Mechanized and trench warfare, which dominated World War I representations and made millions of soldiers suffer, challenged the rigid gender ideals and hierarchies in the Europe of the time. As the destruction of the traditional manly ideal ran parallel with the destruction of male bodies in the war, the hegemony of traditional representational modes of soldiers was also gradually replaced by more innovative strategies both in poetry and painting. The essay analyzes such works of art with a focus on the crisis of masculinity, manifested quite tangibly in new strategies and representations of visual art. Similarly to soldiers’ written reminiscences, works of visual art depict a sense of emasculation, powerlessness, physical and mental breakdown, testifying that the masculine ideal, which was in large part defined by the chivalric heroic tradition, became anachronistic and unattainable. The figure of the physically or mentally disabled, disempowered soldier as a new phenomenon gained a central position during and after World War I, questioning the validity of the old patriarchal order. Previously marginalized masculinities, for example, the masculinity of homosexual men, and traits previously associated exclusively with femininity such as sensitivity, found their way to open up the borders and shape the Modernist discourse of European masculinity, changing it once and for all. (EEB)
When we read the poems of the Great War today, we interpret them both as historical documents and as works of art. World War I poetry wished to open the readers’ eyes to the horror that they were unable to imagine in the home country. As a consequence, the representation of the victim position proved to be particularly important both in populist texts (such as John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields”) and in poems undermining the conventional idea of heroism (such as those by Charles Sorley, Wilfred Owen, Edmund Blunden). Furthermore, a comparison between two poems about war heroes, Rupert Brooke’s “The Soldier” and Yeats’s “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” demonstrates the difference between war poetry and modernist literature. Yeats views and considers the problem of the dead hero from a distance, whereas Brooke represents his own situation from within. Both texts (although very different both in character and in artistic value) contribute to our better understanding of the war experience. (IDR)
Investigating the literary representation of urban spaces and identities the essay untangles the complex psychological and emotional relationship between the heroine and her beloved and hated cities in Sunetra Gupta’s The Glassblower’s Breath (1993). Drawing on Gernot Böhme’s (1993) theory of the atmospheric qualities of space, Steve Pile’s psychogeographical approach to reading cities, Walter Benjamin’s concept of phantasmagoria, and various interpretations of fascination, it explores the creation of atmospheres in the novel and the role of fascination in the perception of London and Gupta’s female protagonist as phantasmagorias. I argue that—as urban imaginaries—the emotional fabric and atmosphere of the cities portrayed are as much created by their spaces and places, their inhabitants and visitors, as they are manifested and formulated in emotional states of being, whether real or fictional, phantasmagoric or imaginary. (ÉP)
Drawing on Michel de Certeau’s insights on spatial practices the essay analyzes two works by Canadian writer Anthony De Sa, Barnacle Love (2008) and its follow-up, Kicking the Sky (2013), and maps the spatial biography of their protagonist and narrator, Antonio Rebelo, from childhood to early adulthood. De Sa’s works are set in Toronto, presented as a city in transition. Both narratives interrelate the protagonist’s story with the spatial setting of Toronto’s Little Portugal and with the cultural issue of emigration. They also delve into the complex urban social reality formed by subalternity, hard work, sexual exploitation, spectral memory, and family affects. De Sa’s interpretation of Toronto as the background of Antonio’s spatial biography constructs a complex interaction with the cityscape and its different emotionally conflicting spaces. To greater or lesser degrees in Barnacle Love and Kicking the Sky De Sa’s storytelling questions the concept of Toronto the Good and the actual city of Toronto becomes a rhetorical space—the backdrop for a coming-of-age narration that empowers Antonio Rebelo with invention and agency and launches him toward adult life. (SCB)
On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation, this essay surveys the various visions of society Canada has lived through until recently. Monocultural, bicultural and multicultural models of political identity alternated to clash over the constitution, thereby making it impossible for Aboriginal peoples and the Québécois to deliver nationalist arguments through the wall of liberal egalitarianism. The failure of the Meech Lake Accord (1987) pushed the country towards a federal and identity crisis inasmuch as it failed to reconcile the interests of national minorities with the interest of the nation as a whole within one legal framework. Continuing clashes over the constitution, especially in the Charlottetown Accord (1992), show that inherent cleavages in the body politic have survived, so multiculturalism has only been a partial solution to a population management problem. (GTE)
Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? explores the notions of the schizoid and the android as prototypes for the posthuman. Dick created androids to represent people physiologically and psychologically behaving in a non-human way, which is the same as Dick’s literal interpretation of a human without empathy—the schizoid. Hence, androids are metaphors for schizoid humans, or posthumans. Furthermore, there is a metaphysical worldview underlying Dick’s notion of empathy which differentiates the posthuman from the human, and this worldview conflicts with the materialistic worldview of the posthumans. Dick supports the metaphysical worldview over the materialistic ideology of the posthuman. The analysis draws primarily on Dick’s novel and three of his later essays to conclude that Dick wrote about the notions of the schizoid and android as prototypes for the posthuman long before anyone had an idea to embark on a full-length study of the posthuman, and Dick’s vision was an insightful warning about the coming implications of the schizoid posthuman for the twenty-first century. (GM)
Although neither the first nor the second constitution of the United States contains any references to the role of languages in the process of nation-building, a few language-related issues emerged from time to time during the early congressional debates and deliberations. These sporadic instances mostly framed the English language as a “pragmatic instrument” rather than a “national ideological symbol.” Consequently, no serious attempts were made either to officially adopt it as the majority language or to enhance its societal role and capacity in identity formation by legislative fiat. The apocryphal accounts of disestablishing English and installing, for example, French, German, or Latin as the de jure official language after the American Revolution probably belong to the realm of language policy myths. Drawing on key legislative documents during the critical years of the founding of the United States and employing language policy classification schemes based on the works of Anderson, Wiley, and Ruiz, the essay proposes a comprehensive overview of how, when, and in what contexts language-related references appeared. (SCz)
The Holy Crown of Hungary spent thirty-three years in American custody between the end of World War II and its repatriation in January 1978. Open hostility between the US, the leader of the Free World, and Hungary, a Soviet colony in the middle of Europe, prevented any discussion about its return between 1947 and 1970. The normalization of bilateral relations (1969-78) opened up new possibilities, and the Nixon White House considered the return of the Hungarian coronation regalia briefly in 1970-71. Spirited protests by Congressmen and East European immigrants convinced National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger and President Nixon that they could lose more by returning the Crown than by keeping it in American custody (in Fort Knox, KY), so the issue was dropped. Yet the press continued to discuss the possibility of its return and the White House had to deny any such plans again and again. As normalization ground to a halt after 1973, Budapest exerted more and more pressure and the matter was on President Ford’s desk one last time in December 1976, right after he had lost the election. Ford accepted the advice of his foreign policy team and “sleeping dogs” were left alone. It was the next president who decided to “face the goulash hitting the fan” and the Holy Crown of Hungary and the assorted regalia were returned by the new Carter administration on January 6, 1978. (TG)
With the question of the return of the Holy Crown in the focus, the essay describes how certain leaders of the Hungarian-American community attempted to influence American foreign policy towards Hungary during the détente period. Whereas certain members of the Nixon and Ford administrations, as well as the State Department, had already considered returning the Crown to the People’s Republic of Hungary, many of the émigré groups were strongly opposed to this action, and voiced their protest whenever speculations surfaced in the press. With the help of certain American and Hungarian-American politicians in Congress as well as in the Republican Party, the decision to return the Crown could be presented as potentially too risky politically and postponed during the Nixon and the Ford administrations. But with the election of President Carter, the Hungarian-American groups seem to have lost their leverage, and as soon as the political decision was made they could no longer prevent the return. (MGB)
Hungarian cultural policy makers denied Hungarian viewers access to American films between 1949 and 1956. Hollywood movies were publicly shown again behind the Iron Curtain from 1957 in spite of hostile American–Hungarian bilateral relations after the crushing of the Revolution of 1956. The de-Stalinized cultural policy of Hungary allowed for one third of the films released in Hungarian cinemas to come from capitalist countries. In the 1970s the United States became the largest non-socialist film exporter to Hungary and Hollywood export “sky-rocketed” at the end of the decade. The annual purchase of thirteen to twenty-nine American films still made it possible to apply ideological filters; however, only a part of the films released in Hungary could be regarded as useful in representing negative social trends in the United States. The majority of Hollywood movies screened in Hungary should rather be labeled as entertaining, and these served leisure on one hand and financial considerations on the other. Entertainment was recognized as a legitimate demand of the public after 1956 and the program of the cinemas had to be supplemented from Western sources. In the 1970s Hollywood became the number one Western movie entertainer in communist Hungary. The narrowing budgetary sources of cultural policy and the need for self-financing also paved the way for this tendency. (RT)
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