College Literature

College Literature
31.3, Summer 2004
General Issue with Special Focus Section

CONTENTS

Essays

    Schiavi, Michael R.
  • A "Girlboy's" Own Story: Non-Masculine Narrativity In Ma Vie en Rose
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    Subject Headings:
    • Berliner, Alain, dir. Ma vie en rose [film]
    • Gender identity in motion pictures.
    • Boys in motion pictures.
    Abstract:
      Ma Vie En Rose (My Life in Pink) (1997) puts at center-screen a figure never before seen in cinema: an effeminate, cross-dressing, boy-loving, girl-identified, pre-pubescent male. Whether in print or on screen, gay, effeminate, transvestite, and/or transsexual characters seldom receive fully-realized narrative treatment—particularly not in the case of a seven-year old protagonist. Far more typical is the portrayal of such (necessarily adolescent or adult) characters as simple comic relief or readily-dispatched problems. This article analyzes ways in which director Alain Berliner and co-screenwriter Chris Vander Stappen keep their young protagonist's life-narrative, against the vigilance of parents, school, and the medical community, under his own fabulous control. Little Ludo's precocious relationship to spectatorship and feminine performance saves him from narrative oblivion; it also signals to viewers the countless stories yet untold by and about non-masculine boys.
    Zeikowitz, Richard E.
  • Constrained in Liberation: Performative Queerness in Robert McAlmon's Berlin Stories
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    Subject Headings:
    • McAlmon, Robert, 1896-1956 -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Gender identity in literature.
    • Gays in literature.
    Abstract:
      In Robert McAlmon's Berlin stories, written and set in the early years of Weimar Berlin, three Americans attempt to construct their homosexual identities. Their constructions are, however, informed by—and limited to—signs of queerness already in circulation. The city that offers all three characters the freedom to be queer thus also "confines" them to a degenerate, self-destructive lifestyle. Drawing on Judith Butler's theory that subjects are compelled to reiterate gender norms, the essay explore how these characters are constrained to repeat queer regulatory norms. Foster, "Miss" Knight, and "Steve" seemingly embrace the denigrated characteristics of queerness—casual sex, gender abnormality, excessive alcohol and cocaine usage, unproductive lifestyle—because the Berlin of McAlmon's text offers no alternative paradigm. McAlmon's stories alert us to the subtle, insidious workings of regulatory norms, whereby queer liberation re-enforces heteronormativity.
    Chiu, Jeannie.
  • "I salute the spirit of my communities": Autoethnographic Innovations in Hmong American Literature
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    Subject Headings:
    • American literature -- Hmong American authors -- History and criticism.
    Abstract:
      Autoethnography introduces the cultural informant's own voice, reclaiming authority from the genre of participant observer ethnography. A case in point is the emergence of books on Hmong Americans, refugees of the Vietnam War. Anne Fadiman's work of ethnographic journalism, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, was published in 1997 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2002, the first anthology of Hmong American literature, Bamboo Among the Oaks, appeared, marking the inclusion of another immigrant group into American literature. Earlier works of a less literary nature, such as Dia Cha's children's book, Dia's Story Cloth, and Houa Vue Moua and Barbara J. Rolland's collaborative Trails Through the Mists, also illuminate the folk arts and visual culture. These Hmong American autoethnographies highlight the value of emerging literatures in offering alternative genres and fresh analysis of recurrent cross-cultural concerns: gender inequality and the double marginalization of forced migration.
    Rich, Elizabeth.
  • "Remember Wounded Knee": AIM's Use of Metonymy in 21st Century Protest
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    Subject Headings:
    • Indians of North America -- Government relations.
    • American Indian Movement.
    Abstract:
      'Remember Wounded Knee': AIM's Use of Metonymy in 21st Century Protest" examines the American Indian Movement's call to remember the 1890 Big Foot massacre as a rhetorical move that produces a complex, multilayered palimpsest, as various incarnations of the words Wounded Knee function to define the course of protest for the American Indian Movement. Homi Bhabha's theory of metonymy playing an important role in "the social articulation of difference from the minority perspective" is especially useful for exploring how chance and contingency work in understanding American Indian history. Using as its primary source a collection of AIM's early 1970 documents, which are now available on the World Wide Web, along with the contemporary articulation of the American Indian Movement's purpose, this article traces the meaning of Wounded Knee as a pan-tribal generation of American Indian people attempt to recover an indigenous past while putting that past to work, defining the future.

Special Focus Section: New Approaches to the 18th Century

    Dykstal, Timothy.
  • Provoking the Ancients: Classical Learning and Imitation in Fielding and Collier
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    Subject Headings:
    • Neoclassicism (Literature) -- Great Britain.
    • Fielding, Sarah, 1710-1768. Cry.
    • Collier, Jane, 1709?-1754.
    • Collier, Jane, 1709?-1754. Essay on the art of ingeniously tormenting.
    Abstract:
      This essay examines two of the more innovative fictions of Sarah Fielding and her collaborator Jane Collier as experiments in a neoclassical mode. Fielding's (and Collier's) The Cry: A New Dramatic Fable (1754) dismisses several philosophical schools and mimics the structure of a Greek tragedy as it displays the essential selfishness of romantic love and the fatuous yearnings of audiences who read for it, and Collier's An Essay on The Art of Ingeniously Tormenting (1753) imitates the structure and rhetorical strategy of Ovid's Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love) as it dissects just how tormenting love, and other kinds of dependency, can be. What these books have in common is their critique of the concept of romance: they want to demystify it as dangerous for women. They do that, in part, more by provoking than by invoking the authority of the classical tradition—using it to diagnose some problems of modern life.
    Hitt, Christopher.
  • Ecocriticism and the Long Eighteenth Century
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ecocriticism.
    • English literature -- 18th century -- History and criticism.
    • Nature in literature.
    Abstract:
      Stefan Ruzowitzky's recent horror film Anatomie explores the fictional premise that underneath the democratic surface of contemporary Germany, and within its technocratic elites, traces of the country's fascist past still linger. However, Anatomie mobilizes this version of the historical uncanny only insofar as the film is marketed to an audience in the global marketplace, predominantly in the U. S. While the film plays to this audience's anxieties stemming from Germany's unsurmounted Nazi past, it articulates anxieties for its German audience that are specific to contemporary processes of socioeconomic restructuring and generational change. Central to these anxieties are the backlash against 1960s oppositional politics and its perceived mainstreaming, and the destabilization of social equality and middle-class prerogatives as a result of market deregulation.
    Gunzenhauser, Bonnie J.
  • Historicizing Communities of Reading in the Long Eighteenth Century: A Report from the Classroom
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    Subject Headings:
    • English literature -- 18th century -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    • Cobbett, William, 1763-1835 -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    • More, Hannah, 1745-1833 -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Abstract:
      This essay offers a case study that examines how the history of reading can provide an ideal entrée to doing historicist work in the eighteenth-century literature classroom. Seeking to connect recent scholarly innovations in book history with classroom practice, the author discusses how teaching a set of texts by William Cobbett and Hannah More illuminates both the debate about lower-class literacy in late eighteenth-century Britain and the contemporary student's practice of reading. Manifestly, the texts raise the question of what "literacy" meant in late eighteenth-century Britain, and what the political implications might be if lower-class readers were taught not merely to read, but also to write. But because these texts are less than canonical, they also raise the question of why the debate over lower-class literacy does not constitute part of the literary canon today—a question that helps students to think not just about standards of canonicity, but also about the relationship between those standards and the kinds of reading practices that are privileged in our literature classrooms.
    Morrissey, Lee.
  • Re-reading Reading in Eighteenth-Century Literary Criticism
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    Subject Headings:
    • Criticism -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century.
    • Books and reading -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century.
    Abstract:
      By bringing a focus on reading from book history into the history of literary criticism, this essay traces a debate over the definition of reading in the work of influential English literary critics. This approach reveals a persistent Restoration and eighteenth-century concern that the relatively democratic access to the press in the 1640s contributed to the political violence of the English Civil Wars. Consequently, the focus on reading also facilitates reconsidering the Habermasian "public sphere" model through which the history of eighteenth-century criticism is generally understood.
    Hamm, Robert B.
  • Rowe's Shakespear (1709) and the Tonson House Style
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    Subject Headings:
    • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Works of Mr. William Shakespear.
    • Rowe, Nicholas, 1674-1718, ed.
    • Tonson, Jacob, 1656?-1736.
    • English literature -- Publishing -- England -- London -- History -- 18th century.
    Abstract:
      Nicholas Rowe's The Works of Mr. William Shakespear (1709) is widely recognized as an important moment in publishing history, one that marks the beginning of the modern Shakespeare text. This essay examines the edition as part of a standardized series of English authors, what the author calls Tonson's vernacular classics, published by Jacob Tonson. Prior to the publication of these editions, Tonson collaborated with the Cambridge University Press on a series of Greek and Latin classics, which, the author argues, greatly shaped his English series. Rowe's Shakespear undoubtedly marks an important moment in Shakespearean publication history, but examining it as part of a more ambitious publishing project provides us not only a more accurate appreciation of Shakespeare's status at the start of the eighteenth century, but also a better understanding of Tonson's effort at canon-making.

Review Essays

    Bennett, Michael, 1962-
  • Different Shades of Green
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    Subject Headings:
    • Adamson, Joni, 1958-, ed. Environmental justice reader: politics, poetics, and pedagogy.
    • Evans, Mei Mei, ed.
    • Stein, Rachel, ed.
    • Gilcrest, David W., 1962- Greening the lyre: environmental poetics and ethics.
    • Rosendale, Steven, ed. Greening of literary scholarship: literature, theory, and the environment.
    • Environmental justice.
    • American poetry -- 20th century -- History and criticism.

Book Reviews

    Norton, Barbara T., 1948-
  • Splitting the Baby: The Culture of Abortion in Literature and Law, Rhetoric and Cartoons (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Myrsiades, Linda S. Splitting the baby: the culture of abortion in literature and law, rhetoric and cartoons.
    • Abortion.
    Hsu, Hsuan L.
  • Virtual Americas: Transnational Fictions and the Transatlantic Imaginary (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Giles, Paul. Virtual Americas: transnational fictions and the transatlantic imaginary.
    • American literature -- History and criticism.

Appendix




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