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“Space without People”

Austro-German Filmmaker, Bestselling Author, and Journalist Colin Ross Discovers Australia

Siegfried Mattl

thrilling, life-threatening car tour through the desert to Lake Eyre and on to Port Pirie where the Ross family was glad to board a ship of the German shipping company Hamburg America Line (HAPAG), where they were served cold German beer before continuing

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Brett Holman

Most of the literature on William Le Queux concentrates on his career before the Great War, when he spent the better part of a decade warning of the twin dangers of German espionage and German invasion through his fiction and his journalism. 1 As

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Transgressive Travels

Homosexuality, Class, Politics and the Lure of Germany in 1930s Writing

Rainer Emig

‘Berlin meant Boys.’ Christopher Isherwood’s retrospective summary of the appeal of Germany for some of the writers of the 1930s set the tone for the rather limited critical evaluation of a very interesting feature of 1930s writing that was to follow. Almost every critical study of Auden, Isherwood and Spender feels obliged to make at least cursory reference to the fact that Germany represented some kind of libidinous homosexual nirvana. Atelling example is Valentine Cunningham’s British Writers of the Thirties. There he writes: ‘Germany was now the place to be: for artistic progressivism, but also because there sunshine and cocaine and sex, especially homosex, were up until Hitler’s intervention in 1933 so freely available. Berlin was a mythic sodom, and a sodomites’ mythic nirvana. The British homosexuals excitedly went there to ‘live’.’ I would like to add to this narrow and biased view some important and less simplistic aspects. I will try to show that the lure of Germany also touches on issues of class, politics and nationality. I will try to present the related transgressions that result from this entanglement not so much as biographical achievements or failures, but explore how they feature in the literary production of the writers of the era.

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Sandbags, Strikes, and Scandals

Public Disorder and Problematic Policing in Occupied Roubaix during World War I

James E. Connolly

women were targeted because the factory was working with the occupying German military authority. Some locals believed it was making uniforms, but it was in fact producing around nine hundred empty sandbags and trellises a day. 2 This “conflict

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All Quiet on the Western Front

A Phenomenological Investigation of War

Joseph A. Tighe

All Quiet on the Western Front, the famed war novel by German author Erich Maria Remarque, has sold more than fifty million copies, been translated into thirty languages and has been made into two English-speaking movies, one of which won an Academy Award for best picture. It has been hailed as ‘the greatest war novel of all time.’ It was banned and burned in Nazi Germany for promoting anti-war sentiment. Publishers in the United States were forced to censor certain sections of the novel deemed too emotionally charged for American audiences, and these sections remained censored until 1975. Remarque himself was considered for the Nobel Prize, but, due to protests over his candidacy, was not awarded the honor. However, regarding literary criticism of the novel, it is safe to say that ‘[d]espite the great and lasting impact of All Quiet, comparatively little has been written about it.’ What little criticism that does exist on All Quiet has been limited to mainly two models: empirical, which seek to explain the novel in terms of its structure and form; and intellectualist, which seek in the novel a universal definition of War. All Quiet on the Western Front has been somewhat of a critical anomaly: almost no critic would disagree that All Quiet is a meaningful work, but, thus far, almost no critic can give a satisfactory answer as to why.

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Re-reading 'Impossibility' and 'Barbarism'

Adorno and Post-Holocaust Poetics

Antony Rowland

‘Poetry is impossible after Auschwitz.’ This (supposed) statement by Theodor Adorno has become one of the most famous in twentiethcentury philosophy. It has been popularised in verbal academic discourse, which has lead to its inclusion in, for example, numerous module outlines on post-war literature. However, such appropriations have ignored the fact that the phrase is a misquotation of the standard translation by the Webers in Prisms. Moreover, within the passage from which the misquotation originates, there are linguistic ambiguities embedded in the original German which make the essay ‘Cultural Criticism and Society’ difficult to interpret. In turn, this initiates a struggle to formulate a coherent English translation. These problems are elided by critics who, even if they quote the Webers’ translation accurately, do not consider the ramifications of the original German prose. In this essay, I engage with these elisions, and contend that Adorno’s text does not argue that ‘poetry is impossible after Auschwitz.’ In fact, the passage predicates its existence, a contention which has serious repercussions for discussions of post-war writing conducted in the context of the philosopher’s work.

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Heike Bauer

Psychopathia Sexualis (first published in German in 1886, in English in 1892) by the German sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840–1903) was amongst the first works in the new discipline to argue that homosexuality was part of nature and could thus not be condemned. Here the voices of real-life homosexuals were for the first time recorded, and these case studies led Krafft-Ebing to the belief that homosexuality was not an acquired vice. The idea of the ‘naturalness’ of homosexuality was at its time radical. Accordingly, the sexual knowledge was disseminated in a somewhat conspiratorial manner, as it was ostensibly directed solely at medical and legal practitioners ‘to exclude the lay reader’. The work nevertheless gained publicity far beyond the specialist realm. I argue that this was partly due to the fact that Krafft-Ebing’s medical book provided an exciting erotic stimulus. The real interest of many of its lay readers derived from its sexually explicit content, in other words Psychopathia Sexualis was a source for sexual kicks. This notion can be traced in Radclyffe Hall’s classic lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness (1928), where it shines a new light on the construction of the novel’s ‘sexually inverted’ protagonist.

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Bacillophobia

Man and Microbes in Dracula, The War of the Worlds, and The Nigger of the “Narcissus”

Jens Lohfert Jørgensen

The tension between specialised and commonsensical notions of microbes in the last decades of the nineteenth century resulted in ‘ bacillophobia'; a marked anxiety amongst the public concerning the threat posed to the individual by germs. This article investigates how the conceptual impact of bacillophobia challenged the cohesion of late Victorian society. It focuses on the role played by bacteria in the negotiation between interiority and exteriority in three novels, all published in 1897: Bram Stoker's Dracula, H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds and Joseph Conrad's The Nigger of the “Narcissus”. The analyses of the works emphasise the varying functions of bacteria in them – as allegory in Dracula, as plot device in The War of the Worlds, and as theme in The Nigger of the “Narcissus” – and the varying degrees of ambiguity they are represented with. Bacteriology participated in what the German sociologist Max Weber referred to as the ‘ disenchantment' of the world, which is characteristic of modernity, but the three works all testify to a re-enchanted fear of the possibility that nature might not, after all, be controllable.

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Fighting over Shakespeare

Commemorating the 1916 Tercentenary in Wartime

Clara Calvo

During the 1916 Tercentenary of Shakespeare's death, commemoration of the playwright and his plays was crucially shaped by the First World War. This paper departs from previous studies of the 1916 celebrations in its approach to the 1914-1919 war, which is not regarded here as a mere background influencing Shakespearean reception but as a dynamic presence, directly triggering appropriations of the playwright as cultural icon and of the plays as revered texts. In the course of examining sermons, lectures, and addresses delivered during the Tercentenary, this essay argues that the Great War impaired the celebrations to some extent, but it also fostered the commemoration cult of Shakespeare. The evidence examined shows how Shakespeare was worth fighting for in both local and European terms - how Stratford competed with London in their respective claims to Shakespeare and how England feared German appropriation. It also shows how in France, instead, quoting Shakespeare's words in 1916 was not a belligerent act of appropriation but a gesture meant to erase the memory of Anglo-French enmity at Agincourt and construe a bond between current allies fighting against the same foe in the trenches of the Western Front. Unlike other studies on the 1916 Tercentenary, this paper favours a European approach that integrates the reception of Shakespeare in Britain with his presence in other European countries.

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John Fordham

The writing of this paper was prompted by the recent publication by Harvill Press of The Last Voyage and Other Stories, an anthology which brings together Hanley’s earliest published shorter fiction from the 1930s. Two of these two stories – ‘The German Prisoner’ and ‘A Passion Before Death’ – were privately printed owing to the prevailing prohibitions on representations of sexuality. Hanley was originally an ‘ordinary seaman’ who subsequently built a reputation as a writer on his stories and novels of the sea-going working class. However, such an identity masks a diversity evident in his work from its inception and which developed over some fifty years, beginning with the publication of his first novel, Drift (1930) a narrative of unemployment and Catholic anguish in contemporary Liverpool. The five stories in The Last Voyage, of which three are directly concerned with maritime life, are a reflection of Hanley’s range, yet they all bear the traces of his preoccupations and tendency – compulsion even – to focus on the extremes of contemporary working-class experience.