• An alternative afterlife: Plath’s experimental poetics

      Farmer, Gareth; Brain, Tracy; University of Bedfordshire; Bath Spa University (Cambridge University Press, 2019-08-01)
      Following Veronica Forrest-Thomson’s lead, Gareth Farmer repositions Plath’s work in experimental British, European and American lineages, testing the complexity of her ‘poetic artifice’ against Forrest-Thomson’s theory and offering ‘other’ intellectual and literary contexts of her work. Such contexts activate alternative questions for the poetry, such as the role and function of form in carrying epistemological and cognitive information, or the ways in which poetry offers a critique of lyric singularity, address and subjectivity. A more sustained concentration on Plath’s poetic artifice offers new intellectual contexts as well as alternative horizons for understanding the afterlife of her work.
    • Avant-folk: small press poetry networks from 1950 to the present

      Farmer, Gareth; University of Bedfordshire (2018-09-11)
    • Book review: Elizabeth Bowen: Theory, Thought and Things, edited by Jessica Gildersleeve and Patricia Juliana Smith (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019).

      Darwood, Nicola; University of Bedfordshire (Elizabeth Bowen Society, 2020-09-30)
      Review of Elizabeth Bowen: Theory, Thought and Things, edited by Jessica Gildersleeve and Patricia Juliana Smith (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019) in The Elizabeth Bowen Review, volume 3
    • A bridge between worlds: parallel universes and the observer in “The Celestial Plot” by Adolfo Bioy Casares

      Carpenter, Victoria; Halpern, Paul; University of Bedfordshire; University of the Sciences, Philadelphia (Brill Academic Publishers, 2019-09-24)
      Adolfo Bioy Casares’s story “The Celestial Plot” (1948) is among the best known examples of Latin American science fiction writing of the early twentieth century inspired by contemporary advances in quantum physics. Most readings of the story focus on the movements of its main protagonist, Captain Ireneo Morris, as he traverses realities while test-flying a plane. This approach overlooks the role of the story’s other protagonist, Dr. Carlos Servian, who, we argue, is the lynchpin upon which the multiple realities are dependent. We read the changes to Dr. Servian’s character from a variety of scientific and philosophical perspectives on parallel universes. By addressing variations in Servian’s character and language, and focusing on the disparate representations of the key objects in the story, we show how the story anticipates in some ways the Many Worlds notion which argues that reality bifurcates during quantum measurements, leading to near-identical copies of observers.
    • ‘A foreigner’s apprehension of a country at its most critical time’: Hugh Walpole in Russia in World War 1

      Poesio, Giannandrea; Weedon, Alexis; University of Bedfordshire (Hugh Walpole Society, 2021-02-19)
      Hugh Walpole travelled to the Eastern front as a volunteer for the Russian Red Cross. He stopped in Petrograd before joining his Otriad on a tour of duty near Lviv in the Ukraine in May 1915. After six months he returned to the UK to raise support for a British initiative to counteract German propaganda and in 1916 he went back to found the Anglo-Russian Bureau in Petrograd. During this time he kept a journal and wrote two novels about his Russian experience. Looking back, he reflected, ‘they are not bad books because as records of a foreigner’s apprehension of a country at its most critical time, they are true.’ (Walpole, 'The Crystal Box', The Bookman Feb. 1923 p. 688). From 1912 to 1916 he listed books he read on the verso pages of his journal and on the recto he listed the plays and operas with location and performers. It is a detailed record of an eclectic reader and theatre-goer. Later he published fragments of autobiography where he described how he fleetingly met Lenin and his official report on the early months of the revolution contains his eye-witness account of the demonstrations and the shots fired at him on the office balcony. From these sources we can see how his time in Russia influenced his taste and how closely he intertwined his experience of the theatre with his recall of the war.
    • Languishing in 'rent-a-Marx/Margaret rhetoric': the phono-politics of Douglas Oliver's The Infant and the Pearl

      Farmer, Gareth; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis, 2019-06-21)
      In The Infant and the Pearl (1985), the poet Douglas Oliver draws on the alliterative and allegorical features of mediaeval verse to create a dream-like satire of Britain under Margaret Thatcher. Once a central feature of most Old English poetry, since Chaucer, alliteration and rhyme have often been used in the service of parody and satire. But, how do complex sound-structures aid satire and generate political content? Drawing on Oliver’s poetic and critical work, as well as contemporary research into prosody and politics, this article argues that the sound patterning in The Infant and the Pearl creates a caricatured version of Thatcher’s ‘politically unsound’ Britain. Oliver uses sonic patterns to create an artificial parody of the bathetic ‘uncommon rhetoric’ of consumerism and the ‘false pearls’ of the political classes. Far from being an accessory to meaning, the sound structures are vehicles for parodying the operations of the rhetoric of the ‘unreal’ apparent in social and political discourse. Oliver envisages sound patterning – as performed with every private and public reading – as offering recalibrations of people’s experience of language and the world, as well as leading to glimpses of a communality beyond political and social division.
    • Retelling Cinderella: cultural and creative transformations

      Darwood, Nicola; Weedon, Alexis; University of Bedfordshire (Cambridge Scholar, 2020-12-01)
      Cinderella’s transformation from a lowly, overlooked servant into a princess who attracts everyone’s gaze has become a powerful trope within many cultures. Inspired by the Cinderella archive of books, objet and collectables at the University of Bedfordshire, the essays in this collection demonstrate how the story remains active in many different societies where social and family relationships are adapting to modern culture. It explores the social arenas of dating apps, prom nights, as well as contemporary issues about women’s roles in the home, and gender identity. Cinderella’s cultural translation is seen through the contributors’ international perspectives: from Irish folk lore to the Columbian Cenicienta costeña (Cinderella of the coast) and Spanish literary history. Its transdisciplinarity ranges from fashion in Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm’s publications to a comparison of Cinderella and Galatea on film, and essays on British authors Nancy Spain, Anne Thackeray Ritchie and Frances Hodgson Burnett.