English Studies in Canada

Articles from Vol. 30, No. 4, December

13 Retro Keywords ... and Why They're Worth a Second Look
Art In what follows I would like to examine the changing meanings and usages of the term "art" (as well as the concept "art") since Raymond Williams encapsulated its historical etymologies and political contexts in Keywords. Such a re-examination...
1975 the Year That Was
As English Studies in Canada celebrates so years of publishing history, we thought we'd investigate what else happened back in 1975. Here's a look. World Population: 4,088,224,047 Canadian Incumbents: QUEEN: Elizabeth n PRIME MINISTER:...
An Essay on Theory *
I. When TERRY first grabbed paper, pen and ink (Or filled his cartridge and topped up a drink) This tale he told-the young ones gathered round How LITERARY THEORY gained the ground. When (not so long ago) dons walked the earth It was suffice to...
Back to the Future
The Reification of "Theory" The demise of "theory" has been variously predicted, willed, resisted and repudiated since the start of its career. ([dagger]) In the early days of that career, reactions against it were often conservative, so that it...
Community
Raymond Williams's entry for "Community" in Keywords (75-6) is straightforward enough, though it is characteristically succinct, comprehensive, and subtle. He gives a brief history of the etymology of the word and of the different meanings the word...
Dialectic
Most accounts of the English word dialectic duly report that it enters the English language in the 14th century as a general word for "logic" and more specifically for "the art of dispute by question and answer" and that it comes via the Old French...
Equality
For a Canadian in 2005. one of the most notable aspects of Raymond Williams's discussion of equality is that he perceives the word to be used only in relation to individuals. Canadians who for decades have discussed equalization payments from the federal...
Experience
The entry "experience" in Keywords seems to me one of the more cryptic, even obscure ones in the collection. Williams's technique of sketching an often confused word-history with just a few strokes is only partly responsible for the impression this...
Hard Going after Theory
TERRY EAGLETON HAS MADE A NAME FOR HIMSELF as Britain's most celebrated Marxist critic and one of the most widely-read Anglo-American commentators on what is, today, simply called Theory. ([dagger]) In early books he told us why philosophers or "high...
History
Few words better exemplify what Raymond Williams means by a keyword than history. It illustrates how "important social and historical processes occur within language" as opposed to being merely recorded or registered by it (22). But it does this now...
Individual
Some coordinates: Anthony Wilson, 43 of Branson, Mo., has changed his name legally to They. The inventor says he became the mythical person cited as "they say" for the fun of it, and also: "It's important to be an individual. But this is a reminder...
Introduction: The Keywords Collective
THIS ISSUE OF ESC: ENGLISH STUDIES IN CANADA celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the journal, first published in Spring 1975 under the editorship of the late Lauriat Lane, Jr. (1) The history of ESC has been rehearsed on several occasions over...
"It's Not Power, It's Sex:" Jeanette Winterson's Power Book and and Nicole Brossard's Baroque D'aube
BOTH JEANETTE WINTERSON AND NICOLE BROSSARD play seriously with reading and sex in their texts. Querying arbitrary distinctions like those between reality and fiction, theory and narrative, the authentic and the artificial, texts by Winterson and Brossard...
Keywords: Raymond Williams and Others
THE WORD "KEYWORD" itself does not appear in Dr Johnson's Dictionary, and it did not enter the vocabulary until the mid-nineteenth century, where it stood, broadly, for that which is central or essential. Increasingly dated with the sciences and with...
Liberation
It would be difficult to think of a more "key" word in late twentieth-century culture than Liberation. In a discussion of any group's freedom to do something the "L" word was usually lurking behind. Yet when Keywords as published in 1976, the word...
Literature
Who may dare improve upon Raymond Williams's dexterous mapping, in Keywords (1976), of the socio-political morphings, through centuries, of the term literature and its connotations? Not me, certainly, though I feel compelled by Williams's example(s)...
Organicism
Since the demise of the New Criticism, the word "organic" has fallen into disrepute on both aesthetic and political grounds. Increasingly removed, as a dead metaphor, from its context in the life sciences, it has come to signify a whole greater than...
Taste
Taste in a physical sense has been in English since C13, though its earliest meaning was wider than tasting with the mouth and aver to the modern touch or feel. It came from fw taster, oF, tostare, IT-feel, handle, touch. A predominant association...
The Gothic and the Fantastic in the Age of Digital Reproduction
WE CAN EITHER SHRUG OFF THE DESIRE to categorize artistic productions, or we may pause and reflect on the difficulty of defining genres such as the Gothic and the fantastic. An examination of the critical discourse on the fantastic elaborated by critics...
"There and Back Again": Progress in the Discourse of Todorovian, Tolkienian and Mystic Fantasy Theory
THE ACT OF LITERARY CRITICISM is always an act of creative fantasy. The critic constructs an internally consistent structure from fragments of texts, observations and (inevitably) personal biases, and this construction begins with a what-if proposition....
Violence
Raymond Williams reminds us that violence has both a straightforward meaning and a latent complexity The former is associated with the use of open and direct physical force, as in the phrase "robbery with violence." The latter involves a political...
Work
Definitions of "work" take up a number of pages even in the OED, reflecting the multiple and complicated networks in which some version or another of its meanings has a role. But for literary studies in the university the central meaning would seem...
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