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Nancy R. Reagin, Sweeping the German Nation: Domesticity and National Identity in Germany, 1870-1945 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Reviewed by Patricia R. Stokes

Alan S. Zuckerman, Josip Dasovic, and Jennifer Fitzgerald, Partisan Families: The Social Logic of Bounded Partisanship in Germany and Britain (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Reviewed by Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

Pamela E. Swett, S. Jonathan Wiesen, and Jonathan R. Zatlin, eds., Selling Modernity: Advertising in Twentieth-Century Germany (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007)

Reviewed by Barbara Mennel

Mark E. Spicka, Selling the Economic Miracle: Economic Reconstruction and Politics in West Germany, 1949-1957, Monographs in German History, Volume 18 (New York: Berghahn Books, 2007)

Reviewed by Kurt Huebner

Karen Hagemann and Jean H. Quataert, eds., Gendering Modern German History: Rewriting Historiography (New York: Berghahn Books, 2007)

Reviewed by Myra Marx Ferree

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Durkheim's Lost Argument (1895–1955)

Critical Moves on Method and Truth

Stéphane Baciocchi and Jean-Louis Fabiani

Durkheim’s course of twenty lectures on pragmatism, given at the Sorbonne during the academic year 1913 to 1914, has been regularly reassessed, particularly since an apparently complete English translation (1983). Far from being marginal in Durkheim’s work, as claimed by Steven Lukes (1973), the lectures seem central for understanding Durkheim’s epistemology and methodology. This was initially set out in his two doctoral theses – the main one on the division of labour (1893) – then substantially reworked in later writings, particularly Les Formes élémentaires (1912). Unfortunately, we know the lectures only from a posthumous reconstruction by the faithful Durkheimian and sympathiser with Marxism, the philosopher Armand Cuvillier, who published Pragmatisme et sociologie in 1955, drawing on two anonymous sets of ‘student notes’ that later disappeared. It is thus difficult to know the scope and effect of Cuvillier’s own rewriting of these notes. Moreover, he made his reconstruction forty-two years after the actual presentation by Durkheim at the Sorbonne. The sociological context in France was by this time entirely different. The most prominent sociologists, such as Jean Stoetzel, were outspoken anti-Durkheimians in their demand for an empirical knowledge clearly severed from any philosophical foundation. The Durkheimians who tried to pursue the founder’s endeavour in the interwar period were dead. The very first reviews of Cuvillier’s edition indicate that Durkheimianism seemed to belong to the intellectual past, at least since the death of Marcel Mauss in 1950.

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Confronting Collaboration

Dilemmas in an Ethnographic Study of Health Policy Makers

Serena Heckler and Andrew Russell

In this article we report on collaborative, ethnographic research investigating the first regional tobacco control office in the U.K. and some of the dilemmas it poses. The ideal of collaboration is fully realisable in this setting, where the participants are both eager and qualified to contribute meaningfully to the project. However, the fulfilment of such an ideal poses its own problems. For example, the educational level and professional expertise of some participants allows them to fully engage with the theoretical framework to the extent that they could, if allowed, rewrite manuscripts. Other issues are more subtle, such as how to establish appropriate boundaries between the researcher and the tobacco control office staff. We suggest that the collaborative research model presupposes differentials of power, education and culture between researchers and participants that do not necessarily apply in the case of research in such settings. Where these differentials are lacking, the field is open for dominant participants to assume `undue influence' over the research project. To prevent this, we have reinstated boundaries between object and subject that were originally dissolved as part of the collaborative model. As a result, our project is maintaining a delicate balance between the conflicting aims of objectivity and collaboration.

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Heaney and Walcott

Two Poems

Simon Dentith

Seamus Heaney’s ‘The Ministry of Fear’, and Derek Walcott’s ‘Homecoming: Anse La Raye’, written within a few years of each other, bear some striking resemblances, which – together with their inevitable differences – illuminate the specific national situations from which their poetry emerges, and the differing ways each poet takes to negotiate or make the most of their particular histories. Heaney’s poem is the first in a sequence of six poems called ‘Singing School’, published in North in 1975; while Walcott’s poem first appeared in The Gulf and Other Poems in 1969 – both collections in which the pressures of local histories, and the demands of dramatic and immediate political events, are explicitly registered. In each case the poem is concerned with the difficulties caused, and the creative possibilities made available, by the distance between personal history and available poetic tradition – though this is a story told in a personal register, as autobiography, and told with varying degrees of ruefulness, sadness, and comedy. Both poems tell the story of the ‘growth of the poet’s mind’, and, indeed, Wordsworth is the explicit startingpoint for Heaney, whose poem systematically rewrites The Prelude, insofar as that can be done in a poem of such smaller compass. But Walcott also takes on one of the great poets and translates him into local terms – a project to be realised at much greater length some twenty years later with the writing of Omeros.

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Kate Atkinson's Family Romance

Missing Mothers and Hidden Histories in Behind the Scenes at the Museum

Sinead McDermott

From her first novel, Behind the Scenes At the Museum, to her most recent, Case Histories, Kate Atkinson's fiction can be described as attempting to rewrite and revision the family. All of her novels present us with families that have been altered or reshaped in some way, usually because of the loss of a mother or a child. Her narratives are driven by the need to account for these losses: to discover the fate of the missing family members, and in the process to uncover often unpleasant family secrets. In Atkinson's fictions, the family is revealed as a disturbing place, the site of violence, resentments and jealousies as much as love and affection. At the same time, the continued return to family plots in her novels suggests that the family, regardless of its flaws, is not an institution that either she or her protagonists can easily leave behind. Atkinson's first novel, Behind the Scenes At The Museum, like her later fiction, is both an attempt to critique and debunk received notions of family, and an exploration of familial loss and longing.

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'in plain English, stark naked'

Orlando, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Reclaiming Sapphic Connections

Alison Winch

Despite her claims to truth and plainness, however, Montagu’s autobiographical account is embellished, feigned and fragmented. She rewrites herself as a precocious fourteen-year-old as opposed to nineteen, and the related events and emotions do not always correspond with those outlined in her letters. In failing to write in so ‘plain a manner’, Montagu gestures at the inevitable fabrication involved in writing the self and in writing history. In particular, she exposes the difficulty of portraying a protagonist who ‘had a way of thinking very different from that of other Girls’ (79), of inscribing a person who defies the fixed, gendered categories of ‘plain English’. The problematics of depicting history and conforming to that powerful dictator, ‘reputation’, are further evident in Montagu’s ‘History of her Own Times’which she reportedly destroyed ‘as fast as she finished it, in a sustained, heroic act of self-censorship’.2 Indeed, the contradictory impulse to write the life of Montagu and to write it according to the policing gaze of ‘Chastity, Modesty and Purity’ plagues Montagu’s self-representations, as well as those of the critics who attempt to write and edit her life for future readers.

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Jane de Gay

Virginia Woolf made a seminal contribution to feminist literary history and provided the discipline with some of its most memorable quotations. In A Room of One’s Own, she urged her audience of female students at Cambridge University to ‘rewrite history’ by seeking out figures neglected by conventional (patriarchal) histories in order to trace a female tradition, a concept she described as ‘thinking back through our mothers’.1 She sketched how such a tradition might look, tracing a line from Lady Winchilsea and Aphra Behn, Fanny Burney and Jane Austen through to George Eliot and the Brontës, considering how the conditions of these writers’ lives affected their work, and also looking at how gender might influence their use of language and choice of genre. Behind Woolf’s historical sketch lies an imaginative attempt to reclaim lost origins: Woolf notes that there was no female Shakespeare because conditions in the Renaissance would have made it impossible for a woman to write for the theatre. She creates an imaginary starting-point for her history by sketching a fictional biography of Shakespeare’s sister, Judith, whose life could only have ended in failure and suicide. Woolf concludes by urging her audience to imaginatively reclaim these lost origins in their own writings

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Ling Tang, Jun Zubillaga-Pow, Hans Rollman, Amber Jamilla Musser, Shannon Scott and Kristen Sollée

Katrien Jacobs, The Afterglow of Women’s Pornography in Post-Digital China (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 204 pp. ISBN 978-1-349-50361-2 (paperback, $95), ISBN 978-1-137-48517-5 (hardback, $95).

Gilad Padva, Queer Nostalgia in Cinema and Pop Culture (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) viii + 254 pp. ISBN 978-1-349-44317-8 (paperback, $90), ISBN 978-1-137-26633-0 (hardback, $95).

Mary R. Desjardins, Recycled Stars: Female Film Stardom in the Age of Television and Video. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015), 320 pp. ISBN 978-0-82- 235802-2 (paperback, $27), 978-0-8223-5789-6 (hardback, $95).

Shaka McGlotten, Virtual Intimacies: Media, Affect, and Queer Sociality (New York: SUNY Press, 2014), viii + 170 pp. ISBN 978-1-4384-4878-7 (paperback, $26), 978-1-4384-4877-0 (hardback, $75).

Marc Raymond Strauss. Hitchcock’s Objects as Subjects: The Significance of Things on Screen. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2016), 204 pp. ISBN 978-0-7864- 4308-6 (paperback, $35).

Amalia Ziv, Explicit Utopias: Rewriting The Sexual in Women’s Pornography. (Albany: SUNY Press, 2015). 312 pp. ISBN 978-1-4384-5708-6 (paperback, $25), 978-1-4384-5709-3 (hardback, $85).

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Antony Rowland

An ontological need persisted in the writing of Ted Hughes, and continues in critical responses to it. This has manifested itself in various forms: Leonard Scijay detects a ‘mystical consciousness of the oneness of Creation’; in his recent book The Laughter of Foxes: A Study of Ted Hughes, Keith Sagar eulogises the ‘inner being’ of the poet. Although different, these descriptions share a vague appreciation of Hughesian ‘Being’ (or ‘Existenz’): Scijay has located it more specifically in Eastern metaphysics, Zen, and the Japanese concept of satori (the ‘totalistic unity with the infinite’). Critics have mostly agreed that Hughes does not adhere to an existentialist rewriting of Existenz, but they have not always responded generously to the various depictions of Being: Eric Homberger detects the Nazi conception of Rausch in the poet’s ‘fascistic exaltation of violence for its own sake’. More recently, critics more sympathetic to Hughes have attempted to locate Existenz elsewhere. Dwight Eddins recognises der Wille in the ‘universal force-field’ confronted in the poetry; Joanny Moulin uncovers the moments in which the narrators experience the imprint of the Lacanian ‘real’ in empirical reality. All these different critical perspectives have provided valuable insights into Hughes’s writing: it cannot be denied that the vigour of his work arises partly from its engagement with metaphysics of presence. Perhaps what could be added to this body of criticism is a critique of ontology itself. The possibility remains that a requirement persists in Hughes’s poetry to locate a form of Being that has been invented in order to find it. In Negative Dialectics Theodor Adorno describes such an ontological need as a manifestation of ‘peephole metaphysics’.