Intersections of literature, social and political conditions, theory and philosophy across contemporary, 1960s and Metaphysical literature

Speakers:

E.Dawson Verughese, independent scholar, UK/India – “left breast for world peace”: celebrity culture and corruption in the Indian graphic novel Legends of Halahala (2013)

Celia Brayfield, Bath Spa University – Single Mothers and Urban Families: Grassroots Feminist Writing of Sixties England

Steven Adam, Nanyang Technological University – Manifold Witness: John Donne’s Internally Layered Texts and the Theoretical Value of Patristic Theology

Working on a very diverse range of texts and genres, this panel will explore the intersections of literature, social and political conditions, theory and philosophy across contemporary, 1960s and Metaphysical literature.

E. Dawson Varughese’s paper ‘“left breast for world peace”: celebrity culture and corruption in the Indian graphic novel Legends of Halahala (2013)’ focuses on a silent, Indian graphic novel by Appupen, and on how the ‘double marginality’ of form and content allows for the communication of inauspicious representations of Indian society. The post-millennial presentations of Indian society manifest here diverge from comics of the 1970s and 80s wherein India is portrayed as honourable, virtuous, and auspicious. This paper closes by considering how Indian graphic novels are storying New India and usurping established modes of visuality.

Celia Brayfield’s ‘Single Mothers and Urban Families: Grassroots Feminist Writing of Sixties England’ considers how the young women writers of the Sixties interrogated the contemporary consensus that held the “unmarried mother,” to be a social pariah. Five key works are compared: Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey (1958); Lynne Reid Banks’s The L-Shaped Room (1960); Margaret Forster’s Georgy Girl (1963); Margaret Drabble’s The Millstone (1965) and Nell Dunn’s Up The Junction (1965).

Steven Adam’s ‘Manifold Witness: John Donne’s Internally Layered Texts and the Theoretical Value of Patristic Theology’ investigates a textual phenomenon in Donne’s ‘Hymn to God my God, in my Sickness’ in which the poem invokes several ‘texts’ that not only refer to each other but also act on each other in non-descriptive terms. It considers the applicability and limitations of contemporary theories of linguistics, semiotics, and literary theory to account for these textual dynamics. It also draws on theoretical insights from Christian patristic theology and Thomistic philosophy and raises the question of the theoretical potential of these approaches.

 

Thursday 6th July, 11.00