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Valentina Mitkova

This article focuses on Bulgarian women writers’ activities, their reception, and their problematic existence in the context of the modernizing and emancipatory trends in Bulgarian society after the Liberation (1878–1944). The analysis is based on the concept of the (intellectual) hierarchy of genders and mechanisms of gender tutelage, traced in the specifics of women’s literary texts, their critical and public resonance, and the authors’ complicated relation with the Bulgarian literary canon. The question is topical, given the noticeable absence of women writers in the corpus of Bulgarian authors/ literary texts, thought and among those considered representative in terms of national identity and culture. The study is based on primary source materials such as works by Bulgarian women writers, the periodical press from the period, various archival materials, and scholarly publications relevant to the topic.

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Valentina Mitkova

Albena Vacheva, V periferiata na kanona. Bulgarskite pisatelki prez purvata polovina na 20 vek (In the periphery of the canon. Bulgarian women writers in the first half of the twentieth century), Sofia: Prosveta, 2014, 372 pp., 17.00 BGN (pb), ISBN 978-9-54012-831-3.

Milena Kirova, ed., Neslucheniat kanon: Bulgarski pisatelki ot 1944 godina do nashi dni (The canon that did not happen: Bulgarian writers from 1944 to the present day), Sofia: Altera, 2014, 512 pp., 18.00 BGN (pb), ISBN 978-9-54975-792-7.

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A History of Things That Did Not Happen

The Life and Work of Two Fictitious Hungarian Women Authors

Beata Hock

This article re-reads from a feminist perspective and with the interpretative strategies of feminist criticism, two pieces of late-twentieth-century Hungarian literature, Sándor Weöres's Psyché and Péter Esterházy's Tizenhét hattyúk (Seventeen swans). Both books were written by men and both introduce a fictitious woman figure as the author, presenting the text as hers. Both authors also present this material in an archaised language. A multilayered analysis that tackles the implications of the gender shift between the real and the fictitious authors, the genre of the works, their peculiar language use as well as the historical dimensions of conjuring up women authors, leads me to conclude that Psyché and Tizenhét hayúk may qualify as feminist textual practice. They open up the literary historical canon for women authors and, by actualising l'écriture féminine, let the female protagonists express themselves outside the bounds of phallologocentric signification.

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‘. . . But Is It Literature?’

Graphic Adaptation in Germany in the Context of High and Popular Culture

Juliane Blank

As a hybrid between ‘high’ literature and ‘trivial’ comics, graphic adaptations have been the subject of extensive debate in Germany. This article discusses the specific cultural conditions of graphic adaptation in Germany, which have been influenced by a process of emancipation from deeply rooted prejudice against comics as a medium of popular culture. To illustrate the changes brought about by the term ‘graphic novel’ around 2000, this article analyses two examples of a newer generation of graphic adaptation in detail. Flix’s Faust (2009–2010) and Drushba Pankow’s Das Fräulein von Scuderi [Mademoiselle de Scudery] (2011) represent a new self-confident approach to classic literature, but they also reflect on their own status as adaptations and thus contribute to ‘closing the gap’ between ‘high’ and popular culture.

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Angela Shaw-Thornburg

African-American literature of travel has frequently been elided from critical accounts of literary travel narratives and made invisible within the African-American literary canon. Reading both traditions with an eye to including African-American literature of travel is important because it allows for a greater focus on the transnational roots of African-American identity, particularly in terms of African-American literature of travel that focuses on journeys to Europe.

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Dubravka Ugrešić

I found myself in Norway quite recently. I was invited by the Norwegian Association of Literary Critics. Norwegian critics are so lively that a stranger can get the feeling that there are more critics than writers. At the end of May and beginning of June 2007, my Norwegian colleagues were extremely excited because they were establishing a Norwegian literary canon: ten literary works were to become representative of Norwegian national literature. The voting results, at least when it came to male-female participation (it seems that among the canonical authors there were two women), were not surprising. Similar voting within any national literature would bring similar results.

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'An Arabian in My Room'

Shakespeare and the Canon

Graham Holderness

The literary canon is commonly thought of as ancient, accepted and agreed, and consistent between high and popular cultures. This article demonstrates the falsity of these assumptions, and argues that the canon is always provisional, contingent, iterable and overdetermined by multiple consequences of cultural struggle. Using definitions of canonicity from Harold Bloom, Frank Kermode and Pierre Bourdieu, the article shows how the canon is produced, consumed and reproduced. Picking up on Harold Bloom's use of a poem by Wallace Stevens, the article explores the impact of Arabic adaptations of Shakespeare on canon formation and canonicity.

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Canon-Building and Popular Culture

Gender Trouble in Bulgarian Culture Today

Nadezhda Alexandrova

Milena Kirova, Literaturniat kanon. Predizvikatelstva (The literary canon. Challenges) (Sofia: Sofia University Press, 2009), 287 pp., 15 BGN (hb), ISBN 978-954-07-2811-7.

Milena Kirova, ed., Neslucheniat kanon. Bulgarski pisatelki ot Vuzrazhdaneto do Vtorata svetovna voina (The canon that did not happen. Bulgarian women writers from the Bulgarian national revival period to World War II) (Sofia: Altera, 2009), 430 pp., 18 BGN (pb), ISBN 978-954-975-732-3.

Milena Kirova and Kornelia Slavova, eds., Identichnosti v prehod: rod, medii i populiarna kultura v Bulgaria sled 1989 g. (Gender identities in transition: Media and popular cul- ture in Bulgaria a er 1989) (Sofia: Polis Publishers, 2010), 256 pp., 12 BGN (pb), ISBN 978-954-796-032-9.

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Introduction

Comics and Adaptation

Armelle Blin-Rolland, Guillaume Lecomte and Marc Ripley

This introduction to this special issue of European Comic Art on ‘Comics and Adaptation’ provides a brief overview of the field of adaptation studies, with a particular focus on its considerable developments and expansion since the late 1990s, as it has moved beyond a comparative novel-to-film approach to centre instead around questions of intertextuality and hypertextuality. This special issue aims to contribute to this field and to the growing body of works on comics and adaptation. The authors explore questions of transnational circulation of visual, narrative and generic motifs (Boillat); heteronormalisation and phallogocentrism (Krauthaker and Connolly); authenticity of drawn events (Lecomte); identity in a stateless minoritised culture (Blin-Rolland); ‘high’ and popular culture (Blank); reverence in comic adaptations of the literary canon (de Rooy); and documentary and parody (Ripley).

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Courtney Cook

Nazera Sadiq Wright. 2016. Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century. Urbana, University of Illinois Press.

Black girls have a history of resilience. Nazera Sadiq Wright, in Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century (2016), analyzes accounts of the experiences of black girls from what she refers to as “youthful” girlhood to the conscious or “prematurely knowing” (44) age of 18. Setting out to recover overlooked accounts of black girlhood during the nineteenth century, a tumultuous epoch of transition for the black community, Wright uses contemporaneous literary and visual texts such as black newspapers, novels, poetry, and journals to reconstruct this lost narrative. By engaging in a close reading of these texts, in which black people, emerging from slavery, communicated with each other about personal and community goals, Wright examines the ways in which the instruction of black girls operated in between the lines of literature to convey codes of conduct to the black community. She argues that with the emergence of literature written by and for black women, the role of the black girl morphed from docile homemaker to resilient heroine for herself and her people. In discussing this more complex role, Wright does not deny that black girls were vulnerable to multiple forms of violence and hurt, but does point to a more nuanced experience. Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century is an intervention into the African American literary canon, filling in many of the gaps in the lost history of black girlhood, making it an essential text for those “who care” (22) about black girls as they engage in the process of rewriting and redeeming the narratives of an often-forgotten population.