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Mapping Liminalities

Thresholds in Cultural and Literary Texts

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Lucy Kay, Zoë Kinsley, Terry Phillips and Alan Roughley

The essays in this book offer new perspectives on the concept of liminality. They explore the relevance and significance of the limen or threshold from a variety of critical and theoretical perspectives, and across a broad range of historical periods. The authors all seek to revisit key questions raised in recent literary and cultural criticism, whilst also moving that discussion in new directions. In particular, the essays stress the importance of defining liminality for particular literary and cultural contexts, and highlight the fact that whilst it is liberating and progressive in some instances, in others it is violent and oppressive. Examining texts from the early modern to the postmodern periods, by authors on both sides of the Atlantic, the volume embraces a wide range of literary forms, including novels, travel narratives, religious texts, and philosophical treatises; it also includes consideration of non-literary forms of representation such as photography. This book reveals the complexity of the concept of liminality, and underscores its powerfulness and potential for understanding the ways in which both individuals and communities, in the past and in the present day, negotiate states of transition, and give expression to their experience of being ‘in-between’.
Contents: William Blazek: A Moving World: The Port of Liverpool in American Fiction – Zoë Kinsley: ‘In moody sadness, on the giddy brink’: Liminality and Home Tour Travel – Terry Phillips: ‘No World Between Two Worlds’: Liminality in Anglo-Irish Big House Literature, 1925-1932 – Jo Carruthers: The Liminal Becoming of the Rebel Vashti – Christina Ljungberg: Triangular Strategies: Cross-Mapping the Curious Spaces of Siri Hustvedt, Paul Auster and Sophie Calle – Peter Messent: Liminality, Repetition, and Trauma in Hemingway’s ‘Big Two-Hearted River’ and Other Nick Adams Stories – Louis Armand: Mechanistics, Grammar and the Locality of Thought – Arthur Bradley: No Future? Stiegler’s Politics of Memory – Alan Roughley: Liminal Paperspaces: Writing between Derrida and Joyce and Being and Writing.