Academic journal article Transnational Literature

Border Crossings

Academic journal article Transnational Literature

Border Crossings

Article excerpt

Border Crossings edited by Diana Glenn and Graham Tulloch (Wakefield Press, 2016)

Border Crossings, as the name suggests, is a collection of essays that explores crossovers - between past and present, between reality and literature, between silence and expression, between genres, and between established borders of nation, life and theory. The essays traverse eras from the age of Dante to the emergence of digital libraries in the present, challenging conventional modernist binaries that mark temporal and spatial domains, interrogating the theoretical bases that mark them as closed domains of interpretation. Beginning with a quote by the Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo, 'Those with nothing are crossing borders,' (1) the collection explores the contradictory elements of hope and the permanent erasure and reformulation of elements of the self that such cross-border migration entails.

Divided into eight sections, the twenty-two articles in the collection celebrate hybridity in literary musings that begins with the first essay, ironically titled 'The Mash-up Novel: What Fresh Disrespect is This?' In this essay, Michael X. Savvas explores the challenge posed to existing literary genres by the mash-up novel that creates a new literary genre in the twenty-first century through a juxtaposition of elements from existing ones. While examining the structure and the content of these novels, Savvas is more concerned with the border between respect and disrespect that these novels cross, especially in relation to the position of the reader. In the next essay, Ron Blaber's exposition of the musical border crossings of the British Afrobeat band, Osibisa, delineates the band's attempt to distinguish between affectivity and authenticity, which he equates with Africanness. Blaber argues that the failure to affect this transition lies in a number of translocations which hinder a connection to the abstract notion of an African aesthetic.

The second section in the book, titled 'Interpretive Crossings', explores the relationship between interpreter and interpretant, playwright and audience, text and reader. In the first essay of the section, Susan Mason delineates how meaning is given to the healing ceremony outlined in Richard Nelson's Sweet and Sad through a 'collective creative participation of actors and audience' (42) . In the next essay, Kelli Rowe talks of allegorical interpretation as translation, wherein the critical reading of a text is performed through a conscious illustration of codes. She defines interpretation of literary texts as différance, wherein readers arecalled upon to hold many contradictory positions as they deconstruct the interplay of meanings in the text. In studying an initiative by Google to partner with the libraries of several universities in the United States to make their collections available digitally, Tully Barnett's essay traces the transition of the text from material to immaterial object and the resultant reformulation of the relationship between humans and books in the digital age.

The third section talks of crossovers between past and present. The study of the overlapping of apocalyptic themes in contemporary films and in Shakespeare's works by Ben Kooyman is followed by Adrian Thurnwald's comparison of the representation of the masculine heroism of medieval chivalric knights and modern superheroes in comic books. The next essay in the section by Irene Belperio and Diana Glenn explores Otherness and literary borders in an innovative study of otherworldly domains in Dante's Commedia. . In the same section, the subversion of Victorian normative modes to cross the naturalised border between the public and private worlds forms the central idea of Lauren Butterworth's study of Sarah Waters's Affinity. The essays in the section themselves move back and forth in time, thus transcending the limiting effects of literary temporality.

The fourth section in the collection comprises two essays that are a reimagining of the borders of nation and its representation. …

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