• Media 'militant' tendencies; how strike action in the news press is discursively constructed as inherently violent

      Davies, Matt; Nophakhun, Rotsukhon; University of Chester (Edinburgh University Press, 2018-11)
      Trade union endorsed strike action is systematically demonised in reports in the popular mainstream UK press (see for example Davies 2014), despite public opinion not reflecting this level of antagonism towards industrial action. One consistent strategy used to (mis)represent strikers is to habitually relate this form of protest to threats of intimidation and violence by using militarised discourse. We assert that a key word in the discursive construction of strikes is ‘militant’ and its variant forms (e.g. ‘militants’ and ‘militancy’) which is routinely used to express a negative attitude towards strikes in an attempt to smear them as a legitimate form of protest. We draw on the theory of semantic prosody to show that the sense of ‘militant’ is tarnished through its repeated use in reports of terrorism, often in the same edition used to report on strike action (for instance, the junior doctors’ strike in the UK). We use the WMatrix corpus tool to show that in the 21st Century, ‘militant’ unequivocally appears in semantic domains of violence and aggression in a 274,122 word corpus of news articles from 2000-2015, and therefore this sense is carried over to trade activity when used to report on strike action. This strategy contributes to a neoliberal ideology which promotes individualism, competition and the free market, at the expense of collective action and protection of workers’ rights.
    • Review of Charteris-Black, J. (2017). Fire Metaphors: Discourses of Awe and Authority. London: Bloomsbury.

      Neary, Clara; University of Chester (John Benjamins, 2018-11)
      Book review of Charteris-Black, J. (2017). Fire Metaphors: Discourses of Awe and Authority. London: Bloomsbury.
    • ‘What cannot be fixed, measured, confined’: The mobile texts of Hilary Mantel

      Pollard, Eileen J.; Carpenter, Ginette; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University (Bloomsbury, 2018-09-06)
      ‘I don’t know, you wait twenty years for a Booker prize, two come along at once!’ was Hilary Mantel’s laconic response to winning for the second time. A respected, if critically neglected, British author, she had in fact been writing and publishing for over twenty years when she won the Booker prize in 2009 for her tenth novel, Wolf Hall. She then made literary history by winning for a second time in 2012 with the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, an unprecedented achievement that catapulted her into the realms of global stardom. The Tudor novels have since been adapted for the stage by Mike Poulton and have been performed to much critical acclaim in Stratford, London and Broadway. Similarly, the 2015 BBC dramatization has aired in both the UK and the US to glowing reviews. Yet, despite Mantel’s renown and popularity at home and abroad, there remains surprisingly little critical material interpreting the rich and varied content of her work. As a result, this collection of essays aims to introduce students, scholars and general readers of Mantel’s writing to the diversity of her texts in order to showcase the extraordinary range and reach of this contemporary British author, currently at the peak of her writing life. The essays will explore the recurring themes of ambiguity, ghosts, trauma, childhood and memory that both trace and, in many ways, define Mantel’s oeuvre. The collection will also examine the challenge to conventional evocations of the past that underpins Mantel’s historical novels, from A Place of Greater Safety (1992) through to Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, as well as the complex experimentation with perspective and tense that really sets apart her later work on Thomas Cromwell. The main objective of this book is to provide a wide-range of readers with a guide to Mantel’s historical fiction, autobiographical writing and short stories, as well as some of her more experimental early novels, that will help explain those most ambiguous elements of her corpus while demonstrating her fearlessness and breadth as a writer.
    • Making History Otherwise: Learning to Talk and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

      Pollard, Eileen J.; Carpenter, Ginette; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University (Bloomsbury, 2018-09-06)
      This chapter will explore ambiguous representations of history in Hilary Mantel’s two short story collections to date, Learning to Talk (2003) and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher (2014). The chapter will consider the figure of the ellipsis, which is traced metaphorically and literally in the stories, as a pertinent means by which to read them, including the titular ‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’ in Mantel’s more recent collection. Despite the media furore that followed the publication of this book, this chapter will argue that it is less the fantasy of the shooting of the premier that disturbed, but rather the pervasive sense of ambiguity. The uncertainty of individual biographies in Learning to Talk develops into an unsettling national narrative in her 2014 collection. For example, as stated in the titular story concerning Thatcher, ‘note the cold wind that blows through [the door] when you open it a crack. History could always have been otherwise’ (2014: 239-40).
    • Hyper-compressions: The rise of flash fiction in “post-transitional” South Africa

      Blair, Peter; University of Chester (SAGE Publications, 2018-07-16)
      This article begins with a survey of flash fiction in “post-transitional” South Africa, which it relates to the nation’s post-apartheid canon of short stories and short-short stories, to the international rise of flash fiction and “sudden fiction”, and to the historical particularities of South Africa’s “post-transition”. It then undertakes close readings of three flash fictions republished in the article, each less than 450 words: Tony Eprile’s “The interpreter for the tribunal” (2007), which evokes the psychological and ethical complexities, and long-term ramifications, of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Michael Cawood Green’s “Music for a new society” (2008), a carjacking story that invokes discourses about violent crime and the “‘new’ South Africa”; and Stacy Hardy’s “Kisula” (2015), which maps the psychogeography of cross-racial sex and transnational identity-formation in an evolving urban environment. The article argues that these exemplary flashes are “hyper-compressions”, in that they compress and develop complex themes with a long literary history and a wide contemporary currency. It therefore contends that flash fiction of South Africa’s post-transition should be recognized as having literary-historical significance, not just as an inherently metonymic form that reflects, and alludes to, a broader literary culture, but as a genre in its own right.
    • Distances

      Seed, Ian; University of Chester (Red Ceilings Press, 2018-06-15)
      A chapbook of flash fiction.
    • History, Globalization and The Human Subject in The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

      Stephenson, William; University of Chester (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018-03-22)
      Jacob de Zoet and Aibagawa Orito, the protagonists of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, think and act like people of their time and place. Mitchell's novel thus falls into step with Georg Lukács's classic Marxist account of historical fiction as a genre that 'endeavours to portray the struggles and antagonisms of history by means of characters who, in their psychology and destiny, always represent social trends and historical forces'. The gestures, hints and fantasies that characterize Jacob's and Orito's unconsummated affair suggest in microcosm the state of world historical relationships in the novel, where the expansionist West and isolationist Japan imagine one another, creating spectres of race and nation. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet alludes to its own time by advancing Mitchell's project, begun in Ghostwritten, of engagement with the contemporary globalized world where civilizations clash in a state of mutual ignorance. Caroline Edwards has shown how Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas offer 'a non-contemporaneous narrative present' of the sort described by Jacques Derrida in Specters of Marx. Taking its cue from Edwards's point that this disjointed present exists in Mitchell's fiction to defamiliarize and critically examine 'the globalized capitalist world of his readership', this essay will study the contemporary cultural conflicts played out in the historical setting of Mitchell's Japan.
    • Tuberculosis Disabled Identity in Nineteenth-Century Literature: Invalid Lives

      Tankard, Alex; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018-03-15)
      Chapter 5 as sample from monograph. Wuthering Heights ridiculed consumptive stereotypes, and Jude the Obscure exposed socioeconomic and cultural factors that disabled people with chronic illness, but neither could hope for a better future – much less suggest real strategies for improving the lives of people with tuberculosis in the nineteenth century. Beatrice Harraden’s 1893 bestseller Ships That Pass in the Night also offers a complex, bitter critique of the way in which sentimentality obscures the abuse and neglect of disabled people by nondisabled carers; it undermines the Romanticisation of consumptives, and shows consumptives driven to suicide by social marginalisation that leaves them feeling useless and hopeless. Yet its depiction of a romantic friendship between an emancipated woman and a disabled man also engages with the exciting possibilities of 1890s’ gender politics, and imagines new comradeship between disabled and nondisabled people based on mutual care and respect.
    • Nonsense and Wonder: An Exploration of the Prose Poems of Jeremy Over

      Seed, Ian; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018-03)
      This essay reveals the delights of the prose poems of Jeremy Over. Setting his work within the tradition of nonsense literature in its ability to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable, this essay argues that Over goes beyond merely creating clever surprises in order to arouse authentic wonder. Connections are made between Over’s work and that of the Dadaists, Surrealists, Gertrude Stein and such New York poets as John Ashbery. Making the case that nonsense literature can be seen as a way to authenticity and freedom in its resistance to common sense and also to tragic heroism, the essay demonstrates how Over’s prose poems show reality in different possible lights and empower marginalized voices. Finally, Over’s work is set in the context of recent British prose poetry.
    • New York Hotel

      Seed, Ian; University of Chester (Shearsman Books, 2018-01-19)
      Prose poems and small fictions.
    • "Be Prepared!" (But Not Too Prepared): Scouting, Soldiering and Boys’ Roles in World War I

      Andrew, Lucy; University of Chester (Berghahn Books, 2018)
      This article examines the shifting representation of the ideal of masculinity and boys’ role in securing the future of the British Empire in Robert Baden-Powell’s Boy Scout movement from its inauguration in 1908 to the early years of the First World War. In particular, it focuses on early Scout literature’s response to anxieties about physical deterioration, exacerbated by the 1904 Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration. In Baden-Powell’s Scouting handbook, Scouting for Boys (1908), and in early editions of The Scout – the official magazine of the Scout movement – there was a strong emphasis on an idealised image of the male body which, implicitly, prepared Boy Scouts for their future role as soldiers. The reality of war, however, forced Scouting literature to acknowledge the restrictions placed upon boys in wartime and to redefine the parameters of boys’ heroic role in defense of the Empire accordingly.
    • 'This most humane commerce': Lace-making during the Famine

      Fegan, Melissa; University of Chester (Liverpool University Press, 2018)
      Fintan O’Toole includes a lace collar from Youghal, Co. Cork in his A History of Ireland in 100 Objects, noting it ‘epitomises one of the more remarkable achievements of Irish women in the second half of the nineteenth century – the creation from scratch of a world-class craft industry’. It was an industry largely founded in response to the Famine, by philanthropic upper- and middle-class Irish women who recognised the failure of famine relief measures for women and girls in particular; the Youghal lace collar is a legacy of the lace school founded there by a nun during the Famine. Lace-making offered rescue not just for them, but their families; in 1852, among fishing families in Blackrock, ‘the strong and powerful father’ and ‘the vigorous son’ were now ‘protected from hunger and misery by the fingers of the feeble child, and saved from the workhouse by her cheerful and untiring toil’. This chapter will examine the representation of textile and lace making during the Famine in texts such as Mary Anne Hoare’s ‘The Knitted Collar’, Susanna Meredith’s The Lacemakers, and Brother James’s Eva O’Beirne, or the Little Lacemaker, as narratives of self-help, critiques of inadequate state intervention, calls for support of the trade and charitable donations, and an impetus to emigration. It will also consider the relationship between depictions of mid-nineteenth-century Irish textile workers and the representation of seamstresses in Victorian literature more widely.
    • The Moral Economy of the Irish Hotel From the Union to the Famine

      Fegan, Melissa; University of Chester (Routledge, 2018)
      This chapter examines the peculiar characteristics of the Irish hotel in the period between the Act of Union and the Great Famine, when tourism was newly established in Ireland. The ‘moral economy’ of the inn or hotel was perceived as an extrapolation of that of the estate, or of Ireland itself. Viewed by many guests as primitive, lacking the neatness, cleanliness, and order they expected in British hotels, the Irish hotel functioned with double responsibilities: to the comfort of their guests, but also to the weal of the local community, providing work, relief, and begging opportunities for the poorest.
    • Charlotte Brontë and the Politics of Cloth: The ‘vile rumbling mills’ of Yorkshire

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2017-12-18)
      This essay examines Charlotte Brontë’s engagement with the textile industry from her earliest writings to her 1849 Condition of England novel Shirley in order to emphasise the role that Yorkshire and its staple industry played in her writing. Critics have discussed Brontë’s interest in textile production largely in relation to Shirley. However, her fascination with cloth manufacturing is evident in many of her Angrian tales and some of her unfinished novels. This essay argues that through her early representations of mills and mill owners Brontë formulated an understanding of political conflict and masculine power which helped to shape her mature writing. This culminates in Shirley with her critique of the taboo against educated women entering careers in trade and manufacturing.
    • Approaching Charlotte Brontë in the Twenty-First Century

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Wiley, 2017-12-12)
      This essay offers an overview of recent criticism in Charlotte Brontë studies. In the year of Brontë's bicentenary, it takes stock of some of the latest approaches and topics covered, including material culture, disability, screen and stage adaptations, sexuality, regional identity, education, trading networks, the periodical press, and the law. Although much of this new criticism contributes to a fresh understanding of Charlotte Brontë's work and legacy, Jane Eyre continues to dominate most critical discussions, and this essay calls for more attention to be paid to The Professor, Shirley, and Villette. It welcomes those historicist readings that continue the important work of contextualizing Brontë's oeuvre, a project that has transformed her from the reticent provincial writer of semi‐autobiographical fiction presented by early critics into a political and socially engaged
    • ‘When the reservoir comes’: Drowned Villages, Community and Nostalgia in Contemporary British Fiction

      Pollard, Eileen J.; University of Chester (Open Library of Humanities, 2017-12-08)
      A ‘drowned’ or flooded village describes the destruction of a settlement or community to make way for a reservoir; as a practice, it most commonly occurred in Britain during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when the need for fresh water in growing industrial cities was at its height. This essay will explore three different representations of the ‘drowned village’ in contemporary British fiction. Reginald Hill’s On Beulah Height (1992), Hilary Mantel’s short story ‘The Clean Slate’ (2001) and Sarah Hall’s Haweswater (2002) will all be considered in terms of how the drowned village is presented and described, and what this representation suggests about the ways nostalgia, ritual and ruin impact upon notions of community and place.
    • 'Losing face among the natives': Something about tattooing and tabooing in Herman Melville's Typee

      Atkin, Graham; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017-12-07)
      Herman Melville’s first novel Typee, published in 1846, is an intriguing South Sea adventure based on the author’s own experiences and narrated by ‘Tommo’, who, with his companion Toby, jumps ship and wanders into the valley of Typee, home to a tribe of suspected cannibals. This essay concentrates on a chapter in which Tommo describes his encounter with a Typeean tattooist before discussing ‘the mysterious “Taboo”’. Tommo becomes fearful that he will be ‘disfigured in such a manner as never more to have the face to return’ to civilisation. The threat of non-consensual body modification confronts narrator and reader with unsettling issues of personal and cultural identity in crisis. The analysis draws on a range of material from the fields of anthropology, psychology, literary criticism, sociology and linguistics.
    • Subtitling Pride and Prejudice

      Stephenson, William; University of Chester (Magma Poetry, 2017-12-01)
      Poem
    • 'Streaks Ahead'

      Chantler, Ashley; University of Chester (Ad Hoc Fiction, 2017-12-01)
      Flash fiction.
    • The Boy Detective in Early British Children's Literature: Patrolling the Borders between Boyhood and Manhood

      Andrew, Lucy; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017-11-05)
      This book maps the development of the boy detective in British children’s literature from the mid-nineteenth to the early-twentieth century. It explores how this liminal figure – a boy operating within a man’s world – addresses adult anxieties about boyhood and the boy’s transition to manhood. It investigates the literary, social and ideological significance of a vast array of popular detective narratives appearing in ‘penny dreadfuls’ and story papers which were aimed primarily at working-class boys. This study charts the relationship between developments in the representation of the fictional boy detective and changing expectations of and attitudes towards real-life British boys during a period where the boy’s role in the future of the Empire was a key concern. It emphasises the value of the early fictional boy detective as an ideological tool to condition boy readers to fulfil adult desires and expectations of what boyhood and, in the future, proper manhood should entail. It will be of particular importance to scholars working in the fields of children’s literature, crime fiction and popular culture.