Introduction

Article excerpt

As editor of Mosaic, I read each essay several times, in its various versions, from the first submission through production to publication. And although I am a very busy person, it is striking that a certain passage or turn of phrase from a given essay will find its way into my overcrowded psyche and stay with me over the essay's tenure from submission to print. The "poetics of violence" is one such haunting refrain: you will find it in this issue in Sharon Smulders's "'A Double Assault': The Victimization of Aboriginal Women and Children in In Search of April Raintree," an essay that you want to read with care. A not unrelated, conjunction, also haunting, that between "art and terror," is central to Leonard Wilcox's "Terrorism and Art: Don DeLillo's Mao II and Jean Baudrillard's The Spirit of Terrorism," another essay in this issue. I would say that these two essays, which set poetics in relation to violence and art in relation to terror, give the overall tenor of this issue, and in so doing, suggest something of the "interdisciplinary" task of "literature" today. Consider Walter Corbella's "Strategies of Resistance and the Problem of Ambiguity in Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran" as another example: "This essay examines the strategies that Nafisi foregrounds as forms of resistance to social, political, and emotional oppression, mostly proceeding on the basis of a close reading of, and engagement with, Nafisi's text." Poetics and violence, where the poetic text, the memoir in this case, becomes a strategy of resistance, "the basis for a revolutionary practice that may significantly alter the status of Iranian women."

In Hye Ryoung Kil's "Conrad's 'Undying Hope' of the Polish Nation: Western Ideal and Eastern Reality," the violence explored, and related to Conrad's poetics, is that involved in the founding--and refounding--of a nation, in this instance, Poland, colonial Poland, in its conflict with imperial Russia. For Christine Kim in "Postcolonial Romance, Ghostly Love Stories, and The Heart Does Not Bend," fiction can "speak to diasporic identities and their ongoing negotiations of the politics of memory, mourning, melancholia, and inheritance. The Heart Does Not Bend is a textual site haunted by the various forms of violence, symbolic and material, that have been inflicted against individuals and families whose inclusion in the nation-state has happened at the cost of a deliberate forgetting. …