Publications

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Natalie J. Doyle

Marcel  Gauchet and The Loss of common Purpose. Imaginary Islam and the Crisis of European Democracy

Langham: Lexington Books, 2017

Summary

This book explores the work of Marcel Gauchet, one of France’s most prominent contemporary intellectuals, to examine the contemporary crisis of European democracy. It does so by examining the threats from ideological co-radicalization associated with the combined impact of economic crisis and Islamic fundamentalism. It locates Gauchet’s ideas in the context of French intellectual history and notes the significant influence upon it of the social and political theories of Cornelius Castoriadis and Claude Lefort and its reaction against those of Foucault. The book reviews the entire scope of Gauchet’s writings, from the early publications to the most recent publications on the “new world” of neo-liberal individualism, economism, and globalization. The book reveals how Gauchet’s work overcomes many of the misunderstandings affecting current discussions of controversial topics including the European Union, the nation-state, political Islam, the paradoxes of democracy, secularization, and reactionary political movements. It highlights the need for European societies to rediscover their political underpinnings: their capacity to invent a new collective future, starting from the nation-state and to adapt to a new mode of international relations on a global scale. To do so, and to counter the threat of radicalization, they must retrieve the lost common purpose encapsulated in the notion of democratic sovereignty.

Review

Natalie Doyle’s study offers a provocative account of what she diagnoses as a “loss of common purpose” in contemporary French political debates by reconstructing the critical itinerary of Marcel Gauchet, a former gauchiste leader at a provincial French university in May 1968, whose encounter with a professor, Claude Lefort, led him to join also with Cornelius Castoriadis to transform the critique of totalitarianism into a positive theory of radical democracy. Now the editor of the monthly journal, Le Débat, an established historian and regular political commentator, Gauchet has—for good or for ill—recast the French intellectual stage. How did the former leftist-anarchist become an authority whose writings are taken seriously by all corners of the political spectrum? Natalie Doyle’s searching study presents a comprehensive analysis of Gauchet’s intellectual itinerary whose suggestive conclusions about the contemporary crisis of European democracy open new horizons.

— Dick Howard, SUNY, Stony Brook

Marcel Gauchet’s work is the most comprehensive and sophisticated interpretation of modern democracy; but in the English-speaking world, it has been neglected and overshadowed by much less meaningful constructions of “French theory.” Natalie Doyle’s book is the first substantial discussion of Gauchet’s theories in English, and so far the most extensive published anywhere. It contains an in-depth analysis of the French intellectual background, as well as reflections on the implications of Gauchet’s work for the current European crisis. The book is essential reading for all those interested in broad historical and theoretical perspectives on democratic societies.

— Johann P. Arnason, La Trobe University

Natalie Doyle throws new light on some of the most intractable questions of our times, while providing the most informative account of the work of Marcel Gauchet available in English. Like Gauchet, Natalie Doyle avoids the narrow perspectives that tend to shape current discussions and instead reveals the longer historical background to pressing contemporary concerns. Natalie Doyle’s stimulating and illuminating analysis will be of major interest to everyone concerned with political implications of religious belief today, the prospects of democracy, French intellectual history, and the potentials for theoretical and practical innovations that will enable us to recognize and move beyond our current incapacity to formulate a common purpose.

— Craig Browne, University of Sydney

Natalie Doyle’s book is an exhaustive and brilliant piece of research into the writings of Marcel Gauchet, but beyond that, it is a pedagogically articulated work on intellectual life in France since the 1960s. A major innovative side of the book concerns the internal ties between the thoughts of Marcel Gauchet, Claude Lefort and Cornelius Castoriadis. Until now, at least in the English speaking world, this affinity had not been comprehensively discussed and convincingly shown in reference to their mutual texts. On the other hand, Doyle makes a laudable effort to uncover the intricacies of Gauchet’s work in regard to Foucault. In the crisis of democracy to which Gauchet has dedicated many books, the role of Islam as an imaginary factor plays a double role: as an indicator of the crisis and as a new challenge for the secularization process as well as the role of religion in 21st century Europe. Gauchet’s leaning towards laïcité as a French intellectual is brought into the open by Doyle, critical of some of his tenets in this regard.

— Farhad Khosrokhavar, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales

 

Christopher Watkin

Thinking Through Creation: Genesis 1 and 2 as Tools of Cultural Critique

Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Press, 2017

Summary

Reading Genesis 1 and 2, we are tempted to see only problems to solve. Yet these two chapters burst with glorious truths about God, our world, and ourselves. In fact, their foundational doctrines are among the richest sources of insight as we pursue robust, sensitive, and constructive engagement with others about contemporary culture and ideas.

With deftness and clarity, Christopher Watkin reclaims the Trinity and creation from their cultural despisers and shows how they speak into, question, and reorient some of today’s most important debates.

Review

“Watkin does much more than round up the usual proof texts: he rather calls our attention to biblical patterns that diagonally cut through taken-for-granted false dichotomies. . . . Take up and take heed.”

—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

 

“Just brilliant! . . . In a rare combination, Watkin shows us at the deepest level what it means to read the world through the Word, but in a way that is genuinely accessible. His demonstrations of biblical patterns and structures are incredibly helpful.”

—Dan Strange, Lecturer in Culture, Religion and Public Theology, Oak Hill College

“Offers a radical and trenchant critique of contemporary culture and a well-grounded alternative shaped by the Christian Scriptures. I regard this slim volume as a seminal work, and I predict that it will become a classic of its kind.”

—Albert M. Wolters, Author, Creation Regained

“One of the most refreshing books I have read in a long time. With deceptive simplicity, Watkin defends exegetical, theological, and philosophical verities that are much needed in today’s discussions.”

—William Edgar, Professor of Apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary

 

Dwi Noverini Djenar, Michael C. Ewing & Howard Manns (eds.)

Style and Intersubjectivity in Youth Interaction

Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton, 2018

Summary

This book examines how style and intersubjective meanings emerge through language use. It is innovative in theoretical scope and empirical focus. It brings together insights from discourse-functional linguistics, stylistics, and conversation analysis to understand how language resources are used to enact stances in intersubjective space. While there are numerous studies devoted to youth language, the focus has been mainly on face-to-face interaction. Other types of youth interaction, particularly in mediated forms, have received little attention. This book draws on data from four different text types – conversation, e-forums, comics, and teen fiction – to highlight the multidirectional nature of style construction.
Indonesia provides a rich context for the study of style and intersubjectivity among youth. In constructing style, Indonesian urban youth have been moving away from conventions which emphasized hierarchy and uniformity toward new ways of connecting in intersubjective space. This book analyzes how these new ways are realized in different text types.
This book makes a valuable addition to sociolinguistic literature on youth and language and an essential reading for those interested in Austronesian sociolinguistics.

 

Carolyn S. Stevens

The Beatles in Japan

London:  Routledge, 2018

Summary

There have been many books about the Beatles, but this is the first full length monograph that looks seriously at the relationship between the Beatles and Japan, both in terms of their interaction with audiences, their experiences travelling and their personal relationships. The Japan concert series was a success, but not without controversy; protests regarding the suitability of the venue and the effect Beatlemania was having on Japanese society at the time demonstrate Japan’s liminal position in the early postwar period. The volume also includes a discussion of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s intercultural relationship and the dramatic arrest of Paul McCartney at Narita Airport in 1980. This book uses the Beatles music and fandom in Japan to focus on intercultural politics of the 1960s to 2000s.

 

 

Louisa Willoughby

Language Practices of Migrant Youth From School to Home

Abingdon: Routledge, 2018

Summary

This ground breaking research explores language maintenance and shift focusing on a school community. Following students’ language practice inside and outside of school, the author offers a full picture of students’ multilingual practices and their role in shaping identity. Using case studies of eight girls from Vietnamese and Cambodian backgrounds, the book draws on data from questionnaires, interviews and ethnographic observation to bring these language practices to life. It explores the place of heritage languages, English and other languages in the girls’ repertoires and investigates the role they see for these languages in their lives. A key focus of the book is the role of the school environment in shaping students’ repertoires and unfolding sense of ethnic identity; both directly through formal instruction and indirectly through its ethos and social composition. It provides practical suggestions on the basis of extensive research for how schools can negotiate some of the challenges of catering to a multiethnic population. Essential reading for anyone researching migrant language practice, sociolinguistics or multicultural education.

 

 

Felicity Chaplin

La Parisienne in cinema: Between art and life

Manchester University Press, 2017

Summary

Chic, sophisticated, seductive, and enigmatic, the Parisienne possesses a je ne sais quoi which makes her difficult to define. Who or what is the Parisienne and how she is depicted in cinema is the subject of this new and exciting book.

 In the first book-length publication to explore la Parisienne in cinema, Chaplin expands on existing scholarship on the Parisienne type in fields such as art history, literature, and fashion history, and builds on scholarship on the films discussed to both enrich and offer new perspectives on these films.
 Accessible and wide-ranging, this interdisciplinary and lively work will be of immediate interest to students and researchers working in Film Studies and French Studies and the broader humanities as well as a general interest audience. It is also essential reading for cinephiles and Francophiles alike.

 

 

Patrick Spedding,  Paul Watt, and Derek B. Scott (eds.)

Cheap Print and Popular Song in the Nineteenth Century: A Cultural History of the Songster

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017

Summary

his book is a cultural history of the nineteenth-century songster: pocket-sized anthologies of song texts, usually without musical notation. It examines the musical, social, commercial and aesthetic functions songsters served and the processes by which they were produced and disseminated, the repertory they included, and the singers, printers and entrepreneurs that both inspired their manufacture and facilitated their consumption. Taking an international perspective, chapters focus on songsters from Ireland, North America, Australia and Britain and the varied public and private contexts in which they were used and exploited in oral and print cultures.

 

Zhichang Xu (ed.)

Researching Chinese English: the State of the Art

Singapore: Springer, 2017

Summary

This volume offers a timely collection of original research papers on the various features and issues surrounding Chinese English, one of the varieties in World Englishes with a large and increasing number of learners and users. The five sections entitled ‘Researching Chinese English Pronunciation’, ‘Researching Chinese English Lexis, Grammar and Pragmatics’, ‘Researching Perceptions, Attitudes and Reactions towards Chinese English’, ‘Researching Cultural Conceptualizations and Identities in Chinese English’, and ‘Chinese Scholarship on Chinese English’, bring together three generations of Chinese and overseas researchers, both established and emerging, who offer lively dialogues on the current research, development and future of Chinese English. The introductory chapter by the editors on the state-of-the-art of researching Chinese English, and a concluding chapter by a leading researcher in World Englishes on the future directions for researching Chinese English make this an essential title for those who wish to gain insights on Chinese English.

 

 

Giovanna Brogi, Marko Pavlyshyn and Serhii Plokhy (eds.)

Ukraine and Europe: Cultural Encounters and Negotiations

Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017

Summary

Ukraine and Europe challenges the popular perception of Ukraine as a country torn between Europe and the east. Twenty-two scholars from Europe, North America, and Australia explore the complexities of Ukraine’s relationship with Europe and its role the continent’s historical and cultural development.
Encompassing literary studies, history, linguistics, and art history, the essays in this volume illuminate the interethnic, interlingual, intercultural, and international relationships that Ukraine has participated in. The volume is divided chronologically into three parts: the early modern era, the 19th and 20th century, and the Soviet/post-Soviet period. Ukraine in Europe offers new and innovative interpretations of historical and cultural moments while establishing a historical perspective for the pro-European sentiments that have arisen in Ukraine following the Euromaidan protests.
Ukraine and Europe challenges the popular perception of Ukraine as a country torn between Europe and the east. Twenty-two scholars from Europe, North America, and Australia explore the complexities of Ukraine’s relationship with Europe and its role the continent’s historical and cultural development.
Encompassing literary studies, history, linguistics, and art history, the essays in this volume illuminate the interethnic, interlingual, intercultural, and international relationships that Ukraine has participated in. The volume is divided chronologically into three parts: the early modern era, the 19th and 20th century, and the Soviet/post-Soviet period. Ukraine in Europe offers new and innovative interpretations of historical and cultural moments while establishing a historical perspective for the pro-European sentiments that have arisen in Ukraine following the Euromaidan protests.

 

 

Ali Alizadeh

The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc

Artarmon, NSW: Giramondo Publishing, 2017

Summary

Jeanne is a young woman from rural France. She’s a knight who wears men’s clothing. The English call her Joan of Arc. Jeanne has led France to victory in epic battles. She hears ghostly voices and has unspeakable desires. The English want to burn her. Her king has abandoned her. Her heart has been broken. Her heart cannot be burnt. This is her story, and the story of her beloved.
Ali Alizadeh’s novel The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc is a provocative new portrait of the life of one of history’s most fascinating figures. Countless books have been written about the young Frenchwoman who claimed to hear the voices of saints, led the armies of France in the war against England in the Middle Ages, and was captured and burnt for heresy by her enemies. Based on a rigorous study of the historical material, The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc provides the first serious dramatisation of Jeanne’s sexuality. Alizadeh uses an innovative storytelling technique that weaves together multiple narrative perspectives to tell the story of a courageous young woman who, driven by a passion for justice and forbidden desire, changes the course of Western history.

Review

“Alizadeh employs unusual, but thrilling, formal devices throughout. Voices emerge, persist or fade. Jeanne’s second-person voice, which is addressed to her lover, is limited to parentheses before shedding its skin in the later sections. Her first-person voice appears suddenly, at a moment of keen anguish, and is injected into third-person paragraphs thereafter. The shift into a second major voice and perspective in the brief final section of the novel – which ‘talks back’ to the events and voices that come before it – is inspired. To Alizadeh’s great credit, he pursues these branching narrative strategies while maintaining an extraordinary fluency and coherence. The novel form is well equipped to embrace this kind of sprawl, but Alizadeh writes with such an astute sense of proportion that it barely seems like sprawl at all.” —Shannon Burns, Australian Book Review

“Even those who feel they’ve heard enough about Joan of Arc would do themselves a favour by picking up this book, an imaginative reconstruction of the thoughts crowding her young mind as she lay huddled in a gruesome prison, waiting to be brought to English “justice”. The way it is told is strangely refreshing, the distinctive style – short, often verbless sentences, rather catching […] Another achievement is the almost miraculous (not a word to use lightly in this context) blending of history, mystery, mysticism and modernity. […]But, despite the stake and the dulling effects of familiarity, Jeanne d’Arc’s pulling power is not diminished. This particular product of it is outstanding.” —Judith Armstrong, The Age

 

 

Alice Gaby

A Grammar of Kuuk Thaayorre

Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton, 2017

Summary

This grammar offers a comprehensive description of Kuuk Thaayorre, a Paman language spoken on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula, Australia. On the basis of elicited data, narrative and semi-spontaneous conversation recorded between 2002 and 2008, as well as archival materials, this grammar details the phonetics and phonology, morphosyntax, lexical and constructional semantics and pragmatics of one of the few indigenous Australian languages still used as a primary means of communication. Kuuk Thaayorre possesses features of typological interest at each of these levels.

 

 

Farzad Sharifian

Cultural Linguistics

Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2017

Summary

This ground-breaking book marks a milestone in the history of the newly developed field of Cultural Linguistics, a multidisciplinary area of research that explores the relationship between language and cultural conceptualisations. The most authoritative book in the field to date, it outlines the theoretical and analytical framework of Cultural Linguistics elaborating on its key theoretical/analytical notions of cultural cognition, cultural schema, cultural category and cultural metaphor. In addition, it brings to light a wide array of cultural conceptualisations drawn from many different languages and language varieties. The book reveals how the analytical tools of Cultural Linguistics can produce in-depth and insightful investigations into the cultural grounding of language in several domains and subdisciplines, including embodiment, emotion, religion, World Englishes, pragmatics, intercultural communication, Teaching English as an International Language (TEIL), and political discourse analysis. By presenting a comprehensive survey of recent research in Cultural Linguistics, this book demonstrates the relevance of the cultural conceptualisations encoded in language to all aspects of human life, from the very conceptualisations of life and death, to conceptualisations of emotion, body, humour, religion, gender, kinship, ageing, marriage, and politics. This book, in short, is a must-have reference work for scholars and students interested in Cultural Linguistics.

Review

“ Cultural Linguistics provides a brilliant overview over the theoretical foundations, analytical dimensions, and practical applications of the emergent framework of studying language as a dynamic system instantiating cultural conceptualisations. By linking new, ground-breaking theoretical and methodological models with linguistic examples from languages on all continents and from intercultural communication (and miscommunication), Farzad Sharifian opens new perspectives on linguistic relativity, metaphor studies, pragmatics, emotion research, religious and political discourses, World Englishes and Teaching English as an International Language. The research programme of Cultural Linguistics is truly under way.”
—Andreas Musolff, University of East Anglia
“ Cultural Linguistics represents an important milestone in the development of research into the relationship between language and cultural conceptualisations. It provides the reader with a detailed discussion of the theoretical and analytical framework of Cultural Linguistics. The work includes in-depth discussions of the instruments of analysis which are being utilized by this increasingly influential approach to unravelling the way that language, culture, and conceptualisation are intertwined. Moreover, these instruments are put into practice in a wide-ranging and brilliantly argued set of chapters in which the role of cultural schemas, cultural metaphors and cultural categories, is laid out and elaborated upon, using many concrete examples drawn several languages and language varieties. The book provides the reader not only with an overview of the field, including the relationship between Cultural Linguistics and cultural relativity, but also demonstrates how these tools of analysis can be brought to bear on a variety of topics. In short, I consider this work to be the most important contribution to the emerging field of Cultural Linguistics to date.”
—Roslyn M. Frank, The University of Iowa

 

 

Farzad Sharifian, Editor

Advances in Cultural Linguistics

Singapore/London/New York: Springer Nature, 2017

Summary

This groundbreaking collection represents the broad scope of cutting-edge research in Cultural Linguistics, a burgeoning field of interdisciplinary inquiry into the relationships between language and cultural cognition. The materials surveyed in its chapters demonstrate how cultural conceptualisations encoded in language relate to all aspects of human life – from emotion and embodiment to kinship, religion, marriage and politics, even the understanding of life and death. Cultural Linguistics draws on cognitive science, complexity science and distributed cognition, among other disciplines, to strengthen its theoretical and analytical base. The tools it has developed have worked toward insightful investigations into the cultural grounding of language in numerous applied domains, including World Englishes, cross-cultural/intercultural pragmatics, intercultural communication, Teaching English as an International Language (TEIL), and political discourse analysis.

 

 

Alice Whitmore (trans.)

All My Goodbyes

Artarmon: Giramondo, 2017

Summary

All My Goodbyes (Mariana Dimópulos, trans. Alice Whitmore) is the first title in Giramondo’s pioneering “Southern Latitudes’ series, focussing on innovative fiction and non-fiction by writers of the southern hemisphere.
The novel is told in overlapping vignettes, which follow the travels of a young Argentinian woman across Europe (Málaga, Madrid, Heidelberg, Berlin) and back to Argentina (Buenos Aires, Patagonia) as she flees from situation to situation, job to job, and relationship to relationship. Within the complexity of the narrator’s situation, a backstory emerges about a brutal murder in Patagonia which she may or may not be implicated in, but whether this is the cause of her flight is never entirely clear – she is driven as much by psychological concerns, her relationship with her father, uncertainty about her identity and purpose in life. The novella is, as the title suggests, a catalogue of goodbyes, the result of a decade-long cycle of self-inflicted alienation which the narrator, despite herself, seems fated to perpetuate. In its structure it recalls the rich Argentinian tradition of Cortazar and Borges; its language is by turns stark and elaborate, brutal in its economy and yet poetic in its imagery.

Review

This highly acclaimed contemporary Argentinian novel is the first in Giramondo’s ‘Literature of the South’ series, featuring innovative fiction and non-fiction by writers of the southern hemisphere. It is translated from the Spanish by Australian translator Alice Whitmore All My Goodbyes is a novel told in overlapping vignettes, which follow the travels of a young Argentinian woman across Europe (Malaga, Madrid, Heidelberg, Berlin) and back to Argentina (Buenos Aires, Patagonia) as she flees from situation to situation, job to job, and relationship to relationship. Within the complexity of the narrator’s situation, a backstory emerges about a brutal murder in Patagonia which she may or may not be implicated in, but whether this is the cause of her flight is never entirely clear – she is driven as much by psychological concerns, her relationship with her father, uncertainty about her identity and purpose in life. The novella is, as the title suggests, a catalogue of goodbyes, the result of a decade-long cycle of self-inflicted alienation which the narrator, despite herself, seems fated to perpetuate. In its structure it recalls the rich Argentinian tradition of Cortazar and Borges; its language is by turns stark and elaborate, brutal in its economy and yet poetic in its imagery. ‘She is a writer of montage, of narrative leaps, of what she calls ‘a fragmentary way of seeing’. In her writing we sense at once a farewell and a recognition, a greeting and a rupturing.’ Esther Cross ‘All My Goodbyes is one of those books that spins intensity out of brevity. A novel in which careful prose, coupled with an ample and precise vocabulary, coexists with a gracefully non-linear novelistic form.’ Eduardo Berti

 

 

Harry Aveling (Translator), Minh Tran Huy (Author)

Why the Sea is Full of Salt and Other Vietnamese Folktales

Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 2017

Summary

“This delightful anthology presents eighteen well-known and much loved Vietnamese folktales.The stories tell of charming princesses, disputing brothers, powerful kings, magical anima;s, mysterious objects and kindhearted genies.They evoke the soul of Vietnam — its inense human relationships, its exuberance and gentle melancholy.”

 

 

 

Andrew David Jackson

The 1728 Musin Rebellion: Politics and Plotting in Eighteenth- Century Korea

Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2016

Summary

The 1728 Musin Rebellion: Politics and Plotting in Eighteenth-Century Korea provides the first comprehensive account in English of the Musin Rebellion, an attempt to overthrow King Yŏngjo (1694–1776; r. 1724–1776), and the largest rebellion of eighteenth-century Korea. The overthrow proved unsuccessful, but during three weeks of fighting the government lost control of over a dozen county seats and the rebels drew popular support from the inhabitants of three southern provinces. The revolt profoundly unsettled the early years of Yŏngjo’s reign and had considerable influence on the subsequent course of factionalism. In this keenly reasoned study, Andrew David Jackson investigates the causes, development, suppression, legacy, and significance of the bloody Musin Rebellion.
The Musin Rebellion had its roots in the factional conflicts surrounding Yŏngjo’s troubled succession to the throne. Jackson analyzes an aspect of the conflict previously neglected by researchers, namely how the rebels managed to create an armed rebellion. He argues that the rebellion should be understood in the context of other attempts on power by factional members that occurred over a hundred-year period leading up to 1728. By exploring the political and military context of the event, the book demonstrates that the Musin Rebellion was not driven by systemic breakdown, regionalism, or ideology, but was a failed attempt by political players to take control of the court. Central to the eruption of violence in 1728 was the intervention of key rebel plotters, several of whom were serving officials with access to state military resources. The book provides an in-depth view of factional politics in the Chosŏn court, and the final section deals with the rebel legacy, bringing to the fore issues about managing, forming, and directing the historical memory of the rebellion.

 

Andrew David Jackson and Colette Balmain (eds.)

Korean Screen Cultures Interrogating Cinema, TV, Music and Online Games

Oxford: Peter Lang, 2016

Summary

The «Korean Wave», or Hallyu phenomenon, has brought South Korean popular culture to the global population. Studies on Korean visual culture have therefore often focused on this aspect, leaving North Korea sidelined and often considered in a negative light because of its political regime. Korean Screen Cultures sets out to redress this imbalance with a broad selection of essays spanning both North and South as well as different methodological approaches, from ethnographic and audience studies to cultural materialist readings. The first section of the book, «The South», highlights popular media – including online gaming and television drama – and concentrates on the margins, in which the very nature of «The South» is contested. «The South and the North» examines North Korea as an ideological other in South Korean popular culture as well as discussing North Korean cinema itself. «The Global» offers new approaches to Korean popular culture beyond national borders and includes work on K-pop and Korean television drama. This book is a vital addition to existing scholarship on Korean popular culture, offering a unique view by providing an imaginary unification of the two Koreas negotiated through local and transnational popular culture flows.

 

 

Luigi Gussago

Picaresque Fiction Today. The Trickster in Contemporary Anglophone and Italian Literature

Leiden: Brill/Rodopi, 2016

Summary

In Picaresque Fiction Today Luigi Gussago examines the development of the picaresque in contemporary Anglophone and Italian fiction. Far from being an extinct narrative form, confined to the pages of its original Spanish sources or their later British imitators, the tale of roguery has been revisited through the centuries from a host of disparate angles. Throughout their wanderings, picaresque antiheroes are dragged into debates on the credibility of historical facts, gender mystifications, rational thinking, or any simplistic definition of the outcast.
 Referring to a corpus of eight contemporary novels, the author retraces a textual legacy linking the traditional picaresque to its recent descendants, with the main purpose of identifying the way picaresque novels offer a privileged insight into our sceptical times.

 

 

Gloria Davies, Jeremy Goldkorn, Luigi Tomba (eds.)

China Story Yearbook 2015: Pollution

Canberra: ANU Press, 2016

Summary

Environmental pollution poses serious challenges for China, including to its economy as well as public health. The China Story Yearbook 2015: Pollution looks at how China’s Communist Party-state addresses these problems and how Chinese citizens have coped with and expressed their concerns about living with chronic, worsening pollution.

This Yearbook also explores the broader ramifications of pollution in the People’s Republic for culture, society law and social activism, as well as the Internet, language, thought, and approaches to history. It looks at how it affects economic and political developments, urban change, and China’s regional and global posture. The Chinese Communist Party, led by ‘Chairman of Everything’ Xi Jinping, meanwhile, has subjected mainland society to increasingly repressive control in its new determination to rid the country of Western ‘spiritual pollutants’ while achieving cultural purification through ‘propaganda and ideological work’.

 

 

Beatrice Trefalt, with Sandra Wilson, Robert Cribb and Dean Aszkielowicz

Japanese War Criminals: the politics of Justice After the Second World War

New York: Columbia University Press, 2016

Summary

Examining the complex moral, ethical, legal and political issues surrounding the Allied prosecution project, from the first investigations during the war to the final release of prisoners in 1958, ‘Japanese War Criminals’ shows how a simple effort to punish the guilty evolved into a multi-dimensional struggle that muddied the assignment of criminal responsibility for war crimes. This book makes a unique contribution to our understanding of the construction of the postwar international order in Asia and to our comprehension of the difficulties of implementing transitional justice.

Review

‘This exemplary work of collaborative scholarship represents a genuine breakthrough in our understanding of the processes behind and consequences of, Allied efforts to prosecute Japanese war crimes in the aftermath of the Second World War. Drawing on archival sources gathered from all corners of the globe, Japanese War Criminals not only provides an impressive overview of the thousands of individual trials conducted by the Allies across the Asia-Pacific region, but also details the complex tangle of considerations that resulted in the release of all remaining prisoners by the end of 1958. Rejecting the simple opposition between politics and justice that has so often been used to frame discussions of the trials, this book instead offers a deeply compelling account of the moral, legal and practical dilemmas that haunt every episode in this profoundly important moment in history’. Professor Daniel Botsman, Yale University.

 

 

Barbara Pezzotti

Investigating Italy’s Past through Historical Crime Fiction, Films and TV Series: Murder in the Age of Chaos

London and New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2016

Summary

This book is the first monograph in English that comprehensively examines the ways in which Italian historical crime novels, TV series, and films have become a means to intervene in the social and political changes of the country. This study explores the ways in which fictional representations of the past mirror contemporaneous anxieties within Italian society in the work of writers such as Leonardo Sciascia, Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Lucarelli, Francesco Guccini, Loriano Macchiavelli, Marcello Fois, Maurizio De Giovanni, and Giancarlo De Cataldo; film directors such as Elio Petri, Pietro Germi, Michele Placido, and Damiano Damiani; and TV series such as the “Commissario De Luca” series, the “Commissario Nardone” series, and “Romanzo criminale”The series.”  Providing the most wide-ranging examination of this sub-genre in Italy, Barbara Pezzotti places works set in the Risorgimento, WWII, and the Years of Lead in the larger social and political context of contemporary Italy.

Review

“With this book, Barbara Pezzotti completes a trilogy of sorts begun with The Importance of Place in Contemporary Italian Crime Fiction (2012) and continued with Politics and Society in Italian Crime Fiction (2014). Considering the vast production of historical detective fiction in Italy, she argues that the genre serves to consider the past from alternative perspectives from those of official historiography, and to give a voice to those on the margins of mainstream historical accounts. Pezzotti is a superb close reader, and balances an attention to the text with complex theoretical and historiographic questions such as the role of memory in shaping individual and collective identity, and individual responsibility in the face of the collective crimes of the Fascist regime.” (Luca Somigli, Professor of Italian Studies, University of Toronto, Canada)
“With this book, Pezzotti further cements her reputation as the foremost expert on the intersection of place, history, and national identity in Italian crime fiction. Essential reading.” (Robert Rushing, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA and author of “Resisting Arrest: Detective Fiction & Popular Culture”)
“Evincing deep familiarity with her material, Pezzotti shows in this ambitious study how recent novels, films, and television series dealing with the Italian past mediate ideological positions from the coeval political culture.” (Alan O’Leary, Associate Professor of Italian, University of Leeds, UK and author of “Tragedia all’italiana: Italian Cinema and Italian Terrorisms, 1970-2010”)
“Pezzotti’s fine book presents an authoritative overview of recent Italian crime fiction. Lucidly written and compellingly interdisciplinary, this book emphasises the capacity of crime fiction to fill in the gaps left by historians, and the power and relevance of cultural responses to a contested and difficult past.” (Philip Cooke, Professor of Italian History and Culture, University of Strathclyde, UK and author of “The Legacy of the Italian Resistance”)
“Pezzotti’s fascinating study shows how crime fiction has been used to probe and question Italy’s historical open wounds and unresolved legacies. The Risorgimento, Fascism and the war, and the anni di piombo are each carefully illuminated in turn through the lens and intelligent eye of the contemporary giallo.” (Robert S. C Gordon, Serena Professor of Italian, University of Cambridge, UK and author of “The Holocaust in Italian Culture, 1944-2010”)

 

 

Christopher Watkin

French Philosophy Today: New Figures of the Human in Badiou, Meillassoux, Malabou, Serres and Latour

Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016

Summary

French philosophy today is laying fresh claim to the human. This is not to be mistaken for a return to previous ideas of the human, nor is it, strictly speaking, a posthuman turn. It is a series of independent, simultaneous initiatives, arising in the writing of diverse current French thinkers to transform and rework the figure of the human. Christopher Watkin draws out both the promises and perils inherent in these attempts to rethink humanity’s relation to “nature’ and “culture’, to the objects that surround us, to the possibility of social and political change, to ecology and even to our own brains. This comparative assessment makes visible for the first time one of the most important trends in French thought today.

Review

In this important book Christopher Watkin shows us the transformations of the human in the work of five contemporary philosophers who exceed the limits of post-structuralism. His treatments of Badiou, Meillassoux, Malabou, Serres and Latour function as valuable resources on their work and an original thesis in his own terms.
–Clayton Crockett, University of Central Arkansas

 

 

Alice Whitmore (trans.)

See You at Breakfast?

Artarmon: Giramondo, 2016

Summary

Set in Mexico City, See You at Breakfast? follows the intersecting lives of four characters: Cristina, a practical-minded prostitute managing work, police harassment and the demands of the men who fall in love with her; Ulises, a solitary office worker obsessed by a promotion he will never receive; his longtime friend Adolfo, a part-trained veterinarian who dispenses medical advice and is incapable of distinguishing between a dog and a coyote; and the neighbour with whom he is infatuated, the beautiful and sheltered Olivia, the daughter of Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose violent assault at the hands of Cristina’s brother brings them together as a group.

Guillermo Fadanelli is one of Mexico’s leading authors, and appears in English for the first time in this translation by the young Australian translator Alice Whitmore.

Review

“What is the value of a human life? This is the question at the heart of this brief, moving novel by Guillermo Fadanelli, who has published 24 Spanish-language books but is largely unknown outside Mexico. It’s rare for a local publisher to commission a new translation –life is short, books are long, translation is expensive –and this one is by Alice Whitmore, an Australian poet. The translation is balanced between precision and lushness, with many long sentences built upon detail after detail that push the reader towards a whip-crack ending.” CR, The Saturday Paper, March 5, 2016.

 

 

Jim Hlavac

Three generations, two countries of origin, one speech community: Australian-Macedonians and their language(s)

Munich/Leipzig: Kubon & Sagner / Biblion Media, 2016

Summary

This book examines speakers of Macedonian as a transposed, immigrant
language in Australia. Speakers’ reported use of Macedonian, English and other
languages is presented through domain-based sociolinguistic analysis. This is augmented by data on the ethno-linguistic vitality of Macedonian-speakers and by language attitude responses that record speakers’ affective feelings towards different language varieties. This description is based on data gained from 103 speakers across three generations and from two countries of origin: northern Greece and the Republic of Macedonia. The statistical data are complemented by excerpts taken from longer interviews and by vignettes that give an insight into the lives of Macedonian-speakers in Australia.
This book focuses on a group that records one of the highest levels of language
maintenance amongst Australia’s ethno-linguistic minorities and is a contribution to the fields of sociology of language, maintenance of minority languages and language attitudes.

 

 

Dr Marc Orlando

Training 21st century translators and interpreters: At the crossroads of practice, research and pedagogy

Berlin, Frank & Timme, 2016

Summary

Marc Orlando looks at the gap between practice and research in Translation & Interpreting Studies and at the way this gap could be bridged. He focuses on the way practice and research can inform each other in the education and training of future translators and interpreters, with the aim of training future professionals both as practitioners and researchers in an educational environment that would marry both vocational and academic elements. It is proposed that promoting the status of practisearchers would help to fill the current gap between practitioners, researchers and Translation and Interpreting educators. Suggestions are made concerning ways of undertaking research and gaining new insights into T&I Studies from professional practice and experience, and of designing new didactic tools for T&I education and training from experiential and theoretical knowledge. 

 

 

Melinda Harvey

Katherine Mansfield and Literary Influence

Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015

Summary

Katherine Mansfield and Literary Influence provides new reflections on literary influence using Katherine Mansfield as a case study. The book identifies Mansfield’s involvement in six modes of literary influence – Ambivalence, Exchange, Identification, Imitation, Enchantment and Legacy. In so doing, it revisits key issues in Mansfield studies, including her relationships with Virginia Woolf, John Middleton Murry and S. S. Koteliansky, as well as the famous plagiarism case regarding Anton Chekhov. It also charts new territories for exploration, expanding the terrain of Mansfield’s influence to include writers as diverse as Colette, Evelyn Waugh, Nettie Palmer, Eve Langley and Frank Sargeson.

Review

“The beautifully organized essays combine in fascinating ways to suggest new theoretical approaches to the question of Katherine Mansfield’s impact on twentieth-century fiction. Well-grounded in both critical theory and literary history, these essays complicate older models of influence study and reveal unexpected interconnections between Mansfield and other writers.’
— Professor Sydney Kaplan, University of Washington

 

 

Warren Sun

Paradoxes of Post-Mao Rural Reform

Abingdon: Taylor and Francis, 2015

Summary

The decollectivization of Chinese agriculture in the early post-Mao period is widely recognized as a critical part of the overall reform program. But the political process leading to this outcome is poorly understood. A number of approaches have dominated the existing literature: 1) a power/policy struggle between Hua Guofeng’s alleged neo-Maoists and Deng Xiaoping’s reform coalition; 2) the power of the peasants; and 3) the leading role of provincial reformers. The first has no validity, while second and third must be viewed through more complex lenses. This study provides a new interpretation challenging conventional wisdom. Its key finding is that a game changer emerged in spring 1980 at the time Deng replaced Hua as CCP leader, but the significant change in policy was not a product of any clash between these two leaders. Instead, Deng endorsed Zhao Ziyang’s policy initiative that shifted emphasis away from Hua’s pro-peasant policy of increased resources to the countryside, to a pro-state policy that reduced the rural burden on national coffers. To replace the financial resources, policy measures including household farming were implemented with considerable provincial variations. The major unexpected production increases in 1982 confirmed the arrival of decollectivization as the template on the ground. The dynamics of this policy change has never been adequately explained. Paradoxes of Post-Mao Rural Reform offers a deep empirical study of critical developments involving politics from the highest levels in Beijing to China’s villages, and in the process challenges many broader accepted interpretations of the politics of reform. It is essential reading for students and scholars of contemporary Chinese political history.

 

 

Emeritus Prof Brian Nelson

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015

Summary

In this highly accessible introduction, Brian Nelson provides an overview of French literature Рits themes and forms, traditions and transformations Рfrom the Middle Ages to the present. Major writers, including Francophone authors writing from areas other than France, are discussed chronologically in the context of their times, to provide a sense of the development of the French literary tradition and the strengths of some of the most influential writers within it. Nelson offers close readings of exemplary passages from key works, presented in English translation and with the original French. The exploration of the work of important writers, including Villon, Racine, Moli̬re, Voltaire, Balzac, Flaubert, Zola, Proust, Sartre and Beckett, highlights the richness and diversity of French literature.
Read more at http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/literature/european-literature/cambridge-introduction-french-literature#0xvQvtQMsBCGfZqR.99

Review

“To say that this book is readable would be a serious understatement . . . inspired and often inspiring” –T. Chapman Wing, H-France Review
“an important contribution . . . [Nelson’s] scholarship. . . is all the more impressive for being deftly deployed” –Colin Nettelbeck, Australian Book Review
“This is a book for everyone interested in French literature, whether erudite or ignorant” –Valerie Minogue, Bulletin of the Émile Zola Society

 

 

Franz-Josef Deiters

Die Entweltlichung der Bühne: Zur Mediologie des Theaters der klassischen Episteme [De-worlding the stage: on the mediology of theatre of the classical episteme]

Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag, 2015

Summary

Ist das Theater (k)ein Medium? Diese Frage – im Jahre 2006 von der Gesellschaft für Theaterwissenschaft gestellt und von Theater- und Medienwissenschaftlern anhaltend kontrovers diskutiert – lässt sich allein in historischer Perspektive und im Rückgang auf epistemologische Fragestellungen fundiert beantworten. Im Ausgang von Michel Foucaults Untersuchung des Wechsels von der frühneuzeitlichen zur klassischen Episteme werden in der vorliegenden Studie die Umbrüche rekonstruiert, die sich im Theater des 18. und frühen 19. Jahrhunderts vollziehen. Dabei wird die These vertreten, dass es sich bei den Reformen des 18. Jahrhunderts um eine Verpflichtung der Kunstform Theater auf die klassische Zeichentheorie handelt. Zur Sprache gebracht werden in diesem Zusammenhang die von Johann Christoph Gottsched und seinen Nachfolgern betriebene Strategie einer Literarisierung des Theaters, die Umstellung des theatralen Raumregimes auf eine prinzipielle Trennung von Bühnen- und Zuschauerraum und die mit ihr einhergehende Ausprägung eines konsequent auf seine Medialfunktion ausgelegten und städtebaulich exponierten Theaterbaus, außerdem die Genese der sich aus dem Regelwerk der Rhetorik lösenden modernen Schauspieltheorie und der sich im 18. Jahrhundert etablierende und von Gottsched über Lessing bis zu Goethe und Schiller (u.a.) reichende dramaturgische Diskurs. Mittels der Zusammenführung dieser verschiedenen Aspekte wird die Umbildung der Kunstform Theater zu einem repräsentationslogisch strukturierten Kommunikationsmedium einsichtig gemacht. Sodann wird mittels ausführlicher Beispielanalysen kanonischer Dramentexte der Weimarer Theaterreformer Goethe (Egmont, Iphigenie auf Tauris) und Schiller (Maria Stuart) gezeigt, wie sich das mediale Apriori des Theaters der klassischen Episteme auf der Ebene der Dramentexte reflektiert. Anhand von Analysen von Ludwig Tiecks frühen transzendentaltheatralen Komödien (Der gestiefelte Kater, Die verkehrte Welt), von Heinrich von Kleists als theatertheoretischer Beitrag gelesenem Essay über das Marionettentheater sowie seiner späten Dramen (Die Herrmannsschlacht, Prinz Friedrich von Homburg) wird schließlich gezeigt, wie sich das mediale Apriori des Theaters der klassischen Episteme um 1800 selbst problematisch wird. Diese Kapitel setzen einen (vorläufigen) Schlusspunkt. Einem Folgeband vorbehalten ist die Beschreibung der – vergeblichen – Versuche der Theateravantgarden des 20. Jahrhunderts, die Kunstform Theater dem Repräsentationsparadigma zu entwinden.

 

Harry Aveling (Translator), Pham Duy Khie (Author)

Legends from Serene Lands

Hanoi: The Gioi  Publishers, 2015

Summary

Pham Duy Khiem was the first Vietnamese to graduate from the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, and later served as his nation’s ambassador to France. This collection of Vietnamese folktales is written in a lyrical, deeply moving manner and makes this rich cultural heritage immediately available to all readers.

 

 

Jim Hlavac

On Macedonian Matters. From the Partition and Annexation of Macedonia in 1913 to the Present. A Collection of Essays on Language, Culture and History

Munich: Kubon & Sagner, 2015

Summary

Since the fall of communism in 1989, cross-border co-operation between neighbouring states has become a feature of the “common European home’ project. A prominent exception to this trend is Macedonia which today is still subjected to blockade politics and the absence of respect and recognition for Macedonian language, nationality and ethnicity. As a part of Europe under the control of the Ottomans until 1912, Macedonia was less captured by the allure of national romanticism than other areas of Europe, and an embryonic notion of multi-national statehood appeared there. This notion was based on local and regional practices that encompassed groups with different linguistic, cultural and religious heritages rather than being based exclusively on ethnic or religious affiliations. Such a conception of “nation’ –which could perhaps provide an aspirational model for many post-industrial, multi-cultural societies in Western Europe in the 21st century –was suppressed by the 19th-century nationalism that still characterises much of European politics. This multi-disciplinary book of 15 papers features contributions from historians, political analysts, social theorists, linguists, educationalists and legal specialists tracing the consequences of the Balkan Wars (1912”1913) and the partition of Macedonia on the social, cultural and linguistic landscape of this region.

 

 

Carolyn S. Stevens

Sound, Space and Sociality in Modern Japan

London:  Routledge, 2014

Summary

This book argues that sound –as it is created, transmitted, and perceived –plays a key role in the constitution of space and community in contemporary Japan. The book examines how sonic practices reflect politics, aesthetics, and ethics, with transformative effects on human relations. From right-wing sound trucks to left-wing protests, from early 20th century jazz cafes to contemporary avant-garde art forms, from the sounds of U.S. military presence to exuberant performances organized in opposition, the book, rich in ethnographic detail, contributes to sensory anthropology and the anthropology of contemporary Japan.

 

 

Axel Fliethmann

Texte über Bilder. Zur Gegenwart der Renaissance

Freiburg: Rombach Verlag, 2014

Summary

Weitreichende Korrespondenzen – darin sieht Rezensent Michael Cuntz in seiner Buchbesprechung von Axel Fliethmanns Handbuch Texte über Bilder. Zur Gegenwart der Renaissance die “wohl prägnanteste Formulierung des inhaltlichen Programms”. Das Buch, das eine philologische Unterscheidung von Bild und Text im Text vornimmt und korrespondierende Schreibweisen über das Bild zwischen Renaissance und der Moderne seit dem ausgehenden 19. Jahrhundert vergleicht, biete eine “Fülle interessanter Erkenntnisse” und sei eine “lohnende Lektüre”, so Cuntz, der auf über vier Seiten detailliert Fliethmanns Werk rezensiert.

Rezension: Michael Cuntz: Weitreichende Korrespondenzen. Zu Axel Fliethmanns »Texte über Bilder. Zur Gegenwart der Renaissance«, Freiburg i.Br./Berlin/Wien 2014, in: Comparatio 8 (2016), S. 176-180.

Review

Fliethmann has dedicated his interesting and extremely complex book to an argument for philologists to remain. He opposes vehemently the perception that in a visual and media age, philologists have only minor relevance. 
However as long as communication about images is verbally conveyed this communication can and should be beneficially accompanied by philology. As “ Texts about Images” is in the first instance about text and thus a philological object of investigation. It is a particular merit that, Fliethmann as a philologer, has first pointed out that texts about images since the renaissance all bear an uncanny similarity. He converges all these rhetorical conformities with the term “correspondence” as established in his previous writings. [Review by Katharina Weber in Wirkendes Wort, 1 (2015), p. 163, my translation]

 

 

Heather Bowe, Kylie Martin and Howard Manns (eds.)

Communication Across Cultures: Mutual Understanding in a Global World

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014

Summary

Communication across Cultures explores how cultural context affects the use and (mis)interpretation of language. It provides an accessible and interdisciplinary introduction to language and language variation in intercultural communication by drawing on both classic and cutting-edge research from pragmatics, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology and politeness studies. This new edition has been comprehensively updated to incorporate recent research, with an emphasis on the fluid and emergent practice of intercultural communication. It provides increased coverage of variation in language within and between cultures, drawing on real-world examples of spoken and written communication. The authors review classic concepts like ‘face’, ‘politeness’ and ‘speech acts’, but also critique these concepts and introduce more recent approaches. Each chapter provides a set of suggested readings, questions and exercises to enable the student to work through concepts and consolidate their understanding of intercultural communication. This is an excellent resource for students of linguistics and related disciplines.

 

 

Kevin Foster

Don’t Mention the War: The Australian Defence Force, the Media and the Afghan Conflict

Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2013

Summary

The war in Afghanistan is now the longest and, arguably, worst reported conflict in Australian history. In Don’t Mention the War, Kevin Foster explores why this is so and considers who engineered and who has benefitted from its impoverished coverage. He examines how and why the ADF restricted the media’s access to and freedom of movement among its troops in Afghanistan and what we can learn about their motives and methods from the more liberal media policies of the Dutch and Canadian militaries. He analyses how the ADF ensured positive coverage of its endeavours by bringing many aspects of the reporting of the war in-house and why some among the fourth estate were only too happy to hand over responsibility for newsgathering to the military. The book also investigates how political responses to the conflict, and the discourse that framed them, served to conceal the facts and neuter public debate about the war. After more than a decade of evasion and obstruction, half-truths and hype, Don’t Mention the War reveals how politicians, the military and the media failed the public over the Afghan conflict. Here is the real story behind the Australian story of the war.

Review

‘It is an important question of our time. Why is this longest war in Afghanistan Australia’s worst reported war? Kevin Foster’s thorough and insightful analysis delivers important answers.’ Chris Masters

 

 

Gloria Davies

Lu Xun’s Revolution: Writing in a Time of Violence

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013

Summary

Widely recognized as modern China’s preeminent man of letters, Lu Xun (1881”1936) is revered as the voice of a nation’s conscience, a writer comparable to Shakespeare and Tolstoy in stature and influence. Gloria Davies’s portrait now gives readers a better sense of this influential author by situating the man Mao Zedong hailed as “the sage of modern China” in his turbulent time and place.
In Davies’s vivid rendering, we encounter a writer passionately engaged with the heady arguments and intrigues of a country on the eve of revolution. She traces political tensions in Lu Xun’s works which reflect the larger conflict in modern Chinese thought between egalitarian and authoritarian impulses. During the last phase of Lu Xun’s career, the so-called “years on the left,” we see how fiercely he defended a literature in which the people would speak for themselves, and we come to understand why Lu Xun continues to inspire the debates shaping China today.
Although Lu Xun was never a Communist, his legacy was fully enlisted to support the Party in the decades following his death. Far from the apologist of political violence portrayed by Maoist interpreters, however, Lu Xun emerges here as an energetic opponent of despotism, a humanist for whom empathy, not ideological zeal, was the key to achieving revolutionary ends. Limned with precision and insight, Lu Xun’s Revolution is a major contribution to the ongoing reappraisal of this foundational figure.

Review

“There is a wealth of insights in Lu Xun’s Revolution, and I applaud Gloria Davies for such thorough and conscientious efforts in plowing through all the sources of the later Lu Xun. Davies has not only carefully gone through all the controversies on the leftist literary front in Lu Xun’s time; she has brought the relevance of Lu Xun’s essays to the present world. I have always lamented the fact that many Lu Xun scholars, including myself, do not do full justice to the later Lu Xun. Now the record is being set straight.”—Leo Ou-Fan Lee, Chinese University of Hong Kong and author of The Voices of Iron House: A Study of Lu Xun
“For those who would like to find out about Lu Xun there is plenty of information in this copious literary and political biography. Lu Xun’s Revolution is a formidable book.”—Jonathan Mirsky, Literary Review
“In this eloquent book, an important subject has met a masterful interpreter. Lu Xun, the foremost writer of twentieth-century China, can be heard addressing himself to critical dilemmas not only in his own culture but in global literature more broadly. Davies’ skilled reconstruction of both the historical and literary contexts that shaped Lu Xun’s voice enables readers to hear afresh the political and creative struggles that shadow subtle minds in times of political violence.” –Vera Schwarcz, Wesleyan University

 

 

Peter Groves

Rhythm and Meaning in Shakespeare

Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2013

Summary

Rhythm and Meaning in Shakespeare explores the rhythmical organisation of Shakespeare’s verse and how it creates and reinforces meaning both in the theatre and in the mind of the reader. Because metrical form in the pentameter is not passively present in the text but rather something that the performer must co-operatively re-create in speaking it, pentameter is what John Barton calls “stage-direction in shorthand”, a supple instrument through which Shakespeare communicates valuable cues to performance. This book is thus an essential guide for actors wishing to perform in his plays, as well as a valuable resource for anyone wishing to enhance their understanding of and engagement with Shakespeare’s verse.

Review

“It is beautifully written, rich with meaning, humorous and deeply knowledgeable, with a full feeling for the life of the stage. Groves analyses the way that Shakespeare uses speech to create and reinforce meaning: and in so doing he engages in an alive and alert way with many of the complexities this entails. He really understands that speaking verse provides the key to “living” a part, and I love the colorful economy of his language –it is full of down-to-earth metaphor, which is really engaging and delightful… This is one of the most originally conceived and useful books I’ve read for a long while.’
—Philippa Kelly, California Shakespeare Theatre

 

 

Carolyn S. Stevens

Disability in Japan

Routledge, 2013

Summary

Disability and chronic illness represents a special kind of cultural diversity, the “other” to “normal” able-bodiedness. Most studies of disability consider disability in North American or European contexts; and studies of diversity in Japan consider ethnic and cultural diversity, but not the differences arising from disability. This book therefore breaks new ground, both for scholars of disability studies and for Japanese studies scholars. It charts the history and nature of disability in Japan, discusses policy and law relating to disability, examines caregiving and accessibility, and explores how disability is viewed in Japan. Throughout the book highlights the tension between individual responsibility and state intervention, the issues concerning how care for disability is paid for, and the special problem of how Japan is providing care for its large and increasing population of elderly people.

 

 

Chris Murray

Tragic Coleridge

Vermont and Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2013

Summary

To Samuel Taylor Coleridge, tragedy was not solely a literary mode, but a philosophy to interpret the history that unfolded around him. Tragic Coleridge explores the tragic vision of existence that Coleridge derived from Classical drama, Shakespeare, Milton and contemporary German thought. Coleridge viewed the hardships of the Romantic period, like the catastrophes of Greek tragedy, as stages in a process of humanity’s overall purification. Offering new readings of canonical poems, as well as neglected plays and critical works, Chris Murray elaborates Coleridge’s tragic vision in relation to a range of thinkers, from Plato and Aristotle to George Steiner and Raymond Williams.  With cycles of catastrophe and catharsis everywhere in his works, Coleridge depicted the world as a site of tragic purgation, and wrote himself into it as an embattled sage qualified to mediate the vicissitudes of his age.

Review

Vigorous and engaging, [Murray’s] claims are strong, and readers will likely find their understanding of both Coleridge and tragedy enriched by this book.’ Jonathan Sachs, International Journal of the Classical Tradition

 

 

Andrew Milner

Locating Science Fiction

Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2012

Summary

Locating Science Fiction is an important book, ground-breaking and potentially paradigm-shifting. Academic literary criticism tends to locate SF primarily in relation to the older genre of utopia; fan criticism primarily in relation both to fantasy and to SF in other media, especially film and television; popular fiction studies primarily in relation to such contemporary genres as the romance and the thriller. This bold new synthesis relocates SF in relation not only to these other genre and media, but also to the historical and geographic contexts of its emergence and development.
Locating Science Fiction effects a series of vital shifts in the way SF theory and criticism conceptualise their subject, away from prescriptively abstract dialectics of cognition and estrangement, towards an empirically grounded understanding of a messy amalgam of texts, practices and artefacts. Inspired by Raymond Williams’s cultural materialism, Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of culture and Franco Moretti’s application of world systems theory to literary studies, Locating Science Fiction draws on the disciplinary competences of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies, Critical Theory and Sociology to produce a powerfully original and persuasive argument.

Review

“A book of calm sly good sense and hard thought about SF… the finest assessment of SF theory yet published.”
John Clute,  “Strange Horizons”

 

 

Andrew Milner (editor)

Tenses of Imagination: Raymond Williams on Science Fiction, Utopia and Dystopia

Bern: Peter Lang, 2010

Summary

Raymond Williams was an enormously influential figure in late twentieth-century intellectual life as a novelist, playwright and critic, “the British Sartre,” as The Times put it. He was a central inspiration for the early British New Left and a close intellectual supporter of Plaid Cymru. He is widely acknowledged as one of the “founding fathers” of cultural studies, who established “cultural
materialism” as a new paradigm for work in both literary and cultural studies.
There is a substantial secondary literature on Williams, which treats his life and work in each of these respects. But none of it makes much of his enduring contribution to utopian studies and science fiction studies. This volume brings together a complete collection of Williams’s critical essays on science fiction and futurology, utopia, and dystopia, in literature, film, television, and politics,
and with extracts from his two future novels, “The Volunteers” (1978) and “The Fight for Manod” (1979). Both the collection as a whole and the individual readings are accompanied by introductory essays written by Andrew Milner.

Review

“With the twenty-first-century reader very much in mind, Andrew Milner’s selection of texts offers a new, “alternative’ Raymond Williams –the critic and occasional author of science fiction, the futurologist, the wary, self-questioning utopian thinker for whom intellectual pessimism is a lazy response and never the last word.”
Professor Patrick Parrinder, University of Reading