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Genius and the Construction of the “Inferior Female Creator”: The Case of Eliza Haywood

Claudia Chibici-Revneanu

Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores (ENES), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), León, Mexico

Volume 7, Number 3, 2015 I Full Text PDF


Abstract

This article is based on the idea that the Romantic ideology of genius brought with it a gendered antagonist category: that of the commercially driven “inferior female creator.” This image, a kind of archetypal figure filled with the life-stories of individual women writers, conveniently collapsed the early Romantic, status-quo threatening forces of literary commercialism and feminization into one. The phenomenon is studied specifically with reference to the 18th century English author Eliza Haywood. By analyzing attacks on Haywood and other important female writers during her lifetime, as well as the predominantly negative image of the author created in George Frisbee Whicher’s early 20th century biography The Life and Romances of Mrs. Eliza Haywood, it will be shown that the writer seems to have acted as a key representative of a derogatory category which lofty, predominantly male “geniuses” could define themselves against.

Keywords: genius; gender; Eliza Haywood; inferior female creator; G.F. Whicher, The Life and Romances of Mrs. Eliza Haywood

A Science Fiction in a Gothic Scaffold: a Reading of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Zinia Mitra, Nakshalbari College, Darjeeling, India

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Abstract

Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus is a unique blend of two genres: Gothic and science fiction. While it follows the gothic convention of tale within tales, its epistolary framework and keeps intact its unrestrained lengthy articulations, it explores at the same time the innovative marvels of modern science. The fire that Prometheus stole form Zeus to help mankind is ingeniously   replaced in the novel by the spark of electricity. The novel also puts to question some traditional social assumptions.

Performing “Fine Arts”: Dance as a Source of Inspiration in Impressionism

Johannis Tsoumas,  Hellenic Open University, Athens

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Abstract

The proposed article aims to highlight the importance of the most significant performing art which, according to the author’s opinion, is dance, in influencing one of the most magnificent movements in world art history: Impressionism. Through an diachronic and deep cut in time, namely, the last decades of the nineteenth century France, a period commonly known as fin de siècle, this article attempts to illuminate the unseen sides of this magical “physical ceremony” which was meant to affect dramatically not only art, but also the social status of the country. The process of human movements, especially female ones, through the interaction of body and music was ultimately the cornerstone of the configuration of not only the aesthetics, but the overall ideology of some of the most prominent representatives of Impressionism, but also Post-Impressionism, as in many cases it determined their own lives. The imposing and much debated waltz, the classical ballet as well as the charming can-can and, its ancestor, the playful quadrille, were harmonically blended with the enchanting tools and materials of the Impressionist artists and the result was some of the most astonishing works of art in the world art history.

“I was not certain where I belonged”: Integration and Alienation in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Avirup Ghosh, Bhairab Ganguly College, Kolkata

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 Abstract

The article will focus on the contrary impulses of alienation and integration in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist that the central character and narrator Changez goes through in America while working as an employee at Underwood Samson, a “valuation” firm and his subsequent return to his native Pakistan where he assumes what appears to be an ultra-nationalistic political stance. This is to argue that Changez’s desperate attempt at assuming this stance has its roots not only in the cultural alienation and racism that he is subjected to in America, especially in a post-9/11 America, but also in his futile effort to naturally integrate with a Pakistani way of life.  By uncovering certain ambiguities in Changez’s ideological rhetoric, the paper tries show how Changez’s critique of American corporate fundamentalism stems from his lack of a sense of belonging and from a feeling of problematized identity.

The ‘Blue Flame’: An ‘Elliptical’ Interaction between Kahlil Gibran and Rabindranath Tagore

Indrani Datta (Chaudhuri)

Vidyasagar University, India

Volume 2, Number 1, 2010Download PDF Version
DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v2n2.02

Abstract:

This paper focuses on certain aporias in the life and works of a Lebanese American writer, Kahlil Gibran, that reveal his idiosyncratic interest in and preoccupation with India, neither his native nor his adopted country. It also charts out the ‘elliptical’ connection that this Lebanese immigrant forged with the Indian Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore. A “belated” (Behdad 1) reading of these aspects opens up the possibility of critiquing Gibran’s life and writings through the theoretical framework of Nico Israel’s “outlandish”-ness (ix), a state that exists between, as Israel has stated, “exilic emplacement” and “diasporic self-fashioning” (16-17). This kind of “reading behind” (Behdad 4) rewrites “a kind of philosophical décalage” (2) that ruptures existing West-centric discourses by destabilizing and displacing them through “other locations…other trajectories of subjectivity, and…forms of knowledge” (Behdad 1). My critiquing of Gibran’s life and texts, in this manner, show how his sense of identity, generated out of trans-cultural and transnational spaces, not only engenders a counter discursive practice to the West-centric politics of exclusion but also tries to rescue non-Western writers, and their literatures, from the “anamnesiac order” (Behdad 3) of such politics.

Subjectivity in Art History and Art Criticism

Eleni Gemtou,University of Athens, Greece

Volume 2, Number 1, 2010Download PDF Version

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v2n1.02

Abstract

Art history and art criticism belong in a wider sense to the humanities, whose aim is the interpretation and comprehension of human actions and intellectual work.  Both fields draw their basic methodological tools from the hermeneutical tradition.  Their central analytic category is comprehension (verstehen) that seeks to ascribe meaning to the spirit of these actions, or to works of art.  The intention of the art historian is to analyse and integrate artistic works in a wider intellectual and social frame, while the aim of the art critic is to examine the values connected with artistic creations.  Their roles are not always distinguishable, as analysis, comprehension, interpretation and evaluation often co-exist in the studies of both fields.  However, the approach of the art historian should have a scientific character, aiming at objectively valid formulations, while the critic should give equal consideration to subjective factors, acknowledging international artistic values, often taking on the additional role of philosopher or theorist of art. In my paper I examine the varying degrees of subjectivity in the approaches of art historians and art critics.  I give emphasis to the methods and language both use, while I approach the categories of artistic values (aesthetic, moral, cognitive) according to their subjective usage, but also to their role in the comprehension and evaluation of art.  My conviction is that art history and art criticism are complementary activities, as the former creates fertile conditions for the latter’s complete and essential evaluations.

Rabindranath Tagore’s English Prose: “Some Qualities of Permanence”

Fakrul Alam, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Abstract

This paper explores the enduring qualities of Rabindranath Tagore’s English prose and puts forward the thesis that not only the Gitanjali poems but also many other of his English writings attained “some qualities of permanence” almost wholly because of his artistic skills. In addition to the strength of his ideas and the intensity of his feelings, the main reason why his prose works found an appreciative audience for a long time in the west can often be attributed to his adroit use of the English language in his letters, lectures, essays and speeches and his ability to adjust his style in accordance with the occasion, the audience, the genre and the subject matter. Without the impact the English prose writings have had, Tagore’s international reputation would not have survived thus far. Indeed, the enduring popularity of a work such as Nationalism tells us quite clearly that while as far as his argument is concerned there is a lot that is still relevant for the world in Tagore’s English writings, they should still appeal to us also because of his eloquence and writing skills.

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