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    Bosworth Field: a battlefield rediscovered?

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    The Bosworth Project concluded that the deciding battle in The Wars of the Roses was fought entirely at Fenn Lane and the site proposed is the only feasible candidate. However, the authors suggest that the narrative provided overlooks or downplays key aspects of contemporaneous accounts to support those conclusions. It is instead proposed that the primary site of battle was in a nearby location and an alternative narrative is offered that matches more of, and better accommodates, the contemporary accounts of battle events

    Preface

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    This issue is the second to be focused on a single figure. Our inaugural issue published in 2018 was dedicated to Arthur Symons and now, four years later, we are delighted to be able to devote the current issue to another prolific and versatile writer and critic, Vernon Lee (Violet Paget, 1856-1935). As Patricia Pulham and Sally Blackburn-Daniels acknowledge in their guest-editors’ Introduction, scholarship on Lee has grown in leaps and bounds over the last twenty years and Lee is now accessible to ‘a whole new generation of readers and students and prompting scholarship not only on her fiction but on other genres in which she wrote, as well as fictionalized versions of Lee in contemporary fiction’ (p. ii)

    Prince Alberic and the Snake Lady

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      Prince Alberic and the Snake Lady (Leipzig: Institut für Buchkunst, 2022) is a 72-page hard-cover graphic novel, and is an adaptation of Vernon Lee’s short story ‘Prince Alberic and the Snake Lady’, first published in volume 10 of The Yellow Book (July 1896). This short story was Lee’s only contribution to the magazine and utilizes gothic and decadent themes, such as possession, mythology, and the femme fatale in order to explore societal pressures, marginalization, and gender politics.   &nbsp

    Review: Kristin Mahoney, Queer Kinship after Wilde: Transnational Decadence and the Family (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022)

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    Among Richard Bruce Nugent’s papers in the Beinecke Library, there are multiple manuscripts of a story about a half-Japanese, half-American gender-fluid individual who works as a geisha, has a sexual relationship with their father (first accidentally and then by conscious choice), and travels around Europe and North America in pursuit of physical pleasure and beautiful objects to collect. ‘Geisha Man’ never saw the light of day during Nugent’s lifetime. But the author’s daring plan for this decadent story was to bring it out as an impossibly elaborate art book, in which each page should have been printed on paper of a different colour, with different-coloured ink. The intriguing ‘Geisha Man’ is emblematic of the decadent corpus that Kristin Mahoney brings to light in her fascinating new book, Queer Kinship after Wilde: Transnational Decadence and the Family. It is a corpus that is, like Nugent’s story, made of cosmopolitan connections and projections, attempts to fashion and unmake complex racial and gender identities, baffling hybrids of aestheticism and taboo

    Preface

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    Almost ten years ago, in 2014, Goldsmiths organized a conference entitled ‘Decadence and the Senses’, which aimed to explore the decadent sensorium and its representation in literature and visual culture from classical to modern times. Decadent studies was an emerging field then, defining itself principally around literary studies, but a number of the conference papers were richly interdisciplinary. One such paper was Liz Renes’ on John Singer Sargent’s 1884 painting Madame X and the ‘aesthetics of sculptural corporeality’. She tantalized us with a discussion of how the decadent aesthetics of clothes and cosmetics disrupted Victorian conventions. Since then, however, despite the provocations of the 2014 conference and with the exception of a few interventions (including most recently Catherine Spooner’s essay on ‘Fashion: Decadent Stylings’ in the Oxford Handbook of Decadence), the worlds of decadence studies and fashion have seldom collided. It is with enormous and long-awaited pleasure therefore that Volupté is the platform for a selection of new critical and creative explorations on decadence, aestheticism, fashion, textiles, accessories, and cosmetics

    ‘They got it all wrong!’ – Victorian War Fiction and the First World War

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    Beginning with George Tomkyns Chesney’s The Battle of Dorking, invasion novels became a regular feature of late Victorian and Edwardian popular fiction. The article takes a closer look at the depiction of war in these texts from a military history point of view; it argues that they were not so far from reality as to render them useless to the military historian. Rather, they can be used to provide insights into how the authors and their audience thought about the great war that many expected to come within their lifetime

    Screwball

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    As an artist and curator whose practice mines film culture and genre – Hollywood, pornography, amateur videos – I promote screwball logics but also draw a line back to the work of Charles Baudelaire, that connoisseur, to which Aaron Poochigan refers as the ‘tender freak of freaks’, whose unabashed intimate style always generates a strange ambiguity, not least because of the way Romanticism and realism cross paths in his work. It is in the decadent tradition of Baudelaire that I re-enact scenes, appropriate scripts and mess with genres in my own creative practice. This essay articulates the decadent methodology of the screwball via reference to the video and installation works I curated in the show of the same name at Verge Gallery in Sydney, Australia, June-July 2022. A mix of commissioned and existing pieces, Screwball featured work by California-based artists Harry Dodge, Stanya Kahn, P. Staff, and Aimee Goguen, alongside work by Australia-based artists Sione Monū, Nat Randall and Anna Breckon, Jimmy Nuttall, Brian Fuata, Frances Barrett, Archie Barry, Athena Thebus and Chloe Corkran, and Garden Reflexxx

    Irish Regiments and Soldiers in the Crimean War – their contribution and legacy

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    During the Crimean War (1853-6), five Irish regiments served with the British expeditionary force, while thousands of Irish soldiers served across the British Army in non-Irish regiments. These Irish troops made a significant contribution, and the war was followed with considerable interest in Ireland, encouraging civilians to volunteer to serve as doctors, nurses, and engineers. This article will outline the context of this Irish involvement in the Crimean War and the level of public interest, while also referring to the survival of an awareness of that war in Irish folk memory until well into the twentieth century

    The Disbandment of the Southern Irish Regiments – 1922

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    The disbandment of the Southern Irish Regiments of the British army occurred in July 1922 due to the creation of the Irish Free State and the effects of the so-called ‘Geddes Axe’ on the British army. Special arrangements meant that officers and men who wished to continue their service in the British army were able to transfer to other regiments and there were very few compulsory redundancies. This saw limited public concern about these regiments. The preservation of those regiments associated with Northern Ireland was, however, the subject of extensive lobbying and James Craig, the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, showed considerable ability in negotiations which ensured the survival of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and Royal Irish Fusiliers

    After a Decadent Fashion: E. Pauline Johnson and the Staging of Indigeneity

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    At the peak of her popularity in the 1890s, the Mohawk and Canadian writer Emily Pauline Johnson (or Tekahionwake) was one of the most recognizable literary figures in North America – a reputation earned largely through dramatic recitals of her poetry and prose rather than on the printed page. The daughter of George Henry Martin Johnson, a hereditary chief of the Mohawks of the Six Nations reserve, and Emily Howells, an Englishwoman and relation of American novelist William Dean Howells, she garnered such public acclaim that in 1895 the critic Hector Charlesworth could proclaim without controversy that ‘[f]or the past five years, Miss Pauline Johnson has been the most popular figure in Canadian literature’. This popularity had much to do with Johnson’s performance of her own Indigeneity. A typical recital would begin with Johnson taking the stage in an elaborate buckskin dress; after the intermission, she would return in a Victorian gown. As a woman of mixed Mohawk and English descent with an overwhelmingly white settler audience, Johnson’s access to the literary marketplace was predicated on her ability to navigate a system of stereotypes, myths, and stock images that structured settler conceptions of Indigenous peoples. Thus, on page and stage alike, she felt compelled to enact an autoexoticizing performance of her own Indigeneity – a performance that was self-consciously stereotypical but that also ironized the audiences who consumed and propagated such stereotypes. Critics’ efforts to articulate more fully the agential or recuperative dimensions of these complicated acts of autoexoticism have been among the most fruitful strains in recent Johnson scholarship

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