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- ItemA creditable performance under the circumstances? Suematsu Kenchô and the pre-Waley Tale of Genji(2010) Henitiuk, ValerieBefore Suematsu’s 1882 translation of the Tale of Genji, the information available in the West about Murasaki Shikibu’s masterpiece was sketchy and erroneous. The main objectives of this translator were to improve Japan’s political status by demonstrating that it has a rich literary tradition, and to make known to Westerners what is in effect that nation’s “cultural scripture” (Rowley). Reaction to his version was conflicted: readers and reviewers are curious about the previously unsuspected literary wealth presented to them, but struggle to comprehend and find points of reference. My article focuses on the circumstances that made possible this early representation of Japanese literature, while paradoxically keeping the Genji from being widely read and admired until Waley’s famous translation appeared some 40 years later. I argue that Suematsu, in using this book to critique Anglo-American imperialism, nonetheless reveals his own ambivalent relationship with the text and its author. Further, Western audiences were ill-equipped to judge what they were reading, as well as reluctant to accept a non-European interpreter, and thus the reception of this world masterpiece was long stalled for reasons that had little to do with literary or translation quality.
- ItemA warm and sympathetic thing: voice and dysfluency in Robert Browning's 'Mr Sludge, "the Medium"'(2020) Martin, DanielThis article takes a dysfluency studies approach to representations and expressions of voice and dysfluent speech in Robert Browning’s minor dramatic monologue ‘Mr Sludge, “The Medium”’ (1864). Browning’s speaker, an American spiritualist medium named Sludge, is vile and repugnant in his casuistry and sophistry as he defends his deceptions after being caught as a cheat during one of his séances. While Browning’s contemporaries recognized ‘Mr Sludge’ as a mockery of the real-life American medium Daniel Dunglass Home, the monologue relies on one central metaphor of the medium’s stuttering and stammering body that challenges broader Victorian assumptions about the relationship between speech, voice and elocutionary practices. Throughout this article, G.K. Chesterton’s claim that Browning’s critique of spiritualist practices is paradoxically a ‘warm and sympathetic thing’ becomes the keystone for understanding the monologue’s contributions to modern thought about the pleasures and vitality of dysfluent speech. Fundamentally, Browning’s exploration of the spiritualist’s deceptions and conjuring of the voices of the dead reflects broader medical analogies beginning in the 1840s that linked the causes of dysfluent speech to invasive and contagious voicings.
- Item‘Affirmative Signalling’: Dickens’s railway journalism and Victorian risk society(2017) Martin, DanielThis essay explores Charles Dickens’s railway journalism of the 1850s and 1860s and its differences from his more well-known fictional accounts of the British railway network. While fictional works such as Dombey and Son and ‘The Signalman’ emphasize the catastrophic aspects of railway accidents, Dickens’s journalism in Household Words and All the Year Round examines the modern systematicity of the railway network, which by its nature as system, necessitated accidents on the lines. The essay incorporates theoretical readings of risk by Ulrich Beck and Paul Virilio into its critical assessment of Dickens’s railway journalism. Fundamentally, it aims to demonstrate that Dickens’s railway journalism illuminates the complexity of Victorian narratives of technological and bureaucratic industrial and transport systems by prioritizing the global dimensions of systematic accidents over the period’s tendencies to focus merely on local accidental events.
- ItemAmericans abroad(2018) Monk, CraigExcerpt: "In newspapers, in magazines, and, eventually, in books, expatriates wrote for Americans, for Europeans, and conceived of new ways to write for both groups, illustrating what Daniel Katz sees as 'not a flight from American identity' but, instead, a true 'encounter with it.'"
- ItemAndrii Liubka’s Carbide: Ukrainian democratic reforms through a dark glass(2019) Krys, SvitlanaThe Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine and its reforms are the topics of Andrii Liubka’s novel Karbid (Carbide, 2015). Employing Voltairean laughter and neo-Gothic aesthetics, Liubka presents the idea of European integration (one of the expected outcomes of the reforms) implemented practically by the corrupt elites of the imagined Transcarpathian town of Vedmediv as a money-laundering enterprise – an underground tunnel for smuggling drugs and people’s organs from Ukraine to Europe. The author proposes that the elites – most of whom are criminals – personify Julia Kristeva’s concept of abjection in the novel and represent social spheres that need reform. Contrary to the Euromaidan goals, these comprador elites desire even stronger borders between Ukraine and the European Union, as these facilitate their shadow economy, and they subject the local population to economic and social decline, turning them into disposable human waste. By applying the concept of abjection in its psychoanalytic and social forms to Liubka’s tragicomic novel, the author argues that his text points to Ukraine’s struggle to define itself as “West” and shed its totalitarian legacy of the Soviet “East,” and brings attention to the conflict between the post-Euromaidan national strivings of Ukraine’s citizens and the rampant corruption that negates their efforts.
- ItemBiological inheritance and the social order in late-Victorian fiction and science(2011) Berezowsky, SherrinThis dissertation investigates the heightened interest in heredity as a kind of biological inheritance that arises after the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) and how this interest intersects with concerns about class mobility and the shifting social order. Within this framework, this project considers how heredity became a means of organizing and regulating bodies in keeping with what Michel Foucault terms biopower. It unearths the cultural work within literary and scientific writings as they respond to narratives of self-help and self-improvement by imagining heredity as a means of stabilizing the social order, and by extension the nation, at the very moment that it was undergoing significant change. In studying diverse texts, this project highlights the shared ideological concerns behind both literary and scientific narratives.
- ItemBook review: Autobiographical comics: life writing in pictures(2014) Abedinifard, MostafaThe genre of autobiographical comics has occupied an important function in the increasing acceptance of comics as a literary and artistic medium worthy of critical contemplation. This has been particularly the case in Europe and North America during the past few decades. However, a theoretical examination of autobiographical comics had not been subject to a book-length study. El Refaie’s long-awaited book therefore fills a large and consequential gap within comics studies. As someone who was born and grew up in Iran, I come from a culture in which graphic narratives do not play a significant role. In 2009, for the elective portion in my graduate course requirements, I ventured a course on autobiographical comics that focused on the issues of memory and historical representation. The instructor put together a course packet of various essays related to autobiographical comics. This highlighted the need for a general work that could be used as a textbook. I think El Refaie’s book also more than meets such a need.
- ItemBook review: Gender and humour: interdisciplinary and international perspectives(2015) Abedinifard, MostafaThe advent and growth of feminist movements and theories during the 20th century, which foregrounded gender as an essential aspect of human identity, called for unprecedented attention to gender itself as well as its relation to other social systems and structures, including language. Ever since, a gradually increasing number of scholars from various disciplines have studied the nexus of gender and humour. The resulting body of research, due to its interdisciplinarity, is necessarily extensive and includes a wide range of topics and research methods. However, the extent of this research is barely comparable to the bulk of gender studies, which normally concern gender in relation to the serious. This remarkable imbalance deserves attention. Two probable reasons come to mind: one is the long-standing and general ambivalence academics have had about humour as a serious scholarly topic (see Davis 1995; Kuipers 2008); the other, at least for feminist studies of humour, is the problematic tradition of feminism and feminists being the object of ridicule by mainstream media (Ferree 2004). Therefore, Chiaro & Baccolini’s edited volume is a fortunate and welcome addition to the field.
- ItemBook review: Jokes and targets(2013) Abedinifard, MostafaChristie Davies’ Jokes and Targets is a collection of essays focusing on certain contemporary Western (primarily Anglo-American) joke cycles. The book involves the engaging question of “how certain cycles come about and why particular groups rather than others become the targets of these jokes." The main targets discussed by Davies include dumb and oversexed blondes, the sex-obsessed French, American lawyers, frigid Jewish women and wimpy Jewish men, various social groups stigmatized as homosexual or effeminate, and Soviet autocrats. Davies adopts a socio-historical approach, attempting to explain the raison d’être for each joke cycle—which he suggests be considered as a “social fact” in the Durkheimian sense. He draws upon an interesting variety of “outside evidence," from historical, literary, and artistic sources to relevant findings in empirical social scientific studies from numerous countries. The book provides important examples of how popular jokes, as seemingly insignificant discursive practices, can often be indicators or—as in the case of Soviet jokes—sometimes precursors of significant cultural and historical phenomena and transformations.
- ItemBook review: The education of women and the vices of men: two Qajar tracts(2014) Abedinifard, MostafaThe translators of The Education of Women and The Vices of Men render into English, for the first time in their entirety, two important yet understudied Qajar tracts on men and women: Ta’dib al-Nesvān and Ma’āyeb al-Rejāl. The texts had been neglected for around a century before an edition of the latter and two editions of the former appeared outside Iran in 1992.1 The texts are juxtaposed in one Persian edition and in the translation under discussion here, which the translators justify by the fact that The Vices of Men is a critical response to The Education of Women.
- ItemBook review: The rhetoric of racist humour: US, UK, and global race joking(2013) Abedinifard, MostafaThe article reviews the book "The Rhetoric of Racist Humour: US, UK and Global Race Joking" by Simon Weaver.
- ItemChe y Teddy: el desarrollo de imágenes populares en la pantalla grande(2006) Katz, MarcoAmerican and Cuban cinema is explored.
- ItemCon palabras y notas: Zora Neale Hurston y las orillas nortenas del caribe(2012) Katz, MarcoThe relationships between American and Latin American literature and music are explored.
- ItemCorreo electrónico entre Eduardo Oso y Sancho Panza(2014) Katz, MarcoAre Sancho Panza and Winnie the Pooh brothers in alimentary solidarity? In two parts, this academic paper investigates comparisons between popular texts from Spain and England, respectively El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and Winnie the Pooh by Alan Alexander Milne. The first part plays on Cervantes’ phrasings in order to humorously consider the plausibility of popular literary protagonists in relationship to world figures generally perceived as verisimilar. While much of the world easily accepts the great monarchs, politicians, ecclesiasts, and battlefield generals as historically accurate, many people continue to believe even more fervently in the literary figures they cherish.
- ItemCreating original Ukrainian dance in Canada – an autobiographical reflection of a 40-Year creative journey with the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers of Canada(2014) Gordey, GordonGordon Gordey autobiographical reflection of a 40-year creative journey with The Ukrainian Shumka Dancers of Canada recounts his experiences creating his original artistic works with The Ukrainian Shumka Dancers of Canada. By documenting his dance concepts and librettos Gordey reveals his challenge to create original work that is an outward expression of life through dance by engaging a creative team’s physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual selves. He reveals his desire to contribute original work to the canon of Ukrainian dance that is spiritually connected to generations of continuous cultural practice and resonates with 20th and 21st century audiences in Canada, Ukraine, Russia, and China. He speaks to evolving dance stories that embed themselves in viewer’s minds and become cultural touchstones worth sharing. Dance concepts and librettos for: Shumka’s Cinderella, Pathways to Hopak, Girl in the Red Dress TANGO, Vechornytsi (the multi-works in Life is a Cabaret), Eve of Kupalo - a Midsummer’s Night Mystery Masque and Voices of the Silenced are enhanced with photographs and video excerpts of the dances in performance.
- ItemCritical reflections on Ghoreishian’s ‘Gender and Sexual Organs'(2013) Abedinifard, MostafaThis paper is a critical response to Ana Ghoreishian’s essay “Gender and Sexual Organs: Iraj Mirza’s ‘Arif Namah and Hajviyat [plural of hajv, i.e., invective],” and focuses on the gender politics of Iraj Mirza’s most celebrated work, i.e., Aref Nameh. I welcome Ghoreishian’s insight that the critical value of Iraj Mirza’s sexual hajv (i.e., invective satire) should not be overshadowed by moralistic judgements about it. However, I challenge the picture she presents of Aref Nameh’s policy vis-à-vis gender. With this general theme in mind, and to rectify the above picture, I discuss three subjects: the phallocentric language in Aref Nameh, its attitude towards homoeroticism, and its treatment of hejab. First, I argue that while Aref Nameh’s sexual hajv can, as Ghoreishian shows, serve subversive functions in certain socio-political contexts, the poem’s phallocentrism renders it as obviously conservative in regard to gender. In the next part, while taking issue with Ghoreishian’s representation of Aref Nameh as a peril for heteronormativity, I provide further socio-historical context for the poem to suggest that, having been written at a critical juncture in the history of the transformations in Iranian society’s gender order, Aref Nameh was arguably constructed as a pro-modernity narrative that tends to foster the abjection of homoerotic acts and identities. Finally, upon contemplating Aref Nameh’s equating women’s unveiling with emancipation—as mirrored and endorsed in Ghoreishian’s article—my paper shows how the poem reveals significant traces of complicity with its contemporary modern discourse towards women’s veil. This discourse, that considered the heterosocialization of the public space as a sine qua non to Iranian modernity, encouraged the literal unveiling of women while simultaneously subjecting them to a surrogate nexus of internal veils.
- ItemDe la vallenata-bachata a la two-beat repeat: un discurso rítmico sobre la música americana(2013) Katz, MarcoThe links between music in America and other countries is explored.
- Item“Easyfree translation?” How the modern West knows Sei Shônagon's Pillow Book(2007) Henitiuk, ValerieIn the West, frequent references to thousand-year-old masterpieces such as the Tale of Genji and the Pillow Book suggest that although born in a particular national context, such works now possess a new life as international cultural artefacts. All too often, however, the globalization of Japanese literature reveals a quite astonishing persistence of Orientalist and otherwise reductive readings. This article examines Sei Shônagon's Pillow Book as an Eastern text that, from a Western perspective, acquires meaning only when articulated by the West, albeit in forms that would prove unrecognizable to its author or her contemporaries. Focusing on how they underpin or resist Orientalizing themes and attitudes, I consider the multiple and rapidly multiplying translations that it has inspired. The term “translation” is used in its broadest possible meaning to encapsulate a vast range of linguistic and cultural transfers along a continuum from literal to free, involving various forms of manipulation in the process of transforming this work into world literature.