Reality in Angela Carter’s magical realist novels is depicted through the deployment of numerous picturesque details that correspond to the readers’ experiential reality, differentiating such a world from non-realist forms. Though the magical realist fictional world is akin to the one outside of the fictional reality, the mode’s strategy still differs from that of traditional realism due to the absence of a purely mimetic role. Initially serving to establish what Roland Barthes termed l’effet de reel (the effect of reality), the city in Carter’s novels is indeed constructed according to the principles of magical realism and creates plausible links between textual and extratextual realities. Further inclusion of magical, uncanny elements into such a world, in one respect, leads to the creation of excentric spaces that promote the position of the marginalized Other and allow alternative outlooks on life to gain prominence. A hybrid reality that is the ultimate result of the coexistence of the normal and the uncanny leads to the subversion of what Carter saw as patriarchal stereotypes, primarily due to the fact that it problematizes and ultimately negates their very foundation. In other words, if we cannot agree on the criteria for what is real, how can we trust the ultimate authority of any other criteria? The city in Carter’s novels thus acts as a suitable literary venue for revealing the author’s ideological position.
The present article sets out to explore the tradition and the innovative forces involved in the production of the first city atlas, Civitates orbis terrarum, a six-volume collection of town images published by Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg between 1572 and 1617. In doing so, it considers the consequences of the rediscovery of Ptolemy’s notions of geography and chorography and traces how time-honoured ideas and new practices of describing places meet in the depiction of early modern cities. The article discusses the potential of chorography as a genre capable of representing a city while trying to convey information about its character and addresses the role of printing in the dissemination of city views. The analysis extends from classic notions and modern practices of chorography to the humanist pursuit of a global vision that can be identified in the design of the Civitates, where the metaphor of the theatre appears to extend from the material of the atlas to the book itself. The research is mostly based on social and cultural histories of cartography and cosmography which can contribute to a better understanding of the complex significance of city images in Braun and Hogenberg’s project.
The present contribution examines the representation of the city in Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, with the aim of uncovering how the urban space is transformed and repurposed in order to uphold the ideological pillars of the theocratic regime described in the book. The urban space depicted in the book, which the reader sees through the eyes of the protagonist and narrator Offred, is built upon the contrasting image of “everything looks the same” versus “everything is fundamentally different.” Inspired by the Puritan colonies of 17th-century New England, the Republic of Gilead, in a manner similar to many reallife totalitarian regimes throughout history, remodels the urban space in such a way as to correspond to its worldview and help maintain its hold on power. The first part of the article examines how this is done in the novel itself (also making brief references to the representation of the city in the 2019 sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, entitled The Testaments) while the second part discusses how the city is portrayed in the 2017 TV series adaptation of the novel in order to highlight similarities and differences between the literary and televised versions.
This article examines the manner in which the recent collection D.C. Noir sets out to illuminate the dark urban corners of the so-called “Capital of the World.” I will look at how the neighborhood-based short stories in this collection reveal the urban underbelly of the American nation’s capital, its seedy underworld, the dark side of domestic life and murkiness of family ties, the racialized practices and institutionalized corruption plaguing the great American city. I argue that, through the collective voices of its residents, these stories offer precious insights into life as lived in the various corners of Washington, D.C., and bring to the fore a world populated not only by outcasts and the disenfranchised, but also by law enforcement officers, politicians, and high-profile representatives, similarly acting under the constraints of a dysfunctional city.
This article aims to contribute to the body of scholarly discussion surrounding Ernest Hemingway’s Nick Adams Stories as interconnected works of subtle yet complex depictions of trauma and memory. It primarily focuses on two stories, “Now I Lay Me” and “A Way You’ll Never Be,” and attempts to unearth hidden parallels between the two, ultimately positing that each story informs the other in vital ways. The article does so through an examination of memory types, the narrative nature of episodic personal memory, and incorporation of an analysis on the disruptive nature of traumatic memory. Using that framework, it examines the function of screen memory and trauma in “Now I Lay Me,” a story of nocturnal haunting, and unearths the existence of dual traumas within the text, those suffered in combat and those in childhood. Connections are made to the events and experiences of “A Way You’ll Never Be,” with the episodes Nick suffers interpreted as dreams. Thus, the image of the unplaceable yellow house is viewed as a manifestation of the domestic trauma of Adams’s childhood, with the home itself representative of the terror of obliteration, a second trauma revealed and existing beyond the boundaries of the text.
This article discusses marital suffering, as portrayed by Sylvia Plath from a feminist viewpoint, and claims that her delineation of marital afflictions is a tool of protest against patriarchal oppression. In a convention-ridden patriarchal society, a woman usually cannot express her voice and remains suffocated by her personal agony and ache. However, Plath tries to break the conventions in her poetry, by representing the unjust institution of patriarchal marriage, which treats women as commodities. Many critics have noted that Plath’s marital sufferings are responsible for her suicidal death, which is a means of protest against, and resistance to, patriarchy. Since her poetry represents both her psycho-social suffering and her fight against the margins set by patriarchal society, one may consider her poetry to be a weapon of setting her “self,” as well as other women’s, free from male-dominated psychological imprisonment. The article explores how Plath’s poetic persona emerges as the Phoenix, the libertarian spirit, by deliberately exposing her marital sufferings, psycho-sexual torture, husband’s infidelity, and the ultimate death resulting from conjugal unhappiness, which is interpreted as a protest against all kinds of patriarchal discriminations.
As unprecedented waves of immigrants poured into Britain in the wake of World War Two, racism reared its ugly head. Literary works, like several branches of learning, made a considerable contribution towards bringing the problems of otherness and foreignness to the forefront of public attention. Malcolm Bradbury’s academic novel, Eating People Is Wrong (1959), is a typical case in point. This essay attempts to turn the spotlight on the unjust and unjustifiable racist judgments and practices inflicted on black African students in the said novel’s provincial redbrick university and, by extension, in the social universe. Unlike previous scholarly research on Bradbury’s work, the present paper pursues a new line of investigation by leaning on George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s analysis of metonymy in their Metaphors We Live By (1980). This interdisciplinary venture aims to gauge the extent to which metonymic concepts involving skin colour and certain body parts inform race-related attitudes and demeanour. More precisely, I maintain that by purposely boiling the appearance and identity of a Nigerian student called Eborebelosa down to a “black face” or a “black head,” some prejudiced white academics cast him in the role of an inferior other and an unwelcome alien. This is all the more lamentable as intellectuals are supposed to ensure the prominence and permanence of tolerance, equality, and justice, instead of assuming the role of complacent and complicit social actors.
Rosa Sonneschein (1847–1932) was an important figure in late nineteenth-century American journalism, activism, and fiction. While a few brief studies were dedicated to her biography and to her role as a Jewish social activist, editor, and contributor to The American Jewess, no critical work has been devoted as yet to her literary production. The aim of this essay is to rectify this critical neglect by examining Sonneschein’s wide literary opus and by investigating its connection, if any, to the views she expressed as a journalist and a public speaker. This essay will explore Sonneschein’s threefold literary oeuvre, consisting of the following genres: Jewish fiction, non-Jewish fiction, and literary sketches. It will also try to explicate Rosa’s often conflicting stance with regard to Judaism, feminism, and Zionism, a standpoint which should be examined in the context of the fin-the-siècle’s turbulent changes American society had to cope with, especially pertaining to massive immigration, religious and social reforms, suffrage and temperance movements, etc.