21st century writing | 21st century approaches

Current Issue

Nuclear Narratives: Editor’s Introduction

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016

Written from within the last “hot” period of the Cold War’s near half century span, Martin Amis’s 1987 essay “Thinkability” articulates how nuclear weapons embedded themselves within our personal and cultural imagination: "Everyone is interested in nuclear weapons, even those people who affirm and actually believe that they never give the question a moment’s thought. We are all interested parties...

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Current Issue

The Futures of Nuclear Criticism

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016

The unthinkable happened at 4.20pm on 28 October, 1988. Though lasting only thirty-six minutes – betrayal by European NATO allies prevented escalation into the global holocaust many had feared – nuclear attack transformed the United States. As Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka record in an extraordinary travel narrative about a perilous journey around the country five years...

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Current Issue

Documentary Film and Our Restless Nuclear Present

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016

Our nuclear present is restless, yet we rarely conceptualise nuclear reality in this way. It can only ever be restless, as nuclear technologies shape our world, their relentless and dangerous forms remaining largely permanent and unseen, deliberately kept from our gaze. The “nuclear fuel cycle” is a hyper-long-term phenomenon and, at any split second, globally, there are hundreds of thousands...

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Current Issue

Haunting Clouds

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016

Clouds form part of a shared and familiar everyday aesthetic. Cloud narrative through which patterns are seen incorporate more than simple pareidolia when we consider the nuclear cloud. Ordinarily, pareidolia refers to witnessing illusion; thus, we might see images and symbols in clouds. However, the nuclear cloud engages a more nuanced narrative of cultural trauma than the term pareidolia encompasses.

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Recent Posts

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...

On the Political Aesthetics of Metadata

On the Political Aesthetics of Metadata

Mar 30, 2016

In the twenty-first century, the term “metadata” has appeared in the popular news press with increasing frequency. For instance, recent arguments made by proponents of mass surveillance have focused on the fact that the content of messages may be irrelevant for spy agencies; such organizations are instead more interested in knowing...

Caring about things in Siri Hustvedt’s The Blindfold

Caring about things in Siri Hustvedt’s The Blindfold

Jan 5, 2016

What does it mean to care about things? The Blindfold, Siri Hustvedt’s first novel, dangles this question in a series of set-pieces, moments of glimpsing into the weirdness of the everyday, the objects that fill it and the ways in which these objects are, might, should or shouldn’t be handled. The Blindfold’s objects are animate or border on animation...

Duration Without Breaks: Marclay and McQueen Against the Clock

Duration Without Breaks: Marclay and McQueen Against the Clock

Jan 5, 2016

‘There is a bitter and dark struggle around time and the use of time’. Thus wrote Henri Lefebvre and Catherine Régulier in an 1985 article later collected in Lefebvre’s final set of essays, Rhythmanalysis, posthumously published in 1992 (Lefebvre 83). As if the day is not long enough for all our repetitive tasks, the ...

Re-imagining Bluebeard’s Wives: Helen Oyeyemi’s Mr Fox

Re-imagining Bluebeard’s Wives: Helen Oyeyemi’s Mr Fox

Jan 5, 2016

In a Granta Magazine interview with Ted Hodgkinson, Helen Oyeyemi talks about re-writing the endings of canonical texts to suit her own reading of the novel in question. Writing in the margins of library books, Oyeyemi ‘would cross out endings that I didn’t like and I would rewrite them […] I would order everything to ...