Linguaculture, Volume 3, Number 1, 2012
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abstract & Keywords
In An Englis[h[ expositor[:] teaching the in[ter]pretation of the harde[st] words [vsed] in our language, John Bullokar notes that the word carbuncle ‘hath two significations, namely a precious stone, and a dangerous sore’. (sig. D2r) Generally speaking Renaissance texts keep these two meanings separate: in ways which are inevitably conditioned by the nature of their subject matter, Renaissance authors tend to be interested in exploring either the idea of carbuncle as jewel or the idea of carbuncle as tumour without ever registering the possibility of the alternative meeting for the word. Nevertheless the ambiguity is there: a jewel, a thing of beauty intended for the adornment of the body, is also in some sense potentially a disfiguring mark, a scar on the body marking the site of a trauma. In A Cyborg Manifesto, Donna Haraway asks “Why should our bodies end at the skin?” (online); in this essay, I shall argue that as far as Renaissance jewels are concerned, bodies do not in fact end at the skin, for jewels mark not the end of the body but an edge, a hinge between body and mind as much as between body and dress, in ways which activate fears about permeability, boundary blurring and the monstrous. One of the rare instances of evoking both senses of carbuncle comes in The Comedy of Errors, where Dromio of Syracuse, having defined the kitchen-maid Nell as “spherical, like a globe”, says that “America, the Indies” are located in her nose, because it is ‘all o’er embellished with rubies, carbuncles, sapphires, declining their rich aspect to the hot breath of Spain’ (III.ii.120, 140 -3). To varying extent, the horror of the gross, the extreme and the unnatural which is implicit here can be seen as potentially lurking in all Renaissance descriptions of jewellery.
Abstract & Keywords
In 1830, Elizabeth Parker, daughter of a day laborer and of a teacher in Ashburnham, East Sussex, England, cross-stitched in red silk thread an extraordinarily complex text that participates in several genres, including a memoir of her then brief life of some seventeen years, a confession, a suicide note, and a prayer. These various genres cohere around one momentous event in Parker’s young life: the sexual violation and physical abuse at the hands of her employer, Lt. G. After suturing 46 lines, 1,722 words, and 6,699 characters, she stops mid-line and mid-way down her cloth with the powerful plea, “What will become of my soul[?]” This paper argues that Parker’s sampler was a robust site in which Parker was able to grapple with her wounded body and mind. To justify the claim that a woman’s stitching can be interpreted a s an epistemic activity, the proposed paper turns to two key concepts “situated knowledge s” and “embodied knowledge”— both of which have been posited by feminists as a w ay to destabilize the dominant validation of disembodied, abstract thinking where the eye serves as the mind’s tool of investigation. (Haraway; Knappett; Frank; Driver).
Abstract & Keywords
In her book Trauma Cinema (2005), Janet Walker is primarily interested in films that adopt catastrophe as their subject matter and trauma as their aesthetic in documentary treatments of incest and the Holocaust; but she also examines the classic Hollywood melodrama King’s Row, adapted from a book “spiced with harlots, idiots, nymphomaniacs and homosexuals,” concerning “three fathers who become sexually enamored of their daughters,” as well as “a sadistic doctor who performs unnecessary operations for the gloating pleasure of seeing his patients suffer to the human breaking point, and a whole horde of half-witted, sensual creatures preoccupied with sex” (to quote a contemporary review of the perverse source novel). Walker was especially interested in alterations deemed necessary in order to get the project past the Production Code, which certainly would have prohibited incest. We are interested in later standards that became less stringent in permitting screen representations of sex and violence after such groundbreaking pictures as Arthur Penn’s Bonnie & Clyde and Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, particularly the popular and critical success of Francis Coppola’s The Godfather during the 1970s and its sequel, The Godfather, Part II —both of them brutal films when judged against earlier gangster pictures which, before 1968, could not have been so explicit and graphic. We will also discuss 1970s violence in the context of the Vietnam War—notably Francis Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and Oliver Stone’s Platoon and Born on the 4th of July, in an attempt to explain America’s demonstrable fascination with violence.
Abstract & KeywordsIn Margaret Atwood’s fiction and poetry, wounded female bodies are a frequently used metaphor for the central characters’ severe identity crises. Atwood’s female protagonists or lyric personae fight marginalization and victimization and often struggle to position themselves in patriarchal society. In order to maintain the illusion of a stable identity, the characters often disavow parts of themselves and surrender to a subversive memory that plays all sorts of tricks on them. However, these “abject” aspects (J. Kristeva, Powers of Horror) cannot be repressed and keep returning, threatening the women’s only seemingly unified selves: In Surfacing, for example, the protagonist suffers from emotional numbness after an abortion. In The Edible Woman, the protagonist’s crisis results in severe eating disorders and in Cat’s Eye and The Robber Bride the central characters’ conflicts are externalized and projected onto haunting ghost-like trickster figures. In this paper, I will look at various representations of “wounded bodies and wounded minds” in samples of Margaret Atwood’s The Edible Woman, focusing on the intersection of memory and identity and analyzing the strategies for healing that Margaret Atwood offers.
Abstract & KeywordsThe “Rushdie affair” is one of the most far-reaching book events of the late 20th century. This study argues that the Muslim demonstrations caused by the book’s allegedly “blasphemous” nature, the fatwa and its aftermath may be regarded as a chain of snow- balling effects which brought an entire century of book censorship to an end. However, what started the “affair” was not only The Satanic Verses that stirred waves of protests in the Muslim world and ambiguous attitudes in the Wes t, but also its author, whose life was put in serious jeopardy by the fatwa. After 23 years since “the unfunny Valentine” was sent to Rushdie the “affair” has not stopped radiating a whole spectrum of problems, which are still part of our global culture. This study traces the “affair” since the 14th of February 1989, when the fatwa was decreed, until January 2012, when Sir Salman Rushdie was initially invited to give a video address to the Jaipur Literature Festival in India only to be announced that the address was can celled on grounds of violence threats from Muslim activists.
Abstract & KeywordsAmong any city’s most wounded bodies and minds are the homeless – individuals who live on the streets, without any formal claim to place. For many of these individuals, the vessels of historical memory are not museums, or classrooms, or library archives, but parks, alleyways, and subway stations. As the numbers of homeless individuals increase dramatically each year, their social, physical, and psychological trauma increasingly characterizes urban life, even as their experiences fall to the margins of the city’s history and future. In response, this paper explores the merging of homeless histories with public history, through two interlocking projects carried out in Boston, Massachusetts – “Histories and Homelessness,” a community-based life-writing project, and “Images from the Streets,” a disposable-camera photography project – outreach and education projects, in which all participants are among the unsheltered homeless who spend their nights on heating grates, under highways, and in ATM kiosks. Together, these projects begin to map and make visible the landscape and memories of homelessness, as they are written and photographed by its inhabitants, and firmly situate these histories within the wider community. Recovering the personal and interpretive histories of homeless individuals, so intimately tied to “place,” creates a powerful strategy for expanding the history of the community to include voices and visions often excluded or left at the margins.
Abstract & KeywordsThis paper addresses age and aging from a critical humanities perspective and uses indigenous societies as an example on how to positively manage the aging process, and to show that certain societies’ positive approach to old age can help ameliorate the often negatively viewed phases of growing older, aging people’s bodies over the years, but not their minds.
Abstract & KeywordsWith its history of slavery and racial conflict, war and defeat, segregation and lynching, the South is defined by violence and aggression on a personal and community level. This experience defined Southern identity and shaped its literature to mirror the sense of frustration, guilt and shame bursting from the heart of seemingly peaceful, ordered and decent communities. Though some authors tend to see violence as a necessary transgression that will, eventually, through painful sacrifice, lay the foundation of a renewed world, others regard it as a trap or a vicious circle which does not allow the South to grow out of the illusion of a glorious past and accept present changes. William Faulkner’ short story Dry September and Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird deal with an alleged accusation of rape, the victim being a white woman, and the culprit, a black man. Focusing more on the white community’s attitude and telling the story from limited perspectives, the two texts investigate les s the black man’s tragedy, dwelling more on the white people’s reaction and the manner in which white Southern identity and white supremacy are constructed on a foundation of violence and intolerance.
Notes on contributors (p. 121)