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Volume 38: Literature, Film and Cultural Studies
Article

“TRUTH IS HELD IN DISREPUTE”: O. HENRY AND THE DISMANTLING OF PARADIGMS

Mauricio D. Aguilera Linde

Destabilization of principles and suspension of widely accepted beliefs pervade the conflicting ideological panorama of the Progressive Era. In a world dominated by the uprooting of long established traditions, O. Henry’s short fiction becomes the site wherein Darwin-dictated principles, gender roles and genre rules are either dislocated or subverted. Following Boris M. Éjxenbaum’s idea (1927) that the writer’s use of parody lays bare the construction of his stories, I propose to demonstrate that an intentional breaking of generic expectations lies behind the narrator’s use of multifarious literary formulas. Evolutionist axioms are also overruled, for dysgenic and not eugenic prevails over in the American society presented by the Southerner writer. Finally, by applying Veblen’s sociological ideas (1899) to O. Henry’s characters, I also aim to show that any attempt to classify them into types whose response can be predicted in the social contest is destined to fail.

 

Key words: O. Henry, short story, genre, parody, Social Darwinism, postmodernism

 

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Article

BEYOND THE EDGE OF THE CENTURY: THE POSTCOLONIAL IMAGINATION IN THE ‘NEW’ FICTIONS OF THE CANADAS

Pedro M. Carmona Rodríguez

Whereas the 1990s witnessed the establishment of the basic parameters within which Canada could be considered a postcolonial enclave, the new millennium, shortly after its opening, has seen the reworking of the Canadian postcolonial. The contemporary rethinking of the postcolonial condition of Canada has given place to new theoretical moves, partly uncovered when looking at the long-standing mutual nurture between theoretical and imaginative writing. This paper centres on this contemporary theoretical revision to eventually propose that this revisionary invigoration has mainly been launched from fictions by authors indirectly affected by the multicultural agenda of the 1980s and 1990s. As a corollary of the reconfiguration of the Canadian postcolonial, and its views on nation, culture and identity in the negative, the fictions published in the late 1990s and the early years of the new millennium show a penchant for writing the nation in multifarious forms that gradate the (post)colonial, while bringing to the fore regional and communal histories silenced for the welfare of the national/state mirage.

 

Key words: postcolonial, Canada, Canadian fiction, nation, nation building.

 

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Article

“FINDING ANOTHER FACE INSIDE MY FACE”: THE SEMIOTICS OF MIME IN EDGAR NKOSI WHITE’S RACIALIZED DRAMATURGIES

Núria Casado Gual

 

According to Tadeusz Kowzan, facial mime may be regarded as the system of kinetic signs that is closest to verbal expression. At the same time, as Kowzan contends, mime constitutes —together with gesture— the most personal and individualized expressive mode in the theatre, submitted as it is to the performer’s physical, psychological and actoral idiosyncrasies. In the dramatic production of the Afro-Caribbean playwright Edgar Nkosi White, mimic expression plays a prominent role: indeed, a broad variety of facial inscriptions informs both the dialogues and stage directions of his plays. Even if the mimic signs devised by the author have differentiated functions and do not exist in isolation, complementing as they do other verbal and non-verbal signs, most of them expose the inner and external tensions underlying situations of racial oppression. Considering the double axis of eye- and mouth-expression that determines facial gesturality, this essay intends to analyze the mimic expressivity of Edgar Nkosi White’s characters and its specific contribution to the author’s theatricalization of the phenomenon of racialism. At a more general level, the mimic designs inscribed in Edgar Nkosi White’s plays will be shown to unveil the discourse of ambivalence that tinges the racialized body when this is portrayed and represented from the victim’s point of view.

Key words: Theatre semiotics, Afro-Caribbean theatre, African American theatre, racism, Edgar Nkosi White.

 

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Article

DRAMATISING THE CONFLICTS OF NATION AND THE BODY: DISPLACEMENT IN CHARLOTTE AND EMILY BRONTË’S POETRY OF HOME AND EXILE DUALITIES

Paula Alexandra Guimarães

For Gregory Orr, the best way to respond to the chaotic unpredictability of our being is through the personal lyric because it “dramatizes inner and outer experience” by “clinging to embodied being”. The self in the personal lyric of the Brontës (Charlotte and Emily) is either ‘home’ or ‘away’, facing internal or external division or fracture, and in search of a prospective identity (personal and national) or a chosen location. The conflicts of nation (whether they are presented in a real or fictionalised manner) are simultaneously reflected in the conflicts of the body itself; and the word ‘home’ —a metaphor for both ‘place’ and ‘being’— assumes different but related nuances (from the familiar hearth and the exalted homeland to the poet’s mind, Nature or God’s bosom). There is an evasive attempt to overcome social and political coercions that create both confinement and displacement, but whether the Brontës choose to stay at home or are compelled to leave, they remain ‘exiles’. Ultimately, for these poets, it will be exilic displacement which will act as a ‘spur to creativity’ and define authorship.

Key words: Body, home, nation, displacement, exile.

 

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Article

“KEEPING GOING”: ALQUIMIA, VIOLENCIA Y SACRIFICIO EN LA POESÍA DE SEAMUS HEANEY

Juan Ráez Padilla

The first part of this article analyses some values of the symbolism of alchemy which are then applied, in its second part, to the study of the poetry of Seamus Heaney. It highlights such aspects as the interrelationship between earthy materialism and airy spirituality, between upward and downward movement, as well as the sublimation of purity in and through impurity and dirtiness. Taking these symbolic values into consideration, we proceed to analyse in Heaney’s work —especially in his poem “Keeping Going”— the imagery of mud, dung and lime. The last of these will lead to the discussion of the symbolism of alchemy in the poetry of the Northern Irish Nobel Prize winner: the transmutation of dirtiness into whiteness; the distillation of hope out of distress; the evocation of violence and sacrifice not from a motionless, undecided perspective, but from the belief in alchemic transmutation learned in the magic of everyday life.

Key words: Seamus Heaney, symbolism, alchemy, violence, sacrifice.

 

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Review
RHETORIC AND REPRESENTATION. THE BRITISH AT WAR

Gabrielle Linke and Holger Rossow, eds.

Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2007

(by Mónica Calvo Pascual, Universidad de Zaragoza)

 

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Review

FORM AND MEANING IN DOROTHY M. RICHARDSON’S

María Francisca Llantada Díaz

Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2007

(By Pilar Hidalgo. Universidad de Málaga)

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