The 

Yale Journal of Criticism

The Yale Journal of Criticism
Volume 16, Number 1, Spring 2003


Contents

Articles

    Jaffe, Aaron.
  • Adjectives and the Work of Modernism in an Age of Celebrity
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    Subject Headings:
    • Modernism (Literature)
    • Literature -- History and criticism -- Theory, etc.
    Abstract:
      This essay compares the uses and abuses of the authorial adjective (i.e., "Jamesian," "Joycean," etc.), tracing an emergent economy of literary reputation to the critical wings of modernism. It argues that the modes of criticism inaugurated by T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound and elaborated by I.A. Richards and F.R. Leavis were predicated on certain influential assumptions about the scarcity of elite literary reputation. Further, many of these assumptions--in particular, the impersonality of critical method and autonomy of critical objects--disguise deep resemblances between public literary persona and the ideal, magisterial author presupposed in modernist theories of literary production.
    Esty, Joshua, 1967-
  • Eliot's Recessional: Four Quartets, National Allegory, and the End of Empire
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    Subject Headings:
    • Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965. Four quartets.
    • Great Britain -- Civilization -- 20th century.
    • Nationalism in literature.
    Abstract:
      This essay presents T. S. Eliot not as a conservative dinosaur, but as an active and imaginative participant in England's transition from imperial center to welfare state and in the conceptual revolution whereby an anthropological concept of national culture displaced a modernist concept of international art. Reading Eliot's late prose and poetry in the context of British decline, it argues that Four Quartets, in all its formal complexity, manages to absorb the residual signs of European universalism into an emergent language of cultural particularism. This interpretation moves beyond the stalled debate between "local" and "universal" readings of the poem by describing the reciprocal constitution of the local and the universal at a specific transitional moment in the history of both modernism and imperialism.
    Buzard, James.
  • On Auto-Ethnographic Authority
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ethnology.
    Abstract:
      Widespread critiques of anthropology and advocacy for "situated knowledges" have created an atmosphere highly favorable to the rise of an autoethnography, yet use of the concept has so far been uneven, undertheorized, and largely unacknowledged. Wariness of essentialism, dissatisfaction with "culture," and confusion about the metaphors structuring our thought on group identity and ethnographic authority are important reasons why. Analyzing autoethnography's simultaneous indispensability and inadmissibility in contemporary critical discourse, this essay suggests that the prestige of the participant's perspective, fed upon the critiques of objectivity, has now attained a magnitude dangerous to criticism itself.
    Guyer, Sara.
  • Wordsworthian Wakefulness
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    Subject Headings:
    • Wordsworth, William, 1770-1850. To sleep.
    • Wakefulness in literature.
    Abstract:
      This essay analyzes William Wordsworth's sonnets "To Sleep" in order to rethink lyric subjectivity as a mode of wakefulness. Focusing on apostrophe, the essay demonstrates that Wordsworth's apostrophes to sleep betray the weakness of poetic language: apostrophe produces the incessant, interminable wakefulness it is marshaled to suspend. By reading WordsworthÕs sonnets together with Emmanuel LevinasÕs account of insomnia in Existence and Existants, the essay concludes with the suggestion that apostrophe is a mode of vigilance and commemoration that allows a limit to be witnessed but not overcome.
    Biro, Matthew, 1961-
  • Representation and Event: Anselm Kiefer, Joseph Beuys, and the Memory of the Holocaust
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kiefer, Anselm, 1945- -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Beuys, Joseph -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), in art.
    Abstract:
      This essay explores the relationship between representation and event in the work of German artists Anselm Kiefer and Joseph Beuys. It focuses on the ways in which Kiefer and Beuys engage with an evolving constellation of problems, discourses, and representational strategies that developed in West German culture and abroad in response to the events of genocide. The paradoxes of Holocaust representation, it is argued, reveal themselves in the conflict between the moral imperative to remember and the impossibility of representing a past that by its singularity, incomprehensibility, and horror evades clear representation.

Performing the Text, Performing the Self

    Walker, Julia A.
  • Why Performance? Why Now? Textuality and the Rearticulation of Human Presence
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    Subject Headings:
    • Theater -- Philosophy.
    • Performative (Philosophy)
    Abstract:
      This essay traces the history of the text/performance split against the emergence of literary modernism to reveal how the category of the literary bears within it an "anti-performative" bias. Walker shows how this bias not only informs the metaphor of culture-as-text, so important to twentieth-century thought, but persists in contemporary social and cultural theory. Analyzing the work of Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler, she demonstrates how this bias is being provisionally dismantled with the recent turn to the metaphor of performance.
    Meisner, Natalie.
  • Messing with the Idyllic: The Performance of Femininity in Kushner's Angels in America
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kushner, Tony. Angels in America.
    • Kushner, Tony -- Characters -- Women.
    • Women in literature.
    Abstract:
      This article deals with Tony Kushner's two-part stage epic, Angels in America (1992) and the way it has been positioned as a source text for queer theory, performance studies, and postmodern theories of the stage. The article focuses on identity politics, the performance of "femininity," and gender activism as they intersect in the performing body. This allows for the interrogation of the complex relationship between gender, sexual identity, and non-normative sexual representations and demonstrates the continued necessity of a feminist critique of power in theatre even in a so-called post-feminist era.
    De Gennaro, Mara.
  • What Remains of Jean Genet?
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    Subject Headings:
    • Genet, Jean, 1910- Nègres, clownerie.
    • Giacometti, Alberto, 1901-1966 -- Influence.
    Abstract:
      This essay argues that Jean Genet's critique of racism in his play The Blacks shares with his contemporaneous art theory an idealist subordination of historical particularities to what exceeds or endures beyond such particularities. Reading "The Studio of Alberto Giacometti" and "The Strange Word of . . . " together with The Blacks illuminates some otherwise cryptic images of death and ruins in the play and, in the process, indicates the distance between Genet's frequent recourse to the figure of remains in protesting social injustice throughout the late 1950s and early '60s, and subsequent multiculturalist efforts to critique racism through the historical contextualization and defense of diversity.
    Roach, Joseph R., 1947-
  • Celebrity Erotics: Pepys, Performance, and Painted Ladies
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    Subject Headings:
    • Pepys, Samuel, 1633-1703. Diary.
    • Pepys, Samuel, 1633-1703 -- Sexual behavior.
    Abstract:
      From the medieval to the early modern period, funeral effigies-- images of deceased monarchs sculpted from wood or wax and dressed in their own clothes--accompanied the corpses of English kings. Although this quaint performance lapsed with the burial of Charles II, other methods of circulating personal images in the absence of the persons themselves proliferated during his reign. The diarist Samuel Pepys records the erotic dimensions of the experience of this early development of celebrity in the modern sense. He remarks on the appropriation of religious icons in so-called "role portraits" of fashionable women, on the increasing availability of these and other popular images as prints, and on the emergence of actors and actresses as living effigies.



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