The pictures are for the most part mild, but in spite of this, though always exquisitely clear in reasoning and in visual quality, they pack a wicked punch. There’s nothing oppressively ‘photographic’ here, it isn’t a long nose poking into dirty corners for propaganda and for scandal, there are no… Continue reading
Herman Melville by Kevin J. Hayes provides a readable, entertaining, and informative account of Melville’s life and esteemed contribution to American letters. Hayes expertly captures many of the major moments of Melville’s life in an exciting, satisfying manner, arguing that Melville’s entire literary career and, indeed, his life, contributed to the making of his 1851 masterwork, Moby-Dick; or, the Whale. Based on this one monumental novel, Melville’s place in the canon of American literature is secured, despite the fact that, as Hayes makes clear, Melville ‘had slipped into obscurity by the start of the twentieth century’. Continue reading
If a project claims to re-consider the American avant-garde and its racism, what impact does this have on academic practice as such? Mariya Nikolova argues that a critique of avant-garde movements is impossible without Black and Gender theorizations. Hence the need for a re-consideration of avant-garde’s underlying protocols. Form and formality are invariably linked to epistemological violence, to the way knowledge inhabits and inhibits understanding. Experimentation often entailed elitism, but dissidence experiments, too. This double grammar resuscitates avant-gardism and requires a careful attention. The white avant-garde claimed the former through the latter, and the fact that it did raises the question of form. When does form collapse? Is there a way to make this visible?Does a methodology exist that attends to practices of unreading and whether a White scholar could ever impede their own safety? How would self-sabotage appear in such an endeavour?
The Posthumanist Modernism stream was prompted by two deceptively simple questions: What is modernism? And what is Posthumanism? The former question has been the subject of debate for years. The latter is the title of Cary Wolfe’s ground-breaking 2010 book on the subject. An international, comparative approach to these slippery concepts was a refreshing alternative to the often Anglo-centric focus of Modernist Studies in Britain. Continue reading
A particular highlight of the Transatlantic Literary Women Series so far was the Transatlantic Modernisms Workshop, an afternoon of papers dedicated to modernist female writers, and presented by esteemed female academics. Questions raised regarding American expatriate women and their often conflicted attitudes to homeland resonated with contemporary concerns, given the heightened awareness of Britain’s relationship to the rest of Europe and the United States following both the Brexit vote, and the presidential election of Donald Trump. Continue reading