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Reading without Maps?

Cultural Landmarks in a Post-Canonical Age- A Tribute to Gilbert Debusscher


Christophe Den Tandt

Among the intellectual debates of the last forty years, the critique of cultural canons has attracted the highest share of public attention, stirring academic, educational, and media controversies on both sides of the Atlantic.
Postmodernism, feminism, postcolonialism, and multiculturalism have refashioned the attitudes of educators and audiences towards cultural memory, opening up curricula to subjects and traditions previously excluded from the humanities. Predictably, these new critical practices have triggered heated responses from commentators fearing that culture and education might thereby be deprived of their capacity to provide audiences and learners with proper groundings and landmarks. The present volume gathers contributions that throw light on multiple aspects of this reconfiguration of cultural memory. It brings together essays focusing on the dynamics of canon formation in several fields – literature, drama, film, and music. Contributors examine how writers and communities find their bearings in a cultural landscape more complex than that previously envisaged by advocates of the Great Tradition. Specifically, the present essays throw light on the status of modernist writing, drama in English, or popular genres within the new canonical topography elaborated at the turn of the twenty-first century.
Contents: Christophe Den Tandt: Pluralism and Cultural Memory – Kristiaan Versluys: Do We Have to Ditch the Canon? – Jeanne Delbaere: Teaching Without Maps? Theory and Practice in a Post-Canonical Age – Jean Dierickx: A Single Literary Canon for Belgium: Valuable Experiment or Belated Phantasm of an Octogenarian? – Ihab Hassan: Realism, Truth, and Trust in Postmodern Perspective – Catherine Belsey: The Possibility of Literary History: Subject, Object, and the Relation of Knowledge – Franca Bellarsi: Postcolonial Territories: Death to the Avant-Garde? An Investigation of Christopher Dewdney’s «Recombinant» Poetry – Philip Tew: B. S. Johnson and the BBC: The Initial Contacts – Michel Delville: Walking on the Wild Side of Modernism: On Tender Buttons and Brussels Sprouts – Christopher Bigsby: The Alan Ayckbourn Interview – Felicia Hardison Londré: My Life in The Glass Menagerie: It’s Not About Nightingales Johan Callens: Dislocating the Canon in the Wooster Group’s Rhode Island Trilogy – Alain Piette: Canon with a Vengeance? The (Re)-Affirmation of David Mamet’s Ethnicity – Caroline De Wagter: Staging Hybridity: Towards a New Canon of Aesthetics in Noran Bang: The Yellow Room and alterNatives – Marc Maufort: Songs of Hawaiki: Charting New Territories for Contemporary Māori Dramaturgies – Bart Eeckhout: Canon Formation in a Multicultural Metropolis: New York’s «One Book, One City» Program – Hazel V. Carby: Figuring the Future in Los(t) Angeles – Klaus Stierstorfer: Antipodean Geographies: Jon Rastell, Ben Jonson, and Richard Brome – Luc Herman: Thomas Pynchon’s Appeal to the Canon in the final version of V. – Patrick Lennon: Enter Philip Roth, A Superserious Great American Writer – Christopher P. Wilson: «The Great Mulatto in the Iron Mask»: Mark Twain and Alexandre Dumas – Edward Lybeer: Bob Kaufman, or The Silent Beat – Jeremi Szaniawski: Modernism/Postmodernism/Transmodernism: New Adventures in Cinematic Canon Building – Christophe Den Tandt: Men at Work: Musical Craftsmanship, Gender, and Cultural Capital in the Classic-Rock.