Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture 2020-06-18T06:03:22+00:00 Text Matters Open Journal Systems <div style="text-align: justify;"> <p><em>Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture</em>, based at the University of Łódź, is an international and interdisciplinary journal, which seeks to engage in contemporary debates in the humanities by inviting contributions from literary and cultural studies intersecting with literary theory, gender studies, history, philosophy, and religion. The journal focuses on textual realities, but contributions related to art, music, film and media studies addressing the text are also invited.</p> </div> A Wild Roguery: Bruce Chatwin’s "The Songlines" Reconsidered 2020-05-08T12:14:28+00:00 Christine Nicholls <p>This article revisits, analyzes and critiques Bruce Chatwin’s 1987 bestseller, <em>The Songlines</em>, more than three decades after its publication. In <em>Songlines</em>, the book primarily responsible for his posthumous celebrity, Chatwin set out to explore the essence of Central and Western Desert Aboriginal Australians’ philosophical beliefs. For many readers globally, <em>Songlines </em>is regarded as a—if not the—definitive entry into the epistemological basis, religion, cosmology and lifeways of classical Western and Central Desert Aboriginal people. It is argued that Chatwin’s fuzzy, ill-defined use of the word-concept “songlines” has had the effect of generating more heat than light. Chatwin’s failure to recognize the economic imperative underpinning Australian desert people’s walking praxis is problematic: his own treks through foreign lands were underpropped by socioeconomic privilege. Chatwin’s ethnocentric <em>idée fixe </em>regarding the primacy of “walking” and “nomadism,” central to his <em>Songlines </em>thématique, well and truly preceded his visits to Central Australia. Walking, proclaimed Chatwin, is an elemental part of “Man’s” innate nature. It is argued that this unwavering, preconceived, essentialist belief was a self-serving construal justifying Chatwin’s own “nomadic” adventures of identity. Is it thus reasonable to regard Chatwin as a “rogue author,” an unreliable narrator? And if so, does this matter? Of greatest concern is the book’s continuing majority acceptance as a measured, accurate account of Aboriginal belief systems. With respect to Aboriginal desert people and the barely disguised individuals depicted in <em>Songlines</em>, is Chatwin’s book a “rogue text,” constituting an act of epistemic violence, consistent with Spivak’s usage of that term?</p> 2019-11-04T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Of Grim Witches and Showy Lady-Devils: Wealthy Women in Literature and Film 2020-05-08T12:14:51+00:00 Veronika Schuchter <p>Imagining super rich women in the real and fictional world has long been a struggle. Those few depictions that do exist are scattered across time periods and literary genres, reflecting the legal restrictions that, at different points in time, would not allow women to accumulate assets independent of the patriarchal forces in their lives. The scarcity of extremely wealthy women in literature and film is confirmed by <em>Forbes </em>magazine’s list of the fifteen richest fictional characters that features forty different fictional men and only nine women, with never more than two female characters nominated in a single year.</p> <p>This article explores the depiction of three exceptionally wealthy women: Cruella de Vil in <em>The Hundred and One Dalmatians </em>(1956) by Dodie Smith, Miss Havisham in <em>Great Expectations </em>(1861) by Charles Dickens, and the figure of the stepmother in various adaptations of “Cinderella.” I demonstrate how the protagonists’ wealth allows them to manipulate others and disconnect themselves from patriarchal and societal expectations. Further, I argue that these affluent antagonists are “rogued” by their respective narratives, highlighting their perceived anti-feminine and emasculating behaviour resulting in a mode of narration that greedily gazes at and shames their appearances and supposed unattractiveness. While this genealogy of rich rogues reiterates the narrow scope of imagining wealthy women on the page and on the screen, there are moments in the narratives that disrupt stereotypical depictions of these wealthy characters who defy the labels imposed on them.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 “You’ll never meet someone like me again”: Patty Jenkins’s "Monster" as Rogue Cinema 2020-05-08T12:16:23+00:00 Michelle D. Wise <p>Film is a powerful medium that can influence audience’s perceptions, values and ideals. As filmmaking evolved into a serious art form, it became a powerful tool for telling stories that require us to re-examine our ideology. While it remains popular to adapt a literary novel or text for the screen, filmmakers have more freedom to pick and choose the stories they want to tell. This freedom allows filmmakers to explore narratives that might otherwise go unheard, which include stories that feature marginal figures, such as serial killers, as sympathetic protagonists, which is what director Patty Jenkins achieves in her 2003 film <em>Monster</em>. Charlize Theron’s transformation into and performance as Aileen Wuornos, and Jenkins’s presentation of the subject matter, make this film an example of rogue cinema. In addition, Aileen Wuornos is portrayed as a clear example of the rogue character. This character trope frequently defies social standards, suffers from past trauma, is psychologically complex, and is often exiled. As a prostitute and social outcast, Aileen Wuornos exists on the fringes of society and rejects the hegemonic power structure and later heteronormativity of society, which makes her a rogue figure. While there are several aspects to consider when analyzing Jenkins’s film, my intention is to argue that this film is an example of rogue cinema because of its content. In order to accomplish this task, I examine Theron’s bodily transformation and her performance as Wuornos. Furthermore, I look at how Jenkins handles the depiction of romantic love and gendered violence and argue that her treatment of this content renders this film rogue.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 The Outlaw Machine, the Monstrous Outsider and Motorcycle Fetishists: Challenging Rebellion, Mobility and Masculinity in Kenneth Anger’s "Scorpio Rising" and Steven Spielberg’s "Duel" 2020-05-08T12:16:55+00:00 Kornelia Boczkowska <p>The paper analyzes the ways in which Kenneth Anger’s <em>Scorpio Rising </em>(1963) and Steven Spielberg’s <em>Duel </em>(1971) draw on and challenge selected road movie conventions by adhering to the genre’s traditional reliance on cultural critique revolving around the themes of rebellion, transgression and roguery. In particular, the films seem to confront the classic road movie format through their adoption of nomadic narrative structure and engagement in a mockery of subversion where the focus on social critique is intertwined with a deep sense of alienation and existential loss “laden with psychological confusion and wayward angst” (Laderman 83). Following this trend, Spielberg’s film simultaneously depoliticizes the genre and maintains the tension between rebellion and tradition where the former shifts away from the conflict with conformist society to masculine anxiety, represented by middle class, bourgeois and capitalist values, the protagonist’s loss of innocence in the film’s finale, and the act of roguery itself. Meanwhile, Anger’s poetic take on the outlaw biker culture, burgeoning homosexuality, myth and ritual, and violence and death culture approaches the question of roguery by undermining the image of a dominant hypermasculinity with an ironic commentary on sacrilegious and sadomasochistic practices and initiation rites in the gay community. Moreover, both <em>Duel</em>’s demonization of the truck, seen as “an indictment of machines” or the mechanization of life (Spielberg qtd. in Crawley 26), and <em>Scorpio Rising</em>’s (homo)eroticization of a motorcycle posit elements of social critique, disobedience and nonconformity within a cynical and existential framework, hence merging the road movie’s traditional discourse with auteurism and modernism.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Roguish Self-Fashioning and Questing in Aleksandar Hemon’s “Everything” 2020-05-08T12:17:42+00:00 Jason Blake <p>This paper examines self-fashioning in Aleksandar Hemon’s “Everything,” a story about a Sarajevo teenager’s journey through ex-Yugoslavia to the Slovenian town of Murska Sobota. His aim? “[T]o buy a freezer chest for my family” (39). While in transit, the first-person narrator imagines himself a rogue of sorts; the fictional journey he takes, meanwhile, is clearly within the quest tradition. The paper argues that “Everything” is an unruly text because by the end of the story the reader must jettison the conventional reading traditions the quest narrative evokes. What begins as a comic tale about a minor journey opens out, in the story’s final lines, into a story about larger historical concerns, namely, the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. By introducing contemporary history, Hemon points beyond the closed world of his short story, while rejecting the quest pattern he has established.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 “Same Old Ed, . . . Uncommitted”: BMW Socialism and Post-Roguery in Guy Vanderhaeghe’s Early Fiction 2020-05-08T12:18:05+00:00 Jordan Bolay <p>In this paper I assess how Guy Vanderhaeghe’s early fiction criticizes the class-based and civil movements of post-1960s Saskatchewan through the recurring character of Ed. The protagonist of “Man Descending” and “Sam, Soren, and Ed” from <em>Man Descending</em>, the uncollected “He Scores! He Shoots!” and the novel <em>My Present Age</em>, Ed both condemns and epitomizes the contaminated and seductive gestures of the movements’ influences and enterprises. Vanderhaeghe deploys layers of social criticism: the first comments on the new urban progressive generation—the BMW socialists—while another manifests a counter-criticism that comments on those who challenge social progress, questioning their motives and the credibility of their critique. But what is a BMW socialist? A sociopolitical chameleon hiding behind pretense? Ed describes such a creature as a former “nay-sayer and boycotter” who “intended to dedicate his life to eternal servitude in a legal-aid clinic,” but then “affluence did him in” and now “his ass [is] cupped lovingly in the contoured leather seats of his BMW” (<em>Man Descending </em>237–38). Vanderhaeghe’s early works criticize the contemporary middle class and progressivist movements of the second half of the twentieth century through this sociopolitical rogue—who in turn becomes a post-rogue. For Ed is ironically undercut by a counter-narrative that is often sub-textual, resulting in a fascinating appraisal of social ignorance, immobility, and unproductivity rather than of any specific ideology.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Aussies, Rogues and Slackers: Simon Hanselmann’s Megg, Mogg and Owl Comics as Contemporary Instances of Rogue Literature 2020-05-08T12:18:31+00:00 Ronnie Scott <p>This paper examines the Megg, Mogg and Owl stories of Simon Hanselmann, an Australian artist whose serialized comics both depict acts of contemporary roguery committed by a group of friends in an inner city sharehouse and test the generic limits of its own storytelling conventions, thereby becoming contemporary instances of “rogue texts.” The paper positions the adventures of Megg, a witch, Mogg, her familiar, Owl, their housemate, and associated characters including Booger and Werewolf Jones as contemporary variations of both the Australian genre of grunge fiction and the broad international tradition of rogue literature. It shows how Megg, Mogg, Owl and their friends use the structure of the sharehouse to make their own rules, undertake illegal behaviour, and respond to the strictures of mainstream society, which alongside legal restrictions include normative restrictions on gender and behaviour. It shows the sharehouse as a response to their economic, as well as cultural and social conditions. The paper then shows how Megg and particularly Owl come up against the limitations of the permissiveness and apparent security of their “rogue” society, and respond by beginning to “go rogue” from the group. Meanwhile, the text itself, rather than advancing through time, goes over the same chronology and reinscribes it from new angles, becoming revisionist and re-creative, perhaps behaving roguishly against the affordances of episodic, vignette form. The paper argues that Simon Hanselmann’s Megg, Mogg and Owl comics can be understood as contemporary rogue texts, showing characters responding to social and generic limits and expressing them through a restless and innovative comics text.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 The Rogue as an Artist in Patrick deWitt’s "The Sisters Brothers" 2020-05-08T12:19:07+00:00 Hilde Staels <p>This article explores Eli Sisters as a reinvigorated rogue who finds his artistic calling in Patrick deWitt’s <em>The Sisters Brothers</em>, published in 2011. With the help of insights from narratology and genre theory, the article provides a textual analysis of Eli’s discourse, perspective and behaviour. Eli casts a critical light on the senseless violence, unbridled greed, ecological devastation, and hyper-masculinity inherent to America’s Frontier myth. As a reinvigorated rogue, he raises questions about what it means to be human and reflects upon morality. With hindsight, the rogue as an artist creates a generically hybrid narrative that parodically imitates and transforms the genre conventions of the Western and the picaresque tale. The article also draws attention to the power that Eli assigns to women in a story about male heroic conquest. These include otherworldly female figures from classical mythology and the brothers’ mother.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 The Lynching and Rebirth of Ned Buntline: Rogue Authorship during the American Literary Renaissance 2020-05-08T12:20:06+00:00 Mark Metzler Sawin <p>Though largely unknown today, “Ned Buntline” (Edward Zane Carroll Judson) was one of the most influential authors of 19th-century America. He published over 170 novels, edited multiple popular and political publications, and helped pioneer the seafaring adventure, city mystery and Western genres. It was his pirate tales that Tom Sawyer constantly reenacted, his “Bowery B’hoys” that came to define the distinctive slang and swagger of urban American characters, and his novels and plays that turned an unknown scout into <em>Buffalo Bill, King of the Border Men</em>. But before “Ned Buntline” became a mainstay of the popular press, he had been on his way to becoming one of the nation’s highbrow literary elites. He was praised by the leading critics, edited an important literary journal, and his stories appeared in the era’s most prestigious publications. This study examines how and why “Ned Buntline” moved from prestigious to popular authorship and argues that the transformation was precipitated by one very specific event: in 1846, Edward Z. C. Judson was lynched. A close examination of Judson’s life, writing, and the coverage of him in the newspapers of the day (including the remarkable story of how he survived a lynching) demonstrates that the same issues that led to his lynching also led to his rebirth as a new kind of American author.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Men Without Fingers, Men Without Toes 2020-05-08T12:20:31+00:00 Kit Dobson <p>What happens once the rogue rides off into the sunset? This cross-genre essay considers the figure of the rogue’s decline and gradual dismemberment in the face of the pressures of the world. Beginning with the “rogue” digits and other body parts lost by the men who surrounded him in his youth—especially his grandfather—Dobson considers the costs of labour and poverty in rural environments. For him, the rogue is one who falls somehow outside of cultural, social, and political norms— the one who has decided to step outside of the establishment, outside of the corrupt élites and their highfalutin ways. To do so comes at a cost. Turning to the life of writer George Ryga and to the poetry and fiction of Patrick Lane, this essay examines the real, physical, material, and social costs of transgression across multiple works linked to rural environments in Alberta and British Columbia. The essay shows the ways in which very real forms of violence discipline the rogue, pushing the rogue back into submission or out of mind, back into the shadowy past from whence the rogue first came. Resisting nostalgia while evincing sympathy, this essay delves into what is at stake for one who would become a rogue.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 “Let me hear Thy voice”: Michèle Roberts’s Refiguring of Mary Magdalene in the Light of The Song of Songs 2020-05-08T12:23:00+00:00 Dorota Filipczak <p>The article engages with the protagonist of <em>The Secret Gospel of Mary Magdalene </em>by Michèle Roberts, first published in 1984 as <em>The Wild Girl. </em>Filipczak discusses scholarly publications that analyze the role of Mary Magdalene, and redeem her from the sexist bias which reduced her to a repentant whore despite the lack of evidence for this in the Gospels. The very same analyses demonstrate that the role of Mary Magdalene as Christ’s first apostle silenced by patriarchal tradition was unique. While Roberts draws on the composite character of Mary Magdalene embedded in the traditional association between women, sexuality and sin, she also moves far beyond this, by reclaiming the female imaginary as an important part of human connection to the divine. At the same time, Roberts recovers the conjunction between sexuality and spirituality by framing the relationship of Christ and Mary Magdalene with The Song of Songs, which provides the abject saint from Catholic tradition with an entirely different legacy of autonomy and expression of female desire, be it sexual, maternal or spiritual. The intertext connected with The Song of Songs runs consistently through <em>The Secret Gospel of Mary Magdalene. </em>This, in turn, sensitizes the readers to the traces of the Song in the Gospels, which never quote from it, but they rely heavily on the association between Christ and the Bridegroom, while John 20 shows the encounter between the risen Christ and Mary Magdalene in the garden whose imagery is strongly suggestive of the nuptial meeting in The Song of Songs.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Heresy and Orthodoxy Now: The Zigzagging Paths of the Lawful 2020-05-08T12:23:24+00:00 Marta Zając <p>In this article I consider a certain characteristic of our times as a “secular age,” namely, a series of complications in our understanding of transgression. <em>Transgression </em>implies the presence of some <em>rules </em>and <em>laws </em>which can be violated. As long as the rules and laws are perceived as <em>right</em>, as a way of protecting the values which would otherwise perish, transgression appears to be a <em>wrong </em>thing to do, a misdeed, a criminal act. Needless to say, the very conceptual structure makes sense only provided that the distinctions between right and wrong, good and evil, lawful and lawless are not arbitrary, which, in turn, depends on the presence of the concept of <em>truth</em>.</p> <p>In the secular age, though, the concept of truth becomes not only difficult to handle, since it is incompatible with the modern frame of mind, but also assumes some derogatory connotations, up to the point when to insist on the distinction between (truly) right and (truly) wrong is in itself a wrong thing to do. That is the state of contemporary societies which G. K. Chesterton examines in his work <em>Heretics</em>. The effect of Chesterton’s reflections is a new map of right/wrong, good/evil, lawless/lawful permutations. After Chesterton, I comment on the character of a new <em>heretic</em>, one for whom transgression, understood as the attack on buried-for-long orthodoxy, is too easy a thing to do. To illustrate the mentioned changes of perspective, I refer to an exemplary criminal figure of the West, that is, the biblical serpent, and its criticism.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Joe Brainard’s "I Remember", Fragmentary Life Writing and the Resistance to Narrative and Identity 2020-05-08T12:25:58+00:00 Wojciech Drąg <p>Paul Ricoeur declares that “being-entangled in stories” is an inherent property of the human condition. He introduces the notion of narrative identity—a form of identity constructed on the basis of a self-constructed life-narrative, which becomes a source of meaning and self-understanding. This article wishes to present chosen instances of life writing whose subjects resist yielding a life-story and reject the notions of narrative and identity. In line with Adam Phillips’s remarks regarding <em>Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes </em>(1975), such works—which I refer to as fragmentary life writing—emerge out of a profound scepticism about any form of “fixing” oneself and confining the variety and randomness of experience to one of the available autobiographical plots.</p> <p>The primary example of the genre is Joe Brainard’s I Remember (1975)—an inventory of approximately 1,500 memories conveyed in the form of radically short passages beginning with the words “I remember.” Despite the qualified degree of unity provided by the fact that all the recollections come from the consciousness of a single person, the book does not arrange its content in any discernible order—chronological or thematic; instead, the reader is confronted with a life-in-fragments. Although individual passages could be part of a coming-of-age, a coming-out or a portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-young-man narrative, Brainard is careful not to let any of them consolidate. An attempt at defining the characteristics of the proposed genre will be followed by an indication of more recent examples of fragmentary life writing and a reflection on its prospects for development</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 “A right kind of rogue”: Lisa McInerney’s "The Glorious Heresies" (2015) and "The Blood Miracles" (2017) 2020-05-08T12:27:36+00:00 Katarzyna Ostalska <p>The following article analyzes two novels, published recently by a new, powerful voice in Irish fiction, Lisa McInerney: her critically acclaimed debut <em>The Glorious Heresies </em>(2015) and its continuation <em>The Blood Miracles </em>(2017). McInerney’s works can be distinguished by the crucial qualities of the Irish Noir genre. <em>The Glorious Heresies </em>and <em>The Blood Miracles </em>are presented from the perspective of a middle-aged “right-rogue” heroine, Maureen Phelan. Due to her violent and law-breaking revenge activities, such as burning down the institutions signifying Irishwomen’s oppression (i.e. the church and a former brothel) and committing an involuntary murder, Maureen remains a multi-dimensional rogue character, not easily definable or even identifiable. The focal character’s narrative operates around the abuse of unmarried, young Irish mothers of previous generations who were coerced to give up their “illegitimate” children for adoption and led a solitary existence away from them. The article examines other “options” available to “fallen women” (especially unmarried mothers) in Ireland in the mid-twenty century, such as the Magdalene Laundries based on female slave work, and sending children born “out of wedlock” abroad, or to Mother and Baby Homes with high death-rates. Maureen’s rage and her need for retaliation speak for Irish women who, due to the Church-governed moral code, were held in contempt both by their families and religious authorities. As a representative of the Irish noir genre, McInerney’s fiction depicts the narrative of “rogue” Irish motherhood in a non-apologetic, ironic, irreverent and vengeful manner.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Three Layers of Metaphors in Ross Macdonald’s "Black Money" 2020-05-08T12:28:10+00:00 Lech Zdunkiewicz <p>&nbsp;In his early career, Kenneth Millar, better known as Ross Macdonald, emulated the style of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. By the 1960s he had established himself as a distinct voice in the hardboiled genre. In his Lew Archer series, he conveys the complexity of his characters and settings primarily by the use of metaphors. In his 1966 novel <em>Black Money </em>the device performs three functions. In the case of minor characters, the author uses metaphors to comment on Californian society. Concurrently, metaphors describing major characters allow him to develop their dramatic arcs, whereas the recurring elements of the leitmotif serve to demonstrate the narrating detective’s growing concerns with the ongoing investigation. Arguably, it was Macdonald’s use of metaphors that helped define his unique voice.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture Spaces of (Re)Connections: Performing Experiences of Disabling Gender Violence 2020-05-08T12:28:47+00:00 Nicole Fayard <p>The article explores the potential “healing” role performance art can have when representing disabling trauma, and engaging, as part of the creative process, participants who have experienced in their lives significant trauma and physical, as well as mental health concerns arising from gender violence. It focuses on the show <em>cicatrix macula</em>, performed during the exhibition <em>Speaking Out: Women Healing from the Trauma of Violence </em>(Leicester, 2014). The exhibition involved disabled visual and creative artists, and engaged participants in the process of performance making. It was held at the Attenborough Arts Centre in Leicester (UK), a pioneering arts centre designed to be inclusive and accessible. The show <em>cicatrix macula </em>focused on social, cultural, mental, and physical representations of trauma and disability, using three lacerated life-size puppets to illustrate these depictions. Working under the direction of the audience, two artists attempted to “repair” the bodies. The creative process was a collaborative endeavour: the decision-making process rested with the audience, whose privileged positions of witness and meaning-maker were underscored. Fayard demonstrates the significance of <em>cicatrix macula </em>in debunking ablist gender norms, as well as in highlighting the role played by social and cultural enablers. She calls attention to its potential for mobilizing positive identity politics, including for viewers who had experienced trauma. For example, the environment of the participatory performance space offered some opportunities for the survivor to become the author or arbiter of her own recovery. In addition, the constant physical exchange of bodies within this space of debate was well-suited to the (re)connection with the self and with others.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 On Unruly Text, or Text-Trickster: Leslie Marmon Silko’s "Ceremony" as Healing 2020-05-08T12:29:11+00:00 Monika Kocot <p>The article discusses Leslie Marmon Silko’s <em>Ceremony </em>with a focus on textual manifestations of the figure of the trickster. The theme of shape-shifting and transformation that one usually associates with tricksters is linked here with the theme of (non)dualist timespace, the notion of interbeing, which in turn introduces the theme of trauma healing. The author combines two perspectives—Paula Gunn Allen’s view on timespace in her <em>The Sacred Hoop</em>, and Gerald Vizenor’s writings concerning trickster aesthetics—in order to show that the narrative structure of the novel can also be seen as an embodiment of the trickster: trickster-timespace, trickster-relation, and trickster-processuality; these three manifestations of the trickster are analyzed from the perspective of one more actualization of the trickster, that of a psychopomp, the “Guide of Souls” (which is manifested both at the level of plot and narration).</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 What Ever Happened to My Peace of Mind? Hag Horror as Narrative of Trauma 2020-05-08T12:29:51+00:00 Tomasz Fisiak <p>In his pioneering study of Grande Dame Guignol (also referred to as hag horror or psycho-biddy), a female-centric 1960s subgenre of horror film, Peter Shelley explains that the grande dame, a stock character in this form of cinematic expression, “may pine for a lost youth and glory, or she may be trapped by idealized memories of childhood, with a trauma that haunts her past” (8). Indeed, a typical Grande Dame Guignol female protagonist/antagonist (as these two roles often merge) usually deals with various kinds of traumatic experiences: loss of a child, domestic violence, childhood abuse, family conflicts or sudden end of career in the fickle artistic industry, etc. Unable to cope with her problems, but also incapable of facing the inevitable process of aging and dying, she gradually yields to mental and physical illnesses that further strengthen the trauma and lead to her social exclusion, making her life even more unbearable. Unsurprisingly, scholars such as Charles Derry choose to name psycho-biddies horrors of personality, drawing attention to the insightful psychological portrayal of their characters. Thus, it would be relevant and illuminating to discuss films such as <em>Die! Die! My Darling! </em>(1965) and <em>Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? </em>(1971) as narratives of trauma. This will be the main concern of my article.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 “But what a place / to put a piano”: Nostalgic Objects in Robert Minhinnick’s "Diary of the Last Man" 2020-05-08T12:30:23+00:00 Agata Handley <p>In 2003, Martin Rees referred to the present as “mankind’s final century.” A few years later, Slavoj Žižek wrote that humankind is heading towards “apocalyptic zero-point,” when the ecological crisis will most probably lead to our complete destruction. In his 2017 collection, <em>Diary of the Last Man</em>, Welsh poet Robert Minhinnick offers readers a meditation upon Earth at a liminal moment—on the brink of becoming completely unpopulated.</p> <p>Imagining a solitary human being, living in the midst of environmental collapse, Minhinnick yet entwines different voices—human and non-human—operating across vast spans of time. The speaker of the poems moves freely through different geographies and cultural contexts, but the voice that starts and ends the journey, seems to be the voice of the poet himself: he is the last man on earth, a survivor of ecological disaster.</p> <p>The paper discusses Minhinnick’s collection as a projection of the world we now inhabit into a future where it will exist only in the form of nostalgic memories. The analysis focuses on the role of objects in the construction of the world-within-the poem, where the fragments of human civilization are being claimed by forces of the environment—engulfing sand, progressive erosion—forming a retrospective vision of our “now” which will inevitably become our “past.”</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Liminal Space in J. G. Ballard’s "Concrete Island" 2020-06-18T06:03:22+00:00 Marcin Tereszewski <p>This article explores the way in which surrealist techniques and assumptions underpin spatial representations in Ballard’s <em>Concrete Island. </em>With much of Ballard’s fiction using spatiality as an ideologically charged instrument to articulate a critique that underpins postcapitalist culture, it seems important to focus on exactly the kind of spaces that he creates. This paper will investigate the means by which spatiality is conceptualized in Ballard’s fiction, with special emphasis on places situated on the borders between realism and fantasy. Ballard’s spaces, often positioned on the edgelands of cities or centers of civilization, can be aligned with the surrealist project as presented not only by the Situationalist International, but of psychogeographical discourse in general. What the various Ballardian spaces—motorways, airports, high-rises, deserts, shopping malls, suburbs—have in common is a sense of existing outside stable definitions or what, following Marc Augé, we would call non-places, which by their definition are disconnected from a globalized image society, thus generating a revolutionary idea of freedom. As these places exist outside the cognitive map we impose on our environment, they present a potentially liberating force that resonates in Ballard’s fiction.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Don DeLillo’s "White Noise": A Virilian Perspective 2020-05-08T12:31:13+00:00 Hossein Pirnajmuddin Bahareh Bagherzadeh Samani <p>Don DeLillo’s <em>White Noise </em>depicts a world of rapid techno-scientific and economical changes. Paul Virilio’s concepts of dromology and speed, as well as his notions of accident and technology, seem to be the most relevant in order to examine a novel centrally concerned with change, speed and technology. This article first offers an analysis of <em>White Noise </em>in the light of Virilio’s concept of integral accident in relation to the negative consequences brought about by industrial and technological progress. This is followed by a discussion of the relevance to the novel of Virilio’s theories about architecture and space. Finally, Virilio’s theories about the replacement of conventional war with pure and info wars are discussed in the context of the central event of the novel. Reading the American writer through the lens of the French theorist can shed light on the enduring relevance of both.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Theater Without a Script—Improvisation and the Experimental Stage of the Early Mid-Twentieth Century in the United States 2020-05-08T12:31:49+00:00 Magdalena Szuster <p>It was in the mid-twentieth century that the independent theatrical form based entirely on improvisation, known now as improvisational/improvised theatre, impro or improv, came into existence and took shape. Viola Spolin, the intellectual and the logician behind the improvisational movement, first used her improvised games as a WPA worker running theater classes for underprivileged youth in Chicago in 1939. But it was not until 1955 that her son, Paul Sills, together with a college theater group, the Compass Players, used Spolin’s games on stage. In the 1970s Sills made the format famous with his other project, the Second City.</p> <p>Since the emergence of improv in the US coincides with the renaissance of improvisation in theater, in this paper, I will look back at what may have prepared and propelled the emergence of improvised theater in the United States. Hence, this article is an attempt to look at the use of improvisation in theater and performing arts in the United States in the second half of the 20th century in order to highlight the various roles and functions of improvisation in the experimental theater of the day by analyzing how some of the most influential experimental theaters used improvisation as a means of play development, a component of actor training and an important element of the rehearsal process.</p> 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 New Versions of Roguery 2020-05-08T12:32:18+00:00 Aritha van Herk Vanja Polić 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Poetry, Environment and the Possibility of Future. A Review of Sam Solnick’s "Poetry and the Anthropocene: Ecology, Biology and Technology in Contemporary British and Irish Poetry" (Abingdon: Routledge, 2017) 2020-05-08T12:32:41+00:00 Wit Pietrzak 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Review of "White" by Bret Easton Ellis 2020-05-08T12:33:09+00:00 Mark Tardi 2019-12-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019