For my first creative writing group, formed with three colleagues at the
South Bank Centre in London in December 1987, I wrote about this
photograph, taken in 1940 or 1941. I called the piece ‘Image of an alien’.
But the really extraordinary thing about this photo is that he is
right in the centre. Not only that. He is framed and displayed by the
arch, projected, more than any of the other men, against the pale
background of the sky.
It took me a while to understand what was so unsettling about it.
I thought it was the dislocating effect of seeing him
This book can be described as an 'oblique memoir'. The central underlying and repeated themes of the book are exile and displacement; lives (and deaths) during the Third Reich; mother-daughter and sibling relationships; the generational transmission of trauma and experience; transatlantic reflections; and the struggle for creative expression. Stories mobilised, and people encountered, in the course of the narrative include: the internment of aliens in Britain during the Second World War; cultural life in Rochester, New York, in the 1920s; the social and personal meanings of colour(s). It also includes the industrialist and philanthropist, Henry Simon of Manchester, including his relationship with the Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen; the liberal British campaigner and MP of the 1940s, Eleanor Rathbone; reflections on the lives and images of spinsters. The text is supplemented and interrupted throughout by images (photographs, paintings, facsimile documents), some of which serve to illustrate the story, others engaging indirectly with the written word. The book also explains how forced exile persists through generations through a family history. It showcases the differences between English and American cultures. The book focuses on the incidence of cancers caused by exposure to radioactivity in England, and the impact it had on Anglo-American relations.
Publics, hybrids, transparency, monsters and the changing landscape around science
discusses the construction of creationism as an alien doctrine
threatening scientific progress and social progress. But as she shows,
few people adhere to the full menu of the creationist doctrine, and
ethical concerns over the doctrines of eugenics and practices of forced
sterilisation have historically fuelled opposition to a Darwinian world
view. The inflated bogey of creationism is a monster that obscures
these and other moral concerns. Kirby and Chambers reveal a history
in which the Catholic Church in the USA endeavoured to influence
the image of
De-scribing Imperial identity from alien to migrant
‘Where do you belong?’:
De-scribing Imperial identity
from alien to migrant
Introduction: writing the post-colonial nation
‘England,’ said Christophine who was watching me, ‘you think there is
such a place?’ … ‘You do not believe there is a country called England?’
She blinked and answered quickly, ‘I don’t know, I know what I see
with my eyes and I never see it.’ (Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 1996, 92)
Understanding the novel as a formative influence on the imagining of
national collectivity, Timothy Brennan argues that ‘it is especially in
rise and fall of the Bretton Woods regime, the
hegemonic ascent of neo-liberalism, the end of the Cold War and the
rise of communications technology such as the Internet. Dewey’s world
thus appears to be alien to contemporary concerns about rampant
globalization and the need to move democracy beyond the confines of
the nation state to regulate a runaway world.
Indeed, one might also label the attempt to call Dewey a ‘global’
thinker pure and utter philosophical folly in the first place. After
all, there doesn’t seem to be, philosophically at least
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'.
also reveals that certain enigmatic
things exceed the community of readable objects. Through their
liminal status, these things carry alien stories and histories into the
safety of the mead hall, unsettling the shared body of knowledge
held within reading communities.
The first part of this chapter reconsiders Grendel’s mother’s
slaying of the counsellor Æschere, examining the significance of
both figures. The poem refers to Grendel’s mother in a variety of
ways: she is both a noble lady (OE ides) and a monstrous or warrior
woman (OE aglæcwif); she is of the kin of
social perception cultivate and create identity; they are part of the circumstances in which identity is nurtured and pollarded. This power of naming is dramatically, indeed melodramatically, portrayed in Ray Bradbury's short story ‘ Referent’ , where the infinite potential relationships and patterns of sensed phenomena are shaped and constricted by the perceptions of observers. A traveller through space is trapped in an alien (human) culture by the perceptions of the small child whom he meets, and by whom he is identified, and hence shaped and trapped, as a small
strangers. The overflow of rural migrants to growing cities
in the early railway age of the nineteenth century was described in
terms of ill-dressed masses speaking unintelligible dialects and lacking
urban sophistication. They made the painful experience of acquiring
navigation skills in the new alien settings which they encountered.
Looking at the travel experiences of different generations of migrants
a century later, it is evident how quickly conditions can change.
Traveling through Europe as a refugee during the 1990s, the early
2000s, or in 2015 presented different
evasion theme, with protagonists attempting
escape from both human and alien opponents after a scientific
experiment goes badly wrong. Occasional excursions are made
into an alien dimension. The three versions of Half-Life offer
three varying perspectives on events: those of Gordon Freeman,
a scientist involved in the experiment, Adrian Shepherd, a
member of a military team sent in response to events, and Barney
Calhoun, a security guard.
Any notion that game-fictions such as Half-Life and Tomb Raider
might point, however vaguely, towards the eventual development