profession, teeth became a sign of biological origin. In the nineteenth century, long, white, uniform teeth signalled the threat of degeneracy, a counter narrative to evolution predicated on humanity‘s decline into a primitive, animalistic state. We can trace this anxiety through depictions of native people‘s teeth in travel narratives, slave narratives, and accounts of the auction block. The distinctly menacing mouths of white characters, such as Poe‘s Berenice and Dickens‘s Carker, draw on the fear of degeneracy— a threat to Western civilisation that coalesces in depictions of the vampiric mouth.

Gothic Studies
Abstract only
Khaki Gothic and Comedy
Sunday Swift

On first glance, M*A*S*H (1972–83) might not be the ideal text for Gothic analysis. Aesthetically, the traditional dark castles surrounded by black forests in the moonlight are replaced by muted khaki and green canvas Army tents, and the tinny canned laughter punctuating the sardonic jokes echo longer than the terrified screams in the night. Gothic and war are uneasy bedfellows; it is the inclusion of comedy, however, that determines just how horrific the result can be. Using M*A*S*H as a primary example to explore what I refer to as Khaki Gothic this paper will explore how, utilising Gothic tropes, comedy can disguise, diffuse and intensify the horrors of war.

Gothic Studies
Evil, Privation and the Absent Logos in Richard Marsh‘s The Beetle
Simon Marsden

This essay explores the influence of the theological tradition of privation theory upon Richard Marsh‘s novel The Beetle (1897). Focusing on images of ontological nothingness, corruption and uncreation, it argues that the novel employs the concept of privation both in its depiction of the supernatural Other and in its parallel interrogation of its contemporary modernity. Imagery of privation in the novel is associated not only with the Beetle itself, but with the modern urban environment and weapons of mass destruction. The essay concludes by examining the corruption of language and absence of a creative logos able to respond adequately to the privations of the modern city and industrial economy.

Gothic Studies