It is a testament to Said’s critical legacy that today it is almost inconceivable to approach the Victorian novel without considering the representation (or lack thereof) of race and imperialism. Said’s conceptualisation of Orientalism as a dynamic exchange between authors and their broader political context has made a new generation of readers acutely aware of the markers of Britain’s imperial progress that had hitherto been rendered invisible.
The East Revisited in Dickens's Late Novels
Anachronism, Gnosticism and Corporeality in Contemporary Fiction
The longevity of the ‘suffragette’ as a sign of rebellion and dissidence in contemporary British culture is significant.1 Anachronistic citations of the ‘suffragettes’, in novels such as Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (1999), My Life on a Plate (2000), Kingdom Swann (1990), Suffragette City (1999), the film Mary Poppins (1964) and the performance art of Leslie Hill, invite closer inspection. For the female political subject, the body was a site of ideological conflict during the British campaigns for women’s suffrage in the early years of the twentieth century and it continues to haunt feminist subjectivities and gender transgressors. Ever since members of the militant Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), formed in 1903 and led by Emmeline Pankhurst, became known as the ‘suffragettes’ they have been mythologised and reinvented for different purposes. The suffragettes have persisted in popular culture, but perversely reduced to a name and a fatal action: Pankhurst, and that woman who threw herself under the horse. In her investigation of the representation and memorialisation of Emmeline Pankhurst in the period 1930–93, Laura E. Nym Mayhall (1999) has established that the ‘suffragette’ became a ‘symbol of modernity’, a ‘symbol of women’s political activism more generally’, privileging a particular understanding of militancy: ‘militant action, defined narrowly as violence against property, through arrest to incarceration and, eventually, the hunger-strike and forcible feeding’. Mayhall rightly emphasises the constructedness of these representations, and demonstrates the pre-eminence of Emmeline Pankhurst as a signifier of the ‘suffragette’.
Dennis Brown, Anna Birch, Eibhlín Evans, and Andrew Maunder
Wyndham Lewis: Painter and Writer Paul Edwards (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000), ISBN 0–300–08209–6, hardback £40
The Routledge Reader in Politics and Performance, edited by Lizbeth Goodman with Jane de Gay (London: Routledge, 2000), ISBN 0–415–17473–2 paperback £15.99
Seamus Heaney Andrew Murphy (Tavistock: Northcote House, 1996, 2nd Edition, 2000). ISBN 0 7463 09627 paperback £8.99
Women’s Gothic: From Clara Reeve to Mary Shelley E. J. Clery (Tavistock: Northcote House, 2000), ISBN 0 7463 0872 8 paperback £9.99
Between the Acts is one of Virginia Woolf’s most political novels. Once attacked for ‘its extraordinary vacancy and pointlessness’ and its lack of concern for ‘an external world’, it is now generally understood to be a deeply felt response to fascism, patriarchy and the coming of the Second World War. However, while the book’s feminist and pacifist themes are well explored, its central motif, a village pageant, is not well understood in terms of its historical context. Critics have tended to regard it in terms of tradition.
Shakespeare and Marlowe in the Wake of 9/11
This article examines the relationship between Shakespeare and Marlowe as it has been portrayed in biographical forms in the early twenty-first century. Just six months before the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Katherine Duncan-Jones's biography of Shakespeare, entitled Ungentle Shakespeare, burst on the scene and the political landscape was as altered as the biographical renderings of the two playwrights. I begin my survey with a brief review of Duncan-Jones's book, before focusing on biographical works which followed hers to show how twenty-first-century biography has already re-written the relationship.
Friends and Family Figures in Contemporary Fiction
During the twentieth century, scientific advances, especially in the field of reproductive technologies, have fundamentally altered ideas about parenting, the family and what it means to be human. In the 1980s, the family became a significant site of political conflict in the UK when family values were defended and so-called pretended families were condemned. New information technologies make it possible for online chat between friends who have never met. Changes in legislation have defined and protected the rights of the child and spectacular campaigns have developed for fathers’ rights. Meanwhile tracing your family history has become one of the most popular hobbies.
The concern of this issue on post-colonial interdisciplinarity is with the apparent need for interdisciplinary approaches in post-colonial analyses: analyses that take textuality as their object but which are framed around wider social or political questions of power. By necessity such analyses take the critic into territories that until the end of the 1960s were not considered the property of literary studies. Yet, however necessary this expansion of the critic’s focus has been in order to allow literary criticism to comment on the social functions of representation, it has exposed post-colonialism to a range of criticisms, many of which seem to arise from a perceived weakness in its interdisciplinary approach. For instance, as the gaze of the critic has been cast increasingly widely, many conservative commentators have come to lament the loss of the text. This concern has perhaps been less hotly contested in Britain than in the U.S., where the socalled ‘Canon Wars’ split departments. Nevertheless it seems especially problematic for post-colonial studies because even its fairly modest project of opening up the canon to writers from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Middle East has been predicated on a fundamentally political concern with wider forms of inequality, of which Eurocentric reading practices are only one facet.
David Evans, Joanne Trevenna, David C. Green, Tina M. Kelleher, Mary Waldren, Andy Croft, George Wotton, Dennis Brown, Shorsha Sullivan, Dimitris Lyacos, and Adam Rounce
ILLUMINATIONS: An International Magazine of Contemporary Writing – New Writing from South and Southern Africa. The Rathasker Press; Summer 1998. ISSN 0736–4725. Subs $20; STO £5, Illuminations, Department of English, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424–0001, USA
Gothic Forms of Feminine Fictions. Susanne Becker (Manchester University Press, 1999), ISBN 0–7190–5331–5
In the Shadow of the Holocaust and Other Essays. C. Ponomareff (Amsterdam-Atlanta: Rodopi, 1998), ISBN: 90–420–0562–9
Strange Gourmets: Sophistication, Theory and the Novel. Joseph Litvak (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997), ISBN 0–8223–2016–9; £14.95
Maria Edgeworth’s Irish Writing: Language, History and Politics. Brian Hollingsworth (London: Macmillan, 1997), ISBN 0–333–68166–5.
Working-Class Fiction from Chartism to Trainspotting. Ian Haywood (Plymouth: Northcote House, 1997). Writers and theirWork Series, ISBN 0–7463–0780–2; £8.99
A Preface To Greene. Cedric Watts (Longman, 1997), ISBN 0–582–25019–6; £14.99 (paperback)
The Radical Twenties: Aspects of Writing, Politics and Culture. John Lucas (Five Leaves Publications, 1997), ISBN 0–907123–17–1 paperback; £11.99
Lives of the Poets. Michael Schmidt (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999), ISBN 0–297–84014–2; £22.00
Jonz. Philip Ramp (Athens, 1997). Translated by Lydia Stephanou. Bilingual edition.
Studies in Classic Australian Fiction. Michael Wilding (Sydney and Nottingham: Sydney Studies in Society and Culture, and Shoestring Press, 1997), ISBN 0–949405–13–2; £12.99
Globalisation and Literary Studies
One of post-colonialism’s enduring projects has been the attempt to describe or understand the discursive component of Empire. Founding texts such as Edward Said’s Orientalism, argued that a complementary and necessary culture of imperialism existed alongside the economic and political structures of colonisation. The claim of such work was that this culture discursively produced ideas about difference that justified the European subjugation of other races and made possible the political expansion of the European states. The attempts to extend this analysis to describe a current culture of globalisation have been limited and in some ways unsuccessful. Without repudiating the methods of post-colonialism, it is necessary to recognise that changes to the structures of international relations have seen an attendant shift in the accompanying patterns of discourse. While, undoubtedly, many of the discourses that animated colonisation remain in place, the disavowal of a continuity between globalisation and earlier imperialist or colonising phases of modernity is one of globalisation’s characteristic movements. It is, therefore, insufficient to simply identify the persistence of imperialist discourses, ‘without significant challenge’, in ways that are insensitive to new cultural formulations brought about by structural changes in international relations.
Rewriting Lesbian Stereotypes in Summer Will Show
Intertextuality is basic to Sylvia Townsend Warner’s narratives: she is a formidably learned, effortlessly allusive writer. From her slyly absurd references to Wordsworth in the lush tropical setting of Mr. Fortune’s Maggot (1927) through her retelling of Apuleius’s Cupid and Psyche to produce an allegory of class oppression in her first historical novel, The True Heart (1929), to the densely woven intertextuality of Summer Will Show (1936), she uses allusion both to ground her apparently implausible narratives within literary history and to question and parody the politics, ‘history’, and narratology of her predecessors. It is appropriate that in this novel, where the lesbian romance in Paris is precisely coterminous with the 1848 revolution, many of the allusions are to nineteenth-century French literary history. Warner’s ‘unwriting’ of Flaubert’s L’Éducation Sentimentale has received a great deal of attention since it was first noted by Terry Castle in her 1990 theorisation of the lesbian triangular plot. Later writers, in contrast, have emphasised the allusion’s Marxist significance. Quite another fictional genealogy seems more to the point, however, when we consider Warner’s characterisation of Minna Lemuel, the revolutionary Jewish story-teller: the representation, usually by women writers, of the powerful, sexually active, sometimes evil and sometimes doomed femme artiste, as in Madame de Stael’s Corinne, Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, George Sand’s Consuelo, and Colette’s La Seconde. It is now abundantly clear that the intertextuality of Summer Will Show demonstrates that the novel is narratologically, politically, and sexually revolutionary.