• Afrofuturism and Splendor & Misery

      Hay, Jonathan (British Science Fiction Association, 2019-09-29)
      A countercultural movement characterised by a dynamic understanding of the narrative authority held by texts, Afrofuturism rewrites African culture in a speculative vein, granting African and Afrodiasporic peoples a culturally empowered means of writing their own future. This article examines the manner by which clipping.'s 2016 album Splendor & Misery-a conceptual hip-hop space opera-freely enlists and reclaims texts from the African cultural tradition in order to manifest its Afrofuturist agenda. The process by which Afrofuturism reclaims and rewrites culture is paralleled within Splendor & Misery through the literary device of mise en abyme; just as the album itself does, its central protagonist rewrites narratives of African cultures and traditions in an act of counterculture.
    • Revolting Women: Performing the New Explicit

      Rees, Emma L. E.; University of Chester
      Casey Jenkins's performance art and a qualitative analysis of the vitriolic comments about it of members of the public in a UK national newspaper. Redefining pornography as 'the new explicit' because of the artist's autonomy and (non-monetised) control over her work.
    • Varieties of Embodiment and “Corporeal Style

      Rees, Emma L. E.; University of Chester
      A chapter on embodiment and identity, considering and analysing different philosophies relating to the idea of 'Talking Bodies'. Overall book abstract: In this collection leading thinkers, writers, and activists offer their responses to the simple question “do I have a body, or am I my body?”. The essays engage with the array of meanings that our bodies have today, ranging from considerations of nineteenth-century discourses of bodily shame and otherness, through to arguing for a brand new corporeal vocabulary for the twenty-first century. Increasing numbers of people are choosing to modify their bodies, but as the essays in this volume show, this is far from being a new practice: over hundreds of years, it has evolved and accrued new meanings. This richly interdisciplinary volume maps a range of cultural anxieties about the body, resulting in a timely and compelling book that makes a vital contribution to today’s key debates about embodiment.
    • Talking Bodies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Embodiment, Gender, and Identity

      Rees, Emma L. E.; University of Chester
      In this collection leading thinkers, writers, and activists offer their responses to the simple question “do I have a body, or am I my body?”. The essays engage with the array of meanings that our bodies have today, ranging from considerations of nineteenth-century discourses of bodily shame and otherness, through to arguing for a brand new corporeal vocabulary for the twenty-first century. Increasing numbers of people are choosing to modify their bodies, but as the essays in this volume show, this is far from being a new practice: over hundreds of years, it has evolved and accrued new meanings. This richly interdisciplinary volume maps a range of cultural anxieties about the body, resulting in a timely and compelling book that makes a vital contribution to today’s key debates about embodiment.
    • The Motto of the Mollusc: Patricia Highsmith and the Semiotics of Snails

      West, Sally; University of Chester
      Patricia Highsmith, who generally preferred animals to people, was particularly fascinated by snails. In her novels and short stories, Highsmith uses snails, and her characters’ attitudes towards them, to register a range of responses to American capitalist culture in the mid twentieth century. In Deep Water, Vic Van Allen is horrified when it is suggested that his pet snails should be eaten, rejecting the commodification of the creatures as things to be consumed. ‘The Snail Watcher’ concludes with its ‘vicious’ protagonist, Peter Knoppert, consumed by his pet gastropods; Avery Clavering in ‘The Quest for Blank Claveringi’ meets a similarly unfortunate end, eaten by the giant snail through which he had hoped to establish his own posterity. Gaston Bachelard regards the snail as a symbol of reciprocity between self and environment; the motto of the mollusc, he says, is that ‘one must live to build one’s house, and not build one’s house to live in’. In Highsmith’s fiction, the crimes committed by her characters are frequently driven by a repressed fury with a capitalist culture which severs the link between self and social habitat; in Bachelard’s terms, her characters aspire to ‘the motto of the mollusc’. This chapter will argue that a significant and recurring site for this conflict is Highsmith’s juxtaposition of human behaviours with those of the non-human animal, in particular, the snail. In doing so, it seeks to read this aspect of Highsmith’s work as part of a continuum in detective fiction’s treatment of animals and to demonstrate how far her ‘suspense fiction’ can be situated within that genre. In Poe’s ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ for instance, the orang-utan’s murderous spree is precipitated by its abstraction from its natural environment and its exposure to human behaviours. In The Hound of the Baskervilles, the hound is placed in an alien environment and weaponised by Stapleton. Both of these texts use animals to present nineteenth-century anxieties regarding atavistic degeneration, fears of the beast within the human form. Highsmith’s representations of animals partake of this tradition: the human and the non-human animal worlds are compared, with the beast repeatedly located in the former. In her representation of human/animal relationships, Highsmith is both conducting a searing critique of her specific culture and placing her work firmly in the traditions of detective fiction.
    • Cultural Representations: Hair as the Abundant Signifier

      West, Sally; University of Chester
      This contribution to A Cultural History of Hair: The Age of Empire considers a variety of representations of hair in literature and wider culture. It argues that such representations exhibit a complex array of significations, including moral judgements and cultural anxieties of the age.
    • Young Ireland and Beyond

      Fegan, Melissa; University of Chester
      This chapter examines the ideology, aspirations, and political and literary legacy of the Young Ireland group.
    • (Post)human Temporalities: Science Fiction in the Anthropocene

      Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (Brill, 2019-09-24)
      Although many SF texts proceed from the speculative premise that our species will continue to develop technologically, and hence become increasingly posthuman, our species’ continuance into even the next century is by no means assured. Rather, the Anthropocene exerts a new temporal logic; it is an age defined by an intensification of geological timescales. It is therefore noteworthy that many contemporary SF texts are ecologically interventionist and figure apocalyptic future temporalities which curtail the posthuman predilection common to the genre. This article analyses a tetrad of literary texts, written at various points during the last three decades, which summatively reveal the mutations of the (post)human temporalities figured by cli-fi texts. These four texts are: Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy (1992-1996); Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods (2007); Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things (2014); and Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife (2015).
    • Hereditary surname establishment in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds: a diachronic analysis

      Parkin, Harry; University of Chester
      A study of the local development of hereditary surnames in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds in the 14th century, looking at how it may differ from the apparent national patterns of hereditary surname adoption, and the implications for further surname research
    • (Post)human Temporalities: Science Fiction in the Anthropocene

      Hay, Jonathan (Brill, 2019-09-24)
      AbstractAlthough many SF texts proceed from the speculative premise that our species will continue to develop technologically, and hence become increasingly posthuman, our species’ continuance into even the next century is by no means assured. Rather, the Anthropocene exerts a new temporal logic; it is an age defined by an intensification of geological timescales. It is therefore noteworthy that many contemporary SF texts are ecologically interventionist and figure apocalyptic future temporalities which curtail the posthuman predilection common to the genre. This article analyses a tetrad of literary texts, written at various points during the last three decades, which summatively reveal the mutations of the (post)human temporalities figured by cli-fi texts. These four texts are: Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy (1992-1996); Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods (2007); Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things (2014); and Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife (2015).
    • Crossing borders in Victorian travel: spaces, nations and empires

      Fegan, Melissa (Informa UK Limited, 2019-09-26)
    • Notes Towards the Definition of the Short-Short Story

      Chantler, Ashley; University of Chester (Cambridge Scholars, 2008-09-01)
      The first academic study of flash fiction.
    • Queer Victorian Identities in Goblin Market (1862) and In Memoriam (1850): Uncovering the Subversive Undercurrents of the Literary Canon

      Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (University of Exeter, 2018)
      This article argues for the importance of recognizing the queerness of many established works within the literary canon as a means of contextualising modern queer identities and practices historically. It undertakes the queer reappropriation of two canonical Victorian poems; Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market (1862), and Alfred, Lord Tennyson's In Memoriam (1850). As the article demonstrates, the queer affective features of these poems express the viability of alternative modes of relation, and so convey a poignant sense of the insurrectionary elation that can be realised through affective relationships that subvert normative sexual conventions.
    • Toys and Radical Politics: The Marxist Import of Toy Story That Time Forgot

      Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (University of Edinburgh, 2018-06-17)
      Through the analysis of a capitalist text, and by reflecting on the discourse of Marx and Althusser, this paper demonstrates why Marxism remains a potent politics of dissent. It suggests that Marxist philosophies can come to function in an ultimately reparative manner through their promotion of countercultural ideologies.
    • Quotidian Science Fiction: Posthuman Dreams of Emancipation

      Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (University of Iowa, 2019-06-13)
      This article argues that Science Fiction is a posthuman art form, whose texts posit a utopian dream which emphasises that the process of becoming posthuman is both incremental, and conditional upon the equitable cultural, social, and environmental evolution of our societies. The genre provides a transient dreamscape for visitation by the (post)human mind, by which the reader gains an expanded perception of not only their own empirical environment, but also of posthuman possibility. This posthuman dream however, is not a simply literalised by SF’s estranging narrative strategy, but rather is located in the intersection between the SF narrative and its generic form. Through the decay of their initially defamiliarizing nova into data which are cognitively explicable by their (post)human audience, SF texts dramatize our species’ continuous journey of becoming posthuman. This fundamentally posthuman model of the SF genre therefore challenges the model of cognitive estrangement proposed by Darko Suvin, and so proposes that SF exerts a pragmatic utopian dream that avoids being deterministic or teleological.
    • ‘Please could you stop the noise’: The grammar of multimodal meaning-making in Radiohead’s "Paranoid Android"

      Neary, Clara; University of Chester (Sage, 2019-02-01)
      This article uses Zbikowski’s (2002, 2012, 2017) theory of ‘musical grammar’ to analyse Radiohead’s song ‘Paranoid Android’ from their 1997 album OK Computer. Invoking the close structural and compositional parallels between language and music, Zbikowski’s approach appropriates some of the core elements of cognitive linguistics to provide a means of ‘translating’ music into meaning-bearing conceptual structures via the construction of ‘sonic analogs’, which are a type of conceptual construct formed when incoming perceptual information is compared to existing cognitive knowledge stored as image schemas. The result is an analysis of the interactions between the linguistic and aural constructions of a multimodal text that not only sheds new light on this text’s meaning-making devices but also endeavours to unlock the strategies through which such distinctive semiotic modes act and interact within texts to create meaning potential.
    • Dark marks, curse scars and corporal punishment: Criminality and the function of bodily marks in the Harry Potter series

      Andrew, Lucy; University of Chester; University Centre Shrewsbury (Manchester University Press, 2019-06-21)
      This essay explores the function of tattoos and scars in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and considers the contribution of these marks to the series’ overarching crime narrative. Focusing primarily on the final four books, the essay addresses three major instances of tattooing and scarring: the Dark Mark – the brand of Voldemort’s Death Eaters; Harry’s lightning-bolt scar – the product of Voldemort’s failed killing curse; and the message imprinted on Harry’s arm through his use of Professor Umbridge’s ‘special’ quill to write lines during detention. This essay considers the various conscious functions of these bodily marks – as a signifier of gang membership, a means of intimidation, a statement of possession and a punitive measure to control and modify behaviour through pain. It also examines the subconscious role of bodily marks in constructing the identities of and relationships between criminal, victim and seeker of justice. This essay explores how the analysis of scars and tattoos illuminates the series’ treatment of crucial issues within crime literature, such as morality, criminal origins, the process of detection and the possibility of redemption.
    • Experience’s Potential and Potential Experiences: Subjectivity, Alterity, and Futurity in the Late-Apartheid Novels of Nadine Gordimer

      Blair, Peter; University of Chester (Société d'Étude des Pays du Commonwealth / Society for the Study of Commonwealth Countries, 2019-06)
      This article begins by scrutinizing divergent critical views of Gordimer’s subject position and authorial agency, which locate her variously on a spectrum ranging from liberal-humanist autonomy to historical-materialist determinism. It then considers how Gordimer’s nonfiction articulates a parallel ambivalence about the reach of the writer’s imagination (and its dependence on “the potential of his own experience”), particularly regarding the ethics and feasibility of creating racially “other” characters. Its main part reads July’s People (1981), in relation to other Gordimer novels, as a similarly self-reflexive engagement with subjectivity and alterity: the otherness of the imagined future (a “potential experience”) facilitates fresh socio-political perspectives, even as the novel expresses philosophical scepticism about such imaginative extrapolation and its textual representation. The article concludes with a new reading of the novel’s “open” ending as a projection of this epistemological conflict.
    • Book Review: The Language of Jane Austen by Joe Bray, 2018. London: Palgrave: pp. 182 ISBN 9783319721613

      Neary, Clara; University of Chester (Sage, 2019-05-15)
      Review of The Language of Jane Austen by Joe Bray, 2018.