• 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.
    • Review of Helen Kingstone and Kate Lister (eds), Paraphernalia! Victorian Objects (Routledge, 2018) pp. xiii + 267 (£115.00)

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Sage, 2019-05-01)
      A review of Helen Kingstone and Kate Lister (eds), Paraphernalia! Victorian Objects (Routledge, 2018) pp. xiii + 267 (£115.00).
    • Origin and Ellipsis in the Writing of Hilary Mantel: An Elliptical Dialogue with the Thinking of Jacques Derrida

      Pollard, Eileen J.; University of Chester (Routledge, 2019-04-17)
      This monograph provokes a re-engagement with Derrida’s thinking in contemporary literature, with particular emphasis on the philosopher’s preoccupation with the process of writing. This is the first book-length study of Mantel’s writing, not just in terms of Derrida’s thought, but through any critical perspective or lens to date.
    • A Certain Romance: Style shifting in the language of Alex Turner in Arctic Monkeys songs 2006-2018

      Flanagan, Paul; University of Chester (Sage, 2019-03-15)
      This paper reports on a diachronic study of the language employed by Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner in his songs over a 13-year period. The analysis adapts Simpson’s (1999) USA- 5 model for studying accent in vocal performance, and focuses on the realisation of three phonological variables and two dialect variables in a 16,000-word corpus of 69 songs across all six albums released by the band. Hailing from High Green, Sheffield, Turner speaks with a vernacular Yorkshire accent, and the band’s early appeal (particularly in northern England) is often accredited partially to their authentic down-to-earth image, content and performance. Throughout their career, the band have evolved in terms of their musical genre and style, and, having recorded their first two albums in England, later albums were recorded and produced mostly in Los Angeles. Simpson’s model is modified in order to analyse trends in usage of five linguistic variables with non-standard variants iconic of northern British identity, with a view to analysing how Turner’s changing linguistic practice relates to his affiliation with vernacular and institutional norms, and thus his performance of different identities within songs. Keywords: Accent, Arctic Monkeys, dialect, identity, northern English, non-standard, vernacular
    • Walter Benjamin: An Arcade of Reflections

      Wall, Alan (Fortnightly Review, 2018-06-02)
      Book of essays about Walter Benjamin
    • Badmouth

      Wall, Alan (Harbour Books, 2014-01-01)
      A novel about how a ventriloquist's dummy takes over the mind of a man.
    • No Such Thing as Society: The Novel under Neoliberalism

      Pollard, Eileen J.; Schoene, Berthold; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University (Cambridge University Press, 2018-12-20)
      Because literature always depends on evoking a sense of community between writers and their readers, there can be no flourishing of literature without society. Indicative of this axiomatic is the novel’s contribution to how any specific ‘social imaginary’ or ‘structure of feeling’ comes to crystallize in the first place. Complementing Raymond Williams’ influential encapsulation of ‘structure of feeling’ as each new generation’s response to ‘the unique world it is inheriting, taking up many continuities [...] yet feeling its whole life in certain ways differently’, Manfred Steger defines social imaginaries as the ways in which ‘“we” – the members of a particular community – fit together, how things go on between us, the expectations we have of each other, and the deeper normative notions and images that underlie those expectations’. The final two decades of the twentieth century are no exception in this regard, as they too constitute a singular slice of history with its own particular set of common understandings, expressions and practices of culture and community. Importantly, the perceived distinctiveness and newness of the period was the result not so much of a gentle generational shift as a wholescale political revolution, the enormity of which would jolt society into a hitherto inconceivable direction of socio-economic change and cultural transmutation. As Colin Hutchinson puts it, the inception of Thatcherite neoliberalism in Britain is best understood as a violent ‘assault […] on the public realm [leading to] the erosion of civic sensibilities and collective allegiances’. Another point of interest for us is the formative implication of ‘The Individual’ in the symbiosis of society and the novel. Nancy Armstrong describes individualism as ‘the ideological core’ of the novel; in her view, ‘novels think like individuals about the difficulties of fulfilling oneself […] under specific cultural historical conditions’. Armstrong’s proposition assumes special significance in the light of Margaret Thatcher’s announcement in 1987 that ‘there is no such thing [as society]! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first.’ Thatcher’s eradication of society and her hyperbolic championing of the individual instigated a fundamental ideological recasting of late twentieth-century Britain’s social imaginary, which in turn significantly influenced the development of the British novel.
    • Accelerated Times: British Literature in Transition, 1980-2000

      Pollard, Eileen J.; Schoene, Berthold; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University (Cambridge University Press, 2018-12-20)
      The central premise underpinning our volume is simple: the final two decades of the twentieth century no longer constitute an integral part of what we call the contemporary. We now view the late twentieth century through a complex historicising lens darkened by the events of 9/11, the ensuing ‘clash of civilisations’ and ‘war on terror’, the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, ongoing austerity and – most recently – the rise of populist politics. An additional impediment to immediate access and perfect recall is the impact effected by technological advances on everyday life in the twenty-first century: how reliably can we ‘supermoderns’ (to adopt Marc Augé’s term ) be expected to recollect and relate to a now bygone world that did not have the internet, email, social networking, wifi or the mobile phone? Even those of us who lived through the 1980s and 1990s will be finding this increasingly difficult. Superseded and defamiliarised by previously unimaginable technologically-modified ways of everyday living, the late twentieth century is beginning to look more and more like history. One prominent theme informing the tone of this introduction is how the final two decades of the twentieth century were marked by the speed of accelerated change in society’s attitudes to class, subnational devolution, religion, sexuality and the Black and Asian Minority Ethnic experience, as well as how these complex and mutually imbricated discourses helped produce a notable sense of motion sickness in the literature of the period.
    • The value of recent records, historical context, and genealogy in surname research

      Parkin, Harry (Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland, 2018)
      This paper looks at the importance of genealogical study and the consideration of recent records in the analysis of surname etymology.
    • How the Other Three-Quarters Lived: The Cabin in Famine Literature

      Fegan, Melissa; University of Chester (Peter Lang, 2019-01-23)
      In the 1841 census three-quarters of houses in Ireland were placed in the lowest two classes, one-roomed mud cabins and slightly larger mud cottages. What Harriet Martineau describes as ‘Irish cabin life’ was a matter of fascination for visitors to Ireland before and after the Famine, and the cabin became a key site of ethnographic exploration. Curious or philanthropic observers were either shocked by the poverty and wretchedness they saw, or puzzled or even offended by the seeming happiness and healthiness of cabin-dwellers. During the Famine, the cabin was a scene for tragedy and horror: the place from which the people were evicted, from which they emigrated, in which they were quarantined, where they were found dying or dead, where they were buried. The roofless cabin later eloquently attested to their suffering and absence, and has become one of the most significant visual icons in the commemoration of the Famine. This chapter examines the representation of the cabin in literature from the time of the Famine to the present day, in the works of authors such as William Carleton, Anthony Trollope, Margaret Brew, Carol Birch, Anne Enright, and Tana French, considering the ways in which social hierarchy and communal relations are mediated through its space in texts set during the Famine, and its spectral significance in modern and contemporary literature as a concrete or symbolic inheritance, a time-machine, a haunted house, a place to desecrate or take refuge in, and a crime scene.
    • Your City's Place Names: Leeds

      Parkin, Harry (English Place-Name Society, 2017-08-07)
      This book covers the principal districts (officially or unofficially recognized), some well-known buildings, features, and street-names, and the largest open spaces in the City of Leeds. For the purposes of this dictionary, the “City of Leeds” is defined by the Leeds metropolitan district area, though a few names outside but very close to this zone are also included. The metropolitan area of Leeds is one of the largest government districts in England, and so this dictionary covers a relatively large area, including places such as Wetherby, which is approximately 10 miles north-east of Leeds city centre.
    • 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.
    • English regional dialect lexis in the names and occupations of the Gloucestershire Cotswolds: a reassessment of the relationship between names and dialects

      Parkin, Harry; University of the West of England (De Gruyter, 2015-11-01)
      A number of surname-based studies have presented a relationship between medieval regional dialect lexis and the distribution of associated modern-day surnames. However, by carrying out localised research, it appears that the two might not be so closely linked as previously thought, with discrepancies in the distribution of regionally specific names and equivalent occupational descriptions. As a result, there seems to be a need to reconsider the connection between regional lexicons and corresponding name stocks, which may have been less closely related, at a period of non-hereditary by-naming, than current knowledge suggests.