De Witt Douglas Kilgore
Can we imagine a future in which the African diaspora is seen as central to the flow of events? This chapter seeks to answer that question through a history of Afrofuturism as a critical term and a critique of the concept as deployed by black and white science fiction writers. The word is presented as a heuristic that makes visible black artistic production of futures that seek escape from dystopian erasures that seem real. The idea captures stories about science, technology, and culture other than those that limit future history to Eurocentric extrapolations. Kilgore argues that the term has allowed both a reconsideration of canonical African-American literature as well as an extension of science fiction’s ability to see prophetically across racial and cultural divides.
This article comments on the lack of unity among scholars of postcolonial studies, arguing that the field is suffering from an identity crisis as its proponents continue to insist on their own disciplinary structures. It considers the suggestion that postcolonialism might usefully be characterized as “a combination of revisionisms” or as a “radical undoing of modernity,” as well as the notion that postcolonial studies is grounded in a principle of critical refusal, of “unquestioned identification” of any kind. It describes the tendency of scholars to critique postcolonial studies in relation to other studies, such as those of globalization, migrancy, diaspora, cosmopolitanism, subalternity, race, or popular culture. It contends that “postcolonial studies” is an omnibus term for what was always a fractious and disruptive set of scholarly practices. Finally, it expects postcolonial critical thought to continue to transform the academy and refuse to submit to methodological singularity.
This chapter maintains that Pushkin’s artistic project illuminates a paradoxical convergence of nationalism and internationalism at the core of both European and Russian Romanticism: the period’s concurrent commitment, on the national as well as individual scale, to creative solipsism and to circuits of intellectual exchange opened up by the Enlightenment across Europe; its introspection and extroversion; its vitalizing yet ambivalent comparatism. Pushkin’s formal and stylistic versatility appears to revel in, but also critically interrogate, the creative possibilities inherent in a country fashioning its modern national culture by means of appropriation. This investment in comparative cultural (de)construction, at once playful and serious, persists as a unifying thread throughout Pushkin’s otherwise insistently versatile oeuvre and could be productively singled out as the defining feature of his Romanticism.
This article examines the poetry and essays of Alice Meynell. It first considers the poem, ‘A Modern Poet’ (1875), which illustrates both her ambivalence about women’s poetry and her own reception as a nineteenth- or twentieth-century poet. It then turns to ‘The Laws of Verse’ and ‘The English Metres,’ where she addresses poetic form.
John Bourchier, Lord Berners, stands at the boundary between the medieval and early modern, his compositions hovering at their nebulous threshold. While it is recognized that Arthur of Little Britain (1560?) and Huon of Bourdeaux (c.1515) are written in the tradition of the medieval chivalric romance and that Castle of Love (1548?) reflects new, humanist trends in the genre, it is less frequently observed that these two strands of romance were both avidly read, reprinted, and adapted throughout the Tudor period. Readers looked to romance for entertainment, education, and advice. Despised and feared by moralists, it provided children, merchants, gentlemen, women, and nobles with models of exemplary and daring behaviour, rhetorical and chivalric prowess, and political theory. Straining against the tide of continued and widespread moral condemnation, chivalric and humanist romance fiction remained popular with male and female readers across the social spectrum. In order to illuminate the dominance of the romance throughout the period, this article provides an overview of sixteenth-century romance production, dissemination, and readership. It takes a close look at Lord Berners, whose literary output reflects the evolution, enduring popularity, and continued relevance of the genre through the Tudor period and beyond.
“All livin language is sacred”: Poetry and Varieties of English in These Islands’ considers the various uses of non-standard Englishes in contemporary poetry, whether the variety of English be national, regional, class- or ethnically based. It argues that the association of poetry with a prestigious standard form of the language has created particular difficulties for poets who do not speak this variety, and that the record of these difficulties can be found in a number of contemporary poets’ work, especially that by Harrison, Heaney, Leonard, and Nagra. But it also argues that contact with vernacular speech, in many forms, can be a source of poetic energies, and that these are drawn upon in a number of contemporary poets writing in various forms of non-standard English, notably in Scots (arguably a standard variety itself), Ulster Scots, or in the Nation language of dub poetry.
Kevin Killeen and Helen Smith
The introduction explores the centrality of the Bible in early modern England, demonstrating its importance to devotional life, scholarship, political thought, and everyday experience. It explores existing scholarship on early modern biblical culture, and presents a brief history of the printing and circulation of the Bible in English, as well as the numerous forms in which the scriptures were encountered. The introduction argues for the particularity of the ‘English’ Bible, and describes the scope and ambitions of the Handbook. It argues that the ‘English’ Bible was, in many ways, an international phenomenon, created by translators and scrutinised by scholars; inspired by the debates of the European Reformations; and indebted to continental fashions in printing and publishing.
In early modern England, the psalms were understood as the Bible in miniature, offering concise versions of biblical teachings and teaching individuals how to converse with God. The psalms had a very long history of translation into the vernacular, and this chapter charts some of the varied ways in which the psalms were appropriated not only as devotional aids but as modes of poetic and musical expression. The musicality of the psalms was understood to create pleasing harmony, between the soul of the individual believer and God, and amongst the body of the congregation. Nonetheless, debates around the genre of the psalms, the propriety of singing, and the politics of reproduction introduced notes of dissonance into post-Reformation discussions of liturgical practice and godly living. This chapter explores these controversial subjects, paying particular attention to the bodily and social forms of psalm reading and singing.
This article examines sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century dialogue. It considers why so many writers chose to convey opinions or explore ideas in works laid out as conversations. The pervasiveness of the form is apparent in the sheer gamut of topics discussed ‘dialogue-wise’: subjects range from worshipping saints to the proper behaviour of women; from music to the art of warfare. Dialogue comes in many guises: descriptors on printed title-pages range from the neutral ‘colloquy’ or ‘discourse’ to the more formal ‘debate’ and ‘dispute’. In choosing to convey their ideas and opinions in a dialogue, early modern writers selected a form that had ideological resonances; it was a form which gestured towards the debate and verbal interaction that they believed should lie at the heart of successful governance and a healthy society — for many dialogues, the very solution lies in talking.
Teaching Native American literature to the uninformed student is not an easy task, especially when compared to teaching mainstream literature, African-American literature, Chicano literature, or Asian literature. The teacher of Native literature can help in correcting misconceptions about American Indians by teaching the reality of the American Indian experience in both historic and contemporary times. In this article, the author examines the stakes of being a Native person teaching Native American literature based on her personal experience as a teacher. She also stresses the importance of using novels and short stories to engage students.