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Issue 2: Textual Bodies
Our second issue is the result of a range of varied submissions from various contributors, all responding in their own unique way to the title 'Textual Bodies'. We would like to thank all our contributors and reviewers for their work in producing this interesting and stimulating issue of The Luminary.
Read online by following the links below or download this issue as a Pdf.
'Horror Bodies: The Disapproved Of'
The Sun painstakingly constructs a synthetic reader 'community' comprising not only its projected readership but also specific groups of people and individuals it approves of, presumably thought to represent the values of News Corporation and its readers. At the same time it builds up an anti-community, comprising those it disapproves of, who are subjected to systematic 'othering' in the sense of Lacan's alienated 'Other' or the enemy state in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. In this world of 'us and them' it is the latter ('them') who present by far the more colourful and interesting group, depicted in a way often reminiscent of pantomime villains, or comedy horror shows such as The Munsters, except that the newspaper is clearly serious in its ideological dissemination, however ridiculous the caricatures sometimes appear. The anti-values these horror bodies symbolise provide The Sun with opportunities to work on the subconscious of its readers indirectly, to turn them against the 'others' without having to spell this out or state its own position overtly. This article provides some relevant theory before focusing in detail on othering, particularly in issues of The Sun from 2008. Read»
'A Tale of Two Lamias: The Representation of Lamia's Passions and Transformation in John Keats and J. W. Waterhouse'
The question of translation stemming from the artist's attempt to use a particular poetic moment as a means of artistic articulation is significant in exploring the interconnection between the worlds of textual and visual art. This paper explores how the image of Lamia, understood as a serpentine woman whose passion to win Lycius's love impels her to undergo a painful transformation in John Keats's Romantic text, has been translated through J. W. Waterhouse's creative imagination in his illustration of female sexuality and erotic power. In discussing the significant bond between passion and pain in the metamorphosis of Keatian Lamia, this paper argues that in Waterhouse's attempt to translate this textual material visually through the figure of serpentine woman, his Lamia in metamorphosis appears less of a threatening and monstrous presence. Waterhouse's Lamia is no longer the archetypical fallen woman abandoning everything for erotic passion, identifying herself through the union of heterosexual love with Lycius in Keats's poem. Instead, she becomes a more self-contained and auto-erotic woman with the ability to celebrate passion and desire on her own. This paper concludes that as a painter at the transitional period of late Victorianism and early Modernism, almost one-hundred-year later than Keats's time, in the painter's constant association of female beauty and erotic power with the image of half-animal and half-woman, Waterhouse represents the impasse women face in late-Victorian Britain – freer, less constrained, but still trapped. Read»
''The Secret Springs of Action': The Anatomy of Prejudice in Maria Edgeworth's Harrington'
"'The Secret Springs of Action?: The Anatomy of Prejudice in Maria Edgeworth's Harrington' is concerned with the relationship between a mind obsessed with prejudice and a body of oral and written discourses that circulated anti-Semitic stereotypes in England. I examine Maria Edgeworth's motivation behind writing this novel and her attempt to illuminate the interdependence between prejudice in psychological, social, and literary contexts. The paper also investigates the workings of prejudice through the power of a secret. I challenge a commonplace reading of Harrington as an anti-climactic novel by arguing that Edgeworth makes a bold statement about the anatomy of prejudice in what seems to be a 'weak' ending. Read»
'Can a Ravished Hero Still Laugh? The Trope of the Stone in Christopher Marlowe's “Hero and Leander”'
''I would keep my own dress': Self-Determination and the Roles of Power Dressing in Villette'
Through a close reading of Charlotte Brontë's Villette (1853), this paper will examine the importance of dress and costume for discussions of gender and self-construction in the novel. By analysing Lucy Snowe's reaction to and use of differing styles of dress, I contend that the text exhibits a more complex understanding of Victorian ideas of self-definition and female empowerment than critics have previously allowed. Reading the text through theories of dressing and gender performance, I argue that Lucy displays an evasive and changeable structure of gender identity through her involvement with theatricality and role-playing. By knowingly costuming herself, Lucy can navigate between extremes of character, never settling decisively on one role, but shifting between multiples for her own advantage. She negotiates the power structures at play within the foreign locale of Villette using dress as a tool for concealment and empowerment. This can only be effected by her close observation of the rules, and roles, of dress. Further, I suggest that Lucy's veering tactic of evasion and display is paralleled in the textual self-determination of her narrative. By holding back information, altering chronology, and mirroring her grey, shadowy robes in the text itself by regulating what she makes visible, she ensures that even the reader cannot imprison her within descriptive boundaries. This paper shows Brontë re-dressing the body, and hopes to allow for a reinvigorated discussion of self-construction and role-playing in the mid-Victorian novel. Read»
''alle his fetures fol?ande, in forme þat he hade': Recovering the Body and Saving the Soul in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'
Focusing on medieval theories surrounding the human form, this paper traces a correspondence between corporeal integrity and spiritual wholeness in the Middle English alliterative poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In Sir Gawain, moments of potential moral crisis are accompanied by physical suffering or discomfort. I argue that the promise of decapitation by the Green Knight represents a threat to Gawain's 'trauþe', the term used by the poet to characterise Gawain's virtue, as embodied in the pentangle which he bears on his shield. The paper also treats several traditionally problematic points within the poem, including the amorphous nature of the Green Knight himself, the symbolism of Gawain's wound, and the role of the green girdle within the narrative. I argue that each of these episodes indicates an anxiety about the stability of the body, as a microcosm of the more perfect body of Christ. My argument concludes by identifying a symmetry between Christ's and Gawain's bodies, since the former provides the means by which Gawain's physical wholeness and spiritual security are recovered. Read»
A note on the contributors:
Thomas Hawes - Dr Thomas Hawes is Director of the University of Liverpool's MA Programmes in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at the University of Liverpool, for which he lectures in Psycholinguistics, Lexis, Research Design and Classroom Observation alongside undergraduate courses in Language and Literature, Conversation Analysis, Ideology and Society. His research areas include applied linguistics, critical discourse analysis (especially of the media), language and literature, and functional grammar.
Chiung-Ying Huang - Chiung-Ying Huang is a PhD candidate in the English Department at University of Bristol, working on Keats's reception by painters and poets in the nineteenth century, particularly late Victorians' echoes to Keats's Lamia. Her main research interest is the interconnection between visual art and literature in the nineteenth century.
Inna Volkova - Inna Y. Volkova is a third-year Ph. D. student at Michigan State University. Her interests are in the public sphere theory, models of political communication, and the Victorian novel. She holds a M.A. in English from Central Michigan University and also a M.A. in Russian from Pedagogical University of Lugansk, Ukraine. Her most recent publications include 'Public Spaces and the Political Underworld in George Eliot's Felix Holt, The Radical',George Eliot - G. H. Lewes Studies, 56-57, 2009 and '"A Smile of Recognition": Facing the Other in the Poetry of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper,' English Association of Pennsylvania State Universities Online, Fall 2009 issue.
Kirsten Renzi - Kirsten is a PhD candidate at Indiana University
Nicole Bush - Nicole is an MA candidate at the University of Leeds' School of English, currently undertaking an MA in Twentieth-Century Literature. Her interdisciplinary research currently centres on visual culture and visuality in mid-nineteenth and twentieth century novels. She is currently writing an MA thesis focused on optical gadgetry and the reliability of visual reportage in Charlotte Brontë's mature fiction.
Devani Singh - Devani is studying for an M.Phil. in English Studies (Medieval: 650-1550) with the Faculty of English Language and Literature, at the University of Oxford. Research Interests interests include: Medieval scholasticism and authorship; manuscript studies; the book-trade; Chaucer and his literary afterlife/lives. Devani's current major research is on the relationship between manuscripts and cultural memory in the Middle Ages, and utilises Chaucer manuscripts as a point from which to discuss how medieval readers engaged with the idea of the past.
Cover Art by Tim Hall
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