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Women's Travel Narratives in Early Modern Japan

Genre Imperatives, Gender Consciousness and Status Questioning

Laura Nenzi

In the two and a half centuries of Tokugawa rule (1600–1868) Japan underwent profound transformations of an economic, social, political and cultural nature. What began as an era of warrior rule, of apparently strict application of the law and of theoretically impenetrable social compartments evolved at a fast pace into a time when popular culture attained unprecedented brilliance, the samurai’s identity as fighters was virtually nullified and money often supplanted rank in mediating access to services. In this environment, travel and travel narratives came to play a significant role in the commoners’ gradual assertion of their own personas. Through a confrontation with otherness mediated by cultural precedent and implemented by detachment from the ordinary, the space of travel allowed for alternative creations of the self and re-definitions of the individual in society. Travel, to a great many people of all social standings, offered both a chance for recreation (in the leisure-related connotation of the term) and for re-creation (that is, re-generation, or creation of a new persona). Detachment from one’s pre-assigned social niche offered the possibility to challenge, however momentarily, one’s roles and identity by subtly questioning the parameters of gender and status that defined the individual in the space of the ordinary.

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Mika Suzuki

This article explores one of Jane Austen's narrative techniques, focusing on her characters' telling of and writing on their past. To incorporate events that characters experienced at different times or locations, she uses life stories constructed by an individual told in the first person. She relies on the characters' subjective telling of their own life stories at crucial points in the plot, rather than leaving the description to the omniscient narrator. In so doing, she provides fresh ways of reading; she enables the reader to get involved in the narrative by sharing an individual's life story and at the same time she ensures that the reader places the character's narrative at some distance. Her use of this method of stories allows her to follow and develop literary tradition. Inheriting the tradition of the letter-writing generations, she provides a new use of life-story telling and a new way of reading them.

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Friederike Eigler

This article discusses the genre of family narratives in contemporary German literature against the backdrop of cultural memory in postunification Germany.1 Family narratives lend themselves to a critical study of memory as they enact the transmission and transformation of memories from one generation to the next. Thus, these texts serve a pivotal role as both archives for and reflections on individual and collective memories of 20th century Germany history. Since the late 1990s, i.e., almost a decade after the collapse

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Writing Women's Lives: Auto/Biography, Life Narratives, Myths and Historiography

An International Symposium, 19–20 April 2014, Istanbul

Francisca de Haan

The Istanbul Women’s Library and Information Center Foundation, on occasion of its twenty-fourth anniversary, together with Yeditepe University organized the international symposium “Writing Women’s Lives: Auto/Biography, Life Narratives, Myths and Historiography,” which took place at Yeditepe University on 19–20 April 2014.

The symposium coordinators were Birsen Talay Keşoğlu, Vehbi Baysan, and Şefik Peksevgen, assisted by eleven more members of the Organizing Committee, including Aslı Davaz, director of the Istanbul Women’s Library.

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Patrick Lucas

In recent years, the culturally distinctive Tunpu, a people group in southwestern China, have been reimagined by outsiders, including media, tourist companies, scholars, and especially Han Chinese from other regions in a search for perceived lost roots of Chineseness. Building upon a Tunpu narrative of migration to the region during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) period, these outsiders imagine Tunpu sociocultural alienness to be representative of ancient unchanged Ming-period character. Thus romanticized, the Tunpu become an unspoiled reservoir where an authentic national Chinese essence can be rediscovered. Through a complex process of embodied engagement with the Tunpu landscape and its objects, however, it is a class of non-Tunpu settlement that becomes celebrated by these outside actors as ideal representation of Tunpu settlement and architecture. This total process fundamentally transforms Tunpu time and place. Yet, it also interacts intricately with local knowledge, and leads to complex local responses and reappropriations of new historical elements.

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Erica L. Fraser

With the onset of the Cold War and a new nuclear world order, Soviet physicists found themselves at the nexus of scientific research and weapons development. This article investigates the subjectivity of these physicists as an issue of masculinity. Influenced by Connell's models of subordinated, complicit, and hegemonic masculinity, the article finds that the stories nuclear physicists tell about their research in the 1950s are inconsistent and shifting, with the narrators simultaneously remembering unfreedom and privilege. They tell of being conscripted to military work against their will but then enjoying (and deserving) the resulting power, all while maintaining strong homosocial networks in the laboratory predicated on excluding women. Evidence from personal narratives provides unique insight into these multiple masculinities and the way the authors position themselves as (masculinized) Cold War subjects.

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A French Comic Version of an Argentinian Fantastic Narrative

Jean Pierre Mourey's L'Invention de Morel

Matthias Hausmann

In 1940, Adolfo Bioy Casares published La Invención de Morel [The Invention of Morel], a novel that can be considered as one of the most important works of twentieth-century Argentinian fantastic narrative. Since the novel portrays competition between different media, it is not surprising that this work has been adapted to several other media: visual arts, plays, opera, and several feature films, the first and still the best known being L'Année dernière à Marienbad [Last year in Marienbad] (1961). The latest incarnation of La Invención de Morel is the first comic version, created by Jean Pierre Mourey (2007). This article discusses Mourey's adaptation of the novel and the specific possibilities of the comic genre. Special attention will be paid to the conception of time, the manipulation of various media, and the competition between the written word and images which are at the heart of Bioy's novel, and the extent to which the French cartoonist's rendering of these aspects of the work is successful.

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Alexander B. Dolitsky

This review of the traditional narratives of the indigenous people of the Chukchi and Kamchatka Peninsulas identifies major genres, motifs, plots, and subjects found in Siberian Yupik, Chukchi, Kerek, Koryak, and Itelmen narrative folklore, as well as specific features of the folklore of each of the peoples of the Chukotka-Kamchatka region. In addition to discussing the subjects and motifs found in the narrative tales from Chukotka and Kamchatka, the article reviews developments surrounding the typology and classification of oral traditions of the indigenous cultures of the region and the overall value of the tales as a prehistoric and ethnographic source. This survey will be of interest to those fond of traditional narratives of the Russian Far East, as well as to specialists interested in comparative-typological research of oral narratives in anthropology.

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Jason Gendler

This article is an attempt to answer the question: Where does a classical narrative beginning end? It examines a series of epistemological concerns about the nature of beginnings before exploring two previous models that can be used to determine where a narrative beginning ends, one by Kristin Thompson that relies primarily on a narrative's formal properties, and one by James Phelan that relies primarily on cognitive processes. The article focuses primarily on the possibilities for a cognitive model for determining the end of a narrative beginning. However, ultimately, it argues that only by combining formal properties and cognitive processes can we arrive at a comprehensive and flexible model for how to determine where a classical narrative beginning ends.

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Interrogating the Essential

Moral Baselines on Adult-Child Sex

Richard Yuill

In this paper I emphasize the multiple ways dominant moral and essentialist understandings feed into the wider regulatory norms and conventional thinking governing adult‐child sexual relations. Clearly, researchers are not immune from the ascendant material and symbolic hegemony enjoyed by child sexual abuse (CSA) paradigms. Indeed the experience of the seven critical writers and researchers cited in the paper, coupled with the author’s own experiences carrying out PhD research in this area, clearly reinforce this point. I contend that sociological and Foucauldian insights on age and sexual categorization can offer a helpful tool‐kit for unpacking the contested claims from CSA survivors, child liberationists, and the specific case of one respondent who resists victimological labelling of his sexual experiences with adults.