updates: fiction & poetry

Five new citations added today   —

• Genoni, P. 2012. “The Sydney Harbour Bridge: From Modernity to Post-modernity in Australian Fiction.” Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature 12 (1) (July 16).

This paper considers a recent spate of novels that deal in various ways with the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. These include Peter Corris’s Wet Graves; Alex Miller’s Conditions of Faith; Vicki Hastrich’s The Great Arch; and Sarah Hay’s The Body in the Clouds. It is argued that these novels, written so long after the bridge’s completion, are each grappling with the transformation of this icon of Australian modernism into the significant component in the nation’s foremost experience of postmoadern urban space – Circular Quay.

• Hansen, J. 2012. “Space, Time, and Plane Travel in Walter Kirn’s Novel Up in the Air.” Nordic Journal of English Studies 11 (3): 18–35.

This article applies Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of the literary chronotope to an analysis of the depiction of corporate air travel in Walter Kirn’s novel Up in the Air (2001). The analysis shows how the novel positions itself in relation to the genre of road narratives, at the same time transforming it by exchanging the car and the road for airplanes and airports. It further examines how the “airworld” chronotope is characterized by a disjunction between space and time. This contributes to a critique of commercialization and reification of space and time in contemporary American society, and also serves to question ideals traditionally associated with the American road genre.

• Mathieson, C. 2012. “‘a Moving and a Moving on’: Mobility, Space, and the Nation in Charles Dickens’s Bleak House.” English 61 (235) (December 1): 395–405.

This article argues that despite apparently being the most ‘national’ of his novels, Bleak House is actively engaged with mid-nineteenth-century global travel culture and that reading the text through its mobile structures offers a productive framework through which to reconsider the novel’s nation-building practices. It explores the relationship between space, mobility, and social relations in the novel, reading Dickens’s employment of mobile structures in the text as evidence of a deep anxiety about the preserve of national place in an era of global modernity and revealing the impossibility of denying Britain’s inextricable connection to the modern world.

• McCulloch, A. 2013. “A.D. Hope: Nomad of the Mind, Land and Space.” Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature: 81–87.

The paper will be inter-disciplinary in nature in that it attempts to collapse the divides between biography, philosophy, aesthetics, poetry and psychology. I will draw on three Hope poems that invoke Australian landscape, and which enact a unique creative identity with the land. Characterising Hope as having a nomadic subjectivity which is defined by its dynamism, by its becoming, by its variability of continuous and open modification, I wish to draw attention to the extent that Hope’s work pre-empts contemporary theory.

• Wilhite, K. 2012. “Contested Terrain: The Suburbs as Region.” American Literature 84 (3) (September 1): 617–644.

Wilhite contends that a general indebtedness to Cold War cultural critique has kept literary scholars from reading the suburbs and suburban fiction for what they truly are: the endgame and final outpost of US regionalism. Drawing on discussions of regional writing and cultural geography, Wilhite argues that we should read suburban narratives for the ways they update and revise long-standing regionalist approaches to local and global concerns: the charged insularity of the domestic sphere, the geographic containment of racial difference, the repressive construction of a common national identity, and the imperial reach of nation. As a mode of geopolitical analysis, regionalism clarifies the fraught relationship between isolationism and imperialism that has shaped US residential geography. When read as form of regional writing, suburban fiction exposes our homes and neighborhoods as national and transnational “sites of contestation.” To develop this line of thinking, Wilhite offers Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections (2001) and Chang-rae Lee’s Aloft (2004) as case studies for his broader claims about region and the spatial effects of residential sprawl and suburban domesticity. Franzen and Lee both locate the political subject within the competing ideologies of privatism and globalization, but they produce radically different responses to the suburb as a symptomatic fact of twenty-first-century life in the United States. Taken together, these novels offer divergent paths for understanding the suburbs as a uniquely problematic and potentially transformative cultural and geographic region.

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