Vol 28, No 1 (2022):
Robert A. Vogeler, an American businessman, served seventeen months in a Hungarian prison after being found guilty of espionage and economic sabotage. During his detainment and imprisonment, the US government used diplomatic and economic pressure to try to secure his release. Lucille Vogeler, a socialite, used personal diplomacy, the media, and... contacts with underworld figures in Austria to pressure the US and Hungarian governments to release her husband. After their return to the US in 1951, the Vogelers became prominent critics of the Truman Administration’s policy of containment and urged their audiences, including many members of the US Congress, to wage a more aggressive campaign to defeat communism. Their experiences illustrate the ways in which the American business community and individual citizens contributed to the formulation of US Cold War policies. The case also illustrates the many ways in which media and public pressure could influence US foreign policy during the early Cold War years. (MMM)
American artist Harvey Dunn was one of the eight soldier artists recruited by the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F) during World War I (1914-1918). His wartime works can be situated within the moralizing, Wilsonian rhetoric surrounding America’s entry into the war and linked with a conception of masculinity that was inextricably connected... with war service. These images of heroic, martial, American masculinity align with the pronouncements President Woodrow Wilson made to justify America’s participation in the war. They reflect the gendered language and imagery American propaganda posters used to glorify enlisted soldiers as masculine heroes. Rather than portraying German soldiers as savages, Dunn altered this discourse by portraying cowardly German soldiers in moments of vulnerability. Dunn’s wartime images emphasize American ideas of martial masculinity in order to convey patriotic and propagandistic notions concerning the righteousness of the Allied cause, the superiority of American manhood, and the might of the American military. (KLM)
The sense of mission is an integral part of the national spirit. Therefore, questioning its validity can lead to the destabilization of a nation’s fundamental values and a major crisis in its self-image. This type of crisis accompanied the transformation of the American sense of mission at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, w...hich arose from the clash between the principles of traditional continental expansionism and new imperialist aspirations. In the wake of the 1898 Spanish-American War, the United States found itself definitively enmeshed in the global arena of great power politics. The control of overseas possessions not meant for statehood in the Union turned the federal republic into an empire in all but in its name. The crisis of the sense of mission fed on the inherent tension between liberal democratic traditions and the attempt made at imperial governance. As research into the Congressional Records will indicate, in the congressional debate developing between traditional and new ideas of expansionism, a consensus emerged that the questions relating to the status of the new overseas territories were the most significant the American people had faced during the nineteenth century, for these questions touched upon the roots of the nation’s consciousness. With view to the significance of this historical moment, this essay examines the forces at work both for and against the transformation of the American sense of mission at a time when Congress still constituted a powerful check on the executive in the field of foreign policy. (ÉESZ)
This essay explains how neoconservative foreign policy doctrine evolved from strenuously seeking to defeat the communist enemy during the Cold War to thoroughly seeking to preserve America’s newfound “unipolar moment” by constructing new enemies to defeat. It analyzes the generational transition within the neoconservative movement from th...e 1970s to the 1990s and its empire-building project in the post-Cold War era. Based on neoconservative publications and contributions to magazines such as Commentary, The National Interest, and Weekly Standard as well as the publications, reports, and statements of neoconservative think tanks (The Coalition for a Democratic Majority, The Committee on the Present Danger, American Enterprise Institute, The Project for New American Century, among others), the essay argues that the themes associated with the neoconservatives after 9/11—such as militarism, preemptive war, regime change, democratization, and unilateralism—had been rooted in the neoconservative discourse since the 1970s. It also shows that the post-9/11 neoconservative foreign policy approach was the product of neoconservative narratives during the Cold War era and after the fall of communism. (RA)
Thomas Jefferson has long been noted for his vested academic interest in Native Americans, whom he considered to be a doomed, yet, through assimilation, a redeemable race—who in his view were people living in poverty; an aspect of Jefferson’s vision of the indigenous peoples of North America which has so far been ignored. This essay therefo...re claims that Jefferson’s general concern with them was also fueled by his understanding of Native Americans as people whose way of life relegated them into the condition of indigence by definition—a state Jefferson wished to alleviate. Drawing on Jefferson’s ideas of political economy, combined with a perspective provided by early American poverty studies, I argue that his republican ideal of free-holding male household heads was also a key to his conception of Native American poverty as well as to his solution to it. In his view, gender roles and practices within the Native communities prevented male heads from adapting to the Euro-American ideals. In Jefferson’s eyes, women’s contribution to basic activities of sustenance, thus, rendered their spouses incapable of providing for their families by the Euro-American standard of the gender division of labor. He regarded them as indigents because of their actual mode of sustenance, but a desirable shift to white ways, Jefferson implied, held the promise for them to get out of destitution. (ZV)
Rather than any of her more mature writing, Miles Franklin’s debut romance, My Brilliant Career, has been cemented into the canon of Australian literary nationalism. The novel received ambivalent immediate responses upon its publication in 1901 for its unflattering representation of the author’s kin and society. Subsequent criticis...m soon accepted Franklin’s oeuvre as part of the dominant male discourse of late nineteenth-century Australia, but after the 1970s her writing came under new scrutiny from a feminist aspect. Recently, she has been placed in a long tradition of female writing and discussed for gendered ventures. Nonetheless, however dedicated a feminist Franklin later became, she did not yet search for women’s greater self-realization in her debut but for her own identity and place in the world as an adolescent. This article argues that although Franklin’s classic has become an icon of both nationalist and feminist literature, the dichotomy of these readings can best be appeased through the adolescent ramps of its protagonist. It is an adolescent novel, in which a growing voice argues with her superiors, peers, and self, thereby exploring her authorial, gendered, and national identity. (GTE)
How does a film achieve success with audiences, and what factors influence that success? Victor Halperin’s 1932 horror film White Zombie was derided by critics at the time of its release, while at the same time attaining financial victory at the box office. As such, White Zombie serves as a key source for exploring these cri...tical questions. This analysis of the evolution of White Zombie’s reception from the 1930s to the present through the study of archival documents reveals the influential role advertising—specifically advertising that taps into cultural fascinations and anxieties—has over critical reviews. This is found to be especially true within the B-film horror genre, with its tendency to draw a cult following despite its lack of technical mastery, providing a larger commentary on what the public values in horror films. (HL)
The essay examines the complexities of America’s penal system through the lens of prison films and the recurrent representations of incarceration on screen. Following an introduction about America’s penal system, Mass Incarceration, and the enforcement of systemic racism through the Prison Industrial Complex, the analysis focuses on the ima...ges of confinement in movies. An overview of traditional narratives on prison is offered to highlight the main characteristics of the ambiguous and challenging genre of the prison film, while a closer look at one of its contemporary examples, Ava DuVernay’s 13th (2016), sheds light on how the presence of Netflix and the innovative narrative strategy employed to portray the complexities of confinement represent a new form of prison film—one that abandons a Hollywoodesque approach in favor of a documentaristic strategy, and, through its distribution on Netflix, reaches its target audience. The analysis conclusively demonstrates how Netflix has changed and challenged the way we see prisons on screen, and how, as DuVernay’s docufilm shows, it has posited the tangled question of race so that the viewer can understand the functioning of the modern prison. By way of conclusion, the essay demonstrates that the new prison film, shifting toward distribution on Netflix as a mode of audience registration, clearly manifests a strategy to instruct American public opinion on race and the criminal justice system. (BMF)
Cyril Northcote Parkinson, British historian, fiction writer, and, so to say, management guru, in Parkinson’s Law created his own successful way of critiquing organizational bureaucratization. Parkinson’s work falls under the Burkean category of “literature for use,” in which affectivity becomes guaranteed by the peculiarity of... irony. As Wayne C. Booth suggested, even in the case of “stable irony” there may often be some possibility of further considerations (that is, the factor of uncertainty), despite all the efforts to rhetorically control this type of irony. Booth, however, also noted that a paradoxical situation may arise in which “unstable” irony, intended to be open-ended, becomes capable of creating possibilities for referential reading and practical application. Thus, Parkinson’s Law provides the duality of entertainment through its satire and the seriousness of its management thoughts (for instance, the relationship of work and time, work and headcount, workforce selection methods, and the extension of committees or departments). These two aspects, constantly intermingling, are examined through the rhetoric of irony working in Parkinson’s Law and the practical influences it may exert. (AS)
Little, James. Samuel Beckett in Confinement: The Politics of Closed Space. London: Bloomsbury, 2020. 235 pages. ISBN 978-1-3501-123-2. Hb. $115.
Morse, Donald E. It’s Time: A Mosaic Reflecting What Living in Time is Like. Debrecen: Debrecen UP, 2022. 326 pages. ISBN 978-963-615-004-4. Open Access E-book and Pbk. HUF 4,000.
Thomas, Ebony Elizabeth. The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to The Hunger Games. New York UP, 2020. 240 pages. ISBN 9781479806072. Pbk. $16.95.
Davison, Claire and Gerri Kimber, eds. The Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield, Volume 1. Letters to Correspondents A-J. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2020. 680 pages. ISBN 9781474445443. Hb. £175.
Dunnum, Eric. Unruly Audiences and the Theater of Control in Early Modern London. Abingdon-New York: Routledge, 2020. viii + 264 pages. ISBN 978-0-8153-6933-2. Hb. $140.
Anténe, Petr. Howard Jacobson’s Novels in the Context of Contemporary British Jewish Literature. Olomouc: Palacký University, 2019. 166 pages. ISBN 978-80-244-5651-5. Pbk. N.p.