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A Letter to China

The Age of Postmodernity and Its Heritance

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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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.

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Dongjing Han

The primary aim of this book is to enhance English as a foreign language (EFL) learners’ listening proficiency and provide pedagogical implications for vocabulary and listening teaching practice. This book gives particular attention to mastery of aural vocabulary knowledge to enhancement of listening performance in Chinese context. It provides a comprehensive picture of the role of vocabulary acquisition approaches and strategy practice in listening performance.

This book evaluates the relationship between vocabulary knowledge and listening comprehension in English as a foreign language (EFL), which has not been sufficiently investigated empirically. In particular, it has an added focus on the use of aural vocabulary knowledge tests in detecting the role of vocabulary knowledge in listening comprehension. It highlights the role of vocabulary knowledge in determining listening success. Specifically, it draws scholars’ attention to the contributions of aural vocabulary knowledge to listening comprehension. The study also confirms the previous hypotheses of higher correlations between aural vocabulary size knowledge and listening comprehension. Pedagogically, it confirms the significance and necessity of improving both aural and written forms of vocabulary knowledge and focusing on strategy-embedded listening activities in EFL listening education. In this book, each chapter is dedicated to a specific theme in EFL learning and acquisition, providing a China case study dedicated to further development of EFL education.

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Culture and the Legacy of Anthropology

Transatlantic Approaches 1870–1930. A Reader

Edited by Maristella Gatto, Alessandra Squeo and Maristella Trulli

This reader investigates the changing face of the notion of culture, tracing how it emerged in some of the most important and controversial phases of the lively Anglo-American debate on the subject from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, including the crucial years of Modernism. Shedding light on the cross-disciplinary approaches that characterized the debate and focusing especially on the legacy of anthropology, the volume presents a selection of some of the most distinguished voices from such assorted fields as literature, linguistics, anthropology, sociology and ethnology, whose interests and areas of enquiry apparently converged and partly overlapped. A selection of primary sources from leading figures such as Matthew Arnold, Bronisław Malinowski, Ruth Benedict, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and Aldous Huxley provide an overview of the crucial issues raised on a wide array of topics: civilization, race, nation, progress, evolution, education, art, science, literature and politics. The primary sources are accompanied by critical essays that offer new insights into these classic texts. This reader will be of use to undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as to scholars exploring the cross-disciplinary or transatlantic nature of the study of culture.

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Ruth Barratt-Peacock

Drawing on Bernd Mahr’s model theory, this volume introduces a new approach to Romanticism in contemporary Australian literature. Focusing on two very different authors, David Malouf and the Indigenous poet Samuel Wagan Watson, this book highlights their similarities rather than their differences. It is the first book-length study dedicated specifically to each author’s poetic oeuvre. Comprehensive readings reveal that an ironic dialectic underpins how each poet writes from within a disjunct of culture and environment following colonisation, finding hope in dialogue and a productive process of negative assertion. The theoretical framing of Romanticism developed here effectively rehabilitates Romanticism as a productive paradigm in contemporary Australian poetry.