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While US military and economic interventions in the Caribbean as well as the protectorates of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands link these regions, categorizing the writing of Caribbean immigrants to the US is less clear. Contemporary Caribbean-American writing remains an amorphous category bounded by issues of language and ethnicity. Higher education and publishing practices frequently group Caribbean writers by their linguistic heritage or former European colonizer than by their status as migrants to the US. In addition, racial or ethnic identities mean that some writers are subsumed under an established racial category, like African American, while writers with Asian ancestry fit uneasily within established frameworks for Asian American literature. Despite these divisions, Caribbean-American writing shares many commonalities including critiquing US neo-imperialism, addressing the racism experienced by immigrants, and innovative uses of form and genre.
Chapter 1 introduces the object of this monograph: to present a new reading of the complete works of Constantine Manasses, thereby offering a potential model for analysing other authorships based on commission and patronage. The primary focus here is on the key concept of occasional literature and its specific position between writer and patron, fiction and reality. The latter is defined in terms of two kinds of referentiality: on the one hand, the text’s connection to the occasion (pretext/performance); on the other, its (literary/potentially fictive) representation of a ‘reality’ that is relevant to that occasion. It is assumed that writing on command privileges originality and encourages the challenging of conventions. A society like twelfth-century Byzantium, in which occasional poetry and rhetoric had central positions, therefore called for a strong and individual voice of the author, since the voice was the primary instrument for a successful career.
This chapter examines the genre of sensation fiction, which flourished alongside efforts to introduce British women’s suffrage into the Ballot Act of 1872. Sensation and suffrage were both seen as alarming, unnatural, and immoral attempts for women to gain representation. Sensation novels inspired much critical hand-wringing through their depiction of antiheroines and villainesses that supposedly imperiled the virtue and femininity of the female reader, who identified with them against her will. Modern critics tend to accept sensation’s self-advertisement according to which it elicits a reflexive, psychosomatic response from female readers. This chapter, however, asserts that Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s narrative techniques in her popular sensation novels prompt readers’ awareness of and resistance to the affinities ostensibly endorsed by the novels, soliciting the reader’s choices among multiple possible perspectives. At issue in the arguments for and against women’s enfranchisement were notions of women’s ethical integrity and susceptibility to affective influence. The chapter contends that sensation fiction fomented scandal not because it corrupted impressionable female readers with its content, but because it challenged the automatized emotionalism ascribed to women and promoted, instead, their rational and ethical autonomy – in direct opposition to the premises held by the anti-suffragists.
Examines Quintus’ use of memory as a device for literary recapitulation. Considers what happens when Quintus’ characters, who are ‘still in the Iliad’, remember the Iliad incorrectly. It is argued that rather than offering a correction of Homer’s version of events, Quintus uses the pliability of memory as a retrospective figure to defend and continue the act of poetic selectivity. He is therefore able to provide Homer’s response to charges of lying prevalent in revisionist strands of his imperial reception (e.g. in Dio Chrysostom, Dares, Dictys and Philostratus – who emerge as key players in this chapter).
This chapter argues that contemporary Irish-language writing demands a critical response that recognizes its increasingly transnational or global thematic range. The endangered status of the language, far from demoralizing writers, seems to provide them motivation to transcend limiting sociolinguistic realities. The minority subject position becomes a lens for engagement with global issues, as witnessed in a large and diverse body of poetry related to contemporary wars and international conflicts and in a body of fictional writing that engages with transnational history and cultural critique. Contemporary Irish-language writers collectively display an acute awareness of Irish participation or collusion in oppressive imperial or colonial projects. A selection of examples is cited to demonstrate how the resources of the Irish linguistic and literary tradition have been brought to bear on contemporary and historical events and predicaments. In giving voice to global concerns, the Irish language ironically becomes a potent medium with which to question the primacy of national ethnic identification.
In the aftermath of House Made of Dawn (1968) the assumption arose that it heralded a Native American Renaissance, the unprecedented literary flowering of fiction, poetry, life-writing, drama and discursive work. The roster typically included novels by Leslie Marmon Silko, James Welsh, Louise Erdrich and Gerald Vizenor, the poetry of Luci Tapahonso, Simon Ortiz and Linda Hogan, and the theatre of Hanay Geiogamah. In Native American Renaissance, not un-controversially, Kenneth Lincoln would argue that a presiding canon had emerged. Questions, however, arose as to how to situate these undoubtedly important figures within the larger continuum of Native authorship. What status was to hold for the vast legacies of oral tradition, tribal oratory, trickster story, chants of healing, even visual art? How best to address Canadian/First Nation publication, E. Pauline Johnson to Tom King? What of contemporaries like Sherman Alexie? This chapter looks both vertically and horizontally to position the Native American Renaissance.
Though it comprised the most circulated and consumed artefacts of the nineteenth-century literary marketplace, Gothic ‘street’ fiction nonetheless has occupied a critical blindspot in literary histories. Notwithstanding their evanescence, short, cheap Gothic works proliferated from the 1770s to the 1880s, appearing in millions of copies to satisfy the demands of a rapidly expanding reading public. This chapter explores the development of street literature, from its early, short bluebook format (1780–1830) to its later incarnation as the penny blood serial (1840–1870). The origins of street Gothic in prose forms and the print culture dynamics are considered, alongside close analysis of key themes, plots and tropes of the bluebooks and penny bloods. The chapter concludes by considering the twilight of street Gothic, with the emergence of the penny dreadful (1860–1900), which was aimed at a juvenile male audience. While literary scholarship has dismissed both as minor, derivative examples of Gothic literature, the chapter argues for the significant contribution made by a rich and dynamic network of authors and publishers.
This chapter argues that eighteenth-century moral philosophers, divines, and literati almost unanimously agreed that theism is necessary to sustain community and social stability. With this correlation in place, atheists were routinely denied the capacity for human sympathy. To make this case, the chapter focuses on two midcentury novels by Sarah Fielding: The Adventures of David Simple (1744) and its sequel, Volume the Last (1753). In these fictions, Fielding employs atheism to explore both the limits of modern selfhood and the limits of literary representation. Alongside eighteenth-century moral philosophers like John Locke, Shaftesbury, and Lord Kames, whom I examine in the chapter’s first section, Fielding casts the atheist as the fundamental incarnation of a completely autonomous self. More to the point, she insists that that self is incapable of integrating successfully into a wider community defined by developing notions of civility, sociability, and fellow feeling.
Although there were no self-avowed British atheists before the 1780s, authors including Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Sarah Fielding, Phebe Gibbes, and William Cowper worried extensively about atheism's dystopian possibilities, and routinely represented atheists as being beyond the pale of human sympathy. Challenging traditional formulations of secularization that equate modernity with unbelief, Reeves reveals how reactions against atheism rather helped sustain various forms of religious belief throughout the Age of Enlightenment. He demonstrates that hostility to unbelief likewise produced various forms of religious ecumenicalism, with authors depicting non-Christian theists from around Britain's emerging empire as sympathetic allies in the fight against irreligion. Godless Fictions in the Eighteenth Century traces a literary history of atheism in eighteenth-century Britain for the first time, revealing a relationship between atheism and secularization far more fraught than has previously been supposed.
This introduction demonstrates atheism’s centrality in eighteenth-century British culture, and it illustrates the paradoxical ways in which atheism’s presence in the period’s literature was meant to prevent its presence in the real world. The chapter charts the history of British thinking about unbelief throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries before arguing that fictional depictions of atheism as repulsive and unsympathetic gave rise to a unique form of believing selfhood, one defined not by creeds and doctrines but by affective rejections of unbelief. Moreover, the association of belief with sociability, and atheism with selfishness, led authors like Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Sarah Fielding, Phebe Gibbes, and William Cowper to create ecumenical fantasies in which theists around the globe unite to curb atheism’s spread. These fictions nuance our understanding of secularization, demonstrating how atheism’s relationship to modernity is more fraught than is typically acknowledged, and revealing the profound role imaginative literature has played in sustaining belief.
This essay examines Hume’s treatment of money in light of his view of the imagination. It begins with his claim that money is distinct from wealth, the latter arising, according to vulgar reasoning, from the power of acquisition that it represents, or, understood philosophically, from the labor that produces it. The salient features that Hume identifies with the imagination are then put forth, namely its power to combine ideas creatively and the principle of easy transition that characterizes its movement among them. Two issues that these features explain are then discussed: first, why people take value to lie in the material of which money is made, and, second, why they assign value to what they take money to represent, namely, wealth. In both cases, the imagination creates a new relation, an illusion or fiction, that cannot be traced directly to experience. In the case of money, the faculty conjoins what is intangible (the power of acquisition) with the physical qualities of specie; in the case of property it produces a causal relation that connects persons with objects to constitute stable possession that constitutes ownership. Hume also appeals to the imagination to explain the rules of property that subsequently develop (present possession, occupation, prescription, and transference). The essay concludes by emphasizing that being based on the imagination is not in itself indicative of any instability in either money or property and the practices they enshrine, a feature they share with other phenomena (such as the self and continued existence) that Hume also traces to the same faculty.
This book offers a new reading of the relationship between money, culture and literature in America in the 1970s. The gold standard ended at the start of this decade, a moment which is routinely treated as a catalyst for the era of postmodern abstraction. This book provides an alternative narrative, one that traces the racialized and gendered histories of credit offered by the intertextual narratives of writers such as E.L Doctorow, Toni Morrison, Marilyn French, William Gaddis, Thomas Pynchon and Don De Lillo. It argues that money in the 1970s is better read through a narrative of political consolidation than formal rupture as these histories foreground the closing down, rather than opening up, of serious debates about what American money should be and who it should serve. These novels and this moment remain important because they alert us to imagine the alternative histories of credit that were imaginatively proposed but never realized.
What is it for something to be an artwork, or a particular kind of artwork? What is the nature of the creative processes whereby artworks come into existence? What kinds of cognitive capacities and processes enter into the reception and appreciation of artworks? Philosophers of art have appealed to the imagination in answering each of these questions. I first consider the nature and role of the imagination in traditional conceptions of artistic creation, and why such conceptions are now viewed as more problematic. I then outline Kendall Walton’s highly influential analysis of the nature and appreciation of artistic representations in terms of a kind of imagining that he terms “make-believe.” I also consider Gregory Currie’s analysis of the nature of literary and cinematic fictions in terms of prescriptions to imagine various things, and of the role of the imagination in our engagement with such fictions. I next address recent critical responses to the roles ascribed to the imagination by Walton and Currie. Finally I look briefly at what has been termed the puzzle of “imaginative resistance,” our reluctance to engage in some of the imaginings prescribed by literary and cinematic fictions.
Narrative fiction is a major component of entertainment and culture, comprising books, television, movies, and video games. Our comprehension of these narratives is predicated in part on the imagination, which allows us to simulate fictional events, characters, and worlds. Beyond basic comprehension, the imagination also enables us to generate personalized and unique interpretations of a narrative, effectively allowing us to co-create narratives alongside the author. In this chapter, we discuss the ways in which imagination is used to understand fictional stories across a variety of mediums. We begin with a discussion of mental models, exploring how we use the imagination to translate narrative cues, such as words on a page, into complex and elaborate mental representations. Next, we discuss how the imagination encourages narrative engagement, by allowing us to feel physically transported into fictional worlds. Following that, we examine how the imagination is used to personalize narrative comprehension, through interpreting ambiguous or auxiliary narrative content and through incorporating past personal experiences and current beliefs into the narrative. Finally, we close with a discussion of how modern interactive media may uniquely engage our imagination by providing audiences with the freedom to create their own narratives.
In this chapter we examine a particular sort of imaginative activity – imagining the impossible, or fantasy. We trace the development of children’s ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality in various contexts – in pretense and imaginative play, in reasoning about mythical beings, and in storybooks and television. Throughout, we explore three groups of factors that influence judgments about whether various entities and events are real or fantastical: (1) characteristics of the child, such as age and fantasy orientation; (2) characteristics of the entity or event, such as whether it is self-generated or a product of culture; and (3) features of the environment, such as the context in which the entity or event is encountered. We also explore the tools children use to make these distinctions, and consider effects of both engaging with fantasy and making the fantasy-reality distinction on cognitive development more broadly. We conclude with suggestions for future research.
Chapter 3 examines Grant Allen’s fictions of criminal deceit, contending that they were shaped by his ideas about adaptive appearance. As a science populariser, Allen wrote repeatedly about the evolutionary dynamics of animal crypsis and advertisement. His crime tales often echo these dynamics as criminals’ deceptions compete with others’ detecting capacities. It is argued that, in tales such as ‘The Curate of Churnside’, Allen’s Darwinian view of deception clashes with the conventions of the sensation genre he was writing in. The genre tended to affirm a balance of cosmic justice in which criminals were usually exposed, if not punished. Conversely, Allen’s criminals often elude detection, having adapted perfectly to their environments. Allen did not present humans as simply equivalent to animals, though. He nurtured the hope that humanity would one day transcend nature’s primitive economy of deception. His novel An African Millionaire depicts criminal deception as a product of dysfunctional capitalism to be superseded by science and socialism. This political utopianism was offset for Allen, however, by a social Darwinist pessimism that caused him to doubt humans’ ability to overcome egoistic deceit. Indeed, Allen sometimes regarded his work as a professional writer as part of capitalism’s recapitulation of nature’s deceptions.
The Introduction explores the origins and growth of the Caribbean anarchist network on the backs of US imperial expansion after 1898. Anarchist migration around the Caribbean, the creation and distribution of anarchist cultural productions, and the key production and distribution of the anarchist press (especially out of Havana) enabled anarchists to forge and maintain a network with its hub in Havana that radiated to New York, Tampa, Mexico, Los Angeles, Panama, the Canal Zone, and Puerto Rico.
This chapter takes up the question of truthmakers for truths in and about fiction. After adopting a liberal attitude toward such truths, it surveys some of the basic positions and stances one might take regarding the alethic and metaphysical issues related to fiction. It then offers an (admittedly non-comprehensive) approach to the truthmakers for the truths related to fiction. Though the topic of truthmaking and fiction has only received minimal explicit attention, the view favoured here is most in line with Amie Thomasson’s artifactual theory that takes fictional characters to be dependently existing abstract beings. The chapter finishes by downplaying the ontological costs that accompany this view, and showing how views like Thomasson’s about fictional characters resonate with the trivialist view about mathematics.
Coetzee’s interest in, and ability to exploit, the conventions and expectations of genre is evident throughout his career; this chapter focuses on three examples in which the relation between fiction and non-fiction is put in question, Elizabeth Costello, Diary of a Bad Year, and Summertime. In the case of the first of these works, the chapter examines Coetzee’s conversion of lectures into a fiction, and asks how we are to take the opinions expressed by the eponymous individual. In the case of Diary of a Bad Year, it discusses Coetzee’s framing of diary entries within a fictional narrative, and considers the degree of authorial endorsement of the resulting ‘opinions’ and the effect of the story unfolding at the foot of the page. In Summertime, the generic challenge of a memoir supposedly written after the author’s death is explored, and attention is paid to the work’s status as autobiography and as comic self-interrogation.
The popular eighteenth-century genre of criminal biography is recognised today for its contribution to the development of the English novel, but its impact on Irish literature has not been explored to the same extent. However, criminal biographies were common fare for Irish readers in the 1700–1780 period. This chapter situates the criminal narrative, a form combining biographical and fictional content and drawing on the picaresque tradition, as an important subtext for the first Irish novels. It surveys the consumption of these texts in Ireland and their treatment of Irish settings and characters. Close readings are offered of a late-seventeenth-century fiction, The Irish Rogue (1690), and a mid-eighteenth-century collection of biographies, John Cosgrave’s A Genuine History of the Lives and Actions of the Most Notorious Irish Highwaymen, Tories and Rapparees (1747). Both can be singled out for their representations of nationality and travel, which enable them to undercut conventional associations between the Irish and criminality. Such rogue tales, it is argued, expanded the repertoire of Irish fiction, establishing characteristic strategies of plotting and characterisation which paved the way for later novels.