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Suburban Identity in the Poetry of John Updike

Abstract

This paper provides a close reading of a representative selection of suburban poems by the American writer John Updike (1932–2009). It also draws upon the existing scholarship by suburban studies historians (including Kenneth Jackson, Dolores Hayden, John Archer, and James Howard Kunstler), who have argued for the cultural importance of American suburbia in fostering identity, and develops the argument by literary critics including Jo Gill, Peter Monacell, and Robert von Hallberg, who have championed the existence of a viable suburban tradition in postwar American poetry. By scrutinizing poems from Updike’s early poetry, represented by “Shillington”, up to his closing lyric opus, “Endpoint”, the paper argues that Updike’s unrecognized importance is that of a major postwar poet whose lyric work chronicles, in memorable, diverse, and important ways, the construction of individual identity within suburbia, in a dominant setting for most Americans from the 1950s up to the present.

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Rhetorical Evaluation of Seventeenth Century Prefaces to English Treatises on Midwifery

: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Dunn, Kevin 1994 Pretexts of authority: The rhetoric of authorship in the renaissance preface. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Evans, Ruth 1999 "An afterword on the prologue", in: Jocelyn Wogan-Browne - Nicholas Watson - Andrew Taylor - Ruth Evans (eds.), 371-378. Frogel, Shai 2004 "Philosophical argumentation: Logic and rhetoric", Argumentation 18/2: 171-88. Graff, Richard - Wendy Winn 2006 "Presenting ‘communion’ in Chaïm

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Performing Protest in Cross-Cultural Spaces: Paul Robeson and Othello

Abstract

When the famous African-American actor and singer Paul Robeson played the lead in Shakespeare’s Othello in London in 1930, tickets were in high demand during the production’s first week. The critical response, however, was less positive, although the reviews unanimously praised his bass-baritone delivery. When Robeson again played Othello on Broadway thirteen years later, critics praised not only his voice but also his acting, the drama running for 296 performances. My argument concerning Robeson uses elements first noted by Henri Lefebvre in his seminal work, The Production of Space, while I also draw on Paul Connerton’s work on commemorative practices. Using spatial and memorial theories as a backdrop for examining his two portrayals, I suggest that Robeson’s nascent geopolitical awareness following the 1930 production, combined with his already celebrated musical voice, allowed him to perform the role more dramatically in 1943.

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The Writer Walking the Dog: Creative Writing Practice and Everyday Life

Abstract

Creative writing happens in and alongside the writer’s everyday life, but little attention has been paid to the relationship between the two and the contribution made by everyday activities in enabling and shaping creative practice. The work of the anthropologist Tim Ingold supports the argument that creative writing research must consider the bodily lived experience of the writer in order fully to understand and develop creative practice. Dog-walking is one activity which shapes my own creative practice, both by its influence on my social and cultural identity and by providing a time and space for specific acts instrumental to the writing process to occur. The complex socio-cultural context of rural dog-walking may be examined both through critical reflection and creative work. The use of dog-walking for reflection and unconscious creative thought is considered in relation to Romantic models of writing and walking through landscape. While dog-walking is a specific activity with its own peculiarities, the study provides a case study for creative writers to use in developing their own practice in relation to other everyday activities from running and swimming to shopping, gardening and washing up.

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American Art Criticism between the Cultural and the Ideological (II)

Abstract

For the past 150 years, American art and art criticism have undergone important cultural and ideological transformations that are explanatory both of their historical evolution and of the possibility of being divided into several stages. In my interpretation, art criticism cuts across the historical evolution of art in the United States, according to the following cultural and ideological paradigms: two predominant cultural ideologies of art between 1865-1900 and 1960-1980, respectively; two other aesthetic and formalist ideological shifts in the periods between 1900- 1940 and 1940-1960, respectively, and one last pluralist approach to the arts after 1980. Even if this conceptualisation of art criticism in America might seem risky and oversimplifying, there are conspicuous and undeniable arguments supporting it. In a previous study published by American, British and Canadian Studies, I provided conceptual justifications both for the criteria dividing the cultural and the ideological within the overall assessment of American art by art critics and for the analysis and interpretation of the first two important temporal periods in the field of art criticism, 1865-1900 and 1908-1940. The present study continues by analyzing the cultural and ideological stances of American art criticism after 1940 and argues for certain paradigmatic shifts from one period to another.

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“A Pattern for Princes to Live by”: Popery and Elizabethan History During England’s Exclusion Crisis, 1679-1681

Abstract

This article investigates the intersections of historical memory and political behavior during England’s “Exclusion Crisis” of 1679-1681. In doing so, I bring together theorists of social and historical memory in interpreting the Exclusion Crisis polemic. Between 1679 and 1681, opposition Whigs and Loyalist Tories rehashed sixteenth-century Elizabethan history because it provided potent analogues to the contemporary crisis over the succession. Through an analysis of parliamentary debates and historical writing, I argue that England’s sixteenth-century history was an integral part of the contemporary political debate. The context of Elizabeth’s Treason Act and the imprisonment of Mary, Queen of Scots provided historical parallels that opposition writers used to justify the exclusion of the Duke of York as well as make claims for parliamentary sovereignty in determining the succession. The Elizabethan era provided a wellspring of historical examples that could be culled to refute arguments for monarchial divineright absolutism. Rather than foreground the role of political theory in structuring attitudes and assumptions about the monarchy and parliament, this article sets out to show that sixteenth-century historical polemic set the terms of contemporary debate and, thus, influenced political outcomes.

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“I’m a I’m a Scholar at the Moment”: The Voice of the Literary Critic in the Works of American Scholar-Metafictionists

Abstract

In her seminal book on metafiction, Patricia Waugh describes this practice as an obliteration of the distinction between “creation” and “criticism.” This article examines the interplay of the “creative” and the “critical” in five American metafictions from the late 1960s, whose authors were both fictional writers and scholars: Donald Barthelme’s Snow White, John Barth’s Lost in the Funhouse, William H. Gass’s Willie Masters’ Lonesome Wife, Robert Coover’s Pricksongs and Descants and Ronald Sukenick’s The Death of the Novel and Other Stories. The article considers the ways in which the voice of the literary critic is incorporated into each work in the form of a self-reflexive commentary. Although the ostensible principle of metafiction is to merge fiction and criticism, most of the self-conscious texts under discussion are shown to adopt a predominantly negative attitude towards the critical voices they embody – by making them sound pompous, pretentious or banal. The article concludes with a claim that the five works do not advocate a rejection of academic criticism but rather insist on its reform. Their dissatisfaction with the prescriptivism of most contemporary literary criticism is compared to Susan Sontag’s arguments in her essay “Against Interpretation.”

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Strangers on the Doorstep: Hostility and Hospitality in A Distant Shore

Abstract

This article focuses on the rising hostility against immigrants / refugees and growing demand for hospitality, in both regional and transnational senses, in Caryl Phillips’s novel A Distant Shore, set in a local place in North England. I think that the author, in examining the parallel conditions of being a stranger in a village and an outsider to the nation, shows that the demands of hospitality are similarly urgent whether sought by nationals or foreigners though these are calibrated differently in terms of scales of belonging. My broader argument is that hospitality is an ethical practice of everyday life that requires continual renegotiation. Inspired by Levinasian ethics, I turn to Derrida’s and Rosello’s meditations on hospitality, which emphasise the metaphorical nature of the host-guest relationship and the tension it inscribes between the finiteness of politics and the infinity of ethics. By exploring the complex relationship between politics and ethics as this is made manifest in the literary representations of ordinary British citizens’ everyday practices, I suggest that this novel not only deals with the UK’s domestic tensions of multiculturalism and ethnic conflict, but also critically reflects on its bewildered (but hardly new) attitude toward the ongoing transnational integration of the new Europe in the postwar period.

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“Stop … and Remember”: Memory and Ageing in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Novels

Abstract

This article foregrounds representations of ageing and memory within Kazuo Ishiguro’s novels, particularly Never Let Me Go (2005) and, the less critically considered, The Buried Giant (2015). While criticism and reviews touch upon themes of ageing, loneliness, and loss of bodily function, scholars are yet to reveal either the centrality of this to Ishiguro’s work or how this might speak to real-life questions surrounding ageing. Few readers of Never Let Me Go realise that in writing it Ishiguro’s guiding question was ‘how can I get young people to go through the experience of old people’? The arguments here seek to restore such authorly intentions to prominence.

Ishiguro is more interested in socio-cultural meanings of ageing than biologically impoverished memories: this article examines the shifting relationships Ishiguro presents between memory and age as regards what happens to the ways in which memories are valued, and how people might be valuable (or not) for their memories. Interdisciplinary with age studies and social gerontology, this article demonstrates how Ishiguro both contributes to, and contends with, socially constructed concepts of ageing. In refocusing Ishiguro criticism onto reminiscence rather than nostalgia, this article aims to put ageing firmly on the agenda of future research.

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Ars Memorativa, Ars Oblivionis in Middle English Religious Plays

, Sarah. Christ’s Body: Identity, Culture and Society in Late Medieval Writings. London and New York: Routledge, 1993. Print. Bestul, Thomas H. Texts of the Passion: Latin Devotional Literature and Medieval Society. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1996. Print. Blair, J. Anthony. “The Rhetoric of Visual Arguments.” Hill and Helmers, eds., 2004. 41-61. Print. Bolter, Jay David, and Richard Grusin. Remediation: Understanding the New Media. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT P, 1999. Print. Boyer, Paschal. “What Are

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