Journal articles: 'Pluto (fictitious character), fiction' – Grafiati (2024)

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Relevant bibliographies by topics / Pluto (fictitious character), fiction / Journal articles

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Author: Grafiati

Published: 11 December 2022

Last updated: 26 January 2023

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1

Isaev,IgorA. "Politization of Fictitious." History of state and law 1 (January28, 2021): 15–22. http://dx.doi.org/10.18572/1812-3805-2021-1-15-22.

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The article is devoted to an important phenomenon — political fiction as a kind of an ideological construction analogue. Fiction has deepened the fantasy traits of an ideological structure. Irrespective of its imaginary character, it can produce a real impact on political and other social processes. Fictitious politics flourished during the French revolution and got consolidated in the era of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes.

2

Oktaviani, Danissa Dyah. "Konsep Fantasi dalam Film." REKAM 15, no.2 (October1, 2019): 125–36. http://dx.doi.org/10.24821/rekam.v15i2.3356.

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Fantasy films were born from the development of fiction films that have shown existence since the beginning of its history. Fantasy films have their own charm because they can penetrate time and space compared to other genres. Fiction films develop from their creators both in terms of story and cinematography because fiction films are at the center of the poles: real and abstract. Its greatest strength lies in its ability to integrate and combine with other genres without exception and can be broadly developed unlimitedly. That is because fantasy films contain elements with different characteristics from other films where if a fantasy film has one element in the making of the film then it has been said to be a fantasy film. The elements or components that are seen are derived from the narrative and cinematic elements of filmmaking which contain ideas of stories, characters, and settings in a film. These three elements are the forming components of fantasy films that are fictitious and imaginative. The idea of the story is not based on an imaginary reality, that is a fiction that makes no sense. In the case of fantasy films, filmmakers will compete to develop and present ideas that have not been thought of before, so the audience seems to be carried away in a new world outside of real life. Character characters in fantasy films are the imagination of creators in fictitious forms, such as: animal characters, extraterrestrials, monsters, robots, and non-physical characters such as ghosts, spirits and holograms. While the background elements in fantasy films have a character setting place and time imaginative events are unique in unknown times or dimensions, can be past, present, and future with the centuries formed by the creators.

3

Zatsepina,O.E. "LEGAL SYMBOL AND LEGAL FICTION: PROBLEMS OF DEMARCATION." Russian-Asian Legal Journal, no.4 (January31, 2020): 14–18. http://dx.doi.org/10.14258/ralj(2019)4.3.

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The article considers the legal symbol and legal fiction as special legal categories. The correctness of anarrow approach to their essence was established according to which the notion of «legal fiction» does notinclude fictitious phenomena, and the notion of «legal symbol» does not cover symbols prohibited by law,and symbols which represent certain values. It was revealed that both considered categories have a certaindegree of conventionality, in a specific way according to the scheme established by the legislator, thereforethey are sometimes mixed in the literature. Legal symbols, unlike legal fictions, are more fundamental, buthave an auxiliary character, since they reflect an existing legal precept, and are not part of a new legal norm,contain an encrypted meaning, but do not distort the legal reality.Legal symbols and legal fictions play a very important role in legal regulation, since they optimize it andmake it more quality, and also provide legal and linguistic economy.

4

Hauswald, Rico. "Fiktive Figuren als Träger von Wissen und als epistemische Autoritäten." Journal of Literary Theory 13, no.2 (September6, 2019): 161–84. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/jlt-2019-0006.

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Abstract This essay examines the question of whether and under what conditions a fictitious character can be an epistemic authority for (real) readers; more precisely: it asks whether and under what conditions readers can acquire (propositional) knowledge from the character, thus learning something from it. In answering this question, the essay brings together two debates that have so far hardly been related to each other: an epistemological debate on the concept of epistemic authority and a literary-theoretical debate on aesthetic cognitivism, i. e., the discourse about what can be learned from the reception of fictional texts. In order for a person to be an epistemic authority for another person, two conditions must be met: 1) the first person must have an advantage in knowledge over the second person that the second person recognizes and acknowledges as such; and 2) the second person must have appropriate access to this knowledge. In order to clarify to what extent a fictitious character and a real reader can be related in this way, I first examine what it means to attribute knowledge to a fictitious character. To do so, I suggest the following analysis: In story S, character C knows that p if and only if C believes in S that p; p is true in S; and C is justified in S to believe that p (this suggestion, based on the classical definition of knowledge, can easily be adapted for other suggested analyses: all that is required is that all conditions in the analysis – whatever they might be – lie inside the scope of the fiction operator). Furthermore, a knowledge attribution of the form »In S, C knows whether p« is true if and only if in S, C knows that p or knows that not-p. On the question of the correctness-conditions for knowledge attributions of the form »In S, C knows that p« and »In S, C knows whether p«, I will then enter the debate about fictional truths. This is necessary for two reasons. On the one hand, the attribution of knowledge is nothing but the assertion of a particular fictional truth. And on the other hand, an attribution of knowledge involves another fictional fact, namely the fact p (which I call the »underlying fact«). The view that is largely held in the discussion about fictional truth following Lewis is that what is true in a story does not result solely from the explicit assertions in the text, but also from plausible consequences [Plausibilitätsschlüssen] that we can be further justified in drawing. More precisely, the following possibilities arise for both facts – the underlying fact as well as the attribution of knowledge: Either the text explicitly contains a reference to the fact. Or it does not contain such an explicit reference, but the question of whether the fact obtains can still be answered on the basis of plausibility conclusions. Or there are no explicit references and plausibility conclusions cannot be drawn. In this case, there is a point of indeterminacy. These distinctions result in a number of possible combinations corresponding to different types of situations, some interesting instance of which I examine in more detail. One case that is especially remarkable is when there is a point of indeterminacy in the text with regard to the underlying fact, which – as I illustrate with an example – does not exclude the possibility that knowledge can be attributed to a character with regard to the proposition in question. The claim is often made about indeterminate passages that not even God can know whether the facts in question obtain – and this is correct. Hence if we are entitled to attribute the knowledge in question to a character, this shows that fictitious characters can not only know more than the reader or the author, but even more than God. Such situations also illustrate that more knowledge does not have to go hand in hand with more epistemic authority. For readers, the indeterminate passage remains unresolvable, and readers cannot learn anything from the character in this regard. This leads me to the question of under which conditions the reader can learn something from a character to whom knowledge is attributed that the reader does not possess. A fundamental problem for the idea that there could be something like a transfer of knowledge between a fictitious character and a real reader is that both belong to different ontological spheres, so to speak: the reader is real, the character merely fictitious. If a character were to be an epistemic authority for a reader, this would be a case of a transfictional epistemic authority, which must be distinguished from »ordinary« epistemic authorities as well as from fictitious epistemic authorities and from epistemic authorities for fictitious truths. I propose to analyze transfictional epistemic authorities using the make-believe theory and the extended-pretense operator: When readers find themselves in extended pretense and pretend to be part of the fictitious world, they become at least imaginatively capable of interacting with the characters, so that the characters can become imaginary epistemic authorities for the readers. I also discuss the cognitivism debate and argue that the (fictitious) knowledge of a character can affect not only intra-fictional but also extra-fictional objects and truths. A main objection to the cognitivist view that readers can acquire propositional knowledge of reality from reading fictional texts is that fictional texts are not reliable sources and that the beliefs the reader may form through reading cannot be justified. I reject this objection and argue that readers can also acquire knowledge about reality through the attribution of knowledge to fictitious characters or even from speech acts that the characters make in the story. Finally, I will deal with a possible objection that the epistemic authority that a character can have is completely parasitic on that of the author: the objection here is that if readers learn something, it’s actually from the author. In contrast, I argue that fictitious characters can acquire an independent epistemic authority that cannot be reduced to that of the author.

5

Muravieva,LarissaE. "Exofiction and Enactivist Narratives in Contemporary French Literature." Studia Litterarum 7, no.3 (2022): 30–51. http://dx.doi.org/10.22455/2500-4247-2022-7-3-30-51.

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The proliferation of hybrid genres is a notable trend in contemporary French literature. Alongside autofiction, new hybrids are emerging in French literature, modelled on a mixture of fiction and factual genre. One of them is exofiction (“ex” + “fiction”), which implies a narrative about fictitious events from the life of a historical character or an attempt to introduce fiction into someone else’s biography. The neologism, belonging to the writer Philippe Vasset, is rapidly entering scholarly and critical discourse, but no systematic attempt to describe the phenomenon has been made. According to Vasset, exofiction can be defined as any narrative that “blends the reality with the phantasms that accompany its representations” (Ph. Vasset); in other words, exofictitious writing practices form the space of “enactivist literature” in the cognitive sense. Exofiction reveals itself in the search for a connection between inner narrator’s experience and the other subject’s experience — including traumatic — through the language. This article attempts to identify the main features of exofiction, according to the enactivist approach in cognitive science and narratology, and to propose an analysis of the genre characteristics of exofiction by the exаmple of the novels by Pascal Quignard, Jean Echenoz and David Foenkinos.

6

Khabibullina,LiliaF. "Postcolonial Trauma in the 21st-Century English Female Fiction." Imagologiya i komparativistika, no.15 (2021): 89–104. http://dx.doi.org/10.17223/24099554/15/5.

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The postcolonial fiction of the 21st century has developed a new version of family chronicle depicting the life of several generations of migrants to demonstrate the complexity of their experience, different for each generation. This article aims at investigating this tradition from the perspective of three urgent problems: trauma, postcolonial experience, and the “female” theme. The author uses the most illustrative modern women’s postcolonial writings (Z. Smith, Ju. Chang) to show the types of trauma featured in postcolonial literature as well as the change in the character of traumatic experience, including the migrant’s automythologization from generation to generation. There are several types of trauma, or stages experienced by migrants: historical, migration and selfidentification, more or less correlated with three generations of migrants. Historical trauma is the most severe and most often insurmountable for the first generation. It generates a myth about the past, terrible or beautiful, depending on the writer’s intention realized at the level of the writer or the characters. A most expanded form of this trauma can be found in the novel Wild Swans by Jung Chang, where the “female” experience underlines the severity of the historical situation in the homeland of migrants. The trauma of migration manifests itself as a situation of deterritorialization, lack of place, when the experience of the past dominates and prevents the migrants from adapting to a new life. This situation is clearly illustrated in the novel White Teeth by Z. Smith, where the first generation of migrants cannot cope with the effects of trauma. The trauma of selfidentification promotes a fictitious identity in the younger generation of migrants. Unable to join real life communities, they create automyths, joining fictional communities based on cultural myths (Muslim organizations, rap culture, environmental organizations). Such examples can be found in Z. Smith’s White Teeth and On Beauty. Thus, the problem of trauma undergoes erosion, because, strictly speaking, with each new generation, the event experienced as traumatic is less worth designating as such. Compared to historical trauma or the trauma of migration, trauma of self-identification is rather a psychological problem that affects the emotional sphere and is quite survivable for most of the characters.

7

Cavaliere, Mauro. "Metaficción historiográfica y autoficción: diferentes compromisos con la referencialidad en Estação das Chuvas de José Eduardo Agualusa y Soldados de Salamina de Javier Cercas." Interlitteraria 24, no.2 (January15, 2020): 479–94. http://dx.doi.org/10.12697/il.2019.24.2.16.

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Historiographic metafiction and autofiction: different commitments with the referentiality in Estação das Chuvas by José Eduardo Agualusa and Soldiers of Salamina by Javier Cercas. This article offers a comparative analysis of the novels Estação das Chuvas (1996) by the Angolan writer José Eduardo Agualusa (born in 1960) and Soldados de Salamina (2001) of the Spaniard Javier Cercas (born in 1962). The two novels belong to different geographical and cultural contexts. Nevertheless, a common sensibility – due perhaps to the same generational affiliation or to the prevalence of topics in force in the 1990s – makes evident the emergence of both a historical theme and the presence of a subject involved in historical processes. Ultimately, in both novels, we come across a subject that makes history although in quite different ways: involved firsthand in historical events with tragic implications, in the case of Agualusa, and absorbed in a reflection on apparently distant events in the case of Cercas. However, the result of the emphasis on the presence of a subjectivity within historical processes causes the two novels to share a common element, that is, a double generic affiliation. Both Estação das Chuvas and Soldados de Salamina actually share semantic traits that make it possible to classify them at the same time as autofictional novels and historiographic metafictions. Despite their common architectural matrix, the two novels represent two very different expressions within these genres. This manifests itself at different levels: first, the treatment of the autofictional character and, secondly, the treatment of the other characters. Through the analysis of the characters that populate these two novels, I will try to show how the two writers adopt divergent attitudes regarding the degree of referentiality in their works and how they end up proposing two different poetic options. In the analysis of the characters, I consider it useful to introduce a taxonomy that, in addition to including already existing types (referential, historical, fictitious characters), introduces other types hopefully useful to the study of the currently abundant number of fictions that, through an ambiguous narrative pact, are located between fiction and faction.

8

Intan, Tania. "Redefinisi Fungsi Desa dalam Manga Naruto dan Bande Dessinée Astérix: Sebuah Kajian Komparasi Budaya Populer." Metahumaniora 7, no.3 (December3, 2017): 293. http://dx.doi.org/10.24198/metahumaniora.v7i3.18847.

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AbstrakSecara alamiah, manusia membutuhkan sarana untuk mengisi waktu luangnyasetelah bekerja keras. Satu media yang murah, mudah dijangkau, dan digemari oleh semuakalangan di seluruh dunia adalah cerita bergambar atau komik yang merupakan bagiandari budaya populer. Pada umumnya, karya paraliteratur-visual ini memang bersifat fiktifdan hanya merupakan peniruan dari kenyataan yang digambarkan secara berlebihan(grotesque). Namun demikian, di dalam komik, sering ditemukan nilai-nilai kehidupanyang bersifat universal dan abadi sehingga dianggap layak sebagai bahan kajian budaya.Naruto, salah satu manga Jepang, dan Astérix, bande dessinée dari Prancis, akan ditelitisebagai representasi dunia Timur dan Barat. Latar sebagai unsur struktural dalam karyakaryafiksi ini ternyata juga menunjukkan kesamaan mendasar, yaitu keberadaan desasebagai tempat hidup para tokohnya. Dalam tulisan ini, akan dibahas pemaknaan lainterhadap lingkungan rural tersebut, yang memiliki andil dalam pembentukan karakterpara tokoh dari kedua komik. Metode kajian komparasi budaya akan digunakan denganpenerapan teori-teori yang relevan. Penelitian singkat ini bertujuan untuk melengkapistudi mengenai komik yang belum banyak dilakukan di Indonesia.Kata kunci: Desa, komik, Naruto, Astérix, Komparasi BudayaAbstractNaturally, humans need a way to fill their spare time after working hard. Acheap, accessible and popular medium by all circles around the world is a picture or comicstory, which is part of popular culture. McCloud (1993:7) defines comics as drawings andembossed symbols in a particular order, aimed at providing information or achievingaesthetic responses from the reader. In general, this visual-paraliterature work isindeed fictitious and merely an imitation of grotesque reality. However, in the comics, itis often found that values of life that are universal and eternal so comics are consideredappropriate as a material of cultural studies. Naruto, one of the Japanese manga, andAstérix, the bande dessinée of France, are examined as a representation of the East andWest. The background as a structural element in these works of fiction also shows the basicsimilarity of the existence of the village as the place of life of the characters. According toKartohadikoesoemo (1984:16), the village is a legal entity, in which a ruling society livesits own government. In this paper, other meanings of the rural environment, which hascontributed in the character formation of the characters from both comics are discussed.The method of cultural comparative is used with the application of relevant theories. Thisbrief study aims to complete the study of comics which is still very limited in Indonesia.Keywords: Village, Comic, Naruto, Astérix, Cultural Comparison

9

Intan, Tania. "Redefinisi Fungsi Desa dalam Manga Naruto dan Bande Dessinée Astérix: Sebuah Kajian Komparasi Budaya Populer." Metahumaniora 7, no.3 (December3, 2017): 293. http://dx.doi.org/10.24198/mh.v7i3.18847.

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AbstrakSecara alamiah, manusia membutuhkan sarana untuk mengisi waktu luangnyasetelah bekerja keras. Satu media yang murah, mudah dijangkau, dan digemari oleh semuakalangan di seluruh dunia adalah cerita bergambar atau komik yang merupakan bagiandari budaya populer. Pada umumnya, karya paraliteratur-visual ini memang bersifat fiktifdan hanya merupakan peniruan dari kenyataan yang digambarkan secara berlebihan(grotesque). Namun demikian, di dalam komik, sering ditemukan nilai-nilai kehidupanyang bersifat universal dan abadi sehingga dianggap layak sebagai bahan kajian budaya.Naruto, salah satu manga Jepang, dan Astérix, bande dessinée dari Prancis, akan ditelitisebagai representasi dunia Timur dan Barat. Latar sebagai unsur struktural dalam karyakaryafiksi ini ternyata juga menunjukkan kesamaan mendasar, yaitu keberadaan desasebagai tempat hidup para tokohnya. Dalam tulisan ini, akan dibahas pemaknaan lainterhadap lingkungan rural tersebut, yang memiliki andil dalam pembentukan karakterpara tokoh dari kedua komik. Metode kajian komparasi budaya akan digunakan denganpenerapan teori-teori yang relevan. Penelitian singkat ini bertujuan untuk melengkapistudi mengenai komik yang belum banyak dilakukan di Indonesia.Kata kunci: Desa, komik, Naruto, Astérix, Komparasi BudayaAbstractNaturally, humans need a way to fill their spare time after working hard. Acheap, accessible and popular medium by all circles around the world is a picture or comicstory, which is part of popular culture. McCloud (1993:7) defines comics as drawings andembossed symbols in a particular order, aimed at providing information or achievingaesthetic responses from the reader. In general, this visual-paraliterature work isindeed fictitious and merely an imitation of grotesque reality. However, in the comics, itis often found that values of life that are universal and eternal so comics are consideredappropriate as a material of cultural studies. Naruto, one of the Japanese manga, andAstérix, the bande dessinée of France, are examined as a representation of the East andWest. The background as a structural element in these works of fiction also shows the basicsimilarity of the existence of the village as the place of life of the characters. According toKartohadikoesoemo (1984:16), the village is a legal entity, in which a ruling society livesits own government. In this paper, other meanings of the rural environment, which hascontributed in the character formation of the characters from both comics are discussed.The method of cultural comparative is used with the application of relevant theories. Thisbrief study aims to complete the study of comics which is still very limited in Indonesia.Keywords: Village, Comic, Naruto, Astérix, Cultural Comparison

10

Alavarce Campos, Camila Da Silva. "A representação da representação: lirismo e ironia romântica em Vícios e virtudes, de Helder Macedo." Caligrama: Revista de Estudos Românicos 19, no.1 (September21, 2014): 5. http://dx.doi.org/10.17851/2238-3824.19.1.5-22.

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<p><strong>Resumo</strong>: O texto refere-se a um estudo dos processos de construção do romance Vícios e virtudes, de Helder Macedo, objetivando a retomada e a discussão do conceito de ironia romântica. Essa ironia, em especial, desmistifica os jogos da representação artística clássica, que entende o texto literário como imitação do real. Ao contrário disso, favorece a expressão do fazer literário com todas as suas limitações, elaborações e reelaborações de linguagem, legitimando o caráter de arte, de natureza fictícia e, pois, de exercício de experimentação presentes na literatura. O escritor Helder Macedo parece propor, no referido romance, uma reflexão acerca do processo criativo – reflexão que se ocupará fundamentalmente da construção da obra literária, compreendida enquanto criação permanente. Acreditamos que a ironia romântica potencializa essa reflexão, na medida em que desvela o fazer literário como encenação, como fingimento. Pensando na estrutura paradoxal da ironia, acreditamos que ela acaba por dizer sempre mais do que fica expresso e, nesse sentido, aproxima-se da literatura de um modo geral, mas, sobretudo, do estilo lírico. O elemento lúdico parece caracterizá-los, na medida em que ambos – a ironia romântica e o lírico – partem de uma espécie de jogo que contraria o pragmatismo da linguagem convencional. Para Antonino Pagliaro, “A ironia participa ao mesmo tempo do caráter agonístico do enigma e do jogo poético.” O romance Vícios e virtudes, do escritor português Helder Macedo, cria um espaço importante para o estudo das questões colocadas, já que expressa um projeto literário no qual se exibe uma intensa valorização do estético, do ficcional e do poético.</p> <p><strong>Palavras-chave</strong>: Ficção; ironia romântica; lirismo; representação.</p> <p><strong> </strong></p> <p><strong>Abstract</strong>: This study approaches the processes of construction of the novel Vices and virtues by Helder Macedo, aiming to discussthe concept of romantic irony. This irony, in particular, demystifies the games of classic artistic representation, which considers the literary text as an imitation of the real. In contrast, it favors the expression of literary writing with all its limitations, elaborations, and reworking of language, legitimizing the art and fictitious character and, therefore, of experimentation in literature. In the novel writer Helder Macedo seems to propose a reflection on the creative process that essentially works on the construction of the literary work, which is understood as a permanent creation. We believe that romantic irony enhances this reflection as it reveals the literary writing as staging and pretense. Thinking about the paradoxical structure of irony, we believe it always ends up saying more than what is expressed, thus, it approaches the literature in general, but especially the lyrical style. The playfulness seems to characterize them once both – the romantic irony and the lyrical aspect – run by a kind of game that contradicts the pragmatism of conventional language. To Antonino Pagliaro, “Irony is simultaneously involved in the agonistic character of the puzzle and in the poetic game”. The novel Vices and virtues by the Portuguese writer Helder Macedo, creates an important space for the study of the issues raised, once it expresses a literature project in which there is intense appreciation of the aesthetic, the fictional and the poetic characters.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: Fiction; romantic irony; lyricism; representation.</p>

11

Brillowski, Wojciech. ""Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable" - archeologia jako element strategii artystycznej Damiena Hirsta." Artium Quaestiones 31, no.1 (December20, 2020): 123–70. http://dx.doi.org/10.14746/aq.2020.31.5.

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The most important element of Damien Hirst's multimedia project "Treasures from the Wreck of Unbelivable" was the exhibition, presented from April 9 to December 3, 2017 in Venice, in the galleries of the Pinault Foundation in Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi. It was completed by several book publications and a 90-minute film of the same title, made available globally on the Netflix online platform on January 1, 2018. The exhibition included over a hundred objects, mainly sculptures, made in various techniques and materials in a wide range of sizes. The film, stylized as a popular science documentary, presents the fictional story of their discovery and exploration at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, and their transport to Venice. It develops the main idea of the exhibition – a fictitious vision of the origin of these objects from an ancient wreck, filled with artistic collections, belonging to a fabulously rich ancient Roman freedman, with the significant name Cif Amotan II (anagram from “I am a fiction”). Realizing this fancy artistic vision, most of the works were made as if they had been damaged by the sea waves and overgrown with corals and other marine organisms. Hirst created a comprehensive and all-encompassing narrative using the principle of "voluntary suspension of unbelief," formulated by Samuel T. Coleridge. The artist sets himself and the viewer on a fantastic journey into the ancient past, taking up subjects central to his ouevre for decades: faith, relations of art and science, transience and death. He does this by means of numerous references to the artistic and mythological heritage of antiquity, not only Graeco-Roman, but also of other great cultures and civilizations. Although the formal and technical aspects of the project will also be discussed, the main goal of the author is to analyze how Hirst used the knowledge of antiquity (classics) to create both the exhibition itself and the mockumentary. The artist made archeology an element binding his narrative together, showing in the film not only how artefacts were obtained from the bottom of the ocean. He also presented a number of tasks that scientists deal with at various stages of the project – from the first discovery, through interpretation and conservation, to the presenting at the museum-like exhibition. Of course, his purpose was not to create a study in the methodology of underwater exploration, but to reflect on the cognitive power of science examining remains of ancient times. By juxtaposing two possible attitudes towards relics of the past, i.e. the strict discipline of the scholar and the imagination of the treasure hunter, he concludes that narratives arising from them will both have the character of a mythical tale. The ontic status of the artefacts themselves, as the things of the past, left in a fragmentary state by the passage of time, sets all the stories related to them within the discourse of faith.

12

Macenka,S.Р. "Literary Portrait of Fanny HenselMendelssohn (in Peter Härtling’s novel “Dearest Fenchel! The Life of Fanny Hensel‑Mendelssohn in Etudes and Intermezzi”)." Aspects of Historical Musicology 17, no.17 (September15, 2019): 195–212. http://dx.doi.org/10.34064/khnum2-17.13.

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Background. Numerous research conferences and scholarly papers show increased interest in the creativity of German composer, pianist and singer of the 19th century Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn. What is particularly noticeable is that her life and creativity are subject of non-scholarly discussion. Writers of biographical works are profoundly interested in the personality of this talented artist, as it gives them material for the discussion of a whole range of issues, in particular those pertaining to the phenomena of female creativity, new concepts of music and history of music with emphasis on its communicative character, correlation between music and gender, establishment of autobiographical character of musical creativity, expression and realization of female creativity under conditions of burgher society. Additional attention is paid to family constellations: Robert and Clara Schumann, brother and sister Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn. A very close relationship between Felix Mendelssohn and Fanny HenselMendelssohn opens a new perspective on the dialogical history of music, i. e. the reconstruction of music pieces based on close personal and critical contact in the Mendelssohn family. All these ideas, which researchers started articulating and discussing only recently, found their artistic expression in the biographical novel “Dear Fenchel! The Life of Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn in Etudes and Intermezzi” («Liebste Fenchel! Das Leben der Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn in Et&#252;den und Intermezzi», 2011) by the German writer Peter H&#228;rtling (1933–2017). Peter H&#228;rtling was attracted to the image of Fanny Hensel primarily because she was working in the Romantic aesthetics, which the writer considered the backbone of his own creativity. While working on the novel about Fanny Hensel, Peter H&#228;rtling was constantly reading her diaries and listening to her music as well as the music by her brother Felix Mendelssohn. He discovered “a fascinating composer” who was creating music “bravely” through improvisation, even more so, who improvised her own life in a similar fashion. Her “courageous steps” into “female reality” struck the biography writer. Objectives. The research aims at studying the literary image of Fanny Hensel using the ideas of contemporary music scholars regarding creativity of this still little researched artist. Literary reflection of the life and creativity of musician based on combination of fiction and real life is a productive addition to her creative image. Methods. Since the research is centered on the image of a female composer, in many respects it is following the theoretical premises of music gender studies. The complexity of literary recreation to the personality and creativity of composer in the novel was required the sophisticated narrative situation and structure, that justifies the use of narratology as a method of literary criticism’ analysis. Results. Peter H&#228;rtling is a well-known master of biographical novel, who has his own creative concept of re-construction the life story of famous artists. When creating a biographical novel, the writer walks on the verge of reality and fiction, rediscovering and creating. The artistic element serves the purpose of amplification and image-creation; it helps to reveal distinctive properties, characteristics and elements of personality of the biographic novel hero. Gaps in documented materials help the narrator behave freely, give a chance for open associations and subjective vision. When outlining the personality lineaments, the narrator follows chronology of the most important events. Yet, plot development in an autobiographical novel is based on separate motifs. Certain life stages and events of a person’s life are depicted in detail in specific chapters and are shown more accurately within the general plot. By running ahead and looking back, the narrator makes it clear that he is above the narrative situation and arranges the depicted events according to the principle of their development. The narrator plays the role of an accompanying of a person portrayed, helping the writer approach to latter in order to understand him. Peter H&#228;rtling defines the key narrative principle in the following way: the narration is centered on the relationship of the talented brother and sister, as well as the motives of a mothering care and self-assertion, which are creating the backdrop for the biography of Fanny Mendelssohn. As such, we can see the ways that helped a talented young woman stand against her competitor-brother and get out of his shadow. The author claims that since childhood, the brother and the sister got along with the help of music and it was music that created a tie between them. The novel pays close attention to their discussions of music and the Sunday concerts, which took place at their house. As it is known from letters, it was very important for Felix Mendelssohn to include music into private communication forms. Researchers emphasizes that it made hard for him to be involved in social processes, in which such form of communication was impossible. Based on what Felix Mendelssohn himself said, it is possible to conclude that he was making an opposition between private musical communication as “the world of music” and social music life “as the world of musicians”. Fanny Hensel was not the embodiment of “detached musical practice” of autonomous art for him; on contrary, her creativity was directly linked to real life. Inside the bourgeois home and amid “private circulation of texts”, Fanny Hensel’s music was directly connected to communication, holidays and family rituals, in which the roles of music performer and music listener were “not cemented”, presupposing active inclusion of “amateurs” into music. Private musical practice meant the successful musical communication, the direct communication in music, which was not possible in anonymous publicness. Composer individuality had a chance of growing without being stripped of meaning and understanding. Inside the burgher house and within her immediate circle, Fanny Hensel was the symbol of “illusion of non-detached music”. Peter H&#228;rtling attests to autobiographical character of Fanny Hensel’s musical writing. Conclusions. Peter H&#228;rtling’s novel shows a cultural change, which stipulated an extended understanding of music as a dynamic process of human activity in a specific, historically varied cultural field. In this respect, Fanny Hensel’s literary portrait touches upon important aspects of female music creativity, actualizing its achievements in contemporary cultural space. Approaching the talented artist in literature is a special combination of art and life, fictitious and real, past and present.

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King, Ben. "Retelling Psycho." M/C Journal 2, no.1 (February1, 1999). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1740.

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As the old technologies become automatic and invisible, we find ourselves more concerned with fighting or embracing what’s new”—Dennis Baron, From Pencils to Pixels:The Stage of Literacy Technologies Increasingly, cultural study is villainised by defenders of the academic tradition for luring English students away from the high-brow texts of the literary canon, a condition exacerbated by institutions' need for economic survival. In Britain in 1995 there were 1500 fewer English A-Level students than in 1994, whereas cultural studies students increased by approximately the same number (Cartmel et al. 1). Modern students of English are preferring more readily digestible on-screen texts which subvert the role of the author in favour of the role of the genre, a preference that allows readers/viewers to pay more attention to their own tastes, beliefs and identities than those of figures that produced great books, and their contemporaries. Modern cultural studies have a somewhat self-indulgent quality that many academics find distasteful, a kind of narcissistic celebration of the fact that media and mass culture operate as reflections of ourselves today instead of as windows into brilliant minds and historically significant moments. One of the most frustrating forms of this for defenders of traditional English studies is the adaptation of classic literature into commercial film and the ensuing analyses. The task of 'doing justice' to a classic novel in a modern film is fundamentally impossible. Whatever authenticity is strived for in an adaptation, the economic necessities of the modern film (sex appeal, celebrity, luridness) are bound to collide with academic notions of the original text and subsequently cause damage and widen the literature/media divide. A recent remake by Gus Van Sant of one of the most celebrated films ever made, Alfred Hitchco*ck's Psycho (1960), has added new flavour to this debate. Van Sant's Psycho (1999) operates more as an homage to the classic film and as a piece of 'conceptual art' than as a simple remake (Romney 31). Almost every shot, every word, every piece of music from the original has been recreated in an attempt to celebrate rather than claim credit for the ideas which made Hitchco*ck's film such a pillar of the film canon, much in the same way as a screen adaptation of a classic novel validates itself via its established worth. What is interesting about the reaction to this film is that as far as I can tell most critics hated it. The new Psycho has been labelled a vulgar hack job, a grossly immodest attempt to improve on the unimprovable. What is it about the original film that has caused this reaction to the remake, and what does it suggest about critical/academic readings versus popular ones? In order to answer this question, we must look closely at the original film, and at what is different or similar about the new one, and most importantly, consider the source of this uneasiness that pervades the adaptation of one fictitious body into another. The plot of Psycho is pretty straightforward. Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), a disenchanted and fatally scatty secretary that wants to marry her lover Sam (John Gavin) steals forty thousand dollars from her boss so they can afford to do so. She skips town and stops at a motel run by Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) whose mother can be glimpsed and heard in a house nearby. Bates spies on Marion while she undresses, and just when she seems like she's going to return the stolen money she gets brutally stabbed in the shower. Norman finds her body and puts it in the car which he pushes into a swamp. Marion's sister Lila and Sam go looking for her, as does Arbogast, a PI who has been hired to find the money. Arbogast questions Norman and also gets brutally stabbed to death. When he fails to return, Lila and Sam go to the sheriff who tells them among other things that Mrs. Bates has been dead for ten years after killing the man she was involved with and then killing herself. All the while, we hear Norman talking to his mother and insisting on taking her down to the cellar. Lila and Sam search the hotel and eventually Lila finds a woman's stuffed corpse and Norman, dressed in old women's clothes, tries to stab her. Later a psychiatrist explains that the now incarcerated Norman is schizophrenic and had murdered his possessive mother because he was jealous of her lover. He had taken on her personality when drawn to a woman such as the fated Marion. What makes the film extraordinary is the use of action codes and an uneasiness that occupies the narrative through shot structure, real time, lighting, editing and sound. Hitchco*ck also deliberately disrupts the equilibrium audiences have come to expect from classic film narratives. The film opens as a crime story, turns into a murder mystery in which the lead character is the victim well before the end of the film. Psycho has a perplexing closure that denies the audience knowledge of the lost forty thousand dollars and Norman's unknown victims, and displaces sympathies and identities normally attached to lead roles. Norman's monstrous inner is developed with strange, angular lighting and a repressed hom*osexuality. The story unfolds in a very impersonal way, where the camera's omnipotence occasionally betrays the thoughts of its subjects. One brilliant moment involves the camera tracking between Marion while undressing and the money on the bed, reminding the audience of her deviousness and temptations, a mood heightened by her sexuality. The same technique is repeated after the shower scene, where the camera moves with Norman's gaze around the room towards the money, creating a bridge between the minds of the two enigmatic protagonists. All of these features of the original are reproduced in Van Sant's restaging in a manner that "subverts all audience wisdom about audience expectation" (Romney 31). The conversion from black and white into colour is the major technical innovation, cleverly highlighting details which speak volumes, such as Marion's telling bra's move from femme fatale black to aggressive orange. But it is the qualities of the film that remain the same which play on audience expectation, such as the shifty dialogue whose anachronistic sound reinforces the sinister subtext. The shower scene is bloodier, and Vince Vaughn's Norman is more blatantly hom*osexual, but the film is above all else a bold experiment and a deliberate challenge to accepted notions of originality. Perhaps the most critical moment for this intention is the retelling of the shower scene, the most famous horror scene in cinema history. Audience reaction to the shower scene was extreme when the film was first released in 1960. Hitchco*ck is said to have asked Paramount to allow him to remix the sound in the successive shots to accommodate audiences' "residual howling" (Branston & Stafford 49). The shower scene is the climactic moment for Van Sant's artistic intention: the absence of the same impact due to the audience's expectations of it questions what authority the critical reading has over the interpretation of antique films which are canonised and labelled as sophisticated or arty. What we come to expect from a remake that goes shot for shot is dismantled by the poignant illustration of the changes that have occurred since audiences have acquired a postmodern manner of regarding the on-screen world, particularly with the prevalence of films which stress the audience's participation in the attribution of meaning and value to the text, such as The Truman Show (1998), Scream (1997) or The Faculty (1999). Van Sant's Psycho uses the old-school to point out how our current attitude towards sexuality, violence and dementia have changed alongside our media culture, and most importantly he points the finger back to the audience, forcing us to recognise our new criteria for being frightened or aroused and our resistance to being inert receptacles of fictitious events and ideologies. John O. Thompson boils down the academic aversion to adaptation from book to film to four key points of resistance, three of which are applicable to the Psycho question: authenticity (the original is authentic, the adaptation is simulacrum), fidelity (the adaptation is a deformation or a dilution of the original), and massification (the original must be harder, more cognitively demanding, or the latter would not be the more popular for an 'unskilled' mass audience; Thompson 11). This last consideration is central to the critical response to Psycho. The overwhelmingly negative critical reaction to the film has given the audience very little credit for its ability to distance itself from the immediate narrative, a skill that is learned by default as we as viewers of postmodern media are exposed to more and more material that cleverly puts itself into a cultural context. The new Psycho may have surrendered its mysterious and disturbing nature but it has done so in favour of demonstrating how much we have changed, and in so doing has also managed to point out how critical appraisal of postmodern films fails to acknowledge the symbiotic relationship between mass audience and cinema art form. References Branston, Gill, and Roy Stafford, eds. The Media Student's Book. New York: Routledge, 1996. Cartmel, Deborah, I.Q. Hunter, Heidi Kaye and Imelda Whelehan, eds. Pulping Fictions: Consuming Culture across the Literature/Media Divide. London: Pluto Press, 1996. Romney, Jonathan. Guardian Weekly 17 Jan. 1999: 31. Thompson, John O. "Vanishing Worlds: Film Adaptation and the Mystery of the Original." Pulping Fictions: Consuming Culture across the Literature/Media Divide. London: Pluto Press, 1996. Citation reference for this article MLA style: Ben King. "Retelling Psycho." M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 2.1 (1999). [your date of access] <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9902/psycho.php>. Chicago style: Ben King, "Retelling Psycho," M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 2, no. 1 (1999), <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9902/psycho.php> ([your date of access]). APA style: Ben King. (199x) Retelling Psycho. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 2(1). <http://www.uq.edu.au/mc/9902/psycho.php> ([your date of access]).

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Borle, Sean. "We’re All Wonders by R. Palacio." Deakin Review of Children's Literature 7, no.2 (October30, 2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.20361/g25h4w.

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Palacio, R.J. We’re All Wonders. Alfred A. Knopf, 2017This is one of several picture books which R.J. Palacio has spun off her bestselling novel, Wonder, which introduced Auggie, a boy missing his left eye. There are few picture books about children with facial deformities, so this is a welcome addition. In condensing the novel into a picture book, however, much of the positive content has been lost. This is a sad story. Auggie is not accepted by other children. When he feels sad he puts helmets on his dog and himself to isolate himself from people’s stares. However, a child and dog with helmets are likely to attract as many stares. Auggie’s other coping mechanisms include: an imaginary trip to Pluto, where his “old friends” are one-eyed creatures that look a bit like sheep with tentacles, and wishing that “other people can change the way they see”. Given that there is a long science fiction history of scary one-eyed space aliens and monsters, it seems strange that Palacio would associate her character with them. Wishing that the world was different does not make it different. We do not see the positive things that were in the novel such as people sticking up for Auggie or his intelligence and achievements.Palacio’s artwork is bright and easily accessible to small children. Strangely, though, the final image shows only the right half of Auggie’s face, with the earth replacing his eye, while the left half, that is the focus of the whole story, is missing.This book would be good for classrooms where there are children with physical differences, but it would be important for teachers to add a positive spin to the story. Recommended: 3 stars out of 4Reviewer: Sean BorleSean Borle is a University of Alberta undergraduate student who is an advocate for child health and safety.

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Manju,DrA.J., and AnasPM. "A Testament to the Power of Resilience and Friendship Portrayed in Stephen King’s The Institute." SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, November29, 2021, 63–70. http://dx.doi.org/10.24113/ijellh.v9i11.11209.

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We all face Hardships and difficult situations in our life. It’s all about the ups and downs in our day to day life. During these times we may be feeling exhausted and worried. But all that matters is that what we have learned from that tough situation. Resilience is defined as how we bounce back quickly from a difficult situation. The power of resilience arises when we face situational problems, major life problem and day to day problems. Friends are a major element in comforting us during our difficult times. Friends bring more happiness to our lives than virtually anything else. Friendships have a huge impact on our mental health and happiness. Good friends relieve stress, provide comfort and joy, and prevent loneliness and isolation. The Institute (2019) is a science fiction horror novel written by Stephen king. It is one of his terrifying novels yet. Many of his works are transformed into movies and television series. The main focus of this novel is on the power of resilience and friendship among the children who are being kidnapped from their homes and being held captive under a sinister establishment called The Institute. The story is written by taking the ideas of a fictitious child abusing institution where gifted children from all over the country are taken in and they are being forced to undergo atrocious medical experiments. Most of the children have super powers of Telepathy or Telekinesis. That’s the reason they are all here in the Institute. The authorities in the Institute want the children to master their powers so that they can be used in wars. There is no hope of escape for the children, yet they are all finally escaped by the power of resilience and friendship shown by Luke Ellis, the main character in the novel and his friends.

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Marshall,P.David. "Seriality and Persona." M/C Journal 17, no.3 (June11, 2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.802.

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No man [...] can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which one may be true. (Nathaniel Hawthorne Scarlet Letter – as seen and pondered by Tony Soprano at Bowdoin College, The Sopranos, Season 1, Episode 5: “College”)The fictitious is a particular and varied source of insight into the everyday world. The idea of seriality—with its variations of the serial, series, seriated—is very much connected to our patterns of entertainment. In this essay, I want to begin the process of testing what values and meanings can be drawn from the idea of seriality into comprehending the play of persona in contemporary culture. From a brief overview of the intersection of persona and seriality as well as a review of the deployment of seriality in popular culture, the article focuses on the character/ person-actor relationship to demonstrate how seriality produces persona. The French term for character—personnage—will be used to underline the clear relations between characterisation, person, and persona which have been developed by the recent work by Lenain and Wiame. Personnage, through its variation on the word person helps push the analysis into fully understanding the particular and integrated configuration between a public persona and the fictional role that an actor inhabits (Heinich).There are several qualities related to persona that allow this movement from the fictional world to the everyday world to be profitable. Persona, in terms of origins, in and of itself implies performance and display. Jung, for instance, calls persona a mask where one is “acting a role” (167); while Goffman considers that performance and roles are at the centre of everyday life and everyday forms and patterns of communication. In recent work, I have use persona to describe how online culture pushes most people to construct a public identity that resembles what celebrities have had to construct for their livelihood for at least the last century (“Persona”; “Self”). My work has expanded to an investigation of how online persona relates to individual agency (“Agency”) and professional postures and positioning (Barbour and Marshall).The fictive constructions then are intensified versions of what persona is addressing: the fabrication of a role for particular directions and ends. Characters or personnages are constructed personas for very directed ends. Their limitation to the study of persona as a dimension of public culture is that they are not real; however, when one thinks of the actor who takes on this fictive identity, there is clearly a relationship between the real personality and that of the character. Moreover, as Nayar’s analysis of highly famous characters that are fictitious reveals, these celebrated characters, such as Harry Potter or Wolverine, sometime take on a public presence in and of themselves. To capture this public movement of a fictional character, Nayar blends the terms celebrity with fiction and calls these semi-public/semi-real entities “celefiction”: the characters are famous, highly visible, and move across media, information, and cultural platforms with ease and speed (18-20). Their celebrity status underlines their power to move outside of their primary text into public discourse and through public spaces—an extra-textual movement which fundamentally defines what a celebrity embodies.Seriality has to be seen as fundamental to a personnage’s power of and extension into the public world. For instance with Harry Potter again, at least some of his recognition is dependent on the linking or seriating the related books and movies. Seriality helps organise our sense of affective connection to our popular culture. The familiarity of some element of repetition is both comforting for audiences and provides at least a sense of guarantee or warranty that they will enjoy the future text as much as they enjoyed the past related text. Seriality, though, also produces a myriad of other effects and affects which provides a useful background to understand its utility in both the understanding of character and its value in investigating contemporary public persona. Etymologically, the words “series” and seriality are from the Latin and refer to “succession” in classical usage and are identified with ancestry and the patterns of identification and linking descendants (Oxford English Dictionary). The original use of the seriality highlights its value in understanding the formation of the constitution of person and persona and how the past and ancestry connect in series to the current or contemporary self. Its current usage, however, has broadened metaphorically outwards to identify anything that is in sequence or linked or joined: it can be a series of lectures and arguments or a related mark of cars manufactured in a manner that are stylistically linked. It has since been deployed to capture the production process of various cultural forms and one of the key origins of this usage came from the 19th century novel. There are many examples where the 19th century novel was sold and presented in serial form that are too numerous to even summarise here. It is useful to use Dickens’ serial production as a defining example of how seriality moved into popular culture and the entertainment industry more broadly. Part of the reason for the sheer length of many of Charles Dickens’ works related to their original distribution as serials. In fact, all his novels were first distributed in chapters in monthly form in magazines or newspapers. A number of related consequences from Dickens’ serialisation are relevant to understanding seriality in entertainment culture more widely (Hayward). First, his novel serialisation established a continuous connection to his readers over years. Thus Dickens’ name itself became synonymous and connected to an international reading public. Second, his use of seriality established a production form that was seen to be more affordable to its audience: seriality has to be understood as a form that is closely connected to economies and markets as cultural commodities kneaded their way into the structure of everyday life. And third, seriality established through repetition not only the author’s name but also the name of the key characters that populated the cultural form. Although not wholly attributable to the serial nature of the delivery, the characters such as Oliver Twist, Ebenezer Scrooge or David Copperfield along with a host of other major and minor players in his many books become integrated into everyday discourse because of their ever-presence and delayed delivery over stories over time (see Allen 78-79). In the same way that newspapers became part of the vernacular of contemporary culture, fictional characters from novels lived for years at a time in the consciousness of this large reading public. The characters or personnages themselves became personalities that through usage became a way of describing other behaviours. One can think of Uriah Heep and his sheer obsequiousness in David Copperfield as a character-type that became part of popular culture thinking and expressing a clear negative sentiment about a personality trait. In the twentieth century, serials became associated much more with book series. One of the more successful serial genres was the murder mystery. It developed what could be described as recognisable personnages that were both fictional and real. Thus, the real Agatha Christie with her consistent and prodigious production of short who-dunnit novels was linked to her Belgian fictional detective Hercule Poirot. Variations of these serial constructions occurred in children’s fiction, the emerging science fiction genre, and westerns with authors and characters rising to related prominence.In a similar vein, early to mid-twentieth century film produced the film serial. In its production and exhibition, the film serial was a déclassé genre in its overt emphasis on the economic quality of seriality. Thus, the film serial was generally a filler genre that was interspersed before and after a feature film in screenings (Dixon). As well as producing a familiarity with characters such as Flash Gordon, it was also instrumental in producing actors with a public profile that grew from this repetition. Flash Gordon was not just a character; he was also the actor Buster Crabbe and, over time, the association became indissoluble for audiences and actor alike. Feature film serials also developed in the first half-century of American cinema in particular with child actors like Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland often reprising variations of their previous roles. Seriality more or less became the standard form of delivery of broadcast media for most of the last 70 years and this was driven by the economies of production it developed. Whether the production was news, comedy, or drama, most radio and television forms were and are variation of serials. As well as being the zenith of seriality, television serials have been the most studied form of seriality of all cultural forms and are thus the greatest source of research into what serials actually produced. The classic serial that began on radio and migrated to television was the soap opera. Although most of the long-running soap operas have now disappeared, many have endured for more than 30 years with the American series The Guiding Light lasting 72 years and the British soap Coronation Street now in its 64th year. Australian nighttime soap operas have managed a similar longevity: Neighbours is in its 30th year, while Home and Away is in its 27th year. Much of the analyses of soap operas and serials deals with the narrative and the potential long narrative arcs related to characters and storylines. In contrast to most evening television serials historically, soap operas maintain the continuity from one episode to the next in an unbroken continuity narrative. Evening television serials, such as situation comedies, while maintaining long arcs over their run are episodic in nature: the structure of the story is generally concluded in the given episode with at least partial closure in a manner that is never engaged with in the never-ending soap opera serials.Although there are other cultural forms that deploy seriality in their structures—one can think of comic books and manga as two obvious other connected and highly visible serial sources—online and video games represent the other key media platform of serials in contemporary culture. Once again, a “horizon of expectation” (Jauss and De Man 23) motivates the iteration of new versions of games by the industry. New versions of games are designed to build on gamer loyalties while augmenting the quality and possibilities of the particular game. Game culture and gamers have a different structural relationship to serials which at least Denson and Jahn-Sudmann describe as digital seriality: a new version of a game is also imagined to be technologically more sophisticated in its production values and this transformation of the similitude of game structure with innovation drives the economy of what are often described as “franchises.” New versions of Minecraft as online upgrades or Call of Duty launches draw the literal reinvestment of the gamer. New consoles provide a further push to serialisation of games as they accentuate some transformed quality in gameplay, interaction, or quality of animated graphics. Sports franchises are perhaps the most serialised form of game: to replicate new professional seasons in each major sport, the sports game transforms with a new coterie of players each year.From these various venues, one can see the centrality of seriality in cultural forms. There is no question that one of the dimensions of seriality that transcends these cultural forms is its coordination and intersection with the development of the industrialisation of culture and this understanding of the economic motivation behind series has been explored from some of the earliest analyses of seriality (see Hagedorn; Browne). Also, seriality has been mined extensively in terms of its production of the pleasure of repetition and transformation. The exploration of the popular, whether in studies of readers of romance fiction (Radway), or fans of science fiction television (Tulloch and Jenkins; Jenkins), serials have provided the resource for the exploration of the power of the audience to connect, engage and reconstruct texts.The analysis of the serialisation of character—the production of a public personnage—and its relation to persona surprisingly has been understudied. While certain writers have remarked on the longevity of a certain character, such as Vicky Lord’s 40 year character on the soap opera One Life to Live, and the interesting capacity to maintain both complicated and hidden storylines (de Kosnik), and fan audience studies have looked at the parasocial-familiar relationship that fan and character construct, less has been developed about the relationship of the serial character, the actor and a form of twinned public identity. Seriality does produce a patterning of personnage, a structure of familiarity for the audience, but also a structure of performance for the actor. For instance, in a longitudinal analysis of the character of Fu Manchu, Mayer is able to discern how a patterning of iconic form shapes, replicates, and reiterates the look of Fu Manchu across decades of films (Mayer). Similarly, there has been a certain work on the “taxonomy of character” where the serial character of a television program is analysed in terms of 6 parts: physical traits/appearance; speech patterns, psychological traits/habitual behaviours; interaction with other characters; environment; biography (Pearson quoted in Lotz).From seriality what emerges is a particular kind of “type-casting” where the actor becomes wedded to the specific iteration of the taxonomy of performance. As with other elements related to seriality, serial character performance is also closely aligned to the economic. Previously I have described this economic patterning of performance the “John Wayne Syndrome.” Wayne’s career developed into a form of serial performance where the individual born as Marion Morrison becomes structured into a cultural and economic category that determines the next film role. The economic weight of type also constructs the limits and range of the actor. Type or typage as a form of casting has always been an element of film and theatrical performance; but it is the seriality of performance—the actual construction of a personnage that flows between the fictional and real person—that allows an actor to claim a persona that can be exchanged within the industry. Even 15 years after his death, Wayne remained one of the most popular performers in the United States, his status unrivalled in its close definition of American value that became wedded with a conservative masculinity and politics (Wills).Type and typecasting have an interesting relationship to seriality. From Eisenstein’s original use of the term typage, where the character is chosen to fit into the meaning of the film and the image was placed into its sequence to make that meaning, it generally describes the circ*mscribing of the actor into their look. As Wojcik’s analysis reveals, typecasting in various periods of theatre and film acting has been seen as something to be fought for by actors (in the 1850s) and actively resisted in Hollywood in 1950 by the Screen Actors Guild in support of more range of roles for each actor. It is also seen as something that leads to cultural stereotypes that can reinforce the racial profiling that has haunted diverse cultures and the dangers of law enforcement for centuries (Wojcik 169-71). Early writers in the study of film acting, emphasised that its difference from theatre was that in film the actor and character converged in terms of connected reality and a physicality: the film actor was less a mask and more a sense of “being”(Kracauer). Cavell’s work suggested film over stage performance allowed an individuality over type to emerge (34). Thompson’s semiotic “commutation” test was another way of assessing the power of the individual “star” actor to be seen as elemental to the construction and meaning of the film role Television produced with regularity character-actors where performance and identity became indissoluble partly because of the sheer repetition and the massive visibility of these seriated performances.One of the most typecast individuals in television history was Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek: although the original Star Trek series ran for only three seasons, the physical caricature of Spock in the series as a half-Vulcan and half-human made it difficult for the actor Nimoy to exit the role (Laws). Indeed, his famous autobiography riffed on this mis-identity with the forceful but still economically powerful title I am Not Spock in 1975. When Nimoy perceived that his fans thought that he was unhappy in his role as Spock, he published a further tome—I Am Spock—that righted his relationship to his fictional identity and its continued source of roles for the previous 30 years. Although it is usually perceived as quite different in its constitution of a public identity, a very similar structure of persona developed around the American CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite. With his status as anchor confirmed in its power and centrality to American culture in his desk reportage of the assassination and death of President Kennedy in November 1963, Cronkite went on to inhabit a persona as the most trusted man in the United States by the sheer gravitas of hosting the Evening News stripped across every weeknight at 6:30pm for the next 19 years. In contrast to Nimoy, Cronkite became Cronkite the television news anchor, where persona, actor, and professional identity merged—at least in terms of almost all forms of the man’s visibility.From this vantage point of understanding the seriality of character/personnage and how it informs the idea of the actor, I want to provide a longer conclusion about how seriality informs the concept of persona in the contemporary moment. First of all, what this study reveals is the way in which the production of identity is overlaid onto any conception of identity itself. If we can understand persona not in any negative formulation, but rather as a form of productive performance of a public self, then it becomes very useful to see that these very visible public blendings of performance and the actor-self can make sense more generally as to how the public self is produced and constituted. My final and concluding examples will try and elucidate this insight further.In 2013, Netflix launched into the production of original drama with its release of House of Cards. The series itself was remarkable for a number of reasons. First among them, it was positioned as a quality series and clearly connected to the lineage of recent American subscription television programs such as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Dexter, Madmen, The Wire, Deadwood, and True Blood among a few others. House of Cards was an Americanised version of a celebrated British mini-series. In the American version, an ambitious party whip, Frank Underwood, manoeuvres with ruthlessness and the calculating support of his wife closer to the presidency and the heart and soul of American power. How the series expressed quality was at least partially in its choice of actors. The role of Frank Underwood was played by the respected film actor Kevin Spacey. His wife, Clare, was played by the equally high profile Robin Warren. Quality was also expressed through the connection of the audience of viewers to an anti-hero: a personnage that was not filled with virtue but moved with Machiavellian acuity towards his objective of ultimate power. This idea of quality emerged in many ways from the successful construction of the character of Tony Soprano by James Gandolfini in the acclaimed HBO television series The Sopranos that reconstructed the very conception of the family in organised crime. Tony Soprano was enacted as complex and conflicted with a sense of right and justice, but embedded in the personnage were psychological tropes and scars, and an understanding of the need for violence to maintain influence power and a perverse but natural sense of order (Martin).The new television serial character now embodied a larger code and coterie of acting: from The Sopranos, there is the underlying sense and sensibility of method acting (see Vineberg; Stanislavski). Gandolfini inhabited the role of Tony Soprano and used the inner and hidden drives and motivations to become the source for the display of the character. Likewise, Spacey inhabits Frank Underwood. In that new habitus of television character, the actor becomes subsumed by the role. Gandolfini becomes both over-determined by the role and his own identity as an actor becomes melded to the role. Kevin Spacey, despite his longer and highly visible history as a film actor is overwhelmed by the televisual role of Frank Underwood. Its serial power, where audiences connect for hours and hours, where the actor commits to weeks and weeks of shoots, and years and years of being the character—a serious character with emotional depth, with psychological motivation that rivals the most visceral of film roles—transforms the actor into a blended public person and the related personnage.This blend of fictional and public life is complex as much for the producing actor as it is for the audience that makes the habitus real. What Kevin Spacey/Frank Underwood inhabit is a blended persona, whose power is dependent on the constructed identity that is at source the actor’s production as much as any institutional form or any writer or director connected to making House of Cards “real.” There is no question that this serial public identity will be difficult for Kevin Spacey to disentangle when the series ends; in many ways it will be an elemental part of his continuing public identity. This is the economic power and risk of seriality.One can see similar blendings in the persona in popular music and its own form of contemporary seriality in performance. For example, Eminem is a stage name for a person sometimes called Marshall Mathers; but Eminem takes this a step further and produces beyond a character in its integration of the personal—a real personnage, Slim Shady, to inhabit his music and its stories. To further complexify this construction, Eminem relies on the production of his stories with elements that appear to be from his everyday life (Dawkins). His characterisations because of the emotional depth he inhabits through his rapped stories betray a connection to his own psychological state. Following in the history of popular music performance where the singer-songwriter’s work is seen by all to present a version of the public self that is closer emotionally to the private self, we once again see how the seriality of performance begins to produce a blended public persona. Rap music has inherited this seriality of produced identity from twentieth century icons of the singer/songwriter and its display of the public/private self—in reverse order from grunge to punk, from folk to blues.Finally, it is worthwhile to think of online culture in similar ways in the production of public personas. Seriality is elemental to online culture. Social media encourage the production of public identities through forms of repetition of that identity. In order to establish a public profile, social media users establish an identity with some consistency over time. The everydayness in the production of the public self online thus resembles the production and performance of seriality in fiction. Professional social media sites such as LinkedIn encourage the consistency of public identity and this is very important in understanding the new versions of the public self that are deployed in contemporary culture. However, much like the new psychological depth that is part of the meaning of serial characters such as Frank Underwood in House of Cards, Slim Shady in Eminem, or Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, social media seriality also encourages greater revelations of the private self via Instagram and Facebook walls and images. We are collectively reconstituted as personas online, seriated by the continuing presence of our online sites and regularly drawn to reveal more and greater depths of our character. In other words, the online persona resembles the new depth of the quality television serial personnage with elaborate arcs and great complexity. Seriality in our public identity is also uncovered in the production of our game avatars where, in order to develop trust and connection to friends in online settings, we maintain our identity and our patterns of gameplay. At the core of this online identity is a desire for visibility, and we are drawn to be “picked up” and shared in some repeatable form across what we each perceive as a meaningful dimension of culture. Through the circulation of viral images, texts, and videos we engage in a circulation and repetition of meaning that feeds back into the constancy and value of an online identity. Through memes we replicate and seriate content that at some level seriates personas in terms of humour, connection and value.Seriality is central to understanding the formation of our masks of public identity and is at least one valuable analytical way to understand the development of the contemporary persona. This essay represents the first foray in thinking through the relationship between seriality and persona.ReferencesBarbour, Kim, and P. David Marshall. “The Academic Online Constructing Persona.” First Monday 17.9 (2012).Browne, Nick. “The Political Economy of the (Super)Text.” Quarterly Review of Film Studies 9.3 (1984): 174-82. Cavell, Stanley. “Reflections on the Ontology of Film.” Movie Acting: The Film Reader. Ed. Wojcik and Pamela Robertson. London: Routledge, 2004 (1979). 29-35.Dawkins, Marcia Alesan. “Close to the Edge: Representational Tactics of Eminem.” The Journal of Popular Culture 43.3 (2010): 463-85.De Kosnik, Abigail. “One Life to Live: Soap Opera Storytelling.” How to Watch Television. Ed. Ethan Thompson and Jason Mittell. New York: New York University Press, 2013. 355-63.Denson, Shane, and Andreas Jahn-Sudmann. “Digital Seriality: On the Serial Aesthetics and Practice of Digital Games.” Journal of Computer Game Culture 7.1 (2013): 1-32.Dixon, Wheeler Winston. “Flash Gordon and the 1930s and 40s Science Fiction Serial.” Screening the Past 11 (2011). 20 May 2014.Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press, 1973.Hagedorn, Roger “Technology and Economic Exploitation: The Serial as a Form of Narrative Presentation.” Wide Angle 10. 4 (1988): 4-12.Hayward, Jennifer Poole. Consuming Pleasures: Active Audiences and Serial Fictions from Dickens to Soap Opera. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1997.Heinrich, Nathalie. “Personne, Personnage, Personalité: L'acteur a L'ère De Sa Reproductibilité Technique.” Personne/Personnage. Eds. Thierry Lenain and Aline Wiame. Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 2011. 77-101.Jauss, Hans Robert, and Paul De Man. Toward an Aesthetic of Reception. Brighton: Harvester, 1982.Jenkins, Henry. Textual Poachers: Television Fans & Participatory Culture. New York: Routledge, 1992.Jung, C. G., et al. Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. 2nd ed. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1966.Kracauer, Siegfried. “Remarks on the Actor.” Movie Acting, the Film Reader. Ed. Pamela Robertson Wojcik. London: Routledge, 2004 (1960). 19-27.Leonard Nimoy & Pharrell Williams: Star Trek & Creating Spock. Ep. 12. Reserve Channel. December 2013. Lenain, Thierry, and Aline Wiame (eds.). Personne/Personnage. Librairie Philosophiques J. VRIN, 2011.Lotz, Amanda D. “House: Narrative Complexity.” How to Watch TV. Ed. Ethan Thompson and Jason Mittell. New York: New York University Press, 2013. 22-29.Marshall, P. David. “The Cate Blanchett Persona and the Allure of the Oscar.” The Conversation (2014). 4 April 2014.Marshall, P. David “Persona Studies: Mapping the Proliferation of the Public Self.” Journalism 15.2 (2014): 153-70.Marshall, P. David. “Personifying Agency: The Public–Persona–Place–Issue Continuum.” Celebrity Studies 4.3 (2013): 369-71.Marshall, P. David. “The Promotion and Presentation of the Self: Celebrity as Marker of Presentational Media.” Celebrity Studies 1.1 (2010): 35-48.Marshall, P. David. Celebrity and Power: Fame in Contemporary Culture. 2nd Ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014.Martin, Brett. Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad. London: Faber and Faber, 2013.Mayer, R. “Image Power: Seriality, Iconicity and the Mask of Fu Manchu.” Screen 53.4 (2012): 398-417.Nayar, Pramod K. Seeing Stars: Spectacle, Society, and Celebrity Culture. New Delhi; Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 2009.Nimoy, Leonard. I Am Not Spock. Milbrae, California: Celestial Arts, 1975.Nimoy, Leonard. I Am Spock. 1st ed. New York: Hyperion, 1995.Radway, Janice A. Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984.Stanislavski, Constantin. Creating a Role. New York: Routledge, 1989 (1961).Thompson, John O. “Screen Acting and the Commutation Test.” Movie Acting: The Film Reader. Ed. Pamela Robertson Wojcik. London: Routledge, 2004 (1978). 37-48.Tulloch, John, and Henry Jenkins. Science Fiction Audiences: Watching Doctor Who and Star Trek. London; New York: Routledge, 1995.Vineberg, Steve. Method Actors: Three Generations of an American Acting Style. New York; Toronto: Schirmer Books, 1991.Wills, Garry. John Wayne’s America: The Politics of Celebrity. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.Wojcik, Pamela Robertson. “Typecasting.” Movie Acting: The Film Reader. Ed. Pamela Robertson Wojcik. London: Routledge, 2004. 169-89.

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Howell, Katherine. "The Suspicious Figure of the Female Forensic Pathologist Investigator in Crime Fiction." M/C Journal 15, no.1 (December20, 2011). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.454.

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Abstract:

Over the last two decades the female forensic pathologist investigator has become a prominent figure in crime fiction. Her presence causes suspicion on a number of levels in the narrative and this article will examine the reasons for that suspicion and the manner in which it is presented in two texts: Patricia Cornwell’s Postmortem and Tess Gerritsen’s The Sinner. Cornwell and Gerritsen are North American crime writers whose series of novels both feature female forensic pathologists who are deeply involved in homicide investigation. Cornwell’s protagonist is Dr Kay Scarpetta, then-Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. Gerritsen’s is Dr Maura Isles, a forensic pathologist in the Boston Medical Examiner’s office. Their jobs entail attending crime scenes to assess bodies in situ, performing examinations and autopsies, and working with police to solve the cases.In this article I will first examine Western cultural attitudes towards dissection and autopsy since the twelfth century before discussing how the most recent of these provoke suspicion in the selected novels. I will further analyse this by drawing on Julia Kristeva’s concept of the abject. I will then consider how female pathologist protagonists try to deflect their colleagues’ suspicion of their professional choices, drawing in part on Judith Butler’s ideas of gender as a performative category. I define ‘gender’ as the socially constructed roles, activities, attributes, and behaviours that Western culture considers appropriate for women and men, and ‘sex’ as the physical biological characteristics that differentiate women and men. I argue that the female forensic pathologist investigator is portrayed as suspicious in the chosen novels for her occupation of the abject space caused by her sex in her roles as investigator and pathologist, her identification with the dead, and her performance of elements of both masculine and feminine conventional gender roles. Scholars such as Barthes, Rolls, and Grauby have approached detective fiction by focusing on intertextuality, the openness of the text, and the possibility of different meanings, with Vargas being one example of how this can operate; however, this article focuses on examining how the female forensic pathologist investigator is represented as suspicious in mainstream crime novels that attract a readership seeking resolution and closure.A significant part of each of these novels focuses on the corpse and its injuries as the site at which the search for truth commences, and I argue that the corpse itself, those who work most closely with it and the procedures they employ in this search are all treated with suspicion in the crime fiction in this study. The central procedures of autopsy and dissection have historically been seen as abominations, in some part due to religious views such as the belief of Christians prior to the thirteenth century that the resurrection of the soul required an intact body (Klaver 10) and the Jewish and Muslim edicts against disfigurement of the dead (Davis and Peterson 1042). In later centuries dissection was made part of the death sentence and was perceived “as an abhorrent additional post-mortem punishment” that “promised the exposure of nakedness, dismemberment, and the deliberate destruction of the corpse,” which was considered “a gross assault on the integrity and the identity of the body, and upon the repose of the soul” (Richardson 154). While now a mainstay of many popular crime narratives, the autopsy as a procedure in real life continues to appall much of the public (Klaver 18). This is because “the human body—especially the dead human body—is an object still surrounded by taboos and prohibitions” (Sawday 269). The living are also reluctant to “yield the subjecthood of the other-dead to object status” (Klaver 18), which often produces a horrified response from some families to doctors seeking permission to dissect for autopsy. According to Gawande, when doctors suggest an autopsy the victim’s family commonly asks “Hasn’t she been through enough?” (187). The forensic pathologists who perform the autopsy are themselves linked with the repugnance of the act (Klaver 9), and in these novels that fact combined with the characters’ willingness to be in close proximity with the corpse and their comfort with dissecting it produces considerable suspicion on the part of their police colleagues.The female sex of the pathologists in these novels causes additional suspicion. This is primarily because women are “culturally associated [...] with life and life giving” (Vanacker 66). While historically women were also involved in the care of the sick and the dead (Nunn and Biressi 200), the growth of medical knowledge and the subsequent medicalisation of death in Western culture over the past two centuries has seen women relegated to a stylised kind of “angelic ministry” (Nunn and Biressi 201). This is an image inconsistent with these female characters’ performance of what is perceived as a “violent ‘reduction’ into parts: a brutal dismemberment” (Sawday 1). Drawing on Butler’s ideas about gender as a culturally constructed performance, we can see that while these characters are biologically female, in carrying out tasks that are perceived as masculine they are not performing their traditional gender roles and are thus regarded with suspicion by their police colleagues. Both Scarpetta and Isles are aware of this, as illustrated by the interior monologue with which Gerritsen opens her novel:They called her the Queen of the Dead. Though no one ever said it to her face, Dr. Maura Isles sometimes heard the nickname murmured in her wake as she travelled the grim triangle of her job between courtroom and death scene and morgue. [...] Sometimes the whispers held a tremolo of disquiet, like the murmurs of the pious as an unholy stranger passes among them. It was the disquiet of those who could not understand why she chose to walk in Death’s footsteps. Does she enjoy it, they wonder? Does the touch of cold flesh, the stench of decay, hold such allure for her that she has turned her back on the living? (Gerritsen 6)The police officers’ inability to understand why Isles chooses to work with the dead leads them to wonder whether she takes pleasure in it, and because they cannot comprehend how a “normal” person could act that way she is immediately marked as a suspicious Other. Gerritsen’s language builds images of transgression: words such as murmured, wake, whispers, disquiet, unholy, death’s footsteps, cold, stench, and decay suggest a fearful attitude towards the dead and the abjection of the corpse itself, a topic I will explore shortly. Isles later describes seeing police officers cast uneasy glances her way, noting details that only reinforce their beliefs that she is an odd duck: The ivory skin, the black hair with its Cleopatra cut. The red slash of lipstick. Who else wears lipstick to a death scene? Most of all, it’s her calmness that disturbs them, her coolly regal gaze as she surveys the horrors that they themselves can barely stomach. Unlike them, she does not avert her gaze. Instead she bends close and stares, touches. She sniffs. And later, under bright lights in her autopsy lab, she cuts. (Gerritsen 7) While the term “odd duck” suggests a somewhat quaintly affectionate tolerance, it is contrasted by the rest of the description: the red slash brings to mind blood and a gaping wound perhaps also suggestive of female genitalia; the calmness, the coolly regal gaze, and the verb “surveys” imply detachment; the willingness to move close to the corpse, to touch and even smell it, and later cut it open, emphasise the difference between the police officers, who can “barely stomach” the sight, and Isles who readily goes much further.Kristeva describes the abject as that which is not one thing or another (4). The corpse is recognisable as once-human, but is no-longer; the body was once Subject, but we cannot make ourselves perceive it yet as fully Object, and thus it is incomprehensible and abject. I suggest that the abject is suspicious because of this “neither-nor” nature: its liminal identity cannot be pinned down, its meaning cannot be determined, and therefore it cannot be trusted. In the abject corpse, “that compelling, raw, insolent thing in the morgue’s full sunlight [...] that thing that no longer matches and therefore no longer signifies anything” (Kristeva 4), we see the loss of borders between ourselves and the Other, and we are simultaneously “drawn to and repelled” by it; “nausea is a biological recognition of it, and fear and adrenalin also acknowledge its presence” (Pentony). In these novels the police officers’ recognition of these feelings in themselves emphasises their assumptions about the apparent lack of the same responses in the female pathologist investigators. In the quote from The Sinner above, for example, the officers are unnerved by Isles’ calmness around the thing they can barely face. In Postmortem, the security guard who works for the morgue hides behind his desk when a body is delivered (17) and refuses to enter the body storage area when requested to do so (26) in contrast with Scarpetta’s ease with the corpses.Abjection results from “that which disturbs identity, system, order. What does not respect borders, positions, rules” (Kristeva 4), and by having what appears to be an unnatural reaction to the corpse, these women are perceived as failing to respect systems and boundaries and therefore are viewed as abject themselves. At the same time, however, the female characters strive against the abject in their efforts to repair the disturbance caused by the corpse and the crime of murder that produced it by locating evidence leading to the apprehension of the culprit. Ever-present and undermining these attempts to restore order is the evidence of the crime itself, the corpse, which is abject not only for its “neither-nor” status but also because it exposes “the fragility of the law” (Kristeva 4). In addition, these female pathologist characters’ sex causes abjection in another form through their “liminal status” as outsiders in the male hierarchy of law enforcement (Nunn and Biressi 203); while they are employed by it and work to maintain its dominance over law-breakers and society in general, as biological females they can never truly belong.Abjection also results from the blurring of boundaries between investigator and victim. Such blurring is common in crime fiction, and while it is most likely to develop between criminal and investigator when the investigator is male, when that investigator is female it tends instead to involve the victim (Mizejewski 8). In these novels this is illustrated by the ways in which the female investigators see themselves as similar to the victims by reason of gender plus sensibility and/or work. The first victim in Cornwell’s Postmortem is a young female doctor, and reminders of her similarities to Scarpetta appear throughout the novel, such as when Scarpetta notices the pile of medical journals near the victim's bed (Cornwell 12), and when she considers the importance of the woman's fingers in her work as a surgeon (26). When another character suggests to Scarpetta that, “in a sense, you were her once,” Scarpetta agrees (218). This loss of boundaries between self and not-self can be considered another form of abjection because the status and roles of investigator and victim become unclear, and it also results in an emotional bond, with both Scarpetta and Isles becoming sensitive to what lies in wait for the bodies. This awareness, and the frisson it creates, is in stark contrast to their previous equanimity. For example, when preparing for an autopsy on the body of a nun, Isles finds herself fighting extreme reluctance, knowing that “this was a woman who had chosen to live hidden from the eyes of men; now she would be cruelly revealed, her body probed, her orifices swabbed. The prospect of such an invasion brought a bitter taste to [Isles’s] throat and she paused to regain her composure” (Gerritsen 57). The language highlights the penetrative nature of Isles’s contact with the corpse through words such as revealed, orifices, probed, and invasion, which all suggest unwanted interference, the violence inherent in the dissecting procedures of autopsy, and the masculine nature of the task even when performed by a female pathologist. This in turn adds to the problematic issue here of gender as performance, a subject I will discuss shortly.In a further blurring of those boundaries, the female characters are often perceived as potential victims by both themselves and others. Critic Lee Horsley describes Scarpetta as “increasingly giv[ing] way to a tendency to see herself in the place of the victim, her interior self exposed and open to inspection by hostile eyes” (154). This is demonstrated in the novel when plot developments see Scarpetta’s work scrutinised (Cornwell 105), when she feels she does not belong to the same world as the living people around her (133), and when she almost becomes a victim in a literal sense at the climax of the novel, when the perpetrator breaks into her home to torture and kill her but is stopped by the timely arrival of a police officer (281).Similarly, Gerritsen’s character Isles comes to see herself as a possible victim in The Sinner. When it is feared that the criminal is watching the Boston police and Isles realises he may be watching her too, she thinks about how “she was accustomed to being in the eye of the media, but now she considered the other eyes that might be watching her. Tracking her. And she remembered what she had felt in the darkness at [a previous crime scene]: the prey’s cold sense of dread when it suddenly realises it is being stalked” (Gerritsen 222). She too almost becomes a literal victim when the criminal enters her home with intent to kill (323).As investigators, these characters’ sex causes suspicion because they are “transgressive female bod[ies] occupying the spaces traditionally held by a man” (Mizejewski 6). The investigator in crime fiction has “traditionally been represented as a marginalized outsider” (Mizejewski 11), a person who not only needs to think like the criminal in order to apprehend them but be willing to use violence or to step outside the law in their pursuit of this goal, and is regarded as suspicious as a result. To place a woman in this position then makes that investigator’s role doubly suspicious (Mizejewski 11). Judith Butler’s work on gender as performance provides a useful tool for examining this. Because “the various acts of gender create the gender itself” (Butler 522), these female characters are judged as woman or not-woman according to what they do. By working as investigators in the male-dominated field of law-enforcement and particularly by choosing to spend their days handling the dead in ways that involve the masculine actions of penetrating and dismembering, each has “radically crossed the limits of her gender role, with her choice of the most unsavoury and ‘unfeminine’ of professions” (Vanacker 65). The suspicion this attracts is demonstrated by Scarpetta being compared to her male predecessor who got on so well with the police, judges, and lawyers with whom she struggles (Cornwell 91). This sense of marginalisation and unfavourable comparison is reinforced through her recollections of her time in medical school when she was one of only four women in her class and can remember vividly the isolating tactics the male students employed against the female members (60). One critic has estimated the dates of Scarpetta’s schooling as putting her “on the leading edge of women moving into professionals schools in the early 1970s” (Robinson 97), in the time of second wave feminism, when such changes were not welcomed by all men in the institutions. In The Sinner, Isles wants her male colleagues to see her as “a brain and a white coat” (Gerritsen 175) rather than a woman, and chooses strategies such as maintaining an “icy professionalism” (109) and always wearing that white coat to ensure she is seen as an intimidating authority figure, as she believes that once they see her as a woman, sex will get in the way (175). She wants to be perceived as a professional with a job to do rather than a prospective sexual partner. The white coat also helps conceal the physical indicators of her sex, such as breasts and hips (mirroring the decision of the murdered nun to hide herself from the eyes of men and revealing their shared sensibility). Butler’s argument that “the distinction between appearance and reality [...] structures a good deal of populist thinking about gender identity” (527) is appropriate here, for Isles’s actions in trying to mask her sex and thus her gender declare to her colleagues that her sex is irrelevant to her role and therefore she can and should be treated as just another colleague performing a task.Scarpetta makes similar choices. Critic Bobbie Robinson says “Scarpetta triggers the typical distrust of powerful women in a male-oriented world, and in that world she seems determined to swaddle her lurking femininity to construct a persona that keeps her Other” (106), and that “because she perceives her femininity as problematic for others, she intentionally misaligns or masks the expectations of gender so that the masculine and feminine in her cancel each other out, constructing her as an androgyne” (98). Examples of this include Scarpetta’s acknowledgement of her own attractiveness (Cornwell 62) and her nurturing of herself and her niece Lucy through cooking, an activity she describes as “what I do best” (109) while at the same time she hides her emotions from her colleagues (204) and maintains that her work is her priority despite her mother’s accusations that “it’s not natural for a woman” (34). Butler states that “certain kinds of acts are usually interpreted as expressive of a gender core or identity, and that these acts either conform to an expected gender identity or contest that expectation in some way” (527). Scarpetta’s attention to her looks and her enjoyment of cooking conform to a societal assumption of female gender identity, while her construction of an emotionless facade and focus on her work falls more in the area of expected male gender identity.These characters deliberately choose to perform in a specific manner as a way of coping and succeeding in their workplace: by masking the most overt signs of their sex and gender they are attempting to lessen the suspicion cast upon them by others for not being “woman.” There exists, however, a contradiction between that decision and the clear markers of femininity demonstrated on occasion by both characters, for example, the use by Isles of bright red lipstick and a smart Cleopatra haircut, and the performance by both of the “feminised role as caretaker of, or alignment with, the victim’s body” (Summers-Bremner 133). While the characters do also perform the more masculine role of “rendering [the body’s] secrets in scientific form” (Summers-Bremner 133), a strong focus of the novels is their emotional connection to the bodies and so this feminised role is foregrounded. The attention to lipstick and hairstyle and their overtly caring natures fulfill Butler’s ideas of the conventional performance of gender and may be a reassurance to readers about the characters’ core femininity and their resultant availability for romance sub-plots, however they also have the effect of emphasising the contrasting performative gender elements within these characters and marking them once again in the eyes of other characters as neither one thing nor another, and therefore deserving of suspicion.In conclusion, the female forensic pathologist investigator is portrayed in the chosen novels as suspicious for her involvement in the abject space that results from her comfort around and identification with the corpse in contrast to the revulsion experienced by her police colleagues; her sex in her roles as investigator and pathologist where these roles are conventionally seen as masculine; and her performance of elements of both masculine and feminine conventional gender roles as she carries out her work. This, however, sets up a further line of inquiry about the central position of the abject in novels featuring female forensic pathologist investigators, as these texts depict this character’s occupation of the abject space as crucial to the solving of the case: it is through her ability to perform the procedures of her job while identifying with the corpse that clues are located, the narrative of events reconstructed, and the criminal identified and apprehended.ReferencesBarthes, Roland. S/Z. Trans. Richard Miller. London: Jonathan Cape. 1975. Butler, Judith. “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory.” Theatre Journal. 40.4 (1988): 519–31. 5 October 2011 ‹http://www.jstor.org/stable/3207893›Cornwell, Patricia. Postmortem. London: Warner Books, 1994. Davis, Gregory J. and Bradley R. Peterson. “Dilemmas and Solutions for the Pathologist and Clinician Encountering Religious Views of the Autopsy.” Southern Medical Journal. 89.11 (1996): 1041–44. Gawande, Atul. Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science. London: Profile Books, 2003.Gerritsen, Tess. The Sinner. Sydney: Random House, 2003. Grauby, Francois. “‘In the Noir’: The Blind Detective in Bridgette Aubert’s La mort des bois.” Mostly French: French (in) detective fiction. Modern French Identities, v.88. Ed. Alistair Rolls. Oxford: Peter Lang. 2009.Horsley, Lee. Twentieth Century Crime Fiction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005.Klaver, Elizabeth. Sites of Autopsy in Contemporary Culture. Albany: State U of NYP, 2005.Kristeva, Julia. Powers of Horror: Essays on Abjection. New York: Columbia UP, 1982.Mizejewski, Linda. “Illusive Evidence: Patricia Cornwell and the Body Double.” South Central Review. 18.3/4 (2001): 6–20. 19 March 2010. ‹http://www.jstor.org/stable/3190350›Nunn, Heather and Anita Biressi. “Silent Witness: Detection, Femininity, and the Post Mortem Body.” Feminist Media Studies. 3.2 (2003): 193–206. 18 January 2011. ‹http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1468077032000119317›Pentony, Samantha. “How Kristeva’s Theory of Abjection Works in Relation to the Fairy Tale and Post Colonial Novel: Angela Carter’s The Blood Chamber and Keri Hulme’s The Bone People.” Deep South. 2.3 (1996): n.p. 13 November 2011. ‹http://www.otago.ac.nz/DeepSouth/vol2no3/pentony.html›Richardson, Ruth. “Human Dissection and Organ Donation: A Historical Background.” Mortality. 11.2 (2006): 151–65. 13 May 2011. ‹http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13576270600615351›Robinson, Bobbie. “Playing Like the Boys: Patricia Cornwell Writes Men.” The Journal of Popular Culture. 39.1 (2006): 95–108. 2 August 2010. ‹http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-5931.2006.00205.x/full›Rolls, Alistair. “An Uncertain Place: (Dis-)Locating the Frenchness of French and Australian Detective Fiction.” in Mostly French: French (in) Detective Fiction. Modern French Identities, v.88. Ed. Alistair Rolls. Oxford: Peter Lang. 2009.---. “What Does It Mean? Contemplating Rita and Desiring Dead Bodies in Two Short Stories by Raymond Carver.” Literature and Aesthetics: The Journal of the Sydney Society of Literature and Aesthetics. 18.2 (2008): 88-116. Sawday, Jonathon. The Body Emblazoned: Dissection and the Human Body in Renaissance Culture. London: Routledge, 1996.Summers-Bremner, Eluned. “Post-Traumatic Woundings: Sexual Anxiety in Patricia Cornwell’s Fiction.” New Formations: A Journal of Culture/Theory/Politics. 43 (2001): 131–47. Vanacker, Sabine. “V.I Warshawski, Kinsey Millhone and Kay Scarpetta: Creating a Feminist Detective Hero.” Criminal Proceedings: The Contemporary American Crime Novel. Ed. Peter Messent. London: Pluto P, 1997. 62–87. Vargas, Fred. This Night’s Foul Work. Trans. Sian Reynolds. London: Harvill Secker, 2008.

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Starrs, Bruno. "Hyperlinking History and Illegitimate Imagination: The Historiographic Metafictional E-novel." M/C Journal 17, no.5 (October25, 2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.866.

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‘Historiographic Metafiction’ (HM) is a literary term first coined by creative writing academic Linda Hutcheon in 1988, and which refers to the postmodern practice of a fiction author inserting imagined--or illegitimate--characters into narratives that are intended to be received as authentic and historically accurate, that is, ostensibly legitimate. Such adventurous and bold authorial strategies frequently result in “novels which are both intensely self-reflexive and yet paradoxically also lay claim to historical events and personages” (Hutcheon, A Poetics 5). They can be so entertaining and engaging that the overtly intertextual, explicitly inventive work of biographical HM can even change the “hegemonic discourse of history” (Nunning 353) for, as Philippa Gregory, the author of HM novel The Other Boleyn Girl (2001), has said regarding this genre of creative writing: “Fiction is about imagined feelings and thoughts. History depends on the outer life. The novel is always about the inner life. Fiction can sometimes do more than history. It can fill the gaps” (University of Sussex). In a way, this article will be filling one of the gaps regarding HM.Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994) is possibly the best known cinematic example of HM, and this film version of the 1986 novel by Winston Groom particularly excels in seamlessly inserting images of a fictional character into verified history, as represented by well-known television newsreel footage. In Zemeckis’s adaptation, gaps were created in the celluloid artefact and filled digitally with images of the actor, Tom Hanks, playing the eponymous role. Words are often deemed less trustworthy than images, however, and fiction is considered particularly unreliable--although there are some exceptions conceded. In addition to Gregory’s novel; Midnight’s Children (1980) by Salman Rushdie; The Name of the Rose (1983) by Umberto Eco; and The Flashman Papers (1969-2005) by George MacDonald Fraser, are three well-known, loved and lauded examples of literary HM, which even if they fail to convince the reader of their bona fides, nevertheless win a place in many hearts. But despite the genre’s popularity, there is nevertheless a conceptual gap in the literary theory of Hutcheon given her (perfectly understandable) inability in 1988 to predict the future of e-publishing. This article will attempt to address that shortcoming by exploring the potential for authors of HM e-novels to use hyperlinks which immediately direct the reader to fact providing webpages such as those available at the website Wikipedia, like a much speedier (and more independent) version of the footnotes in Fraser’s Flashman novels.Of course, as Roland Barthes declared in 1977, “the text is a tissue of quotations drawn from innumerable centres of culture” (146) and, as per any academic work that attempts to contribute to knowledge, a text’s sources--its “quotations”--must be properly identified and acknowledged via checkable references if credibility is to be securely established. Hence, in explaining the way claims to fact in the HM novel can be confirmed by independently published experts on the Internet, this article will also address the problem Hutcheon identifies, in that for many readers the entirety of the HM novel assumes questionable authenticity, that is, the novel’s “meta-fictional self-reflexivity (and intertextuality) renders their claims to historical veracity somewhat problematic, to say the least” ("Historiographic Metafiction: Parody", 3). This article (and the PhD in creative writing I am presently working on at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia) will possibly develop the concept of HM to a new level: one at which the Internet-connected reader of the hyperlinked e-novel is made fully (and even instantly) aware of those literary elements of the narrative that are legitimate and factual as distinct from those that are fictional, that is, illegitimate. Furthermore, utilising examples from my own (yet-to-be published) hyperlinked HM e-novel, this article demonstrates that such hyperlinking can add an ironic sub-text to a fictional character’s thoughts and utterances, through highlighting the reality concerning their mistaken or naïve beliefs, thus creating HM narratives that serve an entertainingly complex yet nevertheless truly educational purpose.As a relatively new and under-researched genre of historical writing, HM differs dramatically from the better known style of standard historical or biographical narrative, which typically tends to emphasise mimesis, the cataloguing of major “players” in historical events and encyclopaedic accuracy of dates, deaths and places. Instead, HM involves the re-contextualisation of real-life figures from the past, incorporating the lives of entirely (or, as in the case of Gregory’s Mary Boleyn, at least partly) fictitious characters into their generally accepted famous and factual activities, and/or the invention of scenarios that gel realistically--but entertainingly--within a landscape of well-known and well-documented events. As Hutcheon herself states: “The formal linking of history and fiction through the common denominators of intertextuality and narrativity is usually offered not as a reduction, as a shrinking of the scope and value of fiction, but rather as an expansion of these” ("Intertextuality", 11). Similarly, Gregory emphasises the need for authors of HM to extend themselves beyond the encyclopaedic archive: “Archives are not history. The trouble with archives is that the material is often random and atypical. To have history, you have to have a narrative” (University of Sussex). Functionally then, HM is an intertextual narrative genre which serves to communicate to a contemporary audience an expanded story or stories of the past which present an ultimately more self-reflective, personal and unpredictable authorship: it is a distinctly auteurial mode of biographical history writing for it places the postmodern author’s imaginative “signature” front and foremost.Hutcheon later clarified that the quest for historical truth in fiction cannot possibly hold up to the persuasive powers of a master novelist, as per the following rationale: “Fact is discourse-defined: an event is not” ("Historiographic Metafiction", 843). This means, in a rather simplistic nutshell, that the new breed of HM novel writer is not constrained by what others may call fact: s/he knows that the alleged “fact” can be renegotiated and redefined by an inventive discourse. An event, on the other hand, is responsible for too many incontrovertible consequences for it to be contested by her/his mere discourse. So-called facts are much easier for the HM writer to play with than world changing events. This notion was further popularised by Ansgar Nunning when he claimed the overtly explicit work of HM can even change the “hegemonic discourse of history” (353). HM authors can radically alter, it seems, the way the reader perceives the facts of history especially when entertaining, engaging and believable characters are deliberately devised and manipulated into the narrative by the writer. Little wonder, then, that Hutcheon bemoans the unfortunate reality that for many readers the entirety of a HM work assumes questionable “veracity” due to its author’s insertion of imaginary and therefore illegitimate personages.But there is an advantage to be found in this, the digital era, and that is the Internet’s hyperlink. In our ubiquitously networked electronic information age, novels written for publication as e-books may, I propose, include clickable links on the names of actual people and events to Wikipedia entries or the like, thus strengthening the reception of the work as being based on real history (the occasional unreliability of Wikipedia notwithstanding). If picked up for hard copy publication this function of the HM e-novel can be replicated with the inclusion of icons in the printed margins that can be scanned by smartphones or similar gadgets. This small but significant element of the production reinforces the e-novel’s potential status as a new form of HM and addresses Hutcheon’s concern that for HM novels, their imaginative but illegitimate invention of characters “renders their claims to historical veracity somewhat problematic, to say the least” ("Historiographic Metafiction: Parody", 3).Some historic scenarios are so little researched or so misunderstood and discoloured by the muddy waters of time and/or rumour that such hyperlinking will be a boon to HM writers. Where an obscure facet of Australian history is being fictionalised, for example, these edifying hyperlinks can provide additional background information, as Glenda Banks and Martin Andrew might have wished for when they wrote regarding Bank’s Victorian goldfields based HM novel A Respectable Married Woman. This 2012 printed work explores the lives of several under-researched and under-represented minorities, such as settler women and Aboriginal Australians, and the author Banks lamented the dearth of public awareness regarding these peoples. Indeed, HM seems tailor-made for exposing the subaltern lives of those repressed individuals who form the human “backdrop” to the lives of more famous personages. Banks and Andrew explain:To echo the writings of Homi K. Bhaba (1990), this sets up a creative site for interrogating the dominant, hegemonic, ‘normalised’ master narratives about the Victorian goldfields and ‘re-membering’ a marginalised group - the women of the goldfields, the indigenous [sic], the Chinese - and their culture (2013).In my own hyperlinked short story (presently under consideration for publishing elsewhere), which is actually a standalone version of the first chapter of a full-length HM e-novel about Aboriginal Australian activists Eddie Mabo and Chicka Dixon and the history of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, entitled The Bullroarers, I have focussed on a similarly under-represented minority, that being light-complexioned, mixed race Aboriginal Australians. My second novel to deal with Indigenous Australian issues (see Starrs, That Blackfella Bloodsucka Dance), it is my first attempt at writing HM. Hopefully avoiding overkill whilst alerting readers to those Wikipedia pages with relevance to the narrative theme of non-Indigenous attitudes towards light-complexioned Indigenous Australians, I have inserted a total of only six hyperlinks in this 2200-word piece, plus the explanatory foreword stating: “Note, except where they are well-known place names or are indicated as factual by the insertion of Internet hyperlinks verifying such, all persons, organisations, businesses and places named in this text are entirely fictitious.”The hyperlinks in my short story all take the reader not to stubs but to well-established Wikipedia pages, and provide for the uninformed audience the following near-unassailable facts (i.e. events):The TV program, A Current Affair, which the racist character of the short story taken from The Bullroarers, Mrs Poulter, relies on for her prejudicial opinions linking Aborigines with the dealing of illegal drugs, is a long-running, prime-time Channel Nine production. Of particular relevance in the Wikipedia entry is the comment: “Like its main rival broadcast on the Seven Network, Today Tonight, A Current Affair is often considered by media critics and the public at large to use sensationalist journalism” (Wikipedia, “A Current Affair”).The Aboriginal Tent Embassy, located on the lawns opposite the Old Parliament House in Canberra, was established in 1972 and ever since has been the focus of Aboriginal Australian land rights activism and political agitation. In 1995 the Australian Register of the National Estate listed it as the only Aboriginal site in Australia that is recognised nationally for representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their political struggles (Wikipedia, “The Aboriginal Tent Embassy”).In 1992, during an Aboriginal land rights case known as Mabo, the High Court of Australia issued a judgment constituting a direct overturning of terra nullius, which is a Latin term meaning “land belonging to no one”, and which had previously formed the legal rationale and justification for the British invasion and colonisation of Aboriginal Australia (Wikipedia, “Terra Nullius”).Aboriginal rights activist and Torres Strait Islander, Eddie Koiki Mabo (1936 to 1992), was instrumental in the High Court decision to overturn the doctrine of terra nullius in 1992. In that same year, Eddie Mabo was posthumously awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal in the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Awards (Wikipedia, “Eddie Mabo”).The full name of what Mrs Poulter blithely refers to as “the Department of Families and that” is the Australian Government’s Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (Wikipedia, “The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs”).The British colonisation of Australia was a bloody, murderous affair: “continuous Aboriginal resistance for well over a century belies the ‘myth’ of peaceful settlement in Australia. Settlers in turn often reacted to Aboriginal resistance with great violence, resulting in numerous indiscriminate massacres by whites of Aboriginal men, women and children” (Wikipedia, “History of Australia (1788 - 1850)”).Basically, what is not evidenced empirically with regard to the subject matter of my text, that is, the egregious attitudes of non-Indigenous Australians towards Indigenous Australians, can be extrapolated thanks to the hyperlinks. This resonates strongly with Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s assertion in 2012 that those under-represented by mainstream, patriarchal epistemologies need to be engaged in acts of “reclaiming, reformulating and reconstituting” (143) so as to be re-presented as authentic identities in these HM artefacts of literary research.Exerting auteurial power as an Aboriginal Australian author myself, I have sought to imprint on my writing a multi-levelled signature pertaining to my people’s under-representation: there is not just the text I have created but another level to be considered by the reader, that being my careful choice of Wikipedia pages to hyperlink certain aspects of the creative writing to. These electronic footnotes serve as politically charged acts of “reclaiming, reformulating and reconstituting” Aboriginal Australian history, to reuse the words of Smith, for when we Aboriginal Australian authors reiterate, when we subjugated savages wrestle the keyboard away from the colonising overseers, our readers witness the Other writing back, critically. As I have stated previously (see Starrs, "Writing"), receivers of our words see the distorted and silencing master discourse subverted and, indeed, inverted. Our audiences are subjectively repositioned to see the British Crown as the monster. The previously presumed rational, enlightened and civil coloniser is instead depicted as the author and perpetrator of a violently racist, criminal discourse, until, eventually, s/he is ultimately eroded and made into the Other: s/he is rendered the villainous, predatory savage by the auteurial signatures in revisionist histories such as The Bullroarers.Whilst the benefit in these hyperlinks as electronic educational footnotes in my short story is fairly obvious, what may not be so obvious is the ironic commentary they can make, when read in conjunction with the rest of The Bullroarers. Although one must reluctantly agree with Wayne C. Booth’s comment in his classic 1974 study A Rhetoric of Irony that, in some regards, “the very spirit and value [of irony] are violated by the effort to be clear about it” (ix), I will nevertheless strive for clarity and understanding by utilizing Booth’s definition of irony “as something that under-mines clarities, opens up vistas of chaos, and either liberates by destroying all dogmas or destroys by revealing the inescapable canker of negation at the heart of every affirmation” (ix). The reader of The Bullroarers is not expecting the main character, Mrs Poulter, to be the subject of erosive criticism that destroys her “dogmas” about Aboriginal Australians--certainly not so early in the narrative when it is unclear if she is or is not the protagonist of the story--and yet that’s exactly what the hyperlinks do. They expose her as hopelessly unreliable, laughably misinformed and yes, unforgivably stupid. They reveal the illegitimacy of her beliefs. Perhaps the most personally excoriating of these revelations is provided by the link to the Wikipedia entry on the Australian Government’s Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, which is where her own daughter, Roxy, works, but which Mrs Poulter knows, gormlessly, as “the Department of Families and that”. The ignorant woman spouts racist diatribes against Aboriginal Australians without even realising how inextricably linked she and her family, who live at the deliberately named Boomerang Crescent, really are. Therein lies the irony I am trying to create with my use of hyperlinks: an independent, expert adjudication reveals my character, Mrs Poulter, and her opinions, are hiding an “inescapable canker of negation at the heart of every affirmation” (Booth ix), despite the air of easy confidence she projects.Is the novel-reading public ready for these HM hyperlinked e-novels and their potentially ironic sub-texts? Indeed, the question must be asked: can the e-book ever compete with the tactile sensations a finely crafted, perfectly bound hardcover publication provides? Perhaps, if the economics of book buying comes into consideration. E-novels are cheap to publish and cheap to purchase, hence they are becoming hugely popular with the book buying public. Writes Mark co*ker, the founder of Smashwords, a successful online publisher and distributor of e-books: “We incorporated in 2007, and we officially launched the business in May 2008. In our first year, we published 140 books from 90 authors. Our catalog reached 6,000 books in 2009, 28,800 in 2010, 92,000 in 2011, 191,000 in 2012 and as of this writing (November 2013) stands at over 250,000 titles” (co*ker 2013). co*ker divulged more about his company’s success in an interview with Forbes online magazine: “‘It costs essentially the same to pump 10,000 new books a month through our network as it will cost to do 100,000 a month,’ he reasons. Smashwords book retails, on average, for just above $3; 15,000 titles are free” (Colao 2012).In such a burgeoning environment of technological progress in publishing I am tempted to say that yes, the time of the hyperlinked e-novel has come, and to even predict that HM will be a big part of this new wave of postmodern literature. The hyperlinked HM e-novel’s strategy invites the reader to reflect on the legitimacy and illegitimacy of different forms of narrative, possibly concluding, thanks to ironic electronic footnoting, that not all the novel’s characters and their commentary are to be trusted. Perhaps my HM e-novel will, with its untrustworthy Mrs Poulter and its little-known history of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy addressed by gap-filling hyperlinks, establish a legitimising narrative for a people who have traditionally in white Australian society been deemed the Other and illegitimate. Perhaps The Bullroarers will someday alter attitudes of non-Indigenous Australians to the history and political activities of this country’s first peoples, to the point even, that as Nunning warns, we witness a change in the “hegemonic discourse of history” (353). If that happens we must be thankful for our Internet-enabled information age and its concomitant possibilities for hyperlinked e-publications, for technology may be separated from the world of art, but it can nevertheless be effectively used to recreate, enhance and access that world, to the extent texts previously considered illegitimate achieve authenticity and veracity.ReferencesBanks, Glenda. A Respectable Married Woman. Melbourne: Lacuna, 2012.Banks, Glenda, and Martin Andrew. “Populating a Historical Novel: A Case Study of a Practice-led Research Approach to Historiographic Metafiction.” Bukker Tillibul 7 (2013). 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://bukkertillibul.net/Text.html?VOL=7&INDEX=2›.Barthes, Roland. Image, Music, Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. London: Fontana Press, 1977.Booth, Wayne C. A Rhetoric of Irony. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1974.Colao, J.J. “Apple’s Biggest (Unknown) Supplier of E-books.” Forbes 7 June 2012. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://www.forbes.com/sites/jjcolao/2012/06/07/apples-biggest-unknown-supplier-of-e-books/›.co*ker, Mark. “Q & A with Smashwords Founder, Mark co*ker.” About Smashwords 2013. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹https://www.smashwords.com/about›.Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose. Trans. William Weaver, San Diego: Harcourt, 1983.Forrest Gump. Dir. Robert Zemeckis. Paramount Pictures, 1994.Fraser, George MacDonald. The Flashman Papers. Various publishers, 1969-2005.Groom, Winston. Forrest Gump. NY: Doubleday, 1986.Gregory, Philippa. The Other Boleyn Girl. UK: Scribner, 2001.Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction, 2nd ed. Abingdon, UK: Taylor and Francis, 1988.---. “Intertextuality, Parody, and the Discourses of History: A Poetics of Postmodernism History, Theory, Fiction.” 1988. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://ieas.unideb.hu/admin/file_3553.pdf›.---. “Historiographic Metafiction: Parody and the Intertextuality of History.” Eds. P. O’Donnell and R.C. Davis, Intertextuality and Contemporary American Fiction. Baltimore, Maryland: John Hopkins UP, 1989. 3-32.---. “Historiographic Metafiction.” Ed. Michael McKeon, Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins UP, 2000. 830-50.Nunning, Ansgar. “Where Historiographic Metafiction and Narratology Meet.” Style 38.3 (2004): 352-75.Rushdie, Salman. Midnight’s Children. London: Jonathan Cape, 1980.Starrs, D. Bruno. That Blackfella Bloodsucka Dance! Saarbrücken, Germany: Just Fiction Edition (paperback), 2011; Starrs via Smashwords (e-book), 2012.---. “Writing Indigenous Vampires: Aboriginal Gothic or Aboriginal Fantastic?” M/C Journal 17.4 (2014). 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/viewArticle/834›.Tuhiwai Smith, Linda. Decolonizing Methodologies. London & New York: Zed Books, 2012.University of Sussex. “Philippa Gregory Fills the Historical Gaps.” University of Sussex Alumni Magazine 51 (2012). 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://www.scribd.com/doc/136033913/University-of-Sussex-Alumni-Magazine-Falmer-issue-51›.Wikipedia. “A Current Affair.” 2014. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Current_Affair›.---. “Aboriginal Tent Embassy.” 2014. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aboriginal_Tent_Embassy›.---. “Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.” 2014. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_of_Families,_Housing,_Community_Services_and_Indigenous_Affairs›.---. “Eddie Mabo.” 2014. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Mabo›.---. “History of Australia (1788 – 1850).” 2014. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Australia_(1788%E2%80%931850)#Aboriginal_resistance›.---. “Terra Nullius.” 2014. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_nullius›.

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Cantrell, Kate, Ariella Van Luyn, and Emma Doolan. "Wandering." M/C Journal 22, no.4 (August14, 2019). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1598.

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Wandering is an embodied movement through a landscape, cityscape, or soundscape; it is a venture that one may undertake voluntarily or reluctantly. It is similar to wayfaring and roaming, and different to walking. As a metaphor and as a figuration of subjectivity, wandering allows for a number of non-linear engagements: loitering, overhearing, wildflowering, meandering, even time travel. When coupled with an act of memory or imagination, wandering can instigate wondering, and vice versa. It can refer to the physical movement of the body through space or the abstract wandering of the mind through time; more often than not, it is both.The contributions to this special issue on ‘Wandering’ take up the theme in ways that demonstrate how straying from prescribed pathways and patterns of movement can be a transformative experience: one that renders new ways of thinking, reading, gaming, communicating, and being. For the authors featured here, wandering is deeply affectual, at times intimate and empowering, at other times disorientating, melancholy, and compulsive. Wandering provokes an awareness of the ambiances of everyday life, a response to the repression of desire, trauma, and historical violence. Wandering, of course, is traditionally associated with the city, and many of the articles here extend this scholarship, while others move the discussion of wandering to the natural environment. Historically, wandering has been connected to patriarchal, colonial modes of exploring and mapping, of claiming and naming places. Yet these articles suggest that wandering, as a mode of resistance—as a mobility that is ideologically charged—can provide new ways of being beyond heteronormativity and outside the hold of linear boundaries. In wandering rather than waiting, the wanderer inscribes opposing devices into her narrative: her movement is infused with gendered meaning and is well-equipped to reveal the relational, discursive operations of identity.Indeed, in the feature article, Ingrid Horrocks challenges neo-liberal versions of travel through an account of her ongoing research into female wandering and travel writing; her most recent book Women Wanderers and the Writing of Mobility, 1784-1814 presents an extensive consideration of the many complexities she outlines here, including the need to disentangle mobility from its frequent ideological equation with liberty. Horrocks explains, for example, how reluctant wandering in eighteenth and nineteenth century British literature requires a more flexible and nuanced understanding of wandering as a form of displacement. For Horrocks, the interdisciplinary field of mobilities studies is particularly illuminating. This framework allows for a tracing of the significance of both the symbolic representations of wandering in narrative and the historical conditions and lived experiences of the writers that produced wandering texts. Horrocks’s work reveals that deeper investigation into the histories of different mobilities is significant for modern conceptualisations of travel that equate movement with freedom of choice; such neo-liberal ideologies of mobility elide the structural forces and inequalities that might compel one to move—to leave home in search of work, companionship, or food. Kristina Deffenbacher also challenges conventional travel narratives—in this case, the road narrative—in her article, “Mapping Trans-Domesticity in Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto.” Deffenbacher develops the term “trans-domesticity” to explain how the film challenges not only notions of home but also understandings of domestic spaces and practices. Specifically, Deffenbacher reads Breakfast on Pluto as a queer diaspora narrative that destabilises normative bonds and structures, and in doing so, transforms the traditional road story where the protagonist leaves home in search of autonomy and independence. Reading against earlier interpretations of the protagonist’s behaviour as apolitical, Deffenbacher suggests that homemaking in public, transient spaces is a queer reclamation of domestic space through the act of wandering, which enables connection rather than dislocation.The protagonist in Breakfast in Pluto creates a home in London, and global neo-liberal London is the site of investigation in “Wandering and Placemaking in London: Iain Sinclair’s Literary Methodology.” Here, Kirsten Seale and Emily Potter examine how psychogeographer Iain Sinclair’s wandering moves beyond the chronicling of place to engage in placemaking that is materially entangled with the transformative conditions of place. Sinclair’s wandering, as Seale and Potter demonstrate, acts upon the city as much as it is an act within the city. Sinclair’s writing about London’s decrepitude contributes to a contemporary aesthetic of urban decay that is cultivated and commodified in high-end locales—an extra-textual consequence that points to the position of Sinclair’s wanderings as “more-than-literary.” In other words, Sinclair’s texts materialise versions of place that operate outside the assemblage of literary production, thereby constituting spatial events.Devin Proctor wanders in another quintessential city in “Wandering in the City: Time, Memory, and Experience in Digital Game Space.” Proctor traverses the physical, the virtual, and the temporal in his exploration of downtown New York, as constructed in the videogame Assassin’s Creed: Rogue. Accompanying Proctor on his wanderings is the memory—or the future projection—of Michel de Certeau, whose musings from the top of the World Trade Center—not-yet-built in the time of the game, not-yet-destroyed in the time of de Certeau, existing only in memory in Proctor’s own time—inform the exploration of space. Proctor wonders whether it is possible to truly wander in a controlled space, where even apparent acts of spatial disobedience—scaling buildings, running along walls—are within the “rules” of the game. For Proctor, disavowing the designed narrative of the game—ignoring quests, not seeking to progress or level up but instead simply wandering—allows the digital space to take on different meanings, and to become, in fact, another space: one that is a colourful vista of memory, fiction, and experience.In “Adapting to Loiterly Reading: Agatha Christie’s Original Adaptation of 'The Witness for the Prosecution'", Alistair Rolls takes up the theme of wandering by applying the notion to re-reading Christie’s short story “The Witness for the Prosecution” in a way that is prompted by Sarah Phelps’s screen adaptation for BBC One. Rolls applies Armelle Blin-Rolland’s notion of “vortical” reading: a model of adaptation in which no version of a text is privileged as the correct one but instead part of a textual multiplicity. Through this lens, Rolls argues that Christie’s short story can be appreciated by a wandering reader who undertakes loiterly reading, thereby moving against the grain of crime fiction: a genre, which, through its focus on the revelatory end, usually speeds a reader to a resolution. A wandering reader might see, for instance, the fetishistic narrative and partially-repressed pre-textual truths. Therefore, Phelps’s adaptation, which uses a framing device by adding a new beginning and end to the narrative, complements, rather than undercuts, Christie’s original. In this article, Rolls enacts his own form of loiterly reading. Melanie Pryor examines the work of another well-known wanderer in “Dark Peripatetic Walking as Radical Wandering in Cheryl Strayed’s Memoir Wild.” Pryor adopts John Brabour’s notion of the dark peripatetic, a kind of itinerant wandering often associated with isolation from society. Pryor transforms the notion’s negative connotations, arguing instead that, in women’s memoir, wandering in the wilderness is an act of “radical self-containment”. Pryor draws attention to the way that Strayed’s memoir offers a counterpoint to traditional patriarchal narratives of domination and colonisation of the natural world. Instead, Strayed’s writing positions her as a witness to the natural world and her own physical and internal transformation. Pryor draws our attention to the way that even Strayed’s name, changed after her divorce, suggests an empowered wandering from the traditional confines of domestic life. Like Pryor, Susan Davis in “Wandering and Wildflowering: Walking with Women into Intimacy and Ecological Action” locates wandering, not as it traditionally has occurred in the city, but in a natural ecosystem: in this case, the wallum bushland behind the beaches of South East Queensland, Australia. This complex ecosystem, Davis explains, is at once resilient, thriving in soil corrosive as battery acid, but also fragile, unable to re-grow once destroyed; yet few pay attention to this landscape. Davis presents an historical account of Australian poet Judith Wright’s and artist and writer Kathleen McArthur’s relationship with each other and this coastal heathland, arguing that both wandering and “wildflowering” provoked in the women a new artistic and ecological vision. Attuning to the more-than-human world allowed these artists to value what still is, Davis argues, a largely invisible landscape; this new vision prompted ecological activism and conservation.In “Wandering in and out of Place: Modes of Searching for the Past in Paris, Moscow, and St Petersburg”, Katherine Brabon suggests that wandering in a place can also be a mode of wandering in the past. In her analysis of W.G. Sebald’s, Patrick Modiano’s, and her own work, Brabon points to the way that the narrator’s embodied movement through place is haunted by traces of historical trauma and violence. Landscape, infused with memory and emotion, provokes a compulsive wandering; the narrators in the works Brabon describes appear almost doomed to wander in search of a past available only in fragments. These are themes Brabon also explores in her novel, The Memory Artist, which won the Vogel Literary Award in 2016, and which complements the exegetical discussion presented here. In “Wandering a Metro: Actor-Network Theory Research and Rapid Rail Infrastructure Communication”, Nicholas Richardson wanders Montreal’s underground Métro, asking of the fifty-year-old train system the Latourian question, “What do you do for a city and its people?” By wandering the Métro and interviewing its other wanderers, commuters, and workers, Richardson is able to observe the actor-network within which the train operates. Through this process, he comes to understand what a train system like Montreal’s might bring to a city such as Sydney. Richardson’s wandering is as much methodological and metaphorical as it is physical, and he does not seek to end either aspect of his foray at a finish line. Instead of drawing us towards the finality of conclusions, Richardson’s wandering opens up multiple avenues. The actor-network of the Métro is comprised not just of the train itself and its immediate users but also the artworks and architecture that give character to its spaces. Ultimately, the influence of the Métro and its actor-network spread beyond the boundaries of the train system itself; the Métro functions—as one of Richardson’s respondents puts it—as the “connective tissue” of the city. Whereas Richardson awaits an answer to his question, “What do you do for a city and its people?”, Rowan Wilken, in “Walkie-Talkies, Wandering, and Sonic Intimacy”, is concerned with the act of listening itself when urban wanderers come into contact with the sonic environments in which they live. Wilken extends the notion of wandering to the ambient soundscape by analysing two artworks, Saturday by Sabrina Raff and Walk That Sound by Lukatoyboy. Wilken positions these artworks in an avant-garde artistic tradition, the Situationist International, which emerged in the 1960s, and which proposed the use of walkie-talkies to enable urban wandering, an act of engaging with place designed to create more authentic “situations” to counteract social alienation brought about by Capitalism. The more contemporary artworks at the heart of Wilken’s analysis extend this tradition by inviting the reader to attune to overheard conversations, and form what Wilken, in an application of Dominic Pettman’s notion, calls sonic intimacy. Wilken suggests that in these works the act of overhearing invites an aural connection with strangers. Yet, such acts also evoke a disturbing undercurrent of surveillance and the Panopticon. AcknowledgementsThe editors would like to acknowledge the time, care, and insight of the reviewers who provided feedback on this issue. This often unrewarded labour deserves recognition and thanks.

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Phillips, Jennifer Anne. "Closure through Mock-Disclosure in Bret Easton Ellis’s Lunar Park." M/C Journal 12, no.5 (December13, 2009). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.190.

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In a 1999 interview with the online magazine The AV Club, a subsidiary of satirical news website, The Onion, Bret Easton Ellis claimed: “I’ve never written a single scene that I can say took place, I’ve never written a line of dialogue that I’ve heard someone say or that I have said” (qtd. in Klein). Ten years later, in the same magazine, Ellis was reminded of this quote and asked why most of his novels have been perceived as veiled autobiographies. Ellis responded:Well, they are autobiographical in the sense that they reflect who I was at a particular moment in my life. There was talk of a memoir, and I realized why I couldn’t write a memoir, because the books are the memoir—they completely sum up how I was feeling, what I was thinking about, what my obsessions were, what I was fantasizing about, who I was, in a fictional context over the last 25 years or so (qtd. in Tobias).Despite any protestations to the contrary, Bret Easton Ellis’s novels have included various intentional and unintentional disclosures which reflect the author’s personal experiences. This pattern of self-disclosure became most overt in his most recent novel, Lunar Park (2005), in which the narrator shares a name, vocation and many aspects of his personal history with Ellis himself. After two decades and many assumptions made about Ellis’s personal life in the public media, it seems on the surface as if this novel uses disclosure as the site of closure for several rumours and relationships which have haunted his career. It is possible to see how this fictional text transgresses the boundaries between fiction and fact in an attempt to sever the feedback loop between the media’s representation of Ellis and the interpretation of his fictional texts. Yet it is important to note that with Ellis, there is always more beneath the surface. This is evident after only one chapter of Lunar Park when the novel changes form from an autobiography into a fictional ghost story, both of which are told by Bret Easton Ellis, a man who simultaneously reflects and refracts aspects of the real life author.Before analysing Lunar Park, it is helpful to consider the career trajectory which led to its creation. Bret Easton Ellis made his early fame writing semi-fictional accounts of rich, beautiful, young, yet ambitionless members of generation-X, growing up in the 1980s in America. His first novel, Less Than Zero (1985), chronicled the exploits of his protagonists as they drifted from party to party, from one meaningless sexual encounter to another; all while anesthetised on a co*cktail of Valium, Prozac, Percocet and various illegal drugs. The brutal realism of his narrative, coupled with the structure—short vignettes like snapshots and short chapters told in simplistic style—led the text to be hailed as the first “MTV Novel” (Annesley 90; see also: Freese).It is not difficult to discover the many similarities that exist between the creator of Less Than Zero and his fictional creation, Clay, the novel’s narrator-protagonist. Both grew up in Los Angeles and headed east to attend a small liberal-arts college. Both Ellis’s and Clay’s parents were divorced and both young men grew up living in a house with their mother and their two sisters. Ellis’s relationship with his father was, by all accounts, as strained as what is represented in the few meetings Clay has with his own father in Less Than Zero. In these scenes, Clay describes a brief, perfunctory lunch meeting in an expensive restaurant in which Clay’s father is too preoccupied by work to acknowledge his son’s presence.Ellis’s second novel, The Rules of Attraction (1987), is set at Camden College, the same college that Clay attends in Less Than Zero. At one point, Clay even guest-narrates a chapter of The Rules of Attraction; the phrase, “people are afraid to walk across campus after midnight” (205) recalls the opening line of Less Than Zero, “people are afraid to merge on highways in Los Angeles” (5). Camden bears quite a few similarities with Bennington College, the college which Ellis himself was attending when Less Than Zero was published and Ellis was catapulted into the limelight. Even Ellis himself has admitted that the book is, “a completely fictionalized portrait of a group of people, all summations of friends I knew” (qtd. in Tobias).The authenticity of Ellis’s narrative voice was considered as an insight which came from participation (A Conversation with Bret Easton Ellis). The depiction of disenfranchised youth in the Reagan era in America was so compelling because Ellis seemed to personify and even embody the malaise and listlessness of his narrators in his public performances and interviews. In the minds of many readers and critics, Ellis’s narrators were a fictional extrapolation of Ellis himself. The association of Ellis to his fictional narrators backfired when Ellis’s third novel, American Psycho (1991), was published. The novel was criticised for its detached depiction of Patrick Bateman, who narrates in minute detail his daily routine which includes an extensive beauty regime, lunchtimes and dinnertimes spent in extravagant New York restaurants, a relationship with a fiancée and a mistress, a job on Wall Street in which he seems to do no real “work,” and his night-time hobby where brutally murders women, homeless men, gay men and even a small child. Bateman’s choice of victims can be interpreted as unconsciously aimed at anyone why may threaten his dominant position as a wealthy, white, heterosexual male. While Bateman kills as many men as he does women, his male victims are killed quickly in sudden bursts of violence. Bateman’s female victims are the subject of brutal torture, prolonged violent sexualized attacks, and in many cases inhumane post-mortem disfigurement and dismemberment.The public reception of American Psycho has been analysed as much as the text itself, (see: Murphet; Brien). Because American Psycho is narrated in the first-person voice of Bateman, there is no escape from his subjectivity. Many, including the National Organization of Women, interpreted this lack of authorial comment as Ellis’s tacit agreement and acceptance of Bateman’s behaviour. Another similar interpretation was made by Roger Rosenblatt in his pre-publication review of American Psycho in which he forthrightly encourages readers to “Snuff this Book” (Rosenblatt). Rosenblatt finds no ironic critique in Ellis’s representation of Bateman, instead finding himself at a loss to understand Ellis’s intention in writing American Psycho, saying “one only assumes, Mr. Ellis disapproves. It's a bit hard to tell what Mr. Ellis intends exactly, because he languishes so comfortably in the swamp he purports to condemn” (n.p.).In much the same way as Ellis’s previous narrators had reflected his experience and opinions, Ellis was considered as accepting and even glorifying the actions of a misogynistic serial killer. Ellis himself has commented on the popularised “misreading” of his novel: “Because I never step in anywhere and say, ‘Hey, this is all wrong,’ people get upset. That’s outrageous to me! Who’s going to say that serial killing is wrong?! Isn’t that a given? There’s no need to say that” (qtd. in. Klein)Ellis himself was treated as if he had committed the actual crimes that Patrick Bateman describes. The irony being that, as I have argued elsewhere (Phillips), there are numerous signs within the text which point to the possibility that Patrick Bateman did not commit the crimes as he claims: he can be interpreted as an unreliable narrator. Although the unreliability is Bateman’s narration doesn’t remove the effect which the reader experiences, it does indicate a distance between the author and the narrator. This distance was overlooked by many critics who interpreted Ellis as agreeing and condoning Bateman’s views and actions.When Ellis’s fourth novel, Glamorama was published, the decadent lifestyle represented in the text was again considered to be a reflection of Ellis’s personal experience. The star-studded parties and glamorous night clubs seemed to be lifted straight out of Ellis’s experience (although, no-one would ever claim that Ellis was a fashion-model-turned-international-terrorist like his narrator, Victor). One reviewer notes that “even when Bret Easton Ellis writes about killer yuppies and terrorist fashion models, a lot of people still think he's writing about himself” (Waldren).With the critical tendency to read an autobiographical confession out of Ellis’s fictional works firmly in place, it is not hard to see why Ellis decided to make the narrator of his fifth novel, Lunar Park, none other than Bret Easton Ellis himself. It is my contention that Lunar Park is the site of disclosures based on the real life of Bret Easton Ellis. I believe that Ellis chose the form of a mock-autobiography-turned-ghost-story as the site of exorcism for the many ghosts which have haunted his career, namely, his public persona and the publication of American Psycho. Ultimately, it is the exorcism of a more personal ghost, namely his father Robert Martin Ellis which provides the most private disclosure in the text and therefore the most touching, truthful and abiding site of closure for the entire novel and for Ellis himself. For ease, I will refer to the narrator of Lunar Park as Bret and the author of Lunar Park as Ellis.On the surface, it appears that Lunar Park is an autobiographical memoir. In one of the many mixed reviews of the novel (see: Murray; "Behind Bret's Mask"; Hand), Steve Almond’s title describes how Ellis masquerading as Ellis “is not a pretty sight” (Almond). The opening chapter is told in autobiographical style and charts Bret’s meteoric rise from college student to member of the literary brat pack (alongside Jay McInerney and Tama Jancowitz), to reviled author of American Psycho (1991) reaching his washed-up, drug-addled and near-death nadir during the Glamorama (1998) book tour. However, careful reading of this chapter reveals that the real-life Ellis is obscuring as much about himself as he appears to be revealing. Although it takes the form of a candid disclosure of his personal life, there are elements of the narrator’s story which do not agree with the public record of the author Ellis.The fictional Bret claims to have attended Camden College, and that his manuscript for Less Than Zero was a college project, discovered by his professor. While the plot of this story does reflect Ellis’s actual experience, he has set Bret’s story at Camden College, the fictional setting of The Rules of Attraction. By adding an element of fiction into the autobiographical account, Ellis is indicating that he is not identical to his narrating counterpart. It also signifies the Bret that exists in the fictional space whereas Ellis resides in the “real world.”In Lunar Park, Bret also talks about his relationship with Jayne Dennis. Jayne is described as a model-turned-actress, an up and coming Hollywood superstar who in the 1980s performed in films alongside Keanu Reeves. Jayne is one of the truly fictional characters in Lunar Park. She doesn’t exist outside of the text, except in two websites which were established to promote the publication of Lunar Park in 2005 (www.jaynedennis.com and www.jayne-dennis.com). While Bret and Jayne are dating, Jayne falls pregnant. Bret begs her to have an abortion. When Jayne decides to keep the child, her relationship with Bret falls apart. Bret meets his son Robby only twice from birth until the age of 10. The relationship between the fictional Bret and the fictional Jayne creates Robby, a fictional offspring who shares a name with Robert Martin Ellis (Bret and Ellis’s father).Many have been tempted to participate in Ellis’s game, to sift fact from fiction in the opening chapter of Lunar Park. Holt and Abbot published a two page point-by-point analysis of where the real-life Ellis diverged from the fictional Bret. The promotional website established by Ellis’s publisher was named www.twobrets.com to invite such a comparison. Although this game is invited by Ellis, he has also publicly stated that there is more to Lunar Park than the comparison between himself and his fictional counterpart:My worry is that people will want to know what’s true and what’s not […] All the things that are in the book—my quote-unquote autobiography—I just don’t want to answer any of those questions. I don’t like demystifying the text (qtd. in Wyatt n.p.)Although Ellis refuses to demystify the text, one of the purposes of inserting himself into the text is to trap readers in this very game, and to confuse fact with fiction. Although the text opens with a chapter which reads like Ellis’s autobiography, careful reading of the textual Bret against the extra-textual Ellis reveals that this chapter contains almost as much fiction as the “ghost story” which fills the remaining 400-odd pages. This ghost story could have been told by any first-person narrator. By writing himself into the text, Ellis is writing his public persona into the fictional character of Bret. One of the effects of blurring the lines between public and private, reality and fiction is that Ellis’s real-life disclosures invite the reader to read the fictional text against their extra-textual knowledge of Ellis himself. In this way, Ellis is able to address the many ghosts which have haunted his career—most importantly the public reception of American Psycho and his public persona. A more personal ghost is the ghost of Ellis’s father who has been written into the text, literally haunting Bret’s home with messages from beyond the grave. Closure occurs when these ghosts have been exorcised. The question is: is Lunar Park Ellis’s attempt to close down the public debates, or to add more fuel to the fire?One of the areas in which Ellis seeks to find closure is in the controversy surrounding American Psycho. Ellis uses his fictional voice to re-write the discourse surrounding the creation and reception of the text. There are deliberate contradictions in Bret’s version of writing American Psycho. In Lunar Park, Bret describes the writing process of American Psycho. In an oddly ornate passage for Ellis (who seldom uses adverbs), Bret describes how he would “fearfully watch my hands as the pen swept across the yellow legal pads” (19) blaming the “spirit” of Patrick Bateman for visiting and causing the book to be written. When it was finished, the “spirit” was “disgustingly satisfied” and stopped “gleefully haunting” Bret’s dreams. This shift in writing style may be an indication of a shift from reality into a fictionalised account of the writing of American Psycho. Much of the plot of Lunar Park is taken up with the consequences of American Psycho, when a madman starts replicating crimes exactly as they appear in the novel. It is almost as if Patrick Bateman is haunting Bret and his family. When informed that his fictional violence has disrupted his quiet suburban existence, Bret laments, “this was the moment that detractors of the book had warned me about: if anything happened to anyone as a result of the publication of this novel, Bret Easton Ellis was to blame” (181-2). By the end of Lunar Park Bret decides to “kill” Patrick Bateman once and for all, by writing an epilogue in which Bateman is burnt alive.On the surface, it appears that Lunar Park is the site of an apology about American Psycho. However, this is not entirely the case. Much of Bret’s description of writing American Psycho is contradictory to Ellis’s personal accounts where he consciously researched the gruesome details of Bateman’s crimes using an FBI training manual (Rose). Although Patrick Bateman is destroyed by the end of Lunar Park, extra-textually, neither Bret nor Ellis is not entirely apologetic for his creation. Bret argues that American Psycho was “about society and manners and mores, and not about cutting up women. How could anyone who read the book not see this?” (182). Extra-textually, in an interview Ellis admitted that when he re-read “the violence sequences I was incredibly upset and shocked […] I can't believe that I wrote that. Looking back, I realize, God, you really sort of stepped over a line there” (qtd. in Wyatt n.p.). However, in that same interview, Ellis admits to lying to reporters if he feels that the reporter is “out to get” him. Therefore, Ellis’s apology may not actually be an apology at all.Lunar Park presents an explanation about how and why American Psycho was written. This explanation is much akin to claiming that “the devil made me do it”, by arguing that Bret was possessed by “the spirit of this madman” (18). While it may seem that this explanation is an attempt to close the vast amount of discussion surrounding why American Psycho was written, Ellis is actually using his fictional persona to address the public outcry about his most controversial novel, providing an apology for a text, which is really no apology at all. Ultimately, the reliability of Bret’s account depends on the reader’s knowledge of Ellis’s public persona. This interplay between the fictional Bret and the real-life Ellis can be seen in Lunar Park’s account of the Glamorama publicity tour. In Lunar Park, Bret describes his own version of the Glamorama book tour. For Bret, this tour functions as his personal nadir, the point in his life where he hits rock bottom and looks to Jayne Dennis as his saviour. Throughout the tour, Bret describes taking all manner of drugs. At one point, threatened by his erratic behaviour, Bret’s publishers asked a personal minder to join the book tour, reporting back on Bret’s actions which include picking at nonexistent scabs, sobbing at his appearance in a hotel mirror and locking himself in a bookstore bathroom for over an hour before emerging and claiming that he had a snake living in his mouth (32-33).The reality of the Glamorama book tour is not anywhere near as wild as that described by Bret in Lunar Park. In reviews and articles addressing the real-life Glamorama book tour, there are no descriptions of these events. One article, from the The Observer (Macdonald), does describe a meeting over lunch where Ellis admits to drinking way too much the night before and then having to deal with phone calls from fans he can’t remember giving his phone-number to. However, as previously mentioned, in that same article a friend of Ellis’s is quoted as saying that Ellis frequently lies to reporters. Bret’s fictional actions seem to confirm Ellis’s real life “party boy” persona. For Moran, “the name of the author [him]self can become merely an image, either used to market a literary product directly or as a kind of free floating signifier within contemporary culture” (61). Lunar Park is about all of the connotations of the name Bret Easton Ellis. It is also a subversion of those expectations. The fictional Glamorama book tour shows Ellis’s media persona taken to an extreme until it becomes a self-embodying parody. In Lunar Park, Ellis is deliberately amplifying his public persona, accepting that no amount of truthful disclosure will erase the image of Bret-the-party-boy. However, the remainder of the novel turns this image on its head by removing Bret from New York and placing him in middle-American suburbia, married, and with two children in tow.Ultimately, although the novel appears as a transgression of fact and fiction, Bret may be the most fictional of all of Ellis’s narrators (with the exception of Patrick Bateman). Bret is married where Ellis is single. Bret is heterosexual whereas Ellis is hom*osexual, and used the site of Lunar Park to confirm his hom*osexuality. Bret has children whereas Ellis is childless. Bret has settled down into the heartland of American suburbia, a wife and two children in tow whereas Ellis has made it clear that this lifestyle is not one he is seeking. The novel is presented as the site of Ellis’s personal disclosure, and yet only creates more fictional fodder for the public image of Ellis, there are elements of true and personal disclosures from Ellis life, which he is using the text as the site for his own brand of closure. The most genuine and heartfelt closure is achieved through Ellis’s disclosure of his relationship with his father.The death of Ellis’s father, Robert Martin Ellis has an impact on both the textual and extra-textual levels of Lunar Park. Textually, the novel takes the form of a ghost story, and it is Robert himself who is haunting Bret. These spectral disturbances manifest themselves in Bret’s house which slowly transforms into a representation of his childhood home. Bret also receives nightly e-mails from the bank in which his father’s ashes have been stored in a safe-deposit box. These e-mails contain an attached video file showing the last few moments of Robert Martin Ellis’s life. Bret never finds out who filmed the video. Extra-textually, the death of Robert Martin Ellis is clearly signified in the fact that Lunar Park is dedicated to him as well as Michael Wade Kaplan, two men close to Ellis who have died. The trope of fathers haunting their sons is further highlighted by Ellis’s inter-textual references to Shakespeare’s Hamlet including a quote in the epigraph: “From the table of my memory / I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records, / all saws of books, all forms, all pressures past / that youth and observation copied there” (1.5.98-101). The names of various geographical locations in Bret’s neighbourhood: Bret and Jayne live on Elsinore Lane, named for Elsinore castle, Bret also visits Fortinbras Mall, Osric hotel and Ophelia Boulevard. In Hamlet, the son is called upon by the ghost of his father to avenge his death. In Lunar Park, Bret is called upon to avenge himself against the wrongs inflicted upon him by his own father.The ambiguity of the relationships between fathers and sons is summarised in the closing passage of the novel. So, if you should see my son, tell him I say hello, be good, that I am thinking of him and that I know he’s watching over me somewhere, and not to worry: that he can always find me here, whenever he wants, right here, my arms held out and waiting, in the pages, behind the covers, at the end of Lunar Park (453).Although Bret earlier signals the reader to interpret this passage as a message from Bret to his son Robby (45), it is also possible to interpret is as a message from the fictional Robert Martin Ellis to the fictional Bret. In this reading, Lunar Park is not just a novel, a game or a post-modern deconstruction of the fact and fiction binary, it instead becomes an exorcism for the author. The process of writing Lunar Park to casts the spectre of the real-life Robert Martin Ellis out of his life to a place where Bret (and Ellis) can always find him. This relationship is the site not only of disclosure – reflecting Ellis’s own personal angst with his late father – but of closure, where Ellis has channelled his relationship and indeed exorcised his father into the text.Lunar Park contains several forms of disclosures, most of which transgress the line between fiction and fact. Lunar Park does not provide a closure from the tendency to read autobiography into Ellis’s texts, instead, chapter one provides as much fiction as fact, as evident in the discussions of American Psycho and the Glamorama book tour. Although chapter one presents in an autobiographical form, the remainder of the text reveals how fictional “Bret Easton Ellis” really is. Much of Lunar Park can be interpreted as a puzzle whose answer depends on the reader’s knowledge and understanding of the public perception, persona and profile of Bret Easton Ellis himself. Although seeming to provide closure on the surface, by playing with fiction and fact, Lunar Park only opens up more ground for discussion of Ellis, his novels, his persona and his fictional worlds. These are discussions I look forward to participating in, particularly as 2010 will see the publication of Ellis’s sixth novel (and sequel to Less Than Zero), Imperial Bedrooms.Although much of Ellis’s game in Lunar Park is to tease the reader by failing to provide true disclosures or meaningful and finite closure, the ending of the Lunar Park indicates the most honest, heartfelt and abiding closure for the text and for Ellis himself. Devoid of games and extra-textual riddles, the end of the novel is a message from a father to his son. By disclosing details of his troubled relationship with his father, both Ellis and his fictional counterpart Bret are able to exorcise the ghost of Robert Martin Ellis. As the novel closes, the ghost who haunts the text has indeed been exorcised and is now standing, with “arms held out and waiting, in the pages, behind the covers, at the end of Lunar Park” (453). ReferencesAlmond, Steve. "Ellis Masquerades as Ellis, and It Is Not a Pretty Sight." Boston Globe 14 Aug. 2005.Annesley, James. Blank Fictions: Consumerism, Culture and the Contemporary American Novel. London: Pluto Press, 1998."Behind Bret's Mask." Manchester Evening News 10 Oct. 2005.Brien, Donna Lee. "The Real Filth in American Psycho: A Critical Reassessment." M/C Journal 9.5 (2006). 30 Nov. 2009 < http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0610/01-brien.php >.Ellis, Bret Easton. Less than Zero. London: Vintage, 1985.–––. The Rules of Attraction. London: Vintage, 1987.–––. American Psycho. London: Picador, 1991.–––. Glamorama. New York: Knopf, 1998.–––. Lunar Park. New York: Knopf, 2005.Freese, Peter. "Bret Easton Ellis, Less than Zero; Entropy in the 'Mtv Novel'?" Modes of Narrative: Approaches to American, Canadian and British Fiction. Eds. Reingard Nishik and Barbara Korts. Wurzburg: Konighausen and Naumann, 1990. 68–87. Hand, Elizabeth. "House of Horrors; Bret Easton Ellis, the Author of 'American Psycho,' Rips into His Most Frightening Subject Yet—Himself." The Washington Post 21 Aug. 2005.Klein, Joshua. "Interview with Bret Easton Ellis." The Onion AV Club 17 Mar.(1999). 5 Sep. 2009 < http://www.avclub.com/articles/bret-easton-ellis,13586/ >.Macdonald, Marianna. “Interview—Bret Easton Ellis—All Cut Up.” The Observer 28 June 1998.Moran, Joe. Star Authors. London: Pluto Press, 2000.Murphet, Julian. Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho: A Reader's Guide. New York: Continuum, 2002.Murray, Noel. "Lunar Park [Review]." The Onion AV Club 2 Aug. 2005. 1 Nov. 2009 < http://www.avclub.com/articles/lunar-park,4393/ >.Phillips, Jennifer. "Unreliable Narration in Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho: Interaction between Narrative Form and Thematic Content." Current Narratives 1.1 (2009): 60–68.Rose, Charlie. “A Conversation with Bret Easton Ellis”. The Charlie Rose Show. Prod. Charlie Rose and Yvette Vega. PBS. 7 Sep. 1994. Rosenblatt, Roger. "Snuff This Book! Will Bret Easton Ellis Get Away with Murder?" The New York Times 16 Dec. 1990: Arts.Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Graham Holderness and Bryan Loughrey. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992.Tobias, Scott. "Bret Easton Ellis (Interview)". The Onion AV Club 22 Apr. 2009. 31 Aug. 2009 < http://www.avclub.com/articles/bret-easton-ellis%2C26988/1/ >.Wyatt, Edward. "Bret Easton Ellis: The Man in the Mirror." The New York Times 7 Aug. 2005: Arts.

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Tofts, Darren John. "Why Writers Hate the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Lists, Entropy and the Sense of Unending." M/C Journal 15, no.5 (October12, 2012). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.549.

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If you cannot understand my argument, and declare “It’s Greek to me,” you are quoting Shakespeare.Bernard LevinPsoriatic arthritis, in its acute or “generalised” stage, is unbearably painful. Exacerbating the crippling of the joints, the entire surface of the skin is covered with lesions only moderately salved by anti-inflammatory ointment, the application of which is as painful as the ailment it seeks to relieve: NURSE MILLS: I’ll be as gentle as I can.Marlow’s face again fills the screen, intense concentration, comical strain, and a whispered urgency in the voice over—MARLOW: (Voice over) Think of something boring—For Christ’s sake think of something very very boring—Speech a speech by Ted Heath a sentence long sentence from Bernard Levin a quiz by Christopher Booker a—oh think think—! Really boring! A Welsh male-voice choir—Everything in Punch—Oh! Oh! — (Potter 17-18)Marlow’s collation of boring things as a frantic liturgy is an attempt to distract himself from a tumescence that is both unwanted and out of place. Although bed-ridden and in constant pain, he is still sensitive to erogenous stimulation, even when it is incidental. The act of recollection, of garnering lists of things that bore him, distracts him from his immediate situation as he struggles with the mental anguish of the prospect of a humiliating org*sm. Literary lists do many things. They provide richness of detail, assemble and corroborate the materiality of the world of which they are a part and provide insight into the psyche and motivation of the collator. The sheer desperation of Dennis Potter’s Marlow attests to the arbitrariness of the list, the simple requirement that discrete and unrelated items can be assembled in linear order, without any obligation for topical concatenation. In its interrogative form, the list can serve a more urgent and distressing purpose than distraction:GOLDBERG: What do you use for pyjamas?STANLEY: Nothing.GOLDBERG: You verminate the sheet of your birth.MCCANN: What about the Albigensenist heresy?GOLDBERG: Who watered the wicket in Melbourne?MCCANN: What about the blessed Oliver Plunkett?(Pinter 51)The interrogative non sequitur is an established feature of the art of intimidation. It is designed to exert maximum stress in the subject through the use of obscure asides and the endowing of trivial detail with profundity. Harold Pinter’s use of it in The Birthday Party reveals how central it was to his “theatre of menace.” The other tactic, which also draws on the logic of the inventory to be both sequential and discontinuous, is to break the subject’s will through a machine-like barrage of rhetorical questions that leave no time for answers.Pinter learned from Samuel Beckett the pitiless, unforgiving logic of trivial detail pushed to extremes. Think of Molloy’s dilemma of the sucking stones. In order for all sixteen stones that he carries with him to be sucked at least once to assuage his hunger, a reliable system has to be hit upon:Taking a stone from the right pocket of my greatcoat, and putting it in my mouth, I replaced it in the right pocket of my greatcoat by a stone from the right pocket of my trousers, which I replaced with a stone from the left pocket of my trousers, which I replaced by a stone from the left pocket of my greatcoat, which I replaced with the stone that was in my mouth, as soon as I had finished sucking it. Thus there were still four stones in each of my four pockets, but not quite the same stones. And when the desire to suck took hold of me again, I drew again on the right pocket of my greatcoat, certain of not taking the same stone as the last time. And while I sucked it I rearranged the other stones in the way I have just described. And so on. (Beckett, Molloy 69)And so on for six pages. Exhaustive permutation within a finite lexical set is common in Beckett. In the novel Watt the eponymous central character is charged with serving his unseen master’s dinner as well as tidying up afterwards. A simple and bucolic enough task it would seem. But Beckett’s characters are not satisfied with conjecture, the simple assumption that someone must be responsible for Mr. Knott’s dining arrangements. Like Molloy’s solution to the sucking stone problem, all possible scenarios must be considered to explain the conundrum of how and why Watt never saw Knott at mealtime. Twelve possibilities are offered, among them that1. Mr. Knott was responsible for the arrangement, and knew that he was responsible for the arrangement, and knew that such an arrangement existed, and was content.2. Mr. Knott was not responsible for the arrangement, but knew who was responsible for the arrangement, and knew that such an arrangement existed, and was content.(Beckett, Watt 86)This stringent adherence to detail, absurd and exasperating as it is, is the work of fiction, the persistence of a viable, believable thing called Watt who exists as long as his thought is made manifest on a page. All writers face this pernicious prospect of having to confront and satisfy “fiction’s gargantuan appetite for fact, for detail, for documentation” (Kenner 70). A writer’s writer (Philip Marlow) Dennis Potter’s singing detective struggles with the acute consciousness that words eventually will fail him. His struggle to overcome verbal entropy is a spectre that haunts the entire literary imagination, for when the words stop the world stops.Beckett made this struggle the very stuff of his work, declaring famously that all he wanted to do as a writer was to leave “a stain upon the silence” (quoted in Bair 681). His characters deteriorate from recognisable people (Hamm in Endgame, Winnie in Happy Days) to mere ciphers of speech acts (the bodiless head Listener in That Time, Mouth in Not I). During this process they provide us with the vocabulary of entropy, a horror most eloquently expressed at the end of The Unnamable: I can’t go on, you must go on, I’ll go on, you must say words, as long as there are any, until they find me, until they say me, strange pain, strange sin, you must go on, perhaps it’s done already, perhaps they have said me already, perhaps they have carried me to the threshold of my story, before the door that opens on my story, that would surprise me, if it opens, it will be I, it will be the silence, where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on. (Beckett, Molloy 418)The importance Beckett accorded to pauses in his writing, from breaks in dialogue to punctuation, stresses the pacing of utterance that is in sync with the rhythm of human breath. This is acutely underlined in Jack MacGowran’s extraordinary gramophone recording of the above passage from The Unnamable. There is exhaustion in his voice, but it is inflected by an urgent push for the next words to forestall the last gasp. And what might appear to be parsimony is in fact the very commerce of writing itself. It is an economy of necessity, when any words will suffice to sustain presence in the face of imminent silence.Hugh Kenner has written eloquently on the relationship between writing and entropy, drawing on field and number theory to demonstrate how the business of fiction is forever in the process of generating variation within a finite set. The “stoic comedian,” as he figures the writer facing the blank page, self-consciously practices their art in the full cognisance that they select “elements from a closed set, and then (arrange) them inside a closed field” (Kenner 94). The nouveau roman (a genre conceived and practiced in Beckett’s lean shadow) is remembered in literary history as a rather austere, po-faced formalism that foregrounded things at the expense of human psychology or social interaction. But it is emblematic of Kenner’s portrait of stoicism as an attitude to writing that confronts the nature of fiction itself, on its own terms, as a practice “which is endlessly arranging things” (13):The bulge of the bank also begins to take effect starting from the fifth row: this row, as a matter of fact, also possesses only twenty-one trees, whereas it should have twenty-two for a true trapezoid and twenty-three for a rectangle (uneven row). (Robbe-Grillet 21)As a matter of fact. The nouveau roman made a fine if myopic art of isolating detail for detail’s sake. However, it shares with both Beckett’s minimalism and Joyce’s maximalism the obligation of fiction to fill its world with stuff (“maximalism” is a term coined by Michel Delville and Andrew Norris in relation to the musical scores of Frank Zappa that opposes the minimalism of John Cage’s work). Kenner asks, in The Stoic Comedians, where do the “thousands on thousands of things come from, that clutter Ulysses?” His answer is simple, from “a convention” and this prosaic response takes us to the heart of the matter with respect to the impact on writing of Isaac Newton’s unforgiving Second Law of Thermodynamics. In the law’s strictest physical sense of the dissipation of heat, of the loss of energy within any closed system that moves, the stipulation of the Second Law predicts that words will, of necessity, stop in any form governed by convention (be it of horror, comedy, tragedy, the Bildungsroman, etc.). Building upon and at the same time refining the early work on motion and mass theorised by Aristotle, Kepler, and Galileo, inter alia, Newton refined both the laws and language of classical mechanics. It was from Wiener’s literary reading of Newton that Kenner segued from the loss of energy within any closed system (entropy) to the running silent out of words within fiction.In the wake of Norbert Wiener’s cybernetic turn in thinking in the 1940s, which was highly influenced by Newton’s Second Law, fiction would never again be considered in the same way (metafiction was a term coined in part to recognise this shift; the nouveau roman another). Far from delivering a reassured and reassuring present-ness, an integrated and ongoing cosmos, fiction is an isometric exercise in the struggle against entropy, of a world in imminent danger of running out of energy, of not-being:“His hand took his hat from the peg over his initialled heavy overcoat…” Four nouns, and the book’s world is heavier by four things. One, the hat, “Plasto’s high grade,” will remain in play to the end. The hand we shall continue to take for granted: it is Bloom’s; it goes with his body, which we are not to stop imagining. The peg and the overcoat will fade. “On the doorstep he felt in his hip pocket for the latchkey. Not there. In the trousers I left off.” Four more things. (Kenner 87)This passage from The Stoic Comedians is a tour de force of the conjuror’s art, slowing down the subliminal process of the illusion for us to see the fragility of fiction’s precarious grip on the verge of silence, heroically “filling four hundred empty pages with combinations of twenty-six different letters” (xiii). Kenner situates Joyce in a comic tradition, preceded by Gustave Flaubert and followed by Beckett, of exhaustive fictive possibility. The stoic, he tells us, “is one who considers, with neither panic nor indifference, that the field of possibilities available to him is large perhaps, or small perhaps, but closed” (he is prompt in reminding us that among novelists, gamblers and ethical theorists, the stoic is also a proponent of the Second Law of Thermodynamics) (xiii). If Joyce is the comedian of the inventory, then it is Flaubert, comedian of the Enlightenment, who is his immediate ancestor. Bouvard and Pécuchet (1881) is an unfinished novel written in the shadow of the Encyclopaedia, an apparatus of the literate mind that sought complete knowledge. But like the Encyclopaedia particularly and the Enlightenment more generally, it is fragmentation that determines its approach to and categorisation of detail as information about the world. Bouvard and Pécuchet ends, appropriately, in a frayed list of details, pronouncements and ephemera.In the face of an unassailable impasse, all that is left Flaubert is the list. For more than thirty years he constructed the Dictionary of Received Ideas in the shadow of the truncated Bouvard and Pécuchet. And in doing so he created for the nineteenth century mind “a handbook for novelists” (Kenner 19), a breakdown of all we know “into little pieces so arranged that they can be found one at a time” (3): ACADEMY, FRENCH: Run it down but try to belong to it if you can.GREEK: Whatever one cannot understand is Greek.KORAN: Book about Mohammed, which is all about women.MACHIAVELLIAN: Word only to be spoken with a shudder.PHILOSOPHY: Always snigg*r at it.WAGNER: Snigg*r when you hear his name and joke about the music of the future. (Flaubert, Dictionary 293-330)This is a sample of the exhaustion that issues from the tireless pursuit of categorisation, classification, and the mania for ordered information. The Dictionary manifests the Enlightenment’s insatiable hunger for received ideas, an unwieldy background noise of popular opinion, general knowledge, expertise, and hearsay. In both Bouvard and Pécuchet and the Dictionary, exhaustion was the foundation of a comic art as it was for both Joyce and Beckett after him, for the simple reason that it includes everything and neglects nothing. It is comedy born of overwhelming competence, a sublime impertinence, though not of manners or social etiquette, but rather, with a nod to Oscar Wilde, the impertinence of being definitive (a droll epithet that, not surprisingly, was the title of Kenner’s 1982 Times Literary Supplement review of Richard Ellmann’s revised and augmented biography of Joyce).The inventory, then, is the underlining physio-semiotics of fictional mechanics, an elegiac resistance to the thread of fiction fraying into nothingness. The motif of thermodynamics is no mere literary conceit here. Consider the opening sentence in Borges:Of the many problems which exercised the reckless discernment of Lönnrot, none was so strange—so rigorously strange, shall we say—as the periodic series of bloody events which culminated at the villa of Triste-le-Roy, amid the ceaseless aroma of the eucalypti. (Borges 76)The subordinate clause, as a means of adjectival and adverbial augmentation, implies a potentially infinite sentence through the sheer force of grammatical convention, a machine-like resistance to running out of puff:Under the notable influence of Chesterton (contriver and embellisher of elegant mysteries) and the palace counsellor Leibniz (inventor of the pre-established harmony), in my idle afternoons I have imagined this story plot which I shall perhaps write someday and which already justifies me somehow. (72)In “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” a single adjective charmed with emphasis will do to imply an unseen network:The visible work left by this novelist is easily and briefly enumerated. (Borges 36)The annotation of this network is the inexorable issue of the inflection: “I have said that Menard’s work can be easily enumerated. Having examined with care his personal files, I find that they contain the following items.” (37) This is a sample selection from nineteen entries:a) A Symbolist sonnet which appeared twice (with variants) in the review La conque (issues of March and October 1899).o) A transposition into alexandrines of Paul Valéry’s Le cimitière marin (N.R.F., January 1928).p) An invective against Paul Valéry, in the Papers for the Suppression of Reality of Jacques Reboul. (37-38)Lists, when we encounter them in Jorge Luis Borges, are always contextual, supplying necessary detail to expand upon character and situation. And they are always intertextual, anchoring this specific fictional world to others (imaginary, real, fabulatory or yet to come). The collation and annotation of the literary works of an imagined author (Pierre Menard) of an invented author (Edmond Teste) of an actual author (Paul Valéry) creates a recursive, yet generative, feedback loop of reference and literary progeny. As long as one of these authors continues to write, or write of the work of at least one of the others, a persistent fictional present tense is ensured.Consider Hillel Schwartz’s use of the list in his Making Noise (2011). It not only lists what can and is inevitably heard, in this instance the European 1700s, but what it, or local aural colour, is heard over:Earthy: criers of artichokes, asparagus, baskets, beans, beer, bells, biscuits, brooms, buttermilk, candles, six-pence-a-pound fair cherries, chickens, clothesline, co*ckles, combs, coal, crabs, cucumbers, death lists, door mats, eels, fresh eggs, firewood, flowers, garlic, hake, herring, ink, ivy, jokebooks, lace, lanterns, lemons, lettuce, mackeral, matches […]. (Schwartz 143)The extended list and the catalogue, when encountered as formalist set pieces in fiction or, as in Schwartz’s case, non-fiction, are the expansive equivalent of le mot juste, the self-conscious, painstaking selection of the right word, the specific detail. Of Ulysses, Kenner observes that it was perfectly natural that it “should have attracted the attention of a group of scholars who wanted practice in compiling a word-index to some extensive piece of prose (Miles Hanley, Word Index to Ulysses, 1937). More than any other work of fiction, it suggests by its texture, often by the very look of its pages, that it has been painstakingly assembled out of single words…” (31-32). In a book already crammed with detail, with persistent reference to itself, to other texts, other media, such formalist set pieces as the following from the oneiric “Circe” episode self-consciously perform for our scrutiny fiction’s insatiable hunger for more words, for invention, the Latin root of which also gives us the word inventory:The van of the procession appears headed by John Howard Parnell, city marshal, in a chessboard tabard, the Athlone Poursuivant and Ulster King of Arms. They are followed by the Right Honourable Joseph Hutchinson, lord mayor Dublin, the lord mayor of Cork, their worships the mayors of Limerick, Galway, Sligo and Waterford, twentyeight Irish representative peers, sirdars, grandees and maharajahs bearing the cloth of estate, the Dublin Metropolitan Fire Brigade, the chapter of the saints of finance in their plutocratic order of precedence, the bishop of Down and Connor, His Eminence Michael cardinal Logue archbishop of Armagh, primate of all Ireland, His Grace, the most reverend Dr William Alexander, archbishop of Armagh, primate of all Ireland, the chief rabbi, the Presbyterian moderator, the heads of the Baptist, Anabaptist, Methodist and Moravian chapels and the honorary secretary of the society of friends. (Joyce, Ulysses 602-604)Such examples demonstrate how Joycean inventories break from narrative as architectonic, stand-alone assemblages of information. They are Rabelaisian irruptions, like Philip Marlow’s lesions, that erupt in swollen bas-relief. The exaggerated, at times hysterical, quality of such lists, perform the hallucinatory work of displacement and condensation (the Homeric parallel here is the transformation of Odysseus’s men into swine by the witch Circe). Freudian, not to mention Stindberg-ian dream-work brings together and juxtaposes images and details that only make sense as non-sense (realistic but not real), such as the extraordinary explosive gathering of civic, commercial, political, chivalric representatives of Dublin in this foreshortened excerpt of Bloom’s regal campaign for his “new Bloomusalem” (606).The text’s formidable echolalia, whereby motifs recur and recapitulate into leitmotifs, ensures that the act of reading Ulysses is always cross-referential, suggesting the persistence of a conjured world that is always already still coming into being through reading. And it is of course this forestalling of Newton’s Second Law that Joyce brazenly conducts, in both the textual and physical sense, in Finnegans Wake. The Wake is an impossible book in that it infinitely sustains the circulation of words within a closed system, creating a weird feedback loop of cyclical return. It is a text that can run indefinitely through the force of its own momentum without coming to a conclusion. In a text in which the author’s alter ego is described in terms of the technology of inscription (Shem the Penman) and his craft as being a “punsil shapner,” (Joyce, Finnegans 98) Norbert Wiener’s descriptive example of feedback as the forestalling of entropy in the conscious act of picking up a pencil is apt: One we have determined this, our motion proceeds in such a way that we may say roughly that the amount by which the pencil is not yet picked up is decreased at each stage. (Wiener 7) The Wake overcomes the book’s, and indeed writing’s, struggle with entropy through the constant return of energy into its closed system as a cycle of endless return. Its generative algorithm can be represented thus: “… a long the riverrun …” (628-3). The Wake’s sense of unending confounds and contradicts, in advance, Frank Kermode’s averring to Newton’s Second Law in his insistence that the progression of all narrative fiction is defined in terms of the “sense of an ending,” the expectation of a conclusion, whereby the termination of words makes “possible a satisfying consonance with the origins and with the middle” (Kermode 17). It is the realisation of the novel imagined by Silas Flannery, the fictitious author in Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveller, an incipit that “maintains for its whole duration the potentiality of the beginning” (Calvino 140). Finnegans Wake is unique in terms of the history of the novel (if that is indeed what it is) in that it is never read, but (as Joseph Frank observed of Joyce generally) “can only be re-read” (Frank 19). With Wiener’s allegory of feedback no doubt in mind, Jacques Derrida’s cybernetic account of the act of reading Joyce comes, like a form of echolalia, on the heels of Calvino’s incipit, his perpetual sustaining of the beginning: you stay on the edge of reading Joyce—for me this has been going on for twenty-five or thirty years—and the endless plunge throws you back onto the river-bank, on the brink of another possible immersion, ad infinitum … In any case, I have the feeling that I haven’t yet begun to read Joyce, and this “not having begun to read” is sometimes the most singular and active relationship I have with his work. (Derrida 148) Derrida wonders if this process of ongoing immersion in the text is typical of all works of literature and not just the Wake. The question is rhetorical and resonates into silence. And it is silence, ultimately, that hovers as a mute herald of the end when words will simply run out.Post(script)It is in the nature of all writing that it is read in the absence of its author. Perhaps the most typical form of writing, then, is the suicide note. In an extraordinary essay, “Goodbye, Cruel Words,” Mark Dery wonders why it has been “so neglected as a literary genre” and promptly sets about reviewing its decisive characteristics. Curiously, the list features amongst its many forms: I’m done with lifeI’m no goodI’m dead. (Dery 262)And references to lists of types of suicide notes are among Dery’s own notes to the essay. With its implicit generic capacity to intransitively add more detail, the list becomes in the light of the terminal letter a condition of writing itself. The irony of this is not lost on Dery as he ponders the impotent stoicism of the scribbler setting about the mordant task of writing for the last time. Writing at the last gasp, as Dery portrays it, is a form of dogged, radical will. But his concluding remarks are reflective of his melancholy attitude to this most desperate act of writing at degree zero: “The awful truth (unthinkable to a writer) is that eloquent suicide notes are rarer than rare because suicide is the moment when language fails—fails to hoist us out of the pit, fails even to express the unbearable weight” (264) of someone on the precipice of the very last word they will ever think, let alone write. Ihab Hassan (1967) and George Steiner (1967), it would seem, were latecomers as proselytisers of the language of silence. But there is a queer, uncanny optimism at work at the terminal moment of writing when, contra Dery, words prevail on the verge of “endless, silent night.” (264) Perhaps when Newton’s Second Law no longer has carriage over mortal life, words take on a weird half-life of their own. Writing, after Socrates, does indeed circulate indiscriminately among its readers. There is a dark irony associated with last words. When life ceases, words continue to have the final say as long as they are read, and in so doing they sustain an unlikely, and in their own way, stoical sense of unending.ReferencesBair, Deirdre. Samuel Beckett: A Biography. London: Jonathan Cape, 1978.Beckett, Samuel. Molloy Malone Dies. The Unnamable. London: John Calder, 1973.---. Watt. London: John Calder, 1976.Borges, Jorge Luis. Labyrinths. Selected Stories & Other Writings. Ed. Donald A. Yates & James E. Irby. New York: New Directions, 1964.Calvino, Italo. If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller. Trans. William Weaver, London: Picador, 1981.Delville, Michael, and Andrew Norris. “Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, and the Secret History of Maximalism.” Ed. Louis Armand. Contemporary Poetics: Redefining the Boundaries of Contemporary Poetics, in Theory & Practice, for the Twenty-First Century. Evanston: Northwestern UP, 2007. 126-49.Derrida, Jacques. “Two Words for Joyce.” Post-Structuralist Joyce. Essays from the French. Ed. Derek Attridge and Daniel Ferrer. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984. 145-59.Dery, Mark. I Must Not think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2012.Frank, Joseph, “Spatial Form in Modern Literature.” Sewanee Review, 53, 1945: 221-40, 433-56, 643-53.Flaubert, Gustave. Bouvard and Pécuchet. Trans. A. J. KrailSheimer. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976.Flaubert, Gustave. Dictionary of Received Ideas. Trans. A. J. KrailSheimer. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976.Hassan, Ihab. The Literature of Silence: Henry Miller and Samuel Beckett. New York: Knopf, 1967.Joyce, James. Finnegans Wake. London: Faber and Faber, 1975.---. Ulysses. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992.Kenner, Hugh. The Stoic Comedians. Berkeley: U of California P, 1974.Kermode, Frank. The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Narrative Fiction. New York: Oxford U P, 1966.‪Levin, Bernard. Enthusiasms. London: Jonathan Cape, 1983.MacGowran, Jack. MacGowran Speaking Beckett. Claddagh Records, 1966.Pinter, Harold. The Birthday Party. London: Methuen, 1968.Potter, Dennis. The Singing Detective. London, Faber and Faber, 1987.Robbe-Grillet, Alain. Jealousy. Trans. Richard Howard. London: John Calder, 1965.Schwartz, Hillel. Making Noise. From Babel to the Big Bang and Beyond. New York: Zone Books, 2011.Steiner, George. Language and Silence: New York: Atheneum, 1967.Wiener, Norbert. Cybernetics, Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1965.

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Braun, Carol-Ann, and Annie Gentes. "Dialogue: A Hyper-Link to Multimedia Content." M/C Journal 7, no.3 (July1, 2004). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2361.

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Background information Sandscript was programmed with the web application « Tchat-scene », created by Carol-Ann Braun and the computer services company Timsoft (). It organizes a data-base of raw material into compositions and sequences allowing to build larger episodes. Multimedia resources are thus attributed to frames surrounding the chat space or to the chat space itself, thus “augmented” to include pre-written texts and graphics. Sandscript works best on a PC, with Internet Explorer. On Mac, use 0S9 and Internet Explorer. You will have to download a chat application for the site to function. Coded conversation General opinion would have it that chat space is a conversational space, facilitating rather than complicating communication. Writing in a chat space is very much influenced by the current ideological stance which sees collaborative spaces as places to make friends, speak freely, flip from one “channel” to another, link with a simple click into related themes, etc. Moreover, chat users tend to think of the chat screen in terms of a white page, an essentially neutral environment. A quick analysis of chat practices reveals a different scenario: chat spaces are highly coded typographical writing spaces, quick to exclude those who don’t abide by the technical and procedural constraints associated with computer reading/writing tools (Despret-Lonné, Gentès). Chatters seek to belong to a “community;” conversely, every chat has “codes” which restrict its membership to the like-minded. The patterns of exchange characteristic of chats are phatic (Jakobson), and their primary purpose is to get and maintain a social link. It is no surprise then that chatters should emphasize two skills: one related to rhetorical ingenuity, the other to dexterity and speed of writing. To belong, one first has to grasp the banter, then manage very quickly the rules and rituals of the group, then answer by mastering the intricacies of the keyboard and its shortcuts. Speed is compulsory if your answers are to follow the communal chat; as a result, sentences tend to be very short, truncated bits, dispatched in a continuous flow. Sandscript attempts to play with the limits of this often hermetic writing process (and the underlying questions of affinity, participation and reciprocity). It opens up a social space to an artistic and fictional space, each with rules of its own. Hyper-linked dialogue Sandscript is not just about people chatting, it is also about influencing the course of these exchanges. The site weaves pre-scripted poetic content into the spontaneous, real-time dialogue of chatters. Smileys and the plethora of abbreviations, punctuations and icons characteristic of chat rooms are mixed in with typographical games that develop the idea of text as image and text as sound — using Morse Code to make text resonate, CB code to evoke its spoken use, and graphic elements within the chat space itself to oppose keyboard text and handwritten graffiti. The web site encourages chatters to broaden the scope of their “net-speak,” and take a playfully conscious stance towards their own familiar practices. Actually, most of the writing in this web-site is buried in the database. Two hundred or so “key words” — expressions typical of phatic exchanges, in addition to other words linked to the idea of sandstorms and archeology — lie dormant, inactive and unseen until a chatter inadvertently types one in. These keywords bridge the gap between spontaneous exchange and multimedia content: if someone types in “hi,” an image of a face, half buried in sand, pops up in a floating window and welcomes you, silently; if someone types in the word “wind,” a typewritten “wind” floats out into the graphic environment and oscillates between the left and right edges of the frames; typing the word “no” “magically” triggers the intervention of an anarchist who says something provocative*. *Sandscript works like a game of ping-pong among chatters who are intermittently surprised by a comment “out of nowhere.” The chat space, augmented by a database, forms an ever-evolving, fluid “back-bone” around which artistic content is articulated. Present in the form of programs who participate in their stead, artists share the spot light, adding another level of mediation to a collective writing process. Individual and collective identities Not only does Sandscript accentuate the multimedia aspects of typed chat dialogues, it also seeks to give a “ shape” to the community of assembled chatters. This shape is musical: along with typing in a nickname of her choice, each chatter is attributed a sound. Like crickets in a field, each sound adds to the next to create a collective presence, modified with every new arrival and departure. For example, if your nick is “yoyo-mama,” your presence will be associated with a low, electronic purr. When “pillX” shows up, his nick will be associated with a sharp violin chord. When “mojo” pitches in, she adds her sound profile to the lot, and the overall environment changes again. Chatters can’t hear the clatter of each other’s keyboards, but they hear the different rhythms of their musical identities. The repeated pings of people present in the same “scape” reinforce the idea of community in a world where everything typed is swept away by the next bit of text, soon to be pushed off-screen in turn. The nature of this orchestrated collective presence is determined by the artists and their programs, not by the chatters themselves, whose freedom is limited to switching from one nick to another to test the various sounds associated with each. Here, identity is both given and built, both individual and collective, both a matter of choice and pre-defined rules. (Goffman) Real or fictitious characters The authors introduce simulated bits of dialogue within the flow of written conversation. Some of these fake dialogues simply echo whatever keywords chatters might type. Others, however, point else where, suggesting a hyper-link to a more elaborate fictionalized drama among “characters.” Sandscript also hides a plot. Once chatters realize that there are strange goings on in their midst, they become caught in the shifting sands of this web site’s inherent duality. They can completely lose their footing: not only do they have to position themselves in relation to other, real people (however disguised…) but they also have to find their bearings in the midst of a database of fake interlocutors. Not only are they expected to “write” in order to belong, they are also expected to unearth content in order to be “in the know.” A hybridized writing is required to maintain this ambivalence in place. Sandscript’s fake dialogue straddles two worlds: it melds in with the real-time small talk of chatters all while pointing to elements in a fictional narrative. For example, “mojo” will say: “silting up here ”, and “zano” will answer “10-4, what now? ” These two characters could be banal chatters, inviting others to join in their sarcastic banter… But they are also specifically referring to incidents in their fictional world. The “chat code” not only addresses its audience, it implies that something else is going on that merits a “click” or a question. “Clicking” at this juncture means more than just quickly responding to what another chatter might have typed. It implies stopping the banter and delving into the details of a character developed at greater length elsewhere. Indeed, in Sandscript, each fictional dialogue is linked to a blog that reinforces each character’s personality traits and provides insights into the web-site’s wind-swept, self-erasing world. Interestingly enough, Sandscript then reverses this movement towards a closed fictional space by having each character not only write about himself, but relate her immediate preoccupations to the larger world. Each blog entry mentions a character’s favorite URL at that particular moment. One character might evoke a web site about romantic poetry, another one on anarchist political theory, a third a web-site on Morse code, etc… Chatters click on the URL and open up an entirely new web-site, directly related to the questions being discussed in Sandscript. Thus, each character represents himself as well as a point of view on the larger world of the web. Fiction opens onto a “real” slice of cyber-space and the work of other authors and programmers. Sandscript mixes up different types of on-line identities, emphasizing that representations of people on the web are neither “true” nor “false.” They are simply artificial and staged, simple facets of identities which shift in style and rhetoric depending on the platform available to them. Again, identity is both closed by our social integration and opened to singular “play.” Conclusion: looking at and looking through One could argue that since the futurists staged their “electrical theater” in the streets of Turin close to a hundred years ago, artists have worked on the blurry edge between recognizable formal structures and their dissolution into life itself. And after a century of avant-gardes, self-referential appropriations of mass media are also second nature. Juxtaposing one “use” along another reveals how different frames of reference include or exclude each other in unexpected ways. For the past twenty years much artwork has which fallen in between genres, and most recently in the realm of what Nicolas Bourriaud calls “relational aesthetics.” Such work is designed not only to draw attention to itself but also to the spectator’s relation to it and the broader artistic context which infuses the work with additional meaning. By having dialogue serve as a hyper-link to multimedia content, Sandscript, however, does more. Even though some changes in the web site are pre-programmed to occur automatically, not much happens without the chatters, who occupy center-stage and trigger the appearance of a latent content. Chatters are the driving force, they are the ones who make text appear and flow off-screen, who explore links, who exchange information, and who decide what pops up and doesn’t. Here, the art “object” reveals its different facets around a multi-layered, on-going conversation, subjected to the “flux” of an un-formulated present. Secondly, Sandscript demands that we constantly vary our posture towards the work: getting involved in conversation to look through the device, all while taking some distance to consider the object and look at its content and artistic “mediations.” (Bolster and Grusin, Manovitch). This tension is at the heart of Sandscript, which insists on being both a communication device “transparent” to its user, and an artistic device that imposes an opaque and reflexive quality. The former is supposed to disappear behind its task; the latter attracts the viewer’s attention over and over again, ever open to new interpretations. This approach is not without pitfalls. One Sandscript chatter wondered if as the authors of the web-site were not disappointed when conversation took the upper hand, and chatters ignored the graphics. On the other hand, the web site’s explicit status as a chat space was quickly compromised when users stopped being interested in each other and turned to explore the different layers hidden within the interface. In the end, Sandscript chatters are not bound to any single one of these modes. They can experience one and then other, and —why not —both simultaneously. This hybrid posture brings to mind Herman’s metaphor of a door that cannot be closed entirely: “la porte joue” —the door “gives.” It is not perfectly fitted and closed — there is room for “play.” Such openness requires that the artistic device provide two seemingly contradictory ways of relating to it: a desire to communicate seamlessly all while being fascinated by every seam in the representational space projected on-screen. Sandscript is supposed to “run” and “not run” at the same time; it exemplifies the technico-semiotic logic of speed and resists it full stop. Here, openness is not ontological; it is experiential, shifting. About the Authors Carol-Ann Braun is multimedia artist, at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Telecomunications, Paris, France. EmaiL: carol-ann.braun@wanadoo.fr Annie Gentes is media theorist and professor at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Telecomunications, Paris, France. Email: Annie.Gentes@enst.fr Works Cited Adamowicz, Elza. Surrealist Collage in Text and Image, Dissecting the Exquisite Corpse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Augé, Marc. Non-lieux, Introduction à une Anthropologie de la Surmodernité. Paris: Seuil, 1992. Bolter, Jay David and Richard Grusin. Remediation, Understanding New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000. Bourriaud, Nicholas. Esthétique Relationnelle. Paris: Les Presses du Réel, 1998. Despret-Lonnet, Marie and Annie Gentes, Lire, Ecrire, Réécrire. Paris: Bibliothèque Centre Pompidou, 2003. Goffman, Irving. Interaction Ritual. New York: Pantheon, 1967. Habermas, Jürgen. Théorie de l’Agir Communicationnel, Vol.1. Paris: Fayard, 1987. Herman, Jacques. “Jeux et Rationalité.” Encyclopedia Universalis, 1997. Jakobson, Roman.“Linguistics and Poetics: Closing statements,” in Thomas Sebeok. Style in Language. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1960. Latzko-Toth, Guillaume. “L’Internet Relay Chat, Un Cas Exemplaire de Dispositif Socio-technique,” in Composite. Montreal: Université du Québec à Montréal, 2001. Lyotard, Jean-François. La Condition Post-Moderne. Paris: les Editions de Minuit, 1979. Manovitch, Lev. The Language of New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001. Michaud, Yves. L’Art à l’Etat Gazeux. Essai sur le Triomphe de l’Esthétique, Les essais. Paris: Stock, 2003. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Braun, Carol-Ann & Gentes, Annie. "Dialogue: a hyper-link to multimedia content." M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture <http://www.media-culture.org.au/0406/05_Braun-Gentes.php>. APA Style Braun, C. & Gentes, A. (2004, Jul1). Dialogue: a hyper-link to multimedia content.. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 7, <http://www.media-culture.org.au/0406/05_Braun-Gentes.php>

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Rocavert, Carla. "Aspiring to the Creative Class: Reality Television and the Role of the Mentor." M/C Journal 19, no.2 (May4, 2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1086.

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Introduction Mentors play a role in real life, just as they do in fiction. They also feature in reality television, which sits somewhere between the two. In fiction, mentors contribute to the narrative arc by providing guidance and assistance (Vogler 12) to a mentee in his or her life or professional pursuits. These exchanges are usually characterized by reciprocity, the need for mutual recognition (Gadamer 353) and involve some kind of moral question. They dramatise the possibilities of mentoring in reality, to provide us with a greater understanding of the world, and our human interaction within it. Reality television offers a different perspective. Like drama it uses the plot device of a mentor character to heighten the story arc, but instead of focusing on knowledge-based portrayals (Gadamer 112) of the mentor and mentee, the emphasis is instead on the mentee’s quest for ascension. In attempting to transcend their unknownness (Boorstin) contestants aim to penetrate an exclusive creative class (Florida). Populated by celebrity chefs, businessmen, entertainers, fashionistas, models, socialites and talent judges (to name a few), this class seemingly adds authenticity to ‘competitions’ and other formats. While the mentor’s role, on the surface, is to provide divine knowledge and facilitate the journey, a different agenda is evident in the ways carefully scripted (Booth) dialogue heightens the drama through effusive praise (New York Daily News) and “tactless” (Woodward), humiliating (Hirschorn; Winant 69; Woodward) and cruel sentiments. From a screen narrative point of view, this takes reality television as ‘storytelling’ (Aggarwal; Day; Hirschorn; “Reality Writer”; Rupel; Stradal) into very different territory. The contrived and later edited (Crouch; Papacharissi and Mendelson 367) communication between mentor and mentee not only renders the relationship disingenuous, it compounds the primary ethical concerns of associated Schadenfreude (Balasubramanian, Forstie and van den Scott 434; Cartwright), and the severe financial inequality (Andrejevic) underpinning a multi-billion dollar industry (Hamilton). As upward mobility and instability continue to be ubiquitously portrayed in 21st century reality entertainment under neoliberalism (Sender 4; Winant 67), it is with increasing frequency that we are seeing the systematic reinvention of the once significant cultural and historical role of the mentor. Mentor as Fictional Archetype and Communicator of ThemesDepictions of mentors can be found across the Western art canon. From the mythological characters of Telemachus’ Athena and Achilles’ Chiron, to King Arthur’s Merlin, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, Jim Hawkins’ Long John Silver, Frodo’s Gandalf, Batman’s Alfred and Marty McFly’s Doc Emmett Brown (among many more), the dramatic energy of the teacher, expert or supernatural aid (Vogler 39) has been timelessly powerful. Heroes, typically, engage with a mentor as part of their journey. Mentor types range extensively, from those who provide motivation, inspiration, training or gifts (Vogler), to those who may be dark or malevolent, or have fallen from grace (such as Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko in Wall Street 1987, or the ex-tribute Haymitch in The Hunger Games, 2012). A good drama usually complicates the relationship in some way, exploring initial reluctance from either party, or instances of tragedy (Vogler 11, 44) which may prevent the relationship achieving its potential. The intriguing twist of a fallen or malevolent mentor additionally invites the audience to morally analyze the ways the hero responds to what the mentor provides, and to question what our teachers or superiors tell us. In television particularly, long running series such as Mad Men have shown how a mentoring relationship can change over time, where “non-rational” characters (Buzzanell and D’Enbeau 707) do not necessarily maintain reciprocity or equality (703) but become subject to intimate, ambivalent and erotic aspects.As the mentor in fiction has deep cultural roots for audiences today, it is no wonder they are used, in a variety of archetypal capacities, in reality television. The dark Simon Cowell (of Pop Idol, American Idol, Britain’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent and The X-Factor series) and the ‘villainous’ (Byrnes) Michelin-starred Marco Pierre White (Hell’s Kitchen, The Chopping Block, Marco Pierre White’s Kitchen Wars, MasterChef Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) provide reality writers with much needed antagonism (Rupel, Stradal). Those who have fallen from grace, or allowed their personal lives to play out in tabloid sagas such as Britney Spears (Marikar), or Caitlyn Jenner (Bissinger) provide different sources of conflict and intrigue. They are then counterbalanced with or repackaged as the good mentor. Examples of the nurturer who shows "compassion and empathy" include American Idol’s Paula Abdul (Marche), or the supportive Jennifer Hawkins in Next Top Model (Thompson). These distinctive characters help audiences to understand the ‘reality’ as a story (Crouch; Rupel; Stradal). But when we consider the great mentors of screen fiction, it becomes clear how reality television has changed the nature of story. The Karate Kid I (1984) and Good Will Hunting (1998) are two examples where mentoring is almost the exclusive focus, and where the experience of the characters differs greatly. In both films an initially reluctant mentor becomes deeply involved in the mentee’s project. They act as a special companion to the hero in the face of isolation, and, significantly, reveal a tragedy of their own, providing a nexus through which the mentee can access a deeper kind of truth. Not only are they flawed and ordinary people (they are not celebrities within the imagined worlds of the stories) who the mentee must challenge and learn to truly respect, they are “effecting and important” (Maslin) in reminding audiences of those hidden idiosyncrasies that open the barriers to friendship. Mentors in these stories, and many others, communicate themes of class, culture, talent, jealousy, love and loss which inform ideas about the ethical treatment of the ‘other’ (Gadamer). They ultimately prove pivotal to self worth, human confidence and growth. Very little of this thematic substance survives in reality television (see comparison of plots and contrasting modes of human engagement in the example of The Office and Dirty Jobs, Winant 70). Archetypally identifiable as they may be, mean judges and empathetic supermodels as characters are concerned mostly with the embodiment of perfection. They are flawless, untouchable and indeed most powerful when human welfare is at stake, and when the mentee before them faces isolation (see promise to a future ‘Rihanna’, X-Factor USA, Season 2, Episode 1 and Tyra Banks’ Next Top Model tirade at a contestant who had not lived up to her potential, West). If connecting with a mentor in fiction has long signified the importance of understanding of the past, of handing down tradition (Gadamer 354), and of our fascination with the elder, wiser other, then we can see a fundamental shift in narrative representation of mentors in reality television stories. In the past, as we have opened our hearts to such characters, as a facilitator to or companion of the hero, we have rehearsed a sacred respect for the knowledge and fulfillment mentors can provide. In reality television the ‘drama’ may evoke a fleeting rush of excitement at the hero’s success or failure, but the reality belies a pronounced distancing between mentor and mentee. The Creative Class: An Aspirational ParadigmThemes of ascension and potential fulfillment are also central to modern creativity discourse (Runco; Runco 672; United Nations). Seen as the driving force of the 21st century, creativity is now understood as much more than art, capable of bringing economic prosperity (United Nations) and social cohesion to its acme (United Nations xxiii). At the upper end of creative practice, is what Florida called “the creative class: a fast growing, highly educated, and well-paid segment of the workforce” (on whose expertise corporate profits depend), in industries ranging “from technology to entertainment, journalism to finance, high-end manufacturing to the arts” (Florida). Their common ethos is centered on individuality, diversity, and merit; eclipsing previous systems focused on ‘shopping’ and theme park consumerism and social conservatism (Eisinger). While doubts have since been raised about the size (Eisinger) and financial practices (Krätke 838) of the creative class (particularly in America), from an entertainment perspective at least, the class can be seen in full action. Extending to rich housewives, celebrity teen mothers and even eccentric duck hunters and swamp people, the creative class has caught up to the more traditional ‘star’ actor or music artist, and is increasingly marketable within world’s most sought after and expensive media spaces. Often reality celebrities make their mark for being the most outrageous, the cruelest (Peyser), or the weirdest (Gallagher; Peyser) personalities in the spotlight. Aspiring to the creative class thus, is a very public affair in television. Willing participants scamper for positions on shows, particularly those with long running, heavyweight titles such as Big Brother, The Bachelor, Survivor and the Idol series (Hill 35). The better known formats provide high visibility, with the opportunity to perform in front of millions around the globe (Frere-Jones, Day). Tapping into the deeply ingrained upward-mobility rhetoric of America, and of Western society, shows are aided in large part by 24-hour news, social media, the proliferation of celebrity gossip and the successful correlation between pop culture and an entertainment-style democratic ideal. As some have noted, dramatized reality is closely tied to the rise of individualization, and trans-national capitalism (Darling-Wolf 127). Its creative dynamism indeed delivers multi-lateral benefits: audiences believe the road to fame and fortune is always just within reach, consumerism thrives, and, politically, themes of liberty, egalitarianism and freedom ‘provide a cushioning comfort’ (Peyser; Pinter) from the domestic and international ills that would otherwise dispel such optimism. As the trials and tests within the reality genre heighten the seriousness of, and excitement about ascending toward the creative elite, show creators reproduce the same upward-mobility themed narrative across formats all over the world. The artifice is further supported by the festival-like (Grodin 46) symbology of the live audience, mass viewership and the online voting community, which in economic terms, speaks to the creative power of the material. Whether through careful manipulation of extra media space, ‘game strategy’, or other devices, those who break through are even more idolized for the achievement of metamorphosing into a creative hero. For the creative elite however, who wins ‘doesn’t matter much’. Vertical integration is the priority, where the process of making contestants famous is as lucrative as the profits they will earn thereafter; it’s a form of “one-stop shopping” as the makers of Idol put it according to Frere-Jones. Furthermore, as Florida’s measures and indicators suggested, the geographically mobile new creative class is driven by lifestyle values, recreation, participatory culture and diversity. Reality shows are the embodiment this idea of creativity, taking us beyond stale police procedural dramas (Hirschorn) and racially typecast family sitcoms, into a world of possibility. From a social equality perspective, while there has been a notable rise in gay and transgender visibility (Gamson) and stories about lower socio-economic groups – fast food workers and machinists for example – are told in a way they never were before, the extent to which shows actually unhinge traditional power structures is, as scholars have noted (Andrejevic and Colby 197; Schroeder) open to question. As boundaries are nonetheless crossed in the age of neoliberal creativity, the aspirational paradigm of joining a new elite in real life is as potent as ever. Reality Television’s Mentors: How to Understand Their ‘Role’Reality television narratives rely heavily on the juxtaposition between celebrity glamour and comfort, and financial instability. As mentees put it ‘all on the line’, storylines about personal suffering are hyped and molded for maximum emotional impact. In the best case scenarios mentors such as Caitlyn Jenner will help a trans mentee discover their true self by directing them in a celebrity-style photo shoot (see episode featuring Caitlyn and Zeam, Logo TV 2015). In more extreme cases the focus will be on an adopted contestant’s hopes that his birth mother will hear him sing (The X Factor USA, Season 2, Episode 11 Part 1), or on a postal clerk’s fear that elimination will mean she has to go back “to selling stamps” (The X Factor US - Season 2 Episode 11 Part 2). In the entrepreneurship format, as Woodward pointed out, it is not ‘help’ that mentees are given, but condescension. “I have to tell you, my friend, that this is the worst idea I’ve ever heard. You don’t have a clue about how to set up a business or market a product,” Woodward noted as the feedback given by one elite businessman on The Shark Tank (Woodward). “This is a five million dollar contract and I have to know that you can go the distance” (The X Factor US – Season 2 Episode 11, Part 1) Britney Spears warned to a thirteen-year-old contestant before accepting her as part of her team. In each instance the fictitious premise of being either an ‘enabler’ or destroyer of dreams is replayed and slightly adapted for ongoing consumer interest. This lack of shared experience and mutual recognition in reality television also highlights the overt, yet rarely analyzed focus on the wealth of mentors as contrasted with their unstable mentees. In the respective cases of The X Factor and I Am Cait, one of the wealthiest moguls in entertainment, Cowell, reportedly contracts mentors for up to $15 million per season (Nair); Jenner’s performance in I Am Cait was also set to significantly boost the Kardashian empire (reportedly already worth $300 million, Pavia). In both series, significant screen time has been dedicated to showing the mentors in luxurious beachside houses, where mentees may visit. Despite the important social messages embedded in Caitlyn’s story (which no doubt nourishes the Kardashian family’s generally more ersatz material), the question, from a moral point of view becomes: would these mentors still interact with that particular mentee without the money? Regardless, reality participants insist they are fulfilling their dreams when they appear. Despite the preplanning, possibility of distress (Australia Network News; Bleasby) and even suicide (Schuster), as well as the ferocity of opinion surrounding shows (Marche) the parade of a type of ‘road of trials’ (Vogler 189) is enough to keep a huge fan base interested, and hungry for their turn to experience the fortune of being touched by the creative elite; or in narrative terms, a supernatural aid. ConclusionThe key differences between reality television and artistic narrative portrayals of mentors can be found in the use of archetypes for narrative conflict and resolution, in the ways themes are explored and the ways dialogue is put to use, and in the focus on and visibility of material wealth (Frere-Jones; Peyser). These differences highlight the political, cultural and social implications of exchanging stories about potential fulfillment, for stories about ascension to the creative class. Rather than being based on genuine reciprocity, and understanding of human issues, reality shows create drama around the desperation to penetrate the inner sanctum of celebrity fame and fortune. In fiction we see themes based on becoming famous, on gender transformation, and wealth acquisition, such as in the films and series Almost Famous (2000), The Bill Silvers Show (1955-1959), Filthy Rich (1982-1983), and Tootsie (1982), but these stories at least attempt to address a moral question. Critically, in an artistic - rather than commercial context – the actors (who may play mentees) are not at risk of exploitation (Australia Network News; Bleasby; Crouch). Where actors are paid and recognized creatively for their contribution to an artistic work (Rupel), the mentee in reality television has no involvement in the ways action may be set up for maximum voyeuristic enjoyment, or manipulated to enhance scandalous and salacious content which will return show and media profits (“Reality Show Fights”; Skeggs and Wood 64). The emphasis, ironically, from a reality production point of view, is wholly on making the audience believe (Papacharissi and Mendelson 367) that the content is realistic. 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24

Cuningham, Phillip Lamarr, and Melinda Lewis. "“Taking This from This and That from That”: Examining RZA and Quentin Tarantino’s Use of Pastiche." M/C Journal 16, no.4 (August11, 2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.669.

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In his directorial debut, The Man with the Iron Fists (2012), RZA not only evokes the textual borrowing techniques he has utilised as a hip-hop producer, but also reflects the influence of filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who has built a career upon acknowledging mainstream and cult film histories through mise-en-scene, editing, and deft characterisation. The Man with the Iron Fists was originally to coincide with Tarantino’s rebel slave narrative Django Unchained (2012), which Tarantino has discussed openly as commentary regarding race in contemporary America. In 2011, Variety reported that RZA had joined the cast of Tarantino’s anticipated Django Unchained, playing “Thaddeus, a violent slave working on a Mississippi plantation” (Sneider, “Rza Joins ‘Django Unchained’ Cast”). Django Unchained follows Tarantino’s pattern of generic and trope mixology, combining elements of the Western, blaxploitation, and buddy/road film. He famously stated: “[If] my work has anything it's that I'm taking this from this and that from that and mixing them together… I steal from everything. Great artists steal; they don't do homages” (“The Directors of Our Lifetime: In Their Own Words”). He sutures iconography from multiple films in numerous genres to form new texts that stand alone, albeit as amalgamations of references. In considering meanings attached particularly to exploitation films, this article addresses the significance of combining influences within The Man with the Iron Fists and Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and the ideological threads that emerge in fusing exploitation film aesthetics. Ultimately, these films provide a convergence not only of texts, but also of the collective identities associated with and built upon those texts, feats made possible through the filmmakers’ use of pastiche. Pastiche in Identity Formation as Subversive A reflection of the postmodern tendency towards appropriation and borrowing, pastiche is often considered less meaningful than its counterpart, parody. Fredric Jameson suggests that though pastiche and parody share commonalities (most notably the mimicry of style and mannerisms), they do so to different effects. Jameson asserts that parody mimics in an effort to mock the idiosyncrasies within a text, whereas pastiche is “neutral parody” of “dead styles” (114). In short, as Susan Hayward writes, “In its uninventiveness, pastiche is but a shadow of its former thing” (302). For Jameson, the most ubiquitous form of pastiche is the nostalgia film, which attempts to recapture the essence of the past. As examples, he points to the George Lucas films American Graffiti (1973), which is staged in the United States of the 1950s, and Star Wars (1977), which reflects the serials of the 1930s-1950s (114-115). Though scholars such as Jameson and Hayward are contemptuous of pastiche, a growing number see its potential for the subversion and critique that the aforementioned suggest it lacks. For instance, Sarah Smith reminds us that pastiche films engage in “complicitous critique”: the films maintain the trappings of original texts, yet do so in order to advance critique (209). For Smith and other scholars, such as Judith Butler and Richard Dyer, Jameson’s criticism of pastiche is dismissive, for while these scholars largely agree that pastiche is a form of mimicry in which the distance between original and copy is minimal, they recognise that a space still exists for it to be critical. Smith writes: “[W]hile there may be greater distance between the parody and its target text than there is between the pastiche and the text it imitates, a prescribed degree of distance is not a prerequisite for critical engagement with the ur-text” (210). In this regard, fidelity to the original texts is not only required but to be revered, for these likenesses to the original “act as a guarantee of the critique of those origins and provide an opportunity for the filmmaker to position [himself or herself] in relation to them” (Smith 211). Essentially, pastiche is a useful technique in which to construct hybrid identities. Keri E. Iyall Smith suggests that hybrid identities emerge from “a reflexive relationship between local and global” (3). According to popular music scholar Brett Lashua, hybrid identities “make and re-make culture through appropriating the cultural ‘raw materials’ of life in order to construct meaning in their own specific cultural localities. In a sense, they are ‘sampling’ from broader popular culture and reworking what they can take into their own specific local cultures” (“The Arts of the Remix: Ethnography and Rap”). As will be evidenced here, Tarantino utilises pastiche as an unabashed genre poacher; similarly, as a self-avowed Tarantino student and hip-hop producer known for his sampling acumen, RZA invokes pastiche to reflect mastery of his craft and a hybridised identity his multifaceted persona. Plagiarism, Poaching, and Pastiche: Tarantino Blurs Boundaries As a filmmaker, Tarantino is known for indulging in excess: violence, language, and aesthetics. Edward Gallafent characterised the director’s work as having a preoccupation with settings and journeys, violence (both emotional and physical), complicated chronological structures, and dissatisfying conclusions (3-4). Additionally, pieces of Tarantino’s cinematic fandom are inserted into his own films. Academic and popular critics continually note Tarantino’s rise as an obsessive video store clerk turned respected and eccentric auteur. Tarantino’s authorship lies mostly in his ability to borrow (or in his words, steal) narrative arcs, characterisations, and camera work from other filmmakers, and use them in ways that feel innovative and different from those past works. It is not that he borrows generally from movements, films, and filmmakers, but that he conscientiously lifts segments from works to incorporate into his text. In Postmodern Hollywood: What’s New in Film and Why It Makes Us Feel So Strange, Keith M. Booker contends that Tarantino’s work often straddles lines between simplistic reference for reference’s sake and meditations upon the roles of cinema (90). Booker dismisses claims for the latter, citing Tarantino’s unwillingness to contextualise the references in Pulp Fiction, such that the film is best described not an act of citation so much as a break with the historical. Tarantino’s lack of reverence provides him freedom to intermingle texts and tropes to fit his goals as a filmmaker, rather than working within the confines of generic narratives. Each film feels both apart and distinct from genre categories. Jackie Brown, for example, has many of the traits attached to blaxploitation, from its focus on drug culture, the casting of Pam Grier who gained status playing female leads in blaxploitation films, and extreme violence. Tarantino’s use of humour throughout, particular in his treatment of character types, plot twists, and self-aware musical cues distances the film from easy characterisation. It is, but isn’t. What is gained is a remediated conception of cinematic reality. The fictions created in films of the past are noted in Tarantino’s play with tropes. His mixes produce an extreme form of mediated reality – one that is full of excess, highly exaggerated, and completely composed of stolen frameworks. Tarantino continues his generic play in Django Unchained. While much of it does borrow heavily from 1960s and 1970s Western filmmakers like Leone, Corbucci, and Peckinpah (the significance of desolate landscapes, long takes, extreme violence), it also incorporates strands of buddy cop (partners with different backgrounds working together to correct wrongs), early blaxploitation (Broomhilda’s last name is von Shaft suggesting that she is an ancestor of blaxploitation icon John Shaft, the characterisation of Django as black antihero enacting revenge on white racists in power), and kung fu (revenge narrative, in addition to the extensive training moments between Dr. Schultz and Django). The familiar elements highlight the transgressions of genre adherence. The comfort of the western genre and its tropes eases the audience, only for Tarantino to incorporate those elements from outside the genre to spark interest, to shock, to remind audiences of the mediated reality onscreen. Tarantino has been criticised for his lack of depth and understanding regarding women and people of colour, despite his attempts to provide various leading and supporting roles for both. Django Unchained was particularly criticised for Tarantino’s use of the term nigg*r - over 100 instances in the film. Tarantino defended his decision by claiming historical accuracy, poetic license, and his desire to confront audiences with various levels of racism. Many, including Spike Lee, disagreed, arguing Tarantino had no claim to making a film about slavery. Lee stated through Twitter: “American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them” (“Spike Lee on Django Unchained: Filmmaker Calls Movie ‘Disrespectful’”). Not only does Lee evoke the tragedy of the American slave trade and the significance of race within contemporary filmmaking, but he uses genre to underscore what he perceives is Tarantino’s lack of reverence to the issue of slavery and its aftermath in American culture. Django Unchained is both physically and emotionally brutal. The world created by Tarantino is culturally messy, as Italian composers rub elbows with black hip-hop artists, actors from films’ referenced in Django Unchained interact with new types of heroes. The amounts of references, people, and spectacles in his films have created a brand that is both hyperaware, but often critiqued as ambivalent. This is due in part to the perception of Tarantino as a filmmaker with no filter. His brand as a filmmaker is action ordered, excessive, and injected with his own fandom. He is an ultimate poacher of texts and it is this aesthetic, which has also made him a fan favourite amongst young cinephiles. Not only does he embrace the amount of play film offers, but he takes the familiar and makes it strange. The worlds he creates are hazier, darker, and unstable. Creating such a world in Django Unchained provides a lot of potential for reading race in film and American culture. He and his defenders have discussed this film as an “honest” portrayal of the effects of slavery and racial tension in the United States. This is also the world which acts as context for RZA’s The Man with the Iron Fists. Though a reference abandoned in Django Unchained, the connection between both films and both filmmakers pleasure in pastiche provide further insight to connections between film and race. Doing the Knowledge: RZA Pays Homage As a filmmaker, RZA utilises Tarantino’s filmmaking brand techniques to build his own homage and add to the body of kung-fu films. Doing so furnishes him the opportunity to rehash and reform narratives and tropes in ways that change familiar narrative structures and plot devices. In creating a film which relies on cinematic allusions to kung fu, RZA—as a fan, practitioner, and author—reconfigures kung fu from being an exploitative genre and reshapes its potential for representational empowerment. While Tarantino considers himself an unabashed thief of genre tropes, RZA envisions himself more as a student who pays homage to masters—among whom he includes Tarantino. Indeed, in an interview with MTV, RZA refers to Tarantino as his Sifu (a Chinese term for master or teacher) and credits him not only for teaching RZA about filmmaking, but also for providing him with his blessing to make his first feature length film (Downey, “RZA Recalls Learning from ‘The Master’ Quentin Tarantino”). RZA implies that mastery of one’s craft comes from incorporating influences while creating original work, not theft. For instance, he states that the Pink Blossom brothel—the locus for most of the action in the film—was inspired by the House of Blue Leaves restaurant, which functions in a similar capacity in Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (“RZA Talks Sampling of Kung Fu Films for Movie & The Difference Between Biting vs. Influence”). Hip-hop is an art form in which its practitioners “partake of a discursive universe where skill at appropriating the fragments of a rapidly-changing world with verbal grace and dexterity is constituted as knowledge” (Potter 21). This knowledge draws upon not only the contemporary moment but also the larger body of recorded music and sound, both of which it “re-reads and Signifies upon through a complex set of strategies, including samplin’, cuttin’ (pastiche), and freestylin’ (improvisation)” (Potter 22). As an artist who came of age in hip-hop’s formative years and whose formal recording career began at the latter half of hip-hop’s Golden Age (often considered 1986-1993), RZA is a particularly adept cutter and sampler – indeed, as a sampler, RZA is often considered a master. While RZA’s samples run the gamut of the musical spectrum, he is especially known for sampling obscure, often indeterminable jazz and soul tracks. Imani Perry suggests that this measure of fidelity to the past is borne out of hip-hop’s ideological respect for ancestors and its inherent sense of nostalgia (54). Hallmarks of RZA’s sampling repertoire include dialog and sound effects from equally obscure kung fu films. RZA attributes his sampling of kung fu to an affinity for these films established in his youth after viewing noteworthy examples such as The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978) and Five Deadly Venoms (1978). These films have become a key aspect of his identity and everyday life (Gross, “RZA’s Edge: The RZA’s Guide to Kung Fu Films”). He speaks of his decision to make kung fu dialog an integral part of Wu-Tang Clan’s first album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers): “My fantasy was to make a one-hour movie that people were just going to listen to. They would hear my movie and see it in their minds. I’d read comic books like that, with sonic effects and kung fu voices in my head. That makes it more exciting so I try to create music in the same way” (Gross, ““RZA’s Edge: The RZA’s Guide to Kung Fu Films”). Much like Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and his other musical endeavours, The Man with the Iron Fists serves as further evidence of RZA’s hybrid identity., which sociologist Keri E. Iyall Smith suggests emerges from “a reflexive relationship between local and global” (3). According to popular music scholar Brett Lashua, hybrid identities “make and re-make culture through appropriating the cultural ‘raw materials’ of life in order to construct meaning in their own specific cultural localities. In a sense, they are ‘sampling’ from broader popular culture and reworking what they can take into their own specific local cultures” (“The Arts of the Remix: Ethnography and Rap”). The most overt instance of RZA’s hybridity is in regards to names, many of which are derived from the Gordon Liu film Shaolin and Wu-Tang (1983), in which the competing martial arts schools come together to fight a common foe. The film is the basis not only for the name of RZA’s group (Wu-Tang Clan) but also for the names of individual members (for instance, Master Killer—after the series to which the film belongs) and the group’s home base of Staten Island, New York, which they frequently refer to as “Shaolin.” The Man with the Iron Fists is another extension of this hybrid identity. Kung fu has long had meaning for African Americans particularly because these films frequently “focus narratively on either the triumph of the ‘little guy’ or ‘underdog’ or the nobility of the struggle to recognise humanity and virtue in all people, or some combination of both” (Ongiri 35). As evidence, Amy Obugo Ongiri points to films such as The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, a film about a peasant who learns martial arts at the Shaolin temple in order to avenge his family’s murder by the Manchu rulers (Ongiri 35). RZA reifies this notion in a GQ interview, where he speaks about The 36th Chamber of Shaolin specifically, noting its theme of rebellion against government oppression having relevance to his life as an African American (Pappademus, “This Movie Is Rated Wu”). RZA appropriates the humble origins of the peasant San Te (Gordon Liu), the protagonist of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, in Thaddeus (whom RZA plays in the film), whose journey to saviour of Jungle Village begins with his being a slave in America. Indeed, one might argue that RZA’s construction of and role as Thaddeus is the ultimate realisation of the hybrid identity he has developed since becoming a popular recording artist. Just as Tarantino’s acting in his own films often reflects his identity as genre splicer and convention breaker (particularly since they are often self-referential), RZA’s portrayal of Thaddeus—as an African American, as a martial artist, and as a “conscious” human being—reflects the narrative RZA has constructed about his own life. Conclusion The same amount of play Tarantino has with conventions, particularly in characterisations and notions of heroism, is present in RZA’s Man with the Iron Fists. Both filmmakers poach from their favourite films and genres in order to create interpretations that feel both familiar and new. RZA follows Tarantino’s aesthetic of borrowing scenes directly from other films. Both filmmakers poach from films for their own devices, but in those mash-ups open up avenues for genre critique and identity formation. Tarantino is right to say that they are not solely homages, as homages honour the films in which they borrow. Tarantino and RZA do more through their poaching to stretch the boundaries of genres and films’ abilities to communicate with audiences. References “The Directors of Our Lifetime: In Their Own Words.” Empire Online. N.d. 8 May 2013 ‹http://www.empireonline.com/magazine/250/directors-of-our-lifetime/5.asp›. Booker, Keith M. Postmodern Hollywood: What’s New in Film and Why It Makes Us Feel So Strange. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007. Downey, Ryan J. “RZA Recalls Learning from ‘The Master’ Quentin Tarantino.” MTV. 30 August 2012. 14 July 2013 ‹http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1692872/rza-man-with-the-iron-fists-quentin-tarantino.jhtml›. Gallefent, Edward. Quentin Tarantino. London: Longman. 2005. Gross, Jason. “RZA’s Edge: The RZA’s Guide to Kung Fu Films.” Film Comment. N.d. 5 June 2013 ‹http://www.filmcomment.com/article/rzas-edge-the-rzas-guide-to-kung-fu-films›. Iyall Smith, Keri E. “Hybrid Identities: Theoretical Examinations.” Hybrid Identities: Theoretical and Empirical Examinations. Ed. Keri E. Iyall Smith and Patricia Leavy. Leiden: Brill, 2008. 3-12. Jameson, Fredric. “Postmodernism and Consumer Society.” Postmodern Culture. Ed. Hal Foster. London: Pluto, 1985. 111-125. Lashua, Brett. “The Arts of the Remix: Ethnography and Rap.” Anthropology Matters 8.2 (2006). 6 June 2013 ‹http://www.anthropologymatters.com›. “The Man with the Iron Fists – Who in the Cast Can F-U Up?” IronFistsMovie 21 Sep. 2012. YouTube. 8 May 2013 ‹http://youtu.be/bhJOQZFJfqA›. Pappademus, Alex. “This Movie Is Rated Wu.” GQ Nov. 2012. 6 June 2013 ‹http://www.gq.com/entertainment/movies-and-tv/201211/the-rza-man-with-the-iron-fists-wu-tang-clan›. Perry, Imani. Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2004. Potter, Russell. Spectacular Vernaculars: Hip-Hop and the Politics of Postmodernism. Albany, NY: SUNY P, 1995. “RZA Talks Sampling of Kung Fu Films for Movie & The Difference between Biting vs. Influence.” The Well Versed. 2 Nov. 2012. 5 June 2013 ‹http://thewellversed.com/2012/11/02/video-rza-talks-sampling-of-kung-fu-films-for-movie-the-difference-between-biting-vs-influence/›. Smith, Sarah. “Lip and Love: Subversive Repetition in the Pastiche Films of Tracey Moffat.” Screen 49.2 (Summer 2008): 209-215. Snedier, Jeff. “Rza Joins 'Django Unchained' Cast.” Variety 2 Nov. 2011. 14 June 2013 ‹http://variety.com/2011/film/news/rza-joins-django-unchained-cast-1118045503/›. “Spike Lee on Django Unchained: Filmmaker Calls Movie ‘Disrespectful.’” Huffington Post 24 Dec. 2012. 14 June 2013 ‹http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/23/spike-lee-django-unchained-movie-disrespectful_n_2356729.html›. Wu-Tang Clan. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Loud, 1993. Filmography The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. Dir. Chia-Liang Lui. Perf. Chia Hui Lui, Lieh Lo, Chia Yung Lui. Shaw Brothers, 1978. Django Unchained. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Perf. Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz. Miramax, 2012. Five Deadly Venoms. Dir. Cheh Chang. Perf. Sheng Chiang, Philip Kwok, Feng Lu. Shaw Brothers, 1978. Jackie Brown. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Perf. Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster. Miramax, 1997. Kill Bill: Vol. 1. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Perf. Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Darryl Hannah. Miramax, 2003. The Man with the Iron Fists. Dir. RZA. Perf. RZA, Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu. Arcade Pictures, 2012. Pulp Fiction. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Perf. John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson. Miramax, 1994. Shaolin and Wu-Tang. Dir. Chiu Hui Liu. Perf. Chiu Hui Liu, Adam Cheng, Li Ching.

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