Repository logo

Department of English

Permanent link for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 125
  • Item
    The child's stuttering mouth and the ruination of language in Jordan Scott's blert and Shelley Jackson's Riddance
    (2020) Martin, Daniel
    In recent years, the interdisciplinary field that Chris Eagle has called “Dysfluency Studies” (“Introduction” 4) has questioned cultural expressions of speech disorders that rely on stuttering or stammering as a metaphor for other mental, aesthetic, political, and affective problems. Literary, cultural, and critical expressions of stutters and stammers (some literal, others metaphorical) are notoriously difficult to contextualize because they pop up everywhere in our writing. We desperately want to make the world and its language systems stutter for various aesthetic and political reasons. Echoing the foundational work of disability scholars David T. Mitchell and Sharon L. Snyder on the concepts of narrative prosthesis, Eagle writes that “without exception in modern literature, speech pathologies are ‘diagnosed’ metaphorically as the symptom of some character flaw such as excessive nervousness or weakness, or treated as a symbol for the general tendency of language toward communicative breakdown, ambiguity, polysemy, misunderstanding, etc.” (Dysfluencies 11–12). Eagle’s extensive study of the “neurolinguistic turn” in modern fiction by authors such as Herman Melville, Emile Zola, James Joyce, Robert Graves, James Joyce, Philip Roth, Gail Jones, Jonathan Lethem, and David Mitchell, among others, fills a gap in literary analysis of speech dysfluencies left by Marc Shell’s Stutter, which explores the aesthetic qualities of speech dysfluencies in literature and popular culture. Shell and Eagle’s studies respectively advocate for better cultural representations of people who stutter and challenge powerful biomedical beliefs that dysfluent voices are by default in need of correction or cure. At the same time, the interdisciplinary field of Dysfluency Studies that Shell and Eagle have inaugurated recognizes the stutter or stammer as an embodied expression of linguistic and communicative diversity and challenges the normative time frames that govern our collective desires for vocal fluency.
  • Item
    Love on wheels: American cycling-romance novels of the early 1880s
    (2021) Buchanan, Dave
    Romantic fiction about cycling—sometimes called “cycling romance” (Chen) or “romantic bicycling fiction” (Hanlon)—is usually considered to have emerged in the 1890s, during the great “bicycle boom” that peaked mid-decade in North America, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere (Herlihy 251). High-wheel cycling had been popular in certain circles (mainly among well-off athletic men) as far back as the 1870s, but, in the late 1880s, the rise of the more affordable and accessible safety bicycle (with same-size wheels, much like bicycles today) and technical innovations (such as the pneumatic tire) led to an explosion in cycling’s popularity.
  • Item
    Transformative girlhood and twenty-first-century girldom in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables
    (2022) Thompson, William
    From Jane Austen to contemporary fanfiction and adaptations, literary portrayals of the child and imaginings of childhood are particularly telling indicators of cultural values and when they shift. Inspired by the responsive reading practices of L.M. Montgomery herself, those demonstrated by her characters and her diverse readership, Children and Childhoods in L.M. Montgomery works with concepts of confluence, based on organic, non-linear readings of texts across time and space. Such readings reconsider views of childhood and children by challenging power hierarchies and inequities found in approaches that privilege more linear readings of literary influence. While acknowledging differences between childhood and adulthood, contributors emphasize kinship between child and adult as well as between past and present selves and use both scholarly approaches and creative reimagining to explore how the boundaries between different stages of life are blurred in Montgomery's writing. Children and Childhoods in L.M. Montgomery addresses Montgomery's challenges to prescribed assumptions about childhood, while positioning her novels as essential texts in twenty-first century literary, childhood, and youth studies.
  • Item
    George Catlin’s Shut your mouth, the biopolitics of voice, and the problem of the “Stuttering Indian”
    (2023) Martin, Daniel
    The stutter persists as an unwanted excrescence in most cultural or critical/theoretical accounts of the voice, and sometimes even the most rigorous scholarly approaches still rely on powerful assumptions that link voices to personal or collective agency. What does it mean to find a voice for people who stutter? Sonically, stutters and stammers rupture time frames; conceptually, they do similar work halting the fluency and fluidity of histories premised on personal and collective identities, and institutional developments. Following Michel Foucault’s earliest outlines of biopower and the biopolitical production of manageable populations, I argue that the modern science and therapeutics of dysfluent speech emerged in the nineteenth century through “the controlled insertion of bodies in the machinery of production and the adjustment of the phenomena of population to economic processes”. Put simply, fluency in voice became foundational to modern regimentation and training in speech and communication. In recent years, scholars such as Josephine Hoegaerts and Riley McGuire have begun to examine the material histories of stuttered or stammered speech, each positing that the “science” of speech disorders emerging in the nineteenth century was implicated in powerful cultural narratives of fluency’s privilege and prestige. At the core of the explosion of curative and therapeutic techniques in early elocutionary and medical approaches to stuttered speech persisted a productive fantasy of a lost “natural” voice that could paradoxically be rediscovered through biopolitical instrumentation. The fantasy of this lost voice – a voice that experts believed existed elsewhere in space and time than the “civilized” nation states of the modern West – functioned biopolitically as an impossible “normal” that nevertheless became the goal of speech training, management, and production.
  • Item
    Report from the kingdom of the afterlife
    (2017) Hutchinson, Chris
    First line: In the future, books of the past will be redacted and digitized, to be read only by the criminally insane.
  • Item
    Dreaming of snow
    (2022) Thompson, William
    All day the snow falls, dropping down in great white flakes that gather themselves into clinging crystalline shapes that vanish as they kiss the ground. The air is alive and thick with falling snow. He sits and watches the gathering whiteness. The snow falls and falls. It obliterates the green of pines and the brown of branches. He watches: the whiteness of the air; the whiteness of the ground. The whiteness of the whale? — summer days, reading Melville, far from now. The drift of snow at the edge of the yard is the breeching back of a white leviathan — exploding into the frozen air to swim this sea of snow.
  • Item
    The touch of water
    (20??) Thompson, William
    It was his right foot, at first. He noticed it at the top of the stairs—the cold touch of water. He swore. He hated wet socks. He looked down, but nothing was there—no water, no wet sock. He wriggled his toes experimentally. They felt clammy. He reached down to touch his woolen sock. Dry.
  • Item
    The shack
    (2021) Thompson, William
    I met our paper boy on a September day after school. There he was, Terry, a sullen, bespectacled teenager, crouching at the corner of the street and using a pocketknife to cut open a bundle. I don’t know what came over me, but I asked if he needed a helper – a bold move for me at the time.
  • Item
    Pilgrims on wheels: the Pennells, F. W. Bockett, and literary cycle travels
    (2016) Buchanan, Dave
    Laurence Sterne, eighteenth- century author of Tristram Shandy and A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, never rode a tricycle. He couldn’t have. The earliest prototype of bicycles and tricycles, the Draisine or hobbyhorse, wasn’t invented until after 1810, fifty years after Sterne died. But according to early cycle-travel writers Elizabeth Robins Pennell and Joseph Pennell writing in 1887, Sterne would surely have appreciated leisure cycle travel, at least in the Pennells’ tandem-tricycle style; for it was, they claim, perfectly suited to Sterne’s meandering, sentimental disposition. In the dedicatory letter to the long- dead Sterne in Our Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, the Pennells claim that Sterne would have preferred cycle travel even to a railway carriage and that on a tandem tricycle with its two seats, Sterne “would still have a place for ‘the lady,’” a sly nod to the flirtatious tendencies of Sterne’s narrator in A Sentimental Journey, Mr. Yorick.
  • Item
    "The stutter of the world beneath you": the literature of cycle travel
    (2022) Buchanan, Dave
    The earliest accounts of cycle travel, from the 1870s, mostly in magazines in England and America, tended to be not so much literary as itinerary: plain-prose descriptive narratives of distances rode, places visited, and technical and logistical details about things like road conditions, supply points, and accommodation. The three main types of cycle-travel writers that emerged in the late nineteenth century – pilgrims, ramblers, and adventurers – remain responsible for the vast majority of cycle-travel literature produced today. Not all cycle-travel writers emphasize destinations or specific routes the way pilgrims do. In fact, a vibrant tradition of cycle-travel writing from the 1890s to the 1940s is more concerned with celebrating the experience of the ride as an end in itself. Both pilgrims and ramblers tend to take a leisurely, recreational, small-scale approach to travel, one that emphasizes interactions between traveller, place, history, texts, and nature rather than distances covered and difficult terrain traversed.
  • Item
    The ideal narratee and the rhetorical model of audiences
    (2022) Copland, Sarah; Phelan, James
    This article proposes to revise rhetorical narrative theory's model of audiences in fiction (actual, authorial, narrative, ideal narrative, and narratee) by replacing the term/concept of the ideal narrative audience with that of the ideal narratee, defined as the audience the narrator wishes they were addressing. This revision calls attention to the various ways that authors can handle the relations between the actual narratee and the ideal narratee (the actual may—or may not—coincide with the ideal), and such variety, in turn, points to the need for a more general taxonomy of authorial uses of the narratee. This taxonomy identifies three recognizably distinct ranges along a single broad spectrum of degrees of alignment between actual and ideal narratees: (1) clear alignment, (2) uncertain alignment, and (3) non-alignment. The taxonomy also identifies two main variants within each category, based on how an author's handling of the degree of alignment guides their readers’ focus: is it primarily on the narrated, the narrating, or both? The essay demonstrates the interpretive payoffs of the taxonomy through its analysis of a wide array of case studies including Mohsin Hamid's Reluctant Fundamentalist, Andrew Marvell's “To His Coy Mistress,” Sandra Cisneros's “Barbie-Q,” and Albert Camus's Fall.
  • Item
    Their own devices: steampunk airships as heterotopias of crisis and deviance
    (2021) Krentz, Courtney; Perschon, Mike; St. Amand, Amy
    Michel Foucault uses a sailing vessel as the exemplar of his theory of heterotopia because of its mobility. The lateral and vertical mobility of the steampunk airship indicates the potential for an even greater exemplar of heterotopia, particularly of Foucault’s defining principles of heterotopic crisis and deviance. These principles are explored onboard the steampunk airships of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy and Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series, resulting in travel towards progressive social frontiers of gender and race. The protagonists of the Leviathan trilogy move from a position of crisis to deviance, as mediated through the friendship and romance of two representatives of warring factions. In contrast, the heroine of the Finishing School series moves from deviance to crisis as she navigates the vagaries of gender and racial identity. These airship heterotopias of young adult fiction, which not only descend geographically but also socially, cross liminal crisis spaces of class, race, gender, and identity to craft literary cartographies for these social frontiers, providing readers with literary maps for their uncertain real worlds of crisis.
  • Item
    Truth and reconciliation and narrative ethics, form, and politics
    (2021) Copland, Sarah
    I am the Canadian daughter of British immigrants and a settler who now gratefully teaches and learns on land known as Treaty 6 territory, an area encompassing central parts of the present-day provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, where a treaty between "Her Majesty the Queen" and "the Plain and Wood Cree Indians and other tribes of Indians" was signed in 1876 (Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba). (1) I have benefitted tangibly and intangibly in my life from colonial structures of power that privilege white, native English-speaking settlers and in my work from a colonial academia that privileges Western theories and methodologies for literary criticism and education in general. I begin with this self-positioning because this essay is about the narrative ethics, form, and politics in and of artistic works purporting to contribute to reconciliation for groups that face historical and present-day injustice. Acknowledging my situatedness is a critical first step in formally framing literary criticism about such artistic works in a way that reinforces--rather than undermines--that criticism's politics and ethics. As I address questions that are as pressing for theorizations of narrative ethics and politics generally as they are for specific cases hitting the media, including the peoples and communities affected by these cases, I participate in a conversation led by Indigenous scholars, writers, and activists. In this conversation, which focuses on the politics and ethics of representation, I draw on my expertise in narrative theory and narrative ethics to add a complementary engagement with the politics and ethics of form. In doing so, I address two hitherto unaddressed questions. First, what bearing do the ethics of an author's conduct in writing, publishing, and promoting a work as an act of reconciliation have on the ethics of the work itself, that is, the ethics of the dramatized and narrated events and relationships in the text's action, and the narration itself? Second, how does the interaction between what we might call text-external ethics and text-internal ethics affect the political work a text is ostensibly undertaking to support and contribute to reconciliation for groups facing ongoing inequities? (2) By bringing this conversation to an international context, I also model for scholars working with artistic responses to other Truth Commissions, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, or their equivalents, one version of what form-specific ethical political criticism might look like. (3)
  • Item
    Situating ourselves: the development of doctoral programs in rhetoric and composition
    (2011) Skeffington, Jillian K.
    The discipline of rhetoric and composition is often defined by binaries: rhetoric/composition, teaching/practice. Our doctoral programs, however, occupy space at both ends of the spectrum through the simultaneous emphasis on composition pedagogy and rhetorical theory. The changing curricula in doctoral programs offer a unique lens through which to interpret some of the forces that have shaped rhetoric and composition as it has developed in the past fifty years. Examining the curricula highlights how our disciplinary identity has been shaped, at least in part, by our various institutional locations.
  • Item
    On standing in line
    (2021) Thompson, William
    Pre-COVID, lines were hard. Now that COVID determines how we interact, how we assemble, how we negotiate public spaces, I’m more lost than ever. But COVID doesn’t consider age, sex, gender, ethnicity, or anything else. And it doesn’t care that I’m blind. And it doesn’t care how it affects my life.
  • Item
    (2021) Thompson, William
    Felix isn't your typical national park employee. He's a bear with a drinking problem. Editor’s Note: This piece of magical realism by William Thompson is the third installment in the Parks and Profit series, which explores the complex relationship between profit and parks historically and in present-day. The story of Felix speaks to the critical tension between preservation and providing “a good show” for tourists in national parks that negatively affects bears, like Bear 148, and other wildlife.
  • Item
    November seventeenth
    (2021) McMann, Donald J.
    They looked at one another. Neither moved nor spoke. Then she stood. He stood. The hug lasted just a little too long. Unplanned. Perhaps. The scent of product in his hair. The feel of his hands on her back. Awkward byes and see-you-tomorrows. Then she was on her way out into the chilly November night. A skiff of powdery snow swirled across the sidewalk. She hurried without knowing why. Maybe just the cold.
  • Item
    Trouble afoot
    (2019) McMann, Donald J.
    No one had heard from Spencer in three days, and now his friend Abby stood outside Spencer’s apartment while the building superintendent used his master key to open the door.
  • Item
    Punch line
    (2020) McMann, Donald J.; McKelvey, Chelsea; McKelvey, Seth
    It’s about a man’s serious attempt to make a living writing jokes. “A man walks into a bar. He’s carrying a rabbit in a cage. “What’s with the caged rabbit?” asks the bartender. “Isn’t it obvious? I’m afraid of losing my hare.”
  • Item
    (2020) McMann, Donald J.
    She carried her breakfast to the table, sat at her place, reached for the newspaper. But then she was drawn to Jeffery’s place. Evidence of another restless night.