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World Enough and Time
Published June 25, 2022

Book review:

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.

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Orson Scott Card’s Speculative Fictions: Blending Science Fiction and Fantasy
Published January 4, 2021

A prolific author, Orson Scott Card has written works that encompass a range of genres including a large body of commentary, Mormon drama, science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and often melds elements of one into another. In particular, as John Clute notes, “a ‘feel’ of fantasy pervades much of his s[cience] f[iction] work.” In fiction...s such as Enders Game, Treason, and Wyrms, and stories like “The Originist,” his tribute to Asimov’s Second Foundation, he employs traditional elements of fantasy: its language in references to wizards, dragons, magic, and such characters as dwelfs, a portmanteau of “elf” and “dwarf”; the episodic quest narrative of escalating perils undertaken by the protagonist, who moves from isolation to community; and the conventional, often medieval, fantasyscape of fabulous forests, rivers, and mountains. Through such a strategy Card establishes a heightened significance to human experiences that both genres address, and opens another portal to the sense of wonder that informs each. (WAS)

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The Posthuman Vision of Philip K. Dick in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Published February 1, 2021

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 sch...izoid. 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)

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Afroeuropean Studies in Perspective
Published February 1, 2021

Book review:

Beezmohun, Sharmilla, ed. Continental Shifts, Shifts in Perception: Black Cultures and Identities in Europe. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016. 190 pages. ISBN 9781443888240. Hb. £41.99.

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Littoral Space and Self-Discovery: Stanley Middleton’s Holiday, Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea, and Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach
Published December 5, 2021

The point of departure of this essay is that seaside resort towns and hotels function as in-between, liminal spaces for visitors, while the unknown, boundless, and mysterious sea often acquires a metaphorical meaning as a symbol of monsters, madness, death, desire, and the unconscious. Thus, the liminal space of the seaside serves as an appropr...iate setting that facilitates self-realization. The three novels selected for study here are set in British seaside towns in the 1960s-1970s, and present their respective protagonists’ struggle with their past memories and traumas.
In Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach (2007), the newlyweds get a chance of self-understanding, however, they fail at communicating their fears and desires. Ultimately, the seaside remains a symbol of misunderstandings and trauma as well as the dividing line between the times before and after the sexual revolution of the 1960s. By contrast, the protagonists in Stanley Middleton’s novel, Holiday (1974), and Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea (1978) achieve self-awareness through either a time-travel that allows for re-living the past or a journey to the unconscious, respectively. Nevertheless, these novels also end on an ambiguous tone, and the question whether real self-understanding has been attained remains open. (EM)

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A New Account of Britain’s Economic Development
Published June 26, 2020

Book review:

Broadberry, Stephen, Bruce M. S. Campbell, Alexander Klein, Mark Overton, and Bas van Leeuwen. British Economic Growth, 1270-1870. Cambridge: CUP, 2015. 461 pages. ISBN 978-1-107-67649-7. Pbk. £25.

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Telling the Untellable: Trauma and Sexuality in Big Little Lies
Published June 28, 2020

The problem of sexual violence, including rape, domestic assault, sexual harassment, and molestation has recently become a topical issue both in public discourse and popular culture. The unspoken individual traumas have found their way to the world of TV series, such as HBO’s mini-series Big Little Lies. The essay explores the unique ways in ...which the television series treats sexuality and personal traumas. It argues that while by no means can it be regarded as a soap opera, Big Little Lies occasionally uses and rewrites the genre-specific codes of this traditionally low-prestige television genre intended for women to alter the representation of individual traumas in popular culture. The use of flashbacks and involuntary repetition as narrative elements along with the retrospective framework of a criminal investigation make the serial form much suited to examine individual traumas. The television series attempts the almost impossible: to speak of the trauma’s unspeakability, and simultaneously it seeks to maintain its high viewership. (ZsOR)

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The Doctor’s Anatomy: The Androgynous Performance of Gender and (Neo-)Victorian Sexual Politics in Patricia Duncker’s James Miranda Barry
Published February 1, 2021

Patricia Duncker’s 1999 neo-Victorian novel is a fictional biography of the legendary Victorian military surgeon, James Miranda Barry, rumored to be a hermaphrodite. Duncker’s postmodern feminist fiction recreates the medical discourse, as well as the body and sexual politics of the Victorian era by writing these nineteenth-century somatic ...ideologies onto the ambiguously gendered body of Barry. Interrogating the poetic and political strategies of creating medicine as a masculinized profession from a cultural studies point of view, the essay argues that Duncker’s novel can be contextualized within a recent tendency in contemporary British fiction that could be hypothesized as medico-historical metafiction, indirectly addressing twenty-first-century biopolitical questions about the cultural inscription of gender roles and bodily normality by (re)telling a Victorian narrative. These questions are examined from three aspects: the neo-Victorian historical novel as a feminist genre, the androgyne as a late-Victorian subtype of the grotesque freak, and nineteenth-century female identities as the reservoir of disempowering pseudo-choices.  (EU)

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Kindred Spirits: Lajos Gulácsy and Oscar Wilde
Published December 5, 2021

Lajos Gulácsy (1882-1932), the acknowledged Hungarian painter of the early twentieth century, was a kindred spirit to Irish playwright and poet Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), sharing his love of beauty, his escapism, and his belief in the superiority of art over mundane reality. Gulácsy’s art cannot be easily described in relation to the artistic... groups and tendencies of his age; however, the literary portion of his oeuvre reveals definite affinities and parallels with dominant artistic trends of the millennium. Gulácsy wrote a number of essays, short-stories and tales, and even a novel, Pauline Holseel (1910), which all give evidence to an aesthetic similar to that of Oscar Wilde. Pauline Holseel, in particular, shows close correspondences with Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). Besides displaying the typical features of the Künstlerroman of the late nineteenth, early twentieth century, such as the lack of a plot, artists as protagonists, or a heavy reliance on sensual experiences, they also share more particular parallels concerning structure and attitude to art. (ÉP)

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The Formations of Masculinities
Published June 26, 2020

Book review:

Horlacher, Stefan, ed. Configuring Masculinity in Theory and Literary Practice. DQR Studies in Literature 58. Boston: Brill Rodopi, 2015. viii + 318 pages. ISBN 978-90-04-29899-6. Hb. $106.

 

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The Aging of the “Youngest People in Europe”
Published June 28, 2020

Book review:

Ingman, Heather. Ageing in Irish Writing: Strangers to Themselves. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. 209 pages. ISBN 978 3 319 96429-4. Hb. €74.89.

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Dracula Addressing Old and New
Published June 24, 2020

Book review:

Crişan, Marius-Mircea, ed. Dracula: An International Perspective. Palgrave Gothic. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. xi + 280 pages. ISBN 978-3-319-63365-7. Hb. $101.51.

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Mapping the Potentials of Monster Studies
Published June 1, 2021

Book review:

Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew, ed. The Monster Theory Reader. University of Minnesota Press, 2020. ix + 560 pages + 33 b&w photos. ISBN 978-1-5179-0525-5. $35.00. Pbk.

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The Hunger Games Trilogy as a Text for Education
Published June 26, 2020

    

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Multiple Contexts: English and Jewish Aspects of Howard Jacobson’s Novels
Published June 25, 2022

Book review:

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.

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Reading Rieder by Lamplight
Published June 28, 2020

Book review:

Rieder, John. Science Fiction and the Mass Cultural Genre System. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 2017. 224 pages. ISBN 9780819577160. Pbk. $22.95.

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Utopian Horizons in Hungary
Published June 24, 2020

Book review:

Czigányik, Zsolt, ed. Utopian Horizons: Ideology, Politics, Literature. Budapest, New York: Central European UP, 2017. viii + 256 pages. ISBN 978-963-386-181-3. Hb. Npr.

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Introduction
Published January 4, 2021

Introduction to the Special Thematic Block: Human Boundaries / Boundaries of the Human

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“The Third Image”: Ekphrasis and Memory in Charles Simic’s Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell
Published June 26, 2020

In his collection of prose-poems, Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell, Charles Simic evokes the American artist’s aesthetic practice as a form of meditation on the heterosemiotic nature of the artistic imagination. Cornell’s art, often described as “visual poetry,” becomes for Simic a pretext for exploring the multimo...dal and interconnected spaces of the verbal and the visual. Simic describes his creative rereading of Cornell’s work as “the third image” in which art historical discourse and ekphrasis are reinvented and transformed into a new poetic rhythm. The poet’s engagement with Cornell is also of an intensely personal character: the encounter with the artist’s work enables Simic to revisit his own past, that is, that of a lonely Manhattan flaneur whose imagination is haunted by traumatic childhood memories from war-torn Serbia. With the aid of Jacques Lacan’s concepts of the gaze and the screen, the article examines the ways in which Simic’s texts and visual intertexts probe generic boundaries and discursive identifications, showcasing the significance, function, and creative value of cross-influence between heterogeneous discourses and media. As shown, Simic’s concept of “the third image,” which finds its inspiration in the tension between containment and freedom in Cornell’s shadow boxes, offers readers a rich and personal insight into the complex interplay between discursivity, visuality, figurality, as well as personal and collective memory. (PA)

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Her Dark Materials: What Makes the Fantastic Dark
Published June 25, 2022

Book review:

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.

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The Most Monstrous Kind of Art: Frankenfictions
Published June 28, 2020

Book review:

de Bruin-Molé, Megen. Gothic Remixed: Monster Mashups and Frankenfictions in 21st-Century Culture. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019. x + 264 pages. ISBN 978-1350103054. Hb. £76.50.

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The Weird Impossibility of Story
Published June 24, 2020

What do we read in horror stories? To answer such an elusive question, research both historic and theoretical in nature is necessary. A comparison of proto-horror fiction by highly canonized nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century American authors (Poe, Bierce, James, Harvey, and Gilman) as well as Lovecraftian poetics reveals the presen...ce of a theoretical thread that sutures these seemingly disparate literatures together. Classic American short stories show a strikingly similar memetic conformation to weird fiction when examined from the framework offered by Sigmund Freud’s seminal essay “Das Unheimliche” [The Uncanny] (1919). Identifying the memetic transmutations that the uncanny goes through in various close readings offers a taxonomy of six tropes—allegorizations of singularities, doubles, and triads—that are already implicit in the Freudian text. Such categorization applied to the weird genre unravels poetics that, as the article argues, stem from an innately subversive impulse in American literature. (PH)

 

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Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Home Planet: The “Other” in Robert Heinlein’s Juvenile Science Fiction
Published January 4, 2021

This essay examines Heinlein's Young Adult (YA) stories—commonly referred to as his “juveniles”—and argues that Heinlein's "Others" are not defined by race, gender, or planet of origin but by their inability to understand and deal with the changes that inter-planetary travel will bring. (CWS)

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In Memoriam: Sam Shepard
Published June 26, 2020

In Memoriam: Sam Shepard

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Novel Approaches to Understanding and Conceptualizing Diaspora
Published June 28, 2020

Book review:

Ilott, Sarah, Ana Cristina Mendes, and Lucinda Newns, eds. New Directions in Diaspora Studies: Cultural and Literary Approaches. London, New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2018. xxxiii + 165 pages. ISBN 978-1-78660-516-0. Hb. £85.

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