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Reading Angela Davis Beyond the Critique of Sartre

Edward O'Byrn

Abstract

This paper examines Angela Davis's 1969 Lectures on Liberation and her critique of Jean-Paul Sartre's views regarding freedom and enslaved agency. Across four sections, the paper etches out Davis's response to what she calls Sartre's ‘notorious statement’ through her own existential reading of Frederick Douglass's resistance to chattel slavery. Instead of interpreting Davis's existential insights through the work of Sartre or other Western continental philosophers, the paper engages Lewis Gordon, George Yancy, Frank Kirkland, and LaRose Parris to develop an alternative frame for assessing Davis's existential thinking. Embracing a diverse lineage of existential philosophy, the paper argues for Black-centered approaches to existential philosophy that resonate with, but are not reducible or indebted to, European existentialism.

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Reflecting upon Coriolanus as Being-in-and-for-Mother through the Gaze of Existential Semiotics

Maryamossadat Mousavi and Pyeaam Abbasi

Abstract

This study applies Tarasti's existential semiotics, arguing that the protagonist of Shakespeare's Coriolanus (c. 1608) develops into a becoming subject through transcendental acts of negation and affirmation. First, Coriolanus discovers himself amidst Dasein's objective signs. Coriolanus is then thrown into negation as experiencing humiliation, when his already-established ascendency to consulship is destroyed by conspiracy. His movement, however, persists and follows affirmation, whereby he finds a supra-individual signification. Furthermore, the study portrays, through Z-model, subjectivity phases leading Coriolanus from M1 to S1. It reasons that Coriolanus's mother, Volumnia, as a transcendental idea or pre-sign, intrudes into the Dasein of the whole of Rome, becoming ‘actualised’ as an act-sign, precluding Coriolanus's war against Rome through her speech and prostration. Besides, Volumnia's impact as a post-sign pertains to Coriolanus's noble embrace of his death. The article concludes that Coriolanus, through acknowledgement of M(Other)'s opinions, validating his genuine self, eventually emerges as a geno-sign.

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Sartre and Camus

In/Justice and Freedom in the Algerian Context

Ouarda Larbi Youcef

Abstract

On July 5, 2021, Algeria celebrated the fifty-ninth anniversary of her independence. The eight-year war, which broke out on November 1, 1954, cost the country much blood and resulted in 1.5 million deaths. This article looks at this page of history. My objective is to show why the Algerians took up arms, and to reexamine the conflict between the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and the Algeria-born philosopher Albert Camus in light of the War of Independence. I argue that the friendship between the two philosophers can be seen as one casualty of this war, a friendship that had no chance of surviving given their different approaches to justice. Whereas for Sartre, justice was in no manner exclusive of freedom; for Camus, it was all that the Arabs needed, any demand for freedom being solely the work of a few militants “without any political culture.”

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Sinophobia, American Imperialism, Disorder Without Responsibility

Shuchen Xiang

Abstract

This paper argues that Sinophobia and its relationship to American imperialism can be understood through Jean-Paul Sartre's analysis of anti-Semitism, which is characterized by an evasive attitude. Under this attitude, the bivalent values of good and evil are pre-existing ontological properties such that the agent promotes the good insofar as she destroys evil. This evasive attitude can also be seen in the economy of the American empire. Revenue for the which exists through undermining the economies of non-pliant states, selling weapons and a disaster-capitalist industry that profits from the chaos that is created. The idea that the states to be imperialized are bivalent others both motivates and justifies this behavior whereby the agent evades self-critique and the need to cultivate her own value.

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Titus and Coriolanus in Tehran

Shakespeare's Roman Plays and Iran's Politics

Mohammadreza Hassanzadeh Javanian

Abstract

Adaptations of Shakespeare's Roman plays have frequently addressed political topics at the time of their production. As a result, Shakespeare's Rome, already a site of political conflict and power struggle, has found different and at times opposing significations in its new contexts. The present study is set to explore how two recent adaptations of the Roman plays in Iran, There Will Be Blood (2019, based on Titus Andronicus) and Coriolanus (2019 and 2020), have situated Shakespeare's texts in Iran's contemporary political context. The study argues that Shakespeare's Roman plays have created a platform for Iranian theatre directors to address the political issues and debates in Iran, a country in which it is extremely difficult to produce a political play. Jürgen Habermas's idea of legitimation crisis and Ernesto Laclau's concept of the empty signifier underpin the analysis of the adaptations.

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‘Besmeared with Sluttish Time’

Resisting Lateness or Trying to in Sir Thomas Wyatt's Poetry

Mohamed Salah Eddine Madiou

Abstract

One of the most remarkable things about Thomas Wyatt's poetry is how strikingly it tends to be neglected in Renaissance studies. This article focuses on some of Wyatt's sonnets and muses on why the poet obsesses over time therein. While sonnets are generally said to be about love, Wyatt's seem to be not only about this overfamiliar notion but also about the notion of time. The poet's concern about time in his poetry is however not a solo concern, meaning it is not expressed on its own; rather, it is coupled in an astonishing complexity to the poet's preoccupation with death. Wyatt in fact experienced impending death at an early age in his lifetime due to illness, which, I explain, is precisely what sets off those temporal reflections. Impending death can indeed trigger in one an instant reflection on time in that one becomes more attentive to its value, movement, and transience and feels the urgency to save and get more of it, which is generally called lateness. Wyatt's poetry being imbued by lateness makes it endemic to a certain kind of style: a late style.

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The Cultural Transformation of the Trope of the Renegade in Late Seventeenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century English Drama

John Dryden's Don Sebastian and Frederick Reynolds's The Renegade

Hussein A. Alhawamdeh

Abstract

This article examines the transformation of the trope of the renegade character in late seventeenth-and early nineteenth-century English drama, as represented by John Dryden's Don Sebastian (1689) and its adaptation by Frederick Reynolds as The Renegade (1812). Reynolds adopts the trope of Restoration ‘cultural renegade’, or what I call ‘Restoration gone cultural revolutionary protagonist’, to reflect on the military alliance between England of George III and the Oriental Muslims in Egypt in 1801 against their common enemy, Napoleon Bonaparte. The renegade character in the plays of Dryden and Reynolds transcends religious limitations of the negative connotations of betrayal and fosters cross-cultural interactions.

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‘Failed Feminism’

Anne Tyler's Vinegar Girl in the Chinese Market

Yingjie Duan and Junwu Tian

Abstract

In Vinegar Girl, a 2016 fictional adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew, Anne Tyler exhibits an ambivalent treatment of the female predicaments left by William Shakespeare: while she invests her modern version of Katherina with linguistic and intellectual independence emblematic of female resistance to patriarchal disciplines, she somehow acquiesces in the fixed familial place and the stereotypical images of women in the monolithic patriarchal system. When the novel was introduced into the Chinese mainland in 2017, the Chinese publisher, out of commercial concerns, advertised it as a highly feminist text through the delicate manipulation of the translation of its title and a series of paratextual manoeuvres, to the detriment of the novel's ambiguous complexities of gender issues. The marketing strategies nevertheless backfired on one of China's social media platforms and rendered the novel a relatively ‘failed’ feminist text against China's unique market and media background in the last decade.

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Harold Bloom and William Shakespeare

The ‘Saints of Repetition’ and the Towers of Babel

Taoufiq Sakhkhane

Abstract

Harold Bloom's The Western Canon (1994) and Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human (1999) represent a scholar's take on a major figure in Western literature, namely, William Shakespeare. All figures, according to Bloom, either converge upon or take their point of departure from Shakespeare in a way that rehabilitates the myth of the Original Englishman and accordingly recreates a Western canon, some universal anthology, whose centre is Shakespeare, while all later generations of writers are, in Elias Canetti's words, ‘saints of repetition’, who can only translate what they happen to ‘overhear’ from the master and keep vibrant a tradition that can ‘make us at home out of doors, foreign abroad’. Though Bloom hardly uses the term ‘translation’ while tracking the genealogy of such ‘influence’ and the ‘anxieties’ therein implicated, one can readily detect a Gordian knot out of which such theorisations and explorations emanate: translation is here foregrounded as a smokescreen designed to close rather than disclose.

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Manipulation of Theatrical Audience Size

Non-existent Plays and Murderous Lenders

Anna Faktorovich

Abstract

‘Thomas Nashe's’ satirical ‘ten thousand’ attendees at a London performance exaggeration is similarly absurd to most previous studies of audience size during the British Renaissance. These claims are countered in this article with a realistic calculation of the maximum quantity of people the described dimensions of the licensed London theatres could have accommodated. Claims that a troupe could have seen peak sales when it was forced to close during a plague are also reconsidered. And the failure of the English dramatic genre to reach its neighbouring Welsh market is questioned as indicative of the rarity of this mode of entertainment in comparison with the popularity claimed for it in puffing self-reviews of plays in the first post-origin decades. The ease with which a false belief in popularity could be generated is consistent with the Ghostwriting Workshop's self-promotion of their published books. This article pulls together pieces of evidence to explain the literary, fiscal and political misdeeds committed by this Workshop in their quest for profit and fame.