16,348 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

    The place where curses are manufactured : four poets of the Vietnam War

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    The Vietnam War was unique among American wars. To pinpoint its uniqueness, it was necessary to look for a non-American voice that would enable me to articulate its distinctiveness and explore the American character as observed by an Asian. Takeshi Kaiko proved to be most helpful. From his novel, Into a Black Sun, I was able to establish a working pair of 'bookends' from which to approach the poetry of Walter McDonald, Bruce Weigl, Basil T. Paquet and Steve Mason. Chapter One is devoted to those seemingly mismatched 'bookends,' Walt Whitman and General William C. Westmoreland, and their respective anthropocentric and technocentric visions of progress and the peculiarly American concept of the "open road" as they manifest themselves in Vietnam. In Chapter, Two, I analyze the war poems of Walter McDonald. As a pilot, writing primarily about flying, his poetry manifests General Westmoreland's technocentric vision of the 'road' as determined by and manifest through technology. Chapter Three focuses on the poems of Bruce Weigl. The poems analyzed portray the literal and metaphorical descent from the technocentric, 'numbed' distance of aerial warfare to the world of ground warfare, and the initiation of a 'fucking new guy,' who discovers the contours of the self's interior through a set of experiences that lead from from aerial insertion into the jungle to the degradation of burning human feces. Chapter Four, devoted to the thirteen poems of Basil T. Paquet, focuses on the continuation of the descent begun in Chapter Two. In his capacity as a medic, Paquet's entire body of poems details his quotidian tasks which entail tending the maimed, the mortally wounded and the dead. The final chapter deals with Steve Mason's JohnnY's Song, and his depiction of the plight of Vietnam veterans back in "The World" who are still trapped inside the interior landscape of their individual "ghettoes" of the soul created by their war-time experiences

    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

    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

    An investigation of the geothermal potential of the Upper Devonian sandstones beneath eastern Glasgow

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    The urban development of the city of Glasgow is a consequence of its economic development, in part fuelled by local coalfields which exploited rocks in the same sedimentary basin within which geothermal resources in flooded abandoned mine workings, and deeper hot sedimentary aquifers (HSA), are present. This creates an opportunity to provide geothermal heating to areas of dense urban population with high heat demand. The depth of the target HSA geothermal resource, in Upper Devonian aged sandstones of the Stratheden Group, beneath eastern Glasgow was determined by gravity surveying and structural geological modelling. The estimated depth of the geothermal resource ranged from c.1500-2000 m, in the eastward deepening sedimentary basin. To reliably estimate the temperature of the geothermal resource, rigorous corrections to account for the effects of palaeoclimate and topography on heat flow were applied to boreholes in the Greater Glasgow area. The mean regional corrected heat flow was calculated as 75.7 mW m-2, an increase of 13.8 mW m-2 from the uncorrected value of 61.9 mW m-2, emphasising the extent to which heat flow was previously underestimated. Extrapolation of the geothermal gradient, calculated from the mean regional corrected heat flow, results in aquifer temperatures of c. 64-79 °C at depths of c.1500-2000 m beneath eastern Glasgow. The geothermal resource may, therefore, be capable of supporting a wide variety of direct heat use applications if sufficient matrix permeability or fracture networks are present. However, diagenetic effects such as quartz and carbonate cementation were found to restrict the porosity in Upper Devonian sandstones in a borehole and outcrop analogue study. These effects may likewise reduce porosity and intergranular permeability in the target aquifer, although this crucial aspect cannot be fully understood without deep exploratory drilling. To quantify the magnitude of the deep geothermal resource, the indicative thermal power outputs of geothermal doublet wells located in Glasgow’s East End were calculated for the first time, with outputs ranging from 1.3-2.1 MW dependent upon the aquifer depth. This, however, is predicated upon an aquifer permeability of c. 40 mD, which if reduced to 10 mD or less due to the effects of diagenesis, significantly reduces the thermal power outputs to 230-390 kW. The lack of assured project-success, given uncertainties related to the aquifer properties at depth, coupled with high capital costs of drilling, pose barriers to the development of deep geothermal energy in Glasgow. Further investigation of the economic viability of geothermal exploration, and alternative technological solutions is therefore required to mitigate the technical and economic risks. However, if sufficient matrix permeability or fracture networks are present at depth in the Upper Devonian sandstone sequence, then the potential contribution that geothermal energy could make to meeting local heat demand, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and addressing the ‘energy trilemma’ in Glasgow is significant

    ‘Mental fight’ and ‘seeing & writing’ in Virginia Woolf and William Blake

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    This thesis is the first full-length study to assess the writer and publisher Virginia Woolf’s (1882-1941) responses to the radical Romantic poet-painter, and engraver, William Blake (1757-1827). I trace Woolf’s public and private, overt and subtle references to Blake in fiction, essays, notebooks, diaries, letters and drawings. I have examined volumes in Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s library that are pertinent, directly and indirectly, to Woolf’s understanding of Blake. I focus on Woolf’s key phrases about Blake: ‘Mental fight’, and ‘seeing & writing.’ I consider the other phrases Woolf uses to think about Blake in the context of these two categories. Woolf and Blake are both interested in combining visual and verbal aesthetics (‘seeing & writing’). They are both critical of their respective cultures (‘Mental fight’). Woolf mentions ‘seeing & writing’ in connection to Blake in a 1940 notebook. She engages with Blake’s ‘Mental fight’ in ‘Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid’ (1940). I map late nineteenth and early twentieth-century opinion on Blake and explore Woolf’s engagement with Blake in these wider contexts. I make use of the circumstantial detail of Woolf’s friendship with the great Blake collector and scholar, Geoffrey Keynes (1887-1982), brother of Bloomsbury economist John Maynard Keynes. Woolf was party to the Blake centenary celebrations courtesy of Geoffrey Keynes’s organisation of the centenary exhibition in London in 1927. Chapter One introduces Woolf’s explicit references to Blake and examines the record of Woolf scholarship that unites Woolf and Blake. To see how her predecessors had responded, Chapter Two examines the nineteenth-century interest in Blake and Woolf’s engagement with key nineteenth-century Blakeans. Chapter Three looks at the modernist, early twentieth-century engagement with Blake, to contextualise Woolf’s position on Blake. Chapter Four assesses how Woolf and Blake use ‘Mental fight’ to oppose warmongering and fascist politics. Chapter Five is about what Woolf and Blake write and think about the country and the city. Chapter Six discusses Woolf’s reading of John Milton (1608-1674) in relation to her interest in Blake, drawing on the evidence of Blake’s intense reading of Milton. Chapter Seven examines further miscellaneous continuities between Woolf and Blake. Chapter Eight proposes, in conclusion, that we can only form an impression of Woolf’s Blake. The thesis also has three appendices. First, a chronology of key publications which chart Blake’s reputation as well as Woolf’s allusions to Blake. Second a list all of Blake’s poetry represented in Woolf’s library including contents page. The third lists all the other volumes in Woolf’s library that proved relevant. Although Woolf’s writing is the subject of this thesis, my project necessitates an attempt to recover how Blake was understood and misunderstood by numerous writers in the early twentieth century. The thesis argues Blake is a model radical Romantic who combines the visual and the verbal and that Woolf sees him as a kindred artist

    The crisis of cultural authority in museums : contesting human remains in the collections of Britain

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    Museums in Britain have displayed and researched human remains since the eighteenth century. However, in the last two decades human remains in collections have become subject to claims and controversies. Firstly, human remains associated with acquisition during the colonial period have become increasingly difficult to retain and have been transfered to culturally affiliated overseas indigenous groups. Secondly, a group of British Pagans have formed to make claims on ancient human remains in collections. Thirdly, human remains that are not requested by any community group, and of all ages, have become the focus of concerns expressed about their treatment by members of the profession. A discourse arguing for 'respect' has emerged, which argues that all human remains should be treated with new care. The claims made on human remains have been vigourously but differentially contested by members of the sector, who consider the human remains to be unique research objects. This thesis charts the influences at play on the contestation over human remains and examines its construction. The academic literature tends to understand changes to museums as a result of external factors. This thesis argues that this problem is influenced by a crisis of legitimacy and establishes that there are strong internal influences. Through a weak social constructionist approach I demonstrate that the issue has been promoted by influential members of the sector as part of a broader attempt to distance themselves from their foundational role, as a consequence of a crisis of cultural authority stimulated by external and internal factors. The symbolic character of human remains in locating this problem is informed by the unique properties of dead bodies and is influenced by the significance of the body as a scientific object; its association with identity work and as a site of political struggle, in the high modem period

    Contemporary, decadal, and millennial-scale permafrost- and vegetation dynamics and carbon release in an alpine region of Jotunheimen, Norway

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    Climatic warming in northern alpine regions facilitates the thawing of permafrost, the associated release of soil carbon into the atmosphere, and the altitudinal shifts in vegetation patterns. Here, a multi-disciplinary approach is adopted to investigate the response of an alpine permafrost landscape (Jotunheimen, Norway, with focus on Galdhøpiggen) to climatic changes over long- to medium timescales. First, a gas analyser is used to explore how ecosystem respiration is affected by ecosystem (soil and vegetation) and geomorphological (cryogenic disturbance) factors during the peak growing season. A palaeoecological record is then analysed to infer the past dynamics of the alpine tree lines and the lower limit of permafrost on Galdhøpiggen over the millennial- and centennial scales. Finally, remotely sensed satellite imagery is combined with observed air temperatures to create a model that provides an estimation of land surface temperatures over the past six decades. The model is then used to predict surface ‘greenness’ over the same period. Palynological evidence from Galdhøpiggen indicates that the altitudinal limits of alpine tree lines have shifted by hundreds of metres in response to climatic changes over the millennial scale. Since 1957, the model predictions indicate substantial increases in land surface temperatures and growing season surface ‘greenness’ (i.e., vegetation abundance) in Jotunheimen, but the change has not been spatially uniform. The highest increases were recorded over the low- and mid-alpine heaths above the tree line (1050-1500 m a.s.l.), which was attributed to increased shrub cover. This trend could facilitate carbon release from the ground, as peak growing season ecosystem respiration was found to be most strongly controlled by soil microclimate and plant growth forms. The likely future scenario in response to warming in Jotunheimen will be continued permafrost degradation, with higher altitudes (≥1500 m a.s.l.) experiencing decreased cryoturbation, increased shrub encroachment and higher surface CO2 emissions
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