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Wolfgang Mieder

There was a time when the word "modern" would not have appeared in folklore scholarship in general and in proverb studies in particular. After all, folklorists and cultural historians were primarily interested in traditional materials with some consideration also being given to their innovative adaptations. While this interplay of tradition and innovation informed many studies that exemplified a certain constancy in change, little attention was paid to new or modern folklore items. But there has been a revolutionary change during the past few decades in that scholars have looked at the creation of new folklore. This change of emphasis has also influenced paremiographers (proverb collectors) and paremiologists (proverb scholars). In fact, the Dictionary of Modern Proverbs (2012) edited by Charles Clay Doyle, Wolfgang Mieder, and Fred R. Shapiro has become solid proof that there is such a phenomenon as modern proverbs.

This is the first study of authentic modern American proverbs without including proverbs of British origin. The first of nine chapters discusses the origin, nature, and meaning of modern American proverbs based on about 1500 texts. The next large chapter contains a general overview of their forward-looking message that includes the American spirit of mobility with its emphasis toward a successful and exciting future. The third chapter treats proverbial emotions about modern life, with the fourth chapter considering the modern wisdom about age and aging. The next two chapters cover somatic aspects of these proverbs and also the preoccupation with time. This is followed by a discussion about pecuniary proverbs that reflect the attitudes of a capitalistic society. The next chapter shows that modern proverbs continue to include references to animals as has been the case with older proverbs. Finally, there is the ninth chapter about sexuality and scatology in modern proverbs, indicating that these topics play a considerable role in this modern wisdom. Such proverbs were often excluded form proverb collections. With the much greater openness about love, sex, and various taboos, proverbs have become much more open literally or figuratively about these matters that are an obsession of sorts throughout the society. Altogether these nine chapters with their many modern American proverbs present a fascinating metaphorical picture of a general of composite American worldview.

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Saving Endangered Heirs and Estates

Studies in European Literature

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Hugo G. Walter

This book is a collection of great and insightful essays which discuss heroic endeavors to save endangered heirs and estates by searching devotedly for the truth in various criminal and civil situations. This book focuses especially on important works by Arthur Conan Doyle, Theodor Storm, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Agatha Christie, while also discussing works by other important European authors. In each of these literary masterpieces the landowner or heir is emotionally and physically endangered and his or her house and estate imperiled by one or more individuals from within his or her own family or from within the sphere of influence of the family. In these works by Arthur Conan Doyle, Theodor Storm, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Agatha Christie there is a valiant attempt by such individuals as Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Mary Lennox, Hercule Poirot, and others to save the landowners and heirs who are endangered and the estates which are threatened by thoroughly investigating their situations and by searching meticulously for the truth. These protagonists share and exemplify the "passion for getting at the truth" which Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s Murder in Three Acts declares is the primary motivating force and inspiration for his criminal investigations.

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A Letter to China

Challenging Mao in the Age of Postmodernity

Alberto Castelli

This edited collection brings together a range of essays that examine the maze of Chinese postmodernity. The essays explore the global expansion of capital as a structural crisis represented in art and literature. It ultimately acknowledges the ambiguity of Chinese postmodernity, the overlapping cultural paradigms of Confucian ethics and a capitalist economy, residual of Maoism, socialist relations, and individualist philosophy.

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Naji B. Oueijan

Ever since his childhood and adolescence and before he became a legendary poet, George Gordon Noel, sixth Baron Byron, felt the sense of escaping from the anxieties of his traumatic present to the glorious worlds of Eastern history and mythology. In Eastern mythology, which he read and loved, Byron approached his own utopia and dystopia without distancing himself from current world affairs. He heard the voice of mythology in various forms: in Nature and its animate and inanimate elements, in nightingales, eagles, roses, trees, bushes, mountains, plains, oceans, stones, and rocks, and in ancient relics, among others. Nature and the ruins of the past spoke to him more truth about God, Man, and Nature than religion and history books. His immediate impressions while being on-the-spot, his mobility, his standing on the borderlines of fact and fiction, and his extensive references to Eastern mythology in his works, created a Byronic myth and enhanced the mythical quality of his works, especially Don Juan, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Cantos I and II, and his Oriental Tales—The Giaour, The Bride of Abydos, The Corsair, and The Siege of Corinth. Lord Byron became an archetype of a legendary celebrity, and his works and some of his characters, especially his Byronic Heroes and Heroines, became universal mythical characters. Among several questions, the book answers two major ones: First, how does Byron use Eastern mythology, including Greek, Persian, and Arabian in the above-mentioned works to render his own poetry mythological? And second, how do his personal affairs and mythological works contribute to the generation of the still living Byronic myth?

 

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Monsters

A Companion

Edited by Simon Bacon

What are Monsters?

Monsters are everywhere, from cyberbullies online to vampires onscreen: the twenty-first century is a monstrous age. The root of the word «monster» means «omen» or «warning», and if monsters frighten us, it’s because they are here to warn us about something amiss in ourselves and in our society. Humanity has given birth to these monsters, and they grow and change with us, carrying the scars of their birth with them.

This collection of original and accessible essays looks at a variety of contemporary monsters from literature, film, television, music and the internet within their respective historical and cultural contexts. Beginning with a critical introduction that explores the concept of the monster in the work of Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Jack Halberstam, Elaine Showalter and more, the book takes a broad approach to the monster, including not only classic slasher films, serial killers (Bates Motel), the living dead (Game of Thrones) and aliens (District 9), but also hyper-contemporary examples like clones (Orphan Black), cyberbullies (Cyberbully), viral outbreaks (The Strain) and celebrities (Lady Gaga). Gender and culture are especially emphasized in the volume, with essays on the role of gender and sexuality in defining the monster (AHS Apocalypse) and global monsters (Cleverman, La Llorona).

This compact guide to the monster in contemporary culture will be useful to teachers, students and fans looking to expand their understanding of this important cultural figure.

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Mara Cambiaghi

This book provides a comprehensive reading of some of A.S. Byatt’s major novels. Focusing on memory, Renaissance forms of theatrical reinvention in post-war culture, ekphrasis, visuality, the cognitive processes of the mind, gender and science, the book retraces a network of theoretical questions illuminating the author’s fictional world from within. This study devotes special attention to the craft with which Byatt translates complex issues into imaginative fiction, engaging with Byatt’s texts. It presents a lucid and coherent account of a wide range of arguments underpinning the work of one of the most prolific and acclaimed contemporary writers.

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Shu Zeng

Against the modern cult for transnational love and mixed-blood babies, this book brings readers to revisit the prolonged anxieties over the mixing of races and the complexities underpinning the literary representation of thwarted Chinese-Caucasian romance in the twentieth century. Moreover, in the current world order where the rise of China has played a significant role and triggered different speculations on various fronts, this book takes readers on a long, exciting journey back to the very beginning of how Westerners perceive China and Chinese people in the thirteenth century and across the centuries to the current era—a journey that enables the traveler to feel the pulse of historical moments that have come to influence Sino-Western relations and China’s image in the Western mind. Bringing an interesting, original corpus of Anglophone texts (some largely forgotten) into conversation around the vocabularies they deploy to deal with relationships between Chinese and non-Chinese characters, this book helps readers to rethink current issues of migration, identity, sexuality, hybridity, and diaspora that have taken the present shape under the residual effects of the racial and sexual discourses of the past and that are instrumental to our historical position and trajectory. Therefore, this book is about the past and the present, the East and the West, the Self and the Other, the center and the periphery; but it is more about the temporary, the fluid, the liminal, the in-between.

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Failure: The Humble Narrative of Unsuccessfulness in Late Modernist Fiction

British, Irish and Postcolonial Novels and Stories

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Barbara Puschmann-Nalenz

Failure as a pervasive occurrence in life has rarely been investigated by sociology, even though the collapse of plans, unattainability of goals and breakdown of vital relationships are ordinary experiences. The study of early-21st-century fiction reveals that imaginative literature at present explores the lacunae of failure, disillusionment and collapse as central narrative themes. About fifty years after Samuel Beckett, in whose works the failing of expression became a major concern, postmillennial narratives expose disruption or defeat as subject matter and literary trope. Unheroic failure as a motif makes its variegated appearance in diverse areas of human life such as love, religion, art, and social community. The narratives explore it as the individual’s participation in common humanity.
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Writing (for) the Market

Narratives of Global Economy

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Edited by Franziska Jekel, Anna-Katharina Krüger and Myriam-Naomi Walburg

The volume offers an overview of the economic, political and cultural factors that influence the production of literature. By bringing together the research areas of literary criticism and book history, the volume focuses on narrative strategies, metaphors and tropes that reflect the market as a network of multi-conglomerates, authors, translators and readers. The global scope of the different contributions unites analyses of German, English, Spanish, French, Scandinavian, Indian and South African literature. The contributors attend carefully to the economic contexts of the literary production while simultaneously addressing the market’s influence on content and form. Thoughts on poetological reflections of economic phenomena complement studies concerning the means of production and vice versa.

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Kurt Vonnegut

Myth and Science in the Postmodern World

Gilbert McInnis

Kurt Vonnegut: Myth and Science in the Postmodern World attempts to understand, in Vonnegut’s novels, how Darwin’s theory of evolution functions as a cosmogonic myth that is widely accepted in order to explain why the world is as it is and why things happen as they do, to provide a rationale for social customs and observances, and to establish the sanctions for the rules by which Vonnegut’s characters conduct their lives. Moreover, this study deals with how and why Kurt Vonnegut’s fiction represents the changing human image resulting from Darwinism. The book's theoretical approach is based primarily on ideas from myth criticism and complemented by treatises on evolution.