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“This fabulous flotsam”: Michael Moorcock’s Urban Anthropology in “London under London”

Abstract

Michael Moorcock is often described as “one of the most prolific and varied writers working in Britain” (Malcolm 146). His success as a writer and editor of science fiction and fantasy literature is well established, but he is also the author of two novels about London, Mother London (1988) and King of the City (2000). Hardly known, Mother London by Michael Moorcock, offers itself to a variety of approaches that have been widely discussed in the context of studies on English literature during the Thatcher years, post-modernism, and psycho-geography. The novel resonates with the author’s own childhood in war-time London without being autobiographical. It tells the story of three Londoners who were traumatised during the Blitz. The following article focuses on the mysteries of subterranean London that represents the hidden and unconscious identities of its inhabitants in the post-war period.

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Unravelling the Body/Mind Reverberations of Secrets Woven into Charlotte Brontë’s Villette

Abstract

The pervasive psychological realism of Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853) challenges scholarly assumptions based on her biography or her indoctrination to Victorian medical discourses, as it explores dysfunctional body/mind interrelations, particularly those evidencing patriarchal pressures and prejudices against women. Under the guise of her heroine Lucy, the author becomes both the physician and the patient suffering from a female malady of unnamed origin. This article intends to prove that, instead of narratively unravelling her creature’s past trauma with healing purposes, the author conceals its nature to protect her intimacy and she focuses on the periphery of her crisis aftermath to demonstrate its severity by means of the psychosomatic disorders that persistently haunt her life: depression, anorexia nervosa and suicidal behavior. Brontë’s literary guerrilla of secrecy aims, simultaneously, to veil and unveil the core of Lucy’s clinical case with an unequivocal diagnosis: a harmful, mysterious event from her childhood/adolescence, whose reverberations repeatedly erupt during her adulthood and endanger her survival. Unreliable but “lucid”, this heroine becomes the daguerreotype of her creator to portray life as a sad, exhausting journey, where professional self-realisation - not love or marriage - turns into the ultimate recovery therapy from past ordeals, never successfully confirmed in the case of Lucy, who epitomises a paradigm of femininity in Victorian England: the impoverished, solitary, middle-class woman

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Upheavals of Emotions, Madness of Form: Mary M. Talbot’s and Bryan Talbot’s Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes and a Transdiegetised (Auto)Biographical Commix

Abstract

In 2012, Mary M. Talbot and Bryan Talbot joined the likes of Richard Ellmann, Gordon Bowker and Michael Hastings and in their graphic memoir Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes (2012) offered a new re-telling of James Joyce’s life, focusing, in particular, on the difficult relationship between the great Irish writer, and his daughter Lucia. However, the story of a complicated emotional bond between Joyce and Lucia was only a framework for an autobiographical coming-of age narrative about Mary M. Talbot herself and her violent relationship with James S. Atherton, a celebrated Joycean scholar and her very own “cold mad feary father”. Following Martha C. Nussbaum’s conception about cognitive and narrative structure of emotions postulated in Love’s Knowledge (1990) and Upheavals of Thoughts (2001), this article wishes to argue in favour of an organic connection between the volume’s thematic concerns and its generic affiliation. In other words, it discusses how a specific class of emotions pertaining to Lucia’s gradual mental disintegration can be adequately told only in a specific literary form, i.e. in a transdiegetised “commix”, an (auto)biographical account which occupies a threshold space between a comic and a novel, fiction and non-fiction, biography and autobiography, words and pictures.

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Simplifying Complexity
Rhetoric and the Social Politics of Dealing with Ignorance
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The Concept of the Relative Adjective

Abstract

This article aims to give a cognitive linguistic account of the dual nature of the concept of relative adjectives, and the specific character of their semantic processes. After a brief discussion of the adjectival character of the relative subclass, it will be argued that denominal relative adjectives belong to the class of predicate words (i.e., words denoting property and hence forming a predicate concept), while retaining, on the other hand, the substantive nature of the basic noun’s concept. Further, two subclasses of relative adjectives are contrasted in view of their cognitive processes: substancepredicate, denoting a certain substance of which an object is made, and argumentpredicate, denoting an object the relation to which becomes a property of another object. The substance-predicate group of relative adjectives will be analyzed as having the properties of qualitative adjectives, as they clarify their meanings in discourse due to the operation of profiling the landmark properties on the base of the trajector of the described object. On the other hand, the conceptual entity of argument-predicate relative adjectives can be described by means of the theory of conceptual integration. Argument-predicate adjectives in discourse form a new conceptual blend that is the result of mapping the mental spaces of the predicate concept and the concept of the described noun. The relation between the two objects that appears in the blend forms the context meaning of the adjective

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A Cross-Departmental Approach to Supporting Students with a Disability Affecting Foreign Language Acquisition

Abstract

In order to enhance mobility, competitiveness, and opportunities for work, the European Union lists the ability to communicate in a foreign language and to understand another culture as an important objective in their language education policy. Knowledge of a foreign language is also an important objective for many American universities, which require students to study a foreign language as a prerequisite to graduate. Students with documented disabilities affecting the learning of a foreign language or students with poor foreign language learning skills, therefore, pose a significant challenge, since a foreign language requirement may prevent such students from graduating unless universities are willing to make special arrangements such as having students graduate without fulfilling the requirement or letting them take substitution classes. The question of what to do with such students is at the heart of this article. It describes how one mid-sized private university with a two-year language proficiency requirement has approached the problem to ensure that policies are implemented fairly. Rather than pulling students out of the foreign language classroom, the university succeeded in keeping students engaged with foreign language study through advising and mentoring across departments

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The Flavour of Murder: Food and Crime in the Novels of Agatha Christie

Abstract

Food and murder have had a paradoxical relationship ever since the first prehistoric hunter-gatherers put the first morsels of meat into their mouths. On one hand, eating means life: food is absolutely necessary to sustain life. On the other hand, eating means killing. Whether it is the obvious killing of an animal for meat, or the less obvious termination of a plant’s life, one must destroy life in order to eat. It is assumed that this inherent tension between eating/living and eating/dying often informs and shapes crime narratives, not only in the recently invented genre of culinary mystery, produced most famously by Diane Mott Davidson and Joanne Fluke, but also, even if to a lesser extent, in classic detective novels of the 20th century. This article focuses on how the contradictory nature of eating is manifested in the work of Agatha Christie. By combining a traditional structuralist approach to crime fiction as a formula, as advocated by John G. Cawelti, with the methods of the emerging field of food studies, the paper aims to observe a classic, i.e., the classic detective story, from a new perspective

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Gender, Humour and Transgression in Canadian Women’s Theatre

Abstract

Are humour and laughter gender-specific? The simple answer, like most everything that is ideological, is “yes”. Many feminists in recent years have grappled with the question of humour and how it is often the site of much contestation when it comes to women using it as a tool of transgression. This paper probes the seemingly timeless antipathy between humour and representations of femininity through recourse to performance and theories of the body. This article holds the term “woman” up to scrutiny while simultaneously examining the persistence of both critical and philosophical recalcitrance and the way humour continues to function in both gendered and violent ways. How does gender “do” or “undo” humour? Laughter is no simple matter for women, due to the legacy of profoundly polarized and hyper-sexualized historical ambivalence between femininity and laughter. Acknowledging the problematic nature of the category “woman”, and after clearing some terminological distinctions (comedy, humour, irony, satire, and parody), this article investigates humour’s complicated and volatile relationship to gender and the way the laughing body of women on stage presents a fascinating double helix of sexual aggression and power

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Historical Fiction as a Mixture of History and Romance: Towards the Genre Definition of the Historical Novel

Abstract

This article focuses on Walter Scott’s Waverley and its classification as the founding text of the historical novel by Georg Lukacs. The author attempts to show that Lukacs takes Scott too much at his word and posits Waverley in the tradition of the English historical novel as it developed from Defoe and Fielding, while neglecting the close ties that Waverley has with marginalized genres such as romance. The author also argues that rather than being an expression of class consciousness, Waverley is an attempt to justify a certain change in political attitude, from radicalism to conservatism

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“A Very Remarkable Piece of Iron”: Towards a Theory of Material Imagination in Virginia Woolf’s “Solid Objects”

Abstract

This article examines the supposed lack of “humanity” in Woolf’s short stories and novels by identifying its source in the sphere of “solid objects” and in the way these “objects” destabilize the coherence of what the western philosophical tradition typically refers to as “subject” (in the Cartesian sense). Referring to Moore’s direct realism as well as James’s and Mach’s radical empiricism, the discussion focuses on specific states of heightened perceptive intensity in which the perceiving subject stumbles on the verge of collapse and “mixes” itself with what it perceives. By considering these limit cases, this paper tries to demonstrate the way in which Woolf’s fiction might in fact be understood as illustrative of the process of de-humanizing de-centralization and dispersion of the already fluid consciousness and its blending with the impersonal material objects, resulting in a complete loss of one idea of “the human” (an idea based on the intellectual autonomy and sovereignty of a unified subject) and pointing towards a post-human and post-modern condition in which human becomes defined by the ever-widening circle of its own outside

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