rss_2.0Literary Studies FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Literary Studies Studies Feed The Prisons Memory Archive: A Multi-Disciplinary Lens on Northern Ireland’s Peace Process Wounds and Physical Divisions: Pre-Brexit Visions of a Divided Kingdom<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article frames Brexit as the consequence of social and demographic fissures running through the United Kingdom, thereby arguing that Britain’s exit from the European Union is symptomatic of a specifically English rather than British crisis of national identification. It shows how such internal faultlines within the UK’s society intersect with the evocation and employment of various kinds of border imagery and border discourses in the run-up to the Brexit Referendum in 2016. For the main part of the analysis, the article sets out to broaden the by now well-established genre of “BrexLit” (Shaw, Everitt) by focusing on what could be called “Pre-BrexLit,” that is, novels written well before Brexit became a term, let alone political reality. By way of three exemplary texts—Julian Barnes’s <italic>England, England</italic> (1998), Tony Saint’s <italic>Refusal Shoes</italic> (2003), and Rupert Thomson’s <italic>Divided Kingdom</italic> (2005)—the analysis retraces how literary accounts of how to establish, maintain and control borders—both real and metaphorical, mental and physical, external and internal—prefigure some of the divisive issues around which the Brexit struggle would revolve, while at the same time avoiding the necessarily contentious and biased labels attached to post-fact Brexit literature. (WF)</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Utopia: The Politics of Nature in Ali Smith’s “Seasonal Quartet”<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Ali Smith’s “Seasonal Quartet” chooses to inscribe Smith’s reading of Brexit in a long history of social and ideological fractures dating back to the 1980s. Transmuting the genre of “the condition of England” novel, she brings it into conjunction with the language of utopia and art. Her previous exploration of the politics of metamorphosis (see, for instance, “The Beholder,” <italic>Public Library and Other Stories</italic> [2015]) is here harnessed to a reflection on the experience of collective crisis and of historical belonging. Exploring the affective politics of nature, and harnessing artists like Barbara Hepworth and Tacita Dean to a form of re-affected utopia, she elaborates a poetics of transmutation harboring the promise of collective redemption. Turning to the concept of hospitality as analyzed by Derrida, as well as the series’ critical intermediality, this paper reflects on the poetics of affect crafted by Smith and the way her vision of a re-aestheticized body politic, fueled by the rhythms of nature, fashions a re-affected national community. (CB)</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Editor’s Note Narratives: The Neoconservatives’ Pursuit of War for Oil in the 1970s<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Following the oil crisis of 1973, President Nixon and other American officials made statements on the possibility of resorting to force in the event of OPEC’s actual “strangulation of the West” (<italic>Oil Fields as Military Objectives</italic> 1). Such statements were followed by a set of articles that rationalized taking military action to seize the oil fields in the Middle East. This paper argues that academics, political advisers, and news commentators who later became known as neoconservatives were the leading voices behind these calls for war. Their arguments and detailed plans of attack initiated a serious discussion of the military option in various decision-making circles and in different media outlets. By revisiting these articles and analyzing their narratives, this essay draws a connection between the neoconservatives’ war rhetoric in 1973–1975 and their war rhetoric in the aftermath of 9/11 attacks. The essay contends that in the effort to maintain US hegemony and dominance over a volatile and strategically vital region, neoconservatives reemployed an orientalist discourse that transformed the Middle East and its “natives” into the West’s cultural Other, namely, an opponent to democracy, modernity, and liberalism that can only be dealt with through the use of force. (RA)</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue F. Kennan and Hungary: A Cold War Visionary and a “remarkable people with rich civilizational qualities”<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Although George F. Kennan hardly needs an introduction, this article revisits his career. He was the “father” of the containment doctrine, even if he did not accept that title because he believed the successive American governments debauched his murky idea about how to oppose the Soviet Union. Many things are known about Kennan—both his professional and private life—but some small additions are still missing. This essay investigates his relations with, and ideas about Hungary, which so far have earned passing mentions at best. This is not surprising because Hungary rarely became a central issue during the Cold War—with 1956 as an obvious exception—so scholars focused mainly on Kennan, the Russian expert and cold warrior. Still, occasionally Hungary received Kennan’s attention throughout his long career: he made observations and took notes on Hungary, Hungarian foreign policy, and Hungarians as early as the eve of World War II, and he continued to do so as late as Hungary’s joining NATO at the end of the 1990s. These were sometimes indirect assumptions, long-distance observations, or the results of on-site experience. It is interesting to see how the famously realist Kennan approached Hungary and the Hungarian questions throughout more than half a century. His relationship with either Hungary or Hungarians, however, has never been within the scope of an academic study, so this article serves as the basis for possible future endeavors into that direction. By introducing Kennan’s episodic views and impressions regarding Hungary in the larger part of the twentieth century, the article fills a small but important gap in the growing field of the history of American–Hungarian relations and adds to the portrait of Kennan. (ZP)</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue British Nature Writing, or an Emergent Hope<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Since the first decade of the twenty-first century, Britain has witnessed the emergence of a new literary movement called “new nature writing.” This paper aims to call attention to new British nature writing as an emergent genre marked by its practitioners’ will to replace anthropocentrism with ecocentrism, present an all-embracing understanding of nature, and interweave the personal with the ecocritical. To this end, it offers insights into selected memoirs of contemporary British writers, including Kathleen Jamie’s essay trilogy <italic>Findings</italic>, <italic>Sightlines,</italic> and <italic>Surfacing;</italic> Amy Liptrot’s <italic>The Outrun;</italic> and Carol Donaldson’s <italic>On the Marshes: A Journey into England’s Waterlands.</italic> Such non-fiction first person narratives, labeled as eco-memoirs, may provide an eco-centered approach to the natural world in the Anthropocene, and thus cherish hopes for a livable future for our planet. (HBM)</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Financial Aid for the Reformed College of Debrecen in Light of Hungarian Archival Sources<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>At the end of the seventeenth century, following the retreat of the Ottoman Empire from the region, the whole of the Kingdom of Hungary came under the jurisdiction of the Catholic Habsburgs, who introduced a number of measures that restricted the rights of Protestants. One of these measures affected the city ministers and the professors of the Reformed College in Debrecen, when they were forbidden by the Chamber of Szepes to have their salaries financed by the city. In such a situation, the leaders of the college had to seek financial help from Protestant-friendly countries such as Switzerland, the Netherlands, and England. Drawing on primary sources available in the Archives of the Reformed Church District of Tiszántúl, the aim of this paper is to present the history of the financial aid the Reformed College received mainly from England (and to some extent Ireland and Scotland) from the seventeenth century to the end of the twentieth century with a focus on how the money was collected and how it was transferred to Hungary. (RB)</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue“There is never any ending to Paris”: Manifestations of Spatiality in Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Ernest Hemingway’s <italic>A Moveable Feast</italic> (1964) contains an array of his memories of the time he spent in Paris in the first half of the 1920s. The work provides an ideal vehicle to explore the connection of spatiality to memory and text production along with how imagined geography relates to empirical geography. The essay deploys a theoretical apparatus relying on the works of Martin Heidegger, Henry Lefebvre, Edward Soja, Michel Foucault, Michel de Certeau, Guy Debord, Pierre Nora, and Walter Benjamin in its investigation of a psycho-geography composed by Hemingway. The essay aims to discuss how spatiality can contribute to the construction of personal history and in what way it can promote text production, and it will also explore the impact of space on the psychological and emotional condition of the individual. (AT)</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Veteran Noirs: Investigating Exceptionalism and Its Post-World War II Trauma<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This essay looks at some of the American film noir that focus on traumatized veterans in the post-World War II era, up to the twenty-first century and argues that noir thrillers centering on mentally disturbed veterans of World War II allow for both commemoration and criticism of the global interventionism that American exceptionalism legitimized during the Cold War and the Wars on Terror. Paradigmatic noirs construct traumatized veterans to investigate their symptoms of amnesia and paranoia as responses to historical interventions. While the analysis of Fred Zinnemann’s <italic>Act of Violence</italic> (1948) challenges idolizations of members of the Greatest Generation as morally superior immediately after their return home, that of Alan Parker’s <italic>Angel Heart</italic> (1987) probes into how the projection of a Faustian tale upon amnesia connects a post-World War II identity conflict to an anti-communist climate ripe with social tensions. The third veteran noir, the post-9/11 film <italic>Shutter Island</italic> (2010) by Martin Scorsese, conclusively reveals how two paranoid narratives overlap in the films under scrutiny, aiming to deconstruct the patriotic trope of American heroism in their subtexts. (AG)</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Fantasies of Unveiling Flesh and Freedom: Post-9/11 Desires for Truth and Security and Grounds: Art and the Body Politic in Ali Smith’s<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The essay reads <italic>Winter</italic> (2017), the second volume of Ali Smith’s “Seasonal Quartet,” as a novel that engages with Brexit by revitalizing the metaphor of the body politic. Focusing on the role of landscape, the novel’s use of art objects and its intertextual conversation with Shakespeare’s late romance <italic>Cymbeline</italic> (ca. 1610), the essay also addresses the ways in which the reimagining of the body politic is entangled with Smith’s poetic strategies, arguing that matters of form and aesthetics are indistinguishable from the novel’s ethical and political concerns. Exploring parallels with post-’45 British landscape painting and art, especially Barbara Hepworth’s works, the analysis is concerned with two striking intrusions of the irrational in the novel: a hallucinated lump of landscape hovering above the characters and a child’s head floating in the air; both are crucial to the revitalization of the metaphor of the body politic as well as in the conversation the novel conducts with British art and with <italic>Cymbeline</italic>, a play that is an exploration of the idea of the body politic and of sovereignty in the context of the end of Britain’s relations with Europe. (TB)</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Acknowledging Shakespeare’s Others as Ours“Asiatic Black Man”: W. E. B. Du Bois and Langston Hughes in Soviet Asia--Part I—The Shifting “Double-consciousness” of Du Bois<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This essay seeks to revisit the curious case of the “Asiatic Black Man” by demonstrating how this identity, inherent in the collective unconsciousness and shared by Muhammad Ali, W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and Paul Robeson, could be consolidated as an “imagined community” through the microhistory of African Americans experiencing Soviet Asia. The essay proposes Afro-American Eurasianism as a transcontinental approach to converge the transnational, transatlantic, and transpacific perspectives in the Eurasian landmass, wherein the consilience of the Soviet overarching ambition of becoming the only world power as well as various themes that connected the micro-narrative of African Americans with the big history<sup>1</sup> of Asia rendered Eurasianism as a shared political ideology, to be exploited by each side as a grand strategy in ending global racial politics. By positioning the twin cases of Du Bois and Hughes, this paper aims to show how the Soviet Union’s divergent endeavors of the “world revolution”—with Hungary and China as their primary targets for exporting revolutions in order to control the Eurasian “heartland”—and “socialism in one country”—with Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan as the in-the-making products of the Soviet nation-building experiments so as to convey the raceless image of Potemkin villages through Central Asia’s window to the world—could draw them away from their initial embrace of Black nationalism and shape their radical thoughts toward the Soviet cause. Moreover, this study posits that Soviet Asia functioned as a psychogeographical and geopolitical conduit that facilitated the elaboration of the Afro-American “Asiatic Black Man” fantasy and imagination of the communistic utopia as an alternative international order, while it unexpectedly resulted in a new “double-consciousness,” compelling Du Bois and Hughes to oscillate between Moscow and Beijing/Tashkent. (YZ)</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Visiting the Louvre the concept of “Gestalten” – Kurt Lewin and Lev Semënovic Vygotsky as methodologically related<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The relationship between Kurt Lewin and Lev S. Vygotsky is important for many methodological questions raised by the two psychologists such as distinguishing a genetic and an accidental event type. The concept of „Gestalt“ is another important issue. The present article analyzes and contextualizes the significance of this concept in their discussions since they met in Berlin in 1925. It can be shown that a difference between Lewin’s and Vygotsky’s approach becomes salient in the ways they refer to Gestalt theory as a holistic approach. While Lewin understands the here-and-now of situation in which an event occurs as depending on the present field forces as a whole, Vygotsky agrees largely with Lewin’s postulate to consider all field forces, but then moves on from the field as an originally spatial model to introduce a semantic model. According to Vygotsky this is necessary to theorize fluidity and flexibility in behavior and thus to understand the necessary psychologically preconditions for free will and independency.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue to Sound-based music: Defining a perceptual grammar based on morphodynamic theory<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>In this contribution, I discuss the perceptual potential of certain genres of experimental and contemporary music, commonly grouped under the label “sound-based music”. The sonic patterns typical of this music are mostly associated, during listening, with visual and tactile sensory qualities and can evoke mental representations as shapes in motion. These are the result of physical-acoustic energies organized according to a perceptual grammar whose organization follows a series of Gestalt and kinaesthetic principles. The paper explores the nature of the relationship between sound patterns of sound-based music and their mental images. Based on morphodynamic theory, it is proposed the emergence of cognitive image schemas, which are at the centre of this relationship. The image schemas depict the forces and tensions of our experience of the world (e.g., figure-background, near-far, superimposition, compulsion, blockage), as being the cognitive and experiential response to the incoming sound patterns. The sense of this music activates precisely the basic structures of sensorimotor experience by which we encounter a world that we can understand and act within, leading to a rich series of high-level associations and responses.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue in the mind and : «»<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>During his prolific career, the German Jewish scientist Franz Boas (Minden, 1858 - New York, 1942) recognized as the founding father of American Cultural Anthropology – maintained assiduous contacts with the European scientific community, in a privileged way with that of the German area. The contribution addresses the Boasian correspondence with the two directors of the <italic>Berliner Phonogramm-Archiv</italic>, the philosopher and psychologist Carl Stumpf, and the ethnomusicolo-gist Erich Moritz von Hornbostel. All three were united by a common scientific experimental training and a solid musical education, typical of their <italic>Bildungsbu</italic><italic>ü</italic><italic>rgertum</italic>. With them, Boas consistently shared his fieldwork findings regarding music, sound, and language among the Indians of British Columbia: indeed, their epistolary exchanges intertwine epistemological reflections centered on the study of «<italic>exotische Musik</italic>» in context with technical problems, derived from the use of phonographic recordings and the relative shipments of wax cylinders by Boas to the Phonographic Archive. So far, the critical literature has not paid particular attention to their correspondence, that offer instead a privileged look in observing the birth of Ethnomusicology, at the time still defined as comparative Musicology (<italic>vergleichende Musikwissenschaft</italic>). Starting from a biographical contextualization and following the micro-history of the scientific and personal relationship of these scientists, the contribution aims to explore the hypothesis that the emerging Ethnomusicology significantly contributed to the definition of Cultural Anthropology as a discipline. In his painstaking research devoted to the Native Indian sounds and languages, Boas observed indeed what happens if a mind is exposed to a new sound, musical or linguistic context; he had therefore to rigorously deal with the phenomena of mishearing, sound-blindness and biasing filter related to the perception of «new sounds». Thanks to his fieldwork, Boas would endorse a relativistic and “in context” approach to perception and mental representations of sounds, fostering his eventual lifelong, hectic concern about a broaden antiracist theory of human mental functions.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue for Papers distractor filtering in habituation contexts: Learning to ignore is easier in familiar environments<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>Habituation mechanisms play a pivotal role in enabling organisms to filter out irrelevant stimuli and concentrate on essential ones. Through repeated exposure, the brain learns to disregard stimuli that are irrelevant, effectively ceasing to respond to potentially distracting input. Previous studies have demonstrated that the orienting response to visual distractors disrupting visual detection tasks habituates as tasks progress and distractors are encountered repeatedly, as their initial interference diminishes. Theoretical models posit that this reduction is contingent upon the establishment of an internal representation of external stimuli. Moreover, further studies have indicated that habituation can be context- specific, suggesting that the mechanisms involved incorporate information about features of irrelevant stimuli that extend beyond their discrete characteristics. In this contribution, we further delved into the question of whether the context in which habituation occurs retains a general habituative capacity when a new, to-be-ignored stimulus is introduced. We discuss evidence indicating that the context in which habituation has already taken place facilitates the habituation process for a new stimulus. This suggests that it becomes easier to ignore new stimuli in contexts where we have already learned to disregard other stimuli, underscoring the intricate interplay between habituation, context, and attentional processes.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue