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Contested Wills

Reclaiming the Daughter's Inheritance in Vita Sackville-West's The Edwardians

Sophie Blanch

Vita Sackville-West received her copy of Orlando from Virginia Woolf on the day of its publication in October 1928. The significance of this act came to represent far more than a literary gesture from one writer to another. An exuberant and unorthodox biography of Vita and her ancestral heritage, Orlando finally enabled Woolf to capture an enduring impression of the woman who had been both her muse and her lover. For Vita Sackville-West, however, Woolf ’s literary offering represented more, even, than this most inspired declaration of affection. For a daughter denied all rights to property inheritance under the laws of male primogeniture, Woolf had provided all that the courts had removed; possession of an ancestral past and access to a familial present. The literary sorcery of a novel that could subvert the sexual identity of its protagonist could, in the same moment, undermine all such legal process and restore Vita/Orlando to her beloved ancestral home. Writing in reply to Woolf, Vita’s expression of gratitude for reuniting her with the memory of Knole, the Sackville-Wests’Kentish estate, is complicated by a remaining sense of grief for her lost inheritance

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Joerg Fingerhut

I will argue that the ambition to provide a naturalized aesthetics of film in Murray Smith’s Film, Art, and the Third Culture is not fully matched by the actual explanatory work done. This is because it converges too much on the emotional engagement with character at the expense of other features of film. I will make three related points to back up my claim. I will argue (1) that Smith does not adequately capture in what ways the phenomenon of seeing-in, introduced early in the book, could explain our complex engagement with moving images; (2) that because of this oversight he also misconstrues the role of the mirror neuron system in our engagement with filmic scenes; and (3) that an account of embodied seeing-in could be a remedy for the above. In order to demonstrate the latter point, I will show how such an account could contribute to the analysis of a central sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (1951) that Smith also discusses.

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Touring the Dead Lands

Emily Eden, Victorian Famines, and Colonial Picturesque

Pablo Mukherjee

There is a striking tonal similarity amongst those who reviewed Emily Eden’s account of her journey with her brother George Auckland – the recently appointed Govenor-General of British India – across the northern provinces of the country between 1837 and 1840. On its publication in 1866, the Athenaeum decided that like Lawrence Sterne’s Sentimental Journey, Eden’s book had no information of interest to the Statistical Society. The Fortnightly Review agreed: ‘it is true that very little of what is commonly called “useful knowledge” will be found in these volumes’. Yet, it is precisely Eden’s failure to provide ‘useful knowledge’ that was seen as the strength of her work. Freshness, humour, feminine vivacity, grace, and charm were the typical adjectives employed to describe Eden’s prose. Moreover, the reviewers seem to have decided that Up the Country was best evoked in visual terms. The Athenaeum praised Eden for capturing the ‘picturesque appearance of Indian life’ and representing her ‘picturesque misery and magnificence’; the Fortnightly Review applauded the book as ‘a series of pictures true to life. In her letters we do not read about India; we see it’.

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The Bi-Cycling Mr Hoopdriver

Counter-Sporting Victorian Reviving the Carnivalesque

Yoonjoung Choi

In much of his work, H. G. Wells consciously criticises the conservativeness of contemporary sports such as cricket and emphasises cycling as a recreational sport which contributes to the democratisation of social class and gender. This stance is apparent in Wells's first social novel, The Wheels of Chance (1896) which captures the fin-de-siècle passion for cycling but also its social impact. For Wells, Victorian team/spectacle sports such as rugby, football, horseracing, and boxing are overtly competitive, promoting gentlemen's amateur sportsmanship and masculinity. This essay argues that The Wheels of Chance, by featuring recreational cycling as the main motif and casting an unfit draper as the protagonist, is an indirect criticism of gentlemen's sporting activities. It creates a space of amusement where strict rules are shunned in favour of casual pastime, generating carnivalesque games and performances in the Bakhtinian sense. It explores the author's will to change the social order through the carnivalesque, in the ambivalent depiction of Mr Hoopdriver's bi-cycling as play.

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The Meaning of Difference

Young Gay Males’ Experiences at School in Australia

Murray Drummond

This article is based on in-depth interviews with 14 young gay men aged between 18 and 25 years. Using narratives in a life-historical perspective the young men reflect upon their boyhood and adolescent years to highlight the many and varied issues confronting young gay males during this formative period. While a range of themes will be identified through use of inductive thematic analysis, it is the school environment and the process of schooling that highlights the issues associated with difference that young gay males confront while growing up. Life histories provide a unique method of understanding difference in the lives of individuals. Capturing the essence of meaning of a young gay male’s life (under the age of 18) through consensual research data is difficult due to the ethical dilemmas presented in requiring a parent or guardian to provide the right for participation. Therefore, life histories become even more important where young gay males are concerned in an attempt to understand the issues they confront while growing up gay in a heterosexualized culture.

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Many Damn Things Simultaneously--at Least for Awhile

Complexity Theory and World Affairs

James N. Rosenau

In this emergent epoch of multiple contradictions that I have labelled ‘fragmegration’ in order to summarily capture the tensions between the fragmenting and integrating forces that sustain world affairs,2 a little noticed – and yet potentially significant – discrepancy prevails between our intellectual progress toward grasping the underlying complexity of human systems and our emotional expectation that advances in complexity theory may somehow point the way to policies which can ameliorate the uncertainties inherent in a fragmegrative world. The links here are profoundly causal: the more uncertainty has spread since the end of the Cold War, the more are analysts inclined to seek panaceas for instability and thus the more have they latched onto recent strides in complexity theory in the hope that it will yield solutions to the intractable problems that beset us. No less important, all these links – the uncertainty, the search for panaceas, and the strides in complexity theory – are huge, interactive, and still intensifying, thus rendering the causal dynamics ever more relevant to the course of events.

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'Three Cheers for Mute Ingloriousness!'

Gray's Elegy in the Poetry of John Clare

John Goodridge

Samuel Johnson considered that Thomas Gray’s Elegy in a Country Churchyard ‘abounds with images which find a mirror in every mind, and with sentiments to which every bosom returns an echo’. Roger Lonsdale argues that it ‘produces fewer or more complicated echoes in the bosoms of modern readers than in those of earlier generations’, but it is not just the Doppler effect of the passing centuries that complicates responses. The Elegy has always been a conduit for diverse needs and aspirations. When General Wolfe famously declared on the eve of the Battle of Quebec that he would rather have written the Elegy than capture the city, he was enlisting its patriotic potential, or perhaps using it in the manner of Roman generals at their victory parades, to whisper in his ear, ‘remember, you are mortal’. For the nineteenth-century pioneers of the trade union movement the Elegy was a radical text which made their struggles poetic, and their banners often quoted the lines about the Village-Hampden who ‘with dauntless breast / The little tyrant of his fields withstood’.

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Participatory Democracy in Unlikely Places

What Democratic Theorists Can Learn from Democratic Professionals

Selen A. Ercan and Albert Dzur

Selen A. Ercan’s Interview with Albert W. Dzur

In an era when democracy is claimed to be in crisis, citizens are portrayed as increasingly distrustful of politicians and political institutions, and change, if any, is expected to be coming from extra-institutional spaces, Albert Dzur invites us to seek and find the seeds of democratic change within the existing institutions of representative democracy. Dzur’s work captures the difference democratic professionals can make in these spaces and tells us about the fresh approach they bring to their everyday routines in schools, community centers, government agencies, and even prisons. What links democratic professionals in different institutions is their aspiration to create power-sharing arrangements and collaborative thinking skills in places that are usually characterized as hierarchical and non-participatory. Dzur explains how democratic professionals transform the way institutions function and find solutions to collective problems. Yet such transformative practices often elude the attention of democratic theorists as they fall outside of the established notions of democracy and democratic change. The following interview focuses on the relationship between democratic theory and practice, the difference between social movement actors and democratic professionals, and the challenges of bringing democratic change and sustaining it in existing institutions, organizations and work places.

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Black Hats and Holy Tongues

Language and Culture among British Haredim

Simeon D. Baumel

The term haredi literally means ‘fearful’ with the reference being to fear of the Almighty. Appearing in the Bible in the phrase ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble [haredim] at his word’ (Isaiah 66:5), the haredim – along with the poor and the contrite in spirit – are those to whom the Lord will pay heed. Although the term is biblical, its contemporary use began only during the latter half of the twentieth century. Initially utilised by speakers of Hebrew to denote any Jew who was punctilious about his religious practice, the term gradually came to designate those Jews whose style of life, worldview, ethos and beliefs went beyond what many people seemed to understand by ‘Orthodox’. In English speaking countries the term ‘ultra-Orthodox’ served as a marker, but as it was foreign to the Jewish experience it did not precisely capture the essentials of the group it was meant to signify. Consequently, the term ‘haredi’ came into use (Heilman and Friedman 1991).

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Rabbi Leo Baeck

A Personal Appraisal and Appreciation

David Ellenson

In This People Israel, Leo Baeck observed that Jewish vision 'looks backward and forward simultaneously', that 'nothing exists solely for itself. Everything has its predecessor and its successor, its ancestry and its direction.' Judaism 'only knows relationship and totality'. Rabbi Baeck observed that while the Greeks viewed the past as 'historia, "investigation"', Judaism speaks of 'toldot, "generations"'. There is a sense of connection that binds the Jew to the past, even as it bids us as Jews to consider the present and look to the future. As we seek to hear the commandment of the living God in our own generation, we acknowledge our debt to the past as we simultaneously affirm our responsibility to ourselves and to generations yet unborn as we seek to leave our posterity - our toldot - a worthy legacy. Revelation is captured and God experienced in the ongoing moments of life and the deeds that the individual and the community perform. I am grateful to Rabbi Baeck for the model of his life and the insights and nobility of his teachings. They inspire and direct me – however imperfectly I act – as I struggle with the challenges of life.