rss_2.0American, British and Canadian Studies FeedSciendo RSS Feed for American, British and Canadian Studies, British and Canadian Studies 's Cover Wheels, Faust, and Forms of Influence in Malcolm Lowry and Graham Greene<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Ferris Wheels seem to fascinate film-directors – notably Carol Reed in <italic>The Third Man</italic> (1949), based on Graham Greene’s story and script. Though Ferris Wheels figure less conspicuously in twentieth-century novels, Malcolm Lowry provides an exception in <italic>Under the Volcano</italic> (1947), a novel also comparable to <italic>The Third Man</italic> in other ways. One explanation might be that Greene simply drew on Lowry’s example when developing his film-script (later published as a novella) – work begun very shortly after <italic>Under the Volcano</italic> had appeared. More plausibly, each writer might be understood to have responded separately, though similarly, to the unique pressures of their age. Identifying how these stresses were represented in their work, through cognate symbologies, may suggest some productive ways of reading historically.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-31T00:00:00.000+00:00Poetic Madness in Malcolm Bradbury’s<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article addresses the age-old correlation between poetic genius and madness as represented in Malcolm Bradbury’s academic novel <italic>Eating People Is Wrong</italic> (1959), zeroing in on a student-cum-poet and a novelist-cum-poet called Louis Bates and Carey Willoughby, respectively. While probing this unexplored theme in Bradbury’s novel, I pursue three primary aims. To begin with, I seek to demonstrate that certain academics’ tendency to fuse or confuse the poetic genius of their students and colleagues with madness is not only rooted in inherited assumptions, generalizations, and exaggerations but also in their own antipathy towards poets on the grounds that they persistently diverge from social norms. Second, I endeavour to ignite readers’ enthusiasm about the academic novel subgenre by underscoring the vital role it plays in energizing scholarly debate about the appealing theme of poetic madness. Lastly, the study concedes that notwithstanding the prevalence of prejudice among their populations, universities, on the whole, do not relinquish their natural veneration for originality, discordant views, and rewarding dialogue.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-31T00:00:00.000+00:00Narrative Quantum Cosmology in Michael Frayn’s<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Twentieth-century drama has made the stage a site for reflecting on science. Michael Frayn’s <italic>Copenhagen</italic>, considered by many as one of the most striking contributions to “science plays,” portrays the elusive yet crucial short meeting of the two pillars of quantum physics, Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, in the autumn of 1941. The play employs ‘real’ scientists as characters that recurrently refer to and explain their scientific ideas such as uncertainty and complementarity, recognized as the Copenhagen Interpretation. Adopting the approach of possible worlds theory, this article analyses the concept of ‘possible worlds’ as projected in <italic>Copenhagen</italic> in light of the idea that physics itself has proposed a proliferation of parallel universes (multiverse). In fact, our main thesis is that the play offers an alternate history and brings about a myriad of counterfactuals that are tested as “drafts.”</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-31T00:00:00.000+00:00Homes for Canadians (I)<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>According to Giorgio Agamben, the Greek term for ‘habitual dwelling place,’ or ‘habit,’ is <italic>ethos</italic>. The rise to prominence in the twentieth century of the modern idea of the suburb, or ‘suburbia,’ held open the door to the potential realization of the American (and Canadian) dream <italic>ethos</italic> of universal home ownership. The tantalizing appeal of a the ideal of ‘home’ and ‘homeland’ have become key terms in the Post World War Two pursuit of a mode of ‘dwelling’ linked to consumer capitalism. Yet for Frankfurt School critics such as Theodor W. Adorno, the pursuit of this suburban ideal induced a deep sense of <italic>ennui</italic> such that to feel ‘at home’ in such a suburban environment challenged the very foundations of the dwelling place of Western civilization. “It is part of morality,” Adorno concluded in his book, <italic>Minima Moralia</italic>, “not to be at home in one’s home.” This text is an exercise in examining this question of “dwelling” and “home” through an allegorical poetical focus (drawn from Walter Benjamin and Charles Baudelaire) focusing on a newly completed suburb in the Canadian city of Halifax, Nova Scotia.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-31T00:00:00.000+00:00Elena Butoescu. . Bucharest: Zeta Books, 2019. Pp 475. ISBN 978-606-697-092-1 (paperback); ISBN 978-606-697-093-8 (ebook) Vision in Virginia Woolf’s<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article focuses on Virginia Woolf’s novel, <italic>The Waves,</italic> a <italic>sui generis</italic> work, in which the writer explores metaphysical and epistemological issues such as the meaning of selfhood, time and identity as flux, silence and language, the self as defined by language, and other fundamental concerns. These topics are explored through a dualistic perspective. This duality permeates the entire structure of the novel through binary oppositions: the self as one/the self as plural; the lyrical/the novelistic; the mystical/the rational; narrative/formlessness; the embodied/the disembodied; potentiality/actuality; language/silence. Woolf’s ambivalent approach is also at work in the way she uses language in the novel. The urge towards a teleological existence prompts her characters to turn events into a narrative that would arrange and combine them into one thread. The present article, however, shows that in <italic>The Waves</italic> the very human propensity to turn experience into a coherent story is countered by the opposite perception that this narrativizing drive is only an illusion.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-31T00:00:00.000+00:00Self-Mention in Science Communication Associated with COVID-19 Research: A Comparison of Computer-Mediated Communicative Practices in the United Kingdom and the United States of America<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article introduces and discusses a corpus-assisted study that sets out to identify and analyse how self-mention is employed in science communication associated with COVID-19 research disseminated to the general public by leading universities in the United Kingdom (the UK) and the United States of America (the USA). The corpus of the study is comprised of computer-mediated communication related to the COVID-19 pandemic on the official websites of Johns Hopkins University (the USA) and University College London (the UK). The corpus was examined quantitatively for the presence of self-mentions, such as <italic>I</italic>, <italic>my</italic>, <italic>me</italic>, <italic>mine</italic>, <italic>myself</italic>, and <italic>we</italic>, <italic>our</italic>, <italic>ours</italic>, <italic>ourselves</italic>, and <italic>us</italic>. The results of the quantitative analysis indicated that computer-mediated communicative practices associated with COVID-19 discourse and communication by these scientific institutions exhibit similarities in terms of the use of self-mentions. However, in contrast to COVID-19-related discourse communicated by Johns Hopkins University, the self-mention <italic>I</italic> and its forms were used more liberally in COVID-19-related discourse and communication disseminated by University College London. These findings are further discussed in the article from the vantage point of the current Anglo-Saxon tradition of academic writing in English.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-31T00:00:00.000+00:00Naming and Taming the Truth: Dana Gioia’s Transformative Poetry<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This essay attempts to trace the ways in which Dana Gioiaʼs use of form relates to, and simultaneously differs from Romanticism, Modernism and postmodernism. His particular brand of formalism takes up the notion of a connection between truth and beauty, without presuming to identify one with the other, and, at the same time, resisting both the Modernist obsession with dissolution and fragmentariness and postmodernism’s skepticism towards grand narratives. Form becomes a coalescing agent, uniting different aspects and levels of reality, and narratives are instrumental in shaping both the individual and the social body. The power to name (point to and describe) and to tame (to translate dark or incomprehensible aspects of reality), inherent in language, is the means by which poetry shapes our social and cultural world.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-31T00:00:00.000+00:00Subarno Chattarji. New Delhi: Bloomsbury India, 2019. Pp. 262. ISBN: 978-93-88271-46-2 London: F(o)unding the First Philanthropic Societies in the Metropolis<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>As this article is less about charity <italic>per se</italic> than it is about the relationships between place and institutional policies of benevolence, my intention is to look at how practices and laws of public charity operated in a city whose economic and social geography was changing after 1700, when the streets were populated with vulnerable people driven into poverty and when the subjects of pauperism and poor laws “engaged the attention of the legislature with increasing frequency” (Purdy 287). This article looks at the <italic>modus operandi</italic> of private and public philanthropic societies in eighteenth-century London in order to observe how both religious- and secular-driven charitable societies were motivated by the same goal of social reform, whether prompted by the Enlightenment or religious values. While the notion of <italic>Pietas Londinensis</italic> indicated the existence of various operating charities and casual philanthropic acts in the London area, charitable institutions had not been set up until the eighteenth century. In late Stuart and Georgian Britain charitable, London was shaped both by economic forces and by the various cultural meanings people attached to its space, and this new paradigm transferred all matters concerning the poor from parochial obligation to civic responsibility. The article will focus on the mechanisms which made this transfer possible while considering acts of public charity and philanthropic societies that emerged in the long eighteenth century, from hospitals and infirmaries to almshouses and charity schools, with a view to observing the changes in English mentality as a result of charitable activity.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-31T00:00:00.000+00:00“”: En-gendering Sin in Middle English Religious Drama. The Case of Chester<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article investigates the relationship between sin and its retribution as depicted in three Middle English biblical plays concerned with retribution, <italic>Noah’s Flood</italic>, the <italic>Harrowing of Hell</italic> and the <italic>Last Judgement</italic>, in the Chester biblical drama collection. The plays’ general tenor is, to modern sensibilities, conservative and disciplinarian with respect to social mores. Yet, studying the portrayal of sin against the plays’ social background may uncover secular mutations of the Christian conceptualisation of sin as a function of gender as well as estate. Chester’s <italic>Last Judgement</italic> dramatises sin in accordance with fifteenth-century ecclesiastical and secular developments which criminalise people along gender-specific, not just trade-specific, lines. In showing Mulier as the only human being whom Christ leaves behind in hell after his redemptive <italic>descensus</italic>, the <italic>Harrowing</italic> dooms not just the brewers’ and alehouse-keepers’ dishonesty, as imputed to brewsters in late medieval England, but women themselves, if under the guise of their trade-related dishonesty. The underside of the Chester Noahs’ cleansing voyage is women’s ideological and social suppression. Whether or not we regard the Good Gossips’ wine-drinking – for fear of the surging waters – or Mrs Noah’s defiant resistance to her husband as a performance of the sin of humankind calling for the punitive deluge, the script gives female characters a voice not only to show their sinfulness. Rather, like the <italic>Harrowing of Hell</italic> and less so the <italic>Last Judgement</italic>, <italic>Noah’s Flood</italic>, I argue, participates in a hegemonic game which appropriates one sin of the tongue, gossip, to make it backfire against those incriminated for using it in the first place: women.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-31T00:00:00.000+00:00Literature, Social Isolation and the Quest for Emotion in the Accelerated Post-Humanities in Transylvania: Smell and Memory in Romania and Empowerment in Sarah Hall’s Short Fiction<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This essay delivers an analysis of the innovative short fiction of contemporary British writer Sarah Hall. It gives particular consideration to the first two collections of short stories published by the author, <italic>The Beautiful Indifference</italic> (2011) and <italic>Madame Zero</italic> (2017), as well as looking into the possibilities offered by her latest collection, <italic>Sudden Traveler</italic> (2019). Hall focuses attention on such varied contemporary preoccupations as identity, gender, violence and death. My goal is to discuss the way that identities are subverted or transgressed in her short stories and how the topic of identity representation intersects with other themes becoming a fundamental and empowering factor in the narrative structure. Hall’s short story collections present an interesting case study, not only because they display the writer’s quest for a unity of subject-matter, but also because they evince the strength and vitality of the short story as a genre.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-01T00:00:00.000+00:00You’re an Orphan When Science Fiction Raises You<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>In <italic>Among Others</italic>, Jo Walton’s fairy story about a science-fiction fan, science fiction as a genre and archive serves as an adoptive parent for Morwenna Markova as much as the extended family who provide the more conventional parenting in the absence of the father who deserted her as an infant and the presence of the mother whose unacknowledged psychiatric condition prevented appropriate caregiving. Laden with allusions to science fictional texts of the nineteen-seventies and earlier, this epistolary novel defines and redefines both family and community, challenging the groups in which we live through the fairies who taught Mor about magic and the texts which offer speculations on alternative mores. This article argues that Mor’s approach to the magical world she inhabits is productively informed and futuristically oriented by her reading in science fiction. <italic>Among Others</italic> demonstrates a restorative power of agency in the formation of all social and familial groupings, engaging in what Donna J. Haraway has described as a transformation into a Chthulucene period which supports the continuation of kin-communities through a transformation of the outcast. In <italic>Among Others,</italic> the free play between fantasy and science fiction makes kin-formation an ordinary process thereby radically transforming the social possibilities for orphans and others.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-01T00:00:00.000+00:00Welcome to the New Millennium a Legend: Edna O’Brien and Her Life-Long Journey<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The publication of Germaine Greer’s <italic>The Change: Women, Aging and the Menopause</italic> presents a manifesto for women’s emancipation and their imminent embarkment on the avenue of freedom towards the liberation from the male gaze. In a similar vein, Edna O’Brien, a pioneer of the literary treatment of female agency and sexuality in the Irish literary canon, moves past the age when women enjoy visibility. Age liberates O’Brien from her entrapment in the public persona and her anxious relationship with the public opinion. It has the power to enhance the possibility of women’s difference. Nowadays, the commitment to women’s cause, the inherent element of O’Brien’s narratives, continues to mark out the uncompromising discourse of transgression of the standard as well as her vigilant condemnation of violence against women. In time, O’Brien has become both a foremother author and a legend. She has embraced her unrepressed femininity and the personification of a female sage that Irish women writers have long lacked and may thus represent a role model for authors who wish to transgress the discriminatory standards and defend the female voice.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-01T00:00:00.000+00:00“I Have This Kind of Grief for the Earth”: A.S. Byatt’s Ecopoetics in , “Thoughts on Myth” and “Sea Story”<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>A.S. Byatt has expressed deep misgivings regarding the role which the human species has played in mis/shaping the natural world due to the wilful blindness which guides human behaviour in this respect. In fact, Byatt has focussed on the destruction of the planet caused by greedy and environmentally-unaware human beings in fictional texts such as <italic>Ragnarök: The End of the Gods</italic> (2011) or “Sea Story” (2013), as well as in critical pieces such as “Thoughts on Myth” (2011). Hence, I am particularly interested in investigating how Byatt’s texts have been shaped by environmental concerns, as expressed in both her fiction and her critical work. My reading of Byatt’s ecopoetics will therefore be set within the theoretical framework of ecocriticism. Finally, I will also examine Byatt’s argument that in a way her early fictional work was “a questioning quarrel” with her former Cambridge teacher F.R. Leavis’s, whose “vision and values” she nevertheless “inherit[s] and share[s]” (<italic>Passions of the Mind</italic>, 2) in light of Leavis’s discussion of “the organic community” as proto-ecocritical writing.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-01T00:00:00.000+00:00“Catastrophically Romantic”: Radical Inversions of Gilbert and Gubar’s Monstrous Angel in Gillian Flynn’s<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>In their landmark text <italic>The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteen Century Literary Imagination</italic> (1970), Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar pose a series of hypotheses concerning women-authored fiction in the nineteenth century, identifying two archetypical female figures in patriarchal literary contexts – the Angel in the House, and the Monstrous (Mad)Woman. Gilbert and Gubar echo a Woolf-ian call to action that women writers must destroy both the angel and the monster in their fiction, and many contemporary women authors have answered that call – examining and complicating Gilbert and Gubar’s original dichotomy to reflect contemporary concerns with female violence and feminism. Gillian Flynn’s <italic>Gone Girl</italic> (2012), and in particular the character of Amy Elliott Dunne, explores modern iterations of the Angel v. Monster dynamic in the guise of the “Cool Girl,” thus revising these stereotypes to fit them in a postmodern socio-historical context. The controversy that surrounds the text, as well as its incredible popularity, indicates that the narrative has struck a chord with readers and critics alike. Both Amy and Nick Dunne represent the Angel and the Monster in their marriage, embodying Flynn’s critical feminist commentary on white, upper-middle class, heterosexual psychopathy.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-03-01T00:00:00.000+00:00Review: Vanessa Guignery and Wojciech Drąg, eds. , Wilmington, DE: Vernon Press, 2019. (£24.00 Hb.). Pp 235. ISBN 9780691159492