21st century writing | 21st century approaches

Current Issue

Pod People: Brave New Worlds of Digital Audio Drama

Posted by on Oct 30, 2016

For the last several months I have been lucky enough to have been on writing sabbatical from my university. As such, I have often found myself around and about my hometown during the day. I feel like I am a strange figure, writing in coffee shops, making enemies of baristas, running errands, and looking, to all but the most enlightened of observers, decadently unemployed. In an effort to stave off the effects of my increasingly sedentary life...

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Current Issue

Infrastructure and the Anthropocene in Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island

Posted by on Oct 30, 2016

To read a Tom McCarthy novel is to find oneself weirdly and wildly awash in grids within grids, maps within maps, of infrastructural objects and systems. Protagonists and minor characters alike obsess over these objects and systems of infrastructure—over their grandeur, their minutiae, their flows and flaws, slows and jams, their symbolic ideological concretizations, their masterful and/or absurd designs, their volumes of strata.

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Current Issue

Bollywood Adaptations of Agatha Christie

Posted by on Oct 30, 2016

As the centrepiece of their Christmas 2015 schedule, BBC One screened an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Scripted by Sarah Phelps and featuring a star-studded cast including Aiden Turner, Charles Dance, and Sam Neill, the adaptation was criticised in advance for deviating from its source material by “featuring drug abuse, gruesome violence and swearing” (Hastings 2015: n. pag.). After it was shown...

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Current Issue

Literary Annotation, from Poe to Twitter

Posted by on Oct 30, 2016

On the sixth of September 2012 Bret Easton Ellis tweeted: “Reading D. T. Max’s bio I continue to find David Foster Wallace the most tedious, overrated, tortured, pretentious writer of my generation…”. This article will be less interested in the judiciousness of Ellis’s findings—that debate seems unlikely to resolve itself any time soon—than in the form they take. “Reading D. T. Max’s bio:” the present tense suggests a pause for reflection, a moment...

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Recent Posts

Representations of National Identity in Cold War UK and US Civil Defence Films

Representations of National Identity in Cold War UK and US Civil Defence Films

Jul 29, 2016

Propaganda is a central weapon in the arsenal of modern conflict and Cold Wars especially are fought with images and words. The forty-year tension between East and West after the Second World War was responsible for the creation and distribution of national propaganda on a previously unprecedented scale as US and Soviet nuclear stockpiles increased exponentially and leaders shied away...

What Game Worlds Can Teach Us About Literary Worlds

What Game Worlds Can Teach Us About Literary Worlds

May 31, 2016

From the space of books to space in books While the debate rumbles on between those who contend that games tell stories in ways unique to the medium (ludologists), and those who argue that games resemble literary narratives (narratologists), literary scholars have sought to ask reciprocally what games can tell us about conventional modes of storytelling in print.

The Contemporary Historical Novel & the Novel of Contemporary History

The Contemporary Historical Novel & the Novel of Contemporary History

May 31, 2016

What is historical fiction? “Everyone knows what a historical novel is,” Avrom Fleishman states, “perhaps that is why few have volunteered to define it in print” (Fleishman 3). However, literary prizes – those institutions of canon-making – have little, if any, qualms when it comes to advancing their own sense of what constitutes historical fiction in the 21st century.

The Semblances of Roberto Bolaño

The Semblances of Roberto Bolaño

May 31, 2016

When a priest and literary critic returns from providing secret lessons on Marxism to General Pinochet in Roberto Bolaño’s By Night in Chile (2000), his friend asks him what the new Chilean leader is like. “I shrugged my shoulders, as people do in novels, but never in real life” is his response (Bolaño, 2000: 97). Bolaño’s fiction displays an uncanny ability to undercut the art form...

Consuming Television’s Golden Age with Hannibal Lecter

Consuming Television’s Golden Age with Hannibal Lecter

May 31, 2016

When F.B.I. Forensic Profiler, Will Graham, stands before a murder scene in NBC’s Hannibal, his preternatural empathy for the show’s killers animates the tableau before him, restaging their crimes and allowing him access to their motivations. “This is my design,” Graham whispers in early episodes, as he gleans from the swoop of a blood spatter, or the arrangement of severed limbs...

Responding to the Chance of Space in Marshland

Responding to the Chance of Space in Marshland

Mar 31, 2016

Doreen Massey, writing in her visionary book For Space, sets out a rallying cry for the building of interrelationships in the spaces of the contemporary world: ‘In this other spatiality, different temporalities and different voices must work out means of accommodation. The chance of space must be responded to’. In...

 

Medieval Jesus Fan Fiction

Medieval Jesus Fan Fiction

Mar 30, 2016

This article will examine a late-thirteenth-century text, the Enfaunces de Jesu Crist [Childhood of Jesus Christ], in the context of the recently developed field of fan studies. The text was edited in 1985 by Maureen Boulton, and is written in the Anglo-Norman dialect of French spoken by the élite members of society in England following the Norman Conquest.

Crossing the Line: Characters’ Re/actions as a Driving Force of Narrative

Crossing the Line: Characters’ Re/actions as a Driving Force of Narrative

Mar 30, 2016

I have not come across many people who don’t believe that we define ourselves through actions. We are what we do; we are the sum of our actions. Whether we take an existentialist approach to subjectivity and claim that we are fully responsible for every action, whether we take a Structuralist stance and believe that our subconscious mind...