21,523 research outputs found

    Elite perceptions of the Victorian and Edwardian past in inter-war England

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    It is often argued by historians that members of the cultivated Elite after 1918 rejected the pre-war past. or at least subjected it to severe denigration. This thesis sets out to challenge such a view. Above all, it argues that inter-war critics of the Victorian and Edwardian past were unable to reject it even if that was what they felt inclined to do. This was because they were tied to those periods by the affective links of memory, family, and the continually unfolding consequences of the past in the present. Even the severest critics of the pre-war world, such as Lytton Strachey, were less frequently dismissive of history than ambivalent towards it. This ambivalence, it is argued, helped to keep the past alive and often to humanise it. The thesis also explores more positive estimation of Victorian and Edwardian history between the wars. It examines nostalgia for the past, as well as instances of continuity of practice and attitude. It explores the way in which inter-war society drew upon aspects of Victorian and Edwardian history both as illuminating parallels to contemporary affairs and to understand directly why the present was shaped as it was. Again, this testifies to the enduring power of the past after 1918. There are three parts to this thesis. Part One outlines the cultural context in which writers contemplated the Victorian and Edwardian past. Part Two explores some of the ways in which history was written about and used by inter-war society. Part Three examines the ways in which biographical depictions of eminent Victorians after 1918 encouraged emotional negotiation with the pas

    Tourist Literature and the Architecture of Travel in Olga Tokarczuk and Patti Smith

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    This chapter analyses two travel narratives within the scope of literature and tourism studies, aiming to explore the motivations to undertake journeying and the experience of (literary) pilgrims. The first is the novel Flights, by Olga Tokarczuk (2007), and the second is “How the Mind Works,” by Patti Smith (2017). This chapter defines the umbrella concept of “tourist literature” and takes a cross-disciplinary perspective combining the hermeneutics process with findings from the literature review on tourism studies. The analysis of Flights reveals the touring identity and experience of a pilgrim and reflections about airports, travel guides, tourists, and their syndromes. The analysis of Patti Smith’s short story uncovers the touring identity and experience of a literary pilgrim who is strongly motivated to undertake literary-inspired trips towards the authors’ places.info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    Metaphors of London fog, smoke and mist in Victorian and Edwardian Art and Literature

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    Julian Wolfreys has argued that after 1850 writers employed stock images of the city without allowing them to transform their texts. This thesis argues, on the contrary, that metaphorical uses of London fog were complex and subtle during the Victorian and Edwardian periods, at least until 1914. Fog represented, in particular, formlessness and the dissolution of boundaries. Examining the idea of fog in literature, verse, newspaper accounts and journal articles, as well as in the visual arts, as part of a common discourse about London and the state of its inhabitants, this thesis charts how the metaphorical appropriation of this idea changed over time. Four of Dickens's novels are used to track his use of fog as part of a discourse of the natural and unnatural in individual and society, identifying it with London in progressively more negative terms. Visual representations of fog by Constable, Turner, Whistler, Monet, Markino, O'Connor, Roberts and Wyllie and Coburn showed an increasing readiness to engage with this discourse. Social tensions in the city in the 1880s were articulated in art as well as in fiction. Authors like Hay and Barr showed the destruction of London by its fog because of its inhabitants' supposed degeneracy. As the social threat receded, apocalyptic scenarios gave way to a more optimistic view in the work of Owen and others. Henry James used fog as a metaphorical representation of the boundaries of gendered behaviour in public, and the problems faced by women who crossed them. The dissertation also examines fog and individual transgression, in novels and short stories by Lowndes, Stevenson, Conan Doyle and Joseph Conrad. After 1914, fog was no more than a crude signifier of Victorian London in literature, film and, later, television, deployed as a cliche instead of the subtle metaphorical idea discussed in this thesis

    Towards a sociology of conspiracy theories: An investigation into conspiratorial thinking on Dönmes

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    This thesis investigates the social and political significance of conspiracy theories, which has been an academically neglected topic despite its historical relevance. The academic literature focuses on the methodology, social significance and political impacts of these theories in a secluded manner and lacks empirical analyses. In response, this research provides a comprehensive theoretical framework for conspiracy theories by considering their methodology, political impacts and social significance in the light of empirical data. Theoretically, the thesis uses Adorno's semi-erudition theory along with Girardian approach. It proposes that conspiracy theories are methodologically semi-erudite narratives, i.e. they are biased in favour of a belief and use reason only to prove it. It suggests that conspiracy theories appear in times of power vacuum and provide semi-erudite cognitive maps that relieve alienation and ontological insecurities of people and groups. In so doing, they enforce social control over their audience due to their essentialist, closed-to-interpretation narratives. In order to verify the theory, the study analyses empirically the social and political significance of conspiracy theories about the Dönme community in Turkey. The analysis comprises interviews with conspiracy theorists, conspiracy theory readers and political parties, alongside a frame analysis of the popular conspiracy theory books on Dönmes. These confirm the theoretical framework by showing that the conspiracy theories are fed by the ontological insecurities of Turkish society. Hence, conspiracy theorists, most readers and some political parties respond to their own ontological insecurities and political frustrations through scapegoating Dönmes. Consequently, this work shows that conspiracy theories are important symptoms of society, which, while relieving ontological insecurities, do not provide politically prolific narratives

    The temporality of rhetoric: the spatialization of time in modern criticism

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    Every conception of criticism conceals a notion of time which informs the manner in which the critic conceives of history, representation and criticism itself. This thesis reveals the philosophies of time inherent in certain key modern critical concepts: allegory, irony and the sublime. Each concept opens a breach in time, a disruption of chronology. In each case this gap or aporia is emphatically closed, elided or denied. Taking the philosophy of time elaborated by Giorgio Agamben as an introductory proposition, my argument turns in Chapter One to the allegorical temporality which Walter Benjamin sees as the time of photography. The second chapter examines the aesthetics of the sublime as melancholic or mournful untimeliness. In Chapter Three, Paul de Man's conception of irony provides an exemplary instance of the denial of this troubling temporal predicament. In opposition to the foreclosure of the disturbing temporalities of criticism, history and representation, the thesis proposes a fundamental rethinking of the philosophy of time as it relates to these categories of reflection. In a reading of an inaugural meditation on the nature of time, and in examining certain key contemporary philosophical and critical texts, I argue for a critical attendance to that which eludes those modes of thought that attempt to map time as a recognizable and essentially spatial field. The Confessions of Augustine provide, in the fourth chapter, a model for thinking through the problems set up earlier: Augustine affords us, precisely, a means of conceiving of the gap or the interim. In the final chapter, this concept is developed with reference to the criticism of Arnold and Eliot, the fiction of Virginia Woolf and the philosophy of cinema derived from Deleuze and Lyotard. In conclusion, the philosophical implications of the thesis are placed in relation to a conception of the untimeliness of death

    Queer spies in British Cold War culture: literature, film, theatre and television

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    This PhD thesis investigates how male homosexuality has been represented in British spy fiction from the 1950s to the 2010s in multiple media: literature, film, television and theatre. Due mainly to the betrayal of the Cambridge Spy ring around the middle of the century, British culture has associated spies with homosexuality, while the wider Anglophone world was in the grip of a homophobic atmosphere created by McCarthy's Red Scare. My thesis explores how this history is reflected in the spy genre from the Cold War to the present, in which male homosexuality and secret agency intersect as “queer”, in so far as they were both considered to be discreet and criminal, existing outside of the heteronormative order. By following multiple texts across media and time, I discuss how some writers, television and film directors and actors update queer identity in spy fiction, creating a shifting image of queer spies through decades. I refer to the findings of adaptation studies and queer studies, along with numerous studies on spy fiction. I conclude that the interrelation of different media has contributed to the re-drawing of queer identity in spy fiction. These developments have enabled the spies' queer identity to transcend its pejorative history in British culture, towards its more flexible and pliant sense which is designated by the term's modern usage. I also discuss that spies’ homosexuality has been represented as a fleeting ghost in most of the texts examined, hovering on the margins of pages and screen. Although homosexuality is not “the love that dare not speak its name” anymore, clandestine queer spies have been preserved as spectral others in the genre for many years. Spy fiction is a cultural repository retaining the memory of violence inflicted against those who have been called “queer” in twentieth century Britain, and the spectral nature of queer spies narrates this history reaching back to the Oscar Wilde trial in 1895, from which point British queer identity as we know now developed. This thesis benefits the study of spy fiction by filling a gap in the investigation of homosexual representation. It also contributes to the field of gender studies of literature, film, television, and theatre by illustrating queer history in a genre which has not received a great deal of focus on its representation of homosexuality. Spy fiction occupies a central position in British popular culture, and by exploring this genre in terms of homosexuality, this research will identify the role which same-sex desire has historically played in the British cultural imagination

    Supernatural crossing in Republican Chinese fiction, 1920s–1940s

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    This dissertation studies supernatural narratives in Chinese fiction from the mid-1920s to the 1940s. The literary works present phenomena or elements that are or appear to be supernatural, many of which remain marginal or overlooked in Sinophone and Anglophone academia. These sources are situated in the May Fourth/New Culture ideological context, where supernatural narratives had to make way for the progressive intellectuals’ literary realism and their allegorical application of supernatural motifs. In the face of realism, supernatural narratives paled, dismissed as impractical fantasies that distract one from facing and tackling real life. Nevertheless, I argue that the supernatural narratives do not probe into another mystical dimension that might co-exist alongside the empirical world. Rather, they imagine various cases of the characters’ crossing to voice their discontent with contemporary society or to reflect on the notion of reality. “Crossing” relates to characters’ acts or processes of trespassing the boundary that separates the supernatural from the conventional natural world, thus entailing encounters and interaction between the natural and the supernatural. The dissertation examines how crossing, as a narrative device, disturbs accustomed and mundane situations, releases hidden tensions, and discloses repressed truths in Republican fiction. There are five types of crossing in the supernatural narratives. Type 1 is the crossing into “haunted” houses. This includes (intangible) human agency crossing into domestic spaces and revealing secrets and truths concealed by the scary, feigned ‘haunting’, thus exposing the hidden evil and the other house occupiers’ silenced, suffocated state. Type 2 is men crossing into female ghosts’ apparitional residences. The female ghosts allude to heart-breaking, traumatic experiences in socio-historical reality, evoking sympathetic concern for suffering individuals who are caught in social upheavals. Type 3 is the crossing from reality into the characters’ delusional/hallucinatory realities. While they physically remain in the empirical world, the characters’ abnormal perceptions lead them to exclusive, delirious, and quasi-supernatural experiences of reality. Their crossings blur the concrete boundaries between the real and the unreal on the mental level: their abnormal perceptions construct a significant, meaningful reality for them, which may be as real as the commonly regarded objective reality. Type 4 is the crossing into the netherworld modelled on the real world in the authors’ observation and bears a spectrum of satirised objects of the Republican society. The last type is immortal visitors crossing into the human world. This type satirises humanity’s vices and destructive potential. The primary sources demonstrate their writers’ witty passion to play with super--natural notions and imagery (such as ghosts, demons, and immortals) and stitch them into vivid, engaging scenes using techniques such as the gothic, the grotesque, and the satirical, in order to evoke sentiments such as terror, horror, disgust, dis--orientation, or awe, all in service of their insights into realist issues. The works also creatively tailor traditional Chinese modes and motifs, which exemplifies the revival of Republican interest in traditional cultural heritage. The supernatural narratives may amaze or disturb the reader at first, but what is more shocking, unpleasantly nudging, or thought-provoking is the problematic society and people’s lives that the supernatural (misunderstandings) eventually reveals. They present a more compre--hensive treatment of reality than Republican literature with its revolutionary consciousness surrounding class struggle. The critical perspectives of the supernatural narratives include domestic space, unacknowledged history and marginal individuals, abnormal mentality, and pervasive weaknesses in humanity. The crossing and supernatural narratives function as a means of better understanding the lived reality. This study gathers diverse primary sources written by Republican writers from various educational and political backgrounds and interprets them from a rare perspective, thus filling a research gap. It promotes a fuller view of supernatural narratives in twentieth-century Chinese literature. In terms of reflecting the social and personal reality of the Republican era, the supernatural narratives supplement the realist fiction of the time

    Philosophy (and Wissenschaft) without Politics? Schlick on Nietzsche, German Idealism, and Militarism

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    With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, there emerged two controversies related to the responsibility of philosophical ideas for the rise of German militarism. The first, mainly journalistic, controversy concerned the influence that Nietzsche’s ideas may have had on what British propagandists portrayed as the ruthlessly amoral German foreign policy. This soon gave way to a second controversy, waged primarily among academics, concerning the purportedly vicious political outcomes of German Idealism, from Kant through to Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. During the autumn of 1914, and at the cusp between the two controversies, Moritz Schlick was to deliver a lecture series on Nietzsche’s life and work at the University of Rostock. Responding to both debates, Schlick penned an introduction in which he sought to defend philosophy against all those who would embroil it in warfare. Schlick offers a series of arguments defending Nietzsche against his accusers. He also argues that, though their contributions to the History of Philosophy often amounted to no more than ‘beautiful nonsense’, the German Idealists’ philosophical views cannot be held responsible for the rise of German nationalism. Finally, Schlick mounts a general defense of the search for truth, both in philosophy and in Wissenschaft, as a type of activity which presupposes peace. Though Schlick’s metaphilosophical views change, as this paper shows, he remains constant both in his favourable appraisal of Nietzsche, as well as his separation between politics on the one hand, and both philosophy and Wissenschaft on the other hand
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