Matching Items (8)

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Homeric Correspondences and Irish Nationalism in Joyce's "Cyclops"

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James Joyce’s novel Ulysses has been analyzed extensively for decades, and the volume of analyses which are still being produced today indicates that we still haven’t scratched the surface of

James Joyce’s novel Ulysses has been analyzed extensively for decades, and the volume of analyses which are still being produced today indicates that we still haven’t scratched the surface of fully understanding all of the novel’s mysteries. This project contributes to these efforts by taking a deeper look into two of the novel’s central aspects, its numerous correspondences to Homer’s The Odyssey and its criticism and subversion of traditional Irish values, and examining how they may be connected to one another. Looking specifically at the “Cyclops” episode of Ulysses, which is commonly accepted as Joyce’s most biting criticism of extreme Irish nationalism in the novel, the specific correspondences to The Odyssey with regard to the episode’s structure, plot, characters, and themes are identified. Through an analysis of how these correspondences are presented in the episode, critical divergences in how the two works portray their characters and common themes are revealed. The results of this analysis emphasize the importance of looking at Joyce’s novel as a modernist take on the traditional Homeric epic, suggesting that it is largely through these divergences that Joyce elucidates much of the underlying meaning of the episode. The subversion of Homeric themes and characters is shown to be closely connected with the subversion of Irish cultural ideals, further driving Joyce’s criticism of these ideals as outmoded. The perspective gained by analyzing the episode in this context also has quite a bit of relevance to some of the more troubling aspects of present-day western society, supporting the persistent importance of Joyce’s novel as a critical examination of humanity as a whole.

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  • 2019-05

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Modernism and misogyny in Arnold Schoenberg's Das Buch der hängenden Gärten, Opus 15

Description

Arnold Schoenberg's 1908-09 song cycle, Das Buch der hängenden Gärten [The Book of the Hanging Gardens], opus 15, represents one of his most decisive early steps into the realm of

Arnold Schoenberg's 1908-09 song cycle, Das Buch der hängenden Gärten [The Book of the Hanging Gardens], opus 15, represents one of his most decisive early steps into the realm of musical modernism. In the midst of personal and artistic crises, Schoenberg set texts by Stefan George in a style he called "pantonality," and described his composition as radically new. Though stylistically progressive, however, Schoenberg's musical achievement had certain ideologically conservative roots: the composer numbered among turn-of-the-century Viennese artists and thinkers whose opposition to the conventional and the popular--in favor of artistic autonomy and creativity--concealed a reactionary misogyny. A critical reading of Hanging Gardens through the lens of gender reveals that Schoenberg, like many of his contemporaries, incorporated strong frauenfeindlich [anti-women] elements into his work, through his modernist account of artistic creativity, his choice of texts, and his musical settings. Although elements of Hanging Gardens' atonal music suggest that Schoenberg valued gendered-feminine principles in his compositional style, a closer analysis of the work's musical language shows an intact masculinist hegemony. Through his deployment of uncanny tonal reminiscences, underlying tonal gestures, and closed forms in Hanging Gardens, Schoenberg ensures that the feminine-associated "excesses" of atonality remain under masculine control. This study draws upon the critical musicology of Susan McClary while arguing that Schoenberg's music is socially contingent, affected by the gender biases of his social and literary milieux. It addresses likely influences on Schoenberg's worldview including the philosophy of Otto Weininger, Freudian psychoanalysis, and a complex web of personal relationships. Finally, this analysis highlights the relevance of Schoenberg's world and its constructions of gender to modern performance practice, and argues that performers must consider interrelated historical, textual, and musical factors when interpreting Hanging Gardens in new contexts.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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The female patient: American women writers narrating medicine and psychology, 1890-1930

Description

The Female Patient: American Women Writers Narrating Medicine and Psychology 1890-1930 considers how American women writers, including Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Zelda Fitzgerald, Sarah Orne Jewett, Edith Wharton, and Gertrude Stein,

The Female Patient: American Women Writers Narrating Medicine and Psychology 1890-1930 considers how American women writers, including Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Zelda Fitzgerald, Sarah Orne Jewett, Edith Wharton, and Gertrude Stein, use the novel form to examine medical culture during and after the turn of the 20th century. These authors insert the viewpoint of the woman patient, I argue, to expose problematics of gendered medical relationships and women’s roles in medicine, as well as the complexities of the pre-Freudian medical environment. Issues such as categorizing and portrayal of mental illness, control and perception of the patient through treatment, women's alternative medical practices, addiction, and the immigrant and minority patient are all examined. In doing so, the goal of revising medicine's dominant narratives and literature's role in that objective may be achieved. Authors using the subjectivity of the patient help to refigure perspectives of women's medical and social encounters. Utilizing historical record and sociocultural theorizing, this dissertation presents the five women authors as essential in creating new narratives of modernity and ways of understanding medical experience during this time.

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  • 2016

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Intersecting transnational English modernisms in interwar France

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This dissertation is a study of place and the ways that place plays a role in the stories we tell about ourselves and the ways we interact with the world.

This dissertation is a study of place and the ways that place plays a role in the stories we tell about ourselves and the ways we interact with the world. It is also the study of a moment in time and how a moment can impact what came before and all that follows. By taking on the subject of 1920s anglophone modernism in France I explore the way this particular time and place drew upon the past and impacted the future of literary culture. Post World War I France serves as a fluid social, political, and cultural space and the moment is one of plural modernisms. I argue that the interwar period was a transnational moment that laid the groundwork for the kind of global interactions that are both positively and negatively impacting the world today. I maintain that the critical work connected to the influence of 1920s France on Modernism deserves a more interstitial analysis than we have seen, one that expressly challenges the national frameworks that lead to a monolithic focus on the specific identity politics attached to race, gender, class and sexuality. I promote instead a consideration of the articulations between all of these factors by expanding, connecting and providing contingencies for the difference within the unity and the similarities that exist beyond it. I consider the way that the idea, history, social culture and geography of France work as sources of literary innovation and as spaces of literary fantasy for three diverse anglophone modernist writers: Jean Rhys, Claude McKay and William Faulkner. Their interaction with the place and the people make for a complex web of articulated difference that is the very core of transnational modernism. By considering their use of place in modernist fiction, I question the centrality of Paris as a modernist topos that too often replaces any broader understanding of France as a diverse cultural and topographical space, and I question the nation-centric logic of modernist criticism that fails to recognize the complex ways that language in general and the English language in particular function in this particular expatriate modernist moment.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Negotiating music and politics: John Cage's United States bicentennial compositions "Lecture on the Weather" and "Renga with Apartment House 1776

Description

In 1975 the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) invited John Cage to write a composition for the bicentennial birthday of the United States. The result was Lecture on the Weather, a

In 1975 the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) invited John Cage to write a composition for the bicentennial birthday of the United States. The result was Lecture on the Weather, a multi-media work for twelve expatriate vocalists and/or players with independent sound systems, magnetic tape, and film. Cage used texts by Henry David Thoreau, recordings of environmental sounds made by American composer Maryanne Amacher and a nature-inspired film by Chilean visual artist Luis Frangella. The composition opens with a spoken Preface and is arguably one of Cage’s most overtly political pieces. A year later the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) and six major United States orchestras commissioned Cage to compose another work commemorating the United States bicentennial of the American Revolution. In response, he created Renga with Apartment House 1776, which follows his concept of a “music circus,” or simply, a musical composition with a multiplicity of events occurring simultaneously. Scored for voices, instrumental soloists and quartets, Renga with Apartment House is a multi-faceted work marked by layers of American hymns and folk tunes.

Cage’s United States Bicentennial compositions – and his other pieces created in the 1970s and 1980s – have received little attention from music scholars. Unique and provocative works within his oeuvre, these compositions raise many questions. Why was Cage commissioned to write these works? How did Cage pay tribute to this celebratory event in American history? What socio–political meanings are implied in these pieces? In this thesis I will provide political, cultural, and biographical contexts of these works. I will further examine their genesis, analyze their scores and selected performances, reflect on their meaning and critical implications and consider the reception of these works. My research draws on unpublished documents housed in the CBC’s archives at McGill University, the archives of C. F. Peters, the New York Public Library and it builds on research of such scholars as David W. Bernstein, William Brooks, Benjamin Piekut, and Christopher Shultis. This thesis offers new information and perspectives on Cage’s creative work in the 1970s and aims at filling a significant gap in Cage scholarship.

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  • 2015

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The body bound and the body unbound: rebirth, sensuality, and identity in Kate Chopin's The awakening and Andre Gide's L'immoraliste

Description

Self-awareness and liberation often start with an analysis of the relationship between individual and society, a relationship based on the delicate balance of personal desire and responsibility to others. While

Self-awareness and liberation often start with an analysis of the relationship between individual and society, a relationship based on the delicate balance of personal desire and responsibility to others. While societal structures, such as family, tradition, religion, and community, may be repressive to individuals, they also provide direction, identity and meaning to an individual's life. In Kate Chopin's The Awakening and André Gide's L'Immoraliste the protagonists are faced with such a dilemma. Often informed by gender roles and socio-economic class, the container or filter that society offers to shape and mediate human experience is portrayed in both novels as a fictitious self donned for society's benefit --can seem repressive or inadequate. Yet far from being one-dimensional stories of individuals who eschew the bonds of a restrictive society, both novels show that liberation can lead to entrapment. Once society's limits are transgressed, the characters face the infinitude and insatiety of their liberated desires and the danger of self-absorption. Chopin and Gide explore these issues of desire, body, and social authority in order to portray Edna's and Michel's search for an authentic self. The characters' search for authenticity allows for the loosening of restriction and embrace of desire and the body, phenomena that appear to liberate them from the dominant bourgeois society. Yet, for both Edna and Michel, an embrace of the body and individual desire threatens to unsettle the balance between individual and society. As Edna and Michel break away from society's prescribed path, both struggle to find themselves. Edna and Michel become aware of themselves in a variety of different ways: speaking and interacting with others, observing the social mores of those around them and engaging in creative activity, such as, for Edna, painting and planning a dinner party, or for Michel, teaching and writing. Chopin's 1899 novel The Awakening and André Gide's 1902 novel L'Immoraliste explore the consequences of individual liberation from the constricting bonds of religion, society, and the family. In depicting these conflicts, the authors examine the relationship between individual and society, freedom and restraint, and what an individual's relationship to his or her community should be.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Embodied Persistence: Corporeal Ruptures in Modernist Discourses of Material Language and Cultural Reproductive Futurity

Description

This dissertation is an examination of a modernist desire to construct future materiality via material language, which represents a desire to overcome biology and the biological body. As such, modernist

This dissertation is an examination of a modernist desire to construct future materiality via material language, which represents a desire to overcome biology and the biological body. As such, modernist discourses of material language must be understood within their broader historical context, as these textual constructs developed against a cultural backdrop replete with eugenicist ideologies. Modernists wielded discourses of material language to determine via cultural reproduction which futures might materialize, as well as which bodies could occupy those futures and in what capacities. This dissertation argues that these modernist constructs contain their own failure in their antibiologism and their refusal to acknowledge the agency of corporeal materiality before them. Unlike language, the body expresses biopower through its material (re)productivity—its corpo-reality—which, though it can be shaped and repressed by discourse, persistently ruptures through the restraints of eugenicist ideologies and the autonomous liberal model of white masculine embodiment they uphold. This work analyses sexually marginalized bodies in texts by Mina Loy, Djuna Barnes, Nathanael West, and Ernest Hemingway that, through their insistently persistent biological materiality, disrupt modernist discourses of material language that offer no future for feminine, queer, and disabled corporeality. By exploring how intersecting issues of gender, sexuality, and disability complicate theories of language’s materiality in modern American literature, this dissertation brings attention to writers and texts that challenge broader attempts in the early decades of the twentieth century to subvert the biological body through eugenicist projects of cultural reproduction.

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  • 2019

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Environmental justice witnessing in the modernist poetry of Lola Ridge, Muriel Rukeyser, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Elizabeth Bishop

Description

Environmental Justice Witnessing in the Modernist Poetry of Lola Ridge, Muriel Rukeyser, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Elizabeth Bishop analyzes the poetic forms used by four modernist American women poets to trace

Environmental Justice Witnessing in the Modernist Poetry of Lola Ridge, Muriel Rukeyser, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Elizabeth Bishop analyzes the poetic forms used by four modernist American women poets to trace depictions of social oppression that are tied to specific landscapes. My focus is on what I term "environmental justice witnessing," which I define as accounts that testify to experiences of injustices that affect humans and the environments they inhabit. Integrating theories of witnessing, which to date have focused exclusively on humans, with environmental justice criticism, I fashion a lens that highlights the interconnectedness of social and environmental problems. In this way, I theorize the study of texts of witness and how they document the decay, disease, and exploitation of urban and rural landscapes in the twentieth century. In this dissertation, I focus on Lola Ridge's "The Ghetto" (1918), Muriel Rukeyser's "The Book of the Dead" (1938), Gwendolyn Brooks' "In the Mecca" (1968), and poems about Brazil from Elizabeth Bishop's Questions of Travel (1965) and New Poems (1979). I argue that these women poets depict environmental injustices as an inherent facet of social injustice and do so by poetically connecting human bodies to environmental bodies through sound, diction, figurative language, and imagery.

In Environmental Justice Witnessing, I expand arguments made by environmental scholars about the exchange of environmental elements among humans, animals, and landscapes to include the way poets reflect this transfer poetically. The poetry of Ridge, Rukeyser, Brooks, and Bishop allows me to investigate the ways the categories of race, gender, and class, typically thought of as human qualities, are integrally tied to the geographic, national, and cultural bounds in which those categories are formulated. This argument has clear implications on the study of poetry and its environmental contexts as it invites discussions of the transnational conceptions of global citizenship, examinations of the relationships among communities, the environment, and overarching power structures, and arguments surrounding the ways that poetry as art can bring about long-term social and environmental awareness.

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Date Created
  • 2015