Alluvium Editorial 8.2: Locating the Centre in Contemporary Literature

This special issue of Alluvium takes as its subject contemporary literature’s relationship with the political centre. The editors remind us that there is more than one answer to this question. Indeed, locating this ideological ground is in part so difficult because of the constantly shifting discursive environment concerning centrism, and its relationship with both the left and the right.

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Now “The Fact That” Then

This article examines the dissolution of the centre as a fecund literary frame of reference. Lucy Ellmann’s “Ducks, Newburyport” (2019) is a novel that is written on the precipice of crisis. It is an experimental novel of (mostly) one sentence that documents a contemporary crisis of distraction so engrossing that we do not have time to acknowledge its magnitude.

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Caring about things in Siri Hustvedt’s The Blindfold

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…

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Duration Without Breaks: Marclay and McQueen Against the Clock

‘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 …

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

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 …

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Siri Hustvedt’s The Blazing World: Does Art Have a Gender Identity?

In her most recent novel The Blazing World (2014), Siri Hustvedt raises the problem of sex biases in the art world. One of the central premises of the book is that works of art executed by women are rated significantly lower than the same piece by a man. “Does art really have a gender identity”, asks Hustvedt …

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Towards a Taxonomy of Edgelands Literature

Susan Sontag, in her 1969 work Styles of Radical Willclaimed that ‘there is no such thing as empty space. As long as a human eye is looking there is always something to see’ (10) – foreseeing with the simplicity of her statement a watershed moment in literary and cultural criticism, the spatial turn, the effects of which are still being comprehended and incorporated into the …

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Editorial – Global Conflict

Contemporary fiction about global conflict is often concerned with an imaginative collapsing of space. Putting emotional affect to instrumental use, it works to raise awareness about events that go untold by the world’s media, either challenging conventional understandings of

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Displaced Perspective

The United Nations refugee agency – UNHCR – released a report in 2012 which argued that displacement, predominately caused by war, is ‘the new twenty-first century challenge’ (UNHCR Global Trends). Through the perspective of a vulnerable and 

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