Susan I. Gatti
A bold, imaginative work, The Star Rover demonstrates Jack London’s inventive approach to the social-protest genre. London mixes in the typical problem-novel ingredients: gritty, realistic details; sympathetic, downtrodden victims; greedy capitalist villains and their muscle-headed henchmen; brisk, often violent, action; outraged invective; individual and collective resistance; and radical action for precipitating change. But, in the process of exposing conditions within American prisons, London deviates sharply and creatively in The Star Rover—not only from the conventions of protest writing but also from the type of writing that normally assured him of good sales and positive reviews.
This article examines the concept of cognitive environment in relation to ecocriticism. It discusses Gaston Bachelard’s analysis, in his The Poetics of Space, of historian Jules Michelet’s work depicting the building of a bird’s nest. It suggests that the corporeal act of nest-building may then be argued to imply the continuity of an organism and its environment and that the notion of enclosure is built into any ecology or Thoreavian economy.
In the 1990s, ceasefires were adopted in Ireland, followed in 2007 by the institution of devolved government at Stormont. With the Troubles now gone, the country has experienced a dramatic growth in tourism. Goodwill is everywhere, as is ‘progress’. Poetry now crowns the dome of one of Ireland's largest and plushest shopping malls. This chapter explores whether Belfast has stopped posing more problems than it offers solutions, and how the poets now coming of age will define themselves and their role, particularly in relation to the city. It focuses on the work of three poets – Leontia Flynn, Sinéad Morrissey, and Alan Gillis – all of whom wrestle with the problem of representing and interrogating their ‘own moment in history’. The chapter argues that, perhaps contrary to expectation, the peace context renders identity in Northern Irish poetry more, rather than less, problematic.
The Irish national theatre movement developed in the ferment of cultural nationalism at the turn of the century, but it was not at all clear what form a national theatre should take: an Ibsenian model of critical realism, favoured by Edward Martyn, George Moore, and John Eglinton, the mythological poetic drama of Yeats, or the peasant plays that came to be written by Yeats and Gregory. Apart from the playwrights, the company of actors formed around the Fay brothers, nationalist groups such as Maud Gonne’s Inghinidhe na hEireann, and the Abbey’s English patron Annie Horniman all had ideas of their own. This chapter analyses the national and theatrical politics of the period up to the death of Synge in 1909, paying particular attention to the ways in which debates of the period centred around the idea of an Irish theatre in ways that were to influence future generations.
The aesthetic principles of education and representation that Yeats and Gregory set out at the founding of the Abbey Theatre enabled the directorate to cultivate a relationship with the state that ensured the theatre’s place as the Irish National Theatre. Yet this was a relationship that demanded compromises on both sides—in the negotiation for a state subsidy, finally granted in 1925, in issues of censorship over controversial plays such as The Plough and the Stars in 1926, and in the uneasy relationship with the Fianna Fáil government that came to power in 1932. Even so, at least during Yeats’s lifetime, the Abbey directors were able to resist the complete ideological co-option of the theatre, and any compromises to artistic freedom were made willingly in order to ensure the continued alliance of the theatre and the state.
Andrew J. Kunka
This chapter examines the comic-book adaptations of television series produced by Dell and Gold Key Comics from 1966 to 1973. These comic books often contained diverse casts, especially with African-American characters, yet they are little discussed in relation to racial representations in the medium. The chapter explores these comic books in terms of the visual style used to depict these minority characters and the way the content addresses social issues related to racism and diversity. Finally, it compares the television adaptations to the more popular superhero comics that were also introducing racially diverse casts at the time, and it raises questions about why these comic books are neglected in comics studies.
Jonathan M. Woodham
This chapter focuses on various ways in which the rhetoric and visual iconography of the space age and the world of science fiction was explored in the styling and promotion of consumer products from the 1920s to the 1960s, with particular focus on the United States. Such advertising, whether three-dimensional displays, films, posters, or other printed ephemera, was embraced in the futuristic displays of major corporations at hugely popular exhibitions such as the Chicago Century of Progress Exhibition of 1933–34 and the New York World’s Fair (“Building the World of Tomorrow”) of 1939–1940. Also considered are projections of automobiles and appliances of the future, as seen in the dynamic displays of General Motors’ Motoramas and “Kitchens of Tomorrow” exhibitions, the science fiction–inflected language of advertising copy, and the allure of the future for the general public.
This chapter argues that the prescriptive turn in literary aesthetics over the last two centuries has marginalized science fiction, placing it in the category of the “Sublime” rather than the “Beautiful.” However, this is a position that recent advances in cognitive poetics are in the process of reversing. Stockwell explores the science-fictional beauty of expression, beauty of structure, and beauty of world to propose that the key to the immersive experience of science fiction is that it is a genre of compulsion. Close consideration is given to the work of Ray Bradbury, China Miéville, and Roger Zelazny.
Kathy A. Perkins
This essay traces the efforts of African American women to establish new voices in the American theater during the period from 1910 to 1945. It discusses the role of the Federal Theatre Project Negro Unit in providing opportunities for both African American playwrights and actors, and it highlights some “signal moments” during this period. These include the development of the Little Negro Theatre movement, the staging of Angelina Grimké’s groundbreaking play Rachel, and the establishment of African American acting troupes such as the American Negro Theatre and the Lafayette Players. This essay also considers the works of Mary Burrill, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and Zora Neale Hurston.
Michelle Ann Abate
This chapter challenges the long-standing exclusion of single-panel comics from being seen as comics because they do not contain what is commonly regarded as a core feature of the genre: images arranged in a sequence. Accordingly, it offers not merely a defense of but what might even be called a manifesto for single-panel comics as comics. Titles belonging to this category have played an important role in the origins, evolution, and popularization of the genre in the United States. They have embodied some of the most successful and acclaimed works in the history of the medium. In many respects, sequential art as we know it would not be the same without comics that consist of only one panel. Accordingly, this chapter moves single-panel comics back into the genre where they belong. Single-panel comics are not simply comics; they are often examples of the medium at its most concentrated, controlled, and efficient.
“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.
How did writers in Maoist China assume their role as authors, torn between self-expression and the political demands of the Party? How should we read the literary creations produced at a time in which literary works were not always candid expressions of the authors, but were manifestations of complex negotiations and self-censorship? This chapter provides a case study to illustrate these quandaries, focusing specifically on Tian Han’s historical dramas produced during the late 1950s. It illustrate how Tian Han tried to use historical and intercultural allegories to come to terms with contemporary happenings and offers an analysis of a rarely studied but extremely representative work, Princess Wencheng, that embodies the struggles of the Party and the Han intellectuals with the Tibetan problems during that time.
This essay considers a reconfiguring of the sublime in British poetry of the 1970s and 1980s that coincides with theoretical activity around the ways in which the concept of the sublime is renewed and diversified. While Fredric Jameson calls for ‘cognitive mapping’ in cultural practice, to induce in the reader a sense of her or his place in what is nothing less than a global system, Jean-François Lyotard supplies a counter-argument to Jameson’s emphasis on the cognitive, proposing an aesthetic experience in which the activity of the imagination necessarily exceeds that of the understanding, so that the ‘mapping’ which occurs extends the territory of the mind beyond that of individual cognition. Tom Raworth’s poem ‘West Wind’ takes as its reference points those two pejorative instances of the sublime proposed by postmodernist theory—global communications networks and the threat of the nuclear bomb—but links these to a mentality capable only of producing a concept of the imagination while remaining incapable of activating and exercising the imagination. Andrew Crozier’s ‘The Veil Poem’ focuses on architectural terminology, and on the conditions of ‘dwelling’ that articulate its spatial and temporal dimensions, moving towards an exploration of the altered sublime that is carried further in J. H. Prynne’s ‘The Oval Window’.
For outsiders, the languages of Latino literature are English, Spanish, and code-switching between the two languages. What is more, code-switching is considered a symptom of not knowing either language well. At the same time, Latinos themselves feel anxiety toward perceived deficiencies in both languages. This essay argues that Latino literature offers a complex use of language that can be appreciated through the lens of translation. This essay explores the forms of translation present in Latino literature suggesting that Spanish and English always exist in the presence and under the influence of each other. Discussions of Felipe Alfau, Junot Díaz, and Urayoán Noel highlight the centrality of translation issues in Latino writing ranging from creative output and expression to the making of subsequent versions of literary texts. Overall, considerations of translation in Latino studies can lead to a more complex understanding of the work of translators and multilingual writing in general.
This chapter provides an analysis of Gene Luen Yang’s two-volume set Boxers and Saints, which offers historical fiction about the Boxer Uprising in the visual medium of comics. Embedded with numerous historical references, these graphic narratives unfold around two fictional characters who represent the complexity of a particularly contested period in Chinese history. Little Bao (a Boxer who is inspired by nationalism) and Four-Girl (a Christian convert who seeks belonging through faith) are on opposite sides of the conflict at the time, thus presenting parallel stories that prompt the reader to contemplate the nuances in the historical past. Both characters come to terms with who they are and what they believe in while being spiritually guided by the first Chinese emperor Ch’in Shih-huang and Joan of Arc, respectively. This chapter discusses how Yang’s work visualizes the intersectional images of the “thousand palms with eyes” of Guan Yin (the Buddhist goddess of compassion) and of Jesus Christ and how they present what Paul A. Cohen has called a “historically reconstructed past” in which the Boxers and the Chinese Christians’ encounters are visualized as “event, experience and myth” at the end of the nineteenth century.
Robert Dale Parker
Scholars and readers of American poetry in general and American Indian poetry in particular generally assume that American Indian poetry begins in the late 1960s with the American Indian Renaissance. Even among scholars of American Indian literature, let alone scholars of American poetry in general, few readers can name more than, at most, a few American Indian poets before N. Scott Momaday. But indigenous people in what is now the United States have written poetry since the time of Anne Bradstreet, and the 1890s and the early twentieth century brought an effusion of Indian-written poetry. Poems by more than ninety different American Indians writing from 1900 to 1930 have been found. The anthology Changing Is Not Vanishing: A Collection of American Indian Poetry to 1930 showcases the work of eighty-three poets and provides a bibliography that lists almost 150 Indian poets up to 1930. While Indian poets wrote about the same range of topics as non-Indian poets, they also brought their interests and experiences as Indians to bear on their poems. This article discusses how these poems address colonialism and the federal government, land, the condition of the world in general, nature, Christianity, love, war, other Indian peoples, and the temptation to internalize anti-Indian ways of thinking.
Thomas S. Hischak
This essay examines the history of musical theater in the United States during the period from 1870 to 1945. It explains that while The Black Crook from 1866 may be considered as the first modern-style musical, the fully integrated musical did not arise until sometime later, which set in motion a period frequently referred to as the “golden age” of musical drama. It considers several musicals in the 1940s, including Show Boat, Oklahoma!, and Carousel. This essay also argues that while the musical is rarely considered realistic, most of the musicals in the 1940s engaged in an integrated fashion with something approximating real life.
Twentieth-century American poetry metabolizes a variety of discursive genres, including fiction, song, theory, advertising, letters, and the law. To adapt Mikhail Bakhtin's terms, it dialogizes “literary and extraliterary languages,” “intensifying” and “hybridizing” them, making them collide and rub up against one another. But Bakhtin famously theorized poetry as monologic and exclusionary, “suspended from any mutual interaction with alien discourse, any allusion to alien discourse,” “destroying all traces of social heteroglossia and diversity of language”: “The language of the poetic genre is a unitary and singular Ptolemaic world outside of which nothing else exists and nothing else is needed.” Close analysis of twentieth-century American poems in relation to their generic others reveals a vastly more dialogic conception of poetry. This article focuses on poetry's ambivalent interactions with two of its generic others: the news and prayer as representing two widely divergent positions on a broad discursive spectrum. How do modern and contemporary American poems that engage with the news respond to journalism's mimeticism, presentism, and transparency? How do poems that adapt prayer respond to its ahistoricity, ritualism, and recursiveness? Do modern and contemporary American poetry more nearly resemble one or the other of its discursive cousins? How does American poetry overlap with, and distinguish itself from, these intergenres?
Animal representation in graphic narrative has figured in many of the medium’s important developments and anchored one of its most popular genres, funny-animal comics. Since the modern emergence of the form sometime around the end of the nineteenth century, major figures such a Richard Outcault, Winsor McCay, George Herriman, Edwina Dumm, Carl Barks, Robert Crumb, and Jim Woodring have made extensive use of the animal figure, in both highly and minimally anthropomorphized forms. As argued by John Berger, David Herman, and other scholars, the animal’s lack of human speech renders it vulnerable to a brand of representational colonialism whereby its in-itself existence is emptied in favor of other symbolic, metaphorical, or ideological functions. Many works since the 1980s by Grant Morrison, Steven Murphy and Michael Zulli, and Nicole Georges have striven for less anthropomorphized depictions, in a bid to address the ethics involved in representing the animal subject.
This chapter is a chronological overview of some of the key developments in science fiction animated films, using the concept of the “thick text” as a way of understanding how the specific language of animation facilitates the metaphysical and metaphorical address of the genre. The discussion suggests that SF animation speaks to significant moments in the advances in technology and film form, while also referring to the rich tradition of SF literature and illustration. This enables such films to operate as modernist texts in times of social and cultural transition, and to explore notions of “space” and “time” as literal, aesthetic, and analogous phenomena. SF animation allows for a “scripted space” that nevertheless reimagines the world and self-reflexively foregrounds the relationship between scientific and technological interfaces and human creativity, consistently offering key insights about late-capitalist, postindustrial society and the human condition.