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Ernest L. Gibson III

James Baldwin might be imagined as reaching his greatest level of popularity within this current decade. With the growth of social media activist movements like Black Lives Matter, which captures and catalyzes off a Baldwinian rage, and the publishing of works directly evoking Baldwin, his voice appears more pronounced between the years of 2013 and 2015. Scholars in Baldwin studies, along with strangers who were turned into witnesses of his literary oeuvre, have contributed to this renewed interest in Baldwin, or at least have been able to sharpen the significance of the phenomenon. Publications and performances highlight Baldwin’s work and how it prefigured developments in critical race and queer theories, while also demonstrating Baldwin’s critique as both prophetic and “disturbingly” contemporary. Emerging largely from Baldwin’s timelessness in social and political discourse, and from the need to conjure a figure to demystify the absurd American landscape, these interventions in Baldwin studies follow distinct trends. This essay examines the 2013–15 trends from four vantages: an examination of a return, with revision, to popular work by Baldwin; identifying Baldwin’s work as a contributor to theoretical and critical methodology; Baldwin and intertextuality or intervocality; and a new frontier in Baldwin studies.

James Baldwin Review
Searching for Black Queer Domesticity at Chez Baldwin
Magdalena J. Zaborowska

This essay argues for the importance of James Baldwin’s last house, located in St. Paul-de-Vence in the south of France, to his late works written during the productive period of 1971–87: No Name in the Street (1972), If Beale Street Could Talk (1974), The Devil Finds Work (1976), Just Above My Head (1979), The Evidence of Things Not Seen (1985), and the unpublished play The Welcome Table (1987). That period ushered in a new Baldwin, more complex and mature as an author, who became disillusioned while growing older as a black queer American who had no choice but to live abroad to get his work done and to feel safe. Having established his most enduring household at “Chez Baldwin,” as the property was known locally, the writer engaged in literary genre experimentation and challenged normative binaries of race, gender, and sexuality with his conceptions of spatially contingent national identity. The late Baldwin created unprecedented models of black queer domesticity and humanism that, having been excluded from U.S. cultural narratives until recently, offer novel ways to reconceptualize what it means to be an American intellectual in the twenty-first-century world.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Coding same-sex union in Amis and Amiloun
Sheila Delany

This chapter examines the rhyme scheme of a tantalising but little studied Middle English romance, Amis and Amiloun. The poem is composed in twelve-line stanzas, rhymed AAB AAB CCB DDB, with a metrical scheme of four, four and three stresses corresponding to the rhyme. This chapter argues that view, the AAB rhyme scheme of the Middle English poem operates on both a semantic and a semiotic axis. Semantically, it designates the names of the three main characters; semiotically, it represents the relationship among those characters: two men paired (AA) but one of them also linked with the woman. This chapter also examines genre and history, and their importance for the text.

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Open Access (free)
Speaking of Ireland
Colin Graham

The role of the intellectual voice in the construction of radical identities has been central to the post-colonial critique of Ireland. This chapter considers Roland Barthes' Michelet to initiate a discussion of the strategies of writing about Ireland in relation to the critical 'self' which becomes implicated in that 'Ireland'. Barthes' Michelet exemplifies the fact that 'crossing marginality' is the constitutive paradox of the radical intellectual voice. Irish critical voices find themselves in varieties of Michelet's structural predicament. The chapter examines the role which the 'warmer memory' of 'the people' crucially undertakes in the processes of a criticism which takes to itself or asserts identity politics. It discusses the 'organic' necessities of the intellectual as they are reacted against and reconstructed in James Joyce's Stephen Dedalus.

in Across the margins
Jonathan Atkin

The Cambridge mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell was able to articulate with extraordinary clarity a fully humanistic opposition to the Great War. At times during the war's course, Russell was truly a man alone, despite his seemingly secure position in 1914 amidst the Cambridge University establishment. To Russell, armed conflict was ‘so irrational as to be literally unthinkable’. Although later in the war he might rethink and reshape his particular pacifism and his views on the pacifism of those around him, Russell's basic opposition to the war from the outbreak of hostilities was fundamental and stemmed directly from deep personal conviction. Russell was always distrustful of politics, especially during war. Once he realised that there was little chance of bringing an early end to the war, he commenced his work on the psychology behind not only the war in progress, but also war in general. For Russell, the ‘ideal’ of patriotism was only partial and inadequate, and hence not valid.

in A war of individuals
Open Access (free)
Cultural identity and change in the Atlantic archipelago

The concept of 'margins' denotes geographical, economic, demographic, cultural and political positioning in relation to a perceived centre. This book aims to question the term 'marginal' itself, to hear the voices talking 'across' borders and not only to or through an English centre. The first part of the book examines debates on the political and poetic choice of language, drawing attention to significant differences between the Irish and Scottish strategies. It includes a discussion of the complicated dynamic of woman and nation by Aileen Christianson, which explores the work of twentieth-century Scottish and Irish women writers. The book also explores masculinities in both English and Scottish writing from Berthold Schoene, which deploys sexual difference as a means of testing postcolonial theorizing. A different perspective on the notion of marginality is offered by addressing 'Englishness' in relation to 'migrant' writing in prose concerned with India and England after Independence. The second part of the book focuses on a wide range of new poetry to question simplified margin/centre relations. It discusses a historicising perspective on the work of cultural studies and its responses to the relationship between ethnicity and second-generation Irish musicians from Sean Campbell. The comparison of contemporary Irish and Scottish fiction which identifies similarities and differences in recent developments is also considered. In each instance the writers take on the task of examining and assessing points of connection and diversity across a particular body of work, while moving away from contrasts which focus on an English 'norm'.

Open Access (free)
Blasons d’un corps masculin, L’Ecrivaillon and La Ligne âpre by Régine Detambel
Marie-Claire Barnet

Régine Detambel is a monster' claimed the September 1999 issue of the French magazine Marie-Claire, referring to her prolific output, which includes over 20 novels by the age of 36. Like Susan Faludi in Stiffed: The Betrayal of the Modern Man, Detambel turns her gaze in Blasons d'un corps masculin to the representation of masculinity. In La Ligne âpre, Detambel revivifies the genre of the blazons of female and male bodies by dissecting and reassembling the bone structure of the body. Detambel's dissection of the writer's body, with its attention to precise definitions, refined and renewed adjectives, and striking metaphors, is in fact a dissection of language. The writing of the writer's vocation in the novel L'Ecrivaillon ou l'enfance de l'écriture is intermingled with the writing of body parts, focusing on the writer's hands, the veins and the passion and pain flowing through the long apprenticeship of the literary profession.

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Brian Hoggard

This chapter presents the results of a survey of United Kingdom museums and archaeological establishments, and introduces the current facts and theories about these artefacts. The artefacts concerned provide physical evidence of the continuation and survival of counter-witchcraft practices before, during and after the witch trials. The archaeological record illuminates historical understanding of witchcraft and the popular fear of misfortune by providing primary physical evidence of individual actions, and therefore requires more consideration from those researching the cultural history of witchcraft and magic. Objects such as witch-bottles, dried cats, horse skulls, shoes, written charms and numerous other items have been discovered concealed inside houses in significant quantities from the early modern period until well into the twentieth century. All these archaeological finds provide material evidence for the continued preoccupation with witchcraft and evil influences from the early modern period through to the early twentieth century.

in Beyond the witch trials
Siobhán McIlvanney

This chapter examines the work of three beur women writers. It examines the work to establish the extent to which the highly specific socio-historical locus of the beur writer, when combined with her female subject position, may produce narrative similarities, whether formal or thematic. The works include Georgette! by Farida Belghoul, Beur's story by Ferrudja Kessas and Ils disent que je suis une beurette by Soraya Nini. By their focus on the education system, all three texts point up the pivotal role played by the socialisation process and formation of identity in beur women's writing. Beur literature only began to enjoy commercial success in the early 1980s, when a substantial number of the children of North African immigrants first reached adulthood. The designation beur is considered an example of verlan, a form of French slang involving the inversion of syllables.

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Open Access (free)
Witchcraft and magic in Enlightenment Europe

This book looks at aspects of the continuation of witchcraft and magic in Europe from the last of the secular and ecclesiastical trials during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, through to the nineteenth century. It provides a brief outline of witch trials in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Finland. By the second half of the seventeenth century, as the witch trials reached their climax in Sweden, belief in the interventionist powers of the Devil had become a major preoccupation of the educated classes. Having acknowledged the slight possibility of real possession by the Devil, Benito Feijoo threw himself wholeheartedly into his real objective: to expose the falseness of the majority of the possessed. The book is concerned with accusations of magic, which were formalised as denunciations heard by the Inquisition of the Archdiocese of Capua, a city twelve miles north of Naples, during the first half of the eighteenth century. One aspect of the study of witchcraft and magic, which has not yet been absorbed into the main stream of literature on the subject, is the archaeological record of the subject. As a part of the increasing interest in 'popular' culture, historians have become more conscious of the presence of witchcraft after the witch trials. The aftermath of the major witch trials in Dalarna, Sweden, demonstrates how the authorities began the awkward process of divorcing themselves from popular concerns and beliefs regarding witchcraft.