Journal articles: 'Detective and mystery stories, European' – Grafiati (2024)

  • Bibliography
  • Subscribe
  • News
  • Referencing guides Blog Automated transliteration Relevant bibliographies by topics

Log in

Українська Français Italiano Español Polski Português Deutsch

We are proudly a Ukrainian website. Our country was attacked by Russian Armed Forces on Feb. 24, 2022.
You can support the Ukrainian Army by following the link: https://u24.gov.ua/. Even the smallest donation is hugely appreciated!

Relevant bibliographies by topics / Detective and mystery stories, European / Journal articles

To see the other types of publications on this topic, follow the link: Detective and mystery stories, European.

Author: Grafiati

Published: 4 June 2021

Last updated: 1 February 2022

Create a spot-on reference in APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, and other styles

Consult the top 43 journal articles for your research on the topic 'Detective and mystery stories, European.'

Next to every source in the list of references, there is an 'Add to bibliography' button. Press on it, and we will generate automatically the bibliographic reference to the chosen work in the citation style you need: APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago, Vancouver, etc.

You can also download the full text of the academic publication as pdf and read online its abstract whenever available in the metadata.

Browse journal articles on a wide variety of disciplines and organise your bibliography correctly.

1

Mojalefa,M.J., and N.I.Magapa. "Mystery in Sepedi detective stories." Literator 28, no.1 (July30, 2007): 121–40. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/lit.v28i1.154.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

The aim of this article is to illustrate the importance of the concept “mystery” in the classification of Sepedi detective stories. Mystery is therefore first defined, and then some rules governing how mystery is created and sustained in a narrative are reviewed. Examples are given of how the writers of Sepedi detective stories mislead their readers in order to create mystery. Mystery is then examined according to five of its constituent elements, namely the real character of the detective, the name of the criminal, the identity of the victim, the evidence that reveals the mystery in the end, and the investigation that reveals the mystery. Each category is explored by citing relevant examples from Sepedi detective stories.

2

Curcio,FrancesR., and J.LewisMcNeece. "The Case of Video Viewing, Reading, and Writing in Mathematics Class: Solving the Mystery." Mathematics Teacher 86, no.8 (November 1993): 682–85. http://dx.doi.org/10.5951/mt.86.8.0682.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

The element of mystery can be a naturally intriguing component of a mathematics lesson for middle school students. Mystery stories capture students“ interest and attention and contribute to developing critical-reading skills (Crouse and Bassett 1975; Curcio 1982; Scalzitti 1982). When presenting mystery stories within the context of a mathematics lesson, students often ask, “What does this have to do with mathematics?” Significant connections can be made between solving a mystery and solving a mathematics problem that supply a rationale for incorporating mystery stories in the mathematics class. In particular, similarities in the questions a problem solver asks when confronting a problem (Polya 1973) and the questions a detective asks in solving a mystery can be found in figure 1. After solving short mystery stories, students will see the connection between solving a mystery and solving a mathematics problem.

3

John, Jerrin Aleyamma. "Serial Killing as a Defence Mechanism: A Study of Thomas Harris’s “The Silence of the Lambs”." SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH 7, no.11 (November28, 2019): 8. http://dx.doi.org/10.24113/ijellh.v7i11.10123.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

The literary canon carries with it a huge array of possible writings exploring the various contours of fiction, the genre of Detective fiction is one such umbrella term. The effect of mystery and suspense and the surprise factors being hidden away in the pages, keeps the readers glued to detective fiction. This paper explores the plot line of one of the prominent detective stories, Thomas Harris’s ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ in search of certain existential questions regarding the named serial killer in the plot. The social evil of killing the lives of many for the purely pleasure aspect is viewed from multiple viewpoints and a new reading of the plot by placing it within relevant contextual framework is carried out. A traversal through the psychological, behavioural and social norms of the context is explores within the paper.

4

Shotwell, Gregg. "A Working-Class Sherlock." Monthly Review 68, no.5 (October7, 2016): 62. http://dx.doi.org/10.14452/mr-068-05-2016-09_7.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Timothy Sheard, the Lenny Moss mystery series (New York: Hardball).At its best, the art of fiction reveals the underlying truth of human relations: we are communal and collaborative by nature. Selfishness and greed are social aberrations because, ultimately, they violate the principle of self-preservation. No wonder we are drawn to crime stories: they mirror our common experience. Capitalism is high crime disguised as church doctrine. Conspiracy is evident, though the evidence is concealed. Hence, our fascination with the detective genre. We are in dire need of Timothy Sheard's scrutiny—a detective who peers through a working-class eyeglass.Click here to purchase a PDF version of this article at the Monthly Review website.

5

Sungkowati, Yulitin. "PENGARUH CERITA DETEKTIF TRADISIONAL BARAT TERHADAP NOVEL INDONESIA MENCARI SARANG ANGIN DAN KREMIL KARYA SUPARTO BRATA (The Influence of West Traditional Detective Stories on Indonesian Novel: Suparto Brata’s “Mencari Sarang Angin” and “Kremil”)." METASASTRA: Jurnal Penelitian Sastra 7, no.1 (March11, 2016): 109. http://dx.doi.org/10.26610/metasastra.2014.v7i1.109-122.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Penelitian ini bertujuan mendeskripsikan hubungan Suparto Brata dengan cerita detektif tradisional Barat dan mendeskripsikan pengaruh cerita detektif tradisional Barat terhadap novelnya yang berjudul Kremil dan Mencari Sarang Angin. Kajian ini termasuk ke dalam studi sastra bandingan. Penelitian ini menghasilkan temuan bahwa Suparto Brata merupakan pembaca cerita-cerita detektif tradisional Barat. Pengaruh bacaan tersebut terhadap novel Kremil dan Mencari Sarang Angin yang ditulisnya teridentifikasi dari fakta cerita berupa alur (yang terdiri atas tiga bagian: kejahatan, pelacakan, dan pembongkaran misteri), penokohan (penjahat, korban, pelacak, dan tokoh lainnya), dan latar terisolasi. Akan tetapi, dalam beberapa hal, novel Kremil dan Mencari Sarang Angin menunjukkan penyimpangan atau modifikasi dari cerita detektif tradisional Barat.Abstract:This study focuses on describing the relationship between Suparto Brata as a writer and western traditional detective stories. It also examines their influence on his works: “Kremil” and “Mencari Sarang Angin”. The research is under comparative literary study. The result of the re- search shows that Suparto Brata is the western detective stories reader. Their influence on his works, “Kremil” and “Mencari Sarang Angin”, can be identified from their plot, character, and isolated setting. Firstly, the plot is divided into three parts: criminality, tracing the story, and un- covering the mystery. Secondly, the characters consist of criminal, victim, and other characters. In some cases, however, “Kremil” and “Mencari Sarang Angin” indicate the deviation or modification of the western traditional detective stories.

6

Gallo,CallieJ. "Seeing the ‘excessively obvious’: The penny press, gender and work in Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin stories." Explorations in Media Ecology 18, no.4 (December1, 2019): 413–34. http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/eme_00013_1.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

This article considers the biases of the popular press, the first mass-print medium, alongside the biases of gender and professionalism in Edgar Allan Poe’s early 1840s detective fiction. In the tales ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’, ‘The Mystery of Marie Rogêt’ and ‘The Purloined Letter’, detective C. Auguste Dupin develops unmatched analytical and professional capabilities through his extensive reading of print media and his familiarity with the protocols of the nineteenth-century penny press. Based on the model of the New York Sun, these cheap publications popularized women’s gruesome deaths and cruel misfortunes for profit. In Dupin’s media environment, women are always-already victims without the means or opportunity to speak for themselves, maintain steady employment, or find shelter from the exploitative practices of the commercial press. Men like Dupin, on the other hand, stand to build professional skills, wealth and fame the more they study and replicate the practices of their print media environment. Reading Poe’s representation of gender inequity as an extension of the penny press and middle-class professionalism complicates previous assessments of Dupin (by Marshall McLuhan and literary scholars alike) as an inclusive literary figure that invites reader participation.

7

Middleton, Rowan. "“The game is afoot”: Sherlock Holmes, hermeneutics and collaborative writing." Ars Aeterna 12, no.1 (June1, 2020): 29–39. http://dx.doi.org/10.2478/aa-2020-0003.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

AbstractSir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories involve a hermeneutic game in which Holmes attempts to uncover the mystery of unsolved crime. The work of Hans-Georg Gadamer enables Holmes’s methods to be seen as both playful and creative as he seeks to understand what G. K. Chesterton refers to as the poetry of the modern world. Holmes is therefore a creative and scientific detective, one who loses himself in the game of detection in order to find himself in the search for truth in the wider world. Through the agency of Dr Watson, the reader is invited to join the game and attempt to work out the solution to the mystery as the narrative unfolds before them. Peter Hühn’s work on the detective as reader and writer is extended in relation to the work of understanding and creation carried out by authors who add new works to the genre of Holmesian fiction. This process is explored in the context of two playful writing workshops in which participants passed the opening of a piece of Holmesian fiction they had written to another participant to continue, before sharing the results with the group. Hans Robert Jauss’s ideas about genre and other perspectives on reimagining Holmes help contextualize the strategies used by participants, while Gadamer’s conception of the festive enables insights into the communal processes of creation and understanding.

8

Daechsel, Markus. "ālim Ḍākū and the Mystery of the Rubber Sea Monster: Urdu Detective Fiction in 1930s Punjab and the Experience of Colonial Modernity." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland 13, no.1 (April 2003): 21–43. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s1356186302002973.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

AbstractDetective fiction counts amongst the most successful literary products that the metropolitan west has exported to the world periphery. Between the end of the nineteenth century and the outbreak of the Second World War the genre acquired a global presence – both in the form of translations of existing works such as the Sherlock Holmes stories, and in the form of numerous indigenous adaptations. This kind of literature represented a prime example of the mass-produced and mass-circulated print entertainment that was part and parcel of the emergence of mass consumption as a social form. Detective fiction was, thus, both a carrier and an expression of modernity. While some literary theorists have pointed to longstanding historical antecedents, detective fiction would not have made sense in earlier historical epochs. The principles of scientific enquiry permeate the genre throughout, not just in terms of the ubiquitous magnifying glasses, finger-prints and assorted scientific apparatuses, but in terms of the subject matter itself – the fact that it is possible to make sense of an increasingly confusing world by uncovering hidden causal connections through rational enquiry.

Harrison,K.C. "American Mystery and Detective Stories:200021Larry Landrum. American Mystery and Detective Stories: A Reference Guide. Westport, CT and London: Greenwood Press 1999. xxii + 274 pp, ISBN: 0 313 21387 9 £55.50 American Popular Culture series UK distribution by Eurospan Ltd, London." Reference Reviews 14, no.1 (January 2000): 24. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/rr.2000.14.1.24.21.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

10

Manià, Kirby. "“Translated from the dead”: The legibility of violence in Ivan Vladislavić’s101 Detectives." Journal of Commonwealth Literature 55, no.1 (August2, 2018): 61–76. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0021989418787334.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

In light of the contemporary popularity of crime fiction, true crime, and crime television, avid consumers of these kinds of narratives like to think of themselves as amateur detectives — schooled in the discourse of observation and deduction. Readers of crime fiction become accustomed to a kind of formula, comforted in the knowledge that the mystery will be resolved and the perpetrator apprehended. However, this article investigates how a number of stories in Ivan Vladislavić’s 101 Detectives challenge the conventions of legibility in representing crime in post-apartheid South Africa. The mediations of language, reading, and writing as modes of detection are shown in these short stories to come up short. Instead, and through the stylistic and formalistic frame provided by the anti-detective genre, acts of detection are defeated, closure is deferred, and order is not restored. Writing crime and violence reveals a matrix of structural violences in the postcolony, experiences that cannot be “translated from the dead”. The article argues that while violence and crime are not unrepresentable per se, the degree to which they can be “managed” or “contained” by language or fiction is limited.

11

Pigalev, Sergey. "Mystery fiction in culture: evolution of genre and crisis of cultural paradigm of modernity." Философия и культура, no.5 (May 2020): 21–34. http://dx.doi.org/10.7256/2454-0757.2020.5.33073.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

The subject of this research is the phenomenon of mystery fiction and its evolution in the context of development of sociocultural project of modernity. The latter is viewed as a complex system, which fundamental principles permeate the entire fabrics of European culture, generating such phenomenon as a mystery fiction plot. The analysis of its varieties deepens the understanding of specificity of modernity and mature of crises that has captured it. Hermeneutic analysis allows going beyond the frames of the narrow-disciplinary analysis of the corresponding texts, allowing to determine the inevident layers within the phenomenon of narration of mystery fiction. The initial methodological point is presented by the concept of V. P. Rudnev, who identified interrelation between the mystery fiction storylines and dominant gnoseological paradigm. The author determines the four levels of narration of mystery fiction: ontological, gnoseological, anthropological, and ethical-normative. The classical (analytical) mystery fiction describes reality commensurable to human reason (ontological level), investigation appears as strict analysis (gnoseological level), detective resembles a “private thinker” who is distant from the society and the crime itself (anthropological level), and a crime is interpreted as a deviation that disturbs harmony of the rational order (ethical-normative level). In this sense, a classical mystery fiction is a reflection of metanarrative of modernity, aimed at building a complete system, and excluding the Other. At the same time, the crisis of the basis of modernity is essentially reflected in metamorphoses of mystery fiction genre. In existential and pragmatic mystery fiction, reality is irrational, and boundaries between the norm and deviation are being diluted. Such situation may be describes as disappointment in metanarrative – in underlines the inability of modern culture to adequately fulfill its fundamental functions. The Other strike roots in the cultural space; however, the space itself exists in accordance with the principles of postmodern anarchy.

12

Latham, Monica. "Thieving Facts and Reconstructing Katherine Mansfield’s Life in Janice Kulyk Keefer’s Thieves." European Journal of Life Writing 3 (October14, 2014): 103–20. http://dx.doi.org/10.5463/ejlw.3.83.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

The aim of this article is to examine how the biographical material that Janice Kulyk Keefer “steals” from Mansfield’s life is used to re-create a “quasi-real” life in a novel which absorbs reality, digests it, and offers an oxymoronic, semi-fictitious product: a biofiction. Keefer selected biographèmes or kernels of truth on which her fictitious details and characters could be grafted: following Mansfield’s physical, emotional and intellectual trail was an imperative part of Keefer’s research plan, as essential as close reading of the modernist author’s letters and journals. Besides seamlessly fusing reality and fiction, historical and imaginative truths, these hybrid products bring together the characteristics of literary and genre fiction. The article also focuses on the generic aspect of Thieves, which “sells” a scholarly literary background by using a commercial format that borrows features from popular genres such as love stories, thrillers, mystery and detective novels. The result is a multi-layered story endowed with great narrative virtuosity and variety, with leaps in time and space and with parallel stories that finally intersect. The article ultimately concludes with more general considerations on how such biofictions recreating the myth of iconic figures have proved to be a flourishing literary genre on the current book market. This article was submitted to the EJLW on 28 November 2013 and published on 14 October 2014.

13

Dwivedi, Ketaki. "Converging Precincts: Sociology and Sherlock Holmes." Sociological Bulletin 67, no.1 (February13, 2018): 67–83. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038022917751978.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

The article using literary texts attempts to draw similarities in the trajectories of emergences and concerns of the 19th-century sociology and crime/detection fiction represented in particular by Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. It attempts to contextualise the conditions of emergences, common intellectual moorings and their negotiations with similar themes in the domain of modern rational science discourse and tenet, where everything was to be open to query and testing. The article proposes that the shared intellectual inspirations in science and reason, the engagements with positivism-empiricism and redressal of the disorder and anxiety that European society experienced at the time show that there are multi-level connections between the detective stories and science of society.

14

Frolova,MarinaV. "Indonesian Horror Story by Intan Paramaditha." Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Asian and African Studies 12, no.3 (2020): 368–79. http://dx.doi.org/10.21638/spbu13.2020.304.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Analysis and interpretation of the short stories by Indonesian female writer Intan Paramaditha (Intan Paramaditha, born in 1979) make it possible to understand that her writing occupies a special niche in the modern Indonesian literary paradigm. Paramaditha’s feminist texts are disguised as horror stories with settings in contemporary Indonesia. The article examines five short stories (“Spinner of Darkness” (Pemintal Kegelapan), “Vampire” (Vampir), “Polaroid’s Mystery” (Misteri Polaroid), “The Blind Woman without a Toe” (Perempuan Buta tanpa Ibu Jari), and “The Obsessive Twist” (Goyang Penasaran)). Using the intertextual method, it was possible to prove the gothic poetics of these literary works. The short stories contain the mosaic of folklore-mythological motives from the Malay Archipelago, Biblical and Quranic narratives, as well as European fairy tales and allusions to American horror fiction and horror films. Her prose is built upon some borrowed European literary forms for expression of authentic Indonesian content. The social themes are intertwined with feminist criticism that is presented as a Kitsch of the Indonesian mass culture. In “The Obsessive Twist” the main conflict is focused on the heated debates on sexuality, politics, violence, and religion. The feminist agenda of her prose is contrasted with the turn of contemporary Indonesia towards a Muslim patriarchal society. Paramaditha’s works represent a unique product of West-East-synthesis aimed not only at the Indonesian, but also the global audience.

15

Carvalho Pires, Maria da Natividade, and Maria Margarida Morgado. "The Project eMysteries – From reading to writing." Alabe Revista de Investigación sobre Lectura y Escritura 12, no.2 (July1, 2021): 1–15. http://dx.doi.org/10.15645/alabe2021.24.7.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Digital culture is impacting heavily on young people’s lives, be it through their own attachment to social media through mobile devices or the new Covid-19 demands on distance online education. Maryanne Wolf in Reader, Come Home (2018) argues through her cognitive neuroscientific studies on reading that the mind of readers is changing given the media they are constantly using (mobile phones, computers). One of the issues Wolf debates is the loss of deep detailed modes of reading comprehension or the willingness of today’s (young) readers to engage with complex sentences or longer texts. She claims, however, that really good reading is close reading, a form of reading that requires intellectual effort from the reader involving the intellectual skills of reasoning, thinking and understanding (Wolf, 2018). How can this be promoted in the digital age? This is the aim of a European Erasmus+ funded project the authors are involved in called e-Mysteries: Detective Stories to Engage Students in Close Reading with the Use of Mobile Devices (short name: e-Mysteries). New forms of reading, as those being developed by the e-Mysteries project, create opportunities for the participatory empathetic, critical, and analytical engagement of students with what they read as well as with individual and collaborative writing in a modern flux of consumer-producer.

16

Pavlenko, Olena. "Translating selves of Mykola Dmytrenko." Vìsnik Marìupolʹsʹkogo deržavnogo unìversitetu. Serìâ: Fìlologìâ 12, no.21 (2019): 75–83. http://dx.doi.org/10.34079/2226-3055-2019-12-21-75-83.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

This paper reflects on the key issues of literary translation approaches suggested by Mykola Dmytrenko, an outstanding Ukrainian prose translator. Despite the vast research made by Ukrainian and foreign scholars regarding the translation (A. Bennet, S. Bassnet, M. Strykha) little is known about the contribution made by Ukrainian translators to the promotion of the Ukrainian literature on the international arena. Mykola Dmytrenko’s original arguments coming from value-based interview questions reveal the nature of translating process in terms of cultural transfer with a special emphasis on the literary standards and the distinctive nature of translation paradigm. As many translation theorists and researchers claim, there has been an accepted recognition of the fact that the use of the strategies and techniques of contemporary linguistics shift away to cultural studies. This article attempts to outline the scope of translation as a process by syndicating various extralinguistic phenomena as they occur in Mykola Dmytrenko’s translation project. Firstly, his translation programme embraces the issues of self with their close relation to the problems of cultural identity and the ones connected with tracing the target text within its new sociocultural context. Secondly, Mykola Dmytrenko’s translations provide his exceptional position in developing general principles through which he adequately clarifies the algorithm of choosing literary texts for translation and sheds light on the author selection as well as the ways literary translation networks function in a number of respects. Furthermore, the translator aims his works to be viewed in a broader context of building up the relations with the author of the original on the equal basis so that the target reader would feel he deals with the original text, not with the translation. With this purpose, Mykola Dmytrenko claims that he not only aspires to getting Ukrainian readers acquainted with the masterpieces of world literature, but also aims to develop the ability of cultivating their deductive skills as well as sharpening observation and forming the power of imagination. These explicate the reasons for the translator’s selection of literary texts by A. C. Doyle («A Scandal in Bohemia», «The Red-headed League», «A Case of Identity», «Boscombe Valley Mystery», «Thе Five Orange Pips», etc.). All these have been illustrated by the examples from A. Conan Doyle’s collection of detective stories «The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes» («The Reigate Puzzle»). So, the translator’s pragmatic view comes to be both from an inborn talent and a professional skill to produce the target text of the highest quality.

17

Ahmad, Asy Syams Elya. "KRITIK SEJARAH BATIK SIDOARJO." Gorga : Jurnal Seni Rupa 10, no.1 (June9, 2021): 137. http://dx.doi.org/10.24114/gr.v10i1.24626.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

The popular historical narrative of the batik Sidoarjo needs to be reexamined based on historical methodology so that there is no historical bias based only on oral stories of the general public. Many studies are trapped in an inaccurate understanding of local historicity. As a result, these various studies have failed to fit batik Sidoarjo into its full context, instead it has become a kind of narrative standardization on its characteristics and history. This study aims to criticize the historical construction that has been popular in relation to the basic understanding of batik Sidoarjo and to explain the position of batik Sidoarjo in the cultural framework of its people. This article is the author's attempt to provide an analysis or explanation that is different from the historical narrative of batik Sidoarjo which is commonly used in various discussions. This research is classified as a qualitative research, using the historical method which consists of four stages, namely heuristics, source criticism, interpretation, and historiography. This research uses historical and sociological approaches to collect, select, and critically examine historical sources of Sidoarjo batik, resulting in historical facts. The results showed that the historicity of batik Sidoarjo refers to the batik activities in the areas of Kedungcangkring, Jetis, Sekardangan, Gajah Mada St. (Peranakans), and Tulangan, all of which have a direct relationship with both Peranakans nor indigenous. Batik Sidoarjo is not framed by traditional rituals, nor is it under the control and domination of the royal aristocracy. Its growth is based on the factor of the economic needs of the supporting community, which tends to be a trading commodity. The presence of other groups of people or nations such as Peranakan Chinese, Indo-European, Dutch, Arabic contributed to the birth of Sidoarjo batik. Keywords: batik, Sidoarjo, historical criticism.AbstrakNarasi sejarah batik Sidoarjo yang populer perlu dikaji ulang dengan didasari metodologi sejarah sehingga tidak terjadi bias sejarah yang hanya berdasar pada cerita lisan masyarakat umum. Banyak penelitian yang terjebak dalam pemahaman historisitas setempat yang kurang tepat. Akibatnya, berbagai kajian tersebut tidak berhasil mendudukkan batik Sidoarjo sesuai dengan konteksnya secara utuh, malah menjadi semacam standardisasi narasi pada karakteristik maupun sejarahnya. Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengkritisi konstruksi sejarah yang telah populer terkait pemahaman dasar tentang batik Sidoarjo serta menjelaskan kedudukan batik Sidoarjo dalam kerangka budaya masyarakatnya. Artikel ini merupakan upaya penulis untuk memberikan analisis atau paparan yang berbeda dari narasi sejarah batik Sidoarjo yang umum dilakukan pada berbagai pembahasan. Penelitian ini tergolong dalam penelitian kualitatif, dengan menggunakan metode sejarah yang terdiri atas empat tahap, yaitu heuristik, kritik sumber, interpretasi, dan historiografi. Penelitian ini menggunakan pendekatan historis dan sosiologis untuk mengumpulkan, menyeleksi, dan menguji secara kritis sumber-sumber sejarah batik Sidoarjo, sehingga menghasilkan fakta sejarah. Hasil penelitian memperlihatkan bahwa historisitas batik Sidoarjo merujuk pada aktivitas pembatikan yang ada di wilayah Kedungcangkring, Jetis, Sekardangan, Jl. Gajah Mada (China Peranakan), dan Tulangan yang kesemuanya saling terkait memiliki hubungan langsung baik itu pembatikan China peranakan maupun pribumi. Batik Sidoarjo tidak dikerangkai oleh ritual adat, juga tidak di bawah kendali dan dominasi aristokrasi kraton. Pertumbuhannya didasari faktor kebutuhan ekonomi masyarakat pendukungnya, sifatnya cenderung merupakan komoditas dagang. Hadirnya golongan masyarakat atau bangsa lain seperti China Peranakan, Indo-Eropa, Belanda, Arab turut berpengaruh melahirkan batik Sidoarjo.Kata Kunci: batik, Sidoarjo, kritik sejarah. Author:Asy Syams Elya Ahmad : Universitas Negeri Surabaya References:Abbas, Irwan. (2014). Memahami Metodologi Sejarah antara Teori dan Praktek. ETNOHISTORI: Jurnal Ilmiah Kebudayaan dan Kesejerahan, 1(1), 33–41.Abdurrahman, Dudung. (1999). Metode Penelitian Sejarah. Yogyakarta: Logos.Ahmad, Asy Syams Elya. (2013). Kajian Estetik Batik Sidoarjo. Tesis. Tidak Diterbitkan. Bandung: Program Studi Magister Desain, Institut Teknologi Bandung.Anas, Biranul, Hasanuddin, Ratna Panggabean, Yanyan Sunarya. (1997). Indonesia Indah-Buku ke 8; “Batik”. Jakarta: Yayasan Harapan Kita/BP 3 TMII.Anshori, Yusak & Kusrianto, Adi. (2011). Keeksotisan Batik Jawa Timur. Jakarta: Elex Media Komputindo.Anwarid. (2012). Geliat Batik Tulis Sidoarjo. Skripsi. Tidak Diterbitkan. Surabaya: Jurusan Pengembangan Masyarakat Islam, Fakultas Dakwah, Institut Agama Islam Negeri Sunan Ampel.Arfianti, D. Y., Afandi, A. F., permatasari, i., Agustin, F. R., & Nikmah, K. (2018). Batik Jetis Sidoarjo. https://doi.org/ 10.31227/osf.io/xq3r2 (diakses tanggal 17 April 2021).Benard, Russell H. (1994). Research Methods in Anthropology. London: Sage Publications.Carey, Peter. (1996). “The World of the Pasisir”, dalam Fabric of Enchantment; Batik from the North Coast of Java. County Museum of Art.Daliman. (2012). Metode Penelitian Sejarah. Yogyakarta: Ombak.Djoemena, Nian S. (1990a). Batik dan Mitra. Jakarta: Djambatan.________, Nian S. (1990b). Ungkapan Sehelai Batik: Its Mystery and Meaning. Cetakan II. Jakarta: Djambatan.Elliott, Inger McCabe. (2004). Batik, Fabled Cloth of Java. Singapore: Periplus.Fauzi, Ahmad. (2020, Juli 24). Daya Tarik Kampung Batik Jetis Sidoarjo. https://brisik.id/read/ 54889/daya-tarik-kampung-batik-jetis-sidoarjo (diakses tanggal 17 April 2021).Fitinline. (2013, Februari 17). Batik Sidoarjo. https://fitinline.com/article/ read/batik-sidoarjo/ (diakses tanggal 17 April 2021).Garraghan, Gilbert J. 1957. A Guide To Historical Method. New York: Fordham University Press.Gottschalk, Louis. (1975). Mengerti Sejarah. Terjemahan Nugroho Notosusanto. Jakarta: Yayasan Penerbit UI.Gray, Wood. (1964). Historian's Handbook: A Key to the Study and Writing of History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Gustami, SP. (2007). Butir-butir Estetika Timur; Ide Dasar Penciptaan Seni Kriya Indonesia. Yogyakarta: Prasista.Hani, Asfi. (2020, September 18). Sejarah Batik di Kampung Batik Jetis Sidoarjo. https://www. kompasiana.com/asfihani5098/5f642741097f3602e03e3cc3/sejarah-batik-di-kampung-batik-jetis-sidoarjo?page=all (diakses tanggal 17 April 2021).Hasanuddin. (2001). Batik Pesisiran: Melacak Etos Dagang Santri pada Ragam Hias Batik. Bandung: Kiblat.Harris, Jennifer, Ed. (1993). 5000 Years of Textiles. London: The British Museum Press.Hitchco*ck, Michael. (1991). Indonesian Textiles. Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd.Heringa, Rens & Veldhuisen, H.C. (1996). Fabric of Enchantment; Batik from the North Coast of Java. Los Angeles: County Museum of Art.Heringa, Rens. (2010). "Upland Tribe, Coastal Village, and Inland Court: Revised Parameters for Batik Research" dalam Five Centuries of Indonesian Textiles. Ruth Barnes & Mary Hunt Kahlenberg (Ed). Munich: Prestel.Irwanto, Dedi & Sair, Alian. (2014) Metodologi dan Historiografi Sejarah. Yogyakarta: EJA PUBLISHER.Irwantono, Yusuf & Hidayatun M.I. (2019). Fasilitas Wisata Edukasi Batik Sidoarjo di Sidoarjo. Jurnal eDIMENSI ARSITEKTUR, 7(1), 1089–1096. Ishwara, Helen, L.R. Supriyapto Yahya, Xenia Moeis. (2011). Batik Pesisir Pusaka Indonesia; Koleksi Hartono Sumarsono. Jakarta: KPG.Kartodirdjo, Sartono (1993). Pendekatan Ilmu Sosial dalam Metodologi Sejarah. Jakarta: Gramedia.Khasanah, Uswatun. (2018, Juni 8). Batik Asli Sidoarjo.https://doi.org/ 10.31227/ osf.io/zdka8 (diakses tanggal 17 April 2021).Kuntowijoyo. (2013). Pengantar Ilmu Sejarah. Yogyakarta: Tiara Wacana.Listanto, Virgiawan. (2019). “Batik Sebagai Representasi Produk Indsutri Kreatif di Sidoarjo Reinvensi Pragmatis untuk Inovasi Industri Kreatif Berbasis Budaya Visual Nusantara." Prosiding Seminar Nasional Seni dan Desain 2019, 465–469. Surabaya: Universitas Negeri Surabaya.Majlis, Brigitte Khan. (2000). “Javanesse Batik: An Introduction” dalam Rudolf G. Smend, Batik from The Courts of Java and Sumatra. Singapore: Periplus.Masadmin, (2016, Oktober 3). Batik Jetis Sidoarjo. Badan Perpustakaan dan Kearsipan Provinsi Jawa Timur. https:// jawatimuran.disperpusip. jatimprov.go.id/2016/10/03/batik-jetis-sidoarjo/ (diakses tanggal 17 April 2021).Maxwell, Robyn. (2003). Textiles of Southeast Asia: tradition, trade and transformation. Hongkong: Tuttle.Pranoto, Suhartono W. (2010). Teori dan Metodologi Sejarah. Yogyakarta: Graha Ilmu.Qamariah, Desti. (2012). Perkembangan Motif Batik Tulis Jetis Sidoarjo (2008-2011). Skripsi. Tidak Diterbitkan. Malang: Program Studi Pendidikan Sejarah, Fakultas Ilmu Sosial, Universitas Negeri Malang.Ran. (2015, Desember 5). Sempat Tenggelam, Kini Kian Eksis: Sejarah Panjang Batik Sidoarjo. Jawa Pos. https://www.pressreader.com/indone sia/jawa-pos/20151205/282656096383339 (diakses tanggal 17 April 2021).Ramadhan, Iwet. (2013). Cerita Batik. Tangerang: Literati.Rouffaer, G.P. & Juynboll, H.H. (1914). De Batikkunst in Nederlandsch Indië en haar geschiedenis. Utrecht: Oosthoek.Rusli. (2013). “Pendokumentasian Artifak Sejarah Pembatikan di Kedungcangkring”. Hasil Dokumentasi Pribadi: 2 Februari 2013. Kedungcangkring, Sidoarjo.Skocpol, Theda (ed.). (1984). Vision and Method in Historical Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Solikha, Rokhimatus. (2019). Sejarah Perkembangan dan Pengaruh Batik Jetis dalam Perekonomian Masyarakat Desa Jetis Sidoarjo. Skripsi. Tidak Diterbitkan. Surabaya: Program Studi Sejarah Peradaban Islam, Fakultas Adab dan Humaniora, Universitas Islam Negeri Sunan Ampel.Spradley, James. (1997). Metode Etnografi. Yogyakarta: Tiara Wacana.Susanto, Sewan. (1980). Seni Kerajinan Batik Indonesia. Jakarta: Balai Penelitian Batik dan Kerajinan. Lembaga Penelitian dan Pendidikan Industri, Departemen Perindustrian RI.Tjoa, Dave. (2004, Oktober 5). Batik Sidoarjo: Kampung Batik Jetis, Kampung Pengrajin Batik Tulis Sidoarjo. http://jejakbatik.blogspot. com/2014/10/batik-sidoarjo.html (diakses tang-gal 17 April 2021).Van Leur, J.C. (1955). Indonesian Trade and Society: Essay in Asean Social and Economical History. ‘s-Gravenhage: n.v. Uitgeverij W. Van Hoove.Van Roojen, Pepin. 2001. Batik Design. Amsterdam: Pepin Press.Wasino & Hartatik, Endah Sri. (2018). Metode Penelitian Sejarah: dari Riset hingga Penulisan. Yogyakarta: Magnum Pustaka Utama.Wibowo, Januar, Haryanto Tanuwijaya, Achmad Yanu A.F. (2016). “Rancang Bangun Management Information System Batik Tradisional Jawa Timur sebagai Upaya Pelestarian Warisan Budaya Bangsa”. Laporan Akhir Penelitian Hibah Bersaing. Tidak Diterbitkan. Surabaya: Institut Bisnis dan Informatika, STIKOM.Wirawan, Rizky S. & Trilaksana, Agus. (2015). Sejarah Industrialisasi Batik di Kampung Batik Jetis Sidoarjo Tahun 1970-2013. AVATARA, e-Journal Pendidikan Sejarah, 3(3), 480–486.Wulandari, Ari. (2011). Batik Nusantara; Makna Filosofis, Cara Pembuatan dan Industri Batik. Yogyakarta: Andi.Wulandari, S.E., Imam As’ary, Yudi Prasetyo. (2013). Perkembangan Motif Batik Jetis Sidoarjo dalam Tinjauan Sejarah. GENTA: Jurnal Pendidikan Sejarah, 1(1), 1–12.Yanuar. (2016, Oktober 19). Kampung Kuno Jetis Penghasil Batik Tulis Khas Sidoarjo. https://kabarinews.com/kampung-kuno-jetis-penghasil-batik-tulis-khas-sidoarjo/87296 (diakses tanggal 17 April 2021).

18

McConville, Chris. "The private eye as urbane." M/C Journal 5, no.2 (May1, 2002). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1949.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

I knew all about places like the Hotel Tremaine…they are flops where you find the cheap ones, the sniffers and the gowed-up runts who shoot you before you can say hello Raymond Chandler, Mandarin's Jade. It is in such a city, of the derelict and the displaced, that film-goers once encountered the private eye. And while we recognise the private eye as naturally urban, the 'hard-boiled' guys of Chandler, David Goodis and their imitators rarely appeal as urbane. Dictionary advice offers a neatly-plotted resolution to such a puzzle, informing us that 'urbane' is dependent on 'urban' in the manner that 'humane' is connected unavoidably to 'human'. As with much of the information scattered across a mystery narrative, such deduction may be too neat. The varying linkages of 'urban' and 'urbane' can be queried in that classic tale of the twentieth-century city, the detective story. In what sense is the detective, as urbane male hero, dependent on the urban world in which he moves? Some years before the emergence of Chandler's Philip Marlowe as the classic 'dick', the private detective inhabited an urban setting and was, in his set of personal attributes, urbane. Sherlock Holmes, the most filmed character in the history of cinema did set out for the moors to entrap the Baskerville hound, but kept coming back to his bolt-hole in central London, right in the heart of the world's great empire. From here he explored London in all its complexity, moving effortlessly between contrasting milieus. He brought with him a mastery of codes and a charm in dealing with especially, female, clients. So proficient was Holmes in reading the city, that he perfected almost any disguise, penetrating in at least one tale, the opium-smokers' flophouses of the East End. In his character, urbane style emerged as a privilege of the educated and wealthy male, a distinguishing mark which somehow seemed to justify all the evasions required in his detection. Holmes's urbanity is thoroughly of London, the huge imperial city. As is that of his law-breaking alter ego, Raffles. E.W. Hornung's character, a gentleman turned thief, who came to the screen in silent films and later under Sam Wood's direction in the 1940 Raffles, with the impeccably urbane David Niven as hero. It is not immediately clear that this urbanity survived displacement from London to Southern California. The first noir era in crime film, claimed Mike Davis, exposed 'the epic dereliction of Downtown's Bunker Hill, which symbolized the rot at the heart of the expanding metropolis' (1992, 41). Davis recognised the class-conscious construction of the 'hard-boiled' detective, in which the tropes of aristocratic style were passed down from Raffles to Philip Marlowe. The detective, a representative of the threatened post-Depression urban middle class, employed stylistic markers to hold himself aloof from the poor, the working class and the marginal. In defending himself from their 'epic dereliction', the private eye depended on traces of the urbane inherited from a cycle of movies, which intervened between the Holmes stories and those of wartime noir, especially the first Saint and Falcon movies with George Sanders as hero. Indeed, that most urbane of all male stars of the 1940s, George Sanders ousted Philip Marlowe from his own mystery in The Falcon takes over [1942], a Chandler adaptation for which director Irving Reis inserted the urbane Falcon [Sanders]. Yet as the Falcon series wore on, crimes had to be set in distant and cosmopolitan locations, as if the city of the 1930s and '40s could not sustain the urbanity of the detective. In the later Falcon movies, the detective resorts to globe-trotting around fashionably exotic locations, as if his urbanity can no longer be demonstrated by imaginative daring but requires the prop of the cosmopolitan backdrop. While the subsequent noir cycle relied on fears of personal entrapment, the detective as urbane, was able to overcome dislocation. The solution of the crime is in effect an exteriorisation of inner order. The detective's languidness and characteristic dress, the male formal attire dissembled slightly for the rain-slicked street, has produced its own markers of the urbane, even if drawn from Casablanca rather than Los Angeles. The stylish detective, through dress, movement, and words, was able to remain aloof from the sufferings of the Hotel Tremaine. As Frank Kutnik pointed out, 'the impact of the American private-eye as a culturally iconized fantasy male derives from his role as a perpetually liminal self who can move freely among the diverse social worlds thrown up by the city, while existing on their margins' (1997, 90). What of the city in which the private eye resolves crime? In the transition from novel to movie, cities are regularly collapsed into a sequence of standard settings: night club, lounge, bar, office and most frequently, interior of the automobile. The city itself in its dissipation and disorder recedes into abstraction. A familiar range of shots and lighting, characteristic of noir, oblique angles, formalist patterning, low-key lights and extreme close-up, displaces the city of the written stories. In this first noir cycle, the detective-hero traverses an emerging urban disorder which, although he finds it despicable and degraded, remains a place in which he is at home. The urbanity of Holmes and the Saint has its terminal reflection in this command of localised and underworld codes and space. The private eye is defending a sense of self and self-worth from the degradation of urban life. Many of the noir films exaggerated this apartness by their use of low-key lighting to create an abstract order, redolent of psychological imbalance but nonetheless masking the jumbled city of the written detective fiction. To observe Jack Nicholson's Jake Gittes in Polanski's Chinatown [1974] is to see simultaneously the dissolving of the urbane self-containment of the detective and the fakery of his city. In Chinatown, Gittes is sleazy and foul mouthed and his attempts at wit fall short. He can't understand the crime narrative into which he has stumbled. Symbolically his nose is slit by a villain [he can't sniff out crime] and the mnemonic Chinatown is a model of the city as beyond knowledge; in which there are bad memories but no grasp of how the future might unfold. Perhaps even more removed from the urban and urbane is Gene Hackman's Harry Moseby, private eye as victim, in Arthur Penn's Night Moves [1975]. Like Jake he fails to rescue the female victim, his wit is rough rather than urbane, he dresses badly and has an unsuave background as professional sportsman . The old public school brigade in which the Saint, Raffles, the Falcon and indeed Chandler himself were all conjoined, had foresworn professional games in defence of the gifted amateur. Moseby drifts from the city to the Florida coast and then out to sea, the detective well and truly out of his depth. The first detectives took from the city an urbaneness parallel to the genteel detection of a country house whodunnit. In the neo-noir, the city is, despite Polanski's too careful reproduction [a simulacrum in itself] essentially uncoded and emptied. There is no milieu into which the detective can insinuate himself. Reservoir Dogs [1992] has characters with no names and is set in vacant industrial storage blocks. The best the characters can do for urbane conversation is to deconstruct Madonna. In Pulp Fiction, [1994] Tarantino's characters from the outset are presented to us as even more unsuave. They eat, crudely, in tinny diners and their understanding of the cosmopolitan is limited to European translations of 'Big Mac'. The urban world in which the languidly suave detective moved with ease and wit has degenerated into predictability. There are no codes to understand, no subject to remain self-contained. The detecting figure has in consequence come to be shaped more by Harry Callahan than by Holmes. No longer a knight errant struggling to maintain morality, Dirty Harry is barely distinguishable from the murderers he guns down. He hates urban diversity and the setting of the first film, in the monumental civic locations and tourism landscapes of San Francisco, ridicules any notion of architectural urbanity. In Dirty Harry [1971] the detective's nemesis is not the killer but the Mayor, who plays with urbanity, but in his foppish dress, over-tidy room and gold-embossed phone is a culpably weak fool. Harry in contrast is deliberately far from urbane. In the final scenes he even leaves the city itself for a Western-style setting of creek and antiquated machinery. With the urbane detective now a rarity on the screen, Los Angeles can be resurrected in urban theory as a crass land of simulacra, of theme parks and drive-in diners. Such hyper-reality would drive Marlowe to cynical disgust and Harry Callahan to wreak bloody revenge on both property developers and cultural theorists. Urbane, even cool, have come down it seems to, at best, 'street smart'. In the process, the urbanity inherited from a turn-of-the century aristocracy and passed down in cruder form to the declining middle class of Marlowe's California, has no significance. The people of the Hotel Tremaine have outlasted the detective. We don't have to see Los Angeles as the prototype of the 21st century city, even though a few geographers continue to insist that this is the case. But in the film story of detection, the urban of the twentieth- century city is a vacuum and urbane style means little. The male detective hero has dropped his guard. As dictionary detectives might have suspected, in these movies, humane is now absent from the human. References Davis, Mike (1992) City of Quartz: excavating the future in Los Angeles. Vintage. Krutnik, Frank (1997) 'Something more than night: tales of the noir city', in David B Clarke, ed., The cinematic city, Routledge. Citation reference for this article MLA Style McConville, Chris. "The private eye as urbane" M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 5.2 (2002). [your date of access] < http://www.media-culture.org.au/0205/private_eye.php>. Chicago Style McConville, Chris, "The private eye as urbane" M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 5, no. 2 (2002), < http://www.media-culture.org.au/0205/private_eye.php> ([your date of access]). APA Style McConville, Chris. (2002) The private eye as urbane. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 5(2). < http://www.media-culture.org.au/0205/private_eye.php> ([your date of access]).

19

Ming-fong Wang. "Railway, Mobility, and Horror: Conan Doyle’s Mystery and Detective Stories." Journal of Literature and Art Studies 5, no.8 (August28, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.17265/2159-5836/2015.08.001.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

20

Hudácskó, Brigitta. "Ruritania by the Sea." Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies 27, no.1 (June1, 2021). http://dx.doi.org/10.30608/hjeas/2021/27/1/5.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Seaside resorts frequently served as locations of murder mysteries in Golden Age detection fiction, since these destinations could provide a diverse clientele, confined to manageably small groups essential to classic detective stories. The fictional seaside town of Wilvercombe serves as the location of Dorothy L. Sayers’s detective novel Have His Carcase (1932), in which Lord Peter Wimsey and detective-story writer Harriet Vane investigate the case of a man found dead on the beach. The location of the body turns out to be a source of confusion: while the detectives expect a traditional locked-room mystery to unfold (albeit in an open-air setting), the death cannot be resolved until the detectives realize that they are working in the wrong genre: instead of a clue-puzzle mystery, they are trapped in a Ruritanian romance, with outlandish tales of intrigue, unlikely members of the Russian aristocracy, and exaggerated and oppressive performances of heterosexual romance. (BH)

21

Calanchi, Alessandra. "Quando manca il detective. La presa in carico dell’investigazione in due racconti americani di fine Ottocento." Linguæ & - Rivista di lingue e culture moderne 19, no.2 (January13, 2021). http://dx.doi.org/10.7358/ling-2020-002-cala.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

A Whisper in the Dark” by Louisa May Alcott (1877) and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892) offer an interesting, and not sufficiently investigated, perspective from the point of view of crime studies. Too intelligent and complex to be labelled as simple genre literature, and courted by gender studies, the two stories more aptly belong to Literature tout court, although many features normally lead to place them on the shelves of sensational, thriller, or mystery. The reading I propose stems from the desire to give voice to the two protagonists not only as victims of physical and psychological violence, but as active subjects and real Private Eyes within the narrative.

22

Susanto, Dwi. "GENRE CERITA SILAT DALAM SASTRA INDONESIA." Diksi 16, no.1 (November4, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.21831/diksi.v16i1.6563.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

There are several genres in literature such as mystery, detective, gothic, and crimegenres. Something unique in Indonesian literature is the martial art story genre, which maynot be found in other countries’ literature, especially in western literature. From itsformula, such a genre can be part of the world literature because it emphasizes the pluralityand the acceptance of other cultures. This article briefly describes the development of themartial art story genre in Indonesia, consisting of two parts, namely the genre as a productand a process of reception of Chinese literature through Chinese descendants and the genredeveloped from indigenous traditional stories in Indonesia. Although such a division is stilldebatable, this article describes the development from those two processes.Keywords: martial art story, reception of Chinese literature, Indonesian tradition

23

Franks, Rachel. "A Taste for Murder: The Curious Case of Crime Fiction." M/C Journal 17, no.1 (March18, 2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.770.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Introduction Crime fiction is one of the world’s most popular genres. Indeed, it has been estimated that as many as one in every three new novels, published in English, is classified within the crime fiction category (Knight xi). These new entrants to the market are forced to jostle for space on bookstore and library shelves with reprints of classic crime novels; such works placed in, often fierce, competition against their contemporaries as well as many of their predecessors. Raymond Chandler, in his well-known essay The Simple Art of Murder, noted Ernest Hemingway’s observation that “the good writer competes only with the dead. The good detective story writer […] competes not only with all the unburied dead but with all the hosts of the living as well” (3). In fact, there are so many examples of crime fiction works that, as early as the 1920s, one of the original ‘Queens of Crime’, Dorothy L. Sayers, complained: It is impossible to keep track of all the detective-stories produced to-day [sic]. Book upon book, magazine upon magazine pour out from the Press, crammed with murders, thefts, arsons, frauds, conspiracies, problems, puzzles, mysteries, thrills, maniacs, crooks, poisoners, forgers, garrotters, police, spies, secret-service men, detectives, until it seems that half the world must be engaged in setting riddles for the other half to solve (95). Twenty years after Sayers wrote on the matter of the vast quantities of crime fiction available, W.H. Auden wrote one of the more famous essays on the genre: The Guilty Vicarage: Notes on the Detective Story, by an Addict. Auden is, perhaps, better known as a poet but his connection to the crime fiction genre is undisputed. As well as his poetic works that reference crime fiction and commentaries on crime fiction, one of Auden’s fellow poets, Cecil Day-Lewis, wrote a series of crime fiction novels under the pseudonym Nicholas Blake: the central protagonist of these novels, Nigel Strangeways, was modelled upon Auden (Scaggs 27). Interestingly, some writers whose names are now synonymous with the genre, such as Edgar Allan Poe and Raymond Chandler, established the link between poetry and crime fiction many years before the publication of The Guilty Vicarage. Edmund Wilson suggested that “reading detective stories is simply a kind of vice that, for silliness and minor harmfulness, ranks somewhere between crossword puzzles and smoking” (395). In the first line of The Guilty Vicarage, Auden supports Wilson’s claim and confesses that: “For me, as for many others, the reading of detective stories is an addiction like tobacco or alcohol” (406). This indicates that the genre is at best a trivial pursuit, at worst a pursuit that is bad for your health and is, increasingly, socially unacceptable, while Auden’s ideas around taste—high and low—are made clear when he declares that “detective stories have nothing to do with works of art” (406). The debates that surround genre and taste are many and varied. The mid-1920s was a point in time which had witnessed crime fiction writers produce some of the finest examples of fiction to ever be published and when readers and publishers were watching, with anticipation, as a new generation of crime fiction writers were readying themselves to enter what would become known as the genre’s Golden Age. At this time, R. Austin Freeman wrote that: By the critic and the professedly literary person the detective story is apt to be dismissed contemptuously as outside the pale of literature, to be conceived of as a type of work produced by half-educated and wholly incompetent writers for consumption by office boys, factory girls, and other persons devoid of culture and literary taste (7). This article responds to Auden’s essay and explores how crime fiction appeals to many different tastes: tastes that are acquired, change over time, are embraced, or kept as guilty secrets. In addition, this article will challenge Auden’s very narrow definition of crime fiction and suggest how Auden’s religious imagery, deployed to explain why many people choose to read crime fiction, can be incorporated into a broader popular discourse on punishment. This latter argument demonstrates that a taste for crime fiction and a taste for justice are inextricably intertwined. Crime Fiction: A Type For Every Taste Cathy Cole has observed that “crime novels are housed in their own section in many bookshops, separated from literary novels much as you’d keep a child with measles away from the rest of the class” (116). Times have changed. So too, have our tastes. Crime fiction, once sequestered in corners, now demands vast tracts of prime real estate in bookstores allowing readers to “make their way to the appropriate shelves, and begin to browse […] sorting through a wide variety of very different types of novels” (Malmgren 115). This is a result of the sheer size of the genre, noted above, as well as the genre’s expanding scope. Indeed, those who worked to re-invent crime fiction in the 1800s could not have envisaged the “taxonomic exuberance” (Derrida 206) of the writers who have defined crime fiction sub-genres, as well as how readers would respond by not only wanting to read crime fiction but also wanting to read many different types of crime fiction tailored to their particular tastes. To understand the demand for this diversity, it is important to reflect upon some of the appeal factors of crime fiction for readers. Many rules have been promulgated for the writers of crime fiction to follow. Ronald Knox produced a set of 10 rules in 1928. These included Rule 3 “Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable”, and Rule 10 “Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them” (194–6). In the same year, S.S. Van Dine produced another list of 20 rules, which included Rule 3 “There must be no love interest: The business in hand is to bring a criminal to the bar of justice, not to bring a lovelorn couple to the hymeneal altar”, and Rule 7 “There simply must be a corpse in a detective novel, and the deader the corpse the better” (189–93). Some of these directives have been deliberately ignored or have become out-of-date over time while others continue to be followed in contemporary crime writing practice. In sharp contrast, there are no rules for reading this genre. Individuals are, generally, free to choose what, where, when, why, and how they read crime fiction. There are, however, different appeal factors for readers. The most common of these appeal factors, often described as doorways, are story, setting, character, and language. As the following passage explains: The story doorway beckons those who enjoy reading to find out what happens next. The setting doorway opens widest for readers who enjoy being immersed in an evocation of place or time. The doorway of character is for readers who enjoy looking at the world through others’ eyes. Readers who most appreciate skilful writing enter through the doorway of language (Wyatt online). These doorways draw readers to the crime fiction genre. There are stories that allow us to easily predict what will come next or make us hold our breath until the very last page, the books that we will cheerfully lend to a family member or a friend and those that we keep close to hand to re-read again and again. There are settings as diverse as country manors, exotic locations, and familiar city streets, places we have been and others that we might want to explore. There are characters such as the accidental sleuth, the hardboiled detective, and the refined police officer, amongst many others, the men and women—complete with idiosyncrasies and flaws—who we have grown to admire and trust. There is also the language that all writers, regardless of genre, depend upon to tell their tales. In crime fiction, even the most basic task of describing where the murder victim was found can range from words that convey the genteel—“The room of the tragedy” (Christie 62)—to the absurd: “There it was, jammed between a pallet load of best export boneless beef and half a tonne of spring lamb” (Maloney 1). These appeal factors indicate why readers might choose crime fiction over another genre, or choose one type of crime fiction over another. Yet such factors fail to explain what crime fiction is or adequately answer why the genre is devoured in such vast quantities. Firstly, crime fiction stories are those in which there is the committing of a crime, or at least the suspicion of a crime (Cole), and the story that unfolds revolves around the efforts of an amateur or professional detective to solve that crime (Scaggs). Secondly, crime fiction offers the reassurance of resolution, a guarantee that from “previous experience and from certain cultural conventions associated with this genre that ultimately the mystery will be fully explained” (Zunshine 122). For Auden, the definition of the crime novel was quite specific, and he argued that referring to the genre by “the vulgar definition, ‘a Whodunit’ is correct” (407). Auden went on to offer a basic formula stating that: “a murder occurs; many are suspected; all but one suspect, who is the murderer, are eliminated; the murderer is arrested or dies” (407). The idea of a formula is certainly a useful one, particularly when production demands—in terms of both quality and quantity—are so high, because the formula facilitates creators in the “rapid and efficient production of new works” (Cawelti 9). For contemporary crime fiction readers, the doorways to reading, discussed briefly above, have been cast wide open. Stories relying upon the basic crime fiction formula as a foundation can be gothic tales, clue puzzles, forensic procedurals, spy thrillers, hardboiled narratives, or violent crime narratives, amongst many others. The settings can be quiet villages or busy metropolises, landscapes that readers actually inhabit or that provide a form of affordable tourism. These stories can be set in the past, the here and now, or the future. Characters can range from Edgar Allan Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin to Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade, from Agatha Christie’s Miss Jane Marple to Kerry Greenwood’s Honourable Phryne Fisher. Similarly, language can come in numerous styles from the direct (even rough) words of Carter Brown to the literary prose of Peter Temple. Anything is possible, meaning everything is available to readers. For Auden—although he required a crime to be committed and expected that crime to be resolved—these doorways were only slightly ajar. For him, the story had to be a Whodunit; the setting had to be rural England, though a college setting was also considered suitable; the characters had to be “eccentric (aesthetically interesting individuals) and good (instinctively ethical)” and there needed to be a “completely satisfactory detective” (Sherlock Holmes, Inspector French, and Father Brown were identified as “satisfactory”); and the language descriptive and detailed (406, 409, 408). To illustrate this point, Auden’s concept of crime fiction has been plotted on a taxonomy, below, that traces the genre’s main developments over a period of three centuries. As can be seen, much of what is, today, taken for granted as being classified as crime fiction is completely excluded from Auden’s ideal. Figure 1: Taxonomy of Crime Fiction (Adapted from Franks, Murder 136) Crime Fiction: A Personal Journey I discovered crime fiction the summer before I started high school when I saw the film version of The Big Sleep starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. A few days after I had seen the film I started reading the Raymond Chandler novel of the same title, featuring his famous detective Philip Marlowe, and was transfixed by the second paragraph: The main hallway of the Sternwood place was two stories high. Over the entrance doors, which would have let in a troop of Indian elephants, there was a broad stained-glass panel showing a knight in dark armour rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree and didn’t have any clothes on but some very long and convenient hair. The knight had pushed the visor of his helmet back to be sociable, and he was fiddling with the knots on the ropes that tied the lady to the tree and not getting anywhere. I stood there and thought that if I lived in the house, I would sooner or later have to climb up there and help him. He didn’t seem to be really trying (9). John Scaggs has written that this passage indicates Marlowe is an idealised figure, a knight of romance rewritten onto the mean streets of mid-20th century Los Angeles (62); a relocation Susan Roland calls a “secular form of the divinely sanctioned knight errant on a quest for metaphysical justice” (139): my kind of guy. Like many young people I looked for adventure and escape in books, a search that was realised with Raymond Chandler and his contemporaries. On the escapism scale, these men with their stories of tough-talking detectives taking on murderers and other criminals, law enforcement officers, and the occasional femme fatale, were certainly a sharp upgrade from C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia. After reading the works written by the pioneers of the hardboiled and roman noir traditions, I looked to other American authors such as Edgar Allan Poe who, in the mid-1800s, became the father of the modern detective story, and Thorne Smith who, in the 1920s and 1930s, produced magical realist tales with characters who often chose to dabble on the wrong side of the law. This led me to the works of British crime writers including Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L. Sayers. My personal library then became dominated by Australian writers of crime fiction, from the stories of bushrangers and convicts of the Colonial era to contemporary tales of police and private investigators. There have been various attempts to “improve” or “refine” my tastes: to convince me that serious literature is real reading and frivolous fiction is merely a distraction. Certainly, the reading of those novels, often described as classics, provide perfect combinations of beauty and brilliance. Their narratives, however, do not often result in satisfactory endings. This routinely frustrates me because, while I understand the philosophical frameworks that many writers operate within, I believe the characters of such works are too often treated unfairly in the final pages. For example, at the end of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Frederick Henry “left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain” after his son is stillborn and “Mrs Henry” becomes “very ill” and dies (292–93). Another example can be found on the last page of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four when Winston Smith “gazed up at the enormous face” and he realised that he “loved Big Brother” (311). Endings such as these provide a space for reflection about the world around us but rarely spark an immediate response of how great that world is to live in (Franks Motive). The subject matter of crime fiction does not easily facilitate fairy-tale finishes, yet, people continue to read the genre because, generally, the concluding chapter will show that justice, of some form, will be done. Punishment will be meted out to the ‘bad characters’ that have broken society’s moral or legal laws; the ‘good characters’ may experience hardships and may suffer but they will, generally, prevail. Crime Fiction: A Taste For Justice Superimposed upon Auden’s parameters around crime fiction, are his ideas of the law in the real world and how such laws are interwoven with the Christian-based system of ethics. This can be seen in Auden’s listing of three classes of crime: “(a) offenses against God and one’s neighbor or neighbors; (b) offenses against God and society; (c) offenses against God” (407). Murder, in Auden’s opinion, is a class (b) offense: for the crime fiction novel, the society reflected within the story should be one in “a state of grace, i.e., a society where there is no need of the law, no contradiction between the aesthetic individual and the ethical universal, and where murder, therefore, is the unheard-of act which precipitates a crisis” (408). Additionally, in the crime novel “as in its mirror image, the Quest for the Grail, maps (the ritual of space) and timetables (the ritual of time) are desirable. Nature should reflect its human inhabitants, i.e., it should be the Great Good Place; for the more Eden-like it is, the greater the contradiction of murder” (408). Thus, as Charles J. Rzepka notes, “according to W.H. Auden, the ‘classical’ English detective story typically re-enacts rites of scapegoating and expulsion that affirm the innocence of a community of good people supposedly ignorant of evil” (12). This premise—of good versus evil—supports Auden’s claim that the punishment of wrongdoers, particularly those who claim the “right to be omnipotent” and commit murder (409), should be swift and final: As to the murderer’s end, of the three alternatives—execution, suicide, and madness—the first is preferable; for if he commits suicide he refuses to repent, and if he goes mad he cannot repent, but if he does not repent society cannot forgive. Execution, on the other hand, is the act of atonement by which the murderer is forgiven by society (409). The unilateral endorsem*nt of state-sanctioned murder is problematic, however, because—of the main justifications for punishment: retribution; deterrence; incapacitation; and rehabilitation (Carter Snead 1245)—punishment, in this context, focuses exclusively upon retribution and deterrence, incapacitation is achieved by default, but the idea of rehabilitation is completely ignored. This, in turn, ignores how the reading of crime fiction can be incorporated into a broader popular discourse on punishment and how a taste for crime fiction and a taste for justice are inextricably intertwined. One of the ways to explore the connection between crime fiction and justice is through the lens of Emile Durkheim’s thesis on the conscience collective which proposes punishment is a process allowing for the demonstration of group norms and the strengthening of moral boundaries. David Garland, in summarising this thesis, states: So although the modern state has a near monopoly of penal violence and controls the administration of penalties, a much wider population feels itself to be involved in the process of punishment, and supplies the context of social support and valorization within which state punishment takes place (32). It is claimed here that this “much wider population” connecting with the task of punishment can be taken further. Crime fiction, above all other forms of literary production, which, for those who do not directly contribute to the maintenance of their respective legal systems, facilitates a feeling of active participation in the penalising of a variety of perpetrators: from the issuing of fines to incarceration (Franks Punishment). Crime fiction readers are therefore, temporarily at least, direct contributors to a more stable society: one that is clearly based upon right and wrong and reliant upon the conscience collective to maintain and reaffirm order. In this context, the reader is no longer alone, with only their crime fiction novel for company, but has become an active member of “a moral framework which binds individuals to each other and to its conventions and institutions” (Garland 51). This allows crime fiction, once viewed as a “vice” (Wilson 395) or an “addiction” (Auden 406), to be seen as playing a crucial role in the preservation of social mores. It has been argued “only the most literal of literary minds would dispute the claim that fictional characters help shape the way we think of ourselves, and hence help us articulate more clearly what it means to be human” (Galgut 190). Crime fiction focuses on what it means to be human, and how complex humans are, because stories of murders, and the men and women who perpetrate and solve them, comment on what drives some people to take a life and others to avenge that life which is lost and, by extension, engages with a broad community of readers around ideas of justice and punishment. It is, furthermore, argued here that the idea of the story is one of the more important doorways for crime fiction and, more specifically, the conclusions that these stories, traditionally, offer. For Auden, the ending should be one of restoration of the spirit, as he suspected that “the typical reader of detective stories is, like myself, a person who suffers from a sense of sin” (411). In this way, the “phantasy, then, which the detective story addict indulges is the phantasy of being restored to the Garden of Eden, to a state of innocence, where he may know love as love and not as the law” (412), indicating that it was not necessarily an accident that “the detective story has flourished most in predominantly Protestant countries” (408). Today, modern crime fiction is a “broad church, where talented authors raise questions and cast light on a variety of societal and other issues through the prism of an exciting, page-turning story” (Sisterson). Moreover, our tastes in crime fiction have been tempered by a growing fear of real crime, particularly murder, “a crime of unique horror” (Hitchens 200). This has seen some readers develop a taste for crime fiction that is not produced within a framework of ecclesiastical faith but is rather grounded in reliance upon those who enact punishment in both the fictional and real worlds. As P.D. James has written: [N]ot by luck or divine intervention, but by human ingenuity, human intelligence and human courage. It confirms our hope that, despite some evidence to the contrary, we live in a beneficent and moral universe in which problems can be solved by rational means and peace and order restored from communal or personal disruption and chaos (174). Dorothy L. Sayers, despite her work to legitimise crime fiction, wrote that there: “certainly does seem a possibility that the detective story will some time come to an end, simply because the public will have learnt all the tricks” (108). Of course, many readers have “learnt all the tricks”, or most of them. This does not, however, detract from the genre’s overall appeal. We have not grown bored with, or become tired of, the formula that revolves around good and evil, and justice and punishment. Quite the opposite. Our knowledge of, as well as our faith in, the genre’s “tricks” gives a level of confidence to readers who are looking for endings that punish murderers and other wrongdoers, allowing for more satisfactory conclusions than the, rather depressing, ends given to Mr. Henry and Mr. Smith by Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell noted above. Conclusion For some, the popularity of crime fiction is a curious case indeed. When Penguin and Collins published the Marsh Million—100,000 copies each of 10 Ngaio Marsh titles in 1949—the author’s relief at the success of the project was palpable when she commented that “it was pleasant to find detective fiction being discussed as a tolerable form of reading by people whose opinion one valued” (172). More recently, upon the announcement that a Miles Franklin Award would be given to Peter Temple for his crime novel Truth, John Sutherland, a former chairman of the judges for one of the world’s most famous literary awards, suggested that submitting a crime novel for the Booker Prize would be: “like putting a donkey into the Grand National”. Much like art, fashion, food, and home furnishings or any one of the innumerable fields of activity and endeavour that are subject to opinion, there will always be those within the world of fiction who claim positions as arbiters of taste. Yet reading is intensely personal. I like a strong, well-plotted story, appreciate a carefully researched setting, and can admire elegant language, but if a character is too difficult to embrace—if I find I cannot make an emotional connection, if I find myself ambivalent about their fate—then a book is discarded as not being to my taste. It is also important to recognise that some tastes are transient. Crime fiction stories that are popular today could be forgotten tomorrow. Some stories appeal to such a broad range of tastes they are immediately included in the crime fiction canon. Yet others evolve over time to accommodate widespread changes in taste (an excellent example of this can be seen in the continual re-imagining of the stories of Sherlock Holmes). Personal tastes also adapt to our experiences and our surroundings. A book that someone adores in their 20s might be dismissed in their 40s. A storyline that was meaningful when read abroad may lose some of its magic when read at home. Personal events, from a change in employment to the loss of a loved one, can also impact upon what we want to read. Similarly, world events, such as economic crises and military conflicts, can also influence our reading preferences. Auden professed an almost insatiable appetite for crime fiction, describing the reading of detective stories as an addiction, and listed a very specific set of criteria to define the Whodunit. Today, such self-imposed restrictions are rare as, while there are many rules for writing crime fiction, there are no rules for reading this (or any other) genre. People are, generally, free to choose what, where, when, why, and how they read crime fiction, and to follow the deliberate or whimsical paths that their tastes may lay down for them. Crime fiction writers, past and present, offer: an incredible array of detective stories from the locked room to the clue puzzle; settings that range from the English country estate to city skyscrapers in glamorous locations around the world; numerous characters from cerebral sleuths who can solve a crime in their living room over a nice, hot cup of tea to weapon wielding heroes who track down villains on foot in darkened alleyways; and, language that ranges from the cultured conversations from the novels of the genre’s Golden Age to the hard-hitting terminology of forensic and legal procedurals. Overlaid on these appeal factors is the capacity of crime fiction to feed a taste for justice: to engage, vicariously at least, in the establishment of a more stable society. Of course, there are those who turn to the genre for a temporary distraction, an occasional guilty pleasure. There are those who stumble across the genre by accident or deliberately seek it out. There are also those, like Auden, who are addicted to crime fiction. So there are corpses for the conservative and dead bodies for the bloodthirsty. There is, indeed, a murder victim, and a murder story, to suit every reader’s taste. References Auden, W.H. “The Guilty Vicarage: Notes on The Detective Story, By an Addict.” Harper’s Magazine May (1948): 406–12. 1 Dec. 2013 ‹http://www.harpers.org/archive/1948/05/0033206›. Carter Snead, O. “Memory and Punishment.” Vanderbilt Law Review 64.4 (2011): 1195–264. Cawelti, John G. Adventure, Mystery and Romance: Formula Stories as Art and Popular Culture. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1976/1977. Chandler, Raymond. The Big Sleep. London: Penguin, 1939/1970. ––. The Simple Art of Murder. New York: Vintage Books, 1950/1988. Christie, Agatha. The Mysterious Affair at Styles. London: HarperCollins, 1920/2007. Cole, Cathy. Private Dicks and Feisty Chicks: An Interrogation of Crime Fiction. Fremantle: Curtin UP, 2004. Derrida, Jacques. “The Law of Genre.” Glyph 7 (1980): 202–32. Franks, Rachel. “May I Suggest Murder?: An Overview of Crime Fiction for Readers’ Advisory Services Staff.” Australian Library Journal 60.2 (2011): 133–43. ––. “Motive for Murder: Reading Crime Fiction.” The Australian Library and Information Association Biennial Conference. Sydney: Jul. 2012. ––. “Punishment by the Book: Delivering and Evading Punishment in Crime Fiction.” Inter-Disciplinary.Net 3rd Global Conference on Punishment. Oxford: Sep. 2013. Freeman, R.A. “The Art of the Detective Story.” The Art of the Mystery Story: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Howard Haycraft. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1924/1947. 7–17. Galgut, E. “Poetic Faith and Prosaic Concerns: A Defense of Suspension of Disbelief.” South African Journal of Philosophy 21.3 (2002): 190–99. Garland, David. Punishment and Modern Society: A Study in Social Theory. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993. Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. London: Random House, 1929/2004. ––. in R. Chandler. The Simple Art of Murder. New York: Vintage Books, 1950/1988. Hitchens, P. A Brief History of Crime: The Decline of Order, Justice and Liberty in England. London: Atlantic Books, 2003. James, P.D. Talking About Detective Fiction. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. Knight, Stephen. Crime Fiction since 1800: Death, Detection, Diversity, 2nd ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillian, 2010. Knox, Ronald A. “Club Rules: The 10 Commandments for Detective Novelists, 1928.” Ronald Knox Society of North America. 1 Dec. 2013 ‹http://www.ronaldknoxsociety.com/detective.html›. Malmgren, C.D. “Anatomy of Murder: Mystery, Detective and Crime Fiction.” Journal of Popular Culture Spring (1997): 115–21. Maloney, Shane. The Murray Whelan Trilogy: Stiff, The Brush-Off and Nice Try. Melbourne: Text Publishing, 1994/2008. Marsh, Ngaio in J. Drayton. Ngaio Marsh: Her Life in Crime. Auckland: Harper Collins, 2008. Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. London: Penguin Books, 1949/1989. Roland, Susan. From Agatha Christie to Ruth Rendell: British Women Writers in Detective and Crime Fiction. London: Palgrave, 2001. Rzepka, Charles J. Detective Fiction. Cambridge: Polity, 2005. Sayers, Dorothy L. “The Omnibus of Crime.” The Art of the Mystery Story: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Howard Haycraft. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1928/1947. 71–109. Scaggs, John. Crime Fiction: The New Critical Idiom. London: Routledge, 2005. Sisterson, C. “Battle for the Marsh: Awards 2013.” Black Mask: Pulps, Noir and News of Same. 1 Jan. 2014 http://www.blackmask.com/category/awards-2013/ Sutherland, John. in A. Flood. “Could Miles Franklin turn the Booker Prize to Crime?” The Guardian. 1 Jan. 2014 ‹http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jun/25/miles-franklin-booker-prize-crime›. Van Dine, S.S. “Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories.” The Art of the Mystery Story: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Howard Haycraft. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1928/1947. 189-93. Wilson, Edmund. “Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd.” The Art of the Mystery Story: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Howard Haycraft. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1944/1947. 390–97. Wyatt, N. “Redefining RA: A RA Big Think.” Library Journal Online. 1 Jan. 2014 ‹http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2007/07/ljarchives/lj-series-redefining-ra-an-ra-big-think›. Zunshine, Lisa. Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2006.

24

Franks, Rachel. "Building a Professional Profile: Charles Dickens and the Rise of the “Detective Force”." M/C Journal 20, no.2 (April26, 2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1214.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

IntroductionAccounts of criminals, their victims, and their pursuers have become entrenched within the sphere of popular culture; most obviously in the genres of true crime and crime fiction. The centrality of the pursuer in the form of the detective, within these stories, dates back to the nineteenth century. This, often highly-stylised and regularly humanised protagonist, is now a firm feature of both factual and fictional accounts of crime narratives that, today, regularly focus on the energies of the detective in solving a variety of cases. So familiar is the figure of the detective, it seems that these men and women—amateurs and professionals—have always had an important role to play in the pursuit and punishment of the wrongdoer. Yet, the first detectives were forced to overcome significant resistance from a suspicious public. Some early efforts to reimagine punishment and to laud the detective include articles written by Charles Dickens; pieces on public hangings and policing that reflect the great Victorian novelist’s commitment to shed light on, through written commentaries, a range of important social issues. This article explores some of Dickens’s lesser-known pieces, that—appearing in daily newspapers and in one of his own publications Household Words—helped to change some common perceptions of punishment and policing. Image 1: Harper's Magazine 7 December 1867 (Charles Dickens Reading, by Charles A. Barry). Image credit: United States Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. A Reliance on the Scaffold: Early Law Enforcement in EnglandCrime control in 1720s England was dependent upon an inconsistent, and by extension ineffective, network of constables and night watchmen. It would be almost another three decades before Henry Fielding established the Bow Street Foot Patrol, or Bow Street Runners, in 1749, “six men in blue coats, patrolling the area within six miles of Charing Cross” (Worsley 35). A large-scale, formalised police force was attempted by Pitt the Younger in 1785 with his “Bill for the Further prevention of Crime and for the more Speedy Detection and Punishment of Offenders against the Peace” (Lyman 144). The proposed legislation was withdrawn due to fierce opposition that was underpinned by fears, held by officials, of a divestment of power to a new body of law enforcers (Lyman 144).The type of force offered in 1785 would not be realised until the next century, when the work of Robert Peel saw the passing of the Metropolitan Police Act 1829. The Police Act, which “constituted a revolution in traditional methods of law enforcement” (Lyman 141), was focused on the prevention of crime, “to reassure the lawful and discourage the wrongdoer” (Hitchens 51). Until these changes were implemented violent punishment, through the Waltham Black Act 1723, remained firmly in place (Cruickshanks and Erskine-Hill 359) as part of the state’s arsenal against crime (Pepper 473).The Black Act, legislation often referred to as the ‘Bloody Code’ as it took the number of capital felonies to over 350 (Pepper 473), served in lieu of consistency and cooperation, across the country, in relation to the safekeeping of the citizenry. This situation inevitably led to anxieties about crime and crime control. In 1797 Patrick Colquhoun, a magistrate, published A Treatise on the Police of the Metropolis in which he estimated that, out of a city population of just under 1 million, 115,000 men and women supported themselves “in and near the Metropolis by pursuits either criminal-illegal-or immoral” (Lyman 144). Andrew Pepper highlights tensions between “crime, governance and economics” as well as “rampant petty criminality [… and] widespread political corruption” (474). He also notes a range of critical responses to crime and how, “a particular kind of writing about crime in the 1720s demonstrated, perhaps for the first time, an awareness of, or self-consciousness about, this tension between competing visions of the state and state power” (Pepper 474), a tension that remains visible today in modern works of true crime and crime fiction. In Dickens’s day, crime and its consequences were serious legal, moral, and social issues (as, indeed, they are today). An increase in the crime rate, an aggressive state, the lack of formal policing, the growth of the printing industry, and writers offering diverse opinions—from the sympathetic to the retributive—on crime changed crime writing. The public wanted to know about the criminal who had disturbed society and wanted to engage with opinions on how the criminal should be stopped and punished. The public also wanted to be updated on changes to the judicial system such as the passing of the Judgement of Death Act 1823 which drastically reduced the number of capital crimes (Worsley 122) and how the Gaols Act, also of 1823, “moved tentatively towards national prison reform” (Gattrell 579). Crimes continued to be committed and alongside the wrongdoers were readers that wanted to be diverted from everyday events by, but also had a genuine need to be informed about, crime. A demand for true crime tales demonstrating a broader social need for crimes, even the most minor infractions, to be publicly punished: first on the scaffold and then in print. Some cases were presented as sensationalised true crime tales; others would be fictionalised in short stories and novels. Standing Witness: Dickens at the ScaffoldIt is interesting to note that Dickens witnessed at least four executions in his lifetime (Simpson 126). The first was the hanging of a counterfeiter, more specifically a coiner, which in the 1800s was still a form of high treason. The last person executed for coining in England was in early 1829; as Dickens arrived in London at the end of 1822, aged just 10-years-old (Simpson 126-27) he would have been a boy when he joined the crowds around the scaffold. Many journalists and writers who have documented executions have been “criticised for using this spectacle as a source for generating sensational copy” (Simpson 127). Dickens also wrote about public hangings. His most significant commentaries on the issue being two sets of letters: one set published in The Daily News (1846) and a second set published in The Times (1849) (Brandwood 3). Yet, he was immune from the criticism directed at so many other writers, in large part, due to his reputation as a liberal, “social reformer moved by compassion, but also by an antipathy toward waste, bureaucratic incompetence, and above all toward exploitation and injustice” (Simpson 127). As Anthony Simpson points out, Dickens did not sympathise with the condemned: “He wrote as a realist and not a moralist and his lack of sympathy for the criminal was clear, explicit and stated often” (128). Simpson also notes that Dickens’s letters on execution written in 1846 were “strongly supportive of total abolition” while later letters, written in 1849, presented arguments against public executions rather than the practice of execution. In 1859 Dickens argued against pardoning a poisoner. While in 1864 he supported the execution of the railway carriage murderer Franz Müller, explaining he would be glad to abolish both public executions and capital punishment, “if I knew what to do with the Savages of civilisation. As I do not, I would rid Society of them, when they shed blood, in a very solemn manner” (in Simpson 138-39) that is, executions should proceed but should take place in private.Importantly, Dickens was consistently concerned about society’s fascination with the scaffold. In his second letter to The Daily News, Dickens asks: round what other punishment does the like interest gather? We read of the trials of persons who have rendered themselves liable to transportation for life, and we read of their sentences, and, in some few notorious instances, of their departure from this country, and arrival beyond the sea; but they are never followed into their cells, and tracked from day to day, and night to night; they are never reproduced in their false letters, flippant conversations, theological disquisitions with visitors, lay and clerical […]. They are tried, found guilty, punished; and there an end. (“To the Editors of The Daily News” 6)In this passage, Dickens describes an overt curiosity with those criminals destined for the most awful of punishments. A curiosity that was put on vile display when a mob gathered on the concourse to watch a hanging; a sight which Dickens readily admitted “made [his] blood run cold” (“Letter to the Editor” 4).Dickens’s novels are grand stories, many of which feature criminals and criminal sub-plots. There are, for example, numerous criminals, including the infamous fa*gin in Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy’s Progress (1838); several rioters are condemned to hang in Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty (1841); there is murder in The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit (1844); and murder, too, in Bleak House (1853). Yet, Dickens never wavered in his revulsion for the public display of the execution as revealed in his “refusal to portray the scene at the scaffold [which] was principled and heartfelt. He came, reluctantly to support capital punishment, but he would never use its application for dramatic effect” (Simpson 141).The Police Detective: A Public Relations ExerciseBy the mid-1700s the crime story was one of “sin to crime and then the gallows” (Rawlings online): “Crimes of every defcription (sic) have their origin in the vicious and immoral habits of the people” (Colquhoun 32). As Philip Rawlings notes, “once sin had been embarked upon, capture and punishment followed” (online). The origins of this can be found in the formula relied upon by Samuel Smith in the seventeenth century. Smith was the Ordinary of Newgate, or prison chaplain (1676–1698), who published Accounts of criminals and their gruesome ends. The outputs swelled the ranks of the already burgeoning market of broadsides, handbills and pamphlets. Accounts included: 1) the sermon delivered as the prisoner awaited execution; 2) a brief overview of the crimes for which the prisoner was being punished; and 3) a reporting of the events that surrounded the execution (Gladfelder 52–53), including the prisoner’s behaviour upon the scaffold and any last words spoken. For modern readers, the detective and the investigation is conspicuously absent. These popular Accounts (1676–1772)—over 400 editions offering over 2,500 criminal biographies—were only a few pence a copy. With print runs in the thousands, the Ordinary earnt up to £200 per year for his efforts (Emsley, Hitchco*ck, and Shoemaker online). For:penitence and profit made comfortable bedfellows, ensuring true crime writing became a firm feature of the business of publishing. That victims and villains suffered was regrettable but no horror was so terrible anyone forgot there was money to be made. (Franks, “Stealing Stories” 7)As the changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution were having their full impact, many were looking for answers, and certainty, in a period of radical social transformation. Sin as a central motif in crime stories was insufficient: the detective was becoming essential (Franks, “True Crime” 239). “In the nineteenth century, the role of the newly-fashioned detective as an agent of consolation or security is both commercially and ideologically central to the subsequent project of popular crime writing” (Bell 8). This was supported by an “increasing professionalism and proficiency of policemen, detectives, and prosecutors, new understandings about psychology, and advances in forensic science and detection techniques” (Murley 10). Elements now included in most crime narratives. Dickens insisted that the detective was a crucial component of the justice system—a figure to be celebrated, one to take centre stage in the crime story—reflecting his staunch support “of the London Metropolitan Police” (Simpson 140). Indeed, while Dickens is known principally for exposing wretched poverty, he was also interested in a range of legal issues as can be evinced from his writings for Household Words. Image 2: Household Words 27 July 1850 (Front Page). Image credit: Dickens Journals Online. W.H. Wills argued for the acceptance of the superiority of the detective when, in 1850, he outlined the “difference between a regular and a detective policeman” (368). The detective must, he wrote: “counteract every sort of rascal whose only means of existence it avowed rascality, but to clear up mysteries, the investigation of which demands the utmost delicacy and tact” (368). The detective is also extraordinarily efficient; cases are solved quickly, in one example a matter is settled in just “ten minutes” (369).Dickens’s pro-police pieces, included a blatantly promotional, two-part work “A Detective Police Party” (1850). The narrative begins with open criticism of the Bow Street Runners contrasting these “men of very indifferent character” to the Detective Force which is “so well chosen and trained, proceeds so systematically and quietly, does its business in such a workman-like manner, and is always so calmly and steadily engaged in the service of the public” (“Police Party, Part I” 409). The “party” is just that: a gathering of detectives and editorial staff. Men in a “magnificent chamber”, seated at “a round table […] with some glasses and cigars arranged upon it; and the editorial sofa elegantly hemmed in between that stately piece of furniture and the wall” (“Police Party, Part I” 409). Two inspectors and five sergeants are present. Each man prepared to share some of their experiences in the service of Londoners:they are, [Dickens tells us] one and all, respectable-looking men; of perfectly good deportment and unusual intelligence; with nothing lounging or slinking in their manners; with an air of keen observation, and quick perception when addressed; and generally presenting in their faces, traces more or less marked of habitually leading lives of strong mental excitement. (“Police Party, Part I” 410) Dickens goes to great lengths to reinforce the superiority of the police detective. These men, “in a glance, immediately takes an inventory of the furniture and an accurate sketch of the editorial presence” and speak “very concisely, and in well-chosen language” and who present as an “amicable brotherhood” (“Police Party, Part I” 410). They are also adaptable and constantly working to refine their craft, through apeculiar ability, always sharpening and being improved by practice, and always adapting itself to every variety of circ*mstances, and opposing itself to every new device that perverted ingenuity can invent, for which this important social branch of the public service is remarkable! (“Police Party, Part II” 459)These detectives are also, in some ways, familiar. Dickens’s offerings include: a “shrewd, hard-headed Scotchman – in appearance not at all unlike a very acute, thoroughly-trained schoolmaster”; a man “with a ruddy face and a high sun-burnt forehead, [who] has the air of one who has been a Sergeant in the army” (“Police Party, Part I” 409-10); and another man who slips easily into the role of the “greasy, sleepy, shy, good-natured, chuckle-headed, un-suspicious, and confiding young butcher” (“Police Party, Part II” 457). These descriptions are more than just attempts to flesh out a story; words on a page reminding us that the author is not just another journalist but one of the great voices of the Victorian era. These profiles are, it is argued here, a deliberate strategy to reassure readers.In summary, police detectives are only to be feared by those residing on the wrong side of the law. For those without criminal intent; detectives are, in some ways, like us. They are people we already know and trust. The stern but well-meaning, intelligent school teacher; the brave and loyal soldier defending the Empire; and the local merchant, a person we see every day. Dickens provides, too, concrete examples for how everyone can contribute to a safer society by assisting these detectives. This, is perfect public relations. Thus, almost singlehandedly, he builds a professional profile for a new type of police officer. The problem (crime) and its solution (the detective) neatly packaged, with step-by-step instructions for citizens to openly support this new-style of constabulary and so achieve a better, less crime-ridden community. This is a theme pursued in “Three Detective Anecdotes” (1850) where Dickens continued to successfully merge “solid lower-middle-class respectability with an intimate knowledge of the criminal world” (Priestman 177); so, proffering the ideal police detective. A threat to the criminal but not to the hard-working and honest men, women, and children of the city.The Detective: As Fact and as FictionThese writings are also a precursor to one of the greatest fictional detectives of the English-speaking world. Dickens observes that, for these new-style police detectives: “Nothing is so common or deceptive as such appearances at first” (“Police Party, Part I” 410). In 1891, Arthur Conan Doyle would write that: “There is nothing so deceptive as an obvious fact” (78). Dickens had prepared readers for the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes: who was smarter, more observant and who had more determination to take on criminals than the average person. The readers of Dickens were, in many respects, positioned as prototypes of Dr John Watson: a hardworking, loyal Englishman. Smart. But not as smart as those who would seek to do harm. Watson needed Holmes to make the world a better place; the subscriber to Household Words needed the police detective.Another article, “On Duty with Inspector Field” (1851), profiled the “well-known hand” responsible for bringing numerous offenders to justice and sending them, “inexorably, to New South Wales” (Dickens 266). Critically this true crime narrative would be converted into a crime fiction story as Inspector Field is transformed (it is widely believed) into the imagined Inspector Bucket. The 1860s have been identified as “a period of awakening for the detective novel” (Ashley x), a predictor of which is the significant sub-plot of murder in Dickens’s Bleak House. In this novel, a murder is committed with the case taken on, and competently solved by, Bucket who is a man of “skill and integrity” a man presented as an “ideal servant” though one working for a “flawed legal system” (Walton 458). Mr Snagsby, of Bleak House, observes Bucket as a man whoseems in some indefinable manner to lurk and lounge; also, that whenever he is going to turn to the right or left, he pretends to have a fixed purpose in his mind of going straight ahead, and wheels off, sharply at the very last moment [… He] notices things in general, with a face as unchanging as the great mourning ring on his little finger, or the brooch, composed of not much diamond and a good deal of setting, which he wears in his shirt. (278) This passage, it is argued here, places Bucket alongside the men at the detective police party in Household Words. He is simultaneously superhuman in mind and manner, though rather ordinary in dress. Like the real-life detectives of Dickens’s articles; he is a man committed to keeping the city safe while posing no threat to law-abiding citizens. ConclusionThis article has explored, briefly, the contributions of the highly-regarded Victorian author, Charles Dickens, to factual and fictional crime writing. The story of Dickens as a social commentator is one that is familiar to many; what is less well-known is the connection of Dickens to important conversations around capital punishment and the rise of the detective in crime-focused narratives; particularly how he assisted in building the professional profile of the police detective. In this way, through fact and fiction, Dickens performed great (if under-acknowledged) public services around punishment and law enforcement: he contributed to debates on the death penalty and he helped to build trust in the radical social project that established modern-day policing.AcknowledgementsThe author offers her sincere thanks to the New South Wales Dickens Society, Simon Dwyer, and Peter Kirkpatrick. The author is also grateful to the reviewers of this article for their thoughtful comments and valuable suggestions. ReferencesAshley, Mike. “Introduction: Seeking the Evidence.” The Notting Hill Mystery. Author. Charles Warren Adams. London: The British Library, 2012. xxi-iv. Bell, Ian A. “Eighteenth-Century Crime Writing.” The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction. Ed. Martin Priestman. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003/2006. 7-17.Brandwood, Katherine. “The Dark and Dreadful Interest”: Charles Dickens, Public Death and the Amusem*nts of the People. MA Thesis. Washington, DC: Georgetown University, 2013. 19 Feb. 2017 <https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/bitstream/handle/10822/558266/Brandwood_georgetown_0076M_12287.pdf;sequence=1>.Collins, Philip. Dickens and Crime. London: Macmillan & Co, 1964.Cruickshanks, Eveline, and Howard Erskine-Hill. “The Waltham Black Act and Jacobitism.” Journal of British Studies 24.3 (1985): 358-65.Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy’s Progress. London: Richard Bentley,1838.———. Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty. London: Chapman & Hall, 1841. ———. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. London: Chapman & Hall, 1844.———. “To the Editors of The Daily News.” The Daily News 28 Feb. 1846: 6. (Reprinted in Antony E. Simpson. Witnesses to the Scaffold. Lambertville: True Bill P, 2008. 141–149.)———. “Letter to the Editor.” The Times 14 Nov. 1849: 4. (Reprinted in Antony E. Simpson. Witnesses to the Scaffold. Lambertville: True Bill P, 2008. 149-51.)———. “A Detective Police Party, Part I.” Household Words 1.18 (1850): 409-14.———. “A Detective Police Party, Part II.” Household Words 1.20 (1850): 457-60.———. “Three Detective Anecdotes.” Household Words 1.25 (1850): 577-80.———. “On Duty with Inspector Field.” Household Words 3.64 (1851): 265-70.———. Bleak House. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1853/n.d.Doyle, Arthur Conan. “The Boscombe Valley Mystery.” The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. London: Penguin, 1892/1981. 74–99.Emsley, Clive, Tim Hitchco*ck, and Robert Shoemaker. “The Proceedings: Ordinary of Newgate’s Accounts.” Old Bailey Proceedings Online, n.d. 4 Feb. 2017 <https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/static/Ordinarys-accounts.jsp>. Franks, Rachel. “True Crime: The Regular Reinvention of a Genre.” Journal of Asia-Pacific Pop Culture 1.2 (2016): 239-54. ———. “Stealing Stories: Punishment, Profit and the Ordinary of Newgate.” Refereed Proceedings of the 21st Conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs: Authorised Theft. Eds. Niloofar Fanaiyan, Rachel Franks, and Jessica Seymour. 2016. 1-11. 20 Mar. 2017 <http://www.aawp.org.au/publications/the-authorised-theft-papers/>.Gatrell, V.A.C. The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People, 1770-1868. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996.Gladfelder, Hal. Criminality and Narrative in Eighteenth-Century England. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2001.Hitchens, Peter. A Brief History of Crime: The Decline of Order, Justice and Liberty in England. London: Atlantic Books, 2003.Lyman, J.L. “The Metropolitan Police Act of 1829.” Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police Science 55.1 (1964): 141-54.Murley, Jean. The Rise of True Crime: 20th Century Murder and American Popular Culture. Westport: Praeger, 2008.Pepper, Andrew. “Early Crime Writing and the State: Jonathan Wilde, Daniel Defoe and Bernard Mandeville in 1720s London.” Textual Practice 25.3 (2011): 473-91. Priestman, Martin. “Post-War British Crime Fiction.” The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction. Ed. Martin Priestman. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003. 173-89.Rawlings, Philip. “True Crime.” The British Criminology Conferences: Selected Proceedings, Volume 1: Emerging Themes in Criminology. Eds. Jon Vagg and Tim Newburn. London: British Society of Criminology (1998). 4 Feb. 2017 <http://www.britsoccrim.org/volume1/010.pdf>.Simpson, Antony E. Witnesses to the Scaffold: English Literary Figures as Observers of Public Executions. Lambertville: True Bill P, 2008.Walton, James. “Conrad, Dickens, and the Detective Novel.” Nineteenth-Century Fiction 23.4 (1969): 446-62.Wills, William Henry. “The Modern Science of Thief-Taking.” Household Words 1.16 (1850): 368-72.Worsley, Lucy. A Very British Murder: The Curious Story of How Crime Was Turned into Art. London: BBC Books, 2013/2014.

25

Shiloh, Ilana. "A Vision of Complex Symmetry." M/C Journal 10, no.3 (June1, 2007). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2674.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

The labyrinth is probably the most universal trope of complexity. Deriving from pre-Greek labyrinthos, a word denoting “maze, large building with intricate underground passages”, and possibly related to Lydian labrys, which signifies “double-edged axe,” symbol of royal power, the notion of the labyrinth primarily evokes the Minoan Palace in Crete and the myth of the Minotaur. According to this myth, the Minotaur, a monster with the body of a man and the head of a bull, was born to Pesiphae, king Minos’s wife, who mated with a bull when the king of Crete was besieging Athens. Upon his return, Minos commanded the artist Daedalus to construct a monumental building of inter-connected rooms and passages, at the center of which the King sought to imprison the monstrous sign of his disgrace. The Minotaur required human sacrifice every couple of years, until it was defeated by the Athenian prince Theuseus, who managed to extricate himself from the maze by means of a clue of thread, given to him by Minos’s enamored daughter, Ariadne (Parandowski 238-43). If the Cretan myth establishes the labyrinth as a trope of complexity, this very complexity associates labyrinthine design not only with disorientation but also with superb artistry. As pointed out by Penelope Reed Doob, the labyrinth is an inherently ambiguous construct (39-63). It presumes a double perspective: those imprisoned inside, whose vision ahead and behind is severely constricted, are disoriented and terrified; whereas those who view it from outside or from above – as a diagram – admire its structural sophistication. Labyrinths thus simultaneously embody order and chaos, clarity and confusion, unity (a single structure) and multiplicity (many paths). Whereas the modern, reductive view equates the maze with confusion and disorientation, the labyrinth is actually a signifier with two contradictory signifieds. Not only are all labyrinths intrinsically double, they also fall into two distinct, though related, types. The paradigm represented by the Cretan maze is mainly derived from literature and myth. It is a multicursal model, consisting of a series of forking paths, each bifurcation requiring new choice. The second type is the unicursal maze. Found mainly in the visual arts, such as rock carvings or coin ornamentation, its structural basis is a single path, twisting and turning, but entailing no bifurcations. Although not equally bewildering, both paradigms are equally threatening: in the multicursal construct the maze-walker may be entrapped in a repetitious pattern of wrong choices, whereas in the unicursal model the traveler may die of exhaustion before reaching the desired end, the heart of the labyrinth. In spite of their differences, the basic similarities between the two paradigms may explain why they were both included in the same linguistic category. The labyrinth represents a road-model, and as such it is essentially teleological. Most labyrinths of antiquity and of the Middle Ages were designed with the thought of reaching the center. But the fact that each labyrinth has a center does not necessarily mean that the maze-walker is aware of its existence. Moreover, reaching the center is not always to be desired (in case it conceals a lurking Minotaur), and once the center is reached, the maze-walker may never find the way back. Besides signifying complexity and ambiguity, labyrinths thus also symbolically evoke the danger of eternal imprisonment, of inextricability. This sinister aspect is intensified by the recursive aspect of labyrinthine design, by the mirroring effect of the paths. In reflecting on the etymology of the word ‘maze’ (rather than the Greek/Latin labyrinthos/labyrinthus), Irwin observes that it derives from the Swedish masa, signifying “to dream, to muse,” and suggests that the inherent recursion of labyrinthine design offers an apt metaphor for the uniquely human faculty of self-reflexitivity, of thought turning upon itself (95). Because of its intriguing aspect and wealth of potential implications, the labyrinth has become a category that is not only formal, but also conceptual and symbolic. The ambiguity of the maze, its conflation of overt complexity with underlying order and simplicity, was explored in ideological systems rooted in a dualistic world-view. In the early Christian era, the labyrinth was traditionally presented as a metaphor for the universe: divine creation based on a perfect design, perceived as chaotic due to the shortcomings of human comprehension. In the Middle-Ages, the labyrinthine attributes of imprisonment and limited perception were reflected in the view of life as a journey inside a moral maze, in which man’s vision was constricted because of his fallen nature (Cazenave 348-350). The maze was equally conceptualized in dynamic terms and used as a metaphor for mental processes. More specifically, the labyrinth has come to signify intellectual confusion, and has therefore become most pertinent in literary contexts that valorize rational thought. And the rationalistic genre par excellence is detective fiction. The labyrinth may serve as an apt metaphor for the world of detective fiction because it accurately conveys the tacit assumptions of the genre – the belief in the existence of order, causality and reason underneath the chaos of perceived phenomena. Such optimistic belief is ardently espoused by the putative detective in Paul Auster’s metafictional novella City of Glass: He had always imagined that the key to good detective work was a close observation of details. The more accurate the scrutiny, the more successful the results. The implication was that human behavior could be understood, that beneath the infinite façade of gestures, tics and silences there was finally a coherence, an order, a source of motivation. (67) In this brief but eloquent passage Auster conveys, through the mind of his sleuth, the central tenets of classical detective fiction. These tenets are both ontological and epistemological. The ontological aspect is subsumed in man’s hopeful reliance on “a coherence, an order, a source of motivation” underlying the messiness and blood of the violent deed. The epistemological aspect is aptly formulated by Michael Holquist, who argues that the fictional world of detective stories is rooted in the Scholastic principle of adequatio rei et intellectus, the adequation of mind to things (157). And if both human reality and phenomenal reality are governed by reason, the mind, given enough time, can understand everything. The mind’s representative is the detective. He is the embodiment of inquisitive intellect, and his superior powers of observation and deduction transform an apparent mystery into an incontestable solution. The detective sifts through the evidence, assesses the relevance of data and the reliability of witnesses. But, first of foremost, he follows clues – and the clue, the most salient element of the detective story, links the genre with the myth of the Cretan labyrinth. For in its now obsolete spelling, the word ‘clew’ denotes a ball of thread, and thus foregrounds the similarity between the mental process of unraveling a crime mystery and the traveler’s progress inside the maze (Irwin 179). The chief attributes of the maze – circuitousness, enclosure, and inextricability – associate it with another convention of detective fiction, the trope of the locked room. This convention, introduced in Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” a text traditionally regarded as the first analytic detective story, establishes the locked room as the ultimate affront to reason: a hermetically sealed space which no one could have penetrated or exited and in which a brutal crime has nevertheless been committed. But the affront to reason is only apparent. In Poe’s ur-text of the genre, the violent deed is committed by an orangutan, a brutal and abused beast that enters and escapes from the seemingly locked room through a half-closed window. As accurately observed by Holquist, in the world of detective fiction “there are no mysteries, there is only incorrect reasoning” (157). And the correct reasoning, dubbed by Poe “ratiocination”, is the process of logical deduction. Deduction is an enchainment of syllogisms, in which a conclusion inevitably follows from two valid premises; as Dupin elegantly puts it, “the deductions are the sole proper ones and … the suspicion arises inevitably from them as a single result” (Poe 89). Applying this rigorous mental process, the detective re-arranges the pieces of the puzzle into a coherent and meaningful sequence of events. In other words – he creates a narrative. This brings us back to Irwin’s observation about the recursive aspect of the maze. Like the labyrinth, detective fiction is self-reflexive. It is a narrative form which foregrounds narrativity, for the construction of a meaningful narrative is the protagonist’s and the reader’s principal task. Logical deduction, the main activity of the fictional sleuth, does not allow for ambiguity. In classical detective fiction, the labyrinth is associated with the messiness and violence of crime and contrasted with the clarity of the solution (the inverse is true of postmodernist detective mysteries). The heart of the labyrinth is the solution, the vision of truth. This is perhaps the most important aspect of the detective genre: the premise that truth exists and that it can be known. In “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” the initially insoluble puzzle is eventually transformed into a coherent narrative, in which a frantic orangutan runs into the street escaping the abuse of its master, climbs a rod and seeks refuge in a room inhabited by two women, brutally slashes them in confusion, and then flees the room in the same way he penetrated it. The sequence of events reconstructed by Dupin is linear, unequivocal, and logically satisfying. This is not the case with the ‘hard boiled’, American variant of the detective genre, which influenced the inception of film noir. Although the novels of Hammett, Chandler or Cain are structured around crime mysteries, these works problematize most of the tacit premises of analytic detective fiction and re-define its narrative form. For one, ‘hard boiled’ fiction obliterates the dualism between overt chaos and underlying order, between the perceived messiness of crime and its underlying logic. Chaos becomes all-encompassing, engulfing the sleuth as well as the reader. No longer the epitome of a superior, detached intellect, the detective becomes implicated in the mystery he investigates, enmeshed in a labyrinthine sequence of events whose unraveling does not necessarily produce meaning. As accurately observed by Telotte, “whether [the] characters are trying to manipulate others, or simply hoping to figure out how their plans went wrong, they invariably find that things do not make sense” (7). Both ‘hard-boiled’ fiction and its cinematic progeny implicitly portray the dissolution of social order. In film noir, this thematic pursuit finds a formal equivalent in the disruption of traditional narrative paradigm. As noted by Bordwell and Telotte, among others, the paradigm underpinning classical Hollywood cinema in the years 1917-1960 is characterized by a seemingly objective point of view, adherence to cause-effect logic, use of goal-oriented characters and a progression toward narrative closure (Bordwell 157, Telotte 3). In noir films, on the other hand, the devices of flashback and voice-over implicitly challenge conventionally linear narratives, while the use of the subjective camera shatters the illusion of objective truth (Telotte 3, 20). To revert to the central concern of the present paper, in noir cinema the form coincides with the content. The fictional worlds projected by the ‘hard boiled’ genre and its noir cinematic descendent offer no hidden realm of meaning underneath the chaos of perceived phenomena, and the trope of the labyrinth is stripped of its transcendental, comforting dimension. The labyrinth is the controlling visual metaphor of the Coen Brothers’ neo-noir film The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001). The film’s title refers to its main protagonist: a poker-faced, taciturn barber, by the name of Ed Crane. The entire film is narrated by Ed, incarcerated in a prison cell. He is writing his life story, at the commission of a men’s magazine whose editor wants to probe the feelings of a convict facing death. Ed says he is not unhappy to die. Exonerated of a crime he committed and convicted of a crime he did not, Ed feels his life is a labyrinth. He does not understand it, but he hopes that death will provide the answer. Ed’s final vision of life as a bewildering maze, and his hope of seeing the master-plan after death, ostensibly refer to the inherent dualism of the labyrinth, the notion of underlying order manifest through overt chaos. They offer the flicker of an optimistic closure, which subscribes to the traditional Christian view of the universe as a perfect design, perceived as chaos due to the shortcomings of human comprehension. But this interpretation is belied by the film’s final scene. Shot in blindingly white light, suggesting the protagonist’s revelation, the screen is perfectly empty, except for the electric chair in the center. And when Ed slowly walks towards the site of his execution, he has a sudden fantasy of the overhead lights as the round saucers of UFOs. The film’s visual metaphors ironically subvert Ed’s metaphysical optimism. They cast a view of human life as a maze of emptiness, to borrow the title of one of Borges’s best-known stories. The only center of this maze is death, the electric chair; the only transcendence, faith in God and in after life, makes as much sense as the belief in flying saucers. The Coen Brothers thus simultaneously construct and deconstruct the traditional symbolism of the labyrinth, evoking (through Ed’s innocent hope) its promise of underlying order, and subverting this promise through the images that dominate the screen. The transcendental dimension of the trope of the labyrinth, its promise of a hidden realm of meaning and value, is consistently subverted throughout the film. On the level of plot, the film presents a crisscrossed pattern of misguided intentions and tragi-comic misinterpretations. The film’s protagonist, Ed Crane, is estranged from his own life; neither content nor unhappy, he is passive, taking things as they come. Thus he condones Doris’s, his wife’s, affair with her employer, Big Dave, reacting only when he perceives an opportunity to profit from their liason. This opportunity presents itself in the form of Creighton Tolliver, a garrulous client, who shares with Ed his fail-proof scheme of making big money from the new invention of dry cleaning. All he needs to carry out his plan, confesses Creighton, is an investment of ten thousand dollars. The barber decides to take advantage of this accidental encounter in order to change his life. He writes an anonymous extortion letter to Big Dave, threatening to expose his romance with Doris and wreck his marriage and his financial position (Dave’s wife, a rich heiress, owns the store that Dave runs). Dave confides in Ed about the letter; he suspects the blackmailer is a con man that tried to engage him in a dry-cleaning scheme. Although reluctant to part with the money, which he has been saving to open a new store to be managed by Doris, Big Dave eventually gives in. Obviously, although unbeknownst to Big Dave, it is Ed who collects the money and passes it to Creighton, so as to become a silent partner in the dry cleaning enterprise. But things do not work out as planned. Big Dave, who believes Creighton to be his blackmailer, follows him to his apartment in an effort to retrieve the ten thousand dollars. A fight ensues, in which Creighton gets killed, not before revealing to Dave Ed’s implication in his dry-cleaning scheme. Furious, Dave summons Ed, confronts him with Creighton’s story and physically attacks him. Ed grabs a knife that is lying about and accidentally kills Big Dave. The following day, two policemen arrive at the barbershop. Ed is certain they came to arrest him, but they have come to arrest Doris. The police have discovered that she has been embezzling from Dave’s store (Doris is an accountant), and they suspect her of Dave’s murder. Ed hires Freddy Riedenschneider, the best and most expensive criminal attorney, to defend his wife. The attorney is not interested in truth; he is looking for a version that will introduce a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury. At some point, Ed confesses that it is he who killed Dave, but Riedenschneider dismisses his confession as an inadequate attempt to save Doris’s neck. He concocts a version of his own, but does not get the chance to win the trial; the case is dismissed, as Doris is found hanged in her cell. After his wife’s death, Ed gets lonely. He takes interest in Birdy, the young daughter of the town lawyer (whom he initially approached for Doris’s defense). Birdy plays the piano; Ed believes she is a prodigy, and wants to become her agent. He takes her for an audition to a French master pianist, who decides that the girl is nothing special. Disenchanted, they drive back home. Birdy tells Ed, not for the first time, that she doesn’t really want to be a pianist. She hasn’t been thinking of a career; if at all, she would like to be a vet. But she is very grateful. As a token of her gratitude, she tries to perform oral sex on Ed. The car veers; they have an accident. When he comes to, Ed faces two policemen, who tell him he is arrested for the murder of Creighton Tolliver. The philosophical purport of the labyrinth metaphor is suggested in a scene preceding Doris’s trial, in which her co*cky attorney justifies his defense strategy. To support his argument, he has recourse to the theory of some German scientist, called either Fritz or Werner, who claimed that truth changes with the eye of the beholder. Science has determined that there is no objective truth, says Riedenschneider; consequently, the question of what really happened is irrelevant. All a good attorney can do, he concludes, is present a plausible narrative to the jury. Freddy Riedenschneider’s seemingly nonchalant exposition is a tongue-in-cheek reference to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Succinctly put, the principle postulates that the more precisely the position of a subatomic particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa. What follows is that concepts such as orbits of electrons do not exist in nature unless and until we measure them; or, in Heisenberg’s words, “the ‘path’ comes into existence only when we observe it” (qtd. in Cassidy). Heisenberg’s discovery had momentous scientific and philosophical implications. For one, it challenged the notion of causality in nature. The law of causality assumes that if we know the present exactly, we can calculate the future; in this formulation, suggests Heisenberg, “it is not the conclusion that is wrong, but the premises” (qtd. in Cassidy). In other words, we can never know the present exactly, and on the basis of this exact knowledge, predict the future. More importantly, the uncertainty principle seems to collapse the distinction between subjective and objective reality, between consciousness and the world of phenomena, suggesting that the act of perception changes the reality perceived (Hofstadter 239). In spite of its light tone, the attorney’s confused allusion to quantum theory conveys the film’s central theme: the precarious nature of truth. In terms of plot, this theme is suggested by the characters’ constant misinterpretation: Big Dave believes he is blackmailed by Creighton Tolliver; Ed thinks Birdy is a genius, Birdy thinks that Ed expects sex from her, and Ann, Dave’s wife, puts her faith in UFOs. When the characters do not misjudge their reality, they lie about it: Big Dave bluffs about his war exploits, Doris cheats on Ed and Big Dave cheats on his wife and embezzles from her. And when the characters are honest and tell the truth, they are neither believed nor rewarded: Ed confesses his crime, but his confession is impatiently dismissed, Doris keeps her accounts straight but is framed for fraud and murder; Ed’s brother in law and partner loyally supports him, and as a result, goes bankrupt. If truth cannot be known, or does not exist, neither does justice. Throughout the film, the wires of innocence and guilt are constantly crossed; the innocent are punished (Doris, Creighton Tolliver), the guilty are exonerated of crimes they committed (Ed of killing Dave) and convicted of crimes they did not (Ed of killing Tolliver). In this world devoid of a metaphysical dimension, the mindless processes of nature constitute the only reality. They are represented by the incessant, pointless growth of hair. Ed is a barber; he deals with hair and is fascinated by hair. He wonders how hair is a part of us and we throw it to dust; he is amazed by the fact that hair continues to grow even after death. At the beginning of the film we see him docilely shave his wife’s legs. In a mirroring scene towards the end, the camera zooms in on Ed’s own legs, shaved before his electrocution. The leitmotif of hair, the image of the electric chair, the recurring motif of UFOs – all these metaphoric elements convey the Coen Brothers’ view of the human condition and build up to Ed’s final vision of life as a labyrinth. Life is a labyrinth because there is no necessary connection between cause and effect; because crime is dissociated from accountability and punishment; because what happened can never be ascertained and human knowledge consists only of a maze of conflicting, or overlapping, versions. The center of the existential labyrinth is death, and the exit, the belief in an after-life, is no more real than the belief in aliens. The labyrinth is an inherently ambiguous construct. Its structural attributes of doubling, recursion and inextricability yield a wealth of ontological and epistemological implications. Traditionally used as an emblem of overt complexity concealing underlying order and symmetry, the maze may aptly illustrate the tacit premises of the analytic detective genre. But this purport of the maze symbolism is ironically inverted in noir and neo-noir films. As suggested by its title, the Coen Brothers’ movie is marked by absence, and the absence of the man who wasn’t there evokes a more disturbing void. That void is the center of the existential labyrinth. References Auster, Paul. City of Glass. The New York Trilogy. London and Boston: Faber and Faber, 1990. 1-132. Bordwell, David. Narration in the Fiction Film. Madison: Wisconsin UP, 1985. Cassidy, David. “Quantum Mechanics, 1925-1927.” Werner Heisenberg (1901-1978). American Institute of Physics, 1998. 5 June 2007 http://www.aip.org/history/heisenberg/p08c.htm>. Cazenave, Michel, ed. Encyclopédie des Symboles. Paris: Le Livre de Poche, 1996. Coen, Joel, and Ethan Coen, dirs. The Man Who Wasn’t There. 2001. Doob, Penelope Reed. The Idea of the Labyrinth. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1992. Hofstadter, Douglas. I Am a Strange Loop. New York: Basic Books, 2007. Holquist, Michael. “Whodunit and Other Questions: Metaphysical Detective Stories in Post-War Fiction.” The Poetics of Murder. Eds. Glenn W. Most and William W. Stowe. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983. 149-174. Irwin, John T. The Mystery to a Solution: Poe, Borges and the Analytic Detective Story. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins UP, 1994. Parandowski, Jan. Mitologia. Warszawa: Czytelnik, 1960. Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” Edgar Allan Poe: The Complete Illustrated Stories and Poems. London: Chancellor Press, 1994. 103-114. Telotte, J.P. Voices in the Dark: The Narrative Patterns of Film Noir. Urbana: Illinois UP, 1989. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Shiloh, Ilana. "A Vision of Complex Symmetry: The Labyrinth in The Man Who Wasn’t There." M/C Journal 10.3 (2007). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0706/09-shiloh.php>. APA Style Shiloh, I. (Jun. 2007) "A Vision of Complex Symmetry: The Labyrinth in The Man Who Wasn’t There," M/C Journal, 10(3). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0706/09-shiloh.php>.

26

Shaw, Janice Marion. "The Curious Transformation of Boy to Computer." M/C Journal 19, no.4 (August31, 2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1130.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has achieved success as “the new Rain Man” or “the new definitive, popular account of the autistic condition” (Burks-Abbott 294). Integral to its favourable reception is the way it conflates the autistic main character, the fifteen-year-old narrator Christopher Boone, with the savant, or individual who exhibits both neurological problems and giftedness, thereby engaging with the way autism is presented in popular culture. In a variety of contemporary films and television series, autism has been transformed from a disability to a form of giftedness by relating it to abilities associated in contemporary media with a genius, in particular by invoking the metaphor of an autistic mind as a type of computer. As a result, the book engages with the current association of giftedness in mathematics and science with social awkwardness and isolation as constructed in popular culture: in idiomatic terms, the genius “nerd” figure characterised by an uncertain, adolescent approach to social contact (Kendall 353). The disablement of the character is, then, lessened so that the idea of being “special,” continually evoked throughout the text, has a transformative function that is related less to the special needs of those with a disability and more to the common element in adolescent fiction of longing for extraordinary power and control through being a special, gifted individual. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time relates the protagonist, Christopher, to Sherlock Holmes and his methods of detection, specifically through the title being taken from a story by Conan Doyle, “Silver Blaze,” in which the “curious incident” referred to is that the dog did nothing in the night. In the original story, that the dog did not bark or react to an intruder was a clue that the person was known to the animal, so allowing Holmes to solve the crime by a process of deduction. Christopher copies these traditional methods of the classical detective to solve his personal mystery, that of who killed a neighbour’s dog, Wellington. The adoption of this title allows a double irony to emerge. Christopher’s attempts to emulate Holmes in his approach to crime are predicated on his assumption of his likeness to the model of the classical detective as he states, “I think that if I were a proper detective he is the kind of detective I would be,” pointing out the similarity of their powers of observation and his ability, like Holmes, to “detach his mind at will” as well as his capacity to find patterns in events (92). Through the novel, these attributes are aligned with his autism, constructing a trope of his disability conferring extraordinary abilities that are predicated on a computer-like detachment and precision in his method of thinking. The accessible narrative of the autistic Christopher gives the reader the impression of being able to understand the perspective of an individual with a spectrum disorder. In this way, the text not only engages with, but contributes to the construction of this disability in current popular culture as merely an extension of giftedness, especially in mathematics, and an associated unwillingness to communicate. Indeed, according to Raoul Eshelman, “one of its most engaging narrative devices is to make us identify with a mentally impaired narrator who is manifestly not interested in identifying either with us or anyone else” (1). The main character’s reference to mathematical and scientific ideas exploits an interest in giftedness already established by popular literature and film, and engages with a transformation effected in popular culture of the genius as autistic, and its corollary of an autistic person as potentially a genius. Such a construction ranges from fictional characters like Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory, Charlie and his physicist colleagues in Numb3rs, and Raymond Babbitt in Rain Man, to real life characters or representative figures in reality series and feature films such as x + y, The Imitation Game, The Big Short, and the television program Beauty and the Geek. While never referring specifically to autism, all the real or fictional representations contribute to the construction of a stereotype in which behaviours on the autistic spectrum are linked to a talent in mathematics and the sciences. In addition to this, detectives in the classical crime fiction alluded to in the novel typically exhibit traits of superhuman powers of deduction, pattern making, and problem solving that engage with the popular notion of genius in general and mathematics in particular by possessing a mind like a computer. Such detectives from current television series as Saga from The Bridge and Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds exhibit distance, coldness, and lack of social awareness or empathy with others, and this is presented as the basis of their extraordinary ability to discern patterns and solve crime. Spencer Reid, for example, has three PhDs in Science disciplines and Mathematics. Charlie in the television series Numb3rs is also a genius who uses his mathematical abilities to not only find the solution to crime but also explain the maths behind it to his FBI colleagues, and, in conjunction, the audience. But the character with the clearest association to Christopher is, naturally, Sherlock Holmes, both as constructed in Conan Doyle’s original text and the current adaptations and transformations of it. The television series Sherlock and Elementary, as well as the films Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows all invoke a version of Holmes in which his powers of deduction are associated with symptoms to be found in a spectrum disorder.Like Christopher, the classical detective is characterised by being cold, emotionless, distant, socially inept, and isolated, but also keenly observant, analytical, and scientific; one who approaches the crime as a puzzle to be solved (Cawelti 43) with computer-like precision. In what is considered to be the original detective story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Poe included a “pseudo-mathematical logic in his literary scenario” (Platten 255). In Conan Doyle’s stories, Holmes, too, adopts a mathematical and scientific approach to construct patterns from clues that he alone can discern, and thereby solve the crime. The depiction of investigators in contemporary media such as Charlie in Numb3rs engages with these origins so that he is objective, dispassionate, and able to relate to real-world problems only through the filter of mathematical formulae. Christopher is presented similarly by engaging with the idea of the detective as implied savant and relying on an ability to discern patterns for successful crime solving.The book links the disabling behaviours of autism with the savant, so that the stereotype of the mystic displaying both disability and giftedness in fiction of earlier ages has been transformed in contemporary literature to a figure with extraordinary powers related both to autism and to the contemporary form of mysticism: innate mathematical ability and computer-style calculation. Allied with what Murray terms the “unknown and ambiguous nature” of autism, it is characterised as “the alien within the human, the mystical within the rational, the ultimate enigma” (25) in a way that is in keeping with the current fascination with the nature of genius and its association with being “special,” a term continually evoked and discussed throughout the book by the main character. The chapters on scientific ideas relate to Christopher’s world view, filtered through a mathematical and analytical approach to life and relationships with other people. Christopher examines beliefs such as the concept of humanity as superior to other animals, and the idea of religion and creationism, that is, the idea of humanity itself as special, with a cold and logical approach. He similarly discusses the idea of the individual person as special, linking this to a metaphor of the human mind being a computer (203, 148). Christopher’s narrow perspective as a result of his autism is not presented as disabling so much as protective, because the metaphorical connection of his viewpoint to a computer provides him with distance. Although initially Christopher fails to realise the significance of events, this allows him to be “switched off” (103) from events that he finds traumatising.The transformative metaphor of an autistic individual thinking like a computer is also invoked through Christopher’s explanation of “why people think that their brains are special, and different from computers” (147). Indeed, both in terms of his tendency to retreat or by “pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL and shutting down programs and turning the computer off and rebooting” (178) in times of stress, Christopher metaphorically views himself as a computer. Such a perspective invokes yet another popular cultural reference through the allusion to the human brain as “Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, sitting in his captain’s seat looking at a big screen” (147). But more importantly, the explanation refers to the basic premise of the book, that the text offers access to a condition that is inherently unknowable, but able to be understood by the reader through metaphor, often based on computers or technology as a result of a popular construction of autism that “the condition is the product of a brain in which the hard drive is incorrectly formatted” (Murray 25).Throughout the novel, the notion of “special” is presented as a trope for those with a disability, but as the protagonist, Christopher, points out, everyone is special in some way, so the whole idea of a disability as disabling is problematised throughout the text, while its associations of giftedness are upheld. Christopher’s disability, never actually designated as Asperger’s Syndrome or any type of spectrum disorder, is transformed into a protective mechanism that shields him from problematic social relationships of which he is unaware, but that the less naïve reader can well discern. In this way, rather than a limitation, the main character’s disorder protects him from a harsh reality. Even Christopher’s choice of Holmes as a role model is indicative of his desire to impose an eccentric order on his world, since this engages with a character in popular fiction who is famous not simply for his abilities, but for his eccentricity bordering on a form of autism. His aloof personality and cold logic not only fail to hamper him in his investigations, but these traits actually form the basis of them. The majority of recent adaptations of Conan Doyle’s stories, especially the BBC series Sherlock, depict Holmes with symptoms associated with spectrum disorder such as lack of empathy, difficulty in communication, and limited social skills, and these are clearly shown as contributing to his problem-solving ability. The trope of Christopher as detective also allows a parodic, postmodern comment on the classical detective form, because typically this fiction has a detective that knows more than the reader, and therefore the goal for the reader is to find the solution to the crime before it is revealed by the investigator in the final stages of the text (Rzepka 14). But the narrative works ironically in the novel since the non-autistic reader knows more than a narrator who is hampered by a limited worldview. From the beginning of the book, the narrative as focalised through Christopher’s narrow perspective allows a more profound view of events to be adopted by the reader, who is able to read clues that elude the protagonist. Christopher is well aware of this as he explains his attraction to the murder mystery novel, even though he has earlier stated he does not like novels since his inability to imagine or empathise means he is unable to relate to their fiction. For him, the genre of murder mystery is more akin to the books on maths and science that he finds comprehensible, because, like the classical detective, he views the crime as primarily a puzzle to be solved: as he states, “In a murder mystery novel someone has to work out who the murderer is and then catch them. It is a puzzle. If it is a good puzzle you can sometimes work out the answer before the end of the book” (5). But unlike Christopher, Holmes invariably knows more about the crime, can interpret the clues, and find the pattern, before other characters such as Watson, and especially the reader. In contrast, in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the reader has more awareness of the probable context and significance of events than Christopher because, like a computer, he can calculate but not imagine. The reader can interpret clues within the plot of the story, such as the synchronous timing of the “death” of Christopher’s mother with the breakdown of the marriage of a neighbour, Mrs Shears. The astute reader is able to connect these events and realise that his mother has not died, but is living in a relationship with the neighbour’s husband. The construction of this pattern is denied Christopher, since he fails to determine their significance due to his limited imagination. Such a failure is related to Simon Baron-Cohen’s Theory of Mind, in which he proposes that autistic individuals have difficulty with social behaviour because they lack the capacity to comprehend that other people have individual mental states, or as Christopher terms it, “when I was little I didn’t understand about other people having minds” (145). Haddon utilises fictional licence when he allows Christopher to overcome such a limitation by a conscious shift in perspective, despite the specialist teacher within the text claiming that he would “always find this very difficult” (145). Christopher has here altered his view of events through his modelling both on the detective genre and on his affinity with mathematics, since he states, “I don’t find this difficult now. Because I decided that it was a kind of puzzle, and if something is a puzzle there is always a way of solving it” (145). In this way, the main character is shown as transcending symptoms of autism through the power of his giftedness in mathematics to ultimately discern a pattern in human relationships thereby adopting a computational approach to social problems.Haddon similarly explains the perspective of an individual with autism through a metaphor of Christopher’s memory being like a DVD recording. He is able to distance himself from his memories, choosing “Rewind” and then “Fast Forward” (96) to retrieve his recollection of events. This aspect of the precision of his memory relates to his machine-like coldness and lack of empathy for the feelings of others. But it also refers to the stereotype of the nerd figure in popular culture, where the nerd is able to relate more to a computer than to other people, exemplified in Sheldon from the television series The Big Bang Theory. Thus the presentation of Christopher’s autism relates to his giftedness in maths and science more than to areas that relate to his body. In general, descriptions of inappropriate or distressing bodily functions associated with disorders are mainly confined to other students at Christopher’s school. His references to his fellow students, such as Joseph eating his poo and playing in it (129) and his unsympathetic evaluation of Steve as not as clever or interesting as a dog because he “needs help to eat his food and could not even fetch a stick” (6), make a clear distinction between him and the other children, who despite being termed “special needs” are “special” in a different way from Christopher, because, according to him, “All the other children at my school are stupid” (56). While some reference is made to Christopher’s inappropriate behaviour in times of stress, such as punching a fellow student, wetting himself while on the train, and vomiting outside the school, in the main the emphasis is on his giftedness as a result of his autism, as displayed in the many chapters where he explains scientific and mathematical concepts. This is extrapolated into a further mathematical metaphor underlying the book, that he is like one of the prime numbers he finds so fascinating, because prime numbers do not fit neatly into the pattern of the number system, but they are essential and special nevertheless. Moreover, as James Berger suggests, prime numbers can “serve as figures for the autistic subject,” because like autistic individuals “they do not mix; they are singular, indivisible, unfactorable” yet “Mathematics could not exist without these singular entities that [. . .] are only apparent anomalies” (271).Haddon therefore offers a transformation by confounding autism with a computer-like ability to solve mathematical problems, so that the text is, as Haddon concedes, “as much about a gifted boy with behavior problems as it is about anyone on the autism spectrum” (qtd. in Burks-Abbott 291). Indeed, the word “autism” does not even appear in the book, while the terms “genius,” (140) “clever,” (32, 65, 252) and the like are continually being invoked in descriptions of Christopher, even if ironically. More importantly, the reader is constantly being shown his giftedness through the reiteration of his study of A Level Mathematics, and his explanation of scientific concepts. Throughout, Christopher explains aspects of mathematics, astrophysics, and other sciences, referring to such well-known puzzles in popular culture as the Monty Hall problem, as well as more obscure formulae and their proofs. They function to establish Christopher’s intuitive grasp of complex mathematical and scientific principles, as well as providing the reader with insight into both his perspective and the paradoxical nature of an individual who is at once able to solve quadratic equations in his head, yet is incapable of understanding the simple instruction, “Take the tube to Willesden Junction” (211).The presentation of Christopher is that of an individual who displays an extension of the social problems established in popular literature as connected to a talent for mathematics, therefore engaging with a depiction already existing in popular mythology: the isolated and analytical nerd or genius social introvert. Indeed, much of Christopher’s autistic behaviour functions to protect him from unsettling or traumatic information, since he fails to realise the significance of the information he collects or the clues he is given. His disability is therefore presented as not limiting so much as protective, and so the notion of disability is subsumed by the idea of the savant. The book, then, engages with a contemporary representation within popular culture that has transformed spectrum disability into mathematical giftedness, thereby metaphorically associating the autistic mind with the computer. ReferencesBaron-Cohen, Simon. Mindblindness: An Essay on Autism and Theory of Mind. Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1995. Berger, James. “Alterity and Autism: Mark Haddon’s Curious Incident in the Neurological Spectrum.” Autism and Representation. Ed. Mark Osteen. Hoboken: Routledge, 2007. 271–88. Burks-Abbott, Gyasi. “Mark Haddon’s Popularity and Other Curious Incidents in My Life as an Autistic.” Autism and Representation. Ed. Mark Osteen. Hoboken: Routledge, 2007. 289–96. Cawelti, John G. Adventure, Mystery, and Romance: Formula Stories as Art and Popular Culture. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1976. Eshelman, Raoul. “Transcendence and the Aesthetics of Disability: The Case of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Anthropoetics: The Journal of Generative Anthropology 15.1 (2009). Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. London: Random House Children’s Books, 2004. Kendall, Lori. “The Nerd Within: Mass Media and the Negotiation of Identity among Computer-Using Men.” Journal of Men’s Studies 3 (1999): 353–67. Murray, Stuart. “Autism and the Contemporary Sentimental: Fiction and the Narrative Fascination of the Present.” Literature and Medicine 25.1 (2006): 24–46. Platten, David. “Reading Glasses, Guns and Robots: A History of Science in French Crime Fiction.” French Cultural Studies 12 (2001): 253–70. Rzepka, Charles J. Detective Fiction. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2005.

27

Taylor, Alison. "“There’s Suspicion, Nothing More” — Suspicious Readings of Michael Haneke’s Caché (Hidden, 2005)." M/C Journal 15, no.1 (September13, 2011). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.384.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Michael Haneke’s film Caché tells the story of a bourgeois family in peril. The comfortable lives of the Laurents—husband Georges (Daniel Auteuil), wife Anne (Juliette Binoche), and teenage son Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky)—are disrupted when surveillance tapes of their home and private conversations are delivered to them anonymously. Ostensibly Caché sits in a familiar generic framework: the thriller narrative of a family under threat is reminiscent of films such as The Desperate Hours (1955), Cape Fear (1962), and Straw Dogs (1971). The weight of outside forces causes tension within the family dynamic and Georges spends much of the film playing detective (unravelling clues from the tapes and from his past). This framing draws us in; it is presumed that the mystery of the family’s harassment will finally be solved, and yet Haneke’s treatment of this material undermines viewer expectations. This paper examines the process of suspicious reading when applied to a film that encourages such a method, only to thwart the viewer’s attempts to come to a definitive meaning. I argue that Caché plays with generic expectations in order to critique the interpretive process, and consider what implications this has for suspicious readers. Caché positions us as detective. Throughout the film we follow Georges’s investigation to unravel the film’s central enigma: Who is sending the tapes? The answer to this, however, is never revealed. Instead viewers are left with more questions than answers; it seems that for every explanation there is a circumventing intricacy. This lack of narrative closure within the surface framework of a psychological thriller has proven fertile ground for critics, scholars, and home viewers alike as they painstakingly try to ascertain the elusive culprit. Character motives are scrutinised, performances are analysed, specific shots are dissected, and various theories have been canvassed. The viewer becomes ensnared in the hermeneutics of suspicion, a critical reading strategy that literary theorist Rita Felski has compared to the hard-boiled crime story, a scenario in which critic becomes detective, and text becomes criminal suspect to be “scrutinized, interrogated, and made to yield its hidden secrets” (224). Like Georges, the viewer becomes investigator, sifting through the available evidence in the vain hope that with scrupulous attention the film will surrender its mystery.Of course, Haneke is not unique in his withholding of a film’s enigma. David Lynch’s surreal neo-noir Lost Highway (1997) and Mulholland Drive (2001) have garnered a similar response and continue to be debated. Film scholar Mark Cousins compares Caché’s reception at Cannes to other landmark film and television examples:Where Dallas made people ask ‘who?’, Twin Peaks ‘what?’, the genre-bending films of the last decade ‘how?’ and The Crying Game was about the implications of the answer, Caché’s conversational buzz was more circular. Yes, we asked ‘who?’ Then, when it was clear this question was not answered by the film, we considered why it was not answered. (225–6)Felski’s meditation on the hermeneutics of suspicion touches on this issue, considering literary texts as preemptive of our mistrust. Extending Felski’s reasoning here as applicable to other forms of cultural expression, I would like to argue that Caché is a film that “matches and exceeds the critic’s own vigilance” for it is already involved in “subverting the self-evident, challenging the commonplace, [and] relentlessly questioning idées fixes and idées recus” (Felski 217). Caché challenges fixed and received ideas pertaining to audience expectations of the thriller film, subverting generic conventions that traditionally see the enigma resolved, the culprit apprehended, and order restored. More than simply refusing closure, Caché casts doubt on the very clues it offers up as evidence. Such a text performs “a meta-commentary on the traps of interpretation, a knowing anticipation and exposure of all possible hermeneutic blunders” (Felski 217). Throughout her essay, Felski highlights the lures and pitfalls of suspicious reading practices. Felski warns that attempts to gain mastery over texts by drawing to light purportedly obscured meanings are often as concerned with self-congratulatory demonstrations of skill in drawing hitherto unmade connections as they are with the texts themselves (230). While I do not wish to endorse suspicious reading as an unproblematic approach, the present paper considers what happens when readers encounter a text that seemingly cannot be approached in any other way. Unlike the realist literary narratives and mystery stories drawn on by Felski, Caché resists a manifest meaning in both form and content, making it nearly impossible for viewers not to search for latent meaning.So where are suspicious readers left when the texts interrogated refuse to bend to the demands placed on them? This is the question I will be examining in the remainder of this paper through the questions Caché poses and the care it takes in ensuring its enigmatic quality. I will proceed by breaking down what I believe to be the three possible avenues of response—Caché as impossible puzzle, inconclusive puzzle, or wrong puzzle—and their implications.I The Impossible Puzzle Caché opens with a static frame long take of a Parisian residential street. This could be mistaken for a still image until a pedestrian bustles past. A woman leaves her house centre frame. A cyclist turns the corner. “Well?” a male voice intones. “Nothing,” a female replies. The voices come from off-screen, and soon after the image is interrupted by fast forward lines, revealing that what we have been watching is not an image of the present moment but a video cassette of time already elapsed; the voices belong to our protagonists, Georges and Anne, commenting on its content and manipulating its playback. From the opening moments it becomes clear that we cannot be certain of what we are seeing or when we are seeing it.This presents an intriguing tension between form and content that complicates our attempts to gather evidence. Haneke pares back style in a manner reminiscent of the films of Robert Bresson or the work of the Italian neo-realists. Caché’s long takes, naturalistic lighting, and emphasis on the everyday suggest a realist aesthetic; the viewer can invest faith in these images because they ascribe to a familiar paradigm, one in which artifice is apparently minimal. This notion that a realist aesthetic equates to straightforward images is at odds, however, with both the thriller narrative (in which solutions must be concealed before they can be uncovered) and Haneke’s constant undermining of the ontology of the image; throughout the film, viewers will be disoriented by Haneke’s manipulation of time and space with unclear or retroactive distinctions between past, present, video, dream, memory, and reality.An additional contention might be the seemingly impossible placement of the hidden camera. In the same tape, Georges leaves the house and walks towards the camera, unaware of it. The shot indicates the camera must be elevated in the street, and at one point it appears that Georges is looking right at it. A later recording takes place in the apartment of Georges’s suspect, Majid. Viewers are given ample opportunity to scour the mise en scène to find what apparently is not there. Perhaps the camera is just too well hidden. But if this is not the case and we can neither locate nor conceive of the camera’s placement because it simply cannot be there, this would seem to break the rules of the game. If we are to formulate theories as to the culprit at large, what good is our evidence if it is unreliable? Viewers could stop here and conclude that a puzzle without a solution amounts to a film without a point. “Well?” Georges asks in the film’s opening. “Nothing,” Anne replies. Case closed. Short of giving up on a solution, one might conclude (as Antoine Doinel has) that those looking within the film for a perpetrator are looking in the wrong place. When the motives or opportunities of on-screen characters do not add up, perhaps it is Haneke one should turn to. Those familiar with Haneke’s earlier film Funny Games (1997) will know he is not afraid to break the tacit rules by which we suspend our disbelief if there is a point to be made. Film scholar David Sorfa concludes it is in fact the audience who send the tapes; Caché’s narrative is fuelled by the desire of viewers who want to see a film (102). Tempting though these solutions might be (Georges does not see the camera because he is a fictional character in a film unaware of its creator), as critic Roger Ebert has pointed out, such theories render both the film’s content, and any analysis of it, without purpose: It introduces a wild card. It essentially means that no analysis of the film is relevant, because nothing need make sense and no character actions need be significant. Therefore, the film would have the appearance of a whodunit but with no who and no dunnit. (“Caché: A Riddle”)The Caché as impossible puzzle avenue leaves the suspicious reader without reason to engage. If there can be no reward for our efforts, we are left without incentive. Alternately, if we conclude that Haneke is but the puppet master sad*stically toying with his characters, we are left at a similar juncture; our critical enquiry has all the consequence of the trite “but it was all a dream…” scenario. “Well?” “Nothing.” I suspect there is more to Caché than that. A film so explicit in its stimulation of suspicious reading seems to merit our engagement. However, this is not to say that our attention will be satisfied with the neatly tied up solution we might expect. II The Inconclusive Puzzle When, one evening, Pierrot does not come home as expected, Georges and Anne conclude the boy has been kidnapped. They interpret their son’s absence as an escalation in the “campaign of terror” that had hitherto consisted of surveillance videos, odd phone calls, and childlike but portent drawings. With police assistance, Georges goes to confront his suspect, Majid. An Algerian boy from his childhood, now middle aged and disadvantaged because of lies Georges told as a child, Majid has already (quite convincingly) denied any knowledge of the tapes. At the door they meet Majid’s son who is equally perplexed at the accusation of kidnapping. The pair are arrested and an exhausted Georges returns home to explain the situation to his wife:Georges: So now they’re both in the cage for the night.Anne: And then?Georges: Then they’ll let them go. If there’s no proof, they have to. There’s suspicion, nothing more.The next day a sullen Pierrot returns home, having stayed the night at a friend’s without notifying his parents. His clear disdain for his mother is revealed as he rejects her affection and accuses her of having an affair. Pierrot likewise treats his father with disinterest, raising viewer suspicion that he might have a motive for tormenting his parents with the videotapes. Pierrot is just one cog in the family’s internal mechanism of suspicion, however. Whether or not Anne is actually having an affair can only be speculated; she denies it, but other scenes open the way to our suspicion. Anne is rightly suspicious of Georges’s reluctance to be open about his past as his proclivity to lie is gradually revealed. In short, Haneke deliberately layers the film with complexity and ambiguity; numerous characters could be implicated, and many questions are raised but few are answered.This suggests that suspicious readers might have recourse to Haneke as author of the text. Haneke, however, celebrates Caché’s ambiguity and his decision to leave the film open: “The truth is always hidden…that’s how it is in the real world. We never, ever know what the truth is. There are a thousand versions of the truth. It depends on your point of view” (Haneke). In interview, Haneke’s language also raises suspicion. At times he speaks knowingly (refusing to reveal important dialogue that occurs in the film’s final shot—an extreme long shot, the characters too distant to be heard), and at other times he seems as uncertain as his viewers (commenting on Anne’s denial of an affair, Haneke remarks “I believe her because she plays it very seriously. But you never know”) (Haneke).Despite this reluctance to offer explanations, Haneke’s status as an auteur with recurring concerns and an ever-developing vision prompts suspicious readers to evaluate Caché in light of his greater oeuvre. Those suspecting Pierrot of wanting to punish his parents might find their theory bolstered by Benny’s Video (1992), Haneke’s film about a teenage boy who murders a friend and then turns in his parents to the police for helping him cover it up. Furthermore, Das Weiße Band (The White Ribbon, 2009) is set in a small German village on the eve of World War One and the narrative strongly suggests the town’s children are responsible for a series of malicious crimes. Whilst malign children in Haneke’s other works cannot explain Caché’s mystery, his oeuvre provides a greater context in which to consider the film, and regenerates discussion as viewers look for patterns in the subject matter Haneke chooses to explore. Regarding Caché as an inconclusive puzzle shifts the emphasis from a neatly packaged solution to a renewable process of discovery. To suggest that there is an answer to be found in the text, a culprit who escapes apprehension but is at least present to be caught, gives suspicious readers cause to engage and re-engage. It is to assume that the film is not without a point. Close attention may reward us with meaningful nuances that colour our interpretation. Haneke’s obsessive attention to detail also seems to suggest that nothing on screen is accidental or arbitrary, that our concentration is warranted, and that active viewing is a necessity even if our expectations and desires for closure may not be granted.Caché ends without revealing its secret. Georges’s suspect Majid has committed suicide (perhaps due to the trauma dredged up by Georges’s accusations), Majid’s son has confronted Georges at his work place (“I wondered how it feels, a man’s life on your conscience?”), and Georges has refused any responsibility for his actions in the distant and recent past. Of the film’s conclusion, cinema theorist Martine Beugnet writes:In the end […] we watch him draw the curtains, take a sleeping pill and go to bed: an emphatic way of signifying the closure of an episode, the return to normality—the conclusion of the film. Yet the images ‘refuse’ to comply: behind the closing credits, the questioning gaze not only persists but affirms its capacity to reinvent itself. (230)The images Beugnet is referring to are the two final shots, which are both static long takes. The first is an extreme long shot, taken from the darkness of a barn into the bright courtyard of the family estate of Georges’s childhood. A child (Majid) is forcibly removed from the home and taken away in a car (presumably to an orphanage due to the lies told by a jealous Georges). This shot is followed by the film’s closing shot, another extreme long shot, this time of the front steps of Pierrot’s school. The frame is cluttered with children and parents, and our eyes are not directed anywhere in particular. Some viewers will notice Pierrot chatting with Majid’s son (a potentially revealing conversation that cannot be heard), others will not see the two young men hidden in the crowd. Eventually the credits roll over this image.Georges’s attempts to shut out the world seem undermined by these images, as Beugnet writes they “‘refuse’ to comply” to this notion of conclusion. Instead of bringing closure to the narrative, they raise more questions. What and when are they? One cannot be sure. The first shot may be a dream or a memory; its placement after a shot of Georges going to bed might encourage us to connect the two. The second shot at the school could be more surveillance footage, or possibly another dream. It might imply the boys have conspired together. It might imply Majid’s son is confronting Pierrot with information about his father. It could be interpreted as the end of the narrative, but it could also be the beginning. Some read it as threatening, others as hopeful. It might imply so many things. However, this “questioning gaze” that persists and reinvents itself is not just the gaze of the film. It is also the gaze of the suspicious reader. From the initial hype upon the film’s Cannes release in 2005, to the various theories circulating in online forums, to Ebert’s scrupulous re-evaluation of the film’s enigma in 2010, to the ever developing body of scholarly work on Haneke’s films, it seems Caché’s mileage for suspicious readers is still running strong, not least because “whodunit?” may be the wrong question.III The Wrong PuzzleOliver C. Speck has remarked that Caché is “Haneke’s most accessible film, but also the most densely layered,” leading the viewer “on a search for clues that always ends in frustration” (97). For Ebert, the film’s lack of resolution leaves the viewer “feeling as the characters feel, uneasy, violated, spied upon, surrounded by faceless observers” (“Caché”). Cousins likewise comments on the process Caché instigates: The film structures our experience in a generically gripping way but then the structure melts away at the moment when it should most cohere, requiring us to look back along its length (the structure’s length and the film’s) to work out where we went wrong. But we did not go wrong. We went where we were told to go, we took the hand of the narrative that, in the final stages, slipped away, leaving us without co-ordinates. (226)The "whodunit” of Caché cannot be definitively proven. Ultimately, viewers can have suspicion, nothing more. So where are we left as suspicious readers when texts such as Caché surpass our own critical vigilance? We can throw in the towel and claim that an impossible puzzle does not deserve our efforts. We can accept that the text has out-played us; it is an inconclusive but compelling puzzle that does not provide enough links in the hermeneutic chain for us to find the closure we seek. Alternately, when the answer is not forthcoming, we can hypothesise that perhaps we have been asking the wrong question; whodunit is beside the point, simply a Hitchco*ckian MacGuffin (the object or objective that the protagonists seek) introduced to bait us into confronting much more important questions. Perhaps instead we should be asking what Caché can tell us about colonial histories, guilt, vision, or the ontology of cinema itself.This is the avenue many scholars have taken, and the avenue Haneke (rather than his film necessarily) would have us take. The “who did what, when, why, and how” might be regarded as beside the point. In an interview with Andrew O’Hehir, Haneke is quoted:These superficial questions are the glue that holds the spectator in place, and they allow me to raise underlying questions that they have to grapple with. It’s relatively unimportant who sent the tapes, but by engaging with that the viewer must engage questions that are far less banal.Catherine Wheatley agrees, arguing Caché’s open ending renders the epistemological questions of the guilty party and their motives irrelevant, giving preference to questions raised by how this chain of events affect Georges, and by extension the viewer (163–4). By refusing to divulge its secrets, Caché both incites and critiques the interpretive process, encouraging us to take up the role of detective only to anticipate and exceed our investigative efforts. Caché’s subversion of the self-evident is as much a means to launch its thriller narrative as it is a way of calling into question our very understanding of what “self-evident” means. Where Felski describes suspicious interpretations of realist texts (those that attempt to unmask the ideologies concealed behind an illusion of transparency and totality), from its opening moments, Caché is already and constantly unmasking itself. The film’s resistance of a superficial reading seems to make suspicious interpretation inevitable. Wherever viewer suspicion is directed, however, it relies on engagement. Without reason to engage, viewers are left with an impossible puzzle where critical involvement and attention is of no consequence. “Who is sending the tapes?” may be an unimportant or unanswerable question, but it must always be a valid one. It is this query that incites and fuels the interpretive process. As there can only ever be suspicion, nothing more, perhaps it is the question rather than “the answer” that is of utmost significance.Works CitedBeugnet, Martine. “Blind Spot.” Screen 48.2 (2007): 227–31.Benny’s Video. Dir. Michael Haneke. Madman, 1992.Caché (Hidden). Dir. Michael Haneke. Sony Pictures Classics, 2005. Cape Fear. Dir. J. Lee Thompson. Universal, 1962.Cousins, Mark. “After the End: Word of Mouth and Caché.” Screen 48.2 (2007): 223–6.Desperate Hours, The. Dir. William Wyler. Paramount, 1955.Doinel, Antoine. “(Un)hidden Camera: The ‘Real’ Sender of the Tapes.” Mubi.com. Mubi. n.d. 10 Apr. 2011. ‹http://mubi.com/topics/461›. Ebert, Roger. “Caché.” Roger Ebert.com. Chicago Sun-Times. 13 Jan. 2006. 25 Feb. 2011. ‹http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060112/REVIEWS/51220007›.---. “Caché: A Riddle, Wrapped in a Mystery, Inside an Enigma [Response to Readers].” Roger Ebert’s Journal. Chicago Sun-Times. 18 Jan. 2010. 2 Apr. 2011. ‹http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/01/a_riddle_wrapped_in_a_mystery.html›.Felski, Rita. “Suspicious Minds.” Poetics Today 32.2 (2011): 215–34.Funny Games. Dir. Michael Haneke. Madman, 1997.Haneke, Michael. “Hidden: Interview with Michael Haneke by Serge Toubiana.” DVD Special Features. Hidden (Caché). Dir. Michael Haneke. Madman, 2005.Lost Highway. Dir. David Lynch. Universal, 1997.Mulholland Drive. Dir. David Lynch. Reel, 2001.O’Hehir, Andrew. “Michael Haneke’s ‘White Ribbon.’” Salon.com. Salon. 2 Jan. 2010. 2 Apr. 2011. ‹http://www.salon.com/entertainment/movies/andrew_ohehir/2010/01/02/haneke›.Sorfa, David. “Uneasy Domesticity in the Films of Michael Haneke.” Studies in European Cinema 3.2 (2006): 93–104.Speck, Oliver C. Funny Frames: The Filmic Concepts of Michael Haneke. New York: Continuum, 2010.Straw Dogs. Dir. Sam Peckinpah. MRA, 1971.Wheatley, Catherine. Michael Haneke’s Cinema: The Ethic of the Image. New York: Berghahn Books, 2009.White Ribbon, The (Das Weiße Band). Dir. Michael Haneke. Artificial Eye, 2009.

28

Gildersleeve, Jessica. "“Weird Melancholy” and the Modern Television Outback: Rage, Shame, and Violence in Wake in Fright and Mystery Road." M/C Journal 22, no.1 (March13, 2019). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1500.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

In the middle of the nineteenth century, Marcus Clarke famously described the Australian outback as displaying a “Weird Melancholy” (qtd. in Gelder 116). The strange sights, sounds, and experiences of Australia’s rural locations made them ripe for the development of the European genre of the Gothic in a new location, a mutation which has continued over the past two centuries. But what does it mean for Australia’s Gothic landscapes to be associated with the affective qualities of the melancholy? And more particularly, how and why does this Gothic effect (and affect) appear in the most accessible Gothic media of the twenty-first century, the television series? Two recent Australian television adaptations, Wake in Fright (2017, dir. Kriv Stenders) and Mystery Road (2018, dir. Rachel Perkins) provoke us to ask the question: how does their pictorial representation of the Australian outback and its inhabitants overtly express rage and its close ties to melancholia, shame and violence? More particularly, I argue that in both series this rage is turned inwards rather than outwards; rage is turned into melancholy and thus to self-destruction – which constructs an allegory for the malaise of our contemporary nation. However, here the two series differ. While Wake in Fright posits this as a never-ending narrative, in a true Freudian model of melancholics who fail to resolve or attend to their trauma, Mystery Road is more positive in its positioning, allowing the themes of apology and recognition to appear, both necessary for reparation and forward movement.Steven Bruhm has argued that a psychoanalytic model of trauma has become the “best [way to] understand the contemporary Gothic and why we crave it” (268), because the repressions and repetitions of trauma offer a means of playing out the anxieties of our contemporary nation, its fraught histories, its conceptualisations of identity, and its fears for the future. Indeed, as Bruhm states, it is precisely because of the way in which “the Gothic continually confronts us with real, historical traumas that we in the west have created” that they “also continue to control how we think about ourselves as a nation” (271). Jerrold E. Hogle agrees, noting that “Gothic fiction has always begun with trauma” (72). But it is not only that Gothic narratives are best understood as traumatic narratives; rather, Hogle posits that the Gothic is uniquely situated as a genre for dealing with the trauma of our personal and national histories because it enables us to approach the contradictions and conflicts of traumatic experience:I find that the best of the post-9/11 uses of Gothic in fiction achieve that purpose for attentive readers by using the conflicted un-naturalness basic to the Gothic itself to help us concurrently grasp and conceal how profoundly conflicted we are about the most immediate and pervasive cultural “woundings” of our western world as it has come to be. (75)Hogle’s point is critical for its attention to the different ways trauma can be dealt with in texts and by readers, returning in part to Sigmund Freud’s distinction between mourning and melancholia: where mourning is the ‘healthy’ process of working through or narrativising trauma. However, melancholia coalesces into a denial or repression of the traumatic event, and thus, as Freud suggests, its unresolved status reappears during nightmares and flashbacks, for example (Rall 171). Hogle’s praise for the Gothic, however, lies in its ability to move away from that binary, to “concurrently grasp and conceal” trauma: in other words, to respond simultaneously with mourning and with melancholy.Hogle adds to this classic perspective of melancholia through careful attention to the way in which rage inflects these affective responses. Under a psychoanalytic model, rage can be seen “as an infantile response to separation and loss” (Kahane 127). The emotional free-rein of rage, Claire Kahane points out, “disempowers us as subjects, making us subject to its regressive vicissitudes” (127; original emphasis). In Bodies That Matter, Judith Butler explicates this in more detail, making clear that this disempowerment, this inability to clearly express oneself, is what leads to melancholia. Melancholia, then, can be seen as a loss or repression of the identifiable cause of the original rage: this overwhelming emotion has masked its original target. “Insofar as grief remains unspeakable”, Butler posits, “the rage over the loss can redouble by virtue of remaining unavowed. And if that very rage over loss is publicly proscribed, the melancholic effects of such a proscription can achieve suicidal proportions” (212). The only way to “survive” rage in this mutated form of melancholia is to create what Butler terms “collective institutions for grieving”; these enablethe reassembling of community, the reworking of kinship, the reweaving of sustaining relations. And insofar as they involve the publicisation and dramatisation of death, they call to be read as life-affirming rejoinders to the dire psychic consequences of a grieving process culturally thwarted and proscribed. (212-13)Butler’s reading thus aligns with Hogle’s, suggesting that it is in our careful attendance to the horrific experience of grief (however difficult) that we could navigate towards something like resolution – not a simplified narrative of working through, to be sure, but a more ethical recognition of the trauma which diverts it from its repressive impossibilities. To further the argument, it is only by transforming melancholic rage into outrage, to respond with an affect that puts shame to work, that rage will become politically effective. So, outrage is “a socialised and mediated form of rage … directed toward identifiable and bounded others in the external world” (Kahane 127-28). Melancholia and shame might then be seen to be directly opposed to one another: the former a failure of rage, the latter its socially productive incarnation.The Australian Gothic and its repetition of a “Weird Melancholy” exhibit this affective model. Ken Gelder has emphasised the historical coincidences: since Australia was colonised around the same time as the emergence of the Gothic as a genre (115), it has always been infused with what he terms a “colonial melancholia” (119). In contemporary Gothic narratives, this is presented through the repetition of the trauma of loss and injustice, so that the colonial “history of brutal violence and exploitation” (121) is played out, over and over again, desperate for resolution. Indeed, Gelder goes so far as to claim that this is the primary fuel for the Gothic as it manifests in Australian literature and film, arguing that since it is “built upon its dispossession and killings of Aboriginal people and its foundational systems of punishment and incarceration, the colonial scene … continues to shadow Australian cultural production and helps to keep the Australian Gothic very much alive” (121).That these two recent television series depict the ways in which rage and outrage appear in a primal ‘colonial scene’ which fixes the Australian Gothic within a political narrative. Both Wake in Fright and Mystery Road are television adaptations of earlier works. Wake in Fright is adapted from Kenneth Cook’s novel of the same name (1961), and its film adaptation (1971, dir. Ted Kotcheff). Mystery Road is a continuation of the film narrative of the same name (2013, dir. Ivan Sen), and its sequel, Goldstone (2016, dir. Ivan Sen). Both narratives illustrate the shift – where the films were first viewed by a high-culture audience attracted to arthouse cinema and modernist fiction – to the re-makes that are viewed in the domestic space of the television screen and/or other devices. Likewise, the television productions were not seen as single episodes, but also linked to each network’s online on-demand streaming viewers, significantly broadening the audience for both works. In this respect, these series both domesticate and democratise the Gothic. The televised series become situated publicly, recalling the broad scale popularity of the Gothic genre, what Helen Wheatley terms “the most domestic of genres on the most domestic of media” (25). In fact, Deborah Cartmell argues that “adaptation is, indeed, the art form of democracy … a ‘freeing’ of a text from the confined territory of its author and of its readers” (8; emphasis added). Likewise, André Bazin echoes this notion that the adaptation is a kind of “digest” of the original work, “a literature that has been made more accessible through cinematic adaptation” (26; emphasis added). In this way, adaptations serve to ‘democratise’ their concerns, focussing these narratives and their themes as more publically accessible, and thus provoking the potential for a broader cultural discussion. Wake in FrightWake in Fright describes the depraved long weekend of schoolteacher John Grant, who is stuck in the rural town of Bundinyabba (“The Yabba”) after he loses all of his money in an ill-advised game of “Two Up.” Modernising the concerns of the original film, in this adaptation John is further endangered by a debt to local loan sharks, and troubled by his frequent flashbacks to his lost lover. The narrative does display drug- and alcohol-induced rage in its infamous pig-shooting (originally roo-shooting) scene, as well as the cold and threatening rage of the loan shark who suspects she will not be paid, both of which are depicted as a specifically white aggression. Overall, its primary depiction of rage is directed inward, rather than outward, and in this way becomes narrowed down to emphasise a more individual, traumatic shame. That is, John’s petulant rage after his girlfriend’s rejection of his marriage proposal manifests in his determination to stolidly drink alone while she swims in the ocean. When she drowns while he is drunk and incapable to rescue her, his inaction becomes the primary source of his shame and exacerbates his self-focused, but repressed rage. The subsequent cycles of drinking (residents of The Yabba only drink beer, and plenty of it) and gambling (as he loses over and over at Two-Up) constitute a repetition of his original trauma over her drowning, and trigger the release of his repressed rage. While accompanying some locals during their drunken pig-shooting expedition, his rage finds an outlet, resulting in the death of his new acquaintance, Doc Tydon. Like John, Doc is the victim of a self-focused rage and shame at the death of his young child and the abdication of his responsibilities as the town’s doctor. Both John and Doc depict the collapse of authority and social order in the “Weird Melancholy” of the outback (Rayner 27), but this “subversion of the stereotype of capable, confident Australian masculinity” (37) and the decay of community and social structure remains static. However, the series does not push forward towards a moral outcome or a suggestion of better actions to inspire the viewer. Even his desperate suicide attempt, what he envisions as the only ‘ethical’ way out of his nightmare, ends in failure and is covered up by the local police. The narrative becomes circular: for John is returned to The Yabba every time he tries to leave, and even in the final scene he is back in Tiboonda, returned to where he started, standing at the front of his classroom. But importantly, this cycle mimics John’s cycle of unresolved shame, suggests an inability to ‘wake’ from this nightmare of repetition, with no acknowledgement of his individual history and his complicity in the traumatic events. Although John has outlived his suicide attempt, this does not validate his survival as a rebirth. Rather, John’s refusal of responsibility and the accompanying complicity of local authorities suggests the inevitability of further self-damaging rage, shame, and violence. Outback NoirBoth Wake in Fright and Mystery Road have been described as “outback noir” (Dolgopolov 12), combining characteristics of the Gothic, the Western, and film noir in their depictions of suffering and the realisation (or abdication) of justice. Greg Dolgopolov explains that while traditional “film noir explores the moral trauma of crime on its protagonists, who are often escaping personal suffering or harrowing incidents from their pasts” (12), these examples of Australian (outback) noir are primarily concerned with “ancestral trauma – that of both Indigenous and settler. Outback noir challenges official versions of events that glide over historical massacres and current injustices” (12-13).Wake in Fright’s focus on John’s personal suffering even as his crimes could become allegories for national trauma, aligns this story with traditional film noir. Mystery Road is caught up with a more collectivised form of trauma, and with the ‘colonialism’ of outback noir means this adaptation is more effective in locating self-rage and melancholia as integral to social and cultural dilemmas of contemporary Australia. Each series takes a different path to the treatment of race relations in Australia within a small and isolated rural context. Wake in Fright chooses to ignore this historical context, setting up the cycle of John’s repression of trauma as an individual fate, and he is trapped to repeat it. On the other hand, Mystery Road, just like its cinematic precursors (Mystery Road and Goldstone), deals with race as a specific theme. Mystery Road’s nod to the noir and the Western is emphasised by the character of Detective Jay Swan: “a lone gunslinger attempting to uphold law and order” (Ward 111), he swaggers around the small township in his cowboy hat, jeans, and boots, stoically searching for clues to the disappearance of two local teenagers. Since Swan is himself Aboriginal, this transforms the representation of authority and its failures depicted in Wake in Fright. While the police in Wake in Fright uphold the law only when convenient to their own goals, and further, to undertake criminal activities themselves, in Mystery Road the authority figures – Jay himself, and his counterpart, Senior Sergeant Emma James, are prominent in the community and dedicated to the pursuit of justice. It is highly significant that this sense of justice reaches beyond the present situation. Emma’s family, the Ballantynes, have been prominent landowners and farmers in the region for over one hundred years, and have always prided themselves on their benevolence towards the local Indigenous population. However, when Emma discovers that her great-grandfather was responsible for the massacre of several young Aboriginal men at the local waterhole, she is overcome by shame. In her horrified tears we see how the legacy of trauma, ever present for the Aboriginal population, is brought home to Emma herself. As the figurehead for justice in the town, Emma is determined to label the murders accurately as a “crime” which must “be answered.” In this acknowledgement and her subsequent apology to Dot, she finds some release from this ancient shame.The only Aboriginal characters in Wake in Fright are marginal to the narrative – taxi drivers who remain peripheral to the traumas within the small town, and thus remain positioned as innocent bystanders to its depravity. However, Mystery Road is careful to avoid such reductionist binaries. Just as Emma discovers the truth about her own family’s violence, Uncle Keith, the current Aboriginal patriarch, is exposed as a sexual predator. In both cases the men, leaders in the past and the present, consider themselves as ‘righteous’ in order to mask their enraged and violent behaviour. The moral issue here is more than a simplistic exposition on race, rather it demonstrates that complexity surrounds those who achieve power. When Dot ultimately ‘inherits’ responsibility for the Aboriginal Land Rights Commission this indicates that Mystery Road concludes with two female figures of authority, both looking out for the welfare of the community as a whole. Likewise, they are involved in seeking the young woman, Shevorne, who becomes the focus of abuse and grief, and her daughter. Although Jay is ultimately responsible for solving the crime at the heart of the series, Mystery Road strives to position futurity and responsibility in the hands of its female characters and their shared sense of community.In conclusion, both television adaptations of classic movies located in Australian outback noir have problematised rage within two vastly different contexts. The adaptations Wake in Fright and Mystery Road do share similar themes and concerns in their responses to past traumas and how that shapes Gothic representation of the outback in present day Australia. However, it is in their treatment of rage, shame, and violence that they diverge. Wake in Fright’s failure to convert rage beyond melancholia means that it fails to offer any hope of resolution, only an ongoing cycle of shame and violence. But rage, as a driver for injustice, can evolve into something more positive. In Mystery Road, the anger of both individuals and the community as a whole moves beyond good/bad and black/white stereotypes of outrage towards a more productive form of shame. In doing so, rage itself can elicit a new model for a more responsible contemporary Australian Gothic narrative.References Bazin, André. “Adaptation, or the Cinema as Digest.” Film Adaptation. 1948. Ed. James Naremore. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers, 2000. 19-27.Bruhm, Steven. “The Contemporary Gothic: Why We Need It.” The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction. Ed. Jerrold E. Hogle. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002. 259-76.Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex.” London: Routledge, 1993.Cartmell, Deborah. “100+ Years of Adaptations, or, Adaptation as the Art Form of Democracy.” A Companion to Literature, Film, and Adaptation. Ed. Deborah Cartmell. Chichester: Blackwell, 2012. 1-13.Dolgopolov, Greg. “Balancing Acts: Ivan Sen’s Goldstone and ‘Outback Noir.’” Metro 190 (2016): 8-13.Gelder, Ken. “Australian Gothic.” The Routledge Companion to Gothic. Eds. Catherine Spooner and Emma McEvoy. London: Routledge, 2007. 115-23.Hogle, Jerrold E. “History, Trauma and the Gothic in Contemporary Western Fictions.” The Gothic World. Eds. Glennis Byron and Dale Townshend. London: Routledge, 2014. 72-81.Kahane, Claire. “The Aesthetic Politics of Rage.” States of Rage: Emotional Eruption, Violence, and Social Change. Eds. Renée R. Curry and Terry L. Allison. New York: New York UP, 1996. 126-45.Perkins, Rachel, dir. Mystery Road. ABC, 2018.Rall, Denise N. “‘Shock and Awe’ and Memory: The Evocation(s) of Trauma in post-9/11 Artworks.” Memory and the Wars on Terror: Australian and British Perspectives. Eds. Jessica Gildersleeve and Richard Gehrmann. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. 163-82.Rayner, Jonathan. Contemporary Australian Cinema: An Introduction. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2000.Stenders, Kriv, dir. Wake in Fright. Roadshow Entertainment, 2017.Ward, Sarah. “Shadows of a Sunburnt Country: Mystery Road, the Western and the Conflicts of Contemporary Australia.” Screen Education 81 (2016): 110-15.Wheatley, Helen. “Haunted Houses, Hidden Rooms: Women, Domesticity and the Gothic Adaptation on Television.” Popular Television Drama: Critical Perspectives. Eds. Jonathan Bignell and Stephen Lacey. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2005. 149-65.

29

Lindop, Samantha Jane. "Carmilla, Camilla: The Influence of the Gothic on David Lynch's Mulholland Drive." M/C Journal 17, no.4 (July24, 2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.844.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

It is widely acknowledged among film scholars that Lynch’s 2001 neo-noir Mulholland Drive is richly infused with intertextual references and homages — most notably to Charles Vidor’s Gilda (1946), Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950), Alfred Hitchco*ck’s Vertigo (1958), and Ingmar Bergman’s Persona (1966). What is less recognised is the extent to which J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1872 Gothic novella Carmilla has also influenced Mulholland Drive. This article focuses on the dynamics of the relationship between Carmilla and Mulholland Drive, particularly the formation of femme fatale Camilla Rhodes (played by Laura Elena Harring), with the aim of establishing how the Gothic shapes the viewing experience of the film. I argue that not only are there striking narrative similarities between the texts, but lying at the heart of both Carmilla and Mulholland Drive is the uncanny. By drawing on this elusive and eerie feeling, Lynch successfully introduces an archetypal quality both to Camilla and Mulholland Drive as a whole, which in turn contributes to powerful sensations of desire, dread, nostalgia, and “noirness” that are aroused by the film. As such Mulholland Drive emerges not only as a compelling work of art, but also a deeply evocative cinematic experience. I begin by providing a brief overview of Le Fanu’s Gothic tale and establish its formative influence on later cinematic texts. I then present a synopsis of Mulholland Drive before exploring the rich interrelationship the film has with Carmilla. Carmilla and the Lesbian Vampire Carmilla is narrated from the perspective of a sheltered nineteen-year-old girl called Laura, who lives in an isolated Styrian castle with her father. After a bizarre event involving a carriage accident, a young woman named Carmilla is left in the care of Laura’s father. Carmilla is beautiful and charming, but she is an enigma; her origins and even her surname remain a mystery. Though Laura identifies a number of peculiarities about her new friend’s behaviour (such as her strange, intense moods, languid body movements, and other irregular habits), the two women are captivated with each other, quickly falling in love. However, despite Carmilla’s harmless and fragile appearance, she is not what she seems. She is a one hundred and fifty year old vampire called Mircalla, Countess Karnstein (also known as Millarca — both anagrams of Carmilla), who preys on adolescent women, seducing them while feeding off their blood as they sleep. In spite of the deep affection she claims to have for Laura, Carmilla is compelled to slowly bleed her dry. This takes its physical toll on Laura who becomes progressively pallid and lethargic, before Carmilla’s true identity is revealed and she is slain. Le Fanu’s Carmilla is monumental, not only for popularising the female vampire, but for producing a sexually alluring creature that actively seeks out and seduces other women. Cinematically, the myth of the lesbian vampire has been drawn on extensively by film makers. One of the earliest female centred vampire movies to contain connotations of same-sex desire is Lambert Hilyer’s Dracula’s Daughter (1936). However, it was in the 1960s and 1970s that the spectre of the lesbian vampire exploded on screen. In part a response to the abolishment of Motion Picture Code strictures (Baker 554) and fuelled by latent anxieties about second wave feminist activism (Zimmerman 23–4), films of this cycle blended horror with erotica, reworking the lesbian vampire as a “male p*rnographic fantasy” (Weiss 87). These productions draw on Carmilla in varying degrees. In most, the resemblance is purely thematic; others draw on Le Fanu’s novella slightly more directly. In Roger Vadim’s Et Mourir de Plaisir (1960) an aristocratic woman called Carmilla becomes possessed by her vampire ancestor Millarca von Karnstein. In Roy Ward Baker’s The Vampire Lovers (1970) Carmilla kills Laura before seducing a girl named Emma whom she encounters after a mysterious carriage breakdown. However, the undead Gothic lady has not only made a transition from literature to screen. The figure also transcends the realm of horror, venturing into other cinematic styles and genres as a mortal vampire whose sexuality is a source of malevolence (Weiss 96–7). A well-known early example is Frank Powell’s A Fool There Was (1915), starring Theda Barra as “The Vampire,” an alluring seductress who targets wealthy men, draining them of both their money and dignity (as opposed to their blood), reducing them to madness, alcoholism, and suicide. Other famous “vamps,” as these deadly women came to be known, include the characters played by Marlene Dietrich such as Concha Pérez in Joseph von Sternberg’s The Devil is a Woman (1935). With the emergence of film noir in the early 1940s, the vamp metamorphosed into the femme fatale, who like her predecessors, takes the form of a human vampire who uses her sexuality to seduce her unwitting victims before destroying them. The deadly woman of this era functions as a prototype for neo-noir incarnations of the sexually alluring fatale figure, whose popularity resurged in the early 1980s with productions such as Lawrence Kasdan’s Body Heat (1981), a film commonly regarded as a remake of Billy Wilder’s 1944 classic noir Double Indemnity (Bould et al. 4; Tasker 118). Like the lesbian vampires of 1960s–1970s horror, the neo-noir femme fatale is commonly aligned with themes of same-sex desire, as she is in Mulholland Drive. Mulholland Drive Like Sunset Boulevard before it, Mulholland Drive tells the tragic tale of Hollywood dreams turned to dust, jealousy, madness, escapist fantasy, and murder (Andrews 26). The narrative is played out from the perspective of failed aspiring actress Diane Selwyn (Naomi Watts) and centres on her bitter sexual obsession with former lover Camilla. The film is divided into three sections, described by Lynch as: “Part one: She found herself inside a perfect mystery. Part two: A sad illusion. Part three: Love” (Rodley 54). The first and second segments of the movie are Diane’s wishful dream, which functions as an escape from the unbearable reality that, after being humiliated and spurned by Camilla, Diane hires a hit man to have her murdered. Part three reveals the events that have led up to Diane’s fateful action. In Diane’s dream she is sweet, naïve, Betty who arrives at her wealthy aunt’s Hollywood home to find a beautiful woman in the bathroom. Earlier we witness a scene where the woman survives a violent car crash and, suffering a head injury, stumbles unnoticed into the apartment. Initially the woman introduces herself as Rita (after seeing a Gilda poster on the wall), but later confesses that she doesn’t know who she is. Undeterred by the strange circ*mstances surrounding Rita’s presence, Betty takes the frightened, vulnerable woman (actually Camilla) under her wing, enthusiastically assuming the role of detective in trying to discover her real identity. As Rita, Camilla is passive, dependent, and grateful. Importantly, she also fondly reciprocates the love Betty feels for her. But in reality, from Diane’s perspective at least, Camilla is a narcissistic, manipulative femme fatale (like the character portrayed by the famous star whose name she adopts in Diane’s dream) who takes sad*stic delight in toying with the emotions of others. Just as Rita is Diane’s ideal lover in her fantasy, pretty Betty is Diane’s ego ideal. She is vibrant, wholesome, and has a glowing future ahead of her. This is a far cry from reality where Diane is sullen, pathetic, and haggard with no prospects. Bitterly, she blames Camilla for her failings as an actress (Camilla wins a lead role that Diane badly wanted by sleeping with the director). Ultimately, Diane also blames Camilla for her own suicide. This is implied in the dream sequence when the two women disguise Rita’s appearance after the discovery of a bloated corpse in Diane Selwyn’s apartment. The parallels between Mulholland Drive and Carmilla are numerous to the extent that it could be argued that Lynch’s film is a contemporary noir infused re-telling of Le Fanu’s novella. Both stories take the point-of-view of the blonde haired, blue eyed “victim.” Both include a vehicle accident followed by the mysterious arrival of an elusive dark haired stranger, who appears vulnerable and helpless, but whose beauty masks the fact that she is really a monster. Both narratives hinge on same-sex desire and involve the gradual emotional and physical destruction of the quarry, as she suffers at the hands of her newly found love interest. Whereas Carmilla literally sucks her victims dry before moving on to another target, Camilla metaphorically drains the life out of Diane, callously taunting her with her other lovers before dumping her. While Camilla is not a vampire per se, she is framed in a distinctly vampirish manner, her pale skin contrasted by lavish red lipstick and fingernails, and though she is not literally the living dead, the latter part of the film indicates that the only place Camilla remains alive is in Diane’s fantasy. But in the Lynchian universe, where conventional forms of narrative coherence, with their demand for logic and legibility are of little interest (Rodley ix), intertextual alignment with Carmilla extends beyond plot structure to capture the “mood,” or “feel” of the novella that is best described in terms of the uncanny — something that also lies at the very core of Lynch’s work (Rodley xi). The Gothic and the Uncanny Though Gothic literature is grounded in horror, the type of fear elicited in the works of writers that form part of this movement, such as Le Fanu (along with Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelly, and Bram Stoker to name a few), aligns more with the uncanny than with outright terror. The uncanny is an elusive quality that is difficult to pinpoint yet distinct. First and foremost it is a sense, or emotion that is related to dread and horror, but it is more complex than simply a reaction to fear. Rather, feelings of trepidation are accompanied by a peculiar, dream-like quality of something fleetingly recognisable in what is evidently unknown, conjuring up a mysterious impression of déjà vu. The uncanny has to do with uncertainty, particularly in relation to names (including one’s own name), places and what is being experienced; that things are not as they have come to appear through habit and familiarity. Though it can be frightening, at the same time it can involve a sensation that is compelling and beautiful (Royle 1–2; Punter 131). The inventory of motifs, fantasies, and phenomena that have been attributed to the uncanny are extensive. These can extend from the sight of dead bodies, skeletons, severed heads, dismembered limbs, and female sex organs, to the thought of being buried alive; from conditions such as epilepsy and madness, to haunted houses/castles and ghostly apparitions. Themes of doubling, anthropomorphism, doubt over whether an apparently living object is really animate and conversely if a lifeless object, such as a doll or machinery, is in fact alive also fall under the broad range of what constitutes the uncanny (see Jentsch 221–7; Freud 232–45; Royle 1–2). Socio-culturally, the uncanny can be traced back to the historical epoch of Enlightenment. It is the transformations of this eighteenth century “age of reason,” with its rejection of transcendental explanations, valorisation of reason over superstition, aggressively rationalist imperatives, and compulsive quests for knowledge that are argued to have first caused human experiences associated with the uncanny (Castle 8–10). In this sense, as literary scholar Terry Castle argues, the eighteenth century “invented the uncanny” (8). In relation to the psychological underpinnings of this disquieting emotion, psychiatrist Ernst Jentsch was the first to explore the subject in his 1906 document “On the Psychology of the Uncanny,” though Sigmund Freud and his 1919 paper “The Uncanny” is most popularly associated with the term. According to Jentsch, the uncanny, or the unheimlich in German (meaning “unhomely”), emerges when the “new/foreign/hostile” corresponds to the psychical association of “old/known/familiar.” The unheimlich, which sits in direct opposition to the heimlich (homely) equates to a situation where someone feels not quite “at home” or “at ease” (217–9). Jentsch attributes sensations of the unheimlich to psychical resistances that emerge in relation to the mistrust of the innovative and unusual — “to the intellectual mystery of a new thing” (218) — such as technological revolution for example. Freud builds on the concept of the unheimlich by focusing on the heimlich, arguing that the term incorporates two sets of ideas. It can refer to what is familiar and agreeable, or it can mean “what is concealed and kept out of sight” (234–5). In the context of the latter notion, the unheimlich connotes “that which ought to have remained secret or hidden but has come to light” (Freud 225). Hence for Freud, who was primarily concerned with the latent content of the psyche, feelings of uncanniness emerge when dark, disturbing truths that have been repressed and relegated to the realm of the unconscious resurface, making their way abstractly into the consciousness, creating an odd impression of the known in the unknown. Though it is the works of E.T.A. Hoffman that are most commonly associated with the unheimlich, Freud describing the author as the “unrivalled master of the uncanny in literature” (233), Carmilla is equally bound up in dialectics between the known and the unknown; the homely and the unhomely. Themes centring on doubles, the undead, haunted gardens, conflicting emotions fuelled by desire and disgust — of “adoration and also of abhorrence” (Le Fanu 264), and dream-like nocturnal encounters with sinister, shape-shifting creatures predominate. With Carmilla’s arrival the boundaries between the heimlich and the unheimlich become blurred. Though Carmilla is a stranger, her presence triggers buried childhood memories for Laura of a frightening and surreal experience where Carmilla appears in Laura’s nursery during the night, climbing into bed with her before seemingly vanishing into thin air. In this sense, Laura’s remote castle home has never been homely. Disturbing truths have always lurked in its dark recesses, the return of the dead bringing them to light. The Uncanny in Mulholland Drive The elusive qualities of the uncanny also weave their way extensively through Mulholland Drive, permeating all facets of the cinematic experience — cinematography, sound score, mise en scène, and narrative structure. As film maker and writer Chris Rodley argues, Lynch mobilises every aspect of the motion picture making process in seeking to express a sense of uncanniness in his productions: “His sensitivity to textures of sound and image, to the rhythms of speech and movement, to space, colour, and the intrinsic power of music mark him as unique in this respect.” (Rodley ix–xi). From the opening scenes of Mulholland Drive, the audience is plunged into the surreal, unheimlich realm of Diane’s dream world. The use of rich saturated colours, soft focus lenses, unconventional camera movements, stilted dialogue, and a hauntingly beautiful sound score composed by Angelo Badalamenti, generates a cumulative effect of heightened artifice. This in turn produces an impression of hyper-realism — a Baudrillardean simulacrum where the real is beyond real, taking on a form of its own that has an artificial relation to actuality (Baudrillard 6–7). Distorting the “real” in this manner produces an effect of defamiliarisation — a term first employed by critic Viktor Shklovsky (2–3) to describe the artistic process involved in making familiar objects seem strange and unfamiliar (or unheimlich). These techniques are something Lynch employs in other works. Film and literary scholar Greg Hainge (137) discusses the way colour intensification and slow motion camera tracking are used in the opening scene of Blue Velvet (1984) to destabilise the aesthetic realm of the homely, revealing it to be artifice concealing sinister truths that have so far been hidden, but that are about to come to light. Similar themes are central to Mulholland Drive; the simulacra of Diane’s fantasy creating a synthetic form of real that conceals the dark and terrible veracities of her waking life. However, the artificial dream place of Diane’s disturbed mind is disjointed and fractured, therefore, just as the uncanny gives rise to an elusive sense of mystery and uncertainty, offering a fleeting glimpse of the tangible in something otherwise inexplicable, so too is the full intelligibility of Mulholland Drive kept at an obscure distance. Though the film offers a succession of clues to meaning, the key to any form of complete understanding lingers just beyond the grasp of certainty. Names, places, and identities are infused with doubt. Not only in relation to Betty/Diane and Rita/Camilla, but regarding a succession of other strange, inexplicable characters and events, one example being the recurrent presence of a terrifying looking vagrant (Bonnie Aarons). Figures such as this are clearly poignant to the narrative, but they are also impossibly enigmatic, inviting the audience to play detective in deciphering what they signify. Themes of doubling and mirroring are also used extensively. While these motifs serve to denote the split between waking and dream states, they also destabilise the narrative in relation to what is familiar and what is unfamiliar, further grounding Mulholland Drive in the uncanny. Since its publication in 1872, Carmilla has had a significant formative influence on the construct of the seductive yet deadly woman in her various manifestations. However, rarely has the novella been paid homage to as intricately as it is in Mulholland Drive. Lynch draws on Le Fanu’s archetypal Gothic horror story, combining it with the aesthetic conventions of film noir, in order to create what is ostensibly a contemporary, poststructuralist critique of the Hollywood dream-factory. Narratively and thematically, the similarities between the two texts are numerous. However, intertextual configuration is considerably more complex, extending beyond the plot and character structure to capture the essence of the Gothic, which is grounded in the uncanny — an evocative emotion involving feelings of dread, accompanied by a dream-like impression of familiar and unfamiliar commingling. Carmilla and Mulholland Drive bypass the heimlich, delving directly into the unheimlich, where boundaries between waking and dream states are destabilised, any sense of certainty about what is real is undermined, and feelings of desire are paradoxically conjoined with loathing. Moreover, Lynch mobilises all fundamental elements of cinema in order to capture and express the elusive qualities of the Unheimlich. In this sense, the uncanny lies at the very heart of the film. What emerges as a result is an enigmatic work of art that is as profoundly alluring as it is disconcerting. References Andrews, David. “An Oneiric Fugue: The Various Logics of Mulholland Drive.” Journal of Film and Video 56 (2004): 25–40. Baker, David. “Seduced and Abandoned: Lesbian Vampires on Screen 1968–74.” Continuum 26 (2012): 553–63. Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. Michigan: U Michigan P, 1994. Bould, Mark, Kathrina Glitre, and Greg Tuck. Neo-Noir. New York: Wallflower, 2009. Castle, Terry. The Female Thermometer: Eighteenth-century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1995. Freud, Sigmund. “The Uncanny.” Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. XVII: An Infantile Neurosis and Other Works. London: Hogarth, 2001. 217–256. Le Fanu, J. Sheridan. Carmilla. In a Glass Darkly. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. 243–319. Hainge, Greg. “Weird or Loopy? Spectacular Spaces, Feedback and Artifice in Lost Highway’s Aesthetics of Sensation.” The Cinema of David Lynch: American Dreams, Nightmare Visions. Ed. Erica Sheen and Annette Davidson. London: Wallflower, 2004. 136–50. Jentsch, Ernst. “On the Psychology of the Uncanny.” Uncanny Modernity: Cultural Theories, Modern Anxieties. Ed. Jo Collins and John Jervis. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2008. 216–28. Punter, David. “The Uncanny.” The Routledge Companion to the Gothic. Ed. Catherine Spooner and Emma McEvoy. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2007. 129–36. Rodley, Chris. Lynch on Lynch. London: Faber, 2005. Royle, Nicholas. The Uncanny. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2003. Shklovsky, Viktor. “Art as Technique.” Theory of Prose. Illinois: Dalkey, 1991. Tasker, Yvonne. Working Girls: Gender and Sexuality in Popular Cinema. New York: Routledge, 1998. Weiss, Andrea. Vampires and Violets: Lesbians in Cinema. London: Jonathan Cape, 1992. Zimmerman, Bonnie. “Daughters of Darkness Lesbian Vampires.” Jump Cut 24.5 (2005): 23–4.

30

Hand,RichardJ. "Dissecting the Gash." M/C Journal 7, no.4 (October1, 2004). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2389.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Given that the new advances in technology in the 1980s had a major impact on the carefully constructed myth of authenticity in horror and p*rnography, ranging from flawless special effects at one extreme to the idea of the handheld voyeur movie at the other, it is rather ironic that the key progenitor to the erotic-grotesque form is a long-established and in some ways basic form: the pen and paper art of manga. This medium can be traced back to pillow books and the illustrated tradition in Japanese culture – a culture where even written language has evolved from drawings rather than alphabetical ciphers. Technological innovation notwithstanding, the 1980s is an extraordinary period for manga and it is perhaps here that we find the most startling hybridisation of p*rn and horror where, to borrow a phrase from Liz Kotz, “pathology meets pleasure, where what we most fear is what we most desire” (Kotz 188). Many of the most extreme examples of 1980s manga repeatedly confront the reader with tales that intersperse and interlink imagery and narrative sequences of sex, violence and the abject. Suehiro Maruo is in many ways a commercially marginalised but highly renowned manga artist of the erotic-grotesque. His full-length manga novel Mr Arashi’s Amazing Freak Show (1984) is a sweeping tale of carnival freaks redolent with sex and sadism, but in this article I will address his short comic strips from around the same period. The stories collected in Suehiro Maruo’s Ultra-Gash Inferno (2001) present a mortifying vision of sex and horror with stories that draw on the erotically tinged world of classical Japanese theatre and the short fiction of Edogawa Rampo but push them into the domain of extreme p*rnography. In “Putrid Night” (1981), an abusive man, Todoroki, subjects his teenage wife, Sayoko, to vicious cunniling*s and anal sex. In one sequence, Sayoko gives oral sex while Todoroki runs a samurai sword across her cheek. In her misery, Sayoko finds true love in the teenage boy Michio. Their illicit sexual love is tender and fulfilling and yet the imagery that intersperses it is ominous: when they have sex in a field, their conjoined bodies are juxtaposed with rotting fruit infested with ants and Michio’s erect penis is juxtaposed with a serpent in the grass. Sayoko and Michio plot to murder Todoroki. The result is disastrous, with Todoroki cutting off the arms of his wife and her lover through the elbows, and lancing their eyeballs. In the carnage, Todoroki has sex with Sayoko. The young lovers do not die, and Todoroki keeps them alive in a cell as “pets” (19). In a grotesque triumph of true love, Todoroki, to his horror, spies on his two victims and sees them, their eye sockets and arm stumps pouring blood, tenderly making love. In “sh*t Soup” (1982), Maruo produces a comic strip with no story as such and is therefore a highly simplistic p*rnographic narrative. We witness a menage a trois with a young woman and her two male lovers and the comic presents their various exploits. In their opening bout, the woman squeezes a cow’s eyeball into her vagin* and one man sucks it out of her while the other licks her beneath the eyelid. Later, the three excrete onto dinner plates and dine upon their mixed sh*t. The story ends with the three laughing deliriously as they fall from a cliff, an emblem of their joyful abandon and the intersection of love and death. As epilogue, Maruo describes the taste of excrement and invites us to taste our own. This ending is an ingenious narrative decision, as it turns on the reader and strives to deny us – the viewer/voyeur – any comfortable distance: we are invited, as it were, to eat sh*t literally and if we refuse, we can eat sh*t metaphorically. Suehiro Maruo’s work can also be subtle: in what looks like a realistic image at the opening of “A Season in Hell” (1981), a dead teenage girl lies, covered in “gore and faeces” (45), on a grassy path which resembles the hairy opening to female sexual organs. The surrounding field is like a pudenda and the double arch of the nearby bridge resembles breasts. Maruo can thus outwit the censorship tradition in which pubic hair is generally forbidden (it does appear in some of Maruo’s comic strips), although erections, ejacul*tions and hairless openings and organs would seem to be always graphically permissible. Probably the most excessive vision in Ultra-Gash Inferno is “The Great Masturbator” (1982). In this, Suehiro Maruo presents a family in which the father repeatedly dresses his daughter up as a schoolgirl in order to rape her, even cutting a vagin*-sized hole into her abdomen. Eventually, he slices her with numerous openings so that he can penetrate her with his fists as well as his penis. Meanwhile, her brother embarks on an incestuous relationship with his ancient aunt. After her death, he acquires her false teeth and uses them to masturbat*. He ejacul*tes onto her grave, splitting his head open on the tombstone. The excess and debauchery make it a shocking tale, a kind of violent manga reworking of Robert Crumb’s cartoon “The family that lays together, stays together” (91) from Snatch 2 (January 1969). Like Crumb, we could argue that Maruo employs explicit sexual imagery and an ethos of sexual taboo with the same purpose of transgressing and provoking the jargon of particular social norms. The political dimension to Maruo’s work finds its most blatant treatment in “Planet of the Jap” (1985), anthologised in Comics Underground Japan (1996). This manga strip is a devastating historical-political work presented as a history lesson in which Japan won the Second World War, having dropped atomic bombs on Los Angeles and San Francisco. The comic is full of startling iconic imagery such as the Japanese flag being hoisted over the shell-pocked Statue of Liberty and the public execution of General MacArthur. Of course, this being Maruo, there is a p*rnographic sequence. In a lengthy and graphic episode, an American mother is raped by Japanese soldiers while her son is murdered. As these horrors are committed, the lyrics of a patriotic song about present-day Japan, written by the Ministry of Education, form the textual narrative. Although the story could be seen as a comment on the subjection of Japan at the end of the Second World War – a sustained ironic inversion of history – it seems more likely to be a condemnation of the phase of Japanese history when, tragically, a minority of “atavistic, chauvinistic, racist warmongers” secured for themselves a position of “ideological legitimacy and power” (Lehmann 213). However, Maruo is being deliberately provocative to his contemporary reader: he writes this story in the mid-1980s, the peak of Japan’s post-war prosperity. As Joy Hendry says, Japan’s “tremendous economic success” in this period is not just important for Japan but marks an “important element of world history” (Hendry 18). Maruo ends “Planet of the Jap” with a haunting international message: “Don’t be fooled. Japan is by no means a defeated nation. Japan is still the strongest country in the world” (124). The p*rn-horror creator Suehiro Maruo follows in the tradition of figures like Octave Mirbeau, Georges Bataille and Robert Crumb who have used explicit p*rnography and sexual taboo as a forum for political provocation. The sexual horror of Maruo’s erotic-grotesque manga may terrify some readers and titillate others. It may even terrify and titillate at the same time in a disturbing fusion which has social and political implications: all the Maruo works in this essay were produced in the early to mid-1980s, the peak of Japanese economic success. They also coincide with the boom years of the Japanese sex industry, which Akira Suei argues was terminated by the repressive legislation of the New Amusem*nt Business Control and Improvement Act of 1985 (Suei, 10). Suei’s account of the period paints one of frivolity and inventiveness embodied in the phenomenon of “no-panties coffee shops” (10) and the numerous sex clubs which offered extraordinary “role-playing opportunities” (13). The mood is one of triumph for the sexual expression of the customers but also for the extremely well-paid sex workers. Maruo’s stories contemporaneous with this have their own freedom of sexual expression, creating a vision where sexually explicit images comment upon a wide variety of subjects, from the family, scatological taboos, through to national history and Japan’s economic success. At the same time as presenting explicit sex as a feature in his films, Maruo always closely weaves it in with the taboo of death. Martin Heidegger interprets human existence as Sein-zum-Tode (being-towards-death) (Kearney 35): in Maruo’s vision, existence is evidently one of sexual-being-towards-death. Like Suehiro Maruo’s hideously maimed and blind lovers, humanity always returns to the impulse of its sexuality and the desire/will to org*sm: what Maruo calls “the cosmic gash” of physical love, a gash which also reveals, in a Heideggerian sense, the non-being that is the only certainty of existence. And we should remember that even when love is blind, someone will always be watching. References Crumb, Robert. The Complete Crumb, Volume 5: Happy Hippy Comix. Seattle: Fantagraphics, 1990. Hendry, Joy. Understanding Japanese Society. London: Routledge, 1987. Kearney, Richard. Modern Movements in European Philosophy. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1986. Kotz, Liz. “Complicity: Women Artists Investigating Masculinity” in Paula Church Gibson (ed.) More Dirty Looks: Gender, p*rnography and Power (Second Edition). London, BFI, 2004, 188-203. Lehmann, Jean-Pierre. The Roots of Modern Japan. London: Macmillan, 1982. Maruo, Suehiro. “Planet of the Jap” in Quigley, Kevin (ed.). Comics Underground Japan. New York: Blast Books, 1992. —-. Mr Arashi’s Amazing Freak Show. New York: Blast, 1992. —-. Ultra-Gash Inferno. London: Creation, 2001 Mizuki, Shigeru. Youkai Gadan. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1992. Rampo, Edogawa. Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination. New York: Tuttle, 1956. Suei, Akira “The Lucky Hole as the Black Hole” in Nobuyoshi Araki. Araki: Tokyo Lucky Hole. Köln: Taschen, 1997, 10-15. MLA Style Hand, Richard J. "Dissecting the Gash: Sexual Horror in the 1980s and the Manga of Suehiro Maruo." M/C Journal 7.4 (2004). 10 October 2004 <http://www.media-culture.org.au/0410/05_horror.php>. APA Style Hand, R. (2004 Oct 11). Dissecting the Gash: Sexual Horror in the 1980s and the Manga of Suehiro Maruo, M/C Journal, 7(4). Retrieved Oct 10 2004 from <http://www.media-culture.org.au/05_horror.php>

31

Bainbridge, Jason. "Soiling Suburbia." M/C Journal 9, no.5 (November1, 2006). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2675.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

“The electronic media do away with cleanliness; they are by their nature ‘dirty’. That is part of their productive power…” (Enzensberger qtd. in Hartley 23) “Why do people have to be so ugly? Write about such ugly characters? It’s perverted. I know you all think that I’m being prissy but I don’t care. I was brought up in a certain way and this is … mean-spirited.” (Writing student, Storytelling). In 1986 David Lynch brought the suburbs into focus. Before Lynch they had remained slightly bland and indistinct, white picket fences and lush green lawns in the background of Doris Day comedies, Douglas Sirk films and television sitcoms. But in the opening shots of Blue Velvet (1986) Lynch announced that he was going to do something quite different. He skipped through the stock suburban footage of vibrant colours – the red roses, the blue skies, the happy, smiling faces of the children – preferring instead, to track through the grass. There, through a series of grotesque close-ups of seething, warring insects, Lynch revealed the anomalies and ambiguities beneath the bright and shiny surface of suburbia. Recalling his childhood of “elegant homes, tree-lined streets, the milkman… Middle America as it is supposed to be” (Rodley 10), Lynch explains: “I discovered that if one looks a little closer at this beautiful world, there are always red ants underneath… I saw life in extreme close-ups” (Rodley 11). In Blue Velvet Lynch offers us an extreme close-up of suburbia by focussing on the dirt. In her seminal work Purity and Danger anthropologist Mary Douglas studied the way some substances are classified as dirt because they are (following William James) “matter out of place” (Douglas 36), something that is considered inappropriate in a given context. “Dirt” is therefore an indication of what is taboo and disruptive, an idea Douglas goes on to link to notions of ambiguity and anomaly. Blue Velvet’s “matter out of place” begins with the warring insects beneath the lawn, continues with the discovery of an amputated ear and goes on to include fellati* at knife-point, sex acts with velvet, kidnapping, murder and torture, all juxtaposed against an adolescent romance, a Hardy Boys mystery and the blue skies and birdsong of the opening. On its release Blue Velvet was considered part of a wave of mid-eighties films that were re-evaluating suburbia, amongst them True Stories (1986), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), River’s Edge (1986) and the thematically similar Something’s Wild (1986). But Lynch’s ability to make the ordinary strange, through his juxtaposition of image and sound (Chion), meant that Blue Velvet went further than its contemporaries because in this film the suburban as a whole took on the “strange and threatening” characteristics of something without a stable identity (Douglas). Just as critics proclaimed Blue Velvet “leaves us altered, for good or ill – forever” (Total Film 96) so too does Lynch soil our very perception of the suburban, his “red ant” view of the world suggesting disorder where there was order, desperation where there was happiness, filth where there was cleanliness. In this way Blue Velvet inaugurates a genre of “corrupted idealism in the suburbs” (Total Film 97) that would include The Virgin Suicides (1999), Donnie Darko (2001), American Beauty (1999) and the works of Todd Solondz, together with television series like Lynch’s own Twin Peaks (1990-1991), Picket Fences (1992-1996), Dead like Me (2003-2004), Close to Home (2005-), Weeds (2005-) and Desperate Housewives (2004-). John Hartley applies Douglas’ notion of dirt to both ‘television’ and its ‘audience’, referring to them as ‘dirty’ categories. This is because “television texts do not supply the analyst with a warrant for considering them either as unitary or as structurally bounded into an inside and outside” (Hartley 22). Similarly what sense an audience might make of television “depends… on the discursive resources available” some of which the audience will “identify” with and some of which will “marginalize”, “deny” or be “more obvious, well-worn and time-honoured than others” (Hartley 23). Hartley draws on the work of Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Edmund Leach (discussing the ‘dirtiness’ of television and individuals respectively) to conclude that “power is located in dirt” (Hartley 23) because dirt creates “ambiguous boundaries” between the media and its readers. While film may be a more bounded, unitary medium (delineated at the very least by its running time) the “ambiguous boundaries” that dirt creates are something Lynch toys with in Blue Velvet. In a similar fashion to Hitchco*ck’s Rear Window (1954), the viewer is made complicit in the voyeuristic tendencies of his protagonist, Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan). But Lynch goes a step further, turning the camera back on his voyeur in answer to a concern voiced by the nurse, Stella (Thelma Ritter), in that earlier film: “We’ve become a race of Peeping Toms. What people ought to do is look in for a change.” Lynch offers us Jeffrey as a potential source of identification but also makes us witness to Jeffrey’s own moral failings. In this way Jeffrey becomes as ambiguous as his sadomasoch*stic relationship with singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), simultaneously abuser and abused, truth-teller and deceiver. As his girlfriend Sandy (Laura Dern) states: “I don’t know if you’re a detective or a pervert.” Here, the ambiguity offered by dirt results in the examination – the making visible – of both the voyeur and the audience as (complicit) voyeurs. Both are called into question – “detective or pervert?” – continually blurring the boundaries between subject and object, viewer and participant. By movie’s end Jeffrey can return to Sandy and the alluring veneer of suburbia, but he has murdered, molested and (impliedly) been raped. Dirt sticks. Jeffrey is forever changed and so is our perception of the suburban. If Lynch’s Blue Velvet revealed the rich vein of dirt running through suburbia, then perhaps it is Todd Solondz who has mined it most extensively. While Lynch was to return to suburbia in his television series Twin Peaks his attention has frequently turned to other more extreme and experimental ideas. In contrast Solondz has focussed almost exclusively on the suburban in four of his projects: Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), Happiness (1998), Storytelling (2001) and Palindromes (2004). It is Happiness that provides the clearest sense of the “imagined community” of suburbia because its multiple storylines suggest multiple lives being conducted simultaneously. Like Blue Velvet it presents a veneer of suburban life which it then goes on to soil, particularly through the Maplewood family (whose story provides the climax for the film). In the first shot of the Maplewood’s home a cleaner is seen at the rear of the shot scrubbing the floor; dirt is presented as a threat to order and Trish Maplewood (Cynthia Stevenson) refers to “having it all”. By the film’s end the focus will have shifted to masturbation, homicide, dismemberment, various perverse sexual acts and the revelation that her husband is a paedophile. Uniting these disparate streams are the searches for happiness each of the nine central characters undertakes, with only character, the boy Billy Maplewood (Rufus Reed), achieving his happiness, through a successful ejacul*tion that provides the denouement of the film. Much like Blue Velvet, Happiness was decried as “sick” upon its release. But Happiness’s dirtiness goes further than its subject matter; it also resides in the “ambiguity of its boundaries with its media neighbours” (Hartley 25). Whereas Hartley finds that television is “characterized by a will to limit its own excess, to settle its significations into established, taken-for-granted, common senses, which viewers can be disciplined to identify and to identify with” (37) the dirty filmic text makes no effort to limit its excess (rather limitation is applied through censorship and ratings); Happiness is simultaneously scary, repellant and poignant. Allen (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) the obscene phone-caller, Kristina (Camryn Manheim) the lonely woman who dismembers her rapist and Bill Maplewood (Dylan Baker) the loving father and paedophile all elicit moments of horror, humour and sympathy. Indeed, Happiness successfully “scandalizes the overlaps” between categories without attempting to clarify their ambiguities (Hartley 38) by constantly deflecting and redirecting the audience’s identification with any one character by revealing more about that character (he is shallow, she kills, he is a serial rapist) or simply through the constant narrative shifts between characters. As Hartley notes: “the point about dirt, crudely, is that it encompasses notions of ambiguity, contradiction, power and social relations all in one” (39). In the context of the suburban these ideas of dirt are frequently equated with sex. Lynch had previously depicted sex as “the site of domestic trauma, fear, power and – on occasion – euphoria” (Rodley 125): Jeffrey experiences all four of these aspects in his encounters with Dorothy, something that leaves him profoundly shamed and shaken. Sex is similarly ancillary to dirt in Happiness where Allen, Kristina and Bill’s own predilections and pleasures lead them into ambiguous power and social relations that are alternatively thwarted, indulged and constrained. This lends “Happiness” itself to being read as an ironic title for the film, but while Billy is the only character to achieve the euphoria promised, many of the characters enjoy (brief) moments of happiness, be it Joy Jordan’s (Jane Adams) one night stand or Allen and Kristina’s date (and possibility of redemption). Similarly, even the paedophile father Bill confesses to his son that sex with young boys is “great”, some small measure of happiness even as he admits to being sick. “Happiness” itself is therefore also a dirty, subjective, embodied and ambiguous term; one man’s happiness is another’s shame, another’s pain, another’s crime. Solondz actually comments on the power of dirt in the “Nonfiction” segment of his next feature Storytelling. In many respects a parody of the suburban genre (through its obvious digs at American Beauty) “Nonfiction” chronicles the efforts of documentarian Toby Oxman (Paul Giamatti) to construct a film around disaffected teenager Scooby Livingstone (Mark Webber). The end product, “American Scooby”, reveals that Oxman cannot move beyond the surface. Unlike Lynch or Solondz, the dirtiness of his subject slips by unnoticed. Oxman’s documentary can only provoke laughter through its exploitation of Scooby as it ignores the subtleties occurring in the Livingstone family’s lives, most notably Scooby’s relationship with his friend Stanley and the rising resentment of Consuelo the maid (culminating in her gassing the family to death as they sleep, perhaps the ultimate statement on the ambiguity of happiness). This probable commercial success/social failure of “American Scooby” confirms the power of dirt implicit in Lynch and Solondz’s films. By soiling suburbia Lynch and Solondz have exnominated the middle-class, making visible the minutiae, the motives and the pleasures of a social grouping traditionally under-represented on film. Typically, Hartley says, we identify the “power of dirt” as being “of the negative kind – it infects and corrupts the rising generation” (25), arguments levelled at both of these films. But as Douglas argues, a culture’s taboos can tell us a great deal about its sense of its own identity. Blue Velvet and Happiness can therefore be understood in Douglas’s terms as part of a “dirt-affirming ritual” that accesses the power “residing in what is excluded from [the traditional] ordering of things” (165), thus exnominating the middle-class and revealing our complicity in the voyeurism of their characters. This then is the true power of dirt. It makes visible all the ambiguities and anomalies we try to exclude from our lives – and our suburbs. That this is currently the formula for one of the most popular series on television (Desperate Housewives), albeit in a slightly cleaner “network friendly” formula, suggests that Lynch and Solondz’s soiling of suburbia will have resonance for some time to come. References Atkinson, Michael. Blue Velvet. London: BFI, 1997. Chion, Michael. David Lynch. Trans. Robert Julian. London: BFI, 1995. Douglas, Mary. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. London: Routledge, 2002 [1966]. Drazin, Charles. blue velvet. London: Bloomsbury, 2000. Enzensberger, Hans Magnus. “Constituents of a Theory of the Media.” In Denis McQuail, ed. Sociology of Mass Communication. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972. Hartley, John. “Television and the Power of Dirt.” Tele-ology: Studies in Television. London and New York: Routledge, 1992. Leach, Edmund. Culture and Communication. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1976. Lynch, David. Blue Velvet. 1986. Rodley, Chris, ed. Lynch on Lynch. London: Faber and Faber, 1997. Solondz, Todd. Happiness. 1998. ———. Happiness. London: Faber and Faber, 1998. ———. Storytelling. 2001. ———. Palindromes. 2004. ———. Welcome to the Dollhouse. 1995. Total Film: The Decades Collection: The Eighties. London: Future Publications, 2006. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Bainbridge, Jason. "Soiling Suburbia: Lynch, Solondz and the Power of Dirt." M/C Journal 9.5 (2006). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0610/11-bainbridge.php>. APA Style Bainbridge, J. (Nov. 2006) "Soiling Suburbia: Lynch, Solondz and the Power of Dirt," M/C Journal, 9(5). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0610/11-bainbridge.php>.

32

Dixon, Ian. "Film Writing Adapted for Game Narrative: Myth or Error?" M/C Journal 20, no.1 (March15, 2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1225.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

J.J. Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is appalled to learn that his lover is a victim of incest in Robert Towne and Roman Polanski’s definitive, yet subversive film Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974). Similarly, Ethan Mars (Pascale Langdale), the hero of the electronic game Heavy Rain (David Cage, 2010), is equally devastated to find his child has been abducted. One a cinema classic of the detective genre, the other a sophisticated electronic game: both ground-breaking, both compelling, but delivered in contrasting media. So, what do Chinatown and Heavy Rain have in common from the writer’s point of view? Can the writer of games learn from the legacy of film storytelling yet find alternative rules for new media? This article attempts to answer these questions making reference to the two works above to illuminate the gap between games writing and traditional screenwriting scholarship.Western commercial cinema has evolved to place story centrally and Chinatown is an example of a story’s potential as film art and entertainment concurrently. Media convention derives from the lessons of previous relatable art forms such as pictorial art, literature and architecture in the case of film; board games and centuries of physical gaming in the case of games design. Therefore, the invention of new media such as online and electronic gaming relies, in part, on the rules of film. However, game play has reassessed screenwriting and its applicability to this new media rendering many of these rules redundant. If Marshall McLuhan’s adage “the medium is the message” is correct, then despite the reliance of one medium on the traditions of its predecessor, gaming is simply not cinema. This article considers writing for games as axiomatically unconventional and calls for radical reinventions of storytelling within the new media.In order to investigate games writing, I will first revisit some of the rules of cinematic construction as inherited from an original Aristotelian source (Cleary). These rules require: a single focussed protagonist driving the plot; a consistent story form with narrative drive or story engine; the writer to avoid the repeated dramatic beat and; a reassessment of thematic concerns for the new technology. We should also investigate game-centric terminology such as “immersion” and “agency” to see how electronic gaming as an essentially postmodern phenomenon reciprocates, yet contrasts to, its cinematic predecessor (Murray, Hamlet 98/126). Must the maker of games subscribe to the filmmaker’s toolbox when the field is so very different? In order to answer this question, I will consider some concepts unique to games technology, firstly, the enduring debate known as ludology versus narratology. Gaming rhetoric since the late 1990s has questioned the efficacy of the traditional film narrative when adapted to game play. Players are still divided between the narratologists’ view, which holds that story within games is inevitable and the ludologists’ opinion, which suggests that traditional narrative has no place within the spatially orientated freedom of game play. Originally espousing the benefits of ludology, Janet H Murray argues that the essential formalism of gaming separates it from narrative, which Aarseth describes as representing “'colonialist' intrusions” on game play (46). Mimetic aspects inherited from narrative principles should remain incidental rather than forming an overarching hegemony within the game (Murray, "Last Word"). In this way, the ludologists suggest that game development has been undermined by the persistence of the narrative debate and Murray describes game studies as a “multi-dimensional, open-ended puzzle” worth solving on its own terms (indeed, cinema of attractions compelled viewers for thirty years before narrative cinema became dominant in the early twentieth century.Gaming history has proved this argument overblown and Murray herself questions the validity of this spurious debate within game play. She now includes the disclaimer that, ironically, most ludologists are trained in narratology and thus debate a “phantom of their own creation” (Murray, "Last Word"). This implies a contemporary opposition to ludology’s original meaning and impacts upon screenwriting principles in game making. Two further key concepts, which divide the medium of game entirely from the art of cinema are “immersion” and “agency” (Murray, Hamlet 98/126). Murray likens immersion to the physical sensation of being “submerged in water” pointing out that players enjoy the psychologically immersive phenomenon of delving into an undiscovered reality (Murray, Hamlet 98). Although distinct from the passive experience of cinema viewing, this immersion is like the experience of leaving the ordinary world and diving into the special world as Christopher Vogler’s screenwriting theory suggests. The cinema audience is encouraged to immerse themselves in the new world of Gittes’s Chinatown from the comfort of their familiar one. Similarly, the light-hearted world of the summer home contrasts Heavy Rain’s decent into urban, neo-noir corruption. Contrary to its cinematic cousin, the immediacy and subjectivity of the new media experience is more tangible and controllable, which renders immersion in games more significant and brings us to the next gaming concept, agency.To describe agency, Murray uses the complex metaphor of participatory dance, with its predetermined structures, “social formulas” and limited opportunities to change the overall “plot” of the dance: “The slender story is designed to unfold in the same way no matter what individual audience members may do to join the fun” (Hamlet 126-27). In electronic gaming, time-honoured gaming traditions from chess and board games serve as worthy predecessors. In this way, sophisticated permutations of outcome based on the player’s choice create agency, which is “the satisfying power to take meaningful action and see the results of our decisions and choices” (Murray, Hamlet 126). Bearing this in mind, when narrative enters game play, a world of possibility opens up (Murray, Hamlet).So where do the old rules of cinema apply within gaming and where is the maker of games able to find alternatives based on their understanding of agency and immersion? McLuhan’s unconventional scholarship leads the way, by pointing out the alternativity of the newer media. I consider that the rules of cinematic construction are also often disregarded by the casual viewer/player, but of utmost importance to the professional screenwriter.Amongst these rules is the screenwriting convention of having a single protagonist. This is a being fuelled with desire and a clear, visually rendered, actively negotiated goal. This principle persists in cinema according to Aristotle’s precepts (Cleary). The protagonist is a single entity making decisions and taking actions, even if that entity is a collection of individuals acting as one (Dethridge). The exploits of this main character (facing an opposing force of antagonism) determine the path of the story and for that reason a clear, single-minded narrative line is echoed in a single story form (McKee). For example, the baffling depth of meaning in Chinatown still emanates from protagonist J.J. Gittes’s central determination: to solve the crime suggested by the Los Angeles water shortage. The audience’s ability to identify and empathise with Gittes is paramount when he discovers the awful perversion his love interest, Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway), has been subjected to. However, the world of Chinatown remains intriguing as a string of corruption is revealed though a detective plot fuelled by our hero’s steadfast need to know the truth. In this way, a single protagonist’s desire line creates a solid story form. Conversely, in computer games (and despite the insistence of Draconian screenwriting lecturers who insist on replicating cinematic rules) the effect of a multiple protagonist plot still allows for the essential immersion in an imaginative world. In Heavy Rain, for example, the search for clues through the eyes of several related characters including a hapless father, a hangdog, ageing detective and a hyper-athletic single mother still allows for immersion. The player/interactor’s actions still create agency even as they change avatars from scene to scene. The player also negotiates for mastery of their character’s actions in order to investigate their situation, facts and world. However, each time the player switches their character allegiance, they revert to square one of their potential identification with that character. Indeed, in Heavy Rain, the player keenly aware of the chilling effect generated by the father losing his child in a busy shopping mall, but then another avatar steps forward, then another and the player must learn about new and unfamiliar characters on a scene-by-scene basis. The accumulative identification with a hero like Chinatown’s Gittes, begins with an admiration for his streetwise charm, then strengthens through his unfolding disillusionment and is cemented with Polanski’s brilliant invention: the death of Evelyn Mulwray replete with its politico-sexual implications (Polanski). However, does this mean cinematic identification is superior to game play’s immersion and agency? McLuhan might argue it is not and that the question is meaningless given that the “message” of games is axiomatically different. Traditional screenwriting scholarship therefore falters in the new medium. Further, Heavy Rain’s multi-protagonist miasma conforms to a new breed of structure: the mosaic plot, which according to Murray mirrors the internet’s click and drag mentality. In this sense, a kaleidoscopic world opens in pockets of revelation before the player. This satisfies the interactor in a postmodernist sense: an essential equality of incoming information in random, nonlinear connections. Indeed electronic games of this nature are a triumph of postmodernism and of ludology’s influence on the narratologist’s perspective. Although a story form including clues and detection still drives the narrative, the mosaic realisation of character and situation (which in a film’s plot might seem meandering and nonsensical) is given life by the agency and immersion provided by gaming (Truby).Back in traditional screenwriting principles, there is still the need for a consistent and singular story form providing a constant narrative drive (McKee). As mentioned, this arises from the protagonist’s need. For example a revenge plot relies on the hero’s need for vengeance; a revelation plot like Chinatown hinges on detection. However, first time screenwriting students’ tendency to visualise a story based unconsciously on films they have previously seen (as a bricolage of character moments arranged loosely around a collection of received ideas) tends to undermine the potential effectiveness of their story form. This lack of singularity in filmic writing indicates a misunderstanding of story logic. This propensity in young screenwriters derives from a belief that if the rendered filmic experience means something to them, it will necessarily mean something to an audience. Not so: an abandoned story drive or replaced central character diminishes the audience’s enjoyment and even destroys suspension of disbelief. Consequently, the story becomes bland and confusing. On investigation, it appears the young screenwriter does not realise that they are playing out an idea in their head, which is essentially a bricolage in the postmodern sense. Although this might lead to some titillating visual displays it fails to engage the audience as the result of their participation in an emotional continuum (Hayward). In contradistinction to film, games thrive on such irregularities in story, assuming radically different effects. For example, in cinema, the emotional response of a mass audience is a major draw card: if the filmic story is an accumulation of cause and effect responses, which steadily drive the stakes up until resolution, then it is the emotional “cathexis” as by-product of conflict that the audience resonates with (Freud 75; Chekhov). Does this transfer to games? Do notions such as feeling and empathy actually figure in game play at all? Or is this simply an activity rewarding the interactor with agency in lieu of deeper, emotive experiences? This final question could be perceived as anti-gaming sentiment given that games such as Heavy Rain suggest just such an emotional by-product. Indeed, the mechanics of gaming have the ability to push the stakes even higher than their cinematic counterparts, creating more complex emotionality in the player. In this way, the intentional psychological malaise of Heavy Rain solicits even greater emotion from players due to their inherent act of will. Where cinema renders the audience emotional by virtue of its passivity, no such claim is possible in the game. For example, where in Chinatown, Gittes tortures his lover by repeatedly slapping her, in Heavy Rain the character must actively perform torture on themself in order to solve the mystery. Further, the potential for engagement is extended given there are fourteen possible endings to Heavy Rain. In this way, although the film viewer’s emotional response is tempered by guessing the singular outcome, the multiple endings of this electronic game prevent such prescience (films can have multiple endings, but game mechanics lend the new media more readily to this function, therefore, game books with dice-rolling options are a stronger precedent then cinema).Also effective for the construction of cinema is Aristotle’s warning that the repetition of story and expositional information without rising stakes or any qualification of meaning creates a sense of “dramatic stall” for the audience (Aristotle). This is known as a repeated dramatic story beat and it is the stumbling block of many first time screenwriters. The screenplay should be an inventive effort to overcome escalating obstacles and an accumulative cause and effect chain on the part of the protagonist (Truby). The modern screenwriter for film needs to recognise any repeated beat in their early drafting and delete or alter the repetitive material. What then are the implications of repeated dramatic beats for the game writer? The game form known as “first person shooter” (FPS) depends on the appearance of an eternally regenerating (indeed re-spawning) enemy. In an apocalyptic zombie shooter game, for example, many hordes of zombies die unequivocally without threatening the interactor’s intrigue. Presumably, the antagonists are not intended to pose intellectual opposition for the gamer. Rather, the putrefying zombies present themselves for the gamer’s pugilistic satisfaction, again and again. For the game, therefore, the repeated beat is a distinct advantage. They may come harder and faster, but they are still zombies to be dispatched and the stakes have not necessarily risen. Who cares if this is a succession of repeated beats? It is just good clean fun, right? This is where the ludologists hold sway: to impose principles such as non-repeated beats and rising stakes on the emergence of a world based on pure game play offers no consequence for the FPS game. Nevertheless, the problem is exacerbated in “role play games” (RPG) of which Heavy Rain is an example. Admittedly, the gamer derives effective horror as our hero negotiates his way amongst a sea of disassociated shoppers searching for his lost child. The very fact of gamer agency should abnegate the problem, but does not, it merely heightens the sense of existential hopelessness: turning face after face not finding the child he is searching for is a devastating experience exacerbated by active agency (as opposed to the accepting passivity of cinema spectatorship). The rising panic in the game and the repetition of the faces of impassive shoppers also supports the player’s ongoing disorientation. The iconic appearance of the gruff clown handing out balloons further heightens the panic the gamer/protagonist experiences here. These are examples of repeated beats, yet effective due to player agency. The shoppers only persist until the gamer masters the situation and is able to locate the missing child. Thus, it is the capacity of the gamer to circumvent such repetition, which actually propels the game forward. If the gamer is adept, they will overcome the situation easily; if they are inexperienced, the repetition will continue. So, why apply traditional narrative constrictions on game play within a narrative game?Another crucial aspect of story is theme, which in the young writer reflects a postmodernist fetishisation of plot over story. In fact, theme is one of the first concepts to be ignored when a film student puts pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) when designing their game. In this way, the themes students choose to ignore resurface despite their lack of conscious application of them. They write plot, and plot in abundance (imperative for the modern writer (Truby)), which the mosaic structure of games accommodates for seamlessly. However, plot is causative and postmodern interpretations do not necessarily require the work of art to “say” anything beyond the “message” trapped in the clichés of their chosen genre (McLuhan). In concentrating on plot, therefore, the young writer says what they are unaware they are saying. At its most innocuous level this creates cliché. At its worst, it erases history and celebrates an attitude of unexamined ignorance toward the written material (Hayward). In extreme cases, student writers of both media support fascism, celebrate female masochism, justify rape (with or without awareness), or create nihilistic and derivative art, which sensationalises violence to a degree not possible within film technology. This is ironic given that postmodernism is defined, in part, by a canny reaction to modernist generation of meaning and cynicism toward the technology of violence. In all this postmodernism, that illusive chestnut known as “originality” (a questionable imperative still haunting the conventional screenplay despite the postmodernist declamation that there is no such thing) should also be considered. Although the game writer can learn from the lessons of the screenwriter, the problems of game structure and expression are unique to the new medium and therefore alternative to film. Adhering to traditional understandings of screenwriting in games is counterproductive to the development of the form and demands new assessment. If gaming students are liberated from narratologist impositions of cinematic story structures, will this result in better or more thoughtful games? Further to the ludologists’ original protestation against the ““colonialist” intrusions” of narrative on game play, film writing must recede where appropriate (Aarseth). Then again, if a ludologist approach to game creation renders the student writer free of filmic dogma, why do they impose the same stories repetitively? What gain comes from ignoring the Aristotelian traditions of storytelling–especially as derived from screen culture? I suggest that storytelling, to echo McLuhan’s statement, must necessarily change with the new medium: the differences are illuminating. The younger, nonlinear form embodies the player as protagonist and therefore should not need to impose the single protagonist regime from film. Story engine has been replaced by player agency and game mechanics, which also allows for inventive usage of the repeated beat. Indeed, postmodern and ludological concerns embedded within mosaic plots almost entirely replace the need for any consistency of story form while still subverting the expectations of modernism? Genre rules are partly reinvented by the form and therefore genre conventions in gaming are still in their infancy. Indeed, the very amorality of nihilistic game designers opens a space for burgeoning post-postmodernist concerns regarding ethics and faith within art. In any case, the game designer may choose the lessons of film writing’s modernist legacy if story is to be effective within the new medium. However, as meaning derives from traditional form, it might be wiser to allow the new medium its own reinvention of writing rules. Given Heavy Rain’s considerable contribution to detective genre in game play by virtue of its applying story within new media, I anticipate further developments that might build on Chinatown’s legacy in the future of gaming, but on the game play’s own terms.ReferencesAarseth, Espen. Genre Trouble: Narrativism and the Art of Simulation. First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT P, 2004. Aristotle. Poetics. Australia: Penguin Classics, 1997.Chekhov, Michael. Lessons for the Professional Actor. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1985.Chinatown. Roman Polanski. Paramount Golden Classics, 2011.Cleary, Stephen. “'What Would Aristotle Do?' Ancient Wisdom for Modern Screenwriters.” Stephen Cleary Lecture Series, 1 May 2011. Melbourne, Vic.: Victorian College of the Arts.Dethridge, Lisa. Writing Your Screenplay. Australia: Allen & Unwin, 2003.Freud, Sigmund. “On Narcissism: An Introduction.” On Metapsychology: The Theory of Psychoanalysis. Middlesex: Pelican, 1984. 65-97.Hayward, Susan. Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge, 2006.Heavy Rain. David Cage. Quantic Dream, 2010.McKee, Robert. Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting. UK: Methuen, 1999. McLuhan, Marshall. “The Medium Is the Message.” Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT P, 1994. 1-18.Murray, Janet H. Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. New York: Simon and Schuster / Free Press, 1997.Murray, Janet H. “The Last Word on Ludology v Narratology in Game Studies.” Keynote Address. DiGRA, Vancouver, 17 June 2005.Polanski, Roman, dir. DVD Commentary. Chinatown. Paramount Golden Classics, 2011.Truby, John. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.Vogler, Christopher. The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters. London: Boxtree, 1996.

33

Franks, Rachel. "Cooking in the Books: Cookbooks and Cookery in Popular Fiction." M/C Journal 16, no.3 (June22, 2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.614.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Introduction Food has always been an essential component of daily life. Today, thinking about food is a much more complicated pursuit than planning the next meal, with food studies scholars devoting their efforts to researching “anything pertaining to food and eating, from how food is grown to when and how it is eaten, to who eats it and with whom, and the nutritional quality” (Duran and MacDonald 234). This is in addition to the work undertaken by an increasingly wide variety of popular culture researchers who explore all aspects of food (Risson and Brien 3): including food advertising, food packaging, food on television, and food in popular fiction. In creating stories, from those works that quickly disappear from bookstore shelves to those that become entrenched in the literary canon, writers use food to communicate the everyday and to explore a vast range of ideas from cultural background to social standing, and also use food to provide perspectives “into the cultural and historical uniqueness of a given social group” (Piatti-Farnell 80). For example in Oliver Twist (1838) by Charles Dickens, the central character challenges the class system when: “Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger and reckless with misery. He rose from the table, and advancing basin and spoon in hand, to the master, said, somewhat alarmed at his own temerity–‘Please, sir, I want some more’” (11). Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind (1936) makes a similar point, a little more dramatically, when she declares: “As God is my witness, I’m never going to be hungry again” (419). Food can also take us into the depths of another culture: places that many of us will only ever read about. Food is also used to provide insight into a character’s state of mind. In Nora Ephron’s Heartburn (1983) an item as simple as boiled bread tells a reader so much more about Rachel Samstat than her preferred bakery items: “So we got married and I got pregnant and I gave up my New York apartment and moved to Washington. Talk about mistakes [...] there I was, trying to hold up my end in a city where you can’t even buy a decent bagel” (34). There are three ways in which writers can deal with food within their work. Firstly, food can be totally ignored. This approach is sometimes taken despite food being such a standard feature of storytelling that its absence, be it a lonely meal at home, elegant canapés at an impressively catered co*cktail party, or a cheap sandwich collected from a local café, is an obvious omission. Food can also add realism to a story, with many authors putting as much effort into conjuring the smell, taste, and texture of food as they do into providing a backstory and a purpose for their characters. In recent years, a third way has emerged with some writers placing such importance upon food in fiction that the line that divides the cookbook and the novel has become distorted. This article looks at cookbooks and cookery in popular fiction with a particular focus on crime novels. Recipes: Ingredients and Preparation Food in fiction has been employed, with great success, to help characters cope with grief; giving them the reassurance that only comes through the familiarity of the kitchen and the concentration required to fulfil routine tasks: to chop and dice, to mix, to sift and roll, to bake, broil, grill, steam, and fry. Such grief can come from the breakdown of a relationship as seen in Nora Ephron’s Heartburn (1983). An autobiography under the guise of fiction, this novel is the first-person story of a cookbook author, a description that irritates the narrator as she feels her works “aren’t merely cookbooks” (95). She is, however, grateful she was not described as “a distraught, rejected, pregnant cookbook author whose husband was in love with a giantess” (95). As the collapse of the marriage is described, her favourite recipes are shared: Bacon Hash; Four Minute Eggs; Toasted Almonds; Lima Beans with Pears; Linguine Alla Cecca; Pot Roast; three types of Potatoes; Sorrel Soup; desserts including Bread Pudding, Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie and Peach Pie; and a Vinaigrette, all in an effort to reassert her personal skills and thus personal value. Grief can also result from loss of hope and the realisation that a life long dreamed of will never be realised. Like Water for Chocolate (1989), by Laura Esquivel, is the magical realist tale of Tita De La Garza who, as the youngest daughter, is forbidden to marry as she must take care of her mother, a woman who: “Unquestionably, when it came to dividing, dismantling, dismembering, desolating, detaching, dispossessing, destroying or dominating […] was a pro” (87). Tita’s life lurches from one painful, unjust episode to the next; the only emotional stability she has comes from the kitchen, and from her cooking of a series of dishes: Christmas Rolls; Chabela Wedding Cake; Quail in Rose Petal Sauce; Turkey Mole; Northern-style Chorizo; Oxtail Soup; Champandongo; Chocolate and Three Kings’s Day Bread; Cream Fritters; and Beans with Chilli Tezcucana-style. This is a series of culinary-based activities that attempts to superimpose normalcy on a life that is far from the everyday. Grief is most commonly associated with death. Undertaking the selection, preparation and presentation of meals in novels dealing with bereavement is both a functional and symbolic act: life must go on for those left behind but it must go on in a very different way. Thus, novels that use food to deal with loss are particularly important because they can “make non-cooks believe they can cook, and for frequent cooks, affirm what they already know: that cooking heals” (Baltazar online). In Angelina’s Bachelors (2011) by Brian O’Reilly, Angelina D’Angelo believes “cooking was not just about food. It was about character” (2). By the end of the first chapter the young woman’s husband is dead and she is in the kitchen looking for solace, and survival, in cookery. In The Kitchen Daughter (2011) by Jael McHenry, Ginny Selvaggio is struggling to cope with the death of her parents and the friends and relations who crowd her home after the funeral. Like Angelina, Ginny retreats to the kitchen. There are, of course, exceptions. In Ntozake Shange’s Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo (1982), cooking celebrates, comforts, and seduces (Calta). This story of three sisters from South Carolina is told through diary entries, narrative, letters, poetry, songs, and spells. Recipes are also found throughout the text: Turkey; Marmalade; Rice; Spinach; Crabmeat; Fish; Sweetbread; Duck; Lamb; and, Asparagus. Anthony Capella’s The Food of Love (2004), a modern retelling of the classic tale of Cyrano de Bergerac, is about the beautiful Laura, a waiter masquerading as a top chef Tommaso, and the talented Bruno who, “thick-set, heavy, and slightly awkward” (21), covers for Tommaso’s incompetency in the kitchen as he, too, falls for Laura. The novel contains recipes and contains considerable information about food: Take fusilli […] People say this pasta was designed by Leonardo da Vinci himself. The spiral fins carry the biggest amount of sauce relative to the surface area, you see? But it only works with a thick, heavy sauce that can cling to the grooves. Conchiglie, on the other hand, is like a shell, so it holds a thin, liquid sauce inside it perfectly (17). Recipes: Dishing Up Death Crime fiction is a genre with a long history of focusing on food; from the theft of food in the novels of the nineteenth century to the utilisation of many different types of food such as chocolate, marmalade, and sweet omelettes to administer poison (Berkeley, Christie, Sayers), the latter vehicle for arsenic receiving much attention in Harriet Vane’s trial in Dorothy L. Sayers’s Strong Poison (1930). The Judge, in summing up the case, states to the members of the jury: “Four eggs were brought to the table in their shells, and Mr Urquhart broke them one by one into a bowl, adding sugar from a sifter [...he then] cooked the omelette in a chafing dish, filled it with hot jam” (14). Prior to what Timothy Taylor has described as the “pre-foodie era” the crime fiction genre was “littered with corpses whose last breaths smelled oddly sweet, or bitter, or of almonds” (online). Of course not all murders are committed in such a subtle fashion. In Roald Dahl’s Lamb to the Slaughter (1953), Mary Maloney murders her policeman husband, clubbing him over the head with a frozen leg of lamb. The meat is roasting nicely when her husband’s colleagues arrive to investigate his death, the lamb is offered and consumed: the murder weapon now beyond the recovery of investigators. Recent years have also seen more and more crime fiction writers present a central protagonist working within the food industry, drawing connections between the skills required for food preparation and those needed to catch a murderer. Working with cooks or crooks, or both, requires planning and people skills in addition to creative thinking, dedication, reliability, stamina, and a willingness to take risks. Kent Carroll insists that “food and mysteries just go together” (Carroll in Calta), with crime fiction website Stop, You’re Killing Me! listing, at the time of writing, over 85 culinary-based crime fiction series, there is certainly sufficient evidence to support his claim. Of the numerous works available that focus on food there are many series that go beyond featuring food and beverages, to present recipes as well as the solving of crimes. These include: the Candy Holliday Murder Mysteries by B. B. Haywood; the Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle; the Hannah Swensen Mysteries by Joanne Fluke; the Hemlock Falls Mysteries by Claudia Bishop; the Memphis BBQ Mysteries by Riley Adams; the Piece of Cake Mysteries by Jacklyn Brady; the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs; and, the White House Chef Mysteries by Julie Hyzy. The vast majority of offerings within this female dominated sub-genre that has been labelled “Crime and Dine” (Collins online) are American, both in origin and setting. A significant contribution to this increasingly popular formula is, however, from an Australian author Kerry Greenwood. Food features within her famed Phryne Fisher Series with recipes included in A Question of Death (2007). Recipes also form part of Greenwood’s food-themed collection of short crime stories Recipes for Crime (1995), written with Jenny Pausacker. These nine stories, each one imitating the style of one of crime fiction’s greatest contributors (from Agatha Christie to Raymond Chandler), allow readers to simultaneously access mysteries and recipes. 2004 saw the first publication of Earthly Delights and the introduction of her character, Corinna Chapman. This series follows the adventures of a woman who gave up a career as an accountant to open her own bakery in Melbourne. Corinna also investigates the occasional murder. Recipes can be found at the end of each of these books with the Corinna Chapman Recipe Book (nd), filled with instructions for baking bread, muffins and tea cakes in addition to recipes for main courses such as risotto, goulash, and “Chicken with Pineapple 1971 Style”, available from the publisher’s website. Recipes: Integration and Segregation In Heartburn (1983), Rachel acknowledges that presenting a work of fiction and a collection of recipes within a single volume can present challenges, observing: “I see that I haven’t managed to work in any recipes for a while. It’s hard to work in recipes when you’re moving the plot forward” (99). How Rachel tells her story is, however, a reflection of how she undertakes her work, with her own cookbooks being, she admits, more narration than instruction: “The cookbooks I write do well. They’re very personal and chatty–they’re cookbooks in an almost incidental way. I write chapters about friends or relatives or trips or experiences, and work in the recipes peripherally” (17). Some authors integrate detailed recipes into their narratives through description and dialogue. An excellent example of this approach can be found in the Coffeehouse Mystery Series by Cleo Coyle, in the novel On What Grounds (2003). When the central protagonist is being questioned by police, Clare Cosi’s answers are interrupted by a flashback scene and instructions on how to make Greek coffee: Three ounces of water and one very heaped teaspoon of dark roast coffee per serving. (I used half Italian roast, and half Maracaibo––a lovely Venezuelan coffee, named after the country’s major port; rich in flavour, with delicate wine overtones.) / Water and finely ground beans both go into the ibrik together. The water is then brought to a boil over medium heat (37). This provides insight into Clare’s character; that, when under pressure, she focuses her mind on what she firmly believes to be true – not the information that she is doubtful of or a situation that she is struggling to understand. Yet breaking up the action within a novel in this way–particularly within crime fiction, a genre that is predominantly dependant upon generating tension and building the pacing of the plotting to the climax–is an unusual but ultimately successful style of writing. Inquiry and instruction are comfortable bedfellows; as the central protagonists within these works discover whodunit, the readers discover who committed murder as well as a little bit more about one of the world’s most popular beverages, thus highlighting how cookbooks and novels both serve to entertain and to educate. Many authors will save their recipes, serving them up at the end of a story. This can be seen in Julie Hyzy’s White House Chef Mystery novels, the cover of each volume in the series boasts that it “includes Recipes for a Complete Presidential Menu!” These menus, with detailed ingredients lists, instructions for cooking and options for serving, are segregated from the stories and appear at the end of each work. Yet other writers will deploy a hybrid approach such as the one seen in Like Water for Chocolate (1989), where the ingredients are listed at the commencement of each chapter and the preparation for the recipes form part of the narrative. This method of integration is also deployed in The Kitchen Daughter (2011), which sees most of the chapters introduced with a recipe card, those chapters then going on to deal with action in the kitchen. Using recipes as chapter breaks is a structure that has, very recently, been adopted by Australian celebrity chef, food writer, and, now fiction author, Ed Halmagyi, in his new work, which is both cookbook and novel, The Food Clock: A Year of Cooking Seasonally (2012). As people exchange recipes in reality, so too do fictional characters. The Recipe Club (2009), by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel, is the story of two friends, Lilly Stone and Valerie Rudman, which is structured as an epistolary novel. As they exchange feelings, ideas and news in their correspondence, they also exchange recipes: over eighty of them throughout the novel in e-mails and letters. In The Food of Love (2004), written messages between two of the main characters are also used to share recipes. In addition, readers are able to post their own recipes, inspired by this book and other works by Anthony Capella, on the author’s website. From Page to Plate Some readers are contributing to the burgeoning food tourism market by seeking out the meals from the pages of their favourite novels in bars, cafés, and restaurants around the world, expanding the idea of “map as menu” (Spang 79). In Shannon McKenna Schmidt’s and Joni Rendon’s guide to literary tourism, Novel Destinations (2009), there is an entire section, “Eat Your Words: Literary Places to Sip and Sup”, dedicated to beverages and food. The listings include details for John’s Grill, in San Francisco, which still has on the menu Sam Spade’s Lamb Chops, served with baked potato and sliced tomatoes: a meal enjoyed by author Dashiell Hammett and subsequently consumed by his well-known protagonist in The Maltese Falcon (193), and the Café de la Paix, in Paris, frequented by Ian Fleming’s James Bond because “the food was good enough and it amused him to watch the people” (197). Those wanting to follow in the footsteps of writers can go to Harry’s Bar, in Venice, where the likes of Marcel Proust, Sinclair Lewis, Somerset Maugham, Ernest Hemingway, and Truman Capote have all enjoyed a drink (195) or The Eagle and Child, in Oxford, which hosted the regular meetings of the Inklings––a group which included C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien––in the wood-panelled Rabbit Room (203). A number of eateries have developed their own literary themes such as the Peaco*cks Tearooms, in Cambridgeshire, which blends their own teas. Readers who are also tea drinkers can indulge in the Sherlock Holmes (Earl Grey with Lapsang Souchong) and the Doctor Watson (Keemun and Darjeeling with Lapsang Souchong). Alternatively, readers may prefer to side with the criminal mind and indulge in the Moriarty (Black Chai with Star Anise, Pepper, Cinnamon, and Fennel) (Peaco*cks). The Moat Bar and Café, in Melbourne, situated in the basem*nt of the State Library of Victoria, caters “to the whimsy and fantasy of the fiction housed above” and even runs a book exchange program (The Moat). For those readers who are unable, or unwilling, to travel the globe in search of such savoury and sweet treats there is a wide variety of locally-based literary lunches and other meals, that bring together popular authors and wonderful food, routinely organised by book sellers, literature societies, and publishing houses. There are also many cookbooks now easily obtainable that make it possible to re-create fictional food at home. One of the many examples available is The Book Lover’s Cookbook (2003) by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Kay Jensen, a work containing over three hundred pages of: Breakfasts; Main & Side Dishes; Soups; Salads; Appetizers, Breads & Other Finger Foods; Desserts; and Cookies & Other Sweets based on the pages of children’s books, literary classics, popular fiction, plays, poetry, and proverbs. If crime fiction is your preferred genre then you can turn to Jean Evans’s The Crime Lover’s Cookbook (2007), which features short stories in between the pages of recipes. There is also Estérelle Payany’s Recipe for Murder (2010) a beautifully illustrated volume that presents detailed instructions for Pigs in a Blanket based on the Big Bad Wolf’s appearance in The Three Little Pigs (44–7), and Roast Beef with Truffled Mashed Potatoes, which acknowledges Patrick Bateman’s fondness for fine dining in Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho (124–7). Conclusion Cookbooks and many popular fiction novels are reflections of each other in terms of creativity, function, and structure. In some instances the two forms are so closely entwined that a single volume will concurrently share a narrative while providing information about, and instruction, on cookery. Indeed, cooking in books is becoming so popular that the line that traditionally separated cookbooks from other types of books, such as romance or crime novels, is becoming increasingly distorted. The separation between food and fiction is further blurred by food tourism and how people strive to experience some of the foods found within fictional works at bars, cafés, and restaurants around the world or, create such experiences in their own homes using fiction-themed recipe books. Food has always been acknowledged as essential for life; books have long been acknowledged as food for thought and food for the soul. Thus food in both the real world and in the imagined world serves to nourish and sustain us in these ways. References Adams, Riley. Delicious and Suspicious. New York: Berkley, 2010. –– Finger Lickin’ Dead. New York: Berkley, 2011. –– Hickory Smoked Homicide. New York: Berkley, 2011. Baltazar, Lori. “A Novel About Food, Recipes Included [Book review].” Dessert Comes First. 28 Feb. 2012. 20 Aug. 2012 ‹http://dessertcomesfirst.com/archives/8644›. Berkeley, Anthony. The Poisoned Chocolates Case. London: Collins, 1929. Bishop, Claudia. Toast Mortem. New York: Berkley, 2010. –– Dread on Arrival. New York: Berkley, 2012. Brady, Jacklyn. A Sheetcake Named Desire. New York: Berkley, 2011. –– Cake on a Hot Tin Roof. New York: Berkley, 2012. Calta, Marialisa. “The Art of the Novel as Cookbook.” The New York Times. 17 Feb. 1993. 23 Jul. 2012 ‹http://www.nytimes.com/1993/02/17/style/the-art-of-the-novel-as-cookbook.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm›. Capella, Anthony. The Food of Love. London: Time Warner, 2004/2005. Carroll, Kent in Calta, Marialisa. “The Art of the Novel as Cookbook.” The New York Times. 17 Feb. 1993. 23 Jul. 2012 ‹http://www.nytimes.com/1993/02/17/style/the-art-of-the-novel-as-cookbook.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm›. Childs, Laura. Death by Darjeeling. New York: Berkley, 2001. –– Shades of Earl Grey. New York: Berkley, 2003. –– Blood Orange Brewing. New York: Berkley, 2006/2007. –– The Teaberry Strangler. New York: Berkley, 2010/2011. Collins, Glenn. “Your Favourite Fictional Crime Moments Involving Food.” The New York Times Diner’s Journal: Notes on Eating, Drinking and Cooking. 16 Jul. 2012. 17 Jul. 2012 ‹http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/16/your-favorite-fictional-crime-moments-involving-food›. Coyle, Cleo. On What Grounds. New York: Berkley, 2003. –– Murder Most Frothy. New York: Berkley, 2006. –– Holiday Grind. New York: Berkley, 2009/2010. –– Roast Mortem. New York: Berkley, 2010/2011. Christie, Agatha. A Pocket Full of Rye. London: Collins, 1953. Dahl, Roald. Lamb to the Slaughter: A Roald Dahl Short Story. New York: Penguin, 1953/2012. eBook. Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist, or, the Parish Boy’s Progress. In Collection of Ancient and Modern British Authors, Vol. CCXXIX. Paris: Baudry’s European Library, 1838/1839. Duran, Nancy, and Karen MacDonald. “Information Sources for Food Studies Research.” Food, Culture and Society: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research 2.9 (2006): 233–43. Ephron, Nora. Heartburn. New York: Vintage, 1983/1996. Esquivel, Laura. Trans. Christensen, Carol, and Thomas Christensen. Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Instalments with Recipes, romances and home remedies. London: Black Swan, 1989/1993. Evans, Jeanne M. The Crime Lovers’s Cookbook. City: Happy Trails, 2007. Fluke, Joanne. Fudge Cupcake Murder. New York: Kensington, 2004. –– Key Lime Pie Murder. New York: Kensington, 2007. –– Cream Puff Murder. New York: Kensington, 2009. –– Apple Turnover Murder. New York: Kensington, 2010. Greenwood, Kerry, and Jenny Pausacker. Recipes for Crime. Carlton: McPhee Gribble, 1995. Greenwood, Kerry. The Corinna Chapman Recipe Book: Mouth-Watering Morsels to Make Your Man Melt, Recipes from Corinna Chapman, Baker and Reluctant Investigator. nd. 25 Aug. 2012 ‹http://www.allenandunwin.com/_uploads/documents/minisites/Corinna_recipebook.pdf›. –– A Question of Death: An Illustrated Phryne Fisher Treasury. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2007. Halmagyi, Ed. The Food Clock: A Year of Cooking Seasonally. Sydney: Harper Collins, 2012. Haywood, B. B. Town in a Blueberry Jam. New York: Berkley, 2010. –– Town in a Lobster Stew. New York: Berkley, 2011. –– Town in a Wild Moose Chase. New York: Berkley, 2012. Hyzy, Julie. State of the Onion. New York: Berkley, 2008. –– Hail to the Chef. New York: Berkley, 2008. –– Eggsecutive Orders. New York: Berkley, 2010. –– Buffalo West Wing. New York: Berkley, 2011. –– Affairs of Steak. New York: Berkley, 2012. Israel, Andrea, and Nancy Garfinkel, with Melissa Clark. The Recipe Club: A Novel About Food And Friendship. New York: HarperCollins, 2009. McHenry, Jael. The Kitchen Daughter: A Novel. New York: Gallery, 2011. Mitchell, Margaret. Gone With the Wind. London: Pan, 1936/1974 O’Reilly, Brian, with Virginia O’Reilly. Angelina’s Bachelors: A Novel, with Food. New York: Gallery, 2011. Payany, Estérelle. Recipe for Murder: Frightfully Good Food Inspired by Fiction. Paris: Flammarion, 2010. Peaco*cks Tearooms. Peaco*cks Tearooms: Our Unique Selection of Teas. 23 Aug. 2012 ‹http://www.peaco*ckstearoom.co.uk/teas/page1.asp›. Piatti-Farnell, Lorna. “A Taste of Conflict: Food, History and Popular Culture In Katherine Mansfield’s Fiction.” Australasian Journal of Popular Culture 2.1 (2012): 79–91. Risson, Toni, and Donna Lee Brien. “Editors’ Letter: That Takes the Cake: A Slice Of Australasian Food Studies Scholarship.” Australasian Journal of Popular Culture 2.1 (2012): 3–7. Sayers, Dorothy L. Strong Poison. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1930/2003. Schmidt, Shannon McKenna, and Joni Rendon. Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen’s Bath to Ernest Hemingway’s Key West. Washington, DC: National Geographic, 2009. Shange, Ntozake. Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo: A Novel. New York: St Martin’s, 1982. Spang, Rebecca L. “All the World’s A Restaurant: On The Global Gastronomics Of Tourism and Travel.” In Raymond Grew (Ed). Food in Global History. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1999. 79–91. Taylor, Timothy. “Food/Crime Fiction.” Timothy Taylor. 2010. 17 Jul. 2012 ‹http://www.timothytaylor.ca/10/08/20/foodcrime-fiction›. The Moat Bar and Café. The Moat Bar and Café: Welcome. nd. 23 Aug. 2012 ‹http://themoat.com.au/Welcome.html›. Wenger, Shaunda Kennedy, and Janet Kay Jensen. The Book Lover’s Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature, and the Passages that Feature Them. New York: Ballantine, 2003/2005.

34

Hutcheon, Linda. "In Defence of Literary Adaptation as Cultural Production." M/C Journal 10, no.2 (May1, 2007). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2620.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Biology teaches us that organisms adapt—or don’t; sociology claims that people adapt—or don’t. We know that ideas can adapt; sometimes even institutions can adapt. Or not. Various papers in this issue attest in exciting ways to precisely such adaptations and maladaptations. (See, for example, the articles in this issue by Lelia Green, Leesa Bonniface, and Tami McMahon, by Lexey A. Bartlett, and by Debra Ferreday.) Adaptation is a part of nature and culture, but it’s the latter alone that interests me here. (However, see the article by Hutcheon and Bortolotti for a discussion of nature and culture together.) It’s no news to anyone that not only adaptations, but all art is bred of other art, though sometimes artists seem to get carried away. My favourite example of excess of association or attribution can be found in the acknowledgements page to a verse drama called Beatrice Chancy by the self-defined “maximalist” (not minimalist) poet, novelist, librettist, and critic, George Elliot Clarke. His selected list of the incarnations of the story of Beatrice Cenci, a sixteenth-century Italian noblewoman put to death for the murder of her father, includes dramas, romances, chronicles, screenplays, parodies, sculptures, photographs, and operas: dramas by Vincenzo Pieracci (1816), Percy Bysshe Shelley (1819), Juliusz Slowacki (1843), Waldter Landor (1851), Antonin Artaud (1935) and Alberto Moravia (1958); the romances by Francesco Guerrazi (1854), Henri Pierangeli (1933), Philip Lindsay (1940), Frederic Prokosch (1955) and Susanne Kircher (1976); the chronicles by Stendhal (1839), Mary Shelley (1839), Alexandre Dumas, père (1939-40), Robert Browning (1864), Charles Swinburne (1883), Corrado Ricci (1923), Sir Lionel Cust (1929), Kurt Pfister (1946) and Irene Mitchell (1991); the film/screenplay by Bertrand Tavernier and Colo O’Hagan (1988); the parody by Kathy Acker (1993); the sculpture by Harriet Hosmer (1857); the photograph by Julia Ward Cameron (1866); and the operas by Guido Pannain (1942), Berthold Goldschmidt (1951, 1995) and Havergal Brian (1962). (Beatrice Chancy, 152) He concludes the list with: “These creators have dallied with Beatrice Cenci, but I have committed indiscretions” (152). An “intertextual feast”, by Clarke’s own admission, this rewriting of Beatrice’s story—especially Percy Bysshe Shelley’s own verse play, The Cenci—illustrates brilliantly what Northrop Frye offered as the first principle of the production of literature: “literature can only derive its form from itself” (15). But in the last several decades, what has come to be called intertextuality theory has shifted thinking away from looking at this phenomenon from the point of view of authorial influences on the writing of literature (and works like Harold Bloom’s famous study of the Anxiety of Influence) and toward considering our readerly associations with literature, the connections we (not the author) make—as we read. We, the readers, have become “empowered”, as we say, and we’ve become the object of academic study in our own right. Among the many associations we inevitably make, as readers, is with adaptations of the literature we read, be it of Jane Austin novels or Beowulf. Some of us may have seen the 2006 rock opera of Beowulf done by the Irish Repertory Theatre; others await the new Neil Gaiman animated film. Some may have played the Beowulf videogame. I personally plan to miss the upcoming updated version that makes Beowulf into the son of an African explorer. But I did see Sturla Gunnarsson’s Beowulf and Grendel film, and yearned to see the comic opera at the Lincoln Centre Festival in 2006 called Grendel, the Transcendence of the Great Big Bad. I am not really interested in whether these adaptations—all in the last year or so—signify Hollywood’s need for a new “monster of the week” or are just the sign of a desire to cash in on the success of The Lord of the Rings. For all I know they might well act as an ethical reminder of the human in the alien in a time of global strife (see McGee, A4). What interests me is the impact these multiple adaptations can have on the reader of literature as well as on the production of literature. Literature, like painting, is usually thought of as what Nelson Goodman (114) calls a one-stage art form: what we read (like what we see on a canvas) is what is put there by the originating artist. Several major consequences follow from this view. First, the implication is that the work is thus an original and new creation by that artist. However, even the most original of novelists—like Salman Rushdie—are the first to tell you that stories get told and retold over and over. Indeed his controversial novel, The Satanic Verses, takes this as a major theme. Works like the Thousand and One Nights are crucial references in all of his work. As he writes in Haroun and the Sea of Stories: “no story comes from nowhere; new stories are born of old” (86). But illusion of originality is only one of the implications of seeing literature as a one-stage art form. Another is the assumption that what the writer put on paper is what we read. But entire doctoral programs in literary production and book history have been set up to study how this is not the case, in fact. Editors influence, even change, what authors want to write. Designers control how we literally see the work of literature. Beatrice Chancy’s bookend maps of historical Acadia literally frame how we read the historical story of the title’s mixed-race offspring of an African slave and a white slave owner in colonial Nova Scotia in 1801. Media interest or fashion or academic ideological focus may provoke a publisher to foreground in the physical presentation different elements of a text like this—its stress on race, or gender, or sexuality. The fact that its author won Canada’s Governor General’s Award for poetry might mean that the fact that this is a verse play is emphasised. If the book goes into a second edition, will a new preface get added, changing the framework for the reader once again? As Katherine Larson has convincingly shown, the paratextual elements that surround a work of literature like this one become a major site of meaning generation. What if literature were not a one-stage an art form at all? What if it were, rather, what Goodman calls “two-stage” (114)? What if we accept that other artists, other creators, are needed to bring it to life—editors, publishers, and indeed readers? In a very real and literal sense, from our (audience) point of view, there may be no such thing as a one-stage art work. Just as the experience of literature is made possible for readers by the writer, in conjunction with a team of professional and creative people, so, arguably all art needs its audience to be art; the un-interpreted, un-experienced art work is not worth calling art. Goodman resists this move to considering literature a two-stage art, not at all sure that readings are end products the way that performance works are (114). Plays, films, television shows, or operas would be his prime examples of two-stage arts. In each of these, a text (a playtext, a screenplay, a score, a libretto) is moved from page to stage or screen and given life, by an entire team of creative individuals: directors, actors, designers, musicians, and so on. Literary adaptations to the screen or stage are usually considered as yet another form of this kind of transcription or transposition of a written text to a performance medium. But the verbal move from the “book” to the diminutive “libretto” (in Italian, little book or booklet) is indicative of a view that sees adaptation as a step downward, a move away from a primary literary “source”. In fact, an entire negative rhetoric of “infidelity” has developed in both journalistic reviewing and academic discourse about adaptations, and it is a morally loaded rhetoric that I find surprising in its intensity. Here is the wonderfully critical description of that rhetoric by the king of film adaptation critics, Robert Stam: Terms like “infidelity,” “betrayal,” “deformation,” “violation,” “bastardisation,” “vulgarisation,” and “desecration” proliferate in adaptation discourse, each word carrying its specific charge of opprobrium. “Infidelity” carries overtones of Victorian prudishness; “betrayal” evokes ethical perfidy; “bastardisation” connotes illegitimacy; “deformation” implies aesthetic disgust and monstrosity; “violation” calls to mind sexual violence; “vulgarisation” conjures up class degradation; and “desecration” intimates religious sacrilege and blasphemy. (3) I join many others today, like Stam, in challenging the persistence of this fidelity discourse in adaptation studies, thereby providing yet another example of what, in his article here called “The Persistence of Fidelity: Adaptation Theory Today,” John Connor has called the “fidelity reflex”—the call to end an obsession with fidelity as the sole criterion for judging the success of an adaptation. But here I want to come at this same issue of the relation of adaptation to the adapted text from another angle. When considering an adaptation of a literary work, there are other reasons why the literary “source” text might be privileged. Literature has historical priority as an art form, Stam claims, and so in some people’s eyes will always be superior to other forms. But does it actually have priority? What about even earlier performative forms like ritual and song? Or to look forward, instead of back, as Tim Barker urges us to do in his article here, what about the new media’s additions to our repertoire with the advent of electronic technology? How can we retain this hierarchy of artistic forms—with literature inevitably on top—in a world like ours today? How can both the Romantic ideology of original genius and the capitalist notion of individual authorship hold up in the face of the complex reality of the production of literature today (as well as in the past)? (In “Amen to That: Sampling and Adapting the Past”, Steve Collins shows how digital technology has changed the possibilities of musical creativity in adapting/sampling.) Like many other ages before our own, adaptation is rampant today, as director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman clearly realised in creating Adaptation, their meta-cinematic illustration-as-send-up film about adaptation. But rarely has a culture denigrated the adapter as a secondary and derivative creator as much as we do the screenwriter today—as Jonze explores with great irony. Michelle McMerrin and Sergio Rizzo helpfully explain in their pieces here that one of the reasons for this is the strength of auteur theory in film criticism. But we live in a world in which works of literature have been turned into more than films. We now have literary adaptations in the forms of interactive new media works and videogames; we have theme parks; and of course, we have the more common television series, radio and stage plays, musicals, dance works, and operas. And, of course, we now have novelisations of films—and they are not given the respect that originary novels are given: it is the adaptation as adaptation that is denigrated, as Deborah Allison shows in “Film/Print: Novelisations and Capricorn One”. Adaptations across media are inevitably fraught, and for complex and multiple reasons. The financing and distribution issues of these widely different media alone inevitably challenge older capitalist models. The need or desire to appeal to a global market has consequences for adaptations of literature, especially with regard to its regional and historical specificities. These particularities are what usually get adapted or “indigenised” for new audiences—be they the particularities of the Spanish gypsy Carmen (see Ioana Furnica, “Subverting the ‘Good, Old Tune’”), those of the Japanese samurai genre (see Kevin P. Eubanks, “Becoming-Samurai: Samurai [Films], Kung-Fu [Flicks] and Hip-Hop [Soundtracks]”), of American hip hop graffiti (see Kara-Jane Lombard, “‘To Us Writers, the Differences Are Obvious’: The Adaptation of Hip Hop Graffiti to an Australian Context”) or of Jane Austen’s fiction (see Suchitra Mathur, “From British ‘Pride’ to Indian ‘Bride’: Mapping the Contours of a Globalised (Post?)Colonialism”). What happens to the literary text that is being adapted, often multiple times? Rather than being displaced by the adaptation (as is often feared), it most frequently gets a new life: new editions of the book appear, with stills from the movie adaptation on its cover. But if I buy and read the book after seeing the movie, I read it differently than I would have before I had seen the film: in effect, the book, not the adaptation, has become the second and even secondary text for me. And as I read, I can only “see” characters as imagined by the director of the film; the cinematic version has taken over, has even colonised, my reader’s imagination. The literary “source” text, in my readerly, experiential terms, becomes the secondary work. It exists on an experiential continuum, in other words, with its adaptations. It may have been created before, but I only came to know it after. What if I have read the literary work first, and then see the movie? In my imagination, I have already cast the characters: I know what Gabriel and Gretta Conroy of James Joyce’s story, “The Dead,” look and sound like—in my imagination, at least. Then along comes John Huston’s lush period piece cinematic adaptation and the director superimposes his vision upon mine; his forcibly replaces mine. But, in this particular case, Huston still arguably needs my imagination, or at least my memory—though he may not have realised it fully in making the film. When, in a central scene in the narrative, Gabriel watches his wife listening, moved, to the singing of the Irish song, “The Lass of Aughrim,” what we see on screen is a concerned, intrigued, but in the end rather blank face: Gabriel doesn’t alter his expression as he listens and watches. His expression may not change—but I know exactly what he is thinking. Huston does not tell us; indeed, without the use of voice-over, he cannot. And since the song itself is important, voice-over is impossible. But I know exactly what he is thinking: I’ve read the book. I fill in the blank, so to speak. Gabriel looks at Gretta and thinks: There was grace and mystery in her attitude as if she were a symbol of something. He asked himself what is a woman standing on the stairs in the shadow, listening to distant music, a symbol of. If he were a painter he would paint her in that attitude. … Distant Music he would call the picture if he were a painter. (210) A few pages later the narrator will tell us: At last she turned towards them and Gabriel saw that there was colour on her cheeks and that her eyes were shining. A sudden tide of joy went leaping out of his heart. (212) This joy, of course, puts him in a very different—disastrously different—state of mind than his wife, who (we later learn) is remembering a young man who sang that song to her when she was a girl—and who died, for love of her. I know this—because I’ve read the book. Watching the movie, I interpret Gabriel’s blank expression in this knowledge. Just as the director’s vision can colonise my visual and aural imagination, so too can I, as reader, supplement the film’s silence with the literary text’s inner knowledge. The question, of course, is: should I have to do so? Because I have read the book, I will. But what if I haven’t read the book? Will I substitute my own ideas, from what I’ve seen in the rest of the film, or from what I’ve experienced in my own life? Filmmakers always have to deal with this problem, of course, since the camera is resolutely externalising, and actors must reveal their inner worlds through bodily gesture or facial expression for the camera to record and for the spectator to witness and comprehend. But film is not only a visual medium: it uses music and sound, and it also uses words—spoken words within the dramatic situation, words overheard on the street, on television, but also voice-over words, spoken by a narrating figure. Stephen Dedalus escapes from Ireland at the end of Joseph Strick’s 1978 adaptation of Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man with the same words as he does in the novel, where they appear as Stephen’s diary entry: Amen. So be it. Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race. … Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead. (253) The words from the novel also belong to the film as film, with its very different story, less about an artist than about a young Irishman finally able to escape his family, his religion and his country. What’s deliberately NOT in the movie is the irony of Joyce’s final, benign-looking textual signal to his reader: Dublin, 1904 Trieste, 1914 The first date is the time of Stephen’s leaving Dublin—and the time of his return, as we know from the novel Ulysses, the sequel, if you like, to this novel. The escape was short-lived! Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man has an ironic structure that has primed its readers to expect not escape and triumph but something else. Each chapter of the novel has ended on this kind of personal triumphant high; the next has ironically opened with Stephen mired in the mundane and in failure. Stephen’s final words in both film and novel remind us that he really is an Icarus figure, following his “Old father, old artificer”, his namesake, Daedalus. And Icarus, we recall, takes a tumble. In the novel version, we are reminded that this is the portrait of the artist “as a young man”—later, in 1914, from the distance of Trieste (to which he has escaped) Joyce, writing this story, could take some ironic distance from his earlier persona. There is no such distance in the film version. However, it stands alone, on its own; Joyce’s irony is not appropriate in Strick’s vision. His is a different work, with its own message and its own, considerably more romantic and less ironic power. Literary adaptations are their own things—inspired by, based on an adapted text but something different, something other. I want to argue that these works adapted from literature are now part of our readerly experience of that literature, and for that reason deserve the same attention we give to the literary, and not only the same attention, but also the same respect. I am a literarily trained person. People like me who love words, already love plays, but shouldn’t we also love films—and operas, and musicals, and even videogames? There is no need to denigrate words that are heard (and visualised) in order to privilege words that are read. Works of literature can have afterlives in their adaptations and translations, just as they have pre-lives, in terms of influences and models, as George Eliot Clarke openly allows in those acknowledgements to Beatrice Chancy. I want to return to that Canadian work, because it raises for me many of the issues about adaptation and language that I see at the core of our literary distrust of the move away from the written, printed text. I ended my recent book on adaptation with a brief examination of this work, but I didn’t deal with this particular issue of language. So I want to return to it, as to unfinished business. Clarke is, by the way, clear in the verse drama as well as in articles and interviews that among the many intertexts to Beatrice Chancy, the most important are slave narratives, especially one called Celia, a Slave, and Shelley’s play, The Cenci. Both are stories of mistreated and subordinated women who fight back. Since Clarke himself has written at length about the slave narratives, I’m going to concentrate here on Shelley’s The Cenci. The distance from Shelley’s verse play to Clarke’s verse play is a temporal one, but it is also geographic and ideological one: from the old to the new world, and from a European to what Clarke calls an “Africadian” (African Canadian/African Acadian) perspective. Yet both poets were writing political protest plays against unjust authority and despotic power. And they have both become plays that are more read than performed—a sad fate, according to Clarke, for two works that are so concerned with voice. We know that Shelley sought to calibrate the stylistic registers of his work with various dramatic characters and effects to create a modern “mixed” style that was both a return to the ancients and offered a new drama of great range and flexibility where the expression fits what is being expressed (see Bruhn). His polemic against eighteenth-century European dramatic conventions has been seen as leading the way for realist drama later in the nineteenth century, with what has been called its “mixed style mimesis” (Bruhn) Clarke’s adaptation does not aim for Shelley’s perfect linguistic decorum. It mixes the elevated and the biblical with the idiomatic and the sensual—even the vulgar—the lushly poetic with the coarsely powerful. But perhaps Shelley’s idea of appropriate language fits, after all: Beatrice Chancy is a woman of mixed blood—the child of a slave woman and her slave owner; she has been educated by her white father in a convent school. Sometimes that educated, elevated discourse is heard; at other times, she uses the variety of discourses operative within slave society—from religious to colloquial. But all the time, words count—as in all printed and oral literature. Clarke’s verse drama was given a staged reading in Toronto in 1997, but the story’s, if not the book’s, real second life came when it was used as the basis for an opera libretto. Actually the libretto commission came first (from Queen of Puddings Theatre in Toronto), and Clarke started writing what was to be his first of many opera texts. Constantly frustrated by the art form’s demands for concision, he found himself writing two texts at once—a short libretto and a longer, five-act tragic verse play to be published separately. Since it takes considerably longer to sing than to speak (or read) a line of text, the composer James Rolfe keep asking for cuts—in the name of economy (too many singers), because of clarity of action for audience comprehension, or because of sheer length. Opera audiences have to sit in a theatre for a fixed length of time, unlike readers who can put a book down and return to it later. However, what was never sacrificed to length or to the demands of the music was the language. In fact, the double impact of the powerful mixed language and the equally potent music, increases the impact of the literary text when performed in its operatic adaptation. Here is the verse play version of the scene after Beatrice’s rape by her own father, Francis Chancey: I was black but comely. Don’t glance Upon me. This flesh is crumbling Like proved lies. I’m perfumed, ruddied Carrion. Assassinated. Screams of mucking juncos scrawled Over the chapel and my nerves, A stickiness, as when he finished Maculating my thighs and dress. My eyes seep pus; I can’t walk: the floors Are tizzy, dented by stout mauling. Suddenly I would like poison. The flesh limps from my spine. My inlets crimp. Vultures flutter, ghastly, without meaning. I can see lice swarming the air. … His scythe went shick shick shick and slashed My flowers; they lay, murdered, in heaps. (90) The biblical and the violent meet in the texture of the language. And none of that power gets lost in the opera adaptation, despite cuts and alterations for easier aural comprehension. I was black but comely. Don’t look Upon me: this flesh is dying. I’m perfumed, bleeding carrion, My eyes weep pus, my womb’s sopping With tears; I can hardly walk: the floors Are tizzy, the sick walls tumbling, Crumbling like proved lies. His scythe went shick shick shick and cut My flowers; they lay in heaps, murdered. (95) Clarke has said that he feels the libretto is less “literary” in his words than the verse play, for it removes the lines of French, Latin, Spanish and Italian that pepper the play as part of the author’s critique of the highly educated planter class in Nova Scotia: their education did not guarantee ethical behaviour (“Adaptation” 14). I have not concentrated on the music of the opera, because I wanted to keep the focus on the language. But I should say that the Rolfe’s score is as historically grounded as Clarke’s libretto: it is rooted in African Canadian music (from ring shouts to spirituals to blues) and in Scottish fiddle music and local reels of the time, not to mention bel canto Italian opera. However, the music consciously links black and white traditions in a way that Clarke’s words and story refuse: they remain stubbornly separate, set in deliberate tension with the music’s resolution. Beatrice will murder her father, and, at the very moment that Nova Scotia slaves are liberated, she and her co-conspirators will be hanged for that murder. Unlike the printed verse drama, the shorter opera libretto functions like a screenplay, if you will. It is not so much an autonomous work unto itself, but it points toward a potential enactment or embodiment in performance. Yet, even there, Clarke cannot resist the lure of words—even though they are words that no audience will ever hear. The stage directions for Act 3, scene 2 of the opera read: “The garden. Slaves, sunflowers, stars, sparks” (98). The printed verse play is full of these poetic associative stage directions, suggesting that despite his protestations to the contrary, Clarke may have thought of that version as one meant to be read by the eye. After Beatrice’s rape, the stage directions read: “A violin mopes. Invisible shovelsful of dirt thud upon the scene—as if those present were being buried alive—like ourselves” (91). Our imaginations—and emotions—go to work, assisted by the poet’s associations. There are many such textual helpers—epigraphs, photographs, notes—that we do not have when we watch and listen to the opera. We do have the music, the staged drama, the colours and sounds as well as the words of the text. As Clarke puts the difference: “as a chamber opera, Beatrice Chancy has ascended to television broadcast. But as a closet drama, it play only within the reader’s head” (“Adaptation” 14). Clarke’s work of literature, his verse drama, is a “situated utterance, produced in one medium and in one historical and social context,” to use Robert Stam’s terms. In the opera version, it was transformed into another “equally situated utterance, produced in a different context and relayed through a different medium” (45-6). I want to argue that both are worthy of study and respect by wordsmiths, by people like me. I realise I’ve loaded the dice: here neither the verse play nor the libretto is primary; neither is really the “source” text, for they were written at the same time and by the same person. But for readers and audiences (my focus and interest here), they exist on a continuum—depending on which we happen to experience first. As Ilana Shiloh explores here, the same is true about the short story and film of Memento. I am not alone in wanting to mount a defence of adaptations. Julie Sanders ends her new book called Adaptation and Appropriation with these words: “Adaptation and appropriation … are, endlessly and wonderfully, about seeing things come back to us in as many forms as possible” (160). The storytelling imagination is an adaptive mechanism—whether manifesting itself in print or on stage or on screen. The study of the production of literature should, I would like to argue, include those other forms taken by that storytelling drive. If I can be forgiven a move to the amusing—but still serious—in concluding, Terry Pratchett puts it beautifully in his fantasy story, Witches Abroad: “Stories, great flapping ribbons of shaped space-time, have been blowing and uncoiling around the universe since the beginning of time. And they have evolved. The weakest have died and the strongest have survived and they have grown fat on the retelling.” In biology as in culture, adaptations reign. References Bloom, Harold. The Anxiety of Influence. New York: Oxford University Press, 1975. Bruhn, Mark J. “’Prodigious Mixtures and Confusions Strange’: The Self-Subverting Mixed Style of The Cenci.” Poetics Today 22.4 (2001). Clarke, George Elliott. “Beatrice Chancy: A Libretto in Four Acts.” Canadian Theatre Review 96 (1998): 62-79. ———. Beatrice Chancy. Victoria, BC: Polestar, 1999. ———. “Adaptation: Love or Cannibalism? Some Personal Observations”, unpublished manuscript of article. Frye, Northrop. The Educated Imagination. Toronto: CBC, 1963. Goodman, Nelson. Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1968. Hutcheon, Linda, and Gary R. Bortolotti. “On the Origin of Adaptations: Rethinking Fidelity Discourse and “Success”—Biologically.” New Literary History. Forthcoming. Joyce, James. Dubliners. 1916. New York: Viking, 1967. ———. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. 1916. Penguin: Harmondsworth, 1960. Larson, Katherine. “Resistance from the Margins in George Elliott Clarke’s Beatrice Chancy.” Canadian Literature 189 (2006): 103-118. McGee, Celia. “Beowulf on Demand.” New York Times, Arts and Leisure. 30 April 2006. A4. Rushdie, Salman. The Satanic Verses. New York: Viking, 1988. ———. Haroun and the Sea of Stories. London: Granta/Penguin, 1990. Sanders, Julie. Adaptation and Appropriation. London and New York: Routledge, 160. Shelley, Percy Bysshe. The Cenci. Ed. George Edward Woodberry. Boston and London: Heath, 1909. Stam, Robert. “Introduction: The Theory and Practice of Adaptation.” Literature and Film: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Film Adaptation. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005. 1-52. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Hutcheon, Linda. "In Defence of Literary Adaptation as Cultural Production." M/C Journal 10.2 (2007). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/01-hutcheon.php>. APA Style Hutcheon, L. (May 2007) "In Defence of Literary Adaptation as Cultural Production," M/C Journal, 10(2). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/01-hutcheon.php>.

35

Franks, Rachel. "A True Crime Tale: Re-imagining Governor Arthur’s Proclamation to the Aborigines." M/C Journal 18, no.6 (March7, 2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1036.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Special Care Notice This paper discusses trauma and violence inflicted upon the Indigenous peoples of Tasmania through the process of colonisation. Content within this paper may be distressing to some readers. Introduction The decimation of the First Peoples of Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) was systematic and swift. First Contact was an emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually confronting series of encounters for the Indigenous inhabitants. There were, according to some early records, a few examples of peaceful interactions (Morris 84). Yet, the inevitable competition over resources, and the intensity with which colonists pursued their “claims” for food, land, and water, quickly transformed amicable relationships into hostile rivalries. Jennifer Gall has written that, as “European settlement expanded in the late 1820s, violent exchanges between settlers and Aboriginal people were frequent, brutal and unchecked” (58). Indeed, the near-annihilation of the original custodians of the land was, if viewed through the lens of time, a process that could be described as one that was especially efficient. As John Morris notes: in 1803, when the first settlers arrived in Van Diemen’s Land, the Aborigines had already inhabited the island for some 25,000 years and the population has been estimated at 4,000. Seventy-three years later, Truganinni, [often cited as] the last Tasmanian of full Aboriginal descent, was dead. (84) Against a backdrop of extreme violence, often referred to as the Black War (Clements 1), there were some, admittedly dubious, efforts to contain the bloodshed. One such effort, in the late 1820s, was the production, and subsequent distribution, of a set of Proclamation Boards. Approximately 100 Proclamation Boards (the Board) were introduced by the Lieutenant Governor of the day, George Arthur (after whom Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula is named). The purpose of these Boards was to communicate, via a four-strip pictogram, to the Indigenous peoples of the island colony that all people—black and white—were considered equal under the law. “British Justice would protect” everyone (Morris 84). This is reflected in the narrative of the Boards. The first image presents Indigenous peoples and colonists living peacefully together. The second, and central, image shows “a conciliatory handshake between the British governor and an Aboriginal ‘chief’, highly reminiscent of images found in North America on treaty medals and anti-slavery tokens” (Darian-Smith and Edmonds 4). The third and fourth images depict the repercussions for committing murder, with an Indigenous man hanged for spearing a colonist and a European man also hanged for shooting an Aborigine. Both men executed under “gubernatorial supervision” (Turnbull 53). Image 1: Governor Davey's [sic - actually Governor Arthur's] Proclamation to the Aborigines, 1816 [sic - actually c. 1828-30]. Image Credit: Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW (Call Number: SAFE / R 247). The Board is an interesting re-imagining of one of the traditional methods of communication for Indigenous peoples; the leaving of images on the bark of trees. Such trees, often referred to as scarred trees, are rare in modern-day Tasmania as “the expansion of settlements, and the impact of bush fires and other environmental factors” resulted in many of these trees being destroyed (Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania online). Similarly, only a few of the Boards, inspired by these trees, survive today. The Proclamation Board was, in the 1860s, re-imagined as the output of a different Governor: Lieutenant Governor Davey (after whom Port Davey, on the south-west coast of Tasmania is named). This re-imagining of the Board’s creator was so effective that the Board, today, is popularly known as Governor Davey’s Proclamation to the Aborigines. This paper outlines several other re-imaginings of this Board. In addition, this paper offers another, new, re-imagining of the Board, positing that this is an early “pamphlet” on crime, justice and punishment which actually presents as a pre-cursor to the modern Australian true crime tale. In doing so this work connects the Proclamation Board to the larger genre of crime fiction. One Proclamation Board: Two Governors Labelled Van Diemen’s Land and settled as a colony of New South Wales in 1803, this island state would secede from the administration of mainland Australia in 1825. Another change would follow in 1856 when Van Diemen’s Land was, in another process of re-imagining, officially re-named Tasmania. This change in nomenclature was an initiative to, symbolically at least, separate the contemporary state from a criminal and violent past (Newman online). Tasmania’s violent history was, perhaps, inevitable. The island was claimed by Philip Gidley King, the Governor of New South Wales, in the name of His Majesty, not for the purpose of building a community, but to “prevent the French from gaining a footing on the east side of that island” and also to procure “timber and other natural products, as well as to raise grain and to promote the seal industry” (Clark 36). Another rationale for this land claim was to “divide the convicts” (Clark 36) which re-fashioned the island into a gaol. It was this penal element of the British colonisation of Australia that saw the worst of the British Empire forced upon the Aboriginal peoples. As historian Clive Turnbull explains: the brutish state of England was reproduced in the English colonies, and that in many ways its brutishness was increased, for now there came to Australia not the humanitarians or the indifferent, but the men who had vested interests in the systems of restraint; among those who suffered restraint were not only a vast number who were merely unfortunate and poverty-stricken—the victims of a ‘depression’—but brutalised persons, child-slaughterers and even potential cannibals. (Turnbull 25) As noted above the Black War of Tasmania saw unprecedented aggression against the rightful occupants of the land. Yet, the Aboriginal peoples were “promised the white man’s justice, the people [were] exhorted to live in amity with them, the wrongs which they suffer [were] deplored” (Turnbull 23). The administrators purported an egalitarian society, one of integration and peace but Van Diemen’s Land was colonised as a prison and as a place of profit. So, “like many apologists whose material benefit is bound up with the systems which they defend” (Turnbull 23), assertions of care for the health and welfare of the Aboriginal peoples were made but were not supported by sufficient policies, or sufficient will, and the Black War continued. Colonel Thomas Davey (1758-1823) was the second person to serve as Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen’s Land; a term of office that began in 1813 and concluded in 1817. The fourth Lieutenant Governor of the island was Colonel Sir George Arthur (1784-1854); his term of office, significantly longer than Davey’s, being from 1824 to 1836. The two men were very different but are connected through this intriguing artefact, the Proclamation Board. One of the efforts made to assert the principle of equality under the law in Van Diemen’s Land was an outcome of work undertaken by Surveyor General George Frankland (1800-1838). Frankland wrote to Arthur in early 1829 and suggested the Proclamation Board (Morris 84), sometimes referred to as a Picture Board or the Tasmanian Hieroglyphics, as a tool to support Arthur’s various Proclamations. The Proclamation, signed on 15 April 1828 and promulgated in the The Hobart Town Courier on 19 April 1828 (Arthur 1), was one of several notices attempting to reduce the increasing levels of violence between Indigenous peoples and colonists. The date on Frankland’s correspondence clearly situates the Proclamation Board within Arthur’s tenure as Lieutenant Governor. The Board was, however, in the 1860s, re-imagined as the output of Davey. The Clerk of the Tasmanian House of Assembly, Hugh M. Hull, asserted that the Board was the work of Davey and not Arthur. Hull’s rationale for this, despite archival evidence connecting the Board to Frankland and, by extension, to Arthur, is predominantly anecdotal. In a letter to the editor of The Hobart Mercury, published 26 November 1874, Hull wrote: this curiosity was shown by me to the late Mrs Bateman, neé Pitt, a lady who arrived here in 1804, and with whom I went to school in 1822. She at once recognised it as one of a number prepared in 1816, under Governor Davey’s orders; and said she had seen one hanging on a gum tree at Cottage Green—now Battery Point. (3) Hull went on to assert that “if any old gentleman will look at the picture and remember the style of military and civil dress of 1810-15, he will find that Mrs Bateman was right” (3). Interestingly, Hull relies upon the recollections of a deceased school friend and the dress codes depicted by the artist to date the Proclamation Board as a product of 1816, in lieu of documentary evidence dating the Board as a product of 1828-1830. Curiously, the citation of dress can serve to undermine Hull’s argument. An early 1840s watercolour by Thomas Bock, of Mathinna, an Aboriginal child of Flinders Island adopted by Lieutenant Governor John Franklin (Felton online), features the young girl wearing a brightly coloured, high-waisted dress. This dress is very similar to the dresses worn by the children on the Proclamation Board (the difference being that Mathinna wears a red dress with a contrasting waistband, the children on the Board wear plain yellow dresses) (Bock). Acknowledging the simplicity of children's clothing during the colonial era, it could still be argued that it would have been unlikely the Governor of the day would have placed a child, enjoying at that time a life of privilege, in a situation where she sat for a portrait wearing an old-fashioned garment. So effective was Hull’s re-imagining of the Board’s creator that the Board was, for many years, popularly known as Governor Davey’s Proclamation to the Aborigines with even the date modified, to 1816, to fit Davey’s term of office. Further, it is worth noting that catalogue records acknowledge the error of attribution and list both Davey and Arthur as men connected to the creation of the Proclamation Board. A Surviving Board: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales One of the surviving Proclamation Boards is held by the Mitchell Library. The Boards, oil on Huon pine, were painted by “convict artists incarcerated in the island penal colony” (Carroll 73). The work was mass produced (by the standards of mass production of the day) by pouncing, “a technique [of the Italian Renaissance] of pricking the contours of a drawing with a pin. Charcoal was then dusted on to the drawing” (Carroll 75-76). The images, once outlined, were painted in oil. Of approximately 100 Boards made, several survive today. There are seven known Boards within public collections (Gall 58): five in Australia (Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Sydney; Museum Victoria, Melbourne; National Library of Australia, Canberra; Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart; and Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston); and two overseas (The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University and the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, University of Cambridge). The catalogue record, for the Board held by the Mitchell Library, offers the following details:Paintings: 1 oil painting on Huon pine board, rectangular in shape with rounded corners and hole at top centre for suspension ; 35.7 x 22.6 x 1 cm. 4 scenes are depicted:Aborigines and white settlers in European dress mingling harmoniouslyAboriginal men and women, and an Aboriginal child approach Governor Arthur to shake hands while peaceful soldiers look onA hostile Aboriginal man spears a male white settler and is hanged by the military as Governor Arthur looks onA hostile white settler shoots an Aboriginal man and is hanged by the military as Governor Arthur looks on. (SAFE / R 247) The Mitchell Library Board was purchased from J.W. Beattie in May 1919 for £30 (Morris 86), which is approximately $2,200 today. Importantly, the title of the record notes both the popular attribution of the Board and the man who actually instigated the Board’s production: “Governor Davey’s [sic – actually Governor Arthur] Proclamation to the Aborigines, 1816 [sic – actually c. 1828-30].” The date of the Board is still a cause of some speculation. The earlier date, 1828, marks the declaration of martial law (Turnbull 94) and 1830 marks the Black Line (Edmonds 215); the attempt to form a human line of white men to force many Tasmanian Aboriginals, four of the nine nations, onto the Tasman Peninsula (Ryan 3). Frankland’s suggestion for the Board was put forward on 4 February 1829, with Arthur’s official Conciliator to the Aborigines, G.A. Robinson, recording his first sighting of a Board on 24 December 1829 (Morris 84-85). Thus, the conception of the Board may have been in 1828 but the Proclamation project was not fully realised until 1830. Indeed, a news item on the Proclamation Board did appear in the popular press, but not until 5 March 1830: We are informed that the Government have given directions for the painting of a large number of pictures to be placed in the bush for the contemplation of the Aboriginal Inhabitants. […] However […] the causes of their hostility must be more deeply probed, or their taste as connoisseurs in paintings more clearly established, ere we can look for any beneficial result from this measure. (Colonial Times 2) The remark made in relation to becoming a connoisseur of painting, though intended to be derogatory, makes some sense. There was an assumption that the Indigenous peoples could easily translate a European-styled execution by hanging, as a visual metaphor for all forms of punishment. It has long been understood that Indigenous “social organisation and religious and ceremonial life were often as complex as those of the white invaders” (McCulloch 261). However, the Proclamation Board was, in every sense, Eurocentric and made no attempt to acknowledge the complexities of Aboriginal culture. It was, quite simply, never going to be an effective tool of communication, nor achieve its socio-legal aims. The Board Re-imagined: Popular Media The re-imagining of the Proclamation Board as a construct of Governor Davey, instead of Governor Arthur, is just one of many re-imaginings of this curious object. There are, of course, the various imaginings of the purpose of the Board. On the surface these images are a tool for reconciliation but as “the story of these paintings unfolds […] it becomes clear that the proclamations were in effect envoys sent back to Britain to exhibit the ingenious attempts being applied to civilise Australia” (Carroll 76). In this way the Board was re-imagined by the Administration that funded the exercise, even before the project was completed, from a mechanism to assist in the bringing about of peace into an object that would impress colonial superiors. Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll has recently written about the Boards in the context of their “transnational circulation” and how “objects become subjects and speak of their past through the ventriloquism of contemporary art history” (75). Carroll argues the Board is an item that couples “military strategy with a fine arts propaganda campaign” (Carroll 78). Critically the Boards never achieved their advertised purpose for, as Carroll explains, there were “elaborate rituals Aboriginal Australians had for the dead” and, therefore, “the display of a dead, hanging body is unthinkable. […] being exposed to the sight of a hanged man must have been experienced as an unimaginable act of disrespect” (92). The Proclamation Board would, in sharp contrast to feelings of unimaginable disrespect, inspire feelings of pride across the colonial population. An example of this pride being revealed in the selection of the Board as an object worthy of reproduction, as a lithograph, for an Intercolonial Exhibition, held in Melbourne in 1866 (Morris 84). The lithograph, which identifies the Board as Governor Davey’s Proclamation to the Aborigines and dated 1816, was listed as item 572, of 738 items submitted by Tasmania, for the event (The Commissioners 69-85). This type of reproduction, or re-imagining, of the Board would not be an isolated event. Penelope Edmonds has described the Board as producing a “visual vernacular” through a range of derivatives including lantern slides, lithographs, and postcards. These types of tourist ephemera are in addition to efforts to produce unique re-workings of the Board as seen in Violet Mace’s Proclamation glazed earthernware, which includes a jug (1928) and a pottery cup (1934) (Edmonds online). The Board Re-imagined: A True Crime Tale The Proclamation Board offers numerous narratives. There is the story that the Board was designed and deployed to communicate. There is the story behind the Board. There is also the story of the credit for the initiative which was transferred from Governor Arthur to Governor Davey and subsequently returned to Arthur. There are, too, the provenance stories of individual Boards. There is another story the Proclamation Board offers. The story of true crime in colonial Australia. The Board, as noted, presents through a four-strip pictogram an idea that all are equal under the rule of law (Arthur 1). Advocating for a society of equals was a duplicitous practice, for while Aborigines were hanged for allegedly murdering settlers, “there is no record of whites being charged, let alone punished, for murdering Aborigines” (Morris 84). It would not be until 1838 that white men would be punished for the murder of Aboriginal people (on the mainland) in the wake of the Myall Creek Massacre, in northern New South Wales. There were other examples of attempts to bring about a greater equity under the rule of law but, as Amanda Nettelbeck explains, there was wide-spread resistance to the investigation and charging of colonists for crimes against the Indigenous population with cases regularly not going to trial, or, if making a courtroom, resulting in an acquittal (355-59). That such cases rested on “legally inadmissible Aboriginal testimony” (Reece in Nettelbeck 358) propped up a justice system that was, inherently, unjust in the nineteenth century. It is important to note that commentators at the time did allude to the crime narrative of the Board: when in the most civilized country in the world it has been found ineffective as example to hang murderers in chains, it is not to be expected a savage race will be influenced by the milder exhibition of effigy and caricature. (Colonial Times 2) It is argued here that the Board was much more than an offering of effigy and caricature. The Proclamation Board presents, in striking detail, the formula for the modern true crime tale: a peace disturbed by the act of murder; and the ensuing search for, and delivery of, justice. Reinforcing this point, are the ideas of justice seen within crime fiction, a genre that focuses on the restoration of order out of chaos (James 174), are made visible here as aspirational. The true crime tale does not, consistently, offer the reassurances found within crime fiction. In the real world, particularly one as violent as colonial Australia, we are forced to acknowledge that, below the surface of the official rhetoric on justice and crime, the guilty often go free and the innocent are sometimes hanged. Another point of note is that, if the latter date offered here, of 1830, is taken as the official date of the production of these Boards, then the significance of the Proclamation Board as a true crime tale is even more pronounced through a connection to crime fiction (both genres sharing a common literary heritage). The year 1830 marks the release of Australia’s first novel, Quintus Servinton written by convicted forger Henry Savery, a crime novel (produced in three volumes) published by Henry Melville of Hobart Town. Thus, this paper suggests, 1830 can be posited as a year that witnessed the production of two significant cultural artefacts, the Proclamation Board and the nation’s first full-length literary work, as also being the year that established the, now indomitable, traditions of true crime and crime fiction in Australia. Conclusion During the late 1820s in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) a set of approximately 100 Proclamation Boards were produced by the Lieutenant Governor of the day, George Arthur. The official purpose of these items was to communicate, to the Indigenous peoples of the island colony, that all—black and white—were equal under the law. Murderers, be they Aboriginal or colonist, would be punished. The Board is a re-imagining of one of the traditional methods of communication for Indigenous peoples; the leaving of drawings on the bark of trees. The Board was, in the 1860s, in time for an Intercolonial Exhibition, re-imagined as the output of Lieutenant Governor Davey. This re-imagining of the Board was so effective that surviving artefacts, today, are popularly known as Governor Davey’s Proclamation to the Aborigines with the date modified, to 1816, to fit the new narrative. The Proclamation Board was also reimagined, by its creators and consumers, in a variety of ways: as peace offering; military propaganda; exhibition object; tourism ephemera; and contemporary art. This paper has also, briefly, offered another re-imagining of the Board, positing that this early “pamphlet” on justice and punishment actually presents a pre-cursor to the modern Australian true crime tale. The Proclamation Board tells many stories but, at the core of this curious object, is a crime story: the story of mass murder. Acknowledgements The author acknowledges the Palawa peoples: the traditional custodians of the lands known today as Tasmania. The author acknowledges, too, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation upon whose lands this paper was researched and written. The author extends thanks to Richard Neville, Margot Riley, Kirsten Thorpe, and Justine Wilson of the State Library of New South Wales for sharing their knowledge and offering their support. The author is also grateful to the reviewers for their careful reading of the manuscript and for making valuable suggestions. ReferencesAboriginal Heritage Tasmania. “Scarred Trees.” Aboriginal Cultural Heritage, 2012. 12 Sep. 2015 ‹http://www.aboriginalheritage.tas.gov.au/aboriginal-cultural-heritage/archaeological-site-types/scarred-trees›.Arthur, George. “Proclamation.” The Hobart Town Courier 19 Apr. 1828: 1.———. Governor Davey’s [sic – actually Governor Arthur’s] Proclamation to the Aborigines, 1816 [sic – actually c. 1828-30]. Graphic Materials. Sydney: Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, c. 1828-30.Bock, Thomas. Mathinna. Watercolour and Gouache on Paper. 23 x 19 cm (oval), c. 1840.Carroll, Khadija von Zinnenburg. Art in the Time of Colony: Empires and the Making of the Modern World, 1650-2000. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2014.Clark, Manning. History of Australia. Abridged by Michael Cathcart. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1997 [1993]. Clements, Nicholas. The Black War: Fear, Sex and Resistance in Tasmania. St Lucia, Qld.: U of Queensland P, 2014.Colonial Times. “Hobart Town.” Colonial Times 5 Mar. 1830: 2.The Commissioners. Intercolonial Exhibition Official Catalogue. 2nd ed. Melbourne: Blundell & Ford, 1866.Darian-Smith, Kate, and Penelope Edmonds. “Conciliation on Colonial Frontiers.” Conciliation on Colonial Frontiers: Conflict, Performance and Commemoration in Australia and the Pacific Rim. Eds. Kate Darian-Smith and Penelope Edmonds. New York: Routledge, 2015. 1–14. Edmonds, Penelope. “‘Failing in Every Endeavour to Conciliate’: Governor Arthur’s Proclamation Boards to the Aborigines, Australian Conciliation Narratives and Their Transnational Connections.” Journal of Australian Studies 35.2 (2011): 201–18.———. “The Proclamation Cup: Tasmanian Potter Violet Mace and Colonial Quotations.” reCollections 5.2 (2010). 20 May 2015 ‹http://recollections.nma.gov.au/issues/vol_5_no_2/papers/the_proclamation_cup_›.Felton, Heather. “Mathinna.” Companion to Tasmanian History. Hobart: Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies, University of Tasmania, 2006. 29 Sep. 2015 ‹http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/M/Mathinna.htm›.Gall, Jennifer. Library of Dreams: Treasures from the National Library of Australia. Canberra: National Library of Australia, 2011.Hull, Hugh M. “Tasmanian Hieroglyphics.” The Hobart Mercury 26 Nov. 1874: 3.James, P.D. Talking about Detective Fiction. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.Mace, Violet. Violet Mace’s Proclamation Jug. Glazed Earthernware. Launceston: Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, 1928.———. Violet Mace’s Proclamation Cup. Glazed Earthernware. Canberra: National Museum of Australia, 1934.McCulloch, Samuel Clyde. “Sir George Gipps and Eastern Australia’s Policy toward the Aborigine, 1838-46.” The Journal of Modern History 33.3 (1961): 261–69.Morris, John. “Notes on a Message to the Tasmanian Aborigines in 1829, popularly called ‘Governor Davey’s Proclamation to the Aborigines, 1816’.” Australiana 10.3 (1988): 84–7.Nettelbeck, Amanda. “‘Equals of the White Man’: Prosecution of Settlers for Violence against Aboriginal Subjects of the Crown, Colonial Western Australia.” Law and History Review 31.2 (2013): 355–90.Newman, Terry. “Tasmania, the Name.” Companion to Tasmanian History, 2006. 16 Sep. 2015 ‹http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/T/Tasmania%20name.htm›.Reece, Robert H.W., in Amanda Nettelbeck. “‘Equals of the White Man’: Prosecution of Settlers for Violence against Aboriginal Subjects of the Crown, Colonial Western Australia.” Law and History Review 31.2 (2013): 355–90.Ryan, Lyndall. “The Black Line in Van Diemen’s Land: Success or Failure?” Journal of Australian Studies 37.1 (2013): 3–18.Savery, Henry. Quintus Servinton: A Tale Founded upon Events of Real Occurrence. Hobart Town: Henry Melville, 1830.Turnbull, Clive. Black War: The Extermination of the Tasmanian Aborigines. Melbourne: Sun Books, 1974 [1948].

36

Marshall,P.David. "Seriality and Persona." M/C Journal 17, no.3 (June11, 2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.802.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

No man [...] can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which one may be true. (Nathaniel Hawthorne Scarlet Letter – as seen and pondered by Tony Soprano at Bowdoin College, The Sopranos, Season 1, Episode 5: “College”)The fictitious is a particular and varied source of insight into the everyday world. The idea of seriality—with its variations of the serial, series, seriated—is very much connected to our patterns of entertainment. In this essay, I want to begin the process of testing what values and meanings can be drawn from the idea of seriality into comprehending the play of persona in contemporary culture. From a brief overview of the intersection of persona and seriality as well as a review of the deployment of seriality in popular culture, the article focuses on the character/ person-actor relationship to demonstrate how seriality produces persona. The French term for character—personnage—will be used to underline the clear relations between characterisation, person, and persona which have been developed by the recent work by Lenain and Wiame. Personnage, through its variation on the word person helps push the analysis into fully understanding the particular and integrated configuration between a public persona and the fictional role that an actor inhabits (Heinich).There are several qualities related to persona that allow this movement from the fictional world to the everyday world to be profitable. Persona, in terms of origins, in and of itself implies performance and display. Jung, for instance, calls persona a mask where one is “acting a role” (167); while Goffman considers that performance and roles are at the centre of everyday life and everyday forms and patterns of communication. In recent work, I have use persona to describe how online culture pushes most people to construct a public identity that resembles what celebrities have had to construct for their livelihood for at least the last century (“Persona”; “Self”). My work has expanded to an investigation of how online persona relates to individual agency (“Agency”) and professional postures and positioning (Barbour and Marshall).The fictive constructions then are intensified versions of what persona is addressing: the fabrication of a role for particular directions and ends. Characters or personnages are constructed personas for very directed ends. Their limitation to the study of persona as a dimension of public culture is that they are not real; however, when one thinks of the actor who takes on this fictive identity, there is clearly a relationship between the real personality and that of the character. Moreover, as Nayar’s analysis of highly famous characters that are fictitious reveals, these celebrated characters, such as Harry Potter or Wolverine, sometime take on a public presence in and of themselves. To capture this public movement of a fictional character, Nayar blends the terms celebrity with fiction and calls these semi-public/semi-real entities “celefiction”: the characters are famous, highly visible, and move across media, information, and cultural platforms with ease and speed (18-20). Their celebrity status underlines their power to move outside of their primary text into public discourse and through public spaces—an extra-textual movement which fundamentally defines what a celebrity embodies.Seriality has to be seen as fundamental to a personnage’s power of and extension into the public world. For instance with Harry Potter again, at least some of his recognition is dependent on the linking or seriating the related books and movies. Seriality helps organise our sense of affective connection to our popular culture. The familiarity of some element of repetition is both comforting for audiences and provides at least a sense of guarantee or warranty that they will enjoy the future text as much as they enjoyed the past related text. Seriality, though, also produces a myriad of other effects and affects which provides a useful background to understand its utility in both the understanding of character and its value in investigating contemporary public persona. Etymologically, the words “series” and seriality are from the Latin and refer to “succession” in classical usage and are identified with ancestry and the patterns of identification and linking descendants (Oxford English Dictionary). The original use of the seriality highlights its value in understanding the formation of the constitution of person and persona and how the past and ancestry connect in series to the current or contemporary self. Its current usage, however, has broadened metaphorically outwards to identify anything that is in sequence or linked or joined: it can be a series of lectures and arguments or a related mark of cars manufactured in a manner that are stylistically linked. It has since been deployed to capture the production process of various cultural forms and one of the key origins of this usage came from the 19th century novel. There are many examples where the 19th century novel was sold and presented in serial form that are too numerous to even summarise here. It is useful to use Dickens’ serial production as a defining example of how seriality moved into popular culture and the entertainment industry more broadly. Part of the reason for the sheer length of many of Charles Dickens’ works related to their original distribution as serials. In fact, all his novels were first distributed in chapters in monthly form in magazines or newspapers. A number of related consequences from Dickens’ serialisation are relevant to understanding seriality in entertainment culture more widely (Hayward). First, his novel serialisation established a continuous connection to his readers over years. Thus Dickens’ name itself became synonymous and connected to an international reading public. Second, his use of seriality established a production form that was seen to be more affordable to its audience: seriality has to be understood as a form that is closely connected to economies and markets as cultural commodities kneaded their way into the structure of everyday life. And third, seriality established through repetition not only the author’s name but also the name of the key characters that populated the cultural form. Although not wholly attributable to the serial nature of the delivery, the characters such as Oliver Twist, Ebenezer Scrooge or David Copperfield along with a host of other major and minor players in his many books become integrated into everyday discourse because of their ever-presence and delayed delivery over stories over time (see Allen 78-79). In the same way that newspapers became part of the vernacular of contemporary culture, fictional characters from novels lived for years at a time in the consciousness of this large reading public. The characters or personnages themselves became personalities that through usage became a way of describing other behaviours. One can think of Uriah Heep and his sheer obsequiousness in David Copperfield as a character-type that became part of popular culture thinking and expressing a clear negative sentiment about a personality trait. In the twentieth century, serials became associated much more with book series. One of the more successful serial genres was the murder mystery. It developed what could be described as recognisable personnages that were both fictional and real. Thus, the real Agatha Christie with her consistent and prodigious production of short who-dunnit novels was linked to her Belgian fictional detective Hercule Poirot. Variations of these serial constructions occurred in children’s fiction, the emerging science fiction genre, and westerns with authors and characters rising to related prominence.In a similar vein, early to mid-twentieth century film produced the film serial. In its production and exhibition, the film serial was a déclassé genre in its overt emphasis on the economic quality of seriality. Thus, the film serial was generally a filler genre that was interspersed before and after a feature film in screenings (Dixon). As well as producing a familiarity with characters such as Flash Gordon, it was also instrumental in producing actors with a public profile that grew from this repetition. Flash Gordon was not just a character; he was also the actor Buster Crabbe and, over time, the association became indissoluble for audiences and actor alike. Feature film serials also developed in the first half-century of American cinema in particular with child actors like Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland often reprising variations of their previous roles. Seriality more or less became the standard form of delivery of broadcast media for most of the last 70 years and this was driven by the economies of production it developed. Whether the production was news, comedy, or drama, most radio and television forms were and are variation of serials. As well as being the zenith of seriality, television serials have been the most studied form of seriality of all cultural forms and are thus the greatest source of research into what serials actually produced. The classic serial that began on radio and migrated to television was the soap opera. Although most of the long-running soap operas have now disappeared, many have endured for more than 30 years with the American series The Guiding Light lasting 72 years and the British soap Coronation Street now in its 64th year. Australian nighttime soap operas have managed a similar longevity: Neighbours is in its 30th year, while Home and Away is in its 27th year. Much of the analyses of soap operas and serials deals with the narrative and the potential long narrative arcs related to characters and storylines. In contrast to most evening television serials historically, soap operas maintain the continuity from one episode to the next in an unbroken continuity narrative. Evening television serials, such as situation comedies, while maintaining long arcs over their run are episodic in nature: the structure of the story is generally concluded in the given episode with at least partial closure in a manner that is never engaged with in the never-ending soap opera serials.Although there are other cultural forms that deploy seriality in their structures—one can think of comic books and manga as two obvious other connected and highly visible serial sources—online and video games represent the other key media platform of serials in contemporary culture. Once again, a “horizon of expectation” (Jauss and De Man 23) motivates the iteration of new versions of games by the industry. New versions of games are designed to build on gamer loyalties while augmenting the quality and possibilities of the particular game. Game culture and gamers have a different structural relationship to serials which at least Denson and Jahn-Sudmann describe as digital seriality: a new version of a game is also imagined to be technologically more sophisticated in its production values and this transformation of the similitude of game structure with innovation drives the economy of what are often described as “franchises.” New versions of Minecraft as online upgrades or Call of Duty launches draw the literal reinvestment of the gamer. New consoles provide a further push to serialisation of games as they accentuate some transformed quality in gameplay, interaction, or quality of animated graphics. Sports franchises are perhaps the most serialised form of game: to replicate new professional seasons in each major sport, the sports game transforms with a new coterie of players each year.From these various venues, one can see the centrality of seriality in cultural forms. There is no question that one of the dimensions of seriality that transcends these cultural forms is its coordination and intersection with the development of the industrialisation of culture and this understanding of the economic motivation behind series has been explored from some of the earliest analyses of seriality (see Hagedorn; Browne). Also, seriality has been mined extensively in terms of its production of the pleasure of repetition and transformation. The exploration of the popular, whether in studies of readers of romance fiction (Radway), or fans of science fiction television (Tulloch and Jenkins; Jenkins), serials have provided the resource for the exploration of the power of the audience to connect, engage and reconstruct texts.The analysis of the serialisation of character—the production of a public personnage—and its relation to persona surprisingly has been understudied. While certain writers have remarked on the longevity of a certain character, such as Vicky Lord’s 40 year character on the soap opera One Life to Live, and the interesting capacity to maintain both complicated and hidden storylines (de Kosnik), and fan audience studies have looked at the parasocial-familiar relationship that fan and character construct, less has been developed about the relationship of the serial character, the actor and a form of twinned public identity. Seriality does produce a patterning of personnage, a structure of familiarity for the audience, but also a structure of performance for the actor. For instance, in a longitudinal analysis of the character of Fu Manchu, Mayer is able to discern how a patterning of iconic form shapes, replicates, and reiterates the look of Fu Manchu across decades of films (Mayer). Similarly, there has been a certain work on the “taxonomy of character” where the serial character of a television program is analysed in terms of 6 parts: physical traits/appearance; speech patterns, psychological traits/habitual behaviours; interaction with other characters; environment; biography (Pearson quoted in Lotz).From seriality what emerges is a particular kind of “type-casting” where the actor becomes wedded to the specific iteration of the taxonomy of performance. As with other elements related to seriality, serial character performance is also closely aligned to the economic. Previously I have described this economic patterning of performance the “John Wayne Syndrome.” Wayne’s career developed into a form of serial performance where the individual born as Marion Morrison becomes structured into a cultural and economic category that determines the next film role. The economic weight of type also constructs the limits and range of the actor. Type or typage as a form of casting has always been an element of film and theatrical performance; but it is the seriality of performance—the actual construction of a personnage that flows between the fictional and real person—that allows an actor to claim a persona that can be exchanged within the industry. Even 15 years after his death, Wayne remained one of the most popular performers in the United States, his status unrivalled in its close definition of American value that became wedded with a conservative masculinity and politics (Wills).Type and typecasting have an interesting relationship to seriality. From Eisenstein’s original use of the term typage, where the character is chosen to fit into the meaning of the film and the image was placed into its sequence to make that meaning, it generally describes the circ*mscribing of the actor into their look. As Wojcik’s analysis reveals, typecasting in various periods of theatre and film acting has been seen as something to be fought for by actors (in the 1850s) and actively resisted in Hollywood in 1950 by the Screen Actors Guild in support of more range of roles for each actor. It is also seen as something that leads to cultural stereotypes that can reinforce the racial profiling that has haunted diverse cultures and the dangers of law enforcement for centuries (Wojcik 169-71). Early writers in the study of film acting, emphasised that its difference from theatre was that in film the actor and character converged in terms of connected reality and a physicality: the film actor was less a mask and more a sense of “being”(Kracauer). Cavell’s work suggested film over stage performance allowed an individuality over type to emerge (34). Thompson’s semiotic “commutation” test was another way of assessing the power of the individual “star” actor to be seen as elemental to the construction and meaning of the film role Television produced with regularity character-actors where performance and identity became indissoluble partly because of the sheer repetition and the massive visibility of these seriated performances.One of the most typecast individuals in television history was Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek: although the original Star Trek series ran for only three seasons, the physical caricature of Spock in the series as a half-Vulcan and half-human made it difficult for the actor Nimoy to exit the role (Laws). Indeed, his famous autobiography riffed on this mis-identity with the forceful but still economically powerful title I am Not Spock in 1975. When Nimoy perceived that his fans thought that he was unhappy in his role as Spock, he published a further tome—I Am Spock—that righted his relationship to his fictional identity and its continued source of roles for the previous 30 years. Although it is usually perceived as quite different in its constitution of a public identity, a very similar structure of persona developed around the American CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite. With his status as anchor confirmed in its power and centrality to American culture in his desk reportage of the assassination and death of President Kennedy in November 1963, Cronkite went on to inhabit a persona as the most trusted man in the United States by the sheer gravitas of hosting the Evening News stripped across every weeknight at 6:30pm for the next 19 years. In contrast to Nimoy, Cronkite became Cronkite the television news anchor, where persona, actor, and professional identity merged—at least in terms of almost all forms of the man’s visibility.From this vantage point of understanding the seriality of character/personnage and how it informs the idea of the actor, I want to provide a longer conclusion about how seriality informs the concept of persona in the contemporary moment. First of all, what this study reveals is the way in which the production of identity is overlaid onto any conception of identity itself. If we can understand persona not in any negative formulation, but rather as a form of productive performance of a public self, then it becomes very useful to see that these very visible public blendings of performance and the actor-self can make sense more generally as to how the public self is produced and constituted. My final and concluding examples will try and elucidate this insight further.In 2013, Netflix launched into the production of original drama with its release of House of Cards. The series itself was remarkable for a number of reasons. First among them, it was positioned as a quality series and clearly connected to the lineage of recent American subscription television programs such as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Dexter, Madmen, The Wire, Deadwood, and True Blood among a few others. House of Cards was an Americanised version of a celebrated British mini-series. In the American version, an ambitious party whip, Frank Underwood, manoeuvres with ruthlessness and the calculating support of his wife closer to the presidency and the heart and soul of American power. How the series expressed quality was at least partially in its choice of actors. The role of Frank Underwood was played by the respected film actor Kevin Spacey. His wife, Clare, was played by the equally high profile Robin Warren. Quality was also expressed through the connection of the audience of viewers to an anti-hero: a personnage that was not filled with virtue but moved with Machiavellian acuity towards his objective of ultimate power. This idea of quality emerged in many ways from the successful construction of the character of Tony Soprano by James Gandolfini in the acclaimed HBO television series The Sopranos that reconstructed the very conception of the family in organised crime. Tony Soprano was enacted as complex and conflicted with a sense of right and justice, but embedded in the personnage were psychological tropes and scars, and an understanding of the need for violence to maintain influence power and a perverse but natural sense of order (Martin).The new television serial character now embodied a larger code and coterie of acting: from The Sopranos, there is the underlying sense and sensibility of method acting (see Vineberg; Stanislavski). Gandolfini inhabited the role of Tony Soprano and used the inner and hidden drives and motivations to become the source for the display of the character. Likewise, Spacey inhabits Frank Underwood. In that new habitus of television character, the actor becomes subsumed by the role. Gandolfini becomes both over-determined by the role and his own identity as an actor becomes melded to the role. Kevin Spacey, despite his longer and highly visible history as a film actor is overwhelmed by the televisual role of Frank Underwood. Its serial power, where audiences connect for hours and hours, where the actor commits to weeks and weeks of shoots, and years and years of being the character—a serious character with emotional depth, with psychological motivation that rivals the most visceral of film roles—transforms the actor into a blended public person and the related personnage.This blend of fictional and public life is complex as much for the producing actor as it is for the audience that makes the habitus real. What Kevin Spacey/Frank Underwood inhabit is a blended persona, whose power is dependent on the constructed identity that is at source the actor’s production as much as any institutional form or any writer or director connected to making House of Cards “real.” There is no question that this serial public identity will be difficult for Kevin Spacey to disentangle when the series ends; in many ways it will be an elemental part of his continuing public identity. This is the economic power and risk of seriality.One can see similar blendings in the persona in popular music and its own form of contemporary seriality in performance. For example, Eminem is a stage name for a person sometimes called Marshall Mathers; but Eminem takes this a step further and produces beyond a character in its integration of the personal—a real personnage, Slim Shady, to inhabit his music and its stories. To further complexify this construction, Eminem relies on the production of his stories with elements that appear to be from his everyday life (Dawkins). His characterisations because of the emotional depth he inhabits through his rapped stories betray a connection to his own psychological state. Following in the history of popular music performance where the singer-songwriter’s work is seen by all to present a version of the public self that is closer emotionally to the private self, we once again see how the seriality of performance begins to produce a blended public persona. Rap music has inherited this seriality of produced identity from twentieth century icons of the singer/songwriter and its display of the public/private self—in reverse order from grunge to punk, from folk to blues.Finally, it is worthwhile to think of online culture in similar ways in the production of public personas. Seriality is elemental to online culture. Social media encourage the production of public identities through forms of repetition of that identity. In order to establish a public profile, social media users establish an identity with some consistency over time. The everydayness in the production of the public self online thus resembles the production and performance of seriality in fiction. Professional social media sites such as LinkedIn encourage the consistency of public identity and this is very important in understanding the new versions of the public self that are deployed in contemporary culture. However, much like the new psychological depth that is part of the meaning of serial characters such as Frank Underwood in House of Cards, Slim Shady in Eminem, or Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, social media seriality also encourages greater revelations of the private self via Instagram and Facebook walls and images. We are collectively reconstituted as personas online, seriated by the continuing presence of our online sites and regularly drawn to reveal more and greater depths of our character. In other words, the online persona resembles the new depth of the quality television serial personnage with elaborate arcs and great complexity. Seriality in our public identity is also uncovered in the production of our game avatars where, in order to develop trust and connection to friends in online settings, we maintain our identity and our patterns of gameplay. At the core of this online identity is a desire for visibility, and we are drawn to be “picked up” and shared in some repeatable form across what we each perceive as a meaningful dimension of culture. Through the circulation of viral images, texts, and videos we engage in a circulation and repetition of meaning that feeds back into the constancy and value of an online identity. Through memes we replicate and seriate content that at some level seriates personas in terms of humour, connection and value.Seriality is central to understanding the formation of our masks of public identity and is at least one valuable analytical way to understand the development of the contemporary persona. This essay represents the first foray in thinking through the relationship between seriality and persona.ReferencesBarbour, Kim, and P. David Marshall. “The Academic Online Constructing Persona.” First Monday 17.9 (2012).Browne, Nick. “The Political Economy of the (Super)Text.” Quarterly Review of Film Studies 9.3 (1984): 174-82. Cavell, Stanley. “Reflections on the Ontology of Film.” Movie Acting: The Film Reader. Ed. Wojcik and Pamela Robertson. London: Routledge, 2004 (1979). 29-35.Dawkins, Marcia Alesan. “Close to the Edge: Representational Tactics of Eminem.” The Journal of Popular Culture 43.3 (2010): 463-85.De Kosnik, Abigail. “One Life to Live: Soap Opera Storytelling.” How to Watch Television. Ed. Ethan Thompson and Jason Mittell. New York: New York University Press, 2013. 355-63.Denson, Shane, and Andreas Jahn-Sudmann. “Digital Seriality: On the Serial Aesthetics and Practice of Digital Games.” Journal of Computer Game Culture 7.1 (2013): 1-32.Dixon, Wheeler Winston. “Flash Gordon and the 1930s and 40s Science Fiction Serial.” Screening the Past 11 (2011). 20 May 2014.Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press, 1973.Hagedorn, Roger “Technology and Economic Exploitation: The Serial as a Form of Narrative Presentation.” Wide Angle 10. 4 (1988): 4-12.Hayward, Jennifer Poole. Consuming Pleasures: Active Audiences and Serial Fictions from Dickens to Soap Opera. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1997.Heinrich, Nathalie. “Personne, Personnage, Personalité: L'acteur a L'ère De Sa Reproductibilité Technique.” Personne/Personnage. Eds. Thierry Lenain and Aline Wiame. Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 2011. 77-101.Jauss, Hans Robert, and Paul De Man. Toward an Aesthetic of Reception. Brighton: Harvester, 1982.Jenkins, Henry. Textual Poachers: Television Fans & Participatory Culture. New York: Routledge, 1992.Jung, C. G., et al. Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. 2nd ed. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1966.Kracauer, Siegfried. “Remarks on the Actor.” Movie Acting, the Film Reader. Ed. Pamela Robertson Wojcik. London: Routledge, 2004 (1960). 19-27.Leonard Nimoy & Pharrell Williams: Star Trek & Creating Spock. Ep. 12. Reserve Channel. December 2013. Lenain, Thierry, and Aline Wiame (eds.). Personne/Personnage. Librairie Philosophiques J. VRIN, 2011.Lotz, Amanda D. “House: Narrative Complexity.” How to Watch TV. Ed. Ethan Thompson and Jason Mittell. New York: New York University Press, 2013. 22-29.Marshall, P. David. “The Cate Blanchett Persona and the Allure of the Oscar.” The Conversation (2014). 4 April 2014.Marshall, P. David “Persona Studies: Mapping the Proliferation of the Public Self.” Journalism 15.2 (2014): 153-70.Marshall, P. David. “Personifying Agency: The Public–Persona–Place–Issue Continuum.” Celebrity Studies 4.3 (2013): 369-71.Marshall, P. David. “The Promotion and Presentation of the Self: Celebrity as Marker of Presentational Media.” Celebrity Studies 1.1 (2010): 35-48.Marshall, P. David. Celebrity and Power: Fame in Contemporary Culture. 2nd Ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014.Martin, Brett. Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad. London: Faber and Faber, 2013.Mayer, R. “Image Power: Seriality, Iconicity and the Mask of Fu Manchu.” Screen 53.4 (2012): 398-417.Nayar, Pramod K. Seeing Stars: Spectacle, Society, and Celebrity Culture. New Delhi; Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 2009.Nimoy, Leonard. I Am Not Spock. Milbrae, California: Celestial Arts, 1975.Nimoy, Leonard. I Am Spock. 1st ed. New York: Hyperion, 1995.Radway, Janice A. Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984.Stanislavski, Constantin. Creating a Role. New York: Routledge, 1989 (1961).Thompson, John O. “Screen Acting and the Commutation Test.” Movie Acting: The Film Reader. Ed. Pamela Robertson Wojcik. London: Routledge, 2004 (1978). 37-48.Tulloch, John, and Henry Jenkins. Science Fiction Audiences: Watching Doctor Who and Star Trek. London; New York: Routledge, 1995.Vineberg, Steve. Method Actors: Three Generations of an American Acting Style. New York; Toronto: Schirmer Books, 1991.Wills, Garry. John Wayne’s America: The Politics of Celebrity. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.Wojcik, Pamela Robertson. “Typecasting.” Movie Acting: The Film Reader. Ed. Pamela Robertson Wojcik. London: Routledge, 2004. 169-89.

37

Masson, Sophie Veronique. "Fairy Tale Transformation: The Pied Piper Theme in Australian Fiction." M/C Journal 19, no.4 (August31, 2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1116.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

The traditional German tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin inhabits an ambiguous narrative borderland, a liminal space between fact and fiction, fantasy and horror, concrete details and elusive mystery. In his study of the Pied Piper in Tradition and Innovation in Folk Literature, Wolfgang Mieder describes how manuscripts and other evidence appear to confirm the historical base of the story. Precise details from a fifteenth-century manuscript, based on earlier sources, specify that in 1284 on the 26th of June, the feast-day of Saints John and Paul, 130 children from Hamelin were led away by a piper clothed in many colours to the Koppen Hill, and there vanished (Mieder 48). Later manuscripts add details familiar today, such as a plague of rats and a broken bargain with burghers as a motive for the Piper’s actions, while in the seventeenth century the first English-language version advances what might also be the first attempt at a “rational” explanation for the children’s disappearance, claiming that they were taken to Transylvania. The uncommon pairing of such precise factual detail with enigmatic mystery has encouraged many theories. These have ranged from references to the Children’s Crusade, or other religious fervours, to the devastation caused by the Black Death, from the colonisation of Romania by young German migrants to a murderous rampage by a paedophile. Fictional interpretations of the story have multiplied, with the classic versions of the Brothers Grimm and Robert Browning being most widely known, but with contemporary creators exploring the theme too. This includes interpretations in Hamelin itself. On 26 June 2015, in Hamelin Museum, I watched a wordless five-minute play, entirely performed not by humans but by animatronic stylised figures built out of scrap iron, against a montage of multilingual, confused voices and eerie music, with the vanished children represented by a long line of small empty shirts floating by. The uncanny, liminal nature of the story was perfectly captured. Australia is a world away from German fairy tale mysteries, historically, geographically, and culturally. Yet, as Lisa M. Fiander has persuasively argued, contemporary Australian fiction has been more influenced by fairy tales than might be assumed, and in this essay it is proposed that major motifs from the Pied Piper appear in several Australian novels, transformed not only by distance of setting and time from that of the original narrative, but also by elements specific to the Australian imaginative space. These motifs are lost children, the enigmatic figure of the Piper himself, and the power of a very particular place (as Hamelin and its Koppen Hill are particularised in the original tale). Three major Australian novels will be examined in this essay: Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock (1967), Christopher Koch’s The Doubleman (1985), and Ursula Dubosarsky’s The Golden Day (2011). Dubosarsky’s novel was written for children; both Koch’s and Lindsay’s novels were published as adult fiction. In each of these works of fiction, the original tale’s motifs have been developed and transformed to express unique evocations of the Pied Piper theme. As noted by Fiander, fiction writers are “most likely to draw upon fairy tales when they are framing, in writing, a subject that generates anxiety in their culture” (158). Her analysis is about anxieties of place within Australian fiction, but this insight could be usefully extended to the motifs which I have identified as inherent in the Pied Piper story. Prominent among these is the lost children motif, whose importance in the Australian imagination has been well-established by scholars such as Peter Pierce. Pierce’s The Country of Lost Children: An Australian Anxiety explores this preoccupation from the earliest beginnings of European settlement, through analysis of fiction, newspaper reports, paintings, and films. As Pierce observed in a later interview in the Sydney Morning Herald (Knox), over time the focus changed from rural children and the nineteenth-century fear of the vast impersonal nature of the bush, where children of colonists could easily get lost, to urban children and the contemporary fear of human predators.In each of the three novels under examination in this essay, lost children—whether literal or metaphorical—feature prominently. Writer Carmel Bird, whose fiction has also frequently centred on the theme of the lost child, observes in “Dreaming the Place” that the lost child, the stolen child – this must be a narrative that is lodged in the heart and imagination, nightmare and dream, of all human beings. In Australia the nightmare became reality. The child is the future, and if the child goes, there can be no future. The true stories and the folk tales on this theme are mirror images of each other. (7) The motif of lost children—and of children in danger—is not unique to the Pied Piper. Other fairy tales, such as Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood, contain it, and it is those antecedents which Bird cites in her essay. But within the Pied Piper story it has three features which distinguish it from other traditional tales. First, unlike in the classic versions of Hansel and Gretel or Red Riding Hood, the children do not return. Neither are there bodies to find. The children have vanished into thin air, never to be seen again. Second, it is not only parents who have lost them, but an entire community whose future has been snatched away: a community once safe, ordered, even complacent, traumatised by loss. The lack of hope, of a happy ending for anyone, is striking. And thirdly, the children are not lost or abandoned or even, strictly speaking, stolen: they are lured away, semi-willingly, by the central yet curiously marginal figure of the Piper himself. In the original story there is no mention of motive and no indication of malice on the part of the Piper. There is only his inexplicable presence, a figure out of fairy folklore appearing in the midst of concrete historical dates and numbers. Clearly, he links to the liminal, complex world of the fairies, found in folklore around the world—beings from a world close to the human one, yet alien. Whimsical and unpredictable by human standards, such beings are nevertheless bound by mysteriously arbitrary rules and taboos, and haunt the borders of the human world, disturbing its rational edges and transforming lives forever. It is this sense of disturbance, that enchanting yet frightening sudden shifting of the border of reality and of the comforting order of things, the essence of transformation itself, which can also be seen at the core of the three novels under examination in this essay, with the Piper represented in each of them but in different ways. The third motif within the Pied Piper is a focus on place as a source of uncanny power, a theme which particularly resonates within an Australian context. Fiander argues that if contemporary British fiction writers use fairy tale to explore questions of community and alienation, and Canadian fiction writers use it to explore questions of identity, then Australian writers use it to explore the unease of place. She writes of the enduring legacy of Australia’s history “as a settler colony which invests the landscape with strangeness for many protagonists” (157). Furthermore, she suggests that “when Australian fiction writers, using fairy tales, describe the landscape as divorced from reality, they might be signalling anxiety about their own connection with the land which had already seen tens of thousands of years of occupation when Captain James Cook ‘found’ it in 1770” (160). I would argue, however, that in the case of the Pied Piper motifs, it is less clear that it is solely settler anxieties which are driving the depiction of the power of place in these three novels. There is no divorce from reality here, but rather an eruption of the metaphysical potency of place within the usual, “normal” order of reality. This follows the pattern of the original tale, where the Piper and all the children, except for one or two stragglers, disappear at Koppen Hill, vanishing literally into the hill itself. In traditional European folklore, hollow hills are associated with fairies and their uncanny power, but other places, especially those of water—springs, streams, even the sea—may also be associated with their liminal world (in the original tale, the River Weser is another important locus for power). In Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, it is another outcrop in the landscape which holds that power and claims the “lost children.” Inspired partly by a painting by nineteenth-century Australian artist William Ford, titled At the Hanging Rock (1875), depicting a group of elegant people picnicking in the bush, this influential novel, which inspired an equally successful film adaptation, revolves around an incident in 1900 when four girls from Appleyard College, an exclusive school in Victoria, disappear with one of their teachers whilst climbing Hanging Rock, where they have gone for a picnic. Only one of their number, a girl called Irma, is ever found, and she has no memory of how and why she found herself on the Rock, and what has happened to the others. This inexplicable event is the precursor to a string of tragedies which leads to the violent deaths of several people, and which transforms the sleepy and apparently content little community around Appleyard College into a centre of loss, horror, and scandal.Told in a way which makes it appear that the novelist is merely recounting a true story—Lindsay even tells readers in an author’s note that they must decide for themselves if it is fact or fiction—Picnic at Hanging Rock shares the disturbingly liminal fact-fiction territory of the Piper tale. Many readers did in fact believe that the novel was based on historical events and combed newspaper files, attempting to propound ingenious “rational” explanations for what happened on the Rock. Picnic at Hanging Rock has been the subject of many studies, with the novel being analysed through various prisms, including the Gothic, the pastoral, historiography, and philosophy. In “Fear and Loathing in the Australian Bush,” Kathleen Steele has depicted Picnic at Hanging Rock as embodying the idea that “Ordered ‘civilisation’ cannot overcome the gothic landscapes of settler imaginations: landscapes where time and people disappear” (44). She proposes that Lindsay intimates that the landscape swallows the “lost children” of the novel because there is a great absence in that place: that of Aboriginal people. In this reading of the novel, it is that absence which becomes, in a sense, a malevolent presence that will reach out beyond the initial disappearance of the three people on the Rock to destroy the bonds that held the settler community together. It is a powerfully-made argument, which has been taken up by other scholars and writers, including studies which link the theme of the novel with real-life lost-children cases such as that of Azaria Chamberlain, who disappeared near another “Rock” of great Indigenous metaphysical potency—Uluru, or Ayers Rock. However, to date there has been little exploration of the fairy tale quality of the novel, and none at all of the striking ways in which it evokes Pied Piper motifs, whilst transforming them to suit the exigencies of its particular narrative world. The motif of lost children disappearing from an ordered, safe, even complacent community into a place of mysterious power is extended into an exploration of the continued effects of those disappearances, depicting the disastrous impact on those left behind and the wider community in a way that the original tale does not. There is no literal Pied Piper figure in this novel, though various theories are evoked by characters as to who might have lured the girls and their teacher, and who might be responsible for the disappearances. Instead, there is a powerful atmosphere of inevitability and enchantment within the landscape itself which both illustrates the potency of place, and exemplifies the Piper’s hold on his followers. In Picnic at Hanging Rock, place and Piper are synonymous: the Piper has been transformed into the land itself. Yet this is not the “vast impersonal bush,” nor is it malevolent or vengeful. It is a living, seductive metaphysical presence: “Everything, if only you could see it clearly enough, is beautiful and complete . . .” (Lindsay 35). Just as in the original tale, the lost children follow the “Piper” willingly, without regret. Their disappearance is a happiness to them, in that moment, as it is for the lost children of Hamelin, and quite unlike how it must be for those torn apart by that loss—the community around Appleyard, the townspeople of Hamelin. Music, long associated with fairy “takings,” is also a subtle feature of the story. In the novel, just before the luring, Irma hears a sound like the beating of far-off drums. In the film, which more overtly evokes fairy tale elements than does the novel, it is noteworthy that the music at that point is based on traditional tunes for Pan-pipes, played by the great Romanian piper Gheorge Zamfir. The ending of the novel, with questions left unanswered, and lives blighted by the forever-inexplicable, may be seen as also following the trajectory of the original tale. Readers as much as the fictional characters are left with an enigma that continues to perplex and inspire. Picnic at Hanging Rock was one of the inspirations for another significant Australian fiction, this time a contemporary novel for children. Ursula Dubosarsky’s The Golden Day (2011) is an elegant and subtle short novel, set in Sydney at an exclusive girls’ school, in 1967. Like the earlier novel, The Golden Day is also partly inspired by visual art, in this case the Schoolgirl series of paintings by Charles Blackman. Combining a fairy tale atmosphere with historical details—the Vietnam War, the hanging of Ronald Ryan, the drowning of Harold Holt—the story is told through the eyes of several girls, especially one, known as Cubby. The Golden Day echoes the core narrative patterns of the earlier novel, but intriguingly transformed: a group of young girls goes with their teacher on an outing to a mysterious place (in this case, a cave on the beach—note the potent elements of rock and water, combined), and something inexplicable happens which results in a disappearance. Only this time, the girls are much younger than the characters of Lindsay’s novel, pre-pubertal in fact at eleven years old, and it is their teacher, a young, idealistic woman known only as Miss Renshaw, who disappears, apparently into thin air, with only an amber bead from her necklace ever found. But it is not only Miss Renshaw who vanishes: the other is a poet and gardener named Morgan who is also Miss Renshaw’s secret lover. Later, with the revelation of a dark past, he is suspected in absentia of being responsible for Miss Renshaw’s vanishment, with implications of rape and murder, though her body is never found. Morgan, who could partly figure as the Piper, is described early on in the novel as having “beautiful eyes, soft, brown, wet with tears, like a stuffed toy” (Dubosarsky 11). This disarming image may seem a world away from the ambiguously disturbing figure of the legendary Piper, yet not only does it fit with the children’s naïve perception of the world, it also echoes the fact that the children in the original story were not afraid of the Piper, but followed him willingly. However, that is complicated by the fact that Morgan does not lure the children; it is Miss Renshaw who follows him—and the children follow her, who could be seen as the other half of the Piper. The Golden Day similarly transforms the other Piper motifs in its own original way. The children are only literally lost for a short time, when their teacher vanishes and they are left to make their own way back from the cave; yet it could be argued that metaphorically, the girls are “lost” to childhood from that moment, in terms of never being able to go back to the state of innocence in which they were before that day. Their safe, ordered school community will never be the same again, haunted by the inexplicability of the events of that day. Meanwhile, the exploration of Australian place—the depiction of the Memorial Gardens where Miss Renshaw enjoins them to write poetry, the uncomfortable descent over rocks to the beach, and the fateful cave—is made through the eyes of children, not the adolescents and adults of Picnic at Hanging Rock. The girls are not yet in that liminal space which is adolescence and so their impressions of what the places represent are immediate, instinctive, yet confused. They don’t like the cave and can’t wait to get out of it, whereas the beach inspires them with a sense of freedom and the gardens with a sense of enchantment. But in each place, those feelings are mixed both with ordinary concerns and with seemingly random associations that are nevertheless potently evocative. For example, in the cave, Cubby senses a threateningly weightless atmosphere, a feeling of reality shifting, which she associates, apparently confusedly, with the hanging of Ronald Ryan, reported that very day. In this way, Dubosarsky subtly gestures towards the sinister inevitability of the following events, and creates a growing tension that will eventually fade but never fully dissipate. At the end, the novel takes an unexpected turn which is as destabilising as the ending of the Pied Piper story, and as open-ended in its transformative effects as the original tale: “And at that moment Cubby realised she was not going to turn into the person she had thought she would become. There was something inside her head now that would make her a different person, though she scarcely understood what it was” (Dubosarsky 148). The eruption of the uncanny into ordinary life will never leave her now, as it will never leave the other girls who followed Miss Renshaw and Morgan into the literally hollow hill of the cave and emerged alone into a transformed world. It isn’t just childhood that Cubby has lost but also any possibility of a comforting sense of the firm borders of reality. As in the Pied Piper, ambiguity and loss combine to create questions which cannot be logically answered, only dimly apprehended.Christopher Koch’s 1985 novel The Doubleman, winner of the Miles Franklin Award, also explores the power of place and the motif of lost children, but unlike the other two novels examined in this essay depicts an actual “incarnated” Piper motif in the mysteriously powerful figure of Clive Broderick, brilliant guitarist and charismatic teacher/guru, whose office, significantly, is situated in a subterranean space of knowledge—a basem*nt room beneath a bookshop. Both central yet peripheral to the main action of the novel, touched with hints of the supernatural which never veer into overt fantasy, Broderick remains an enigma to the end. Set, like The Golden Day, in the 1960s, The Doubleman is narrated in the first person by Richard Miller, in adulthood a producer of a successful folk-rock group, the Rymers, but in childhood an imaginative, troubled polio survivor, with a crutch and a limp. It is noteworthy here that in the Grimms’ version of the Pied Piper, two children are left behind, despite following the Piper: one is blind, one is lame. And it is the lame boy who tells the townspeople what he glimpsed at Koppen Hill. In creating the character of Broderick, the author blends the traditional tropes of the Piper figure with Mephistophelian overtones and a strong influence from fairy lore, specifically the idea of the “doubleman,” here drawn from the writings of seventeenth-century Scottish pastor, the Reverend Robert Kirk of Aberfoyle. Kirk’s 1691 book The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies is the earliest known serious attempt at objective description of the fairy beliefs of Gaelic-speaking Highlanders. His own precisely dated life-story and ambiguous end—it is said he did not die but is forever a prisoner of the fairies—has eerie parallels to the Piper story. “And there is the uncanny, powerful and ambiguous fact of the matter. Here is a man, named, born, lived, who lived a fairy story, really lived it: and in the popular imagination, he lives still” (Masson).Both in his creative and his non-fiction work Koch frequently evoked what he called “the Otherland,” which he depicted as a liminal, ambiguous, destabilising but nevertheless very real and potent presence only thinly veiled by the everyday world. This Otherland is not the same in all his fictions, but is always part of an actual place, whether that be Java in The Year of Living Dangerously, Hobart and Sydney in The Doubleman, Tasmania, Vietnam and Cambodia in Highways to a War, and Ireland and Tasmania in Out of Ireland. It is this sense of the “Otherland” below the surface, a fairy tale, mythical realm beyond logic or explanation, which gives his work its distinctive and particular power. And in The Doubleman, this motif, set within a vividly evoked real world, complete with precise period detail, transforms the Piper figure into one which could easily appear in a Hobart lane, yet which loses none of its uncanny potency. As Noel Henricksen writes in his study of Koch’s work, Island and Otherland, “Behind the membrane of Hobart is Otherland, its manifestations a spectrum stretched between the mystical and the spiritually perverted” (213).This is Broderick’s first appearance, described through twelve-year-old Richard Miller’s eyes: Tall and thin in his long dark overcoat, he studied me for the whole way as he approached, his face absolutely serious . . . The man made me uneasy to a degree for which there seemed to be no explanation . . . I was troubled by the notion that he was no ordinary man going to work at all: that he was not like other people, and that his interest couldn’t be explained so simply. (Koch, Doubleman 3)That first encounter is followed by another, more disturbing still, when Broderick speaks to the boy, eyes fixed on him: “. . . hooded by drooping lids, they were entirely without sympathy, yet nevertheless interested, and formidably intelligent” (5).The sense of danger that Broderick evokes in the boy could be explained by a sinister hint of paedophilia. But though Broderick is a predator of sorts on young people, nothing is what it seems; no rational explanation encompasses the strange effect of his presence. It is not until Richard is a young man, in the company of his musical friend Brian Brady, that he comes across Broderick again. The two young men are looking in the window of a music shop, when Broderick appears beside them, and as Richard observes, just as in a fairy tale, “He didn’t seem to have changed or aged . . .” (44). But the shock of his sudden re-appearance is mixed with something else now, as Broderick engages Brady in conversation, ignoring Richard, “. . . as though I had failed some test, all that time ago, and the man had no further use for me” (45).What happens next, as Broderick demonstrates his musical prowess, becomes Brady’s teacher, and introduces them to his disciple, young bass player Darcy Burr, will change the young men’s lives forever and set them on a path that leads both to great success and to living nightmare, even after Broderick’s apparent disappearance, for Burr will take on the Piper’s mantle. Koch’s depiction of the lost children motif is distinctively different to the other two novels examined in this essay. Their fate is not so much a mystery as a tragedy and a warning. The lost children of The Doubleman are also lost children of the sixties, bright, talented young people drawn through drugs, immersive music, and half-baked mysticism into darkness and horrifying violence. In his essay “California Dreaming,” published in the collection Crossing the Gap, Koch wrote about this subterranean aspect of the sixties, drawing a connection between it and such real-life sinister “Pipers” as Charles Manson (60). Broderick and Burr are not the same as the serial killer Manson, of course; but the spell they cast over the “lost children” who follow them is only different in degree, not in kind. In the end of the novel, the spell is broken and the world is again transformed. Yet fittingly it is a melancholy transformation: an end of childhood dreams of imaginative potential, as well as dangerous illusions: “And I knew now that it was all gone—like Harrigan Street, and Broderick, and the district of Second-Hand” (Koch, Doubleman 357). The power of place, the last of the Piper motifs, is also deeply embedded in The Doubleman. In fact, as with the idea of Otherland, place—or Island, as Henricksen evocatively puts it—is a recurring theme in Koch’s work. He identified primarily and specifically as a Tasmanian writer rather than as simply Australian, pointing out in an essay, “The Lost Hemisphere,” that because of its landscape and latitude, different to the mainland of Australia, Tasmania “genuinely belongs to a different region from the continent” (Crossing the Gap 92). In The Doubleman, Richard Miller imbues his familiar and deeply loved home landscape with great mystical power, a power which is both inherent within it as it is, but also expressive of the Otherland. In “A Tasmanian Tone,” another essay from Crossing the Gap, Koch describes that tone as springing “from a sense of waiting in the landscape: the tense yet serene expectancy of some nameless revelation” (118). But Koch could also write evocatively of landscapes other than Tasmanian ones. The unnerving climax of The Doubleman takes place in Sydney—significantly, as in The Golden Day, in a liminal, metaphysically charged place of rocks and water. That place, which is real, is called Point Piper. In conclusion, the original tale’s three main motifs—lost children, the enigma of the Piper, and the power of place—have been explored in distinctive ways in each of the three novels examined in this article. Contemporary Australia may be a world away from medieval Germany, but the uncanny liminality and capacious ambiguity of the Pied Piper tale has made it resonate potently within these major Australian fictions. Transformed and transformative within the Australian imagination, the theme of the Pied Piper threads like a faintly-heard snatch of unearthly music through the apparently mimetic realism of the novels, destabilising readers’ expectations and leaving them with subversively unanswered questions. ReferencesBird, Carmel. “Dreaming the Place: An Exploration of Antipodean Narratives.” Griffith Review 42 (2013). 1 May 2016 <https://griffithreview.com/articles/dreaming-the-place/>.Dubosarsky, Ursula. The Golden Day. Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2011.Fiander, Lisa M. “Writing in A Fairy Story Landscape: Fairy Tales and Contemporary Australian Fiction.” Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature 2 (2003). 30 April 2016 <http://openjournals.library.usyd.edu.au/index.php/JASAL/index>.Henricksen, Noel. Island and Otherland: Christopher Koch and His Books. Melbourne: Educare, 2003.Knox, Malcolm. “A Country of Lost Children.” Sydney Morning Herald 15 Aug. 2009. 1 May 2016 <http://www.smh.com.au/national/a-country-of-lost-children-20090814-el8d.html>.Koch, Christopher. The Doubleman. 1985. Sydney: Minerva, 1996.Koch, Christopher. Crossing the Gap: Memories and Reflections. 1987. Sydney: Vintage, 2000. Lindsay, Joan. Picnic at Hanging Rock. 1967. Melbourne: Penguin, 1977.Masson, Sophie. “Captive in Fairyland: The Strange Case of Robert Kirk of Aberfoyle.” Nation and Federation in the Celtic World: Papers from the Fourth Australian Conference of Celtic Studies, University of Sydney, June–July 2001. Ed. Pamela O’Neil. Sydney: University of Sydney Celtic Studies Foundation, 2003. Mieder, Wolfgang. “The Pied Piper: Origin, History, and Survival of a Legend.” Tradition and Innovation in Folk Literature. 1987. London: Routledge Revivals, 2015.Pierce, Peter. The Country of Lost Children: An Australian Anxiety. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999.Steele, Kathleen. “Fear and Loathing in the Australian Bush: Gothic Landscapes in Bush Studies and Picnic at Hanging Rock.” Colloquy 20 (2010): 33–56. 27 July 2016 <http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/wp-content/arts/files/colloquy/colloquy_issue_20_december_2010/steele.pdf>.

38

Ashton, Daniel, and Martin Couzins. "Content Curators as Cultural Intermediaries: “My reputation as a curator is based on what I curate, right?”." M/C Journal 18, no.4 (August11, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1005.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

In 2011 The Economist alerted us to the claim that “digital data will flood the planet.” The exponential increase in data such as e-mails, Tweets and Instagram pictures underpins claims that we are living in an age of ‘infoglut’ (Andrejevic) and information superabundance (Internet Live Stats). Several years earlier, Shirky posed this as an issue not of “information overload” but of “filter failure” (Asay). Shirky’s claim suggests that we should not despair in the face of unmanageable volumes of content, but develop ways to make sense of this information – to curate. Reflecting on his experiences of curating the Meltdown Festival, David Byrne addressed the emergence of everyday curating practices: “Nowadays, everything and everyone can be curated. There are curators of socks, menus and dirt bike trails […] Anyone who has come up with a top-ten list is, in effect, a curator. And anyone who clicks ‘Like’ is a curator.” Byrne’s comments on socks and top ten lists captures how curating can be personal. In their discussion of curating as a new literacy practice, Potter and Gilje highlight how “as well as the institutional and professional contexts for such work through the centuries and across cultures, many people have made personal collections of texts and artefacts that have stood for them in the world” (123). The emergence of easily, and often freely, available content curating tools is linked to practices of accessible curating (Good). There has been a proliferation of content curating platforms and tools. Notwithstanding that accessibility and everyday usage are often the hallmark of content curating (for example, see Villi on social curating and user-distributed content), this article specifically focuses on content curating as a service. Defining the content curator as “someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online”, Bhargava in 2009 described content curating as the next big social media job of the future. Popova stresses the importance of authorship and approaching curating as a “form of creative labor in and of itself” and identifies content curators as “human sense-makers” in a culture of “information overload”. By addressing curating ‘content for others’ rather than other curatorship practices such as ‘content for me’ and ‘content about me’, we aim to offer insights into the professional and commercial practices of content curating. Through connecting autoethnographic research with academic literature on the concept of ‘cultural intermediaries’, we identify two ways of understanding professional content curating - connected cultural intermediation, and curating literacies. Researching Content Curators as Creative Labour In his introduction to Curation Nation, Rosenbaum suggests that there is “both amateur and professional curation, and the emergence of amateur or prosumer curators isn’t in any way a threat to professionals” (3). Likewise, we do not see a threat or tension between amateur and professional curating. We are, though keen to address ‘professional’ strategic content curating for an intended audience as a notable difference and departure. To generate detailed insights into the role of the professional content curator we employed an autoethnographic approach. Holt’s review of the literature and his own experiences of autoethnography provide a helpful overview: “autoethnography is a genre of writing and research that connects the personal to the cultural, placing the self within a social context” (2). Specifically, we focus on Couzins’ personal experiences of content curating, his professional practices and his ‘cultural milieu’ (Reed-Danahay). Couzins was a business-to-business journalist for 17 years before starting a content and communications agency that: helps organisations tell their story through curated and created stories; runs a media brand for corporate learning, which features curated content and a weekly curated e-mail; designs and delivers massive open online courses on the Curatr platform (a social learning platform designed for curating content). The research and writing process for our analysis was informed by Anderson’s approach to analytical autoethnography, and from this we stress that Couzins is a full member of the research setting. Our focus on his experiences also resonates with the use of first-hand narratives in media industries research (Holt and Perren). Following preliminary exchanges, including collaborative note taking and face-to-face conversations, Ashton created an interview schedule that was then reviewed and revised with Couzins. This schedule was used as the basis for a semi-structured interview of around 90 minutes. Both authors transcribed and coded the interview data. Through thematic analysis we identified and agreed on five codes: industry developments and business models; relationships with technologies; identifying and sharing information sources; curating literacies; expertise and working with/for clients. This research paper was then co-written. As a conversation with only two participants, our account runs up against the widely stated concern associated with autoethnography of observing too few cultural members and not spending enough time with others (Coffey; Ellis, Adams and Bochner). However, we would argue that the processes of dyadic interviewing underpinned by self-analysis provides accessible and “useful stories” (Ellis, Adams and Bochner). Specifically, Anderson’s five features helped to guide our research and writing from documenting personal experience and providing insider perspectives, to broader generalisation and “theoretical development, refinement, and extension” (387). Indeed, we see this research as complementing and contributing to the large scale survey research undertaken by Liu providing excerpts on how “technology bloggers and other professionals explain the value of curating in a networked world” (20). The major theme emerging from the interview exchange, perhaps not unexpectedly, is how professional content curating revolves around making sense of specific materials. In acting as a bridge between the content and publications of some and its reception by others, literature on cultural intermediaries was identified as a helpful conceptual pointer. The relevance of this concept and literature for exploring professional content curators is illuminated by Smith-Maguire and Matthews’ comments that “cultural intermediaries impact upon notions of what, and thereby who, is legitimate, desirable and worthy, and thus by definition what and who is not” (552). The process of curating content necessarily involves judgements on what is deemed to be desirable and worthy for clients. Scholarship on cultural intermediaries was explicitly explored in the interview and co-writing stages, and the following covers some of the meeting points between our research and this concept. Content Curators as Cultural Intermediaries: Taste, Expertise and Value The concept of cultural intermediaries has been explored by academics in relation to a range of industries. This paper does not necessarily seek to add content curators to the expanding list of occupations analysed through the cultural intermediaries’ lens. There are though a range of questions and prompts from studies on cultural intermediaries helpful for understanding the ways in which content is made sense of and circulated. Smith-Maguire and Matthews’s 2012 article ‘Are We All Cultural Intermediaries Now?’ is particularly helpful for connecting content curating with debates on cultural intermediaries. They consider how cultural intermediaries “effect other’s orientation” (552), and the question they pose is directly relevant for thinking through distinctions in curating ‘for/about me’ and ‘for others’. The following statement by Couzins on a client relationship with a private membership network provides a useful account of what the job of content curating involves: Each week I curate a set of articles or videos on hot topics that have been identified by network members. Once I have identified suitable content I upload links to their website, including a reading time and a short summary. These two elements serve to help members decide whether or not to read it and when to read it. For example, if they have a short train journey they might have time to read a ten-minute article. All articles are tagged so that the curated links become a deeper resource over time and members are alerted by e-mail each week when new links have been published. The reference to “suitable content” highlights how the curator can shape a narrative by intentionally deciding what to keep in and what to leave out. Beyond this choice of what the client is directed to, there is also the importance of the “short summary” and thus how this curated content is packaged and made sense of by the curator for the client. McFall, in her contribution to the Cultural Intermediaries Reader, offers a specific lens for examining the distinctive filtering practice of content curators as acts of ‘economization’. McFall outlines how economization “involves the work of ‘qualifying’ behaviours, organizations and institutions as economic. This is positioned in contrast to the idea that there is some kind of mystery “x-factor” which defines things as inherently economic” (46). McFall explains how “things are rendered (i.e. they become) economic through the actions of producers, governments, research organisations, media, consumers, and so forth. Economization allows for the ways things may, throughout their life cycle, move in and out of being economic” (46). Whilst McFall’s comments recognise how things may be rendered economic through, for example, a ‘top ten list’, we want to specifically examine what this rendering looks like with the ‘professional’ content curator. The act of filtering is one of rendering, and the content that is curated and shared (whether it be articles, videos, links, etc.) becomes economic within this specific context. Whilst there are many organisations that would provide the regular service of producing curated content, two distinctive approaches were revealed in our exchange. The first approach we identify concerns content curating as connected cultural intermediation, and the second approach we identify concerns facilitating curating literacies and co-creation with clients. Connected Cultural Intermediation Connected cultural intermediation refers to how content curators can connect with their own clients and with producers of content. As the following explores, these connections are built around being explicit and open about the content that curators identify and how they filter it. Being open with producers of content was important as these connections could lead to future opportunities for Couzins to identify content for his clients. Couzins addresses the connections he makes in terms of transparency, stating: “you just need to have some more transparency around you as the curator, like who you are, who you represent, why you are doing it, and the scope of what you are looking at.” Part of this involves identifying his impact and influences as a taste-shaper. Couzins remarks, “I'm creating a story […] but my point of view will be based on my interest in what I bring to the curating process.” Transparency was further presented as a part of the process in which judgements and validations are made: “My reputation as a curator is based on what I curate, right? So therefore it has to be as sound as it can be, and I try to be as dispassionate as I can be about this.” These comments capture how transparency is integral for how Couzins establishes his reputation as a content curator. Couzins promotes transparency in content usage by alerting content producers to where content is curated: I also share on Twitter, so they [producers] know it's been shared because they are included in the retweets, for example. I would tell some people that I've linked to their stuff as well, and sometimes I would also say "Thank you," to so and so for linking to that. It's like thanking my supply chain, if you like. Because it's a network. The act of retweeting also operates as a means to develop connections with producers of content. As well as indicating to producers that content is being used, Couzins’ reference to the “supply chain” indicates the importance he invests in establishing connections and the wide circulation of curated content. One approach to content curating as a commercial practice could be to limit access and create a “pay wall” style scenario in which the curated content can only be accessed after a payment. Curated materials could be sent directly to e-mail or uploaded to private websites. For Couzins however, it is access to the flows of content and the connections with others that underpin and enable his content curating commercial practice. It is important for Couzins that curated content is available to the producers, clients and more publicly through his free-to-access website and Twitter feed. The earlier reference to reputation as a curator in part concerned being dispassionate and enabling verification through open and explicit acknowledgements and links. This comment also addresses generating a reputation for “sound” information. The following comments pick this up and point to the need for engaging with different sources: “I have got my own bubble that I operate in, and it's really challenging to get out of that bubble, bring new stuff in, or review what's in there. I find myself sharing stuff quite a lot from certain places, sometimes. You've got to work at that. It's hard.” Working hard to escape from the bubble was part of Couzins’ work to build his reputation. Acknowledging producers is both a way for Couzins to promote transparency around his filtering and a way to foster new sources of content to escape the bubble: “I do build some relationships with some of the producers, because I get to know them, and I thank them, and I say, ‘That's really good,’ so I have a lot of relationships with people just through their content. But it's not a commercial relationship.” Whilst Couzins suggests there may not be a commercial relationship with the producers of content, economic significance can be seen in two ways. Firstly, moving outside of the ‘bubble’ can help the content curator make more diverse contributions and establish a reputation for this. Secondly, these connections can be of benefit to content producers as their material further circulates. Whilst there is no payment to the content producer, Couzins directs this curated content to clients and does not restrict wider public access to it in this curated form. McFall’s comments on economization stress the role of cultural intermediaries in the life cycle of how things “move in and out of being economic.” With content curating there is a ‘rendering’ of content that sees it become significant in new contexts. Here, the obvious relationship may be between Couzins and his clients. The references to transparent relationships and thanking the ‘supply chain’ show that relationships with content producers are also crucial and that the content curator needs to be continually connecting. Curating Literacies and Co-Creation In the earlier discussion of cultural intermediaries we addressed framing and how judgements can shape legitimacy, desirability and worth. With the content curating cultural intermediary practices under discussion here, a different perspective is possible in which subject specialist knowledge and expertise may not necessarily be the primary driver behind clients’ needs. The role of the content curator as cultural intermediary here is still in the rendering of content. However, it does not specifically involve the selecting content but guiding others in the framing and circulation of content. Where the concern of the client is finding appropriate ways to share the materials that they identify, then the content curator may not need subject-specialist knowledge. Here the interest in the content curating service is on the curating processes and practices, rather than content knowledge. Couzins’ account revealed that in some cases the intermediary’s role is not about the selection of material, but in the framing of material already selected by clients for wider engagement: “People internally will decide what to share and tell you why it’s worth looking at. Basically, it’s making them look like they know what they’re talking about, building their credibility.” The content curator role here does not concern selecting content, but offering guidance on how to frame it. As such, there remains a crucial “rendering” role in which the content selected by clients becomes meaningful through the guidance and input of the professional content curator. Our interview exchange also identified another scenario of relationships in which the content curator has little involvement in either selecting or framing content. Part of the commercial activity explored in our interview included supporting staff within a client’s company to showcase their expertise and knowledge through both selecting and framing content. Specifically, as Couzins outlines, this could be undertaken as a bespoke face-to-face service with in-house training: I helped one client put a curation tool into their website enabling them to become the curators. I spent a lot of time talking to them about curation and their role as curators. We split curation into topics of interest – based on the client’s area of expertise - which would be useful both internally for personal/professional development and externally for business development by sharing content relevant for their customers. In this respect, the service provided by the content curator involves the sharing of their own curatorial expertise with clients in order that clients may undertake their own curatorial practice. There is for the client a similar concern with enhancing their social reputation and profile, but this approach stresses the expertise of clients in identifying and responding to their own content curating needs. In part this emphasis on the client’s selection of material is about the challenges of establishing and maintaining legitimacy as a content curator across several fields: “You can't begin to say you're an expert when you are not, because you'll be found out.” More than this though, it was an approach to content curating literacy. As Couzins state, “my view is that if people with the domain expertise have an interest in doing this […] then they should be doing it themselves. If you gave it to me I hold the keys to all your knowledge. Why would you want that?” The content curator and client exchange here is not restricted to gathering interests and then providing content. This scenario sees content curating as accessible, but also sees the curator in their continued role as cultural intermediary--where expertise is about mediation more than content. Returning to McFall’s comments on rendering as how things “move in and out of being economic”, our second understanding of content curating intermediaries directs attention away from what the things/content are to instead how those things move. Conclusion Set within debates and transformations around content and information abundance and filtering, this paper explored how the practices of filtering, finding, and sharing at the heart of content curating have much in common with the work of cultural intermediaries. Specifically, this paper identified two ways of understanding commercial content curating. Firstly, content curating involves the rendering of content, and the ability to succeed here relies on developing connections outside the curator-client dynamic. Secondly, professional content curators can approach their relationships with clients as one of facilitation in which the expertise of the content curating cultural intermediary does not rest with the content, but on the curating and the intermediating. References Anderson, Leon. “Analytical Autoethnography.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 35.4 (2006): 373-395. Andrejevic, Mark. Infoglut: How Too Much Information Is Changing the Way We Think and Know. London: Routledge, 2013. Asay, Matt. “Problem Is Filter Failure, Not Info Overload.” CNet Jan. 2009. 1 Jun. 2015 ‹http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/shirky-problem-is-filter-failure-not-info-overload/›. Bhargava, Rohit. “Manifesto for the Content Curator: The Next Big Social Media Job of the Future?” 2009. 2 June 2015. ‹http://rohitbhargava.typepad.com/weblog/2009/09/manifestoDforDtheDcontentDcuratorD theDnextDbigDsocialDmediaDjobDofDtheDfutureD.html›. Byrne, David. “David Byrne: A Great Curator Beats Any Big Company’s Algorithm.” New Statesman June 2015. 8 June 2015. ‹http://www.newstatesman.com/2015/05/man-versus-algorithm›. Coffey, Paul. The Ethnographic Self. London: Sage, 1999. The Economist. “Drowning in Numbers.” 2011. 4 June 2015 ‹http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/11/big-data-0›. Ellis, Carolyn, Adams, Tony E. and Bochner, Arthur P. “Autoethnography: An Overview.” Forum: Qualitative Social Research 12.1 (2011). Good, Robin. “Content Curation Tools Supermap.” Pearl Trees Apr. 2015. 4 June 2015 ‹http://www.pearltrees.com/robingood/content-curating-supermap/id5947231›. Holt, Jennifer, and Alisa Perren. “Introduction: Does the World Really Need One More Field of Study?” Media Industries: History, Theory, and Methods. Eds. Jennifer Holt and Alisa Perren. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. 1-16. Holt, Nicholas, L. “Representation, Legitimation, and Autoethnography: An Autoethnographic Writing Story.” International Journal of Qualitative Methods 2.1 (2003): 1-22. Internet Live Stats. 5 June 2015 ‹http://www.internetlivestats.com/one-second/›. Krysa, Joasia. Curating Immateriality: The Work of the Curator in the Age of Network Systems. New York: Autonomedia, 2006. Liu, Sophia B. “Trends in Distributed Curatorial Technology to Manage Data Deluge in a Networked World.” Upgrade: The European Journal for the Informatics Professional 11.4 (2010): 18-24. Matthews, Julian, and Jennifer Smith-Maguire. “Introduction: Thinking with Cultural Intermediaries.” The Cultural Intermediaries Reader. Eds. Julian Matthews and Jennifer Smith-Maguire. London: Sage, 2014. 1-11. McFall, Liz. “The Problem of Cultural Intermediaries in the Economy of Qualities.” The Cultural Intermediaries Reader. Eds. Julian Matthews and Jennifer Smith-Maguire. London: Sage, 2014. 42-51. Popova, Maria. “In a New World of Informational Abundance, Content Curation Is a New Kind of Authorship.” Nieman Lab June 2011. 6 Jun 2015 ‹http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/06/maria-popova-in-a-new-world-of-informational-abundance-content-curation-is-a-new-kind-of-authorship/›. Potter, John, and Øystein Gilje. “Curatorship as a New Literacy Practice.” E-Learning and Digital Media 12.2 (2015): 123-127. Reed-Danahay, Deborah. Auto/Ethnography. New York: Berg, 1997. Rosenbaum, Steve. Curating Nation: How to Win in a World Where Consumers Are Creators. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011. Smith-Maguire, Jennifer, and Julian Matthews. “Are We All Cultural Intermediaries Now?” European Journal of Cultural Studies 15.5 (2012): 551-562. Sun, Will. “Introducing LinkedIn Elevate: Helping Companies Empower Their Employees to Share Content.” Apr. 2015. 29 May 2015 ‹http://blog.linkedin.com/2015/04/13/elevate/›. Villi, Mikko. “Social Curation in Audience Communities: UDC (User-Distributed Content) in the Networked Media Ecosystem.” Participations 9.2 (2012): 614-632.

39

Watson, Robert. "E-Press and Oppress." M/C Journal 8, no.2 (June1, 2005). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2345.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

From elephants to ABBA fans, silicon to hormone, the following discussion uses a new research method to look at printed text, motion pictures and a teenage rebel icon. If by ‘print’ we mean a mechanically reproduced impression of a cultural symbol in a medium, then printing has been with us since before microdot security prints were painted onto cars, before voice prints, laser prints, network servers, record pressings, motion picture prints, photo prints, colour woodblock prints, before books, textile prints, and footprints. If we accept that higher mammals such as elephants have a learnt culture, then it is possible to extend a definition of printing beyond hom*o sapiens. Poole reports that elephants mechanically trumpet reproductions of human car horns into the air surrounding their society. If nothing else, this cross-species, cross-cultural reproduction, this ‘ability to mimic’ is ‘another sign of their intelligence’. Observation of child development suggests that the first significant meaningful ‘impression’ made on the human mind is that of the face of the child’s nurturer – usually its mother. The baby’s mind forms an ‘impression’, a mental print, a reproducible memory data set, of the nurturer’s face, voice, smell, touch, etc. That face is itself a cultural construct: hair style, makeup, piercings, tattoos, ornaments, nutrition-influenced skin and smell, perfume, temperature and voice. A mentally reproducible pattern of a unique face is formed in the mind, and we use that pattern to distinguish ‘familiar and strange’ in our expanding social orbit. The social relations of patterned memory – of imprinting – determine the extent to which we explore our world (armed with research aids such as text print) or whether we turn to violence or self-harm (Bretherton). While our cultural artifacts (such as vellum maps or networked voice message servers) bravely extend our significant patterns into the social world and the traversed environment, it is useful to remember that such artifacts, including print, are themselves understood by our original pattern-reproduction and impression system – the human mind, developed in childhood. The ‘print’ is brought to mind differently in different discourses. For a reader, a ‘print’ is a book, a memo or a broadsheet, whether it is the Indian Buddhist Sanskrit texts ordered to be printed in 593 AD by the Chinese emperor Sui Wen-ti (Silk Road) or the US Defense Department memo authorizing lower ranks to torture the prisoners taken by the Bush administration (Sanchez, cited in ABC). Other fields see prints differently. For a musician, a ‘print’ may be the sheet music which spread classical and popular music around the world; it may be a ‘record’ (as in a ‘recording’ session), where sound is impressed to wax, vinyl, charged silicon particles, or the alloys (Smith, “Elpida”) of an mp3 file. For the fine artist, a ‘print’ may be any mechanically reproduced two-dimensional (or embossed) impression of a significant image in media from paper to metal, textile to ceramics. ‘Print’ embraces the Japanese Ukiyo-e colour prints of Utamaro, the company logos that wink from credit card holographs, the early photographs of Talbot, and the textured patterns printed into neolithic ceramics. Computer hardware engineers print computational circuits. Homicide detectives investigate both sweaty finger prints and the repeated, mechanical gaits of suspects, which are imprinted into the earthy medium of a crime scene. For film makers, the ‘print’ may refer to a photochemical polyester reproduction of a motion picture artifact (the reel of ‘celluloid’), or a DVD laser disc impression of the same film. Textualist discourse has borrowed the word ‘print’ to mean ‘text’, so ‘print’ may also refer to the text elements within the vision track of a motion picture: the film’s opening titles, or texts photographed inside the motion picture story such as the sword-cut ‘Z’ in Zorro (Niblo). Before the invention of writing, the main mechanically reproduced impression of a cultural symbol in a medium was the humble footprint in the sand. The footprints of tribes – and neighbouring animals – cut tracks in the vegetation and the soil. Printed tracks led towards food, water, shelter, enemies and friends. Having learnt to pattern certain faces into their mental world, children grew older and were educated in the footprints of family and clan, enemies and food. The continuous impression of significant foot traffic in the medium of the earth produced the lines between significant nodes of prewriting and pre-wheeled cultures. These tracks were married to audio tracks, such as the song lines of the Australian Aborigines, or the ballads of tramping culture everywhere. A typical tramping song has the line, ‘There’s a track winding back to an old-fashion shack along the road to Gundagai,’ (O’Hagan), although this colonial-style song was actually written for radio and became an international hit on the airwaves, rather than the tramping trails. The printed tracks impressed by these cultural flows are highly contested and diverse, and their foot prints are woven into our very language. The names for printed tracks have entered our shared memory from the intersection of many cultures: ‘Track’ is a Germanic word entering English usage comparatively late (1470) and now used mainly in audio visual cultural reproduction, as in ‘soundtrack’. ‘Trek’ is a Dutch word for ‘track’ now used mainly by ecotourists and science fiction fans. ‘Learn’ is a Proto-Indo-European word: the verb ‘learn’ originally meant ‘to find a track’ back in the days when ‘learn’ had a noun form which meant ‘the sole of the foot’. ‘Tract’ and ‘trace’ are Latin words entering English print usage before 1374 and now used mainly in religious, and electronic surveillance, cultural reproduction. ‘Trench’ in 1386 was a French path cut through a forest. ‘Sagacity’ in English print in 1548 was originally the ability to track or hunt, in Proto-Indo-European cultures. ‘Career’ (in English before 1534) was the print made by chariots in ancient Rome. ‘Sleuth’ (1200) was a Norse noun for a track. ‘Investigation’ (1436) was Latin for studying a footprint (Harper). The arrival of symbolic writing scratched on caves, hearth stones, and trees (the original meaning of ‘book’ is tree), brought extremely limited text education close to home. Then, with baked clay tablets, incised boards, slate, bamboo, tortoise shell, cast metal, bark cloth, textiles, vellum, and – later – paper, a portability came to text that allowed any culture to venture away from known ‘foot’ paths with a reduction in the risk of becoming lost and perishing. So began the world of maps, memos, bills of sale, philosophic treatises and epic mythologies. Some of this was printed, such as the mechanical reproduction of coins, but the fine handwriting required of long, extended, portable texts could not be printed until the invention of paper in China about 2000 years ago. Compared to lithic architecture and genes, portable text is a fragile medium, and little survives from the millennia of its innovators. The printing of large non-text designs onto bark-paper and textiles began in neolithic times, but Sui Wen-ti’s imperial memo of 593 AD gives us the earliest written date for printed books, although we can assume they had been published for many years previously. The printed book was a combination of Indian philosophic thought, wood carving, ink chemistry and Chinese paper. The earliest surviving fragment of paper-print technology is ‘Mantras of the Dharani Sutra’, a Buddhist scripture written in the Sanskrit language of the Indian subcontinent, unearthed at an early Tang Dynasty site in Xian, China – making the fragment a veteran piece of printing, in the sense that Sanskrit books had been in print for at least a century by the early Tang Dynasty (Chinese Graphic Arts Net). At first, paper books were printed with page-size carved wooden boards. Five hundred years later, Pi Sheng (c.1041) baked individual reusable ceramic characters in a fire and invented the durable moveable type of modern printing (Silk Road 2000). Abandoning carved wooden tablets, the ‘digitizing’ of Chinese moveable type sped up the production of printed texts. In turn, Pi Sheng’s flexible, rapid, sustainable printing process expanded the political-cultural impact of the literati in Asian society. Digitized block text on paper produced a bureaucratic, literate elite so powerful in Asia that Louis XVI of France copied China’s print-based Confucian system of political authority for his own empire, and so began the rise of the examined public university systems, and the civil service systems, of most European states (Watson, Visions). By reason of its durability, its rapid mechanical reproduction, its culturally agreed signs, literate readership, revered authorship, shared ideology, and distributed portability, a ‘print’ can be a powerful cultural network which builds and expands empires. But print also attacks and destroys empires. A case in point is the Spanish conquest of Aztec America: The Aztecs had immense libraries of American literature on bark-cloth scrolls, a technology which predated paper. These libraries were wiped out by the invading Spanish, who carried a different book before them (Ewins). In the industrial age, the printing press and the gun were seen as the weapons of rebellions everywhere. In 1776, American rebels staffed their ‘Homeland Security’ units with paper makers, knowing that defeating the English would be based on printed and written documents (Hahn). Mao Zedong was a book librarian; Mao said political power came out of the barrel of a gun, but Mao himself came out of a library. With the spread of wireless networked servers, political ferment comes out of the barrel of the cell phone and the internet chat room these days. Witness the cell phone displays of a plane hitting a tower that appear immediately after 9/11 in the Middle East, or witness the show trials of a few US and UK lower ranks who published prints of their torturing activities onto the internet: only lower ranks who published prints were arrested or tried. The control of secure servers and satellites is the new press. These days, we live in a global library of burning books – ‘burning’ in the sense that ‘print’ is now a charged silicon medium (Smith, “Intel”) which is usually made readable by connecting the chip to nuclear reactors and petrochemically-fired power stations. World resources burn as we read our screens. Men, women, children burn too, as we watch our infotainment news in comfort while ‘their’ flickering dead faces are printed in our broadcast hearths. The print we watch is not the living; it is the voodoo of the living in the blackout behind the camera, engaging the blood sacrifice of the tormented and the unfortunate. Internet texts are also ‘on fire’ in the third sense of their fragility and instability as a medium: data bases regularly ‘print’ fail-safe copies in an attempt to postpone the inevitable mechanical, chemical and electrical failure that awaits all electronic media in time. Print defines a moral position for everyone. In reporting conflict, in deciding to go to press or censor, any ‘print’ cannot avoid an ethical context, starting with the fact that there is a difference in power between print maker, armed perpetrators, the weak, the peaceful, the publisher, and the viewer. So many human factors attend a text, video or voice ‘print’: its very existence as an aesthetic object, even before publication and reception, speaks of unbalanced, and therefore dynamic, power relationships. For example, Graham Greene departed unscathed from all the highly dangerous battlefields he entered as a novelist: Riot-torn Germany, London Blitz, Belgian Congo, Voodoo Haiti, Vietnam, Panama, Reagan’s Washington, and mafia Europe. His texts are peopled with the injustices of the less fortunate of the twentieth century, while he himself was a member of the fortunate (if not happy) elite, as is anyone today who has the luxury of time to read Greene’s works for pleasure. Ethically a member of London and Paris’ colonizers, Greene’s best writing still electrifies, perhaps partly because he was in the same line of fire as the victims he shared bread with. In fact, Greene hoped daily that he would escape from the dreadful conflicts he fictionalized via a body bag or an urn of ashes (see Sherry). In reading an author’s biography we have one window on the ethical dimensions of authority and print. If a print’s aesthetics are sometimes enduring, its ethical relationships are always mutable. Take the stylized logo of a running athlete: four limbs bent in a rotation of action. This dynamic icon has symbolized ‘good health’ in Hindu and Buddhist culture, from Madras to Tokyo, for thousands of years. The cross of bent limbs was borrowed for the militarized health programs of 1930s Germany, and, because of what was only a brief, recent, isolated yet monstrously horrific segment of its history in print, the bent-limbed swastika is now a vilified symbol in the West. The sign remains ‘impressed’ differently on traditional Eastern culture, and without the taint of Nazism. Dramatic prints are emotionally charged because, in depicting hom*o sapiens in danger, or passionately in love, they elicit a hormonal reaction from the reader, the viewer, or the audience. The type of emotions triggered by a print vary across the whole gamut of human chemistry. A recent study of three genres of motion picture prints shows a marked differences in the hormonal responses of men compared to women when viewing a romance, an actioner, and a documentary (see Schultheiss, Wirth, and Stanton). Society is biochemically diverse in its engagement with printed culture, which raises questions about equality in the arts. Motion picture prints probably comprise around one third of internet traffic, in the form of stolen digitized movie files pirated across the globe via peer-to-peer file transfer networks (p2p), and burnt as DVD laser prints (BBC). There is also a US 40 billion dollar per annum legitimate commerce in DVD laser pressings (Grassl), which would suggest an US 80 billion per annum world total in legitimate laser disc print culture. The actively screen literate, or the ‘sliterati’ as I prefer to call them, research this world of motion picture prints via their peers, their internet information channels, their television programming, and their web forums. Most of this activity occurs outside the ambit of universities and schools. One large site of sliterate (screen literate) practice outside most schooling and official research is the net of online forums at imdb.com (International Movie Data Base). Imdb.com ‘prints’ about 25,000,000 top pages per month to client browsers. Hundreds of sliterati forums are located at imdb, including a forum for the Australian movie, Muriel’s Wedding (Hogan). Ten years after the release of Muriel’s Wedding, young people who are concerned with victimization and bullying still log on to http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0110598/board/> and put their thoughts into print: I still feel so bad for Muriel in the beginning of the movie, when the girls ‘dump’ her, and how much the poor girl cried and cried! Those girls were such biartches…I love how they got their comeuppance! bunniesormaybemidgets’s comment is typical of the current discussion. Muriel’s Wedding was a very popular film in its first cinema edition in Australia and elsewhere. About 30% of the entire over-14 Australian population went to see this photochemical polyester print in the cinemas on its first release. A decade on, the distributors printed a DVD laser disc edition. The story concerns Muriel (played by Toni Collette), the unemployed daughter of a corrupt, ‘police state’ politician. Muriel is bullied by her peers and she withdraws into a fantasy world, deluding herself that a white wedding will rescue her from the torments of her blighted life. Through theft and deceit (the modus operandi of her father) Muriel escapes to the entertainment industry and finds a ‘wicked’ girlfriend mentor. From a rebellious position of stubborn independence, Muriel plays out her fantasy. She gets her white wedding, before seeing both her father and her new married life as hollow shams which have goaded her abandoned mother to suicide. Redefining her life as a ‘game’ and assuming responsibility for her independence, Muriel turns her back on the mainstream, image-conscious, female gang of her oppressed youth. Muriel leaves the story, having rekindled her friendship with her rebel mentor. My methodological approach to viewing the laser disc print was to first make a more accessible, coded record of the entire movie. I was able to code and record the print in real time, using a new metalanguage (Watson, “Eyes”). The advantage of Coding is that ‘thinks’ the same way as film making, it does not sidetrack the analyst into prose. The Code splits the movie print into Vision Action [vision graphic elements, including text] (sound) The Coding splits the vision track into normal action and graphic elements, such as text, so this Coding is an ideal method for extracting all the text elements of a film in real time. After playing the film once, I had four and a half tightly packed pages of the coded story, including all its text elements in square brackets. Being a unique, indexed hard copy, the Coded copy allowed me immediate access to any point of the Muriel’s Wedding saga without having to search the DVD laser print. How are ‘print’ elements used in Muriel’s Wedding? Firstly, a rose-coloured monoprint of Muriel Heslop’s smiling face stares enigmatically from the plastic surface of the DVD picture disc. The print is a still photo captured from her smile as she walked down the aisle of her white wedding. In this print, Toni Collette is the Mona Lisa of Australian culture, except that fans of Muriel’s Wedding know the meaning of that smile is a magical combination of the actor’s art: the smile is both the flush of dreams come true and the frightening self deception that will kill her mother. Inserting and playing the disc, the text-dominant menu appears, and the film commences with the text-dominant opening titles. Text and titles confer a legitimacy on a work, whether it is a trade mark of the laser print owners, or the household names of stars. Text titles confer status relationships on both the presenters of the cultural artifact and the viewer who has entered into a legal license agreement with the owners of the movie. A title makes us comfortable, because the mind always seeks to name the unfamiliar, and a set of text titles does that job for us so that we can navigate the ‘tracks’ and settle into our engagement with the unfamiliar. The apparent ‘truth’ and ‘stability’ of printed text calms our fears and beguiles our uncertainties. Muriel attends the white wedding of a school bully bride, wearing a leopard print dress she has stolen. Muriel’s spotted wild animal print contrasts with the pure white handmade dress of the bride. In Muriel’s leopard textile print, we have the wild, rebellious, impoverished, inappropriate intrusion into the social ritual and fantasy of her high-status tormentor. An off-duty store detective recognizes the printed dress and calls the police. The police are themselves distinguished by their blue-and-white checked prints and other mechanically reproduced impressions of cultural symbols: in steel, brass, embroidery, leather and plastics. Muriel is driven in the police car past the stenciled town sign (‘Welcome To Porpoise Spit’ heads a paragraph of small print). She is delivered to her father, a politician who presides over the policing of his town. In a state where the judiciary, police and executive are hijacked by the same tyrant, Muriel’s father, Bill, pays off the police constables with a carton of legal drugs (beer) and Muriel must face her father’s wrath, which he proceeds to transfer to his detested wife. Like his daughter, the father also wears a spotted brown print costume, but his is a batik print from neighbouring Indonesia (incidentally, in a nation that takes the political status of its batik prints very seriously). Bill demands that Muriel find the receipt for the leopard print dress she claims she has purchased. The legitimate ownership of the object is enmeshed with a printed receipt, the printed evidence of trade. The law (and the paramilitary power behind the law) are legitimized, or contested, by the presence or absence of printed text. Muriel hides in her bedroom, surround by poster prints of the pop group ABBA. Torn-out prints of other people’s weddings adorn her mirror. Her face is embossed with the clown-like primary colours of the marionette as she lifts a bouquet to her chin and stares into the real time ‘print’ of her mirror image. Bill takes the opportunity of a business meeting with Japanese investors to feed his entire family at ‘Charlie Chan’’s restaurant. Muriel’s middle sister sloppily wears her father’s state election tee shirt, printed with the text: ‘Vote 1, Bill Heslop. You can’t stop progress.’ The text sets up two ironic gags that are paid off on the dialogue track: “He lost,’ we are told. ‘Progress’ turns out to be funding the concreting of a beach. Bill berates his daughter Muriel: she has no chance of becoming a printer’s apprentice and she has failed a typing course. Her dysfunction in printed text has been covered up by Bill: he has bribed the typing teacher to issue a printed diploma to his daughter. In the gambling saloon of the club, under the arrays of mechanically repeated cultural symbols lit above the poker machines (‘A’ for ace, ‘Q’ for queen, etc.), Bill’s secret girlfriend Diedre risks giving Muriel a cosmetics job. Another text icon in lights announces the surf nightclub ‘Breakers’. Tania, the newly married queen bitch who has made Muriel’s teenage years a living hell, breaks up with her husband, deciding to cash in his negotiable text documents – his Bali honeymoon tickets – and go on an island holiday with her girlfriends instead. Text documents are the enduring site of agreements between people and also the site of mutations to those agreements. Tania dumps Muriel, who sobs and sobs. Sobs are a mechanical, percussive reproduction impressed on the sound track. Returning home, we discover that Muriel’s older brother has failed a printed test and been rejected for police recruitment. There is a high incidence of print illiteracy in the Heslop family. Mrs Heslop (Jeannie Drynan), for instance, regularly has trouble at the post office. Muriel sees a chance to escape the oppression of her family by tricking her mother into giving her a blank cheque. Here is the confluence of the legitimacy of a bank’s printed negotiable document with the risk and freedom of a blank space for rebel Muriel’s handwriting. Unable to type, her handwriting has the power to steal every cent of her father’s savings. She leaves home and spends the family’s savings at an island resort. On the island, the text print-challenged Muriel dances to a recording (sound print) of ABBA, her hand gestures emphasizing her bewigged face, which is made up in an impression of her pop idol. Her imitation of her goddesses – the ABBA women, her only hope in a real world of people who hate or avoid her – is accompanied by her goddesses’ voices singing: ‘the mystery book on the shelf is always repeating itself.’ Before jpeg and gif image downloads, we had postcard prints and snail mail. Muriel sends a postcard to her family, lying about her ‘success’ in the cosmetics business. The printed missal is clutched by her father Bill (Bill Hunter), who proclaims about his daughter, ‘you can’t type but you really impress me’. Meanwhile, on Hibiscus Island, Muriel lies under a moonlit palm tree with her newly found mentor, ‘bad girl’ Ronda (Rachel Griffiths). In this critical scene, where foolish Muriel opens her heart’s yearnings to a confidante she can finally trust, the director and DP have chosen to shoot a flat, high contrast blue filtered image. The visual result is very much like the semiabstract Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints by Utamaro. This Japanese printing style informed the rise of European modern painting (Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, etc., were all important collectors and students of Ukiyo-e prints). The above print and text elements in Muriel’s Wedding take us 27 minutes into her story, as recorded on a single page of real-time handwritten Coding. Although not discussed here, the Coding recorded the complete film – a total of 106 minutes of text elements and main graphic elements – as four pages of Code. Referring to this Coding some weeks after it was made, I looked up the final code on page four: taxi [food of the sea] bq. Translation: a shop sign whizzes past in the film’s background, as Muriel and Ronda leave Porpoise Spit in a taxi. Over their heads the text ‘Food Of The Sea’ flashes. We are reminded that Muriel and Ronda are mermaids, fantastic creatures sprung from the brow of author PJ Hogan, and illuminated even today in the pantheon of women’s coming-of-age art works. That the movie is relevant ten years on is evidenced by the current usage of the Muriel’s Wedding online forum, an intersection of wider discussions by sliterate women on imdb.com who, like Muriel, are observers (and in some cases victims) of horrific pressure from ambitious female gangs and bullies. Text is always a minor element in a motion picture (unless it is a subtitled foreign film) and text usually whizzes by subliminally while viewing a film. By Coding the work for [text], all the text nuances made by the film makers come to light. While I have viewed Muriel’s Wedding on many occasions, it has only been in Coding it specifically for text that I have noticed that Muriel is a representative of that vast class of talented youth who are discriminated against by print (as in text) educators who cannot offer her a life-affirming identity in the English classroom. Severely depressed at school, and failing to type or get a printer’s apprenticeship, Muriel finds paid work (and hence, freedom, life, identity, independence) working in her audio visual printed medium of choice: a video store in a new city. Muriel found a sliterate admirer at the video store but she later dumped him for her fantasy man, before leaving him too. One of the points of conjecture on the imdb Muriel’s Wedding site is, did Muriel (in the unwritten future) get back together with admirer Brice Nobes? That we will never know. While a print forms a track that tells us where culture has been, a print cannot be the future, a print is never animate reality. At the end of any trail of prints, one must lift one’s head from the last impression, and negotiate satisfaction in the happening world. References Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “Memo Shows US General Approved Interrogations.” 30 Mar. 2005 http://www.abc.net.au>. British Broadcasting Commission. “Films ‘Fuel Online File-Sharing’.’’ 22 Feb. 2005 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3890527.stm>. Bretherton, I. “The Origins of Attachment Theory: John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth.” 1994. 23 Jan. 2005 http://www.psy.med.br/livros/autores/bowlby/bowlby.pdf>. Bunniesormaybemidgets. Chat Room Comment. “What Did Those Girls Do to Rhonda?” 28 Mar. 2005 http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0110598/board/>. Chinese Graphic Arts Net. Mantras of the Dharani Sutra. 20 Feb. 2005 http://www.cgan.com/english/english/cpg/engcp10.htm>. Ewins, R. Barkcloth and the Origins of Paper. 1991. 20 Feb. 2005 http://www.justpacific.com/pacific/papers/barkcloth~paper.html>. Grassl K.R. The DVD Statistical Report. 14 Mar. 2005 http://www.corbell.com>. Hahn, C. M. The Topic Is Paper. 20 Feb. 2005 http://www.nystamp.org/Topic_is_paper.html>. Harper, D. Online Etymology Dictionary. 14 Mar. 2005 http://www.etymonline.com/>. Mask of Zorro, The. Screenplay by J McCulley. UA, 1920. Muriel’s Wedding. Dir. PJ Hogan. Perf. Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Bill Hunter, and Jeannie Drynan. Village Roadshow, 1994. O’Hagan, Jack. On The Road to Gundagai. 1922. 2 Apr. 2005 http://ingeb.org/songs/roadtogu.html>. Poole, J.H., P.L. Tyack, A.S. Stoeger-Horwath, and S. Watwood. “Animal Behaviour: Elephants Are Capable of Vocal Learning.” Nature 24 Mar. 2005. Sanchez, R. “Interrogation and Counter-Resistance Policy.” 14 Sept. 2003. 30 Mar. 2005 http://www.abc.net.au>. Schultheiss, O.C., M.M. Wirth, and S.J. Stanton. “Effects of Affiliation and Power Motivation Arousal on Salivary Progesterone and Testosterone.” Hormones and Behavior 46 (2005). Sherry, N. The Life of Graham Greene. 3 vols. London: Jonathan Cape 2004, 1994, 1989. Silk Road. Printing. 2000. 20 Feb. 2005 http://www.silk-road.com/artl/printing.shtml>. Smith, T. “Elpida Licenses ‘DVD on a Chip’ Memory Tech.” The Register 20 Feb. 2005 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02>. —. “Intel Boffins Build First Continuous Beam Silicon Laser.” The Register 20 Feb. 2005 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02>. Watson, R. S. “Eyes And Ears: Dramatic Memory Slicing and Salable Media Content.” Innovation and Speculation, ed. Brad Haseman. Brisbane: QUT. [in press] Watson, R. S. Visions. Melbourne: Curriculum Corporation, 1994. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Watson, Robert. "E-Press and Oppress: Audio Visual Print Drama, Identity, Text and Motion Picture Rebellion." M/C Journal 8.2 (2005). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0506/08-watson.php>. APA Style Watson, R. (Jun. 2005) "E-Press and Oppress: Audio Visual Print Drama, Identity, Text and Motion Picture Rebellion," M/C Journal, 8(2). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0506/08-watson.php>.

40

Tofts, Darren John. "Why Writers Hate the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Lists, Entropy and the Sense of Unending." M/C Journal 15, no.5 (October12, 2012). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.549.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

If you cannot understand my argument, and declare “It’s Greek to me,” you are quoting Shakespeare.Bernard LevinPsoriatic arthritis, in its acute or “generalised” stage, is unbearably painful. Exacerbating the crippling of the joints, the entire surface of the skin is covered with lesions only moderately salved by anti-inflammatory ointment, the application of which is as painful as the ailment it seeks to relieve: NURSE MILLS: I’ll be as gentle as I can.Marlow’s face again fills the screen, intense concentration, comical strain, and a whispered urgency in the voice over—MARLOW: (Voice over) Think of something boring—For Christ’s sake think of something very very boring—Speech a speech by Ted Heath a sentence long sentence from Bernard Levin a quiz by Christopher Booker a—oh think think—! Really boring! A Welsh male-voice choir—Everything in Punch—Oh! Oh! — (Potter 17-18)Marlow’s collation of boring things as a frantic liturgy is an attempt to distract himself from a tumescence that is both unwanted and out of place. Although bed-ridden and in constant pain, he is still sensitive to erogenous stimulation, even when it is incidental. The act of recollection, of garnering lists of things that bore him, distracts him from his immediate situation as he struggles with the mental anguish of the prospect of a humiliating org*sm. Literary lists do many things. They provide richness of detail, assemble and corroborate the materiality of the world of which they are a part and provide insight into the psyche and motivation of the collator. The sheer desperation of Dennis Potter’s Marlow attests to the arbitrariness of the list, the simple requirement that discrete and unrelated items can be assembled in linear order, without any obligation for topical concatenation. In its interrogative form, the list can serve a more urgent and distressing purpose than distraction:GOLDBERG: What do you use for pyjamas?STANLEY: Nothing.GOLDBERG: You verminate the sheet of your birth.MCCANN: What about the Albigensenist heresy?GOLDBERG: Who watered the wicket in Melbourne?MCCANN: What about the blessed Oliver Plunkett?(Pinter 51)The interrogative non sequitur is an established feature of the art of intimidation. It is designed to exert maximum stress in the subject through the use of obscure asides and the endowing of trivial detail with profundity. Harold Pinter’s use of it in The Birthday Party reveals how central it was to his “theatre of menace.” The other tactic, which also draws on the logic of the inventory to be both sequential and discontinuous, is to break the subject’s will through a machine-like barrage of rhetorical questions that leave no time for answers.Pinter learned from Samuel Beckett the pitiless, unforgiving logic of trivial detail pushed to extremes. Think of Molloy’s dilemma of the sucking stones. In order for all sixteen stones that he carries with him to be sucked at least once to assuage his hunger, a reliable system has to be hit upon:Taking a stone from the right pocket of my greatcoat, and putting it in my mouth, I replaced it in the right pocket of my greatcoat by a stone from the right pocket of my trousers, which I replaced with a stone from the left pocket of my trousers, which I replaced by a stone from the left pocket of my greatcoat, which I replaced with the stone that was in my mouth, as soon as I had finished sucking it. Thus there were still four stones in each of my four pockets, but not quite the same stones. And when the desire to suck took hold of me again, I drew again on the right pocket of my greatcoat, certain of not taking the same stone as the last time. And while I sucked it I rearranged the other stones in the way I have just described. And so on. (Beckett, Molloy 69)And so on for six pages. Exhaustive permutation within a finite lexical set is common in Beckett. In the novel Watt the eponymous central character is charged with serving his unseen master’s dinner as well as tidying up afterwards. A simple and bucolic enough task it would seem. But Beckett’s characters are not satisfied with conjecture, the simple assumption that someone must be responsible for Mr. Knott’s dining arrangements. Like Molloy’s solution to the sucking stone problem, all possible scenarios must be considered to explain the conundrum of how and why Watt never saw Knott at mealtime. Twelve possibilities are offered, among them that1. Mr. Knott was responsible for the arrangement, and knew that he was responsible for the arrangement, and knew that such an arrangement existed, and was content.2. Mr. Knott was not responsible for the arrangement, but knew who was responsible for the arrangement, and knew that such an arrangement existed, and was content.(Beckett, Watt 86)This stringent adherence to detail, absurd and exasperating as it is, is the work of fiction, the persistence of a viable, believable thing called Watt who exists as long as his thought is made manifest on a page. All writers face this pernicious prospect of having to confront and satisfy “fiction’s gargantuan appetite for fact, for detail, for documentation” (Kenner 70). A writer’s writer (Philip Marlow) Dennis Potter’s singing detective struggles with the acute consciousness that words eventually will fail him. His struggle to overcome verbal entropy is a spectre that haunts the entire literary imagination, for when the words stop the world stops.Beckett made this struggle the very stuff of his work, declaring famously that all he wanted to do as a writer was to leave “a stain upon the silence” (quoted in Bair 681). His characters deteriorate from recognisable people (Hamm in Endgame, Winnie in Happy Days) to mere ciphers of speech acts (the bodiless head Listener in That Time, Mouth in Not I). During this process they provide us with the vocabulary of entropy, a horror most eloquently expressed at the end of The Unnamable: I can’t go on, you must go on, I’ll go on, you must say words, as long as there are any, until they find me, until they say me, strange pain, strange sin, you must go on, perhaps it’s done already, perhaps they have said me already, perhaps they have carried me to the threshold of my story, before the door that opens on my story, that would surprise me, if it opens, it will be I, it will be the silence, where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on. (Beckett, Molloy 418)The importance Beckett accorded to pauses in his writing, from breaks in dialogue to punctuation, stresses the pacing of utterance that is in sync with the rhythm of human breath. This is acutely underlined in Jack MacGowran’s extraordinary gramophone recording of the above passage from The Unnamable. There is exhaustion in his voice, but it is inflected by an urgent push for the next words to forestall the last gasp. And what might appear to be parsimony is in fact the very commerce of writing itself. It is an economy of necessity, when any words will suffice to sustain presence in the face of imminent silence.Hugh Kenner has written eloquently on the relationship between writing and entropy, drawing on field and number theory to demonstrate how the business of fiction is forever in the process of generating variation within a finite set. The “stoic comedian,” as he figures the writer facing the blank page, self-consciously practices their art in the full cognisance that they select “elements from a closed set, and then (arrange) them inside a closed field” (Kenner 94). The nouveau roman (a genre conceived and practiced in Beckett’s lean shadow) is remembered in literary history as a rather austere, po-faced formalism that foregrounded things at the expense of human psychology or social interaction. But it is emblematic of Kenner’s portrait of stoicism as an attitude to writing that confronts the nature of fiction itself, on its own terms, as a practice “which is endlessly arranging things” (13):The bulge of the bank also begins to take effect starting from the fifth row: this row, as a matter of fact, also possesses only twenty-one trees, whereas it should have twenty-two for a true trapezoid and twenty-three for a rectangle (uneven row). (Robbe-Grillet 21)As a matter of fact. The nouveau roman made a fine if myopic art of isolating detail for detail’s sake. However, it shares with both Beckett’s minimalism and Joyce’s maximalism the obligation of fiction to fill its world with stuff (“maximalism” is a term coined by Michel Delville and Andrew Norris in relation to the musical scores of Frank Zappa that opposes the minimalism of John Cage’s work). Kenner asks, in The Stoic Comedians, where do the “thousands on thousands of things come from, that clutter Ulysses?” His answer is simple, from “a convention” and this prosaic response takes us to the heart of the matter with respect to the impact on writing of Isaac Newton’s unforgiving Second Law of Thermodynamics. In the law’s strictest physical sense of the dissipation of heat, of the loss of energy within any closed system that moves, the stipulation of the Second Law predicts that words will, of necessity, stop in any form governed by convention (be it of horror, comedy, tragedy, the Bildungsroman, etc.). Building upon and at the same time refining the early work on motion and mass theorised by Aristotle, Kepler, and Galileo, inter alia, Newton refined both the laws and language of classical mechanics. It was from Wiener’s literary reading of Newton that Kenner segued from the loss of energy within any closed system (entropy) to the running silent out of words within fiction.In the wake of Norbert Wiener’s cybernetic turn in thinking in the 1940s, which was highly influenced by Newton’s Second Law, fiction would never again be considered in the same way (metafiction was a term coined in part to recognise this shift; the nouveau roman another). Far from delivering a reassured and reassuring present-ness, an integrated and ongoing cosmos, fiction is an isometric exercise in the struggle against entropy, of a world in imminent danger of running out of energy, of not-being:“His hand took his hat from the peg over his initialled heavy overcoat…” Four nouns, and the book’s world is heavier by four things. One, the hat, “Plasto’s high grade,” will remain in play to the end. The hand we shall continue to take for granted: it is Bloom’s; it goes with his body, which we are not to stop imagining. The peg and the overcoat will fade. “On the doorstep he felt in his hip pocket for the latchkey. Not there. In the trousers I left off.” Four more things. (Kenner 87)This passage from The Stoic Comedians is a tour de force of the conjuror’s art, slowing down the subliminal process of the illusion for us to see the fragility of fiction’s precarious grip on the verge of silence, heroically “filling four hundred empty pages with combinations of twenty-six different letters” (xiii). Kenner situates Joyce in a comic tradition, preceded by Gustave Flaubert and followed by Beckett, of exhaustive fictive possibility. The stoic, he tells us, “is one who considers, with neither panic nor indifference, that the field of possibilities available to him is large perhaps, or small perhaps, but closed” (he is prompt in reminding us that among novelists, gamblers and ethical theorists, the stoic is also a proponent of the Second Law of Thermodynamics) (xiii). If Joyce is the comedian of the inventory, then it is Flaubert, comedian of the Enlightenment, who is his immediate ancestor. Bouvard and Pécuchet (1881) is an unfinished novel written in the shadow of the Encyclopaedia, an apparatus of the literate mind that sought complete knowledge. But like the Encyclopaedia particularly and the Enlightenment more generally, it is fragmentation that determines its approach to and categorisation of detail as information about the world. Bouvard and Pécuchet ends, appropriately, in a frayed list of details, pronouncements and ephemera.In the face of an unassailable impasse, all that is left Flaubert is the list. For more than thirty years he constructed the Dictionary of Received Ideas in the shadow of the truncated Bouvard and Pécuchet. And in doing so he created for the nineteenth century mind “a handbook for novelists” (Kenner 19), a breakdown of all we know “into little pieces so arranged that they can be found one at a time” (3): ACADEMY, FRENCH: Run it down but try to belong to it if you can.GREEK: Whatever one cannot understand is Greek.KORAN: Book about Mohammed, which is all about women.MACHIAVELLIAN: Word only to be spoken with a shudder.PHILOSOPHY: Always snigg*r at it.WAGNER: Snigg*r when you hear his name and joke about the music of the future. (Flaubert, Dictionary 293-330)This is a sample of the exhaustion that issues from the tireless pursuit of categorisation, classification, and the mania for ordered information. The Dictionary manifests the Enlightenment’s insatiable hunger for received ideas, an unwieldy background noise of popular opinion, general knowledge, expertise, and hearsay. In both Bouvard and Pécuchet and the Dictionary, exhaustion was the foundation of a comic art as it was for both Joyce and Beckett after him, for the simple reason that it includes everything and neglects nothing. It is comedy born of overwhelming competence, a sublime impertinence, though not of manners or social etiquette, but rather, with a nod to Oscar Wilde, the impertinence of being definitive (a droll epithet that, not surprisingly, was the title of Kenner’s 1982 Times Literary Supplement review of Richard Ellmann’s revised and augmented biography of Joyce).The inventory, then, is the underlining physio-semiotics of fictional mechanics, an elegiac resistance to the thread of fiction fraying into nothingness. The motif of thermodynamics is no mere literary conceit here. Consider the opening sentence in Borges:Of the many problems which exercised the reckless discernment of Lönnrot, none was so strange—so rigorously strange, shall we say—as the periodic series of bloody events which culminated at the villa of Triste-le-Roy, amid the ceaseless aroma of the eucalypti. (Borges 76)The subordinate clause, as a means of adjectival and adverbial augmentation, implies a potentially infinite sentence through the sheer force of grammatical convention, a machine-like resistance to running out of puff:Under the notable influence of Chesterton (contriver and embellisher of elegant mysteries) and the palace counsellor Leibniz (inventor of the pre-established harmony), in my idle afternoons I have imagined this story plot which I shall perhaps write someday and which already justifies me somehow. (72)In “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” a single adjective charmed with emphasis will do to imply an unseen network:The visible work left by this novelist is easily and briefly enumerated. (Borges 36)The annotation of this network is the inexorable issue of the inflection: “I have said that Menard’s work can be easily enumerated. Having examined with care his personal files, I find that they contain the following items.” (37) This is a sample selection from nineteen entries:a) A Symbolist sonnet which appeared twice (with variants) in the review La conque (issues of March and October 1899).o) A transposition into alexandrines of Paul Valéry’s Le cimitière marin (N.R.F., January 1928).p) An invective against Paul Valéry, in the Papers for the Suppression of Reality of Jacques Reboul. (37-38)Lists, when we encounter them in Jorge Luis Borges, are always contextual, supplying necessary detail to expand upon character and situation. And they are always intertextual, anchoring this specific fictional world to others (imaginary, real, fabulatory or yet to come). The collation and annotation of the literary works of an imagined author (Pierre Menard) of an invented author (Edmond Teste) of an actual author (Paul Valéry) creates a recursive, yet generative, feedback loop of reference and literary progeny. As long as one of these authors continues to write, or write of the work of at least one of the others, a persistent fictional present tense is ensured.Consider Hillel Schwartz’s use of the list in his Making Noise (2011). It not only lists what can and is inevitably heard, in this instance the European 1700s, but what it, or local aural colour, is heard over:Earthy: criers of artichokes, asparagus, baskets, beans, beer, bells, biscuits, brooms, buttermilk, candles, six-pence-a-pound fair cherries, chickens, clothesline, co*ckles, combs, coal, crabs, cucumbers, death lists, door mats, eels, fresh eggs, firewood, flowers, garlic, hake, herring, ink, ivy, jokebooks, lace, lanterns, lemons, lettuce, mackeral, matches […]. (Schwartz 143)The extended list and the catalogue, when encountered as formalist set pieces in fiction or, as in Schwartz’s case, non-fiction, are the expansive equivalent of le mot juste, the self-conscious, painstaking selection of the right word, the specific detail. Of Ulysses, Kenner observes that it was perfectly natural that it “should have attracted the attention of a group of scholars who wanted practice in compiling a word-index to some extensive piece of prose (Miles Hanley, Word Index to Ulysses, 1937). More than any other work of fiction, it suggests by its texture, often by the very look of its pages, that it has been painstakingly assembled out of single words…” (31-32). In a book already crammed with detail, with persistent reference to itself, to other texts, other media, such formalist set pieces as the following from the oneiric “Circe” episode self-consciously perform for our scrutiny fiction’s insatiable hunger for more words, for invention, the Latin root of which also gives us the word inventory:The van of the procession appears headed by John Howard Parnell, city marshal, in a chessboard tabard, the Athlone Poursuivant and Ulster King of Arms. They are followed by the Right Honourable Joseph Hutchinson, lord mayor Dublin, the lord mayor of Cork, their worships the mayors of Limerick, Galway, Sligo and Waterford, twentyeight Irish representative peers, sirdars, grandees and maharajahs bearing the cloth of estate, the Dublin Metropolitan Fire Brigade, the chapter of the saints of finance in their plutocratic order of precedence, the bishop of Down and Connor, His Eminence Michael cardinal Logue archbishop of Armagh, primate of all Ireland, His Grace, the most reverend Dr William Alexander, archbishop of Armagh, primate of all Ireland, the chief rabbi, the Presbyterian moderator, the heads of the Baptist, Anabaptist, Methodist and Moravian chapels and the honorary secretary of the society of friends. (Joyce, Ulysses 602-604)Such examples demonstrate how Joycean inventories break from narrative as architectonic, stand-alone assemblages of information. They are Rabelaisian irruptions, like Philip Marlow’s lesions, that erupt in swollen bas-relief. The exaggerated, at times hysterical, quality of such lists, perform the hallucinatory work of displacement and condensation (the Homeric parallel here is the transformation of Odysseus’s men into swine by the witch Circe). Freudian, not to mention Stindberg-ian dream-work brings together and juxtaposes images and details that only make sense as non-sense (realistic but not real), such as the extraordinary explosive gathering of civic, commercial, political, chivalric representatives of Dublin in this foreshortened excerpt of Bloom’s regal campaign for his “new Bloomusalem” (606).The text’s formidable echolalia, whereby motifs recur and recapitulate into leitmotifs, ensures that the act of reading Ulysses is always cross-referential, suggesting the persistence of a conjured world that is always already still coming into being through reading. And it is of course this forestalling of Newton’s Second Law that Joyce brazenly conducts, in both the textual and physical sense, in Finnegans Wake. The Wake is an impossible book in that it infinitely sustains the circulation of words within a closed system, creating a weird feedback loop of cyclical return. It is a text that can run indefinitely through the force of its own momentum without coming to a conclusion. In a text in which the author’s alter ego is described in terms of the technology of inscription (Shem the Penman) and his craft as being a “punsil shapner,” (Joyce, Finnegans 98) Norbert Wiener’s descriptive example of feedback as the forestalling of entropy in the conscious act of picking up a pencil is apt: One we have determined this, our motion proceeds in such a way that we may say roughly that the amount by which the pencil is not yet picked up is decreased at each stage. (Wiener 7) The Wake overcomes the book’s, and indeed writing’s, struggle with entropy through the constant return of energy into its closed system as a cycle of endless return. Its generative algorithm can be represented thus: “… a long the riverrun …” (628-3). The Wake’s sense of unending confounds and contradicts, in advance, Frank Kermode’s averring to Newton’s Second Law in his insistence that the progression of all narrative fiction is defined in terms of the “sense of an ending,” the expectation of a conclusion, whereby the termination of words makes “possible a satisfying consonance with the origins and with the middle” (Kermode 17). It is the realisation of the novel imagined by Silas Flannery, the fictitious author in Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveller, an incipit that “maintains for its whole duration the potentiality of the beginning” (Calvino 140). Finnegans Wake is unique in terms of the history of the novel (if that is indeed what it is) in that it is never read, but (as Joseph Frank observed of Joyce generally) “can only be re-read” (Frank 19). With Wiener’s allegory of feedback no doubt in mind, Jacques Derrida’s cybernetic account of the act of reading Joyce comes, like a form of echolalia, on the heels of Calvino’s incipit, his perpetual sustaining of the beginning: you stay on the edge of reading Joyce—for me this has been going on for twenty-five or thirty years—and the endless plunge throws you back onto the river-bank, on the brink of another possible immersion, ad infinitum … In any case, I have the feeling that I haven’t yet begun to read Joyce, and this “not having begun to read” is sometimes the most singular and active relationship I have with his work. (Derrida 148) Derrida wonders if this process of ongoing immersion in the text is typical of all works of literature and not just the Wake. The question is rhetorical and resonates into silence. And it is silence, ultimately, that hovers as a mute herald of the end when words will simply run out.Post(script)It is in the nature of all writing that it is read in the absence of its author. Perhaps the most typical form of writing, then, is the suicide note. In an extraordinary essay, “Goodbye, Cruel Words,” Mark Dery wonders why it has been “so neglected as a literary genre” and promptly sets about reviewing its decisive characteristics. Curiously, the list features amongst its many forms: I’m done with lifeI’m no goodI’m dead. (Dery 262)And references to lists of types of suicide notes are among Dery’s own notes to the essay. With its implicit generic capacity to intransitively add more detail, the list becomes in the light of the terminal letter a condition of writing itself. The irony of this is not lost on Dery as he ponders the impotent stoicism of the scribbler setting about the mordant task of writing for the last time. Writing at the last gasp, as Dery portrays it, is a form of dogged, radical will. But his concluding remarks are reflective of his melancholy attitude to this most desperate act of writing at degree zero: “The awful truth (unthinkable to a writer) is that eloquent suicide notes are rarer than rare because suicide is the moment when language fails—fails to hoist us out of the pit, fails even to express the unbearable weight” (264) of someone on the precipice of the very last word they will ever think, let alone write. Ihab Hassan (1967) and George Steiner (1967), it would seem, were latecomers as proselytisers of the language of silence. But there is a queer, uncanny optimism at work at the terminal moment of writing when, contra Dery, words prevail on the verge of “endless, silent night.” (264) Perhaps when Newton’s Second Law no longer has carriage over mortal life, words take on a weird half-life of their own. Writing, after Socrates, does indeed circulate indiscriminately among its readers. There is a dark irony associated with last words. When life ceases, words continue to have the final say as long as they are read, and in so doing they sustain an unlikely, and in their own way, stoical sense of unending.ReferencesBair, Deirdre. Samuel Beckett: A Biography. London: Jonathan Cape, 1978.Beckett, Samuel. Molloy Malone Dies. The Unnamable. London: John Calder, 1973.---. Watt. London: John Calder, 1976.Borges, Jorge Luis. Labyrinths. Selected Stories & Other Writings. Ed. Donald A. Yates & James E. Irby. New York: New Directions, 1964.Calvino, Italo. If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller. Trans. William Weaver, London: Picador, 1981.Delville, Michael, and Andrew Norris. “Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, and the Secret History of Maximalism.” Ed. Louis Armand. Contemporary Poetics: Redefining the Boundaries of Contemporary Poetics, in Theory & Practice, for the Twenty-First Century. Evanston: Northwestern UP, 2007. 126-49.Derrida, Jacques. “Two Words for Joyce.” Post-Structuralist Joyce. Essays from the French. Ed. Derek Attridge and Daniel Ferrer. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984. 145-59.Dery, Mark. I Must Not think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2012.Frank, Joseph, “Spatial Form in Modern Literature.” Sewanee Review, 53, 1945: 221-40, 433-56, 643-53.Flaubert, Gustave. Bouvard and Pécuchet. Trans. A. J. KrailSheimer. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976.Flaubert, Gustave. Dictionary of Received Ideas. Trans. A. J. KrailSheimer. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976.Hassan, Ihab. The Literature of Silence: Henry Miller and Samuel Beckett. New York: Knopf, 1967.Joyce, James. Finnegans Wake. London: Faber and Faber, 1975.---. Ulysses. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992.Kenner, Hugh. The Stoic Comedians. Berkeley: U of California P, 1974.Kermode, Frank. The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Narrative Fiction. New York: Oxford U P, 1966.‪Levin, Bernard. Enthusiasms. London: Jonathan Cape, 1983.MacGowran, Jack. MacGowran Speaking Beckett. Claddagh Records, 1966.Pinter, Harold. The Birthday Party. London: Methuen, 1968.Potter, Dennis. The Singing Detective. London, Faber and Faber, 1987.Robbe-Grillet, Alain. Jealousy. Trans. Richard Howard. London: John Calder, 1965.Schwartz, Hillel. Making Noise. From Babel to the Big Bang and Beyond. New York: Zone Books, 2011.Steiner, George. Language and Silence: New York: Atheneum, 1967.Wiener, Norbert. Cybernetics, Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1965.

41

Mudie, Ella. "Disaster and Renewal: The Praxis of Shock in the Surrealist City Novel." M/C Journal 16, no.1 (January22, 2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.587.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Introduction In the wake of the disaster of World War I, the Surrealists formulated a hostile critique of the novel that identified its limitations in expressing the depth of the mind's faculties and the fragmentation of the psyche after catastrophic events. From this position of crisis, the Surrealists undertook a series of experimental innovations in form, structure, and style in an attempt to renew the genre. This article examines how the praxis of shock is deployed in a number of Surrealist city novels as a conduit for revolt against a society that grew increasingly mechanised in the climate of post-war regeneration. It seeks to counter the contemporary view that Surrealist city dérives (drifts) represent an intriguing yet ultimately benign method of urban research. By reconsidering its origins in response to a world catastrophe, this article emphasises the Surrealist novel’s binding of the affective properties of shock to the dream-awakening dialectic at the heart of the political position of Surrealism. The Surrealist City Novel Today it has almost become a truism to assert that there is a causal link between the catastrophic devastation wrought by the events of the two World Wars and the ideology of rupture that characterised the iconoclasms of the Modernist avant-gardes. Yet, as we progress into the twenty-first century, it is timely to recognise that new generations are rediscovering canonical and peripheral texts of this era and refracting them through a prism of contemporary preoccupations. In many ways, the revisions of today’s encounters with that past era suggest we have travelled some distance from the rawness of such catastrophic events. One post-war body of work recently subjected to view via an unexpected route is the remarkable array of Surrealist city novels set in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, representing a spectrum of experimental texts by such authors as André Breton, Louis Aragon, Robert Desnos, Philippe Soupault, and Michel Leiris. Over the past decade, these works have become recuperated in the Anglophone context as exemplary instances of ludic engagement with the city. This is due in large part to the growing surge of interest in psychogeography, an urban research method concerned with the influence that geographical environments exert over the emotions and behaviours of individuals, and a concern for tracing the literary genealogies of walking and writing in broad sweeping encyclopaedic histories and guidebook style accounts (for prominent examples see Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust and Merlin Coverley’s Psychogeography). Yet as Surrealist novels continue to garner renewed interest for their erotic intrigue, their strolling encounters with the unconscious or hidden facets of the city, and as precursors to the apparently more radical practice of Situationist psychogeography, this article suggests that something vital is missing. By neglecting the revolutionary significance that the Surrealists placed upon the street and its inextricable connection to the shock of the marvellous, I suggest that we have arrived at a point of diminished appreciation of the praxis of the dream-awakening dialectic at the heart of Surrealist politics. With the movement firmly lodged in the popular imagination as concerned merely with the art of play and surprise, the Surrealists’ sensorial conception of the city as embedded within a much larger critique of the creators of “a sterile and dead world” (Rasmussen 372) is lost. This calls into question to what extent we can now relate to the urgency with which avant-gardes like the Surrealists responded to the disaster of war in their call for “the revolution of the subject, a revolution that destroyed identity and released the fantastic” (372). At the same time, a re-evaluation of the Surrealist city novel as a significant precursor to the psychogeograhical dérive (drift) can prove instructive in locating the potential of walking, in order to function as a form of praxis (defined here as lived practice in opposition to theory) that goes beyond its more benign construction as the “gentle art” of getting lost. The Great Shock To return to the origins of Surrealism is to illuminate the radical intentions of the movement. The enormous shock that followed the Great War represented, according to Roger Shattuck, “a profound organic reaction that convulsed the entire system with vomiting, manic attacks, and semi-collapse” (9). David Gascoyne considers 1919, the inaugural year of Surrealist activity, as “a year of liquidation, the end of everything but also of paroxysmic death-birth, incubating seeds of renewal” (17). It was at this time that André Breton and his collaborator Philippe Soupault came together at the Hôtel des Grands Hommes in Paris to conduct their early experimental research. As the authors took poetic license with the psychoanalytical method of automatic writing, their desire to unsettle the latent content of the unconscious as it manifests in the spontaneous outpourings of dream-like recollections resulted in the first collection of Surrealist texts, The Magnetic Fields (1920). As Breton recalls: Completely occupied as I still was with Freud at that time, and familiar with his methods of examination which I had had some slight occasion to use on some patients during the war, I resolved to obtain from myself what we were trying to obtain from them, namely, a monologue spoken as rapidly as possible without any intervention on the part of critical faculties, a monologue consequently unencumbered by the slightest inhibition and which was, as closely as possible, akin to spoken thought. (Breton, Manifesto 22–23) Despite their debts to psychoanalytical methods, the Surrealists sought radically different ends from therapeutic goals in their application. Rather than using analysis to mitigate the pathologies of the psyche, Breton argued that such methods should instead be employed to liberate consciousness in ways that released the individual from “the reign of logic” (Breton, Manifesto 11) and the alienating forces of a mechanised society. In the same manifesto, Breton links his critique to a denunciation of the novel, principally the realist novel which dominated the literary landscape of the nineteenth-century, for its limitations in conveying the power of the imagination and the depths of the mind’s faculties. Despite these protestations, the Surrealists were unable to completely jettison the novel and instead launched a series of innovations in form, structure, and style in an attempt to renew the genre. As J.H. Matthews suggests, “Being then, as all creative surrealism must be, the expression of a mood of experimentation, the Surrealist novel probes not only the potentialities of feeling and imagination, but also those of novelistic form” (Matthews 6). When Nadja appeared in 1928, Breton was not the first Surrealist to publish a novel. However, this work remains the most well-known example of its type in the Anglophone context. Largely drawn from the author’s autobiographical experiences, it recounts the narrator’s (André’s) obsessive infatuation with a mysterious, impoverished and unstable young woman who goes by the name of Nadja. The pair’s haunted and uncanny romance unfolds during their undirected walks, or dérives, through the streets of Paris, the city acting as an affective register of their encounters. The “intellectual seduction” comes to an abrupt halt (Breton, Nadja 108), however, when Nadja does in fact go truly mad, disappearing from the narrator’s life when she is committed to an asylum. André makes no effort to seek her out and after launching into a diatribe vehemently attacking the institutions that administer psychiatric treatment, nonchalantly resumes the usual concerns of his everyday life. At a formal level, Breton’s unconventional prose indeed stirs many minor shocks and tremors in the reader. The insertion of temporally off-kilter photographs and surreal drawings are intended to supersede naturalistic description. However, their effect is to create a form of “negative indexicality” (Masschelein) that subtly undermines the truth claims of the novel. Random coincidences charged through with the attractive force of desire determine the plot while the compressed dream-like narrative strives to recount only those facts of “violently fortuitous character” (Breton, Nadja 19). Strikingly candid revelations perpetually catch the reader off guard. But it is in the novel’s treatment of the city, most specifically, in which we can recognise the evolution of Surrealism’s initial concern for the radically subversive and liberatory potential of the dream into a form of praxis that binds the shock of the marvellous to the historical materialism of Marx and Engels. This praxis unfolds in the novel on a number of levels. By placing its events firmly at the level of the street, Breton privileges the anti-heroic realm of everyday life over the socially hierarchical domain of the bourgeois domestic interior favoured in realist literature. More significantly, the sites of the city encountered in the novel act as repositories of collective memory with the power to rupture the present. As Margaret Cohen comprehensively demonstrates in her impressive study Profane Illumination, the great majority of sites that the narrator traverses in Nadja reveal connections in previous centuries to instances of bohemian activity, violent insurrection or revolutionary events. The enigmatic statue of Étienne Dolet, for example, to which André is inexplicably drawn on his city walks and which produces a sensation of “unbearable discomfort” (25), commemorates a sixteenth-century scholar and writer of love poetry condemned as a heretic and burned at the Place Maubert for his non-conformist attitudes. When Nadja is suddenly gripped by hallucinations and imagines herself among the entourage of Marie-Antoinette, “multiple ghosts of revolutionary violence descend on the Place Dauphine from all sides” (Cohen 101). Similarly, a critique of capitalism emerges in the traversal of those marginal and derelict zones of the city, such as the Saint-Ouen flea market, which become revelatory of the historical cycles of decay and ruination that modernity seeks to repress through its faith in progress. It was this poetic intuition of the machinations of historical materialism, in particular, that captured the attention of Walter Benjamin in his 1929 “Surrealism” essay, in which he says of Breton that: He can boast an extraordinary discovery: he was the first to perceive the revolutionary energies that appear in the “outmoded”—in the first iron constructions, the first factory buildings, the earliest photos, objects that have begun to be extinct, grand pianos, the dresses of five years ago, fashionable restaurants when the vogue has begun to ebb from them. The relation of these things to revolution—no one can have a more exact concept of it than these authors. (210) In the same passage, Benjamin makes passing reference to the Passage de l’Opéra, the nineteenth-century Parisian arcade threatened with demolition and eulogised by Louis Aragon in his Surrealist anti-novel Paris Peasant (published in 1926, two years earlier than Nadja). Loosely structured around a series of walks, Aragon’s book subverts the popular guidebook literature of the period by inventorying the arcade’s quotidian attractions in highly lyrical and imagistic prose. As in Nadja, a concern for the “outmoded” underpins the praxis which informs the politics of the novel although here it functions somewhat differently. As transitional zones on the cusp of redevelopment, the disappearing arcades attract Aragon for their liminal status, becoming malleable dreamscapes where an ontological instability renders them ripe for eruptions of the marvellous. Such sites emerge as “secret repositories of several modern myths,” and “the true sanctuaries of a cult of the ephemeral”. (Aragon 14) City as Dreamscape Contemporary literature increasingly reads Paris Peasant through the lens of psychogeography, and not unproblematically. In his brief guide to psychogeography, British writer Merlin Coverley stresses Aragon’s apparent documentary or ethnographical intentions in describing the arcades. He suggests that the author “rails against the destruction of the city” (75), positing the novel as “a handbook for today’s breed of psychogeographer” (76). The nuances of Aragon’s dream-awakening dialectic, however, are too easily effaced in such an assessment which overlooks the novel’s vertiginous and hyperbolic prose as it consistently approaches an unreality in its ambivalent treatment of the arcades. What is arguably more significant than any documentary concern is Aragon’s commitment to the broader Surrealist quest to transform reality by undermining binary oppositions between waking life and the realm of dreams. As Hal Foster’s reading of the arcades in Surrealism insists: This gaze is not melancholic; the surrealists do not cling obsessively to the relics of the nineteenth-century. Rather it uncovers them for the purposes of resistance through re-enchantment. If we can grasp this dialectic of ruination, recovery, and resistance, we will grasp the intimated ambition of the surrealist practice of history. (166) Unlike Aragon, Breton defended the political position of Surrealism throughout the ebbs and flows of the movement. This notion of “resistance through re-enchantment” retained its significance for Breton as he clung to the radical importance of dreams and the imagination, creative autonomy, and individual freedom over blind obedience to revolutionary parties. Aragon’s allegiance to communism led him to surrender the poetic intoxications of Surrealist prose in favour of the more sombre and austere tone of social realism. By contrast, other early Surrealists like Philippe Soupault contributed novels which deployed the praxis of shock in a less explicitly dialectical fashion. Soupault’s Last Nights of Paris (1928), in particular, responds to the influence of the war in producing a crisis of identity among a generation of young men, a crisis projected or transferred onto the city streets in ways that are revelatory of the author’s attunement to how “places and environment have a profound influence on memory and imagination” (Soupault 91). All the early Surrealists served in the war in varying capacities. In Soupault’s case, the writer “was called up in 1916, used as a guinea pig for a new typhoid vaccine, and spent the rest of the war in and out of hospital. His close friend and cousin, René Deschamps, was killed in action” (Read 22). Memories of the disaster of war assume a submerged presence in Soupault’s novel, buried deep in the psyche of the narrator. Typically, it is the places and sites of the city that act as revenants, stimulating disturbing memories to drift back to the surface which then suffuse the narrator in an atmosphere of melancholy. During the novel’s numerous dérives, the narrator’s detective-like pursuit of his elusive love-object, the young streetwalker Georgette, the tracking of her near-mute artist brother Octave, and the following of the ringleader of a criminal gang, all appear as instances of compensation. Each chase invokes a desire to recover a more significant earlier loss that persistently eludes the narrator. When Soupault’s narrator shadows Octave on a walk that ventures into the city’s industrial zone, recollections of the disaster of war gradually impinge upon his aleatory perambulations. His description evokes two men moving through the trenches together: The least noise was a catastrophe, the least breath a great terror. We walked in the eternal mud. Step by step we sank into the thickness of night, lost as if forever. I turned around several times to look at the way we had come but night alone was behind us. (80) In an article published in 2012, Catherine Howell identifies Last Nights of Paris as “a lyric celebration of the city as spectacle” (67). At times, the narrator indeed surrenders himself to the ocular pleasures of modernity. Observing the Eiffel Tower, he finds delight in “indefinitely varying her silhouette as if I were examining her through a kaleidoscope” (Soupault 30). Yet it is important to stress the role that shock plays in fissuring this veneer of spectacle, especially those evocations of the city that reveal an unnerving desensitisation to the more violent manifestations of the metropolis. Reading a newspaper, the narrator remarks that “the discovery of bags full of limbs, carefully sawed and chopped up” (23) signifies little more than “a commonplace crime” (22). Passing the banks of the Seine provokes “recollection of an evening I had spent lying on the parapet of the Pont Marie watching several lifesavers trying in vain to recover the body of an unfortunate suicide” (10). In his sensitivity to the unassimilable nature of trauma, Soupault intuits a phenomenon which literary trauma theory argues profoundly limits the text’s claim to representation, knowledge, and an autonomous subject. In this sense, Soupault appears less committed than Breton to the idea that the after-effects of shock might be consciously distilled into a form of praxis. Yet this prolongation of an unintegrated trauma still posits shock as a powerful vehicle to critique a society attempting to heal its wounds without addressing their underlying causes. This is typical of Surrealism’s efforts to “dramatize the physical and psychological trauma of a war that everyone wanted to forget so that it would not be swept away too quickly” (Lyford 4). Woman and Radical Madness In her 2007 study, Surrealist Masculinities, Amy Lyford focuses upon the regeneration and nation building project that characterised post-war France and argues that Surrealist tactics sought to dismantle an official discourse that promoted ideals of “robust manhood and female maternity” (4). Viewed against this backdrop, the trope of madness in Surrealism is central to the movement’s disruptive strategies. In Last Nights of Paris, a lingering madness simmers beneath the surface of the text like an undertow, while in other Surrealist texts the lauding of madness, specifically female hysteria, is much more explicit. Indeed, the objectification of the madwoman in Surrealism is among the most problematic aspects of its praxis of shock and one that raises questions over to what extent, if at all, Surrealism and feminism can be reconciled, leading some critics to define the movement as inherently misogynistic. While certainly not unfounded, this critique fails to answer why a broad spectrum of women artists have been drawn to the movement. By contrast, a growing body of work nuances the complexities of the “blinds spots” (Lusty 2) in Surrealism’s relationship with women. Contemporary studies like Natalya Lusty’s Surrealism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis and Katharine Conley’s earlier Automatic Woman both afford greater credit to Surrealism’s female practitioners in redefining their subject position in ways that trouble and unsettle the conventional understanding of women’s role in the movement. The creative and self-reflexive manipulation of madness, for example, proved pivotal to the achievements of Surrealist women. In her short autobiographical novella, Down Below (1944), Leonora Carrington recounts the disturbing true experience of her voyage into madness sparked by the internment of her partner and muse, fellow Surrealist Max Ernst, in a concentration camp in 1940. Committed to a sanatorium in Santander, Spain, Carrington was treated with the seizure inducing drug Cardiazol. Her text presents a startling case study of therapeutic maltreatment that is consistent with Bretonian Surrealism’s critique of the use of psycho-medical methods for the purposes of regulating and disciplining the individual. As well as vividly recalling her intense and frightening hallucinations, Down Below details the author’s descent into a highly paranoid state which, somewhat perversely, heightens her sense of agency and control over her environment. Unable to discern boundaries between her internal reality and that of the external world, Carrington develops a delusional and inflated sense of her ability to influence the city of Madrid: In the political confusion and the torrid heat, I convinced myself that Madrid was the world’s stomach and that I had been chosen for the task of restoring that digestive organ to health […] I believed that I was capable of bearing that dreadful weight and of drawing from it a solution for the world. The dysentery I suffered from later was nothing but the illness of Madrid taking shape in my intestinal tract. (12–13) In this way, Carrington’s extraordinarily visceral memoir embodies what can be described as the Surrealist woman’s “double allegiance” (Suleiman 5) to the praxis of shock. On the one hand, Down Below subversively harnesses the affective qualities of madness in order to manifest textual disturbances and to convey the author’s fierce rebellion against societal constraints. At the same time, the work reveals a more complex and often painful representational struggle inherent in occupying the position of both the subject experiencing madness and the narrator objectively recalling its events, displaying a tension not present in the work of the male Surrealists. The memoir concludes on an ambivalent note as Carrington describes finally becoming “disoccultized” of her madness, awakening to “the mystery with which I was surrounded and which they all seemed to take pleasure in deepening around me” (53). Notwithstanding its ambivalence, Down Below typifies the political and historical dimensions of Surrealism’s struggle against internal and external limits. Yet as early as 1966, Surrealist scholar J.H. Matthews was already cautioning against reaching that point where the term Surrealist “loses any meaning and becomes, as it is for too many, synonymous with ‘strange,’ ‘weird,’ or even ‘fanciful’” (5–6). To re-evaluate the praxis of shock in the Surrealist novel, then, is to seek to reinstate Surrealism as a movement that cannot be reduced to vague adjectives or to mere aesthetic principles. It is to view it as an active force passionately engaged with the pressing social, cultural, and political problems of its time. While the frequent nods to Surrealist methods in contemporary literary genealogies and creative urban research practices such as psychogeography are a testament to its continued allure, the growing failure to read Surrealism as political is one of the more contradictory symptoms of the expanding temporal distance from the catastrophic events from which the movement emerged. As it becomes increasingly common to draw links between disaster, creativity, and renewal, the shifting sands of the reception of Surrealism are a reminder of the need to resist domesticating movements born from such circ*mstances in ways that blunt their critical faculties and dull the awakening power of their praxis of shock. To do otherwise is to be left with little more than cheap thrills. References Aragon, Louis. Paris Peasant (1926). Trans. Simon Watson Taylor. Boston: Exact Change, 1994. Benjamin, Walter. “Surrealism: The Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia” (1929). Trans. Edmund Jephcott. Walter Benjamin Selected Writings, Volume 2, Part I, 1927–1930. Eds. Michael W. Jennings, Howard Eiland, and Gary Smith. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap P, 2005. Breton, André. “Manifesto of Surrealism” (1924). Manifestoes of Surrealism. Trans. Richard Seaver and Helen R. Lane. Ann Arbor, MI: U of Michigan P, 1990. ———. Nadja (1928). Trans. Richard Howard. New York: Grove P, 1960. Breton, André, and Philippe Soupault. The Magnetic Fields (1920). Trans. David Gascoyne. London: Atlas P, 1985. Carrington, Leonora. Down Below (1944). Chicago: Black Swan P, 1983. Cohen, Margaret. Profane Illumination: Walter Benjamin and the Paris of Surrealist Revolution. Berkeley, CA: U of California P, 1993. Conley, Katharine. Automatic Woman: The Representation of Woman in Surrealism. Lincoln, NE: U of Nebraska P, 1996. Coverley, Merlin. Psychogeography. Harpenden: Pocket Essentials, 2010. Foster, Hal. Compulsive Beauty. Cambridge, MA: MIT P, 1993. Gascoyne, David. “Introduction.” The Magnetic Fields (1920) by André Breton and Philippe Soupault. Trans. David Gascoyne. London: Atlas P, 1985. Howell, Catherine. “City of Night: Parisian Explorations.” Public: Civic Spectacle 45 (2012): 64–77. Lusty, Natalya. Surrealism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007. Lyford, Amy. Surrealist Masculinities: Gender Anxiety and the Aesthetics of Post-World War I Reconstruction in France. Berkeley, CA: U of California P, 2007. Masschelein, Anneleen. “Hand in Glove: Negative Indexicality in André Breton’s Nadja and W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz.” Searching for Sebald: Photography after W.G. Sebald. Ed. Lise Patt. Los Angeles, CA: ICI P, 2007. 360–87. Matthews, J.H. Surrealism and the Novel. Ann Arbor, MI: U of Michigan P, 1996. Rasmussen, Mikkel Bolt. “The Situationist International, Surrealism and the Difficult Fusion of Art and Politics.” Oxford Art Journal 27.3 (2004): 365–87. Read, Peter. “Poets out of Uniform.” Book Review. The Times Literary Supplement. 15 Mar. 2002: 22. Shattuck, Roger. “Love and Laughter: Surrealism Reappraised.” The History of Surrealism. Ed. Maurice Nadeau. Trans. Richard Howard. New York: Penguin Books, 1978. 11–34. Solnit, Rebecca. Wanderlust: A History of Walking. London: Verso, 2002. Soupault, Philippe. Last Nights of Paris (1928). Trans. William Carlos Williams. Boston: Exact Change, 1992. Suleiman, Susan Robin. “Surrealist Black Humour: Masculine/Feminine.” Papers of Surrealism 1 (2003): 1–11. 20 Feb. 2013 ‹http://www.surrealismcentre.ac.uk/papersofsurrealism/journal1›.

42

Cruikshank, Lauren. "Synaestheory: Fleshing Out a Coalition of Senses." M/C Journal 13, no.6 (November25, 2010). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.310.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Everyone thinks I named my cat Mango because of his orange eyes but that’s not the case. I named him Mango because the sounds of his purrs and his wheezes and his meows are all various shades of yellow-orange. (Mass 3) Synaesthesia, a condition where stimulus in one sense is perceived in that sense as well as in another, is thought to be a neurological fluke, marked by cross-sensory reactions. Mia, a character in the children’s book A Mango-Shaped Space, has audition colorée or coloured hearing, the most common form of synaesthesia where sounds create dynamic coloured photisms in the visual field. Others with the condition may taste shapes (Cytowic 5), feel colours (Duffy 52), taste sounds (Cytowic 118) or experience a myriad of other sensory combinations. Most non-synaesthetes have never heard of synaesthesia and many treat the condition with disbelief upon learning of it, while synaesthetes are often surprised to hear that others don’t have it. Although there has been a resurgence of interest in synaesthesia recently in psychology, neuroscience and philosophy (Ward and Mattingley 129), there is no widely accepted explanation for how or why synaesthetic perception occurs. However, if we investigate what meaning this particular condition may offer for rethinking not only what constitutes sensory normalcy, but also the ocular-centric bias in cultural studies, especially media studies, synaesthesia may present us with very productive coalitions indeed.Some theorists posit the ultimate role of media of all forms “to transfer sense experiences from one person to another” (Bolter and Grusin 3). Alongside this claim, many “have also maintained that the ultimate function of literature and the arts is to manifest this fusion of the senses” found in synaesthesia (Dann ix). If the most primary of media aims are to fuse and transfer sensory experiences, manifesting these goals would be akin to transferring synaesthetic experience to non-synaesthetes. In some cases, this synaesthetic transfer has been the explicit goal of media forms, from the invention of kaleidoscopes as colour symphonies in 1818 (Dann 66) to the 2002 launch of the video game Rez, the packaging for which reads “Discover a new world. A world of sound, visuals and vibrations. Release your instincts, open your senses and experience synaesthesia” (Rez). Recent innovations such as touch screen devices, advances in 3D film and television technologies and a range of motion-sensing video gaming consoles extend media experience far beyond the audio-visual and as such, present both serious challenges and important opportunities for media and culture scholars to reinvigorate ways of thinking about media experience, sensory embodiment and what might be learned from engaging with synaesthesia. Fleshing out the Field While acknowledging synaesthesia as a specific condition that enhances and complicates the lives of many individuals, I also suggest that synaesthesia is a useful mode of interference into our current ocular-centric notions of culture. Vision and visual phenomena hold a particularly powerful role in producing and negotiating meanings, values and relationships in the contemporary cultural arena and as a result, the eye has become privileged as the “master sense of the modern era” (Jay Scopic 3). Proponents of visual culture claim that the majority of modern life takes place through sight and that “human experience is now more visual and visualized than ever before ... in this swirl of imagery, seeing is much more than believing. It is not just a part of everyday life, it is everyday life” (Mirzoeff 1). In order to enjoy this privilege as the master sense, vision has been disentangled from the muscles and nerves of the eyeball and relocated to the “mind’s eye”, a metaphor that equates a kind of disembodied vision with knowledge. Vision becomes the most non-sensual of the senses, and made to appear “as a negative reference point for the other senses...on the side of detachment, separation” (Connor) or even “as the absence of sensuality” (Haraway). This creates a paradoxical “visual culture” in which the embodied eye is, along with the ear, skin, tongue and nose, strangely absent. If visual culture has been based on the separation of the senses, and in fact, a refutation of embodied senses altogether, what about that which we might encounter and know in the world that is not encompassed by the mind’s eye? By silencing the larger sensory context, what are we missing? What ocular-centric assumptions have we been making? What responsibilities have we ignored?This critique does not wish to do away with the eye, but instead to re-embrace and extend the field of vision to include an understanding of the eye and what it sees within the context of its embodied abilities and limitations. Although the mechanics of the eye make it an important and powerful sensory organ, able to perceive at a distance and provide a wealth of information about our surroundings, it is also prone to failures. Equipped as it is with eyelids and blind spots, reliant upon light and gullible to optical illusions (Jay, Downcast 4), the eye has its weaknesses and these must be addressed along with its abilities. Moreover, by focusing only on what is visual in culture, we are missing plenty of import. The study of visual culture is not unlike studying an electrical storm from afar. The visually impressive jagged flash seems the principal aspect of the storm and quite separate from the rumbling sound that rolls after it. We perceive them and name them as two distinct phenomena; thunder and lightning. However, this separation is a feature only of the distance between where we stand and the storm. Those who have found themselves in the eye of an electrical storm know that the sight of the bolt, the sound of the crash, the static tingling and vibration of the crack and the smell of ozone are mingled. At a remove, the bolt appears separate from the noise only artificially because of the safe distance. The closer we are to the phenomenon, the more completely it envelops us. Although getting up close and personal with an electrical storm may not be as comfortable as viewing it from afar, it does offer the opportunity to better understand the total experience and the thrill of intensities it can engage across the sensory palette. Similarly, the false separation of the visual from the rest of embodied experience may be convenient, but in order to flesh out this field, other embodied senses and sensory coalitions must be reclaimed for theorising practices. The senses as they are traditionally separated are simply put, false categories. Towards SynaestheoryAny inquiry inspired by synaesthesia must hold at its core the idea that the senses cannot be responsibly separated. This notion applies firstly to the separation of senses from one another. Synaesthetic experience and experiment both insist that there is rich cross-fertility between senses in synaesthetes and non-synaesthetes alike. The French verb sentir is instructive here, as it can mean “to smell”, “to taste” or “to feel”, depending on the context it is used in. It can also mean simply “to sense” or “to be aware of”. In fact, the origin of the phrase “common sense” meant exactly that, the point at which the senses meet. There also must be recognition that the senses cannot be separated from cognition or, in the Cartesian sense, that body and mind cannot be divided. An extensive and well-respected study of synaesthesia conducted in the 1920s by Raymond Wheeler and Thomas Cutsforth, non-synaesthetic and synaesthetic researchers respectively, revealed that the condition was not only a quirk of perception, but of conception. Synaesthetic activity, the team deduced “is an essential mechanism in the construction of meaning that functions in the same way as certain unattended processes in non-synaesthetes” (Dann 82). With their synaesthetic imagery impaired, synaesthetes are unable to do even a basic level of thinking or recalling (Dann, Cytowic). In fact, synaesthesia may be a universal process, but in synaesthetes, “a brain process that is normally unconscious becomes bared to consciousness so that synaesthetes know they are synaesthetic while the rest of us do not” (166). Maurice Merleau-Ponty agrees, claiming:Synaesthetic perception is the rule, and we are unaware of it only because scientific knowledge shifts the centre of gravity of experience, so that we unlearn how to see, hear, and generally speaking, feel in order to deduce, from our bodily organisation and the world as the physicist conceives it, what we are to see, hear and feel. (229) With this in mind, neither the mind’s role nor the body’s role in synaesthesia can be isolated, since the condition itself maintains unequivocally that the two are one.The rich and rewarding correlations between senses in synaesthesia prompt us to consider sensory coalitions in other experiences and contexts as well. We are urged to consider flows of sensation seriously as experiences in and of themselves, with or without interpretation and explanation. As well, the debates around synaesthetic experience remind us that in order to speak to phenomena perceived and conceived it is necessary to recognise the specificities, ironies and responsibilities of any embodied experience. Ultimately, synaesthesia helps to highlight the importance of relationships and the complexity of concepts necessary in order to practice a more embodied and articulate theorising. We might call this more inclusive approach “synaestheory”.Synaestheorising MediaDystopia, a series of photographs by artists Anthony Aziz and Sammy Cucher suggests a contemporary take on Decartes’s declaration that “I will now close my eyes, I will stop my ears, I will turn away my senses from their objects” (86). These photographs consist of digitally altered faces where the subject’s skin has been stretched over the openings of eyes, nose, mouth and ears, creating an interesting image both in process and in product. The product of a media mix that incorporates photography and computer modification, this image suggests the effects of the separation from our senses that these media may imply. The popular notion that media allow us to surpass our bodies and meet without our “meat” tagging along is a trope that Aziz and Cucher expose here with their computer-generated cover-up. By sealing off the senses, they show us how little we now seem to value them in a seemingly virtual, post-embodied world. If “hybrid media require hybrid analyses” (Lunenfeld in Graham 158), in our multimedia, mixed media, “mongrel media” (Dovey 114) environment, we need mongrel theory, synaestheory, to begin to discuss the complexities at hand. The goal here is producing an understanding of both media and sensory intelligences as hybrid. Symptomatic of our simple sense of media is our tendency to refer to media experiences as “audio-visual”: stimuli for the ear, eye or both. However, even if media are engineered to be predominately audio and/or visual, we are not. Synaestheory examines embodied media use, including the sensory information that the media does not claim to concentrate on, but that is still engaged and present in every mediated experience. It also examines embodied media use by paying attention to the pops and clicks of the material human-media interface. It does not assume simple sensory engagement or smooth engagement with media. These bumps, blisters, misfirings and errors are just as crucial a part of embodied media practice as smooth and successful interactions. Most significantly, synaesthesia insists simply that sensation matters. Sensory experiences are material, rich, emotional, memorable and important to the one sensing them, synaesthete or not. This declaration contradicts a legacy of distrust of the sensory in academic discourse that privileges the more intellectual and abstract, usually in the form of the detached text. However, academic texts are sensory too, of course. Sound, feeling, movement and sight are all inseparable from reading and writing, speaking and listening. We might do well to remember these as root sensory situations and by extension, recognise the importance of other sensual forms.Indeed, we have witnessed a rise of media genres that appeal to our senses first with brilliant and detailed visual and audio information, and story or narrative second, if at all. These media are “direct and one-dimensional, about little, other than their ability to commandeer the sight and the senses” (Darley 76). Whereas any attention to the construction of the media product is a disastrous distraction in narrative-centred forms, spectacular media reveals and revels in artifice and encourages the spectator to enjoy the simulation as part of the work’s allure. It is “a pleasure of control, but also of being controlled” (MacTavish 46). Like viewing abstract art, the impact of the piece will be missed if we are obsessed with what the artwork “is about”. Instead, we can reflect on spectacular media’s ability, like that of an abstract artwork, to impact our senses and as such, “renew the present” (Cubitt 32).In this framework, participation in any medium can be enjoyed not only as an interpretative opportunity, but also as an experience of sensory dexterity and relevance with its own pleasures and intelligences; a “being-present”. By focusing our attention on sensory flows, we may be able to perceive aspects of the world or ourselves that we had previously missed. Every one of us–synaesthete or nonsynaesthete–has a unique blueprint of reality, a unique way of coding knowledge that is different from any other on earth [...] By quieting down the habitually louder parts of our mind and turning the dial of our attention to its darker, quieter places, we may hear our personal code’s unique and usually unheard “song”, needing the touch of our attention to turn up its volume. (Duffy 123)This type of presence to oneself has been termed a kind of “perfect immediacy” and is believed to be cultivated through meditation or other sensory-focused experiences such as sex (Bolter and Grusin 260), art (Cubitt 32), drugs (Dann 184) or even physical pain (Gromala 233). Immersive media could also be added to this list, if as Bolter and Grusin suggest, we now “define immediacy as being in the presence of media” (236). In this case, immediacy has become effectively “media-cy.”A related point is the recognition of sensation’s transitory nature. Synaesthetic experiences and sensory experiences are vivid and dynamic. They do not persist. Instead, they flow through us and disappear, despite any attempts to capture them. You cannot stop or relive pure sound, for example (Gross). If you stop it, you silence it. If you relive it, you are experiencing another rendition, different even if almost imperceptibly from the last time you heard it. Media themselves are increasingly transitory and shifting phenomena. As media forms emerge and fall into obsolescence, spawning hybrid forms and spinoffs, the stories and memories safely fixed into any given media become outmoded and ultimately inaccessible very quickly. This trend towards flow over fixation is also informed by an embodied understanding of our own existence. Our sensations flow through us as we flow through the world. Synaesthesia reminds us that all sensation and indeed all sensory beings are dynamic. Despite our rampant lust for statis (Haraway), it is important to theorise with the recognition that bodies, media and sensations all flow through time and space, emerging and disintegrating. Finally, synaesthesia also encourages an always-embodied understanding of ourselves and our interactions with our environment. In media experiences that traditionally rely on vision the body is generally not only denied, but repressed (Balsamo 126). Claims to disembodiment flood the rhetoric around new media as an emancipatory element of mediated experience and somehow, seeing is superimposed on embodied being to negate it. However phenomena such as migraines, sensory release hallucinations, photo-memory, after-images, optical illusions and most importantly here, the “crosstalk” of synaesthesia (Cohen Kadosh et al. 489) all attest to the co-involvement of the body and brain in visual experience. Perhaps useful here for understanding media involvement in light of synaestheory is a philosophy of “mingled bodies” (Connor), where the world and its embodied agents intermingle. There are no discrete divisions, but plenty of translation and transfer. As Sean Cubitt puts it, “the world, after all, touches us at the same moment that we touch it” (37). We need to employ non-particulate metaphors that do away with the dichotomies of mind/body, interior/exterior and real/virtual. A complex embodied entity is not an object or even a series of objects, but embodiment work. “Each sense is in fact a nodal cluster, a clump, confection or bouquet of all the other senses, a mingling of the modalities of mingling [...] the skin encompasses, implies, pockets up all the other sense organs: but in doing so, it stands as a model for the way in which all the senses in their turn also invagin*te all the others” (Connor). The danger here is of delving into a nostalgic discussion of a sort of “sensory unity before the fall” (Dann 94). The theory that we are all synaesthetes in some ways can lead to wistfulness for a perfect fusion of our senses, a kind of synaesthetic sublime that we had at one point, but lost. This loss occurs in childhood in some theories, (Maurer and Mondloch) and in our aboriginal histories in others (Dann 101). This longing for “original syn” is often done within a narrative that equates perfect sensory union with a kind of transcendence from the physical world. Dann explains that “during the modern upsurge in interest that has spanned the decades from McLuhan to McKenna, synaesthesia has continued to fulfil a popular longing for metaphors of transcendence” (180). This is problematic, since elevating the sensory to the sublime does no more service to understanding our engagements with the world than ignoring or degrading the sensory. Synaestheory does not tolerate a simplification of synaesthesia or any condition as a ticket to transcendence beyond the body and world that it is necessarily grounded in and responsible to. At the same time, it operates with a scheme of senses that are not a collection of separate parts, but blended; a field of intensities, a corporeal coalition of senses. It likewise refuses to participate in the false separation of body and mind, perception and cognition. More useful and interesting is to begin with metaphors that assume complexity without breaking phenomena into discrete pieces. This is the essence of a new anti-separatist synaestheory, a way of thinking through embodied humans in relationships with media and culture that promises to yield more creative, relevant and ethical theorising than the false isolation of one sense or the irresponsible disregard of the sensorium altogether.ReferencesAziz, Anthony, and Sammy Cucher. Dystopia. 1994. 15 Sep. 2010 ‹http://www.azizcucher.net/1994.php>. Balsamo, Anne. “The Virtual Body in Cyberspace.” Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading Cyborg Women. Durham: Duke UP, 1997. 116-32.Bolter, Jay David, and Richard Grusin. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999.Cohen Kadosh, Roi, Avishai Henik, and Vincent Walsh. “Synaesthesia: Learned or Lost?” Developmental Science 12.3 (2009): 484-491.Connor, Steven. “Michel Serres’ Five Senses.” Michel Serres Conference. Birkbeck College, London. May 1999. 5 Oct. 2010 ‹http://www.bbk.ac.uk/eh/skc/5senses.htm>. Cubitt, Sean. “It’s Life, Jim, But Not as We Know It: Rolling Backwards into the Future.” Fractal Dreams: New Media in Social Context. Ed. Jon Dovey. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1996. 31-58.Cytowic, Richard E. The Man Who Tasted Shapes: A Bizarre Medical Mystery Offers Revolutionary Insights into Emotions, Reasoning and Consciousness. New York: Putnam Books, 1993.Dann, Kevin T. Bright Colors Falsely Seen: Synaesthesia and the Search for Transcendental Knowledge. New Haven: Yale UP, 1998.Darley, Andrew. Visual Digital Culture: Surface Play and Spectacle in New Media Genres. London: Routledge, 2000.Descartes, Rene. Discourse on Method and the Meditations. Trans. Johnn Veitch. New York: Prometheus Books, 1989.Dovey, Jon. “The Revelation of Unguessed Worlds.” Fractal Dreams: New Media in Social Context. Ed. Jon Dovey. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1996. 109-35. Duffy, Patricia Lynne. Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: How Synesthetes Color Their Worlds. New York: Times Books, 2001.Graham, Beryl. “Playing with Yourself: Pleasure and Interactive Art.” Fractal Dreams: New Media in Social Context. Ed. Jon Dovey. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1996. 154-81.Gromala, Diana. "Pain and Subjectivity in Virtual Reality." Clicking In: Hot Links to a Digital Culture. Ed. Lynn Hershman Leeson. Seattle: Bay Press, 1996. 222-37.Haraway, Donna. “At the Interface of Nature and Culture.” Seminar. European Graduate School. Saas-Fee, Switzerland, 17-19 Jun. 2003.Jay, Martin. Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth Century French Thought. Berkeley: University of California P, 1993.Jay, Martin. "Scopic Regimes of Modernity." Hal Foster, Ed. Vision and Visuality. New York: Dia Art Foundation, 1988. 2-23.MacTavish. Andrew. “Technological Pleasure: The Performance and Narrative of Technology in Half-Life and other High-Tech Computer Games.” ScreenPlay: Cinema/Videogames/Interfaces. Eds. Geoff King and Tanya Krzywinska. London: Wallflower P, 2002. Mass, Wendy. A Mango-Shaped Space. Little, Brown and Co., 2003.Maurer, Daphne, and Catherine J. Mondloch. “Neonatal Synaesthesia: A Re-Evaluation.” Eds. Lynn C. Robertson and Noam Sagiv. Synaesthesia: Perspectives from Cognitive Neuroscience. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005.Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of Perception. Trans. Colin Smith. London: Routledge, 1989.Mirzoeff, Nicholas. “What Is Visual Culture?” The Visual Culture Reader. Ed. Nicholas Mirzoeff. London: Routledge, 1998. 3-13.Rez. United Game Artists. Playstation 2. 2002.Stafford, Barbara Maria. Good Looking: Essays on the Virtue of Images. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996.Ward, Jamie, and Jason B. Mattingley. “Synaesthesia: An Overview of Contemporary Findings and Controversies.” Cortex 42.2 (2006): 129-136.

43

Mac Con Iomaire, Máirtín. "Towards a Structured Approach to Reading Historic Cookbooks." M/C Journal 16, no.3 (June23, 2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.649.

Full text

APA, Harvard, Vancouver, ISO, and other styles

Abstract:

Introduction Cookbooks are an exceptional written record of what is largely an oral tradition. They have been described as “magician’s hats” due to their ability to reveal much more than they seem to contain (Wheaton, “Finding”). The first book printed in Germany was the Guttenberg Bible in 1456 but, by 1490, printing was introduced into almost every European country (Tierney). The spread of literacy between 1500 and 1800, and the rise in silent reading, helped to create a new private sphere into which the individual could retreat, seeking refuge from the community (Chartier). This new technology had its effects in the world of cookery as in so many spheres of culture (Mennell, All Manners). Trubek notes that cookbooks are the texts most often used by culinary historians, since they usually contain all the requisite materials for analysing a cuisine: ingredients, method, technique, and presentation. Printed cookbooks, beginning in the early modern period, provide culinary historians with sources of evidence of the culinary past. Historians have argued that social differences can be expressed by the way and type of food we consume. Cookbooks are now widely accepted as valid socio-cultural and historic documents (Folch, Sherman), and indeed the link between literacy levels and the protestant tradition has been expressed through the study of Danish cookbooks (Gold). From Apicius, Taillevent, La Varenne, and Menon to Bradley, Smith, Raffald, Acton, and Beeton, how can both manuscript and printed cookbooks be analysed as historic documents? What is the difference between a manuscript and a printed cookbook? Barbara Ketchum Wheaton, who has been studying cookbooks for over half a century and is honorary curator of the culinary collection in Harvard’s Schlesinger Library, has developed a methodology to read historic cookbooks using a structured approach. For a number of years she has been giving seminars to scholars from multidisciplinary fields on how to read historic cookbooks. This paper draws on the author’s experiences attending Wheaton’s seminar in Harvard, and on supervising the use of this methodology at both Masters and Doctoral level (Cashman; Mac Con Iomaire, and Cashman). Manuscripts versus Printed Cookbooks A fundamental difference exists between manuscript and printed cookbooks in their relationship with the public and private domain. Manuscript cookbooks are by their very essence intimate, relatively unedited and written with an eye to private circulation. Culinary manuscripts follow the diurnal and annual tasks of the household. They contain recipes for cures and restoratives, recipes for cleansing products for the house and the body, as well as the expected recipes for cooking and preserving all manners of food. Whether manuscript or printed cookbook, the recipes contained within often act as a reminder of how laborious the production of food could be in the pre-industrialised world (White). Printed cookbooks draw oxygen from the very fact of being public. They assume a “literate population with sufficient discretionary income to invest in texts that commodify knowledge” (Folch). This process of commoditisation brings knowledge from the private to the public sphere. There exists a subset of cookbooks that straddle this divide, for example, Mrs. Rundell’s A New System of Domestic Cookery (1806), which brought to the public domain her distillation of a lifetime of domestic experience. Originally intended for her daughters alone, Rundell’s book was reprinted regularly during the nineteenth century with the last edition printed in 1893, when Mrs. Beeton had been enormously popular for over thirty years (Mac Con Iomaire, and Cashman). Barbara Ketchum Wheaton’s Structured Approach Cookbooks can be rewarding, surprising and illuminating when read carefully with due effort in understanding them as cultural artefacts. However, Wheaton notes that: “One may read a single old cookbook and find it immensely entertaining. One may read two and begin to find intriguing similarities and differences. When the third cookbook is read, one’s mind begins to blur, and one begins to sense the need for some sort of method in approaching these documents” (“Finding”). Following decades of studying cookbooks from both sides of the Atlantic and writing a seminal text on the French at table from 1300-1789 (Wheaton, Savouring the Past), this combined experience negotiating cookbooks as historical documents was codified, and a structured approach gradually articulated and shared within a week long seminar format. In studying any cookbook, regardless of era or country of origin, the text is broken down into five different groupings, to wit: ingredients; equipment or facilities; the meal; the book as a whole; and, finally, the worldview. A particular strength of Wheaton’s seminars is the multidisciplinary nature of the approaches of students who attend, which throws the study of cookbooks open to wide ranging techniques. Students with a purely scientific training unearth interesting patterns by developing databases of the frequency of ingredients or techniques, and cross referencing them with other books from similar or different timelines or geographical regions. Patterns are displayed in graphs or charts. Linguists offer their own unique lens to study cookbooks, whereas anthropologists and historians ask what these objects can tell us about how our ancestors lived and drew meaning from life. This process is continuously refined, and each grouping is discussed below. Ingredients The geographic origins of the ingredients are of interest, as is the seasonality and the cost of the foodstuffs within the scope of each cookbook, as well as the sensory quality both separately and combined within different recipes. In the medieval period, the use of spices and large joints of butchers meat and game were symbols of wealth and status. However, when the discovery of sea routes to the New World and to the Far East made spices more available and affordable to the middle classes, the upper classes spurned them. Evidence from culinary manuscripts in Georgian Ireland, for example, suggests that galangal was more easily available in Dublin during the eighteenth century than in the mid-twentieth century. A new aesthetic, articulated by La Varenne in his Le Cuisinier Francois (1651), heralded that food should taste of itself, and so exotic ingredients such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger were replaced by the local bouquet garni, and stocks and sauces became the foundations of French haute cuisine (Mac Con Iomaire). Some combinations of flavours and ingredients were based on humoral physiology, a long held belief system based on the writings of Hippocrates and Galen, now discredited by modern scientific understanding. The four humors are blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. It was believed that each of these humors would wax and wane in the body, depending on diet and activity. Galen (131-201 AD) believed that warm food produced yellow bile and that cold food produced phlegm. It is difficult to fathom some combinations of ingredients or the manner of service without comprehending the contemporary context within they were consumeSome ingredients found in Roman cookbooks, such as “garum” or “silphium” are no longer available. It is suggested that the nearest substitute for garum also known as “liquamen”—a fermented fish sauce—would be Naam Plaa, or Thai fish sauce (Grainger). Ingredients such as tea and white bread, moved from the prerogative of the wealthy over time to become the staple of the urban poor. These ingredients, therefore, symbolise radically differing contexts during the seventeenth century than in the early twentieth century. Indeed, there are other ingredients such as hominy (dried maize kernel treated with alkali) or grahams (crackers made from graham flour) found in American cookbooks that require translation to the unacquainted non-American reader. There has been a growing number of food encyclopaedias published in recent years that assist scholars in identifying such commodities (Smith, Katz, Davidson). The Cook’s Workplace, Techniques, and Equipment It is important to be aware of the type of kitchen equipment used, the management of heat and cold within the kitchen, and also the gradual spread of the industrial revolution into the domestic sphere. Visits to historic castles such as Hampton Court Palace where nowadays archaeologists re-enact life below stairs in Tudor times give a glimpse as to how difficult and labour intensive food production was. Meat was spit-roasted in front of huge fires by spit boys. Forcemeats and purees were manually pulped using mortar and pestles. Various technological developments including spit-dogs, and mechanised pulleys, replaced the spit boys, the most up to date being the mechanised rotisserie. The technological advancements of two hundred years can be seen in the Royal Pavilion in Brighton where Marie-Antoinin Carême worked for the Prince Regent in 1816 (Brighton Pavilion), but despite the gleaming copper pans and high ceilings for ventilation, the work was still back breaking. Carême died aged forty-nine, “burnt out by the flame of his genius and the fumes of his ovens” (Ackerman 90). Mennell points out that his fame outlived him, resting on his books: Le Pâtissier Royal Parisien (1815); Le Pâtissier Pittoresque (1815); Le Maître d’Hôtel Français (1822); Le Cuisinier Parisien (1828); and, finally, L’Art de la Cuisine Française au Dix-Neuvième Siècle (1833–5), which was finished posthumously by his student Pluméry (All Manners). Mennell suggests that these books embody the first paradigm of professional French cuisine (in Kuhn’s terminology), pointing out that “no previous work had so comprehensively codified the field nor established its dominance as a point of reference for the whole profession in the way that Carême did” (All Manners 149). The most dramatic technological changes came after the industrial revolution. Although there were built up ovens available in bakeries and in large Norman households, the period of general acceptance of new cooking equipment that enclosed fire (such as the Aga stove) is from c.1860 to 1910, with gas ovens following in c.1910 to the 1920s) and Electricity from c.1930. New food processing techniques dates are as follows: canning (1860s), cooling and freezing (1880s), freeze drying (1950s), and motorised delivery vans with cooking (1920s–1950s) (den Hartog). It must also be noted that the supply of fresh food, and fish particularly, radically improved following the birth, and expansion of, the railways. To understand the context of the cookbook, one needs to be aware of the limits of the technology available to the users of those cookbooks. For many lower to middle class families during the twentieth century, the first cookbook they would possess came with their gas or electrical oven. Meals One can follow cooked dishes from the kitchen to the eating place, observing food presentation, carving, sequencing, and serving of the meal and table etiquette. Meal times and structure changed over time. During the Middle Ages, people usually ate two meals a day: a substantial dinner around noon and a light supper in the evening (Adamson). Some of the most important factors to consider are the manner in which meals were served: either à la française or à la russe. One of the main changes that occurred during the nineteenth century was the slow but gradual transfer from service à la française to service à la russe. From medieval times to the middle of the nineteenth century the structure of a formal meal was not by “courses”—as the term is now understood—but by “services”. Each service could comprise of a choice of dishes—both sweet and savoury—from which each guest could select what appealed to him or her most (Davidson). The philosophy behind this form of service was the forementioned humoral physiology— where each diner chose food based on the four humours of blood, yellow bile, black bile, or phlegm. Also known as le grand couvert, the à la française method made it impossible for the diners to eat anything that was beyond arm’s length (Blake, and Crewe). Smooth service, however, was the key to an effective à la russe dinner since servants controlled the flow of food (Eatwell). The taste and temperature of food took centre stage with the à la russe dinner as each course came in sequence. Many historic cookbooks offer table plans illustrating the suggested arrangement of dishes on a table for the à la française style of service. Many of these dishes might be re-used in later meals, and some dishes such as hashes and rissoles often utilised left over components of previous meals. There is a whole genre of cookbooks informing the middle class cooks how to be frugal and also how to emulate haute cuisine using cheaper or ersatz ingredients. The number dining and the manner in which they dined also changed dramatically over time. From medieval to Tudor times, there might be hundreds dining in large banqueting halls. By the Elizabethan age, a small intimate room where master and family dined alone replaced the old dining hall where master, servants, guests, and travellers had previously dined together (Spencer). Dining tables remained portable until the 1780s when tables with removable leaves were devised. By this time, the bread trencher had been replaced by one made of wood, or plate of pewter or precious metal in wealthier houses. Hosts began providing knives and spoons for their guests by the seventeenth century, with forks also appearing but not fully accepted until the eighteenth century (Mason). These silver utensils were usually marked with the owner’s initials to prevent their theft (Flandrin). Cookbooks as Objects and the World of Publishing A thorough examination of the manuscript or printed cookbook can reveal their physical qualities, including indications of post-publication history, the recipes and other matter in them, as well as the language, organization, and other individual qualities. What can the quality of the paper tell us about the book? Is there a frontispiece? Is the book dedicated to an employer or a patron? Does the author note previous employment history in the introduction? In his Court Cookery, Robert Smith, for example, not only mentions a number of his previous employers, but also outlines that he was eight years working with Patrick Lamb in the Court of King William, before revealing that several dishes published in Lamb’s Royal Cookery (1710) “were never made or practis’d (sic) by him and others are extreme defective and imperfect and made up of dishes unknown to him; and several of them more calculated at the purses than the Gôut of the guests”. Both Lamb and Smith worked for the English monarchy, nobility, and gentry, but produced French cuisine. Not all Britons were enamoured with France, however, with, for example Hannah Glasse asserting “if gentlemen will have French cooks, they must pay for French tricks” (4), and “So much is the blind folly of this age, that they would rather be imposed on by a French Booby, than give encouragement to an good English cook” (ctd. in Trubek 60). Spencer contextualises Glasse’s culinary Francophobia, explaining that whilst she was writing the book, the Jacobite army were only a few days march from London, threatening to cut short the Hanoverian lineage. However, Lehmann points out that whilst Glasse was overtly hostile to French cuisine, she simultaneously plagiarised its receipts. Based on this trickling down of French influences, Mennell argues that “there is really no such thing as a pure-bred English cookery book” (All Manners 98), but that within the assimilation and simplification, a recognisable English style was discernable. Mennell also asserts that Glasse and her fellow women writers had an enormous role in the social history of cooking despite their lack of technical originality (“Plagiarism”). It is also important to consider the place of cookbooks within the history of publishing. Albala provides an overview of the immense outpouring of dietary literature from the printing presses from the 1470s. He divides the Renaissance into three periods: Period I Courtly Dietaries (1470–1530)—targeted at the courtiers with advice to those attending banquets with many courses and lots of wine; Period II The Galenic Revival (1530–1570)—with a deeper appreciation, and sometimes adulation, of Galen, and when scholarship took centre stage over practical use. Finally Period III The Breakdown of Orthodoxy (1570–1650)—when, due to the ambiguities and disagreements within and between authoritative texts, authors were freer to pick the ideas that best suited their own. Nutrition guides were consistent bestsellers, and ranged from small handbooks written in the vernacular for lay audiences, to massive Latin tomes intended for practicing physicians. Albala adds that “anyone with an interest in food appears to have felt qualified to pen his own nutritional guide” (1). Would we have heard about Mrs. Beeton if her husband had not been a publisher? How could a twenty-five year old amass such a wealth of experience in household management? What role has plagiarism played in the history of cookbooks? It is interesting to note that a well worn copy of her book (Beeton) was found in the studio of Francis Bacon and it is suggested that he drew inspiration for a number of his paintings from the colour plates of animal carcasses and butcher’s meat (Dawson). Analysing the post-publication usage of cookbooks is valuable to see the most popular recipes, the annotations left by the owner(s) or user(s), and also if any letters, handwritten recipes, or newspaper clippings are stored within the leaves of the cookbook. The Reader, the Cook, the Eater The physical and inner lives and needs and skills of the individuals who used cookbooks and who ate their meals merit consideration. Books by their nature imply literacy. Who is the book’s audience? Is it the cook or is it the lady of the house who will dictate instructions to the cook? Numeracy and measurement is also important. Where clocks or pocket watches were not widely available, authors such as seventeenth century recipe writer Sir Kenelm Digby would time his cooking by the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. Literacy amongst protestant women to enable them to read the Bible, also enabled them to read cookbooks (Gold). How did the reader or eater’s religion affect the food practices? Were there fast days? Were there substitute foods for fast days? What about special occasions? Do historic cookbooks only tell us about the food of the middle and upper classes? It is widely accepted today that certain cookbook authors appeal to confident cooks, while others appeal to competent cooks, and others still to more cautious cooks (Bilton). This has always been the case, as has the differentiation between the cookbook aimed at the professional cook rather than the amateur. Historically, male cookbook authors such as Patrick Lamb (1650–1709) and Robert Smith targeted the professional cook market and the nobility and gentry, whereas female authors such as Eliza Acton (1799–1859) and Isabella Beeton (1836–1865) often targeted the middle class market that aspired to emulate their superiors’ fashions in food and dining. How about Tavern or Restaurant cooks? When did they start to put pen to paper, and did what they wrote reflect the food they produced in public eateries? Conclusions This paper has offered an overview of Barbara Ketchum Wheaton’s methodology for reading historic cookbooks using a structured approach. It has highlighted some of the questions scholars and researchers might ask when faced with an old cookbook, regardless of era or geographical location. By systematically examining the book under the headings of ingredients; the cook’s workplace, techniques and equipment; the meals; cookbooks as objects and the world of publishing; and reader, cook and eater, the scholar can perform magic and extract much more from the cookbook than seems to be there on first appearance. References Ackerman, Roy. The Chef's Apprentice. London: Headline, 1988. Adamson, Melitta Weiss. Food in Medieval Times. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood P, 2004. Albala, Ken. Eating Right in the Renaissance. Ed. Darra Goldstein. Berkeley: U of California P, 2002. Beeton, Isabella. Beeton's Book of Household Management. London: S. Beeton, 1861. Bilton, Samantha. “The Influence of Cookbooks on Domestic Cooks, 1900-2010.” Petit Propos Culinaires 94 (2011): 30–7. Blake, Anthony, and Quentin Crewe. Great Chefs of France. London: Mitchell Beazley/ Artists House, 1978. Brighton Pavilion. 12 Jun. 2013 ‹http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/interactive/2011/sep/09/brighton-pavilion-360-interactive-panoramic›. Cashman, Dorothy. “An Exploratory Study of Irish Cookbooks.” Unpublished Master's Thesis. M.Sc. Dublin: Dublin Institute of Technology, 2009. Chartier, Roger. “The Practical Impact of Writing.” Trans. Arthur Goldhammer. A History of Private Lives: Volume III: Passions of the Renaissance. Ed. Roger Chartier. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap P of Harvard U, 1989. 111-59. Davidson, Alan. The Oxford Companion to Food. New York: Oxford U P, 1999. Dawson, Barbara. “Francis Bacon and the Art of Food.” The Irish Times 6 April 2013. den Hartog, Adel P. “Technological Innovations and Eating out as a Mass Phenomenon in Europe: A Preamble.” Eating out in Europe: Picnics, Gourmet Dining and Snacks since the Late Eighteenth Century. Eds. Mark Jacobs and Peter Scholliers. Oxford: Berg, 2003. 263–80. Eatwell, Ann. “Á La Française to À La Russe, 1680-1930.” Elegant Eating: Four Hundred Years of Dining in Style. Eds. Philippa Glanville and Hilary Young. London: V&A, 2002. 48–52. Flandrin, Jean-Louis. “Distinction through Taste.” Trans. Arthur Goldhammer. A History of Private Lives: Volume III : Passions of the Renaissance. Ed. Roger Chartier. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap P of Harvard U, 1989. 265–307. Folch, Christine. “Fine Dining: Race in Pre-revolution Cuban Cookbooks.” Latin American Research Review 43.2 (2008): 205–23. Glasse, Hannah. The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy; Which Far Exceeds Anything of the Kind Ever Published. 4th Ed. London: The Author, 1745. Gold, Carol. Danish Cookbooks: Domesticity and National Identity, 1616-1901. Seattle: U of Washington P, 2007. Grainger, Sally. Cooking Apicius: Roman Recipes for Today. Totnes, Devon: Prospect, 2006. Hampton Court Palace. “The Tudor Kitchens.” 12 Jun 2013 ‹http://www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace/stories/thetudorkitchens› Katz, Solomon H. Ed. Encyclopedia of Food and Culture (3 Vols). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003. Kuhn, T. S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1962. Lamb, Patrick. Royal Cookery:Or. The Complete Court-Cook. London: Abel Roper, 1710. Lehmann, Gilly. “English Cookery Books in the 18th Century.” The Oxford Companion to Food. Ed. Alan Davidson. Oxford: Oxford U P, 1999. 277–9. Mac Con Iomaire, Máirtín. “The Changing Geography and Fortunes of Dublin’s Haute Cuisine Restaurants 1958–2008.” Food, Culture & Society 14.4 (2011): 525–45. Mac Con Iomaire, Máirtín, and Dorothy Cashman. “Irish Culinary Manuscripts and Printed Cookbooks: A Discussion.” Petit Propos Culinaires 94 (2011): 81–101. Mason, Laura. Food Culture in Great Britain. Ed. Ken Albala. Westport CT.: Greenwood P, 2004. Mennell, Stephen. All Manners of Food. 2nd ed. Chicago: U of Illinois P, 1996. ---. “Plagiarism and Originality: Diffusionism in the Study of the History of Cookery.” Petit* Propos Culinaires 68 (2001): 29–38. Sherman, Sandra. “‘The Whole Art and Mystery of Cooking’: What Cookbooks Taught Readers in the Eighteenth Century.” Eighteenth Century Life 28.1 (2004): 115–35. Smith, Andrew F. Ed. The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. New York: Oxford U P, 2007. Spencer, Colin. British Food: An Extraordinary Thousand Years of History. London: Grub Street, 2004. Tierney, Mark. Europe and the World 1300-1763. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1970. Trubek, Amy B. Haute Cuisine: How the French Invented the Culinary Profession. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2000. Wheaton, Barbara. “Finding Real Life in Cookbooks: The Adventures of a Culinary Historian”. 2006. Humanities Research Group Working Paper. 9 Sep. 2009 ‹http://www.phaenex.uwindsor.ca/ojs/leddy/index.php/HRG/article/view/22/27›. Wheaton, Barbara Ketcham. Savouring the Past: The French Kitchen and Table from 1300-1789. London: Chatto & Windus, 1983. White, Eileen, ed. The English Cookery Book: Historical Essays. Proceedings of the 16th Leeds Symposium on Food History 2001. Devon: Prospect, 2001.

You might also be interested in the bibliographies on the topic 'Detective and mystery stories, European' for other source types:

Dissertations / Theses Books

To the bibliography
Journal articles: 'Detective and mystery stories, European' – Grafiati (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Aron Pacocha

Last Updated:

Views: 6061

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (48 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Aron Pacocha

Birthday: 1999-08-12

Address: 3808 Moen Corner, Gorczanyport, FL 67364-2074

Phone: +393457723392

Job: Retail Consultant

Hobby: Jewelry making, Cooking, Gaming, Reading, Juggling, Cabaret, Origami

Introduction: My name is Aron Pacocha, I am a happy, tasty, innocent, proud, talented, courageous, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.