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Papers on Language and Literature
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Forthcoming 

Volume 56, Number 3, 2020

 

Essays

 

MELISSA SANDE, “Decentering Genealogies: Unbecoming through Genre in The Bluest Eye and The Bell Jar

ABSTRACT: This essay reads The Bluest Eye and The Bell Jar as decentering genealogies, against the grain of the traditional bildungsroman, representative of a male protagonist’s journey to maturity, and the female bildungsroman, typically defined as oppositional to that of the traditional model. This literary form is neither a traditional nor a female bildungsroman, but engages in aspects of each in order to revise them and work contrapuntally. These two novels coalesce around the notion of unraveling personal development, and, more specifically, the how of that unraveling—a theme that is multifaceted in both works and pertains to two systems of power: patriarchy and capitalism, working in conjunction. Therefore, this essay reads the two novels as decentering these master narratives of development or growth (or even restraint and repression, in the case of the female bildungsroman), as alternative, decentering genealogies or stories of the journeys of two young female protagonists. 

DANIEL THOMIERES, “James Fenimore Cooper: The Veil and the Maiden in The Last of the Mohicans

ABSTRACT: The essay deals with the conceptual role of the veil in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans. The veil obviously refers to Cora Munro’s alternately closing and opening by itself, but also to various other veils and shawls. The essay is an attempt at reconstructing the logic at work behind what the veil at the same time hides and reveals, that is to say “Roads Not Taken,” both individual and social, or, more specifically, possibilities not governed by binary oppositions. In the last analysis, The Last of the Mohicans must be seen as a political text as is evidenced by Colonel Munro’s final speech defending the same logic as that of the veil before being silenced by Natty Bumppo who reasserts the power of socially orthodox oppositions. 

WEIWEI XU, “At Home in the Body: Cosmopolitanism in Naipaul’s ‘One out of Many’”

ABSTRACT: In “One out of Many,” the first short story in In a Free State, Naipaul reveals two totally different versions of cosmopolitanism, one in Bombay, the other in Washington D. C, both of which lack a cultural outreach and fail to be the hard test for social relations. Dramatizing the dynamic between urban space and underprivileged immigrants as archetypal new cosmopolitans, Naipaul consolidates the theme of homelessness, a generic postcolonial experience and condition. In his examination of cosmopolitanism, its flaws and threats, being neither-here-nor-there or at-home-in-the-body in the context of global migration and diaspora is not celebratory, but a forced acceptance for survival. “One out of Many,” though presenting cosmopolitanism from the opposite, is a call for openness: to be cosmopolitan is not an identity as much as it is a way of seeing and responding to the world survival.

Reviews

DAVID S. ROH reviews Enter the Undead Author: Intellectual Property, the Ideology of Authorship, and Performance Practices since the 1960s, by the George Pate

SARITA CANNON reviews American Trickster: Trauma, Tradition, and Brer Rabbit by Emily Zobel Marshall

GEMMA KATE ALLRED and BEN BROADRIBB review Henry VI / Richard III at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, 2019-2020, directed by Ilinca Radulian and Sean Holmes

 

 

 

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