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Language, lies and the crisis of representation in Such a Long Journey

This chapter studies Mistry's Such a Long Journey, a novel that contains elements of a political thriller and which shows that the operations of history are linked to, and impose on, everyday life. The novel, which is set in 1971, presents political events that put pressure on a family already under strain. The chapter discusses Such a Long Journey in detail, and notes the political features included that seem to be characteristic of a political landscape of deceit, corruption and decline. It determines that Such a Long Journey presents a powerful combination of casual brutality and political deception, which descends on the fiercely guarded private world of sensitive individuals.

in Rohinton Mistry
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An introduction

determinants outside or beyond literature, Bennett’s anti-aestheticism is committed to a ‘sociology of social forms’11 where the emphasis falls on exposing the regulatory character of ‘cultural institutions’ and on the need to bridge the gap between ‘literature’ and everyday life.12 The slippage implied here between art, literature and ‘lifeworld’ is certainly one which some forms of affirmative postmodern cultural criticism have facilitated, and in recent years ‘anti-aestheticism’ has itself, at times, almost become a unifying device for articulating the shared concerns of

in The new aestheticism
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Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves as a reparative fantasy

also has a particular narrative function. As Rasmus’s eyes look straight into the camera, they serve as an injunction to the viewer: you are seeing this, and you are hailed as a witness. With its narrative structure, Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves invites its viewers into what Roger Hallas has termed an ‘intersubjective space of testimony’ (Hallas, 2009). Documentary footage is used to enhance a sense of historical accuracy. Each episode features a title sequence in which documentary footage of everyday life in Stockholm is mixed with dramatic scenes from the

in The power of vulnerability
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Baconian rhetoric and the New Atlantis

wider sense is political. Persuasion is part of the business of everyday life. And, as Bacon himself notes in his aptly named Essay, ‘Of Negotiating’, the business of persuasion requires techniques other than reason and logic: If you would work any man, [writes Bacon] you must either know his nature and fashions, and so lead him; or his ends, and so persuade him; or his weakness and disadvantages, and so awe him; or those that have interest in him, and so govern him.20 Successful persuasion is contingent upon knowledge of ‘ends’. The man whose ‘ends’ Bacon ‘knew’ and

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
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Trauma, dream and narrative

with a dash of karaoke, instead of the sober method acting of everyday life. Dreams are performative in the Butlerian sense of the word; they bring something into being, enact something, and this process is taken to its logical excess in Journal d’Hannah. Freud suggested that dreams were the dramatisation of an idea: ‘But this feature of dream-life can only be fully understood if we further recognise that in dreams . . . we appear not to think but to experience’.2 And the ideas that we experience in our dreams are essentially derived from the translation of reality

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Sylvie Germain and the generic problems of the Christian novel

tame wolves; the death of his first wife Mélanie is heralded by a sparrow flying into her room;8 his fourth wife Ruth wears a green dress on the day she meets him, and subsequently on the day she is deported to a concentration camp.9 Given the presence of such phenomena, we might categorise Le Livre des nuits as an example of the ‘marvellous’: the reader is invited to suspend disbelief and accept the supernatural phenomena as a part of everyday life.10 Narrative point of view is key here. Neither the characters, nor, crucially, the narrator, express astonishment in the

in Women’s writing in contemporary France

, thus, have experience; but there is no truth to such experience. Once more, Erlebnis becomes vacuous, despite our seeming validation of all kinds of experience; and, ‘truthless’, it has little relation to education. Against this we might set Paul Zweig, who argues that our knowledge of adventure tends to be literary nowadays, rather than being drawn from our everyday life: ‘adventures are precisely what few of us know from experience’. Yet, he suggests, our familiarity with adventure might be more common than we routinely think: Haven’t all of us, now and then

in The new aestheticism
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not seem to him to see that they were all on the brink of the ‘greatest abyss in history’. Amidst the whirl of patriotic headlines, speeches and calls to arms he wrote sadly from the National Liberal Club at midnight on Monday 3 August that, ‘There is no room for one’s personal feelings now … It is too awful for words.’15 The German destruction of the medieval city of Louvain did not move him as much as he expected it to, due partly to the fact that during the first few weeks of the war, as he commented, ‘The everyday life of the present is my main interest’, and he

in A war of individuals
Gender and nationalism in the early fiction of Flora Nwapa

conventions of their accounts. Instead she concentrates, and at length, on what was apparently incidental or simply contextual to male action – domestic matters, the politics of intimacy, the grubby reality and drudgery of maternal experience. Nwapa’s gender focus has demarcated an area of communal life that was elsewhere, in texts by male writers, forgotten, elided or ignored. In both Efuru and Idu, Nwapa’s interest is in the routines and rituals of everyday life specifically within women’s compounds.27 Women press into her BOEHMER Makeup 96 3/22/05 2:55 PM Page 96

in Stories of women
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identified as a ‘true child of literature’, and Edith Kurzweil cites a tradition of a ‘coupling of literature and psychoanalysis’ going back to Freud.9 In 1914, in a review of Brill’s translation of The Psychology of Everyday Life, Leonard Woolf promoted a reading of the Freudian text as literature; the result, according to Elizabeth Abel, was that ‘the characterization of psychoanalysis as a literary rather than a scientific discourse became a leitmotiv in England’.10 Steven Marcus calls the relation between psychoanalysis and narrative writing ‘an ancient and venerable

in Fragmenting modernism