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Department of English

The Space Between: Published Articles

Please Note: Articles and Book Reviews are available to download as PDF files.

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This is a current list of articles from Volume 9 (2013). Use the search features above to find more.

Book Review: Sophistication: A Literary and Cultural History

Author: Ann Rea, University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown

Type of Content: Book Review

Volume: 9 (2013)

Recent studies of the middlebrow attest to the modernist/middlebrow distinction as arbitrary and largely grounded in the social determination of critics’ definitions of taste, and the need to assert upper-middle-class standards. Against this background, Faye Hammill’s fascinatingly revealing and immensely enjoyable book Sophistication: A Literary and Cultural History places modernist texts alongside middlebrow texts with a conscious disregard for the split.

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“Sideways” Feminism: Rebecca West and the Saturday Evening Post, 1928

Author: Margaret D. Stetz, University of Delaware

Type of Content: Article

Volume: 9 (2013)

Military leaders and progressives move forwards; cowards and conservatives move backwards. Who or what moves sideways? Only sinister creatures — snakes and spiders, things that slither or creep — and, according to Rebecca West, some women.

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“Shrill small voices … drowned out by the general trumpetings of praise”: The Reception of Noël Coward’s Cavalcade

Author: Rebecca Cameron, DePaul University

Type of Content: Article

Volume: 9 (2013)

When Virginia Woolf first met Noël Coward at one of Sybil Colefax’s famous social gatherings in 1928, she was thoroughly charmed: she praised him as “a miracle, a prodigy” and, after seeing his hit revue, This Year of Grace, wrote a letter enthusiastically encouraging him to try his hand at novels that would “put these cautious, creeping novels that one has to read silently in an arm chair deep, deep in the shade” (Letters 3: 478). By 1934, she was referring to him in her letters as “Noël Coward whose works I despise” (Letters 5: 273) and dismissing his gifts in her diary as “all out of the 6d box at Woolworth’s. . . . Nothing there: but the heroic beating” (Diary 4: 259).

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Defining Detective Fiction in Interwar Britain

Author: Victoria Stewart, University of Leicester

Type of Content: Article

Volume: 9 (2013)

In an autobiographical anecdote, the British novelist Jeanette Winterson describes how she was awakened to literature after being sent to the public library to collect some books for her adoptive mother, who, apart from religious tracts, read only detective fiction. This story is framed as, in part, a paean to Britain’s continually under-threat public library services, a reminder that they are not just the providers of a “weekly haul” of detective stories for readers like Mrs Winterson (Winterson), but can also introduce a literature-deprived youngster like Jeanette to high culture.

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Baziotes, Surrealism, and Boxing: “Life in a Squared Ring”

Author: Mona Hadler, CUNY, Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center

Type of Content: Article

Volume: 9 (2013)

The boxer, as a cultural icon who stands at the center of debates on class, race, politics and sexuality, has held a seemingly endless fascination for artists and writers from ancient times to the present. Our story here dates to the early forties when Surrealist writers turned their attention to a fierce and flamboyant Senegalese boxer called Battling Siki, at the moment when a young boxer artist, William Baziotes, fell under their orb in New York City.

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Book Review: Middlebrow Literature and the Making of German-Jewish Identity

Author: Axel Stähler, University of Kent, Canterbury

Type of Content: Book Review

Volume: 9 (2013)

In the course of the nineteenth century, the opportunities afforded by emancipation and modernization subjected the coherence and consistency of traditional constructions of Jewish identity to multiple challenges. It is within the larger context of this process of the modernization of European Jewry that Jonathan Hess’s Middlebrow Literature and the Making of German-Jewish Identity charts Jewish responses to the challenges of modern society in the shifting historical and cultural setting of nineteenth- century Germany.

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Book Review: Modernist Commitments: Ethics, Politics, and Transnational Modernism

Author: Janine Utell, Widener University

Type of Content: Book Review

Volume: 9 (2013)

In this rigorous and theoretically nuanced study, Berman argues persua- sively that a “rapprochement” between politics and ethics is necessary, and that modernist narrative is the means by which such a move might occur. Furthermore, in reframing our thinking about modernism as a repertoire of responses to modernity, she broadens what we might consider “modernist” narratives, techniques, conventions, and strategies to be.

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Book Review: Leslie Howard: The Lost Actor

Author: Alexis Pogorelskin, University of Minnesota, Duluth

Type of Content: Book Review

Volume: 9 (2013)

In this carefully researched biography, Estel Eforgan reveals the many ironies in Leslie Howard’s starring role as Ashley Wilkes in Gone With the Wind. An Englishman through and through, Howard could claim no southern lineage.

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Book Review: British Cinema and Middlebrow Culture in the Interwar Years

Author: Gil Toffell, Queen Mary, University of London

Type of Content: Book Review

Volume: 9 (2013)

As snapshots of Britain’s twentieth-century cultural history go, the image of the interwar petit-bourgeois commuter trundling home on the “tube” to the new suburbs on London’s periphery, nose in a Penguin paperback, conjures little that is malevolent or threatening. For the intelligentsia of the period, however, both the cultural tastes and modes of living of those in the ”middle” represented a minatory development: this was the wasteland of modernity manifest.

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Book Review: Machine Art, 1934

Author: Leo Mazow, University of Arkansas

Type of Content: Book Review

Volume: 9 (2013)

In March of 1934, New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) presented the exhibition Machine Art. The exhibition checklist, layout, and catalogue suggested that modern art’s ideal of purity-in-form was most apparent in the design of commercial and domestic objects and the machine-made components from which they were fabricated.

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