Purdue University Press

Comparative Cultural Studies

Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek

Published by: Purdue University Press

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Comparative Cultural Studies

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New Woman in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Fiction

by Jin Feng

Jin Feng proposes that representation of the "new woman" in Communist Chinese fiction of the earlier twentieth century was paradoxically one of the ways in which male writers of the era explored, negotiated, and laid claim to their own emerging identity as "modern" intellectuals.

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On the Cultures of Exile,Translation and Writing

by Paolo Bartoloni

The hypothesis of Paolo Bartoloni's book is based on the belief that a substantial and innovative discussion of the philosophical notions of immanence and potentiality is not only overdue but also necessary to address the social, political, cultural, and ethical aporia confronting us today.

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Postmodern Texts and Emotional Audiences

by Kimberly Chabot Davis

Chabot Davis analyzes contemporary texts that bond together two seemingly antithetical sensibilities: the sentimental and the postmodern. Ranging across multiple media and offering a methodological union of textual analysis and reception study, Chabot Davis presents case studies of audience responses.

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Representing Humanity in an Age of Terror

edited by Sofphia McClennen and Henry James Morello

The authors of the volume's articles discuss aspects of terror with regard to human rights events across the globe, but especially in the United States, Latin America, and Europe. Their discussion and reflection demonstrate that the need to question continuously and to engage in permanent critique does not contradict the need to seek answers, to advocate social change, and to intervene critically.

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Romantic Revisions in Novels from the Americas

by Lauren Maxwell Rule

Why are twentieth-century novelists from former British colonies in the Americas preoccupied with British Romantic poetry? In Romantic Revisions, Lauren Rule Maxwell examines five novels—Kincaid's Lucy, Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, McCarthy's Blood Meridian, Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and Harris's Palace of the Peacock—that contain crucial scenes engaging British Romantic poetry. Each work adapts figures from British Romantic poetry and translates them into an American context. Kincaid relies on the repeated image of the daffodil, Atwood displaces Lucy, McCarthy upends the American arcadia, Fitzgerald heaps Keatsian images of excess, and Harris transforms the albatross.

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Shakespeare in Hollywood, Asia, and Cyberspace

edited by Alexander Huang and Charles Ross

Recent decades have witnessed diverse incarnations and bold sequences of Shakespeare on screen and stage. Hollywood films and a century of Asian readings of plays such as Hamlet and Macbeth are now conjoining in cyberspace, making a world of difference to how we experience Shakespeare. Shakespeare in Hollywood, Asia, and Cyberspace shows readers how ideas of Asia operate in Shakespeare performances and how Asian and Anglo-European forms of cultural production combine to transcend the mode of inquiry that focuses on fidelity. The result is a new creativity that finds expression in different cultural and virtual locations, including recent films and MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games).

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Text and Image in Modern European Culture

edited by Natasha Grigoria, Thomas Baldwin, and Margaret Rigaud-Drayton

Text and Image in Modern European Culture — a collected volume edited by Natasha Grigorian, Thomas Baldwin, and Margaret Rigaud-Drayton contains articles which are transnational and interdisciplinary in scope. Employing a range of innovative comparative approaches to reassess and undermine traditional boundaries between art forms and national cultures, the articles shed new light on the relations between literature and the visual arts in Europe after 1850. Following tenets of comparative cultural studies, work presented in the volume explores (international) creative dialogues between writers and visual artists, ekphrasis in literature, literature and design (fashion, architecture), hybrid texts (visual poetry, surrealist pocket museums, poetic photo-texts), and text and image relations under the impact of modern technologies (avant-garde experiments, digital poetry). The discussion encompasses pivotal fin-de-siècle, modernist, and postmodernist works and movements in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, and Spain. A selected bibliography of work published in the field is also included. The volume will appeal to scholars of (comparative) cultural studies, comparative literature, literature, art history, and visual studies, as well as to a wider academic public and general readers, and it would serve well as a textbook in senior undergraduate and graduate seminars.

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Transcultural Writers and Novels in the Age of Global Mobility

In Transcultural Writers and Novels in the Age of Global Mobility, Arianna Dagnino analyzes a new type of literature emerging from artists’ increased movement and cultural flows spawned by globalization. This "transcultural" literature is produced by authors who write across cultural and national boundaries and who transcend in their lives and creative production the borders of a single culture. Dagnino's book contains a creative rendition of interviews conducted with five internationally renowned writers—Inez Baranay, Brian Castro, Alberto Manguel, Tim Parks, and Ilija Trojanow—and a critical exegesis reflecting on thematical, critical, and stylistical aspects. By studying the selected authors’ corpus of work, life experiences, and cultural orientations, Dagnino explores the implicit, often subconscious, process of cultural and imaginative metamorphosis that leads transcultural writers and their fictionalized characters beyond ethnic, national, racial, or religious loci of identity and identity formation. Drawing on the theoretical framework of comparative cultural studies, she offers insight into transcultural writing related to belonging, hybridity, cultural errancy, the "Other," worldviews, translingualism, deterritorialization, neonomadism, as well as genre, thematic patterns, and narrative techniques. Dagnino also outlines the implications of transcultural writing within the wider context of world literature(s) and identifies some of the main traits that characterize “transcultural novels.” “Starting from the idea that we live in an age of increasing interconnectedness, the book focuses on the biographical experiences and literary outputs of a group of culturally mobile writers it defines as transcultural. The text combines a wide-ranging and systematic theoretical approach to transcultural literature with a section in which the author recounts imaginatively the in-depth interviews she had with five authors. The work is a significant contribution to scholarship, for it increases our theoretical awareness of today’s literary developments, providing us with critical tools that enable us to approach literary texts with an innovative perspective.” Maurizio Ascari, Università di Bologna.

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Transnational Discourses on Class, Gender, and Cultural Identity

by Irene Marques

This exploration of class, feminism, and cultural identity (including issues of race, nation, colonialism, and economic imperialism) focuses on the work of four writers: the Mozambican Mia Couto, the Portuguese José Saramago, the Brazilian Clarice Lispector and the South African J. M. Coetzee. In the first section, the author discusses the political aspects of Couto’s collection of short stories Contos do nascer da terra (Stories of the Birth of the Land) and Saramago’s novel O ano da morte de Ricardo Reis (The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis). The second section explores similar themes in Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K and Lispector’s A hora da estrela (The Hour of the Star). Marques argues that these four writers are political in the sense that they bring to the forefront issues pertaining to the power of literature to represent, misrepresent, and debate matter related to different subaltern subjects: the postcolonial subject, the poor subject (the "poor other"), and the female subject. She also discusses the "ahuman other" in the context of the subjectivity of the natural world, the dead, and the unborn, and shows how these aspects are present in all the different societies addressed and point to the mystical dimension that permeates most societies. With regard to Couto's work, this "ahuman other" is approached mostly through a discussion of the holistic, animist values and epistemologies that inform and guide Mozambican traditional societies, while in further analyses the notion is approached via discussions on phenomenology, elementality, and divinity following the philosophies of Lévinas and Irigaray and mystical consciousness in Zen Buddhism and the psychology of Jung.

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Women’s Tanci Fiction in Late Imperial and Early Twentieth-Century China

In Women's Tanci Fiction in Late Imperial and Early Modern China, Li Guo presents the first book-length study in English of women's tanci fiction, the distinctive Chinese form of narrative written in rhymed lines during the late imperial to early modern period (related to, but different from, the orally performed version also called tanci). She explores the tradition through a comparative analysis of five seminal texts. Guo argues that Chinese women writers of the period position the personal within the diegesis in order to reconfigure their moral commitments and personal desires. By fashioning a “feminine” representation of subjectivity, tanci writers found a habitable space of self-expression in the male-dominated literary tradition. Through her discussion of the emergence, evolution, and impact of women's tanci, Guo shows how historical forces acting on the formation of the genre serve as the background for an investigation of cross-dressing, self-portraiture, and authorial self-representation. Further, Guo approaches anew the concept of “woman-oriented perspective” and argues that this perspective conceptualizes a narrative framework in which the heroine(s) are endowed with mobility to exercise their talent and power as social beings as men's equals. Such a woman-oriented perspective redefines normalized gender roles with an eye to exposing women's potentialities to transform historical and social customs in order to engender a world with better prospects for women. “This work will be a significant contribution to scholarship. Chinese women’s tanci novels in late imperial Qing and early twentieth-century China are numerous in collections; however, their scholarly studies are still insufficient. This book covers some understudied tanci texts and sheds new insights in the studied area. It also brings in association study with other Chinese writing genres during the late Qing period, as well as comparative perspective within the world culture when possible.” Qingyun Wu, California State University, Los Angeles

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