Response to “The Positive of the Negative: Joycean Post-Structuralism as Felskian Critique” by Robert Baines

By | November 24, 2021

Robert Baines starts his essay with a vivid analytical presentation of the last five decades of research in the field of Joyce Studies, emphasizing the context and stakes of the shift from (a) post-structuralist criticism to (b) a focus on “Joyce’s engagements with the history, politics, and culture of his age” (Baines xx), and later to (c) genetic criticism. Baines’ account of the last 50 years of criticism and his suggestions for extended forms of dialogue between supposedly divergent critical/ theoretical orientations can easily be transposed, mutatis mutandis, to Beckett studies.

Finding the Experimentalists

By | November 23, 2021

After pouring over dozens of conference papers and journal articles, public lectures, a PhD thesis, a Fellowship, and spending hundreds of hours in archives around the world, I carefully constructed the case for the Experimentalists not only being a movement but perhaps being one of the most important British literary movements of the twentieth century.

Remembering Diane di Prima

By | August 6, 2021

Diane di Prima was born on August 6, 1934 in Brooklyn and passed on in San Francisco on October 25, 2020. Di Prima was a true national treasure, having chronicled throughout her astonishing career a momentous period of American history. Although for over six decades an indomitable force in ourcultural life, Di Prima remains unfamiliar to many readers. Because she was the major female identified with the Beat movement and author of the hip-language-inflected book This Bird Flies Backward (1958) who lounged in slacks sitting atop a piano—as a famous photograph from the fifties depicted her during a poetry reading— and due to the appearance a decade later of Memoirs of a Beatnik (1968), she has been misperceived as a “Beat chick.”

The Mythology of Modern Literature

By | August 3, 2021

Where Ovid entertained Romans with stories of metamorphoses, we now revel in stories of leaving our meat bodies and entering the internet as disembodied intelligences. Ovid’s stories may seem frivolous and even decadent to us, but we are entranced by our own version of such mythic transformations. Myths from different cultures resonate and merge; that particular transformation to web existence is also known as The Rapture for Nerds.

Discover the forgotten works of East Europe’s “Second World”

By | July 29, 2021

book, Literature and Film from East Europe’s Forgotten “Second World,” was inspired by my years of teaching literature and film from East Europe of the socialist “Second World” era at the University of Washington in Seattle. Over time, I noticed an interesting paradox: the more this period—which ended with the 1989 fall of communism and the subsequent dissolution of countries like the USSR, Czechoslovakia and, of course, Yugoslavia—receded into a historical never-land, the more its stories, novels and films seemed to resonate with and delight my students.

Queering Contemporary Literature: The Work of Jeanette Winterson

By | July 27, 2021

A powerful use of language is to tell people our story, especially to tell our loved ones about ourselves. They will hopefully reply using the language of acceptance and understanding. Conversely, a person can conceal their own story through language, or have their declarations met with words of hate and violence. This is when language has an even more important role to play in illuminating the path to equality; as Jeanette Winterson says, we need a language “capable of expressing all that it is called upon to express in a vastly changing world.”

How to Redefine Utopia to Become Utopian

By | July 20, 2021

We all know that the world we live in (in all our intersectional diversity) is beset by a cluster of interrelated crises that are cascading toward even greater destruction, threatening the life of the planet itself. In these dark times, radical action is needed more than ever so that we can face these crises and build a better world for all humans, all nonhumans, and nature itself.