Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture


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Going through my writings, I realise how little deals with something of great personal importance to me; nature and the natural world. It was published as a beautiful electronic book with a cool interactive component in I think Ira is really quite brilliant. He was on my dissertation committee way back when though I later abandoned my PhD dissertation after severe illness, that reflects more on me than him , and has become a colleague and frequent collaborator.

And it aims to set out the publishing structure for its entire field. I really like learning about history and the academic topics, but I hate reading academic texts on them. The writing always seems to so pompous, like the writers are more concerned with making themselves sound smart rather than conveying any facts or any substance on the topic.

I finished university and have some academic books for sale on eBay. All of them are targeted towards British journalism and are shipped within the UK. But, if someone outside the UK are interested, please drop me a message and we can work something out! News and Journalism in the UK , 5th Ed. What Universities Are For? There is an interesting article in the Chronicle for Higher Education about university presses finally getting the works of scholars out in an ebook format. Log in Sign up. The link between the future imaginary art or science fiction or war plans and the reality of technoscience is real and dynamic and it breeds monsters, hopeful and otherwise—daily.

New Blog Post Alert. Book: Media and the City — Cosmopolitanism and Difference. Published by : Polity MORE — As a space of intense communication and difference, the global city forces us to think about the challenges of living in close proximity to each other. DRM: not just for ebooks anymore! It is unhealthy for my credit card. May she rot in hell! Immedi- ately afterward, he collapses at his desk and bursts into tears. Like Brink, then, Nkosi explores the need to control the sexual energies of women as a point of connection between white and black men seeking to assert their status within a racist system.

In Mating Birds, yet again, the role of women in the struggle remains unresolved. Alternatively, are women, both white and black, prone by nature to sexual betrayal? Moreover, these plots force black male characters into nar- ratives in which racial liberation relies on gender subordination and sexual violence. What are the gendered terms of this liberation? Like Nkosi, Gordimer concludes that any form of gen- uine connection between black and white South Africans is impossible under apartheid and that the system must be overthrown by revolu- tion.

Moreover, as with both Nkosi and Brink, Gordimer believes that even the most personal of relationships and emotions are corrupted by apartheid. For Coetzee, the magis- trate finally manages to locate himself in his body through the utter abjection of torture and loss of station. Although Coetzee hesitates to present his magistrate as a hopeful prediction for post-apartheid subjectivity, his protagonist does seem to thwart the universalized disembodiment employed by imperial masculinity through his own forced embodiment.

African Fiction 53 type. Along with their children, Sasha and Carole, Hillela teaches at the township school on the weekends, helps to hide black activists in the house as they flee the country, and in general lives and breathes the news of ANC activ- ity and white anti-apartheid organizing.

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Having once again transgressed accepted sexual boundaries, Hillela leaves their home and briefly lives in an apartment with friends before moving on to the next in a series of romantic entanglements that drives the narrative. When Hillela lands in Tanzania after fleeing South Africa with a young journalist, she befriends Arnold, another exiled activist. With her mother, as with the many male lovers that she takes on later in the novel, the body itself serves as the source of identification for Hillela.

She literally cannot think without her body, and she trusts nothing outside of it. In terms of physical, sensory reception, Hillela, like her mother, can only understand what her skin experiences. Thus, she proceeds through a series of names over the course of the text, most of which are chosen for her by others. Even after his assassination in their kitchen in Zambia a few years into their marriage, the narrator and other characters continue to refer to her as Hillela Kgomani or Mrs. Whaila Kgomani. Throughout the novel, Hillela simply adapts to the identities associated with the names that her sex- ual partners have chosen for her, donning the new personas without pretending that an essential self remains despite each transformation.

There is something unsettling about this white South African woman so obsessed with sex and seemingly empty of personality. She is a void to be filled by others; her body is her self. African Fiction 55 occasion for her work as a political or military leader? On the one hand, she is an impressive figure, trafficking arms in Eastern Europe for the ANC, working with aid organizations in the United States, and helping Reuel to organize an armed revolution in a fictive country that bears some resemblance to Mozambique. Yet the novel makes it clear that this power comes at the expense of other women, who seem to be locked out of the political process because they have nothing to say, not because they are explicitly barred from entering it.

Moreover, this power can apparently only be accessed through her sexual relationships with black men. The burning question for Gordimer is what kind of white subjectiv- ity must be created in order to bring about the new South Africa. She seems to provide an answer in her portrait of Hillela, which promotes a kind of ultimate adaptability, a comfort with answering to whatever name one is given and a willingness to accept the necessity for revolution- ary violence against whites.

Gordimer herself harbors no illusion that Hillela represents the hopeful future of South African race relations. She represents a break with all the ways that have been tried. Thomas Knipp argues that Gordimer uses sex to resolve the tension between her attachment to liberal political ideals and her knowledge that the failure of liberal institutions such as the law and representative government under the National Party regime demands more radical action. This role simultaneously depends upon and elides the race and class privilege that enables her mobility; it also ignores the problematic ways in which this privilege places her in opposition to black women.

However, A Sport of Nature met with a more ambivalent reception, eliciting both praise for its scathing political commentary and censure for its flirtation with genre fiction elements such as romance. Some reviewers embrace the mix of high politics and bodily pleasure. For instance, Stuart Weir, who chose the novel as his book of the year in the New Statesman, revels in his ability to find both politics and pleasure in the novel.


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Once again she is exploring the nature of political commitment with high intelligence and a tolerant human- ism. Even positive reviews of the novel tend to include some version of a warning that the undisciplined reader risks being lulled by the pleasure of the text into missing its political complexity. In the April 6, issue of Time, for example, Paul Gray ends his laudatory review by claiming that A Sport of Nature will surely provoke controversy.

Its denunciations of South African politics are ferocious, its portraits of whites often scathing. The argu- ment implied throughout the book can be caricatured: all South Africa needs is love. But Gordimer is saying much more than that. Her novel is both richly detailed and visionary, a brilliant reflection of a world that exists and an affirmation of faith in one that could be born.

In so doing, she implies that Hillela is not only a bad polit- ical activist but a bad woman in comparison with earlier Gordimer characters such as Rosa Burger. For Western readers consuming South African fiction during the harshest days of apartheid, there is a sense that picking up a book by a politically committed South African writer is a political act in itself.

African Fiction 59 of an aesthetic lapse into the popular. Needless to say, Gordimer is not the only postcolonial writer to be subject to this critique. Jessica Hagedorn and Ahdaf Soueif have been upbraided for their flirtation with popular genres such as Hollywood film melodrama and colonial romance, because it ostensibly detracts from the political message of their work. Kwela Books, a newly established South African publishing house, released the first local edition in Nkosi himself did not return to South Africa for any length of time before , and he passed away there in Like many black South African writers of his generation, he spent decades in exile, as he was repeatedly denied a South African passport after leaving his birth country on a one-way exit permit for a Nieman fellowship at Harvard in Given his diasporic status, his institutional position as a writer and intellectual in Western institutions, and his lack of an audience within South Africa, Nkosi knew that Western markets comprised the logical readership for the novel.

Unfortunately, as Nkosi claims in a interview, Mating Birds was poorly marketed and distributed in the United States, especially when compared with Britain, and failed to reach a very large audience there. The tagline on the back cover of this edition exploits the familiarity of this narrative of sexual violence and racial prohibition, a canny marketing move aimed at a reading public familiar with such stories set in the American South. A white English girl. A fatal encounter. First, it immediately identifies the text as a form of the colonial romance.

Describing Veronica Slater as an English girl rather than a white South African of British descent serves to integrate the story into an established and marketable Western tra- dition and obviates the need to acknowledge the more complex and potentially confusing social hierarchy of the settler colony. Further, the black-British dyad erases another essential presence in the book—the Afrikaner nationalist state and the moral bankruptcy of its legal system, which Veronica Slater cannot easily represent. As I noted earlier, Sibiya is engaged in writing his autobiography, and his account of his own history, motivations, and aspirations poses an important challenge to the dominant official discourses about black criminality in the novel, represented most conspicuously by the Swiss criminologist Dr.

In doing so, they provided a prime example of a larger phe- nomenon, largely invisible to Western readers, in which South African public figures police each other with regard to questions of political commitment and activist strategy. It is not surprising to see Brink in this role; since he publishes most of his work in both English and Afrikaans, Brink positions himself explicitly as a South African insider, speaking to the Afrikaaner community within the nation as well as an international English-language audience.

Coetzee has been a par- ticular focus for such scrutiny in general, praised abroad as a literary genius, while often harshly criticized at home for what is perceived as an apolitical or even politically reactionary approach to representing South Africa. Western critical responses to these writ- ers highlight the underlying frustration of the reviewers, who seem to believe they cannot enhance their own credibility as cosmopoli- tan consumers without condemning the use of generic conventions within postcolonial fiction.

Given this fact, it is necessary to look beyond the Western critical response to understand better how these postcolonial writers are perceived in multiple sites and to develop a more complex pic- ture of the stakes involved in claiming or disavowing the work of such artists. What new forms of subjectivity and modes of affiliation must be realized to enable revolutionary struggles against such racist, imperialist regimes? While the authors under consideration here explore these questions in compelling ways, they have gener- ally failed to address race, class, gender, and sexuality as mutually constitutive elements in a larger system of oppression.

Neither the white liberal turn to racial masochism nor the black nationalist appro- priation of black female sexuality manages to exploit the productive complexities of the relationship between sexual and revolutionary pol- itics. By falling back on frameworks of white liberal guilt and jungle fever in order to address problems of anticolonialist nationalism, these texts foreclose possibilities for imagining other modes of intimacy, other anticolonial affects, and other forms of revolutionary action.

As I argue in the next chapter, some of these problems stem from the limitations of the national romance as a genre. Through an analysis of texts that move beyond the generic model of the national romance, I pursue the final question raised by the novels in this chapter: how can notions of interracial desire and anti-imperial coalition be reformulated beyond the logic of white masochism and black Westernization, female masochism and black hypermasculinity?

Chapter 2 Rewriting the Colonial Romance: Global Intimacies b e tw e e n Wo m e n Our only hope now—and it is a small one—lies in a unity of conscience between the people of the world for whom this phrase itself would carry any meaning. It is difficult to see the means by which such a unity can be effected. But it is in its support that these words are written. Both The Map of Love , by diasporic Egyptian writer and critic Ahdaf Soueif, and Rich Like Us , by South Asian novelist Nayantara Sahgal, present narratives of female friendship and polit- ical activism that revise the colonial romance, the orientalist genre designed to titillate Western audiences with an inside knowledge of the exotic and lawless colonies in order to reinforce support for their continued subjection.

At the same time, they offer a differ- ent take upon the postcolonial national romance, whose story of national unity expunges often violently those social elements con- sidered superfluous to its narrative. Significantly, both works position white women from imperial centers such as Britain and the United States as the mouthpieces for their most scathing critiques of empire and of corrupt neocolonial governments.

With such a loaded colonial history, the figure of the white woman brings a good deal of symbolic baggage into the postcolonial novel. But it is the unlikely pairings that result from the arrival of the white woman in the colony that I find most striking in these postcolonial historical romances. Here, characters marginalized within national political conflicts turn to representation as an alterna- tive discourse of resistance.

What I hope to demonstrate is that the yoking of romance to politics permits both writers to explore transnational political coalitions that go beyond masculinist nationalist rhetoric and colonialist fantasy. Romance has, to put it mildly, a sketchy political history. On the one hand, its focus on interpersonal dramas within the feminized private sphere seems ill fitted to grand statements about social and political concerns.

With their trademark depictions of exotic colonial subjects as alluringly available, primitively threatening, or often a combination of both, colonial romances express the fears and fantasies of Western publics about their empires. Jyotika Virdi makes a similar argument for the role of the national romance in her discussion of popular Hindi film in India. But what happens when postcolonial writers harness the affective force of the romance not to justify the ends of empire or to suture national inequalities, but to critique the exclusionary violence of both projects?

As with the national romance, these novels adopt the love story to represent problematic divisions within the nation- state. However, this particular redeployment of the romance functions to dramatize the failure of nationalism as an ideological construct under the weight of postcolonial corruption and global capitalism. First brought under British con- trol by the establishment of British East India Company factories and trading relationships in the early seventeenth century, India was declared a British colony following the Indian Rebellion of Indian soldiers frequently func- tioned as supplements to or even proxies for British troops in colonies such as Egypt.

For example, after the British officer George Gordon was killed in Sudan in by forces under the control of the Mahdi, a religious leader who had declared an independent state, an army com- posed of Egyptian, British, and Indian soldiers under the command of Horatio Kitchener was sent to reclaim control of what would become the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan in In fact, as these brief genealogies demonstrate, Egypt and India had distinct ties to the British colonial enterprise, which positioned them differently, at times even antagonistically, within the imperial constellation.

However, while there are significant differences in the historical development of colonialism and nationalist resistance in each case, Egypt and India both had to struggle against a colonial economic and cultural subjec- tion that relied extensively upon certain tropes and symbols, namely those of orientalism.

But the representation of the white woman in the colonies was an unsta- ble construct that, like the construction of the colonized man, had more to do with colonial fears and fantasies than with the actual per- sons it referenced. In Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power, Ann Laura Stoler notes that British attitudes to the idea of white women in the colonies changed as colonial policies themselves changed.

By creating miniature Britains through their households in the colonies, white British women served the purpose of shoring up racial hierar- chies that colonial officials worried had been seriously undermined by the concubinage system and the mixed-race children that often resulted from it. Representations of white women as under threat of violence, particularly sexual violence, by colonized men served to unify white communities against those they ruled and thus helped to reinforce racial boundaries that colonial officials worried had been too often crossed in earlier decades with looser restrictions on contacts between ruler and ruled.

As a result, the advertised dangers to white women increased with signs of nationalist resistance to British rule and assumed historical contours specific to each colony. Cultural representations of colonial subjects at times of crisis were historically and geographically complex, so that sexually charged depictions of the threatening Indian man would differ from orientalist images of sexual threats in colonies in the Middle East. In contrast to British India, there were relatively few European women in Egypt in the early twentieth century.

In India, the figure of the memsahib was cited as evidence of the racism of the white woman in the colonies, which contrasted with the benevo- lent rule of the colonial man. British women went to the colonies for a variety of reasons. Whereas some were motivated by missionary zeal or socialist solidar- ity, others were drawn by the promise of material luxury or the lure of orientalist narratives of spirituality spread by theosophists. Certainly, Soueif aims to flesh out new kinds of transnational and transhistorical intimacies through her appropriation of the colo- nial romance in The Map of Love.

By describing how these contemporary characters lose themselves in the stories of their foremothers, Soueif dramatizes the affective intensity and private pleasures offered by the romance, only to demonstrate how that affect can provide the springboard for renewed collective action. I can get you a huge advance for that. And bits of In the Eye of the Sun show you can do sexy scenes. You can do this—just do it! And I said no. But it got me thinking along romantic lines, and what I became interested in was the idea of the romantic hero, the Byronic hero, as in Mr. And you can see them changing as you go through the letters, you see a different character evolving, and I really like that whole genre.

And so I thought, what if you found a way to make a lady traveler like that meet and fall in love with my hero. In both narratives, falling in love with a man active in nationalist politics Egyptian and Palestinian, respectively leads the women to adopt political stances that defy the interests of their own home coun- tries. As they piece together the historical narrative, it becomes clear that there are significant parallels—personal and political—between this earlier moment and their own.

Born in Cairo to two prominent university professors, Soueif spent several years of her childhood in London while her parents researched and taught there. As an adult, she returned to England to complete a Ph. The couple later separated, but Soueif has remained for the most part in London, writing fiction as well as journalistic pieces for the Guardian, such as a report on Palestinian responses to September It is not surprising when, in her first book of short stories, Aisha, one of the protagonists cites heroines such as Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina, and Dorothea Brooke as central figures in her childhood.

In laying out the framework for her historical study of constructions of the intimate for colonial politics, Stoler argues: I pursue these connections between the broad-scale dynamics of colonial rule and the intimate sites of their implementation not because the latter are good illustrations of this wider field or because they provide touching examples of, or convenient metaphors for, colonial power writ large. Rather, it is because domains of the intimate figured so prominently in the perceptions and politics of those who ruled.

These are the locations that allow us to identify what Foucault might have called the microphysics of colonial rule. In them I locate the affective grid of colonial politics. As I mention above, European women were relatively rare in Egypt at the time. While this imagined progres- sive transnational community is made possible by the conventions of romance, it immediately disrupts the obsessive heterosexuality and the nationalism associated with the genre.

Thus, from the moment Anna arrives in Egypt, she easily rejects the colonialist stereotypes about Egyptians held by other members of the British community. The wicked Pasha who would lock you up in his harem and do terrible things to you? For his part, Sharif completely dissociates Anna from the British colonial violence that he is actively involved in fight- ing and even comforts her after the gruesome Denshwai incident in , when resistance to British soldiers leads to the deaths of several villagers and widespread anti-British sentiment.

Moreover, the forces that threaten their romance include public ambivalence about the potential neocolonial- ism of their union. Ultimately, therefore, The Map of Love does not simply use eros to bolster nationalism, as it explores a complex net- work of national and transnational concerns through its central love story. Egyptian nationalism here is engaged with a vari- ety of transnational forces, in particular the volatile political and economic nexus of Israel, Palestine, and the United States.

Low-wage Egyptian agricultural workers are no match for Israeli agribusiness, which is part of a pow- erful regional economy backed by American military muscle. In a letter to England in the earlier narrative, Anna explains that, in addition to heated disagreements between those advocating immediate withdrawal of the British and those proposing a gradual dismantling of British rule, there are a host of other divisions: People who would have tolerated the establishment of secular education, or the gradual disappearance of the veil, now fight these develop- ments because they feel a need to hold on to their traditional values in the face of the Occupation.

While the people who continue to support these changes have constantly to fight the suspicion that they are somehow in league with the British. But Omar cannot see Hamas as a viable alternative, even though they have the most credibility among Palestinians. They certainly have a case. It is never clear who has assassinated Sharif, because, as with Omar, there are so many groups who would be happy to see him eliminated.

By the end of the novel, she has come to believe that the political obstacles in Cairo are overwhelming and insurmountable. In fact, all of the characters in the novel seem to face the conflict between a potentially happy private life and a political situation in which change appears doubtful. This recurring conflict between life and politics underscores how political forces like colonialism are never simply external to the private sphere because, as Stoler reminds us, the two are mutually con- stitutive.

Nevertheless, the romantic relationships in the novel still attempt to evade in the private sphere the irresolvable conflicts play- ing out in the public sphere. This arrangement is inher- ently precarious, and both know it. If you make her unhappy, who will she go to? No mother, no sister, no friend. It means if she angers you, you forgive her. If she crosses you, you make it up with her. And whatever the English do, you will never burden her with the guilt of her country.

She leaves Egypt as promised, losing her only remaining family in the process. Friendship, Art, and the Turn to Activism While this partnership proves unsustainable via heterosexual romance, it does in fact take shape through the intense relationships between the different women. The men, while noble, are frequently absent and ultimately doomed to death, leaving the women to make sense of the past and construct genealogies of resistance to serve them in the present. The earliest of these friendships, the turn-of-the- twentieth-century friendship between Anna and Layla, is perhaps the least developed in the book.

Under these unlikely circumstances, while they all wait for Sharif to return and decide how to resolve this potentially explosive problem, Layla and Anna become instant friends, speaking in French, their only shared language. Layla understood what she meant, for what would she have known of France had she not been befriended by Juliette Clemenceau? Isabel has lost Omar to political violence. Sim- ilarly, when Amal and Isabel travel back to Cairo from Tawasi, they stop along the roadside to let the car cool down.

What made Soueif decide to confine the only developed romance in her self-proclaimed love story to the past? I submit that her book is first and foremost a romance with the past. I had been so utterly in that scene.

I shake myself free and. Who else has read this journal? And when they read it, did they too feel that it spoke to them? For the sense of Anna speaking to me—writing it down for me—is so powerful that I find myself speaking to her in my head. At night, in my dreams, I sit with her and we speak as friends and sisters. Why is Amal so absorbed by the life of this early-twentieth-century white woman? Or does it appeal to her desire to retreat from the present altogether, as her grandfather Sharif ironically decided to do the day he was murdered?

You leave it and come back to it and it waits for you—unchanged. Overwhelmed by the current political moment, Amal turns to history. In a letter to a friend, Anna describes her newfound preference for weaving over painting and writing: I have quite taken to it. I find that when I work at it I am still a part of everything that surrounds me. It is not like reading or writing, when you are necessarily cut off from everything so that you may not hear when you are spoken to—indeed you may look up and be surprised to find yourself where you are, so transported were you by what is on the page.

When I work at the loom I am still part of things and it seems as if the sounds and the smells and the people coming and going all somehow get into the weave. But truly, I believe that my sitting at the loom in his courtyard has brought some pleasure to old Baroudi Bey. As a translator of novels, Amal is a writer in just the sense that Anna describes, absorbed in her solitary task to the point that she loses her connection to the outside world. Somewhat ruefully, she contrasts this private act of writing with the public performances of her musical brother, who conducts concerts in Palestine and the ruins of a bombed-out building in Sarajevo.

She has not had a public life. She has concen- trated on the boys, and she has translated novels—or done her best to translate them. Yet she refuses to abandon this difficult task, in spite of her fatigue and despair. Not for ever, but for a while. By committing herself to translate the stories of the fellaheen, Amal rejects the political despair she had experienced in earlier conversa- tions with the disenfranchised Egyptian intelligentsia. We have absolutely no connection with the people. This rehearsal of the fraught relationship between the native intellec- tual and the subaltern prompts Amal to reconceive her artistic identity to speak to new audiences.

Amal works to build this difficult unity of conscience through her art and her new family. Since she has decided that art is her new means of enacting social change, it is not surprising that her support network for her new political com- mitment is in effect a colony of artists.

Amal works as a translator and storyteller, and Isabel is an aspiring filmmaker as well as a savvy web designer, setting up a home page for Omar so that people all over the world can access not only his music but his writing and links to other political news sites Just as Amal reads Anna through the lens of European characters such as Anna Karenina and Dorothea Brooke, Anna approaches the Egyptian artistic renaissance and the anticolonial movement through her Western training in paint- ing and epistolary writing.

While Sahgal is less concerned than Soueif with establishing parallels between two particular moments, her novel uses the recollections of its two protagonists, an Indian civil servant named Sonali and an older Englishwoman living in India named Rose, to construct a fragmentary narrative of modern Indian history from the s to the s. Less experimental in structure than The Map of Love, Rich Like Us mostly follows a pattern of alternating chapters centered on the two main characters.

The central narratives, how- ever, remain consistently focused on Sonali and Rose. In the most recent sections of the novel, Sonali, an Oxford-educated member of a prominent Kashmiri Brahmin family, struggles to come to terms with the corruption of the Nehruvian ideal of nationalism and economic self-sufficiency that had drawn her, like her father before her, into the Indian civil service. A working-class woman with no college educa- tion, Rose comes into contact with Ram purely by chance when he visits the chocolate shop where she works.

Like his son, Dev, who has embraced transnational business interests at the expense of sustainable local goods, Ram has recently abandoned the idea of making high-quality Indian cloth to export on the world mar- ket and transformed his shop into a cheap bazaar of imported Western merchandise. In the present day, Ram barely clings to life in a coma, while Rose drinks heavily, scorned by Dev and unable to pre- vent the corruption of their family business as Dev forcibly takes over operations. Thus, Rich Like Us presents a genealogy of political despair that is already familiar from The Map of Love, one that connects colonialism to neocolonialism and government corruption, and that ends in a bleak time.

Here, too, the romance serves as the means by which Sonali and Rose meet one another. For Ram and Rose, romance is a painful experience that offers virtually no consolations. They experience their own state of emergency when Ram declares that he wants to separate from Rose to devote himself to a platonic union with Marcella, his long- time mistress. Devastated, Rose is forced to get an apartment of her own, a situation that continues for five years.

While Sharif seems to embody all of the ideals of the nationalist movement and arguably dies because he is too good to be true, Ram is utterly flawed, both as a lover and as a national hero.

Likewise, Rose is no Anna, as her class status and lack of connec- tions indicate. This is reflected not only by her accent, but also by her lack of access to political discourse. Unlike Anna, Rose seems unable to articulate a coherent ideological position. She declines to share this observation with the two men. Ram and his mistress are a more likely pairing in those terms, but they are not presented in a very good light with regard to politics. Like Anna and Sharif, they are both aristocratic, and they do seem much better attuned to each other than Rose and Ram; yet their union reads more like a transnational business venture than an anticolonial coalition, because they share a passion for expensive objects from around the world rather than a sense of common purpose with political struggles across borders.

But instinct carries differ- ent connotations for Rose than it does for Hillela, as Sahgal suggests that coalitions form around Rose due to her class background rather than an inherent adaptability independent of class. The representatives of the British Empire certainly perceived the poten- tial for class-based coalition as a threat, which is why, as Ann Stoler argues, there were such strict regulations regarding white working- class immigration to most colonies, as well as immediate deportation of white Marxist organizers.

Focused entirely on the public concerns of national politics, Sonali has apparently sacrificed a sense of private identity. We will read broadly in visual culture to elucidate not only written texts, but also photographs, films, paintings, and graphic narratives. We will also consider images that are invisible or that cannot otherwise be seen. Our investigation will begin with questions that are both imaginative and ethical: How does a Victorian poem help us to understand the photographs taken by a contemporary serial killer?

What can we see in the literary description of an image that cannot be seen in the image itself? Should we look at the last moments of a human life? The syllabus is divided into a series of foundational thematic units. We will begin the semester thinking about sight and how to look at an image in terms of narrative. To this end, we will read an account written by an art model who describes her experience of posing nude, a narrative that will inform our work with Laura Mulvey's influential essay, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.

Our next unit will focus on definitions of reality and objectivity in images and narrative accounts of the Holocaust. We then consider the problem of representation by drawing on the tradition of poetic ekphrasis to think about visualizing art in literature by John Keats, P. Shelley, W. Auden, Adam Kirsch, and Natasha Trethewey. Our next unit takes us into the media of reproduction, and we read Walter Benjamin and Roland Barthes along with a novel by W. Our discussion continues as we address spectacle, surveillance, and consumption in the imagery and literature created in the aftermath of September 11th, including Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers, W.

Our final unit takes us back to the foundation of the course--the relationship between art and illusion--that we find in Paul Auster's novel, The Book of Illusions, and E. Course content varies. Current topic description: The aim of this seminar is to give you an in-depth understanding of the development of the ethnic novel in the 20th century.

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In doing so, this course asks students to think about relationships between literary production and political resistance, legal threat, and social change. In what ways can literature formulate and foment social dissent? How does literature comment on contemporary political, religious, or social controversies? What literary opportunities and forms emerged from the peculiar instability of this period? Suggested Preparation: At least one level English or literature course. Focus on language as a tool of opacity as well as transparency, translation, transliteration, invention and resistance.

Previous reading required. We read the works in publication order with three main foci: Morrison-as-epistemologist questioning what it is that constitutes knowing and being known, Morrison-as-revisionary-teacher-of-reading-strategies, and Morrison in intertextual dialogue with several oral and literary traditions. In addition to critical essays, students complete a "Pilate Project" - a creative response to the works under study. This course links Victorian London and 20th-century Baltimore by studying: literary relations between Dickens and Poe; slum writing; the rise of the state institution; a genealogy of serial fiction from the nineteenth century novel to television drama.

We will explore "classic" works of children's literature by authors such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ann Petry, Walter Dean Myers, Virginia Hamilton, Jacqueline Woodson, James Baldwin, Paule Marshall, June Jordan, Angie Thomas and others-- alongside artifacts from a range of other spheres such as textbooks, chapbooks, and the overall rise of a new child-centered periodical culture at the turn of the twentieth century.

We will pay especial attention to the ways in which the intertwined categories of literacy and property have shaped racialized notions of childhood in the United States. In addition to close textual analysis, we will engage with major theoretical works in the field of childhood and identity studies, while also investigating firsthand what can be learned via the physical examination of children's books held in Bryn Mawr's Ellery Yale Wood Collection.

The book talks about almost everything, so it can seem hard to just sit down and read it on your own--and that is one of the things that is wonderful about it: it makes reading a collaborative experience. That is how the class will run: each of us will become a resource for everyone else, just by holding on to our own ways of thinking and reading and talking with each other.

We will also read a book that borrows extensively from Ulysses: the graphic novel Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel. The focus changes from one semester to the next so that students may re-enroll in the course for credit. The specific focus of each semester's offering of the course is outlined separately. Focuses on medieval vocabularies and depictions of racial and cultural difference, community-formation, and "foreignness. Through weekly seminar meetings and regular writing and research assignments, students will design a senior essay topic or topics of their choice, frame exciting and practical questions about it, and develop a writing plan for its execution.

Students will leave the course with a departmentally approved senior essay prospectus, an annotated bibliography on their chosen area of inquiry, and 10 pages of writing towards their senior essay. Students must pass the course to enroll in ENGL Permission of the instructor and major adviser is required.

Points of special interest include the monologue form of the early novels and its translation into theater, Beckett's influences particularly silent film and collaborations, and the relationship between the texts of the major dramatic works and the development of both modern and postmodern performance techniques. Priority will be given to interested first- and second-year students; additional spaces will be made available to upper-year students with little or no experience in creative writing.

Students will write or revise work every week; roughly four weeks each will be devoted to short fiction, poetry, and drama. There will be individual conferences with the instructor to discuss their progress and interests. Half of class time will be spent discussing student work and half will be spent discussing syllabus readings. Using the information-gathering tools of a journalist, the analytical tools of an essayist and the technical tools of a prose writer, students will study contemporary and historical radio and podcasts in the interest of creating their own pieces.

The central focus of the course will be weekly visits from current radio writers, producers and on-air personalities, including local and national NPR producers, commentators and reporters. Students will consider fundamental elements of fiction and the relationship of narrative structure, style, and content, exploring these elements in their own work and in the assigned readings in order to develop an understanding of the range of possibilities open to the fiction writer.

Weekly readings and writing exercises are designed to encourage students to explore the material and styles that most interest them, and to push their fiction to a new level of craft, so that over the semester their writing becomes clearer, more controlled, and more absorbing. Through diverse readings, students will examine craft strategies at work in both formal and free verse poems, such as diction, metaphor, imagery, lineation, metrical patterns, irony, and syntax.

The course will cover shaping forms such as elegy and pastoral as well as given forms, such as the sonnet, ghazal, villanelle, etc. Students will discuss strategies for conveying the literal meaning of a poem e. By the end of the course, students will have generated new material, shaped and revised draft poems, and significantly grown as writers by experimenting with various aspects of craft.

Students will work to discover and develop their own unique voices as they learn the technical aspects of the craft of playwriting. Short writing assignments will complement each reading assignment. The final assignment will be to write an original one-act play. Several working journalists will participate as guest speakers to explain their craft. Students will write stories that will be posted on the class blog, the English House Gazette. Using the information-gathering tools of a journalist, the analytical tools of an essayist and the technical tools of a fiction writer, students will produce pieces that will incorporate both factual information and first person experience.

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Readings will include a broad group of writers ranging from E. Issues basic to the art of storytelling in film will be addressed and analyzed: character, dramatic structure, theme, setting, image, sound. The course focuses on the film adaptation; readings include novels, screenplays, and short stories. Films adapted from the readings will be screened. In the course of the semester, students will be expected to outline and complete the first act of an adapted screenplay of their own. Through reading, in-class discussion, peer review of student work, and private conferences with the instructor, we will examine the specific requirements of the picture book, the middle-grade novel, and the young adult novel.

This analytical study of classic and contemporary literature will inspire and inform students' creative work in all aspects of storytelling, including character development, plotting, world building, voice, tone, and the roles of illustration and page composition in story narration. Requires writing at least five pages each week, workshopping student pieces, and reading texts ranging from realist stories to metafictional experiments and one-page stories to the short novella, to explore how writers can work within tight confines.

Students without the ARTW B, must submit a writing sample of pages in length prose fiction to the Creative Writing Program during the preregistration period to be considered for this course. Writing assignments will be closely connected to syllabus reading, including an anthology prepared by the instructor, and may include working in forms such as ekphrastic poems i. For students without ARTW B, a writing sample of poems must be submitted to the instructor to be considered for this course.

We will examine how great playwrights captivate a live audience through their mastery of character, story and structure. Through a combination of weekly reading assignments, playwriting exercises, theater explorations, artist-driven feedback, and discussions of craft, this class will facilitate each student's completion of an original, full-length play. Prerequisite: ARTW ; or suitable experience in directing, acting or playwriting; or submission of a work sample of 10 pages of dialogue.

All students must complete the Creative Writing preregistration questionnaire during preregistration to be considered for the course. Students will write intensively, and complete a long story, novel or novella or combination thereof totaling up to 20, words. Students will examine the craft of their work and of published prose. For students without ARTW B, students must submit a writing sample of pages in length prose fiction to the Creative Writing Program during the preregistration period to be considered for this course.

Literary, oral, and visual texts from different cultural traditions and histories will be studied through interpretive approaches informed by modern critical theories. Readings in literature, philosophy, popular culture, and film will illustrate how theory enhances our understanding of the complexities of history, memory, identity, and the trials of modernity.

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Throughout the semester, students research theoretical paradigms that bear on their own comparative thesis topics in order to situate those topics in an appropriate critical context. This is a required for majors and minors. She was the most famous and enigmatic person in the ancient Mediterranean world while she was alive and, since then, she has been re-imagined by countless poets, dramatists, philosophers, filmmakers, musicians, and artists of all types.

In this course, we will examine both the historical Cleopatra and her reception in various media in subsequent cultures and societies. In the first part, we will carefully study the ancient literary and material evidence to learn all we can about the real Cleopatra and the tumultuous times in which she lived.

In the second part, we will then consider a selection of medieval, early modern, and contemporary representations of Cleopatra, ranging from Chaucer to Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra to HBO's series Rome and the use of Cleopatra in present-day advertising. Throughout our readings, we will focus on issues such as female agency and power in a man's world, beauty and the femme fatale, east vs.

Called "comics," "graphic novels," and many other terms in between, these word-image hybrids have been embraced by both popular and critical audiences. But what is a graphic novel? How do we conceive of these texts and, more importantly, how do we read, interpret and write about them? This course is focused on approaches to reading the graphic novel, with a focus on a subgenre called the "literary comic. This consideration will include various test cases, from wordless comics, to texts used as images, to the many varieties of word-image hybrids that are called comic books. Our second approach is to examine different scholarly approaches to analyzing graphic narratives, base d in different disciplines such as memoir studies, trauma studies, visual and material culture, history, semiotics, and, especially, narratology.

Primary source readings include texts by Ware, Barry, Clowes, and Burns. Three short assignments due during the semester, and a final project due at the end of exam period see description below. Students will also rotate responsibilities for starting discussions with small presentations aimed at discussing readings in depth. In the past several decades, a genre of "auteur comics" has emerged from the medium that are highly literary with a deep engagement between form and meaning.

This seminar focuses on weekly close readings of such graphic novels with rigorous analysis of form and content. Primary text readings are supplemented with readings from literary theory, visual studies, and philosophy. Participants are expected to be comfortable with the application of literary critical theory and visual studies theory to texts. There are no prerequisites for the course, but due to the quantity and complexity of the reading material, some background in literary study is necessary.

Students interested in taking this course in fulfillment of a major requirement in Comparative Literature or East Asian Languages and Cultures will need to discuss with me prior to enrollment. We will begin by focusing on the cultural norms that defined women's lives beginning in early China, and consider how those tropes are reflected and rejected over time and geographical borders in Japan, Hong Kong and the United States. No prior knowledge of Chinese culture or language necessary.

Course contents vary. The selection of theoretical readings reflects the history of theory psychoanalysis, structuralism, narratology , as well as the currents most relevant to the contemporary academic field: Post-structuralism, Post-colonialism, Gender Studies, and Ecocriticism. They are paired with a diverse range of short stories Poe, Kafka, Camus, Borges, Calvino, Morrison, Djebar, Ngozi Adichie that we discuss along with our study of theoretical texts.

The class will be conducted in English with an additional hour in French for students wishing to take it for French credit. We will analyze a chronological series of styles and national cinemas, including Classical Hollywood, Italian Neorealism, the French New Wave, and other post-war movements and genres. Viewings of canonical films will be supplemented by more recent examples of global cinema. While historical in approach, this course emphasizes the theory and criticism of the sound film, and we will consider various methodological approaches to the aesthetic, socio-political, and psychological dimensions of cinema.

Readings will provide historical context, and will introduce students to key concepts in film studies such as realism, formalism, spectatorship, the auteur theory, and genre studies. Fulfills the history requirement or the introductory course requirement for the Film Studies minor. Topics covered include: the specificity of film form; cinematic realism; the cinematic "author"; the politics and ideology of cinema; the relation between cinema and language; spectatorship, identification, and subjectivity; archival and historical problems in film studies; the relation between film studies and other disciplines of aesthetic and social criticism.

Each week of the syllabus pairs critical writing s on a central principle of film analysis with a cinematic example. Class will be divided between discussion of critical texts and attempts to apply them to a primary cinematic text. Current topic description: Digital imagery in relation to cinema, photography, and other media, questions of whether the digital marks a significant break from the analog. Enrollment priority will be given to History of Art majors and Film Studies minors in the senior year, and graduate students, who may take the course for level credit.

And how can we use as readers of texts, art, and films contemporary studies on animals and cyborgs, object oriented ontology, zombies, storyworlds, neuroaesthetics?

Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture
Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture
Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture
Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture
Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture
Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture
Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture Rethinking the Romance Genre: Global Intimacies in Contemporary Literary and Visual Culture

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