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Hatice Övgü Tüzün

Abstract

Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods (2007) manifest an environmentalist awareness of the increasingly destructive power of human technologies while challenging the prevalent models we employ to think about the planet as well as its human and non-human inhabitants. Both novels probe what it means to be human in a universe plagued by entropy in the era of the Anthropocene. For the purposes of this essay, I will concentrate particularly on Dick’s and Winterson’s portrayals of the dystopian city as a site of interconnections and transformations against a backdrop of encroaching entropy and impending doom. Drawing on the work of several (critical) posthumanists who are primarily interested in dissolving oppositions such as between nature/culture, biology/technology, I show how the displacement of the centrality of human agency due to the intrusive nature of advanced technology is happening in the broader context of the Anthropocene. I also argue that the dystopian cityscapes envisioned in both novels become places that allow for the possibility of new forms of subjectivity to emerge.

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Anca-Luminiţa Iancu

Abstract

The 1920s marked a fervent time for artistic and literary expression in the United States. Besides the famous authors of the decade, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and William Faulkner, Anzia Yezierska and Nella Larsen, among other female writers, also managed to carve “a literary space” for their stories. Yezierska and Larsen depicted the struggles and tribulations of minority women during the fermenting 1920s, with a view to illustrating the impact of ethnicity and race on the individual female identity. Yezierska, a Jewish-American immigrant, and Larsen, a biracial American woman, share an interest in capturing the nuances of belonging to a particular community as an in-between subject. Therefore, this essay sets out to examine the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, and choice in shaping individual identities in public and private in-between spaces in Yezierska’s Salome of the Tenements (1923) and Larsen’s Quicksand (1928).

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Vlad Melnic

Abstract

This paper examines whether certain computer games, most notably RPGs, can be thought of as examples of the postmodern epic. Drawing on more recent critical frameworks of the epic, such as the ones proposed by Northrop Frye, Adeline Johns-Putra, Catherine Bates or John Miles Foley, the demonstration disembeds the most significant diachronic features of the epic from its two main media of reproduction, that of text and oral transmission, in order to test their fusion with the virtual environment of digital games. More specifically, I employ the concept of “epic mode” in order to explain the relevance of The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim for the history of the epic typology, which must now be understood as transmedial. I illustrate the manner in which this representative title assimilates the experience and performance of the epic, as well as several meaningful shifts in terms of genre theory, the most notable of which is an intrinsic posthuman quality. The experience of play inherent to Skyrim does not only validate the latter as an authentic digital epic of contemporary culture, but it also enhances the content, role and impact of the typology itself, which is yet far from falling into disuse.1

Open access

Elif Baş

Abstract

In-yer-face theatre, which emerged in Britain in the 1990s, became extremely popular on the stages of Istanbul in the new millennium. Some critics considered this new outburst as another phase of imitation. This phase, however, gave way to a new wave of playwrights that wrote about Turkey’s own controversial problems. Many topics, such as LGBT issues, found voice for the first time in the history of Turkish theatre. This study examines why in-yer-face theatre became so popular in this specific period and how it affected young Turkish playwrights in the light of Turkey’s political atmosphere.

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Amelia Precup

Abstract

The emergence and development of the modern novel used to be viewed as a largely masculine affair. However, over the past few decades, researchers and scholars have started to re-evaluate and acknowledge the importance of women’s literary and theoretical work to the rise and evolution of the genre. This article adds to these revisionist efforts by contributing to the ongoing discussion on the theoretical legacy left by some of the most notable British women writers of the long eighteenth century. The article analyses several texts (prefaces, dedications, dialogues, essays, reviews) in which they expressed their perspectives on questions situated at the core of the eighteenth-century debates concerning the novel. The critical and theoretical perspectives advanced by these writers are approached as contributions to the novel’s status as a respectable literary genre and, implicitly, as self-legitimizing efforts.

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Anamaria Schwab

Abstract

In Homer and Langley, E.L. Doctorow’s 2009 novel of New York City, the author focuses on past Manhattan, which he sees as the epitome of his own self-destructive modern and contemporary society. I would argue that Doctorow acts here mainly to denounce excessive material culture in the context of egotistic, upper-class Manhattan dwelling at the end of the nineteenth century. I would also like to show that the novelist criticizes the idea of material progress along more than a hundred years, from the end of the nineteenth century, when the plot starts, to the beginning of the twenty-first century, when the novel was written. The self-contained, isolated world in the novel is the result of our society’s propensity for excessive production and consumption. At the same time, Homer and Langley brings to mind ideas of exhaustion of the human, who agrees to be literally replaced by objects. The fact that such a phenomenon occurs already at the end of the nineteenth century suggests that there might have never been a plenary moment of being human, as we have long entertained the closest possible relationship and even synthesis with the non-human world of objects and tools.

Open access

Iulia Andreea Milică

Abstract

The aim of this essay is to look at Southern racism from a different perspective, namely the subversive influence of the black uncles and mammies, depicted as kind, loyal and caring, in the racial education of the white Southern children. However, these narrators, though meant to comply with the racist requirements of their masters, take control of the stories and, with caution and dissimulation, attempt to educate the children they care for towards a more tolerant outlook on race. The dangers of such an endeavor, especially at the height of segregation and racial violence at the end of the nineteenth century (in the post-Reconstruction South), are evident in the ambiguous critical reception of Joel Chandler Harris’ Uncle Remus stories and Kate Chopin’s writings, the authors chosen for analysis. Oscillating from a belief in their compliance to their age’s prejudices and codes and a trust in their rebellious attitudes, critics and readers reacted to these stories in different, even contradictory manners. Our intention is to demonstrate that the use of the slave narrator is a subversive way of teaching the white child the truth about the plight of slavery and sway him/her into a more empathic attitude towards racial and class difference.

Open access

Yasser Fouad Selim

Abstract

Philip Kan Gotanda’s I Dream of Chang and Eng (2011) is a fictional imagining of the lives of the conjoined Siamese twins Chang and Eng who lived in the United States in the nineteenth century (1811-1874). The play dramatizes the twins’ ascent from monstrosity to social acceptance. Gotanda draws on the transformation of the twins’ status from the exotic poor aliens to the naturalized Americans who own plantations and black slaves and are married to white women at a time in which naturalization of ethnic immigrants was prohibited and interracial marriage was a taboo. This study utilizes Michael Omi and Howard Winant’s racial formation theory and a disability studies framework to analyze Gotanda’s play, proposing that the mutation of the image of Chang and Eng and the redefinition of their disability provide early examples of America’s paradoxical treatment of race and body to serve cultural, national, and political tendencies. The intersection between race and disability in the case of Chang and Eng questions, disturbs, and alters racial and body hierarchies, and confirms that both race and disability are social constructs that take different shapes and meanings in different socio-political contexts.