Routledge

It is well known that Charles Dickens draws an analogy between the novelist as creator and the Creator of the cosmos: ‘I think the business of art is to lay all [the] ground carefully, but with the care that conceals itself – to show, by a backward light, what everything has been working to – but only to suggest, until the fulfilment comes. These are the ways of Providence, of which ways, all art is but a little imitation.’ However, it is not generally recognised that Dickens supported this analogy with a deep knowledge of the Bible. Instead, the thinking that permeates his works is often seen as a facet of secular humanism. John Ruskin, for example, commented that for Dickens Christmas meant no more than ‘mistletoe and pudding – neither resurrection from the dead, nor rising of new stars, nor teaching of wise men, nor shepherds’.

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Catharine Macaulay (1731–91), a celebrated historian in England, was acquainted with leading political figures and intellectuals in Britain, America, and France. American revolutionaries were influenced by her republican principles, and the feminist pioneer Mary Wollstonecraft was inspired by her views. Today she is a largely forgotten figure, at most a footnote in histories of the period and not regarded as significant enough to be included in the Enlightenment pantheon among the luminaries she supported or criticised. Melbourne philosopher Karen Green claims that the neglect of Macaulay is not only an injustice to a historian and philosopher whose works deserve attention. She regards her as an important advocate of a form of Enlightenment thought that cannot be reduced to an apology for the possessive individualism of capitalist society.

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Just as we are unlikely today to think of South Wales when in New South Wales, nor does the existence of the Sydney Opera House does not of itself draw our collective attention towards opera. It is a structure more to be seen than heard; its professed reason for ...

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The familiar triumvirate of globalisation, advanced technology and consumerism has altered feminist, activist and subcultural practices so dramatically that their originators have trouble recognising them, and academics are racing to keep up. Next Wave Cultures acknowledges and embraces these upheavals in women’s social and political action. Anita Harris has selected a motley group of eleven essays that cover a diverse range of lifestyles, identities, communities and activities.

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The title of Richard J. Lane’s guidebook contains a small allusion to the changes that have occurred in literary studies over the past half-century. There was a time when universities trained critics; these days, everyone is a theorist.

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The intrinsic quality of a state is, in the final instance, determined by that which guarantees its claim to authority. In the case of Indonesia, such guarantee is its military, the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI), while the rebellious, resource-rich province of Aceh has arguably been the site of its most concerted effort. At a time when Western political leaders and most Indonesia scholars champion Indonesia’s procedural democracy, despite a reduced political capacity, the TNI structurally remains the institution that it was. As a result, studying the role of the TNI in Aceh reveals critical insights into continuing aspects of the Indonesian state.

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Horror. It’s a word you are forced to utter emphatically, almost to expel. On the page, it seems to contain a form of typographical echo – it looks as if it is repeating itself. The term has tactile, physical associations; it once meant roughness or ruggedness, and it also describes a shuddering or a shivering movement. (There’s a wonderful word, horripilation, a synonym for the phenomenon also known as gooseflesh.)

Corporeal sensations, outward and internal – the frisson of creeping flesh, the visceral clutch or contraction of the bowels. Horror is the response and that which causes it, the emotion of disgust or repugnance which provokes a shudder or a shiver. Instinctive, immediate, something that can’t be moderated or regulated. But there is also a dynamic of attraction and repulsion in and around horror: it is both what you cannot bear to contemplate and cannot bear to look away from.

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For some time now literary criticism has been fascinated by the role of naming, and the inscription of the name, in relation to the identity of the self. There are rich pickings to be had from examining autobiography for the way the writer reveals and hides behind the words with which a life is described. And in this era of autobiographical and biographical tumescence, it is most important that the analysis of such writing is done by those with the ability to do so. Think of the recent debates over biographies and autobiographies in Australia and you will quickly recognise how unsophisticated is our general understanding of what is going on when a life is inscribed, and yet how different the living is from the writing.

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Literary theory is in for an exciting time in Australia. While the Leavisites in the older English departments were wondering what happened to the British ‘Great Tradition’, literary studies went General and Comparative in the 1960s, establishing a fertile context for the development of genuine theoretical developments such as those brought about by the encounter with structuralism, phenomenology and Marxism.

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