• 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.
    • A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East: Neo-Colonialism and Self-Fashioning in Hunter S. Thompson’s The Curse of Lono

      Stephenson, William; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2011-03-10)
      This essay departs from the critical consensus on The Curse of Lono (1983) to argue that it forms an important part of Hunter S. Thompson’s oeuvre and shows significant developments from his celebrated 1970s work. The novel functions politically as a critique of late twentieth-century US neo-colonialism and thus anticipates the current globalization debate, at the same time as wrestling with the connected problem of its author’s acknowledged status as a celebrity or branded American product. The Curse of Lono’s complex structure of interwoven extracts from Thompson’s research sources, as well as Ralph Steadman’s drawings, reduces the importance of the central subjective voice that Thompson had employed since his 1970s books, enabling the novel to comment ironically on the notorious Gonzo persona in which, thanks to the very success of his earlier work, Thompson had become trapped, and on which he still depended commercially (I refer here to Michel Foucault’s concept of the author-function). The Curse of Lono mocks its Gonzo protagonist as both a tourist and a buffoon: it comments on the subjectivism of Gonzo ironically, pushing celebrity to its ludicrous limit by making the protagonist divine. At the same time, the novel demonstrates how authorship can emerge from the historical forces that fashion culture, such as globalization In order to unpack the satirical content of The Curse of Lono in the detail it deserves, this essay adopts a position broadly aligned with the Marxist stance on globalization that sees it as a term masking Western imperialism and the needs of finance capital: I refer here to the work of David Held, Anthony McGrew, Peter Cox, James Annesley and others.
    • The fourteenth-century poll tax returns and the study of English surname distribution

      Parkin, Harry; University of the West of England (Taylor & Francis, 2015-01-22)
      The modern-day distributions of English surnames have been considered in genealogical, historical, and philological research as possible indicators of their origins. However, many centuries have passed since hereditary surnames were first used, and so their distribution today does not necessarily reflect their original spread, misrepresenting their origins. Previously, medieval data with national coverage have not been available for a study of surname distribution but, with the recent publication of the fourteenth century poll tax returns, this has changed. By presenting discrepancies in medieval and 19th-century distributions, it is shown that more recent surname data may not be a suitable guide to surname origins, and can be usefully supplemented by medieval data in order to arrive at more accurate conclusions.
    • ‘He was struck out. Deleted’: We Need to Talk about Wesley in Nicola Barker’s Behindlings

      Pollard, Eileen; University of Chester
      This article provides a poststructural reading of the character of Wesley in Nicola Barker’s 2002 novel Behindlings, which is broadly informed by Jean-Luc Nancy’s thoughts on being and community and Jacques Derrida’s thinking on khōra, as well as other established poststructural paradigms. It contends that the novel simultaneously engages with these ideas and exceeds them. Wesley is the void-at-the-heart of his own ‘philosophy’: ‘He was hollow. He was empty […] He was a vacuum. He was struck-out. Deleted. He was nothing’. And he is everything as well at one and the same time. It is the classic poststructural paradox – receiving everything while possessing nothing – that makes meaning possible. And that is the argument: the signifier, the empty sign for some, the palimpsest for others, here is simply Wesley. However, my argument is that the characterisation of Wesley challenges and complicates such readings, deliberately. This article will demonstrate how the novel repeatedly sullies the theories it implicates by introducing a persistent taint to the main vehicle used to articulate the theory, the protagonist himself, that ‘puerile […] shithead’, Wesley.
    • Hysteria repeating itself: Elizabeth Gaskell's Lois the witch

      Wynne, Deborah; University College Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2006-12-20)
      This article discusses Lois the witch, (Elizabeth Gaskell's fictional representation of the Salem witch trials) which was first published serially in Dickens's All The Year Round in 1859. This serialisation led to numerous conservative accounts in the periodical press of the role of the hysterical woman throughout history. In Lois, however, with its representation of mass hysteria, Gaskell refutes the widespread Victorian belief that hysteria is 'natural' for women - a symptom of their vulnerable bodies and minds.
    • Island of the assassins: Cannabis, spectacle, and terror in Alex Garland's The beach

      Stephenson, William; University College Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2005-06)
      This article discusses the use of the cannabis, spectacle, and terror in Alex Garland's novel, The Beach. The author argues that Garland's novel is a most contemporary text, exposing disturbing contradictions in the West's current ideology and behavior.
    • “Of every land the guest”: Aubrey de Vere’s travels

      Fegan, Melissa; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2016-06-01)
      The experience of travel, the figure of the traveller, the relationship between landscape and nationality, and a complex attitude towards colonization are extremely important in the poetry and prose of Aubrey de Vere. Alongside ideas of emigration and exile in the Irish context, the wider intellectual and spiritual significance of travel is explored in poems such as ‘A Farewell to Naples’, ‘Lines Written Under Delphi’, or ‘A Wanderer’s Musings at Rome’, and in de Vere’s travel book Picturesque Sketches of Greece and Turkey (1850). De Vere’s ideal traveller must be hardy, embracing “an emancipation from the bondage of comforts”, and reining in his exuberant Romantic sensibility with careful “management of the mind” and “moral temperance”. This is very far removed from “that universal nuisance”, the Philistine Englishman abroad, of whom he is reminded all too frequently, particularly in Greece and in the Ionian islands, a British protectorate. But de Vere’s self-definition against the English traveller begins to unravel in Constantinople, where he embraces a new national identity as a Frank among an alien people. His experiences in the East also redefine his understanding of Ireland as “an Eastern nation in the West”.
    • Of lostness and belonging: Interview with John Conyngham

      Blair, Peter; Chester College of Higher Education (Taylor & Francis, 2003-04)
      This article is an interview with the South African-born novelist John Conyngham, author of The arrowing of Cane (1986), The desecration of the graves (1990), and The lostness of Alice (1998).
    • Scoring ecstasy: MDMA, consumerism and spirituality in the early fiction of Irvine Welsh

      Stephenson, William; Chester College of Higher Education (Taylor & Francis, 2003-04)
      This article discusses how Irvine Welsh, explores ecstasy's ability to enhance communication and offer people a version of religious ritual which means that the drug has the potential, at least, to modify subjectivity and intersubjective relationships in his work. The article focuses mainly on Welsh's novel Marabou Stork Nightmares, the novella 'The Undefeated' (from the collection Ecstasy) and the title story of the collection The Acid House.
    • "A terrorism of the rich": Symbolic violence in Bret Easton Ellis's Glamorama and J G Ballard's Super-Cannes

      Stephenson, William; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2007-03)
      This article discusses two contemporary novels that question the received idea of terrorism as the desperate violence of disenfranchised groups. Glamorama and Super-Cannes symbolize the violence perpetrated by Western states and institutions by presenting us with terrorists who are corporate executives and supermodels, and who inflict their violence on ethnic minorities, or allow them to be wrongly blamed for it.