Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture 2024-01-08T13:04:29+01:00 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 Lodz, 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. <em>Text Matters</em> was founded and developed by Professor Dorota Filipczak (1963-2021).</p> <p>The journal focuses on textual realities, but contributions related to art, music, film and media studies addressing the text are also invited.</p> </div> Introduction 2023-11-27T15:40:54+01:00 Małgorzata Myk Mark Tardi 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Negotiating Interior Frontiers: Lara Haddad’s A Question of History (2015–16) 2023-11-27T15:40:49+01:00 Dorota Golańska <p>Bringing together insights originating in law studies and art analysis, this article approaches the work of the US-based Syrian artist Lara Haddad through the figuration of “interior frontiers,” exposing how both “interior bonds” and “internal borders” tended to shape legal regulations introduced in the US in the aftermath of 9/11 for the purpose of conducting “the global war on terror.” Referring to the concept of “plasticity,” the article examines the intimate (dis)identifications experienced by the artist in the context of the politically saturated cultural discourses on violence which emerged from the post-9/11 spatialities of (inter)national law. The article argues that politically engaged art offers a means to affectively connect with the personal ways of coping with the persistent visceral presence of structural violence, shedding light on how political protocols and cultural representations impinge upon the individual experiences of many Muslims residing inside and outside the US territory. Opening established meanings to new interpretations, such art contributes to the process of revising dominant oppressive significations, creating room for critical contestation and increased transcultural understanding.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Duration of the Archive: Soundscapes of Extreme Witnessing in Divya Victor’s Curb 2023-11-27T15:38:06+01:00 Małgorzata Myk <p>This paper examines the significance of soundscapes in the Tamil American poet Divya Victor’s reconstruction of the archive of anti-South Asian violence in her acclaimed poetry collection <em>Curb</em> (Nightboat Books, 2021). Being a continuation of the poet’s investigation of the limits of conceptual and “documental” poetics (Michael Leong), advanced in her <em>Natural Subjects</em>, <em>UNSUB</em> and <em>Kith</em>, <em>Curb</em> appropriates public and personal records to critique discrimination against the South Asian community in America’s post-9/11 political landscape. Victor’s poetics enact extreme witnessing, re-establishing the archive’s unheard durations that her modality of the lyric upholds, and recovering locutions of the Indian diaspora eroded or erased by anti-immigrant and anti-Asian racism. Tracing the dynamics of location and locution at the sites of violent events as well as their barely audible frequencies registered in the sequence “Frequency (Alka’s Testimony),” I argue that the archive’s duration in <em>Curb</em> is extended by forms of “sonic agency” (Brandon LaBelle). I further show how, through the poetic work of hearing and sounding (including such techniques as echolocation and ventriloquy), Victor creates a&nbsp;simultaneously critical and lyrical space akin to auditory experience where the text’s multiple durational vectors throw into sharp relief the lives “curbed,” diminished, or destroyed by wounding, fear, and trauma, testifying to the extremity of the very act of witnessing. Finally, focusing on opacity as a fundamental quality of the archive, I&nbsp;also turn to Carolyn Chen’s concrète sound compositions and Amarnath Ravva’s assemblages that traverse <em>Curb</em>, accompanying the poet in collaborative hearing of the archive’s spatial, temporal, and sonic dynamics.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The Posthuman Body as an EcoGothic Wasteland in Allison Cobb’s After We All Died and Adam Dickinson’s Anatomic 2023-11-27T15:38:00+01:00 Paulina Ambroży <p>The focus of my inquiry are environmentally inflected metaphors and discourses of toxicity which inform the contemporary North American posthuman lyric. This provisional generic category of the posthuman lyric has been inspired by the recent shift from an anthropocentric understanding of lyric subjectivities to a biocentric perspective which repositions human epistemologies in relation to more-than-human matter. The posthuman angle questions the concept of the sovereign human self, stressing transversal ontologies, open to inter-agential exchanges, diverse biosemiotic processes and communication loops. My primary interest is in poetic representations of the human body as a transversal, toxic, catastrophe- and death-haunted wasteland. The volumes chosen to problematize those processes are Allison Cobb’s <em>After We All Died </em>(2016), an elegiac meditation on the dying human species and anthropogenic change,<em>&nbsp;</em>and Adam Dickinson’s <em>Anatomic</em> (2018), which probes the leaky perimeters of the chemical self using an electronic microscope and burden tests of the poet’s own bodily tissues. The posthumanist angle which informs the analyses is supplemented with an ecoGothic one, as both critical paradigms can be seen as interrogatory discourses which probe human fears and hopes concerning the “edge of the human” and the recognition of non-human agency. Within the ecoGothic framework, nature is seen as “a contested site”—a “space of crisis,” where human and non-human ecologies interact and co-produce meaning. This double lens will be used for the study of posthuman imaginaries and Anthropocene affects employed by Dickinson and Cobb.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Radical Ecopoetics: The Apocalyptic Vision of Jorie Graham’s Sea Change 2023-11-27T15:40:35+01:00 Gi Taek Ryoo <p>Jorie Graham’s <em>Sea Change</em> (2008) addresses the environmental crisis engendered by climate change, sending us a dire warning of the end of humanity by featuring an apocalyptic world. <em>Sea Change</em> gives a poetic voice to the dynamics of climate change by embodying the catastrophe in linguistic forms and thus enabling us to experience the ecological crisis. For Graham, poetic imagination is an act of physical or bodily engagement as it brings together linguistic and emotional factors into an embodied performance. This paper explores the affective dimension of Graham’s experimental poetry to demonstrate how her radical ecopoetics allows us to (re)engage with the material world, and how it changes our perceptual and sensorial registers to awaken our sense of interconnectedness with nonhuman others.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Clark Coolidge’s The Land of All Time: An Affectively Restless Ecopoem 2024-01-08T13:04:29+01:00 Elina Siltanen João Paulo Guimarães <p>Clark Coolidge (1939–) is often connected with language poetry and the New York School. The language of his poetry is opaque and disjunctive, like that of the artists associated with the first group, but it is also energetic, rambling and fast-paced. Curiously, in his most recent book, <em>The Land of All Time </em>(2020), Coolidge displays ecological preoccupations, the first poem in the collection, “Goodbye,” asking us to reflect upon how nature and culture are today nearly indistinguishable: “hark! an ocean as / generator see the wires? me neither oh well / there’s a heat vent somewhere in this wilderness.” In this article, we explore how Coolidge mobilizes his extreme wordiness for ecological purposes, arguing that Coolidge’s <em>The Land of All Time</em> proposes a model for harnessing restless affect for responding to climate change and ecological crises in a way that allows for the exploration of possibilities rather than falling prey to environmental despair. Coolidge is interested in experimenting with how to respond to extreme situations with vibrancy, speed, and flow, aligning the dynamism of language with that of nature.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Delimit / De-limit: Barbara Guest at Kandinsky’s Window 2023-11-27T15:40:32+01:00 Hal Coase <p>This essay reads Barbara Guest’s poem “The View from Kandinsky’s Window” from her 1989 collection <em>Fair Realism</em> alongside Wassily Kandinsky’s own theories of form and abstraction. It argues that Guest’s poetic reinvention of historic avant-garde aesthetics on the page can be taken as an exemplary case for new feminist theorizing of the avant-garde as a set of decentered, provisional, and heterogenous practices. Guest’s engagement with Kandinsky is initially situated in the context of Clement Greenberg’s criticisms of the painter throughout the 1940s. According to Greenberg’s formalism, Kandinsky is shown to have “failed” due to his provincialism, eclecticism, and disharmonizing of scale. Guest’s poem can be seen as valuing and accentuating each of these qualities and in so doing it presents a subtle defence of Kandinsky’s aesthetics and becomes an example of the kind of intermedia contamination which Greenberg’s theorizing on “pure” modernist painting had attempted to delimit. Guest’s counter interest in “<em>de-</em>limiting” the work of art—removing boundaries imposed by period, style, and media—is contextualized within debates on the “limit” within avant-garde aesthetics.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 “What I lack is myself”: The Fluid Text and the Dialogic Subjectivity in Susan Howe’s Debths 2023-11-27T15:36:52+01:00 Jacek Partyka <p>James Joyce’s neologism “debths” (<em>Finnegans Wake</em>) that Susan Howe elects for the title of her 2017 volume of poetry points to at least three semantic coordinates of “obligation,” “trespass,” and “demise,” never—due to its implied transaction between the sound and the spelling—fully yielding to or being appropriated by any stable signification. In <em>Debths</em>, the end of life, writing, and, perhaps, literature are palpable, if overtly manifested, currents of poetic discourse. In my article, I advance the idea of recognizing this tripartite taxonomy as a variant of what Divya Victor calls “extremity.” Within this context, I&nbsp;demonstrate the emergence of a dialogic, intertextual, and appropriative subjectivity of the poet.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Plasticity and the Poetics of Inside-Out Inversion in Emmett Williams and Roman Stańczak 2023-11-27T15:36:46+01:00 Tomasz Sawczuk <p>Informed by the current call for a reassessment of the concepts of radicalism and extremity in the fields of literature and visual arts, my study aims to investigate the radicalities entailed by the tactics of turning inside out the materialities of poems and artworks as exemplified, respectively, by Emmett Williams’s concrete poetry and Roman Stańczak’s sculptural works conceptualized as inverted everyday objects. Taking a cue chiefly from Catherine Malabou’s explorations of plasticity, I propose to argue that by destabilizing the interior/exterior dichotomy of the forms belonging to their respective fields, both Williams and Stańczak challenge the commonplaceness, transparency and rigidity of text, sign, and the quotidian object, thus, on the one hand, gesturing towards what the philosopher terms as “the twilight of writing” and, on the other, articulating a need for a more processual and contingent, or plastic as Malabou would have it, way of thinking about literature, art, and life. As I hope to demonstrate, by employing certain strategies to exteriorize the “insides” of the poem (the syntax, the page grid, spacing, or the shape of the grapheme), Williams foregrounds the discursive interplay of the graphic and the plastic, whereas Stańczak’s altered objects foray into inquiries on (the lack of) transcendence. The final part of my analysis seeks to envision political dimensions of both concrete poetry and Stańczak’s visual works as filtered through the lens of plasticity. The implications brought about by plastic reading, as I claim, link with new models of meaning-making and forms of resistance to ideologies of power.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 HTML Texts and the Dawn of Asemic Digital Literature: Exploring Dennis Cooper’s Ideas 2023-11-27T15:36:29+01:00 Cameron Barrows <p>Dennis Cooper’s HTML texts which use Graphic Interchange Format (GIFs) instead of traditional glyph-based text, exhibit the extremities of our times, both thematically and structurally, through the radical temporality of the GIFs. The digital geometry of these texts is constructed through the juxtaposition of GIFs. This has allowed Cooper to construct and explore a new pictorial language predicated upon metamorphosis, flow, and flux. Cooper’s HTML texts highlight the motifs of human fallibility, contingency, and finitude, culminating in a rejection of the rationalist and idealist conceptions of what a novel is. Focusing on the structural and hermeneutical aspects of the HTML texts, rather than the ephemeral content of the GIFs themselves, allows for the proposition of a new digital hermeneutics and skepticism necessary for literary exegesis in our increasing digital world. Through an examination of the theoretical implications of Cooper’s HTML texts, one can trace the future frontiers of digital literature and its necessary hermeneutics.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 The Extremities of Literature: Traumatic Memory in Two Novels by Kazuo Ishiguro 2023-11-27T15:36:16+01:00 Paola Trimarco <p>Drawing on Michel Foucault’s description of literature as being from the outside, Catherine Malabou explains that only literature can give us access to the inconceivable space occupied by traumatic experiences. How a literary text opens such a space, one on the extremity of experience and literature itself, involves an understanding of trauma as a neurobiological wound. In this essay I&nbsp;will argue that what Malabou refers to as <em>neuro-literature</em> and her <em>plastic reading </em>of texts provide useful additions to current critical approaches to two of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novels that address traumatic memories. Literary critics have approached the theme of traumatic memory in Ishiguro’s work from psychological positionalities. Using psychology, like neurobiology, already suggests that a literary work can give us access to traumatic experiences. A fuller understanding of traumatic memories as manifested by Ishiguro’s writing is here viewed through the lens of neurobiology which considers the plasticity of the brain and a plastic reading of these literary texts. This paper explores two narratives driven by traumatic memories: Ishiguro’s <em>An Artist of the Floating World</em> (1986) and <em>When We Were Orphans</em> (2000), both of which address the long-term effects brought on by the trauma of war and loss.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 “How Do You Know Who You Are?”: Marjorie Prime on Envisioning Humanity Through the Faculty of AI-Powered Memory as Reconstructive Tissue 2023-11-27T15:36:05+01:00 Anna Bendrat <p>In reference to the theme of the issue devoted to literary extremities, Jordan Harrison’s play <em>Marjorie Prime</em> raises thought-provoking questions about the potential benefits and drawbacks of advanced AI technology by exploring the nature of memory, identity, and mortality, as well as the ethical implications of creating artificial intelligence that can mimic human behavior and emotions. This article argues that the play positions its AI character—a computerized hologram of Marjorie’s late husband Walter—at the intersection of two divergent perspectives on memory reactivation enhanced by AI-powered technology. While, on the one hand, the humanoid is seen as a potent tool which helps to reduce the cognitive impairment caused by dementia, on the other hand, there is a concern that technological interventions may trigger episodic memory change, testifying to the plastic, and thus reconstructive, character of this foundational human faculty. The article seeks to negotiate the interplay of benefits and dangers of technology-assisted memory reactivation by exploring two divergent ideas represented by Marjorie’s daughter Tess and her son-in-law Jon regarding what would comfort their mother, and, ultimately, their differing ways of comforting each other and themselves individually as the carers of an elderly person. In analyzing how creative and destructive forces exhibited by AI-powered digital tools cross-inhabit the declining memory inflicted by dementia, the article unpacks both the vast potential and the limits of technology while attempting to answer uncomfortable questions about the essence of human existence posed by aging and dementia.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Cosmic Hunt, Copper Electroplating, Chaosmic Transduction: Chaosmotechnics of Molecular Collaboration in Matthew Barney’s Redoubt Project (2016–21) 2024-01-08T13:04:26+01:00 Radek Przedpełski <p>The article considers Matthew Barney’s artistic project <em>Redoubt </em>(2016–21) from the point of view of Gilbert Simondon’s transductive philosophy of individuation. Informed by Simondon—read here with Félix Guattari, Gilles Deleuze and Yuk Hui—the article performs a case study of Barney’s long-term, expansive and multi-layered project. <em>Redoubt </em>comprises a feature-length film, metal reliefs, and large-scale sculptures, as well as an intermedial performance. The article focuses on the mythological theme of the Cosmic Hunt deployed in Barney’s eponymous feature film as well as on his experimental artistic process entailing cast metals. The goal of the article is to provide a diagram of the functioning of Barney’s complex conception of metamorphosis, which plays itself out on many—heterogenous, yet ultimately entangled—orders of magnitude. Consideration will also be given to the political and decolonial implications of Barney’s artistic proposal, which liberate the notion of the hunt from its takeover by colonial extractivism in order to reveal it as an intensive capture of forces.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Practices of Planetary Relationality in Colum McCann’s Apeirogon 2023-11-27T15:35:30+01:00 Marta Goszczyńska <p>For a number of critics, what we are witnessing in postmillennial Anglophone fiction is an attempt to do away with postmodern posturings of ironic distance and ethical non-commitment, and a renewed interest in questions of authenticity, empathy, responsibility and solidarity. According to Christian Moraru, one of the keenest chroniclers of contemporary culture, the shift is rooted in an understanding of the world as an interconnected system of relationality, which the critic discusses under the headings of cosmodernism and planetarity. Moraru locates the premise of this evolving cultural project in its ethical call for “a new togetherness, for a solidarity across political, ethnic, racial, religious, and other boundaries” (<em>Cosmodernism</em> 5), but recognizes it as leaving its imprint on the aesthetic and thematic choices made by contemporary authors. The aim of the paper is to analyze Colum McCann’s 2020 novel, <em>Apeirogon</em>, as indebted to this planetary vision of relationality. In particular, my intention is to trace the impact of this mindset on the narrative structure and the imaginary of the novel.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Waves of Pixels and Word-generated Algorithms: Drone Poetry as a Collaborative Practice between Machine and Human in Waveform by Richard A. Carter 2024-01-08T13:04:24+01:00 Katarzyna Ostalska <p>The following article explores the creative collaborative practices in digital poetry between more-than-human agents. Richard A. Carter’s artistic project <em>Waveform</em> (2017–) makes one reconsider the ways in which multimodal and web-based encounters of image, word, sound and movement, and, in the case of Carter’s airborne drone, also the political and military, redefine “a literary text” via nonhuman extended perception. Drone-generated poetry challenges a human-centered (literary) perspective, raising questions about AI’s creativity and code’s generative and aesthetic, and not only functional, potential. The article, drawing upon Raichlen, introduces a comparative platform of waves’ mechanics to render the complexity of multimedial digital poetic writing. The focal analytical material provided by Carter results from the (human, machine) vision (of the moving waves) translated into words, generated by the drone, and edited by the human. The article studies the creative process in which the collaboration between more-than-human entities, as its outcome, produces poetic work of artistic value and literary merit.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 “English with a Polish Accent and a Slight Touch of Irish”: Multilingualism in Polish Migrant Theatre 2023-11-27T15:34:40+01:00 Karolina Prykowska-Michalak Izabela Grabarczyk <p>Issues of migration writing (see Kosmalska) and migrant theatre have recently gained prominence, leading to an increase in research focused on analyzing the theatrical works of artists with a migrant background. This phenomenon is part of a broader trend in intercultural and, often, postcolonial studies. Contemporary Polish migrant theatre is a subject that has not been thoroughly explored yet. Among many methods applied in the study of migrant theatre, intercultural studies or the so-called new interculturalism take the lead. These concepts draw on bilingualism or multilingualism practices, which are slowly taking a more significant role in migrant theatre studies. This article analyzes two theatre plays staged by Polish migrants in Ireland and in the United Kingdom in the context of linguistic practices that exemplify and help define the concept of transnational drama.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Artist Collaboration and Unity in Times of Crisis: The Spirals Project 2023-11-27T15:34:24+01:00 Noèlia Díaz Vicedo Hari Marini <p>The pandemic crisis of COVID-19 that we have recently endured, and that to some extent we are still experiencing, abruptly changed the way in which we conceive of the interaction between inner and outer space. Specifically, during the most difficult times caused by the two severe lockdowns, this limitation came complete with a total lack of spatial mobility. This article will explore the impact that this had upon the creative process of writing and making performance work for the female subject and how the return to the domestic space as the only possibility, affected their writing and creativity. Using the concept of the “nomadic subject” developed by Rosi Braidotti in 1996 and revised in 2011 in her book <em>Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory, </em>this article aims to explore these questions from the intersection of body and language through the symbol of the spiral as a source of creation.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Grievable Lives during the COVID-19 Pandemic: US-American Television, Melodrama and the Work of Mourning 2023-11-27T15:33:58+01:00 Nelly Strehlau <p>The present article applies Judith Butler’s notion of “grievable life” to reflect on the manner in which selected US-American television series engaged in the work of mourning and memorializing the loss of life in the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim of noting which lives were deemed “lose-able or injurable” (Butler, <em>Frames</em> 1), and how precarity of life was reflected by fictional narratives that were conceived and produced during the first waves of the pandemic. The article focuses in particular on the way in which network scripted programming operating within the melodramatic convention, namely <em>This Is Us</em>, <em>Grey’s Anatomy</em> and <em>Station 19</em>, incorporated pandemic storylines and which aspects of pandemic reality were highlighted or, conversely, avoided scrutiny.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 “The particulars of loss”: Grief Memoirs and Their Pragmatic Applications 2023-11-27T15:40:08+01:00 Katarzyna A. Małecka <p>Death is commonly pushed to the periphery in contemporary society, leaving the grief-struck to endure the turbulent nature of their loss alone. Unsurprisingly, our mortality-denying times have witnessed the proliferation and popularity of grief memoirs. However, not every text will resonate with every reader, and the selection of appropriate, relatable texts is made more difficult with the overabundance of digital data in our lives. This essay explores select life-altering states of grief addressed in autobiographical accounts of loss and compares the details with the assessment of these states in bereavement literature. The correlations and disparities between the literary and the clinical reveal that the personal nature of grief memoirs makes them a&nbsp;suitable aid in the education of helping professionals and in therapy. Greater familiarity with grief memoirs among therapists may increase their visibility among the bereaved. To facilitate the selection and assessment of proper texts, a&nbsp;closer collaboration between literary scholars specializing in trauma narratives and helping professionals who use bibliotherapy is needed.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Dialogic, but Monologic: Toxic Masculinity Meets #MeToo in Teddy Wayne’s Campus Novel Loner 2023-11-27T15:33:10+01:00 Ewa Kowal <p>Teddy Wayne’s 2016 <em>Loner</em> tells the story of a Harvard freshman’s sexual obsession with a fellow student, leading to stalking and attempted rape. On a deeper level, the campus novel can be interpreted as a critique of wider processes taking place in American academia and generally in the US: the mainstreaming of the so-called “woke” movement and the growing impact of “political correctness.” The novel also reflects on class inequality, privilege, gender politics, the ongoing crisis of white (heterosexual) masculinity, toxic masculinity, and online “incel culture.” The present paper will analyze the problematic “dialogic, but monologic” nature of the book’s unreliable narrative addressing the above problems. The paper’s goal will be to read <em>Loner</em> in light of the #MeToo movement as an illustration of the current stage of the now decades-long reckoning with rape culture, and with patriarchy.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Erasing “Knowable Communities”: From Saturday Night and Sunday Morning to Brassed Off 2023-11-27T15:33:07+01:00 Artur Piskorz <p>The paper discusses cinematic representations of working class communities in British cinema from the pre-war documentary movement to (post-)Thatcher feature films chronicling the decline of traditional industries. A particular focus is given to contrasting Karel Reisz’s <em>Saturday Night and Sunday Morning</em> and Mark Herman’s <em>Brassed Off</em>. The former title serves as a model example of British New Wave cinema, marking the “discovery” of the working class with its “knowable communities” that revealed them to the general public. The latter film provides an apt illustration of the impact and consequences of Thatcherism on the very same communities. The paper elaborates on selected narrative and visual motifs, investigating the ways in which British filmmakers have striven to depict social changes in British society over the consecutive decades.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Envisioning the Ecological Future: Three Perspectives off the Beaten Track 2024-01-08T13:04:21+01:00 Christian Arnsperger Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet <p>With few truly hopeful visions currently emerging from mainstream academia or from established science concerning humanity’s collective environmental outlook, it might be necessary to go off the beaten track in order to see how we can maintain a&nbsp;sense of hope while realistically preparing for the gradual erosion of the world as we know it, therefore also leaving some psychological and emotional room for a sense of the tragic. This essay considers three lesser-known but, in our eyes, important contemporary perspectives on the ecological future: Ernest Callenbach’s “ecotopia,” John Michael Greer’s “catabolic descent” and William deBuys’s “hospice for Earth”—all three of which aim to challenge the currently still dominant focus on the binary of “progress or apocalypse” that flows from modern thought. We critically examine these visions and argue that, when combined, they offer an approach to the ecological future that is both more realistic and more inspiring. In essence, Callenbach’s ecotopian vision still has significant traction—and an almost “erotic” appeal—today, but needs to be adapted to contemporary ecological realities through Greer’s and deBuys’s insights into decline, grief and the tragic.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Harry Styles as a Cecaelia: Sexuality, Representation and Media-lore in “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” 2023-11-27T15:32:36+01:00 Liz Giuffre Philip Hayward <p>The music video for Harry Styles’s 2022 track “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” (directed by Aube Perrie) provides a surprising representation of the pop star (arguably at the peak of his career) appearing as a cecaelia (a monstrous figure with a human head, arms and torso giving way to tentacles around its midriff). The video is notable in two distinct contexts. First, in terms of Styles’s trajectory as a popular music performer who has received intense media attention because of his fan base, artistic persona and ambiguous sexual identity; and second, in terms of the articulation of a relatively minor media-loric (i.e. modern folkloric) entity in a high profile popular cultural context. The article discusses these aspects before moving to an analysis of the music video showing how Styles’s role as a cecaelia serves as a representation of his career position, public profile and desire to assert his creative-industrial agency in the early 2020s. The music video thereby illustrates the potential of media-loric figures to represent complex themes in contemporary cultural discourse.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Abjection of the Other in Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend: The Subject’s Deterrence Strategy for Becoming the Abject 2023-11-27T15:32:19+01:00 Hossein Mohseni <p>Richard Matheson’s <em>I&nbsp;Am Legend </em>(1954) is about the volatile relationship between Robert Neville—the sole survivor of the human race—and vampires as the members of a&nbsp;brave new world order. While many critics tend to read the relationship between Robert and the vampires as the colonizer and the colonized, this article sees the need to devise a&nbsp;paradigm to acknowledge the critical merits of all these postcolonial and racial readings without overemphasizing the validity of any of the mentioned readings at the expense of the other. The paradigm shows the journey of a&nbsp;subject who initially thought that he is in absolute control, but later is made to realize that, in his insistence on this position, he is actually being swayed towards marginalization and abjection. At the same time, the initially abject and marginalized vampires assume the position of dominance and normalcy at the end of the novel. In order to reach this understanding, the study draws on Julia Kristeva’s theoretical conceptualization of abjection.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Periodicals and Nation-Building: The Public Sphere, Modernity, and Modernism in Modern Review and Visva Bharati Quarterly 2023-11-27T15:31:53+01:00 Akansha Singh <p>The paper analyzes selections from <em>Modern Review</em> and <em>Visva Bharati Quarterly</em>, to study the complex act of nation-building taking place in India during the first half of the twentieth century. Through these periodicals, it discusses three interconnected occurrences that contributed to the envisioning of new India: firstly, the construction of a&nbsp;politically aware public sphere through nationalistic sentiments and anti-imperial internationalism; secondly, India’s localization of modernity as oscillating between the colonial subjects’ reactionary modernity and the colonially administered modernity of domination; and thirdly, the emergence of a&nbsp;modernism that was more immersed in restructuring social and political systems of power than being restricted to formal and aesthetic novelty. Thus, drawing on writings published in <em>Modern Review</em> and <em>Visva Bharati Quarterly</em>, the paper assesses the degree to which the two periodicals realized the identity of new India.</p> 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 “All of history a rehearsal for its own extinction”: A Review of Cormac McCarthy’s The Passenger (Knopf, 2022) 2023-11-24T16:21:18+01:00 Mark Tardi 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Grande Dame Guignol at 60: A Review of Crazy Old Ladies: The Story of Hag Horror by Caroline Young (BearManor Media, 2022) 2023-11-27T15:31:34+01:00 Tomasz Fisiak 2024-01-09T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2023