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Western University
English 2017
Brian Patton

NOTES FROM WEEKS 20-27 ***** MISSING WEEK 20 – Science Fiction II (use printed slides) Science Fiction III: Cyborgs Robot, Android, Cyborg  Ex: Karel Čapek’s play R.U.R. *Rossum’s Universal Robots introduced the word “robot” into the language (1920)  Terminator (James Cameron, 1978) Ambivalence Regarding Technology  The machine as an image of pleasure and horror o Pleasure:  freedom from labour, hardship, suffering o Horror:  Devaluation of human nature Loss of human agency in the world  Benign and Malevolent Forms of Artificial Life  Pleasure and horror manifest themselves  Ex: R2D2 and C3P0: “androids” from the Star Wars film series  Seven of Nine: a “Borg” from the Star Trek: Voyager TV series Freud: “The Uncanny”  “ . . . the class of frightening things that leads us back to what is known and familiar”  Both familiar and alien o Ex: dreams o Something that seems right and familiar and something terrible o Combination of the recognition of something similar Technophobia: Mechanization and Alienation  The fear of “the thing with no consciousness” (e.g., Jason Vorhees, Michael Meyers)  “. . . modernity is constituted by its machines” (Marshall Berman, quoted by Jancovich, p. 6)  A fear experienced by modernity What Does It Mean to be “Human”?  If we can make creatures increasingly like ourselves, what actually distinguishes us? o “Can machines think?”  (Mathematician Alan Turing, 1950) o The “Turing Test” o Blade Runner: Deckard tests Rachael Mechanization and Alienation in Terminator  Systems of identification and surveillance o Telephone book, time-card, university I.D. card (Sarah Connor) o Bar code (Kyle Reese)  Technology as obstacle or barrier o Ginger Ventura’s Walkman o Telephone answering machine  Predictable human behaviour o Ginger’s boyfriend’s seduction speech o The Terminator’s ability to pass as a human being Distinguishing Humanity in Terminator  Humanity defined by emotion and desire  Terminator 2: o Sarah Connor’s rediscovery of her humanity  The re-assertion of “traditional” values (freedom, individualism, the family) Beyond Technophobia?  Blade Runner: are the replicants so “human” as to be human o Rachael – a replicant who believes she’s human o Roy Batty saves the life of his would-be executioner, Deckard  Compare the “Cylons” of Battlestar Galactica (SciFi Network, 2003-2009) Horror I: Dracula Horror as Genre  Basic narrative pattern: Order --> Disorder --> Restoration of Order o Threatening to or conservative of the status quo?  Theories of Horror: i. Psychological/Psychoanalytical o Psychic functions of horror stories  What strange dark thing is in us that draws us to these types of stories? o The return of the repressed (Freudian approach)  Type of genre that has a 'disgusted' response (which is its purpose)  Thrill of danger, without being in danger ii. Sociological/Political o Horror reflects prevailing conditions and ideologies o The monster as embodiment of contemporary anxieties Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897)  Freud's psychoanalytical theories prevalent in Dracula Blood as Symbol  Blood in religious rites o Notion of “lifeblood” and blood sacrifice o Homer, Odyssey X (journey into Hades) o Blood in Christian rites Polidori’s “The Vampyre” (1819)  “The Vampyre” and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1819)  Lord Ruthven o “Byronic” figure o Beautiful but scary man  The story: Ruthven, Aubrey & Miss Aubrey Ruthven as Vampire  Very human figure o Lord Ruthven goes to parties etc. o Mingles with fashionable society  Intimate friend of Aubrey’s o Compare Dracula’s foreignness  Ruthven and vampire folklore o Polidori's vampire is in mainstream vampire folklore From Polidori to Stoker  James Malcolm Rymer, Varney the Vampire (1840s penny dreadful) o Varney a tortured soul – sympathetic figure o Vampirism becomes infectious o The stake appears! • Sheridan LeFanu, Carmilla (1871) o Female vampire o Somewhat sympathetic figure  The countess is not malicious, but is compelled to feed off the blood of innocent victims Stoker’s Vampire  Foreigner and stranger o Us and them  “. . . our vampires are ourselves . . .” (Nina Auerbach, Our Vampires, Ourselves, 1995) o What does this monstrous figure represent in the time period made Dracula and late 19th-Century Britain  “Nineteenth-century up-to-date with a vengeance” (67) o Seward’s phonograph o Harker’s Kodak camera o Mina’s typewriter o Telegraph o Telephone o Blood transfusions  A novel that is consistent with modernity  Emphasis on Western modernity Dracula’s Representation of Transylvania  Crossing from west to east o Like a journey to that other place, what we are not  Jonathan’s voyage to Transylvania o Emphasis on history, especially Medieval  East is a very primitive place that is untouched by modernity in the west o No detailed maps  The place where Jonathan is going is not seen, incognito o Quaint customs, dress  Travel books Jonathan used during his journey o Folklore & superstition (e.g. St. George’s Night)  Jonathan is running into all these people who seem to have some sort of superstition and these superstitions seem alive in Transylvania England vs. Transylvania / West vs. East  The binary between west and east is significant West East New old Science superstition Civilization savagery Order disorder  The light of civilization vs. the dark of its other o That darkness is going to creep into the light  Dracula’s plan: invade and conquer o Set up a base in London and produce a race of vampires, convert mainly women, and take over o The savage sneaks in and corrupts the good Invasions, Borders, Boundaries  Pattern of permeable boundaries o Boundaries separating London are permeable and allow Dracula to sneak through and cause ciaos  Dracula as degenerate being (“child-brain”) o Renfield’s degeneration  The integrity of the body threatened o In an intimate way o Vampire uses fangs to puncher skin(boundary)  The line between chastity and sexual excess o Danger that the pure women may feel inclined to become dark and convert to the vampire world o The importance of female characters in Dracula  Lines drawn between men and women Mina Harker  Embodies the perfect female  Idealized Victorian wife o Dutiful o Asexual, venerated rather than desired  Relationship btwn Jonathan and Mina asexual o Permits men to express emotions  Takes a women to allow a man to give expression  Mina makes Jonathan express his emotions o Surrogate mother & “little girl”  Mina is a mother figure and very maternal to men but Vanhelsing calls her little girl throughout the novel o Mina is veteran Lucy Westenra  Lucy is desired  A foil to Mina  Lucy's questionable virtue o “seduced” by the vampire o Her vanity & pleasure in being courted by three men (88 ff.)  The blood transfusion  Though Lucy is a victim of the vampire she is already corrupted/ she is easily corrupted by the vampires The Three Sisters  No male victims of Dracula’s bite o Jonathan’s encounter with the three (69; see also 408) o Eros & Thanatos/Sex & death o Lucy as vampire  Sexual desire & monstrosity entwined  Vulnerability of women: Dracula “Come, sister . . .” (408) Closure in Dracula  Threat contained: Dracula defeated; Mina saved  But . . . o Blood transfusion & sexual intimacy o Hint of polyandry: Quincy Harker’s “bundle of names” (419) o Dracula and Van Helsing’s resemblance o Is civilization safe?  The danger is not fully gone  We must be vigilant Horror II: Horror and the Abject Body The Body in Pop Culture  Anxieties & fascinations played out o Science Fiction o Cyberculture  Disembodied relationships o Horror  A place where the body and the vulnerability of the body is opened up  Fantasies of . . . o Transformation o Erasure  What if the machines could live without us? o Violation  responses: fear &disgust) Horror, SF and the Body  SF effaces the body (Scott Bukatman, Terminal Identity [1993]) o Vivian Sobchak: “the virginity of astronauts” o Body displaced by “cool mechanics”  Horror recovers the body Julia Kristeva & “the Abject”  Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (1982)  Abject (familiar sense): “wretched, lacking in pride”  Kristeva’s “Abject”: that which must be “radically excluded from the place of the living subject” (Creed, The MonstrousFeminine 9) The Subject The Abject The self That which is not the self The living body The corpse, excrement, vomit etc. Horror Fictions & Abjection  “the clean and proper body” vs. “the abject body”  Ultimate abjection: the Corpse o “It is no longer I who expel. ‘I’ is expelled”  “The horror film attempts to bring about a confrontation with the abject . . . in order to eject the abject and re-draw the boundaries between the human and non-human” (Creed, The Monstrous- Feminine 14)  For Creed, this is the “central ideological project of the popular horror film . . .” (14) The “Monstrous-Feminine”  Feminist-Psychoanalytical approach  Universal concept of “the Monstrous-Feminine” o Skylla (Homer, Ovid) o Sin (Milton) o Medusa (Apollodorus)  Patriarchy defines the female body as Other, monstrous The Medusa  Myth of Perseus & the Medusa  Freud’s reading of the Myth o “terrifying” female genitalia (see Creed 2) The Monstrous-Feminine in Dracula  “Phallic” women: o the three sisters o vampire Lucy  The perversion of motherhood o The “Bloofer Lady” o Dracula feeds Mina  The clean vs. the abject body o Disgusting Dracula o “Unclean” Mina Monstrosity at the Border  Human/Bestial  Natural/Supernatural  “Normal”/“Abnormal” sexual maturity & gender development  “Normal”/“Abnormal” sexual desire  Life/Death Comic Books and Superheroes i. Comic Books, from the mid-1930's to the mid 1950's  Early comic books, from 1933-1935 o The first comic books were collections of comic strips  "pulp" magazines influenced not only the content of the early comics, but also the way in which the new industry was run o Comic books are connected to pulp magazines o Comics books were produced with the logic of quick, cheap and easy o The majority of comics were produced in 'shops' according to a production line -- sweat shop conditions -- like the garment industry  Whiz Comics 27 (February 1942): o Typical anthology format, in imitation of the pulp magazines o The earliest comic books were heterogeneous things  Brought together funny animals, science fiction aka everything lumped in together o Later on characters were developed which made comics focus on ongoing characters throughout their comic  Ex: batman, superman comics 1938 and after: the superhero boom  The comic book finds their genre, the super hero  This is the beginning of the moment where comic books became a mass cultural form before the crash in 1950 Superheroes in wartime: Captain America Comics 1(1941) and All start Comics 22(1944)  Comic books given to the soldiers during the war  Connection between these comics and the war efforts o Strong men/heroes in comics vs. soldiers, army and government Declining interest in superheroes in the mid-1940s: Captain America’s Weird Tales 74 (1944) and 75(1945)  The superhero comic lost popularity o No more Captain America vs. Hitler The new (to comics) post-war genres, crime, romance and horror: True Crime 1 (1947), Young Romance 69 (1954) and Horror from the Tomb 1 (1954)  Romance, horror, crime became the popular comic book genre after the downturn of the superhero comic book genre during the 1950's “America’s favorite teenager” Archie Andrews triumphs over the costumed heroes in Pep Comics (1941, 1943 and 1944)  Another example of the superhero graduating out of view **Wonder Women: Female Superheroes and Action Heroes Underground and Alternative Comics The Trouble with “Comics”  The historical baggage of “comics” o considered sub-literary form o “comic-book” as adjective  stupid, simplistic, unsubtle storytelling o Do forms have/lack inherent value? o “graphic novels,” “sequential art,” &c. Scott McCloud considers the trouble with the labels “comics” and “comic books” in Understanding Comics (1994)  Comics artist Will Eisner defines comics as “sequential art,” shifting the emphasis from genre to form. Four panels from “Enemy Contact” (Two-Fisted Tales 22,1951), art by Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis o “Enemy Contact”: four sequential panels depict four discrete moments in contiguous space. o Three sequential panels anatomize a single moment in time: “Air Burst” (Frontline Combat 4,1952), art by Harvey Kurtzman.  A formal definition of comics invites us to consider how we read them, and the process turns out to be a complex one.  The reader becomes a “silent accomplice” (McCloud’s phrase) in the making of meaning, actively filling in the gaps between juxtaposed images  Time moves forward within this single “synchronistic” panel from Jack Kirby’ s The New Gods 9 (July 1972), pages 2-3.  A synchronistic panel from Calvin and Hobbes (28 August, 1988)  A formal approach also reveals that comics bring together words and images in complex ways. Consider the multiple and competing codes in these opening frames from Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, which feature spoken and unspoken words, sound effects, and pictures.  Words and pictures on parallel tracks: Chris Ware’ s “I Guess” (Quimby the Mouse, 1997), n.p.  A formal definition of comics as “sequential art” also invites us to think about comics as having a history extending well beyond the illustrated magazines and early comic strips of the 19th Century.  William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress (1730s): a series of eight paintings (later sold as prints) depicting a young man’s fall from wealth and privilege into dissolution. (Paintings 2, 3, 7 & 8)  Scott McCloud identifies the medieval Bayeux tapestry, which depicts (in sequence) the Norman conquest of Britain in the 11th Century, as one of many pre-modern examples of “sequential” comic art.  A pre-Columbian (ca. 14th century) codex depicting the Mixtec ruler Eight Deer Jaguar Claw: according to McCloud, another unacknowledged comics ancestor Policing Mainstream Values: The Comics Code (1954)  Distorted reflections of counter-cultural forces in mainstream comics: campus unrest in The Amazing Spider-Man 68 (1968); the feminist movement in in The Avengers 83 (1970); Black Power in Captain America 143 (1971). From “Comics” to “Comix”  “Underground” comics o “comix” – X-rated o Boom years: 1967-1975  The Avengers 83 (1970) and Wimmen’s Comix 1 (1972): the “adults only” underground comix faced none of the constraints of their mainstream counterparts. Underground Comics  Most were self-published o Single creator overseeing whole production  e.g., Robert Crumb o Erratic publishing schedules  Mostly distributed through “headshops” (Hippie clientele) o mid-1970s decline –obscenity laws invoked The Underground Since the 1980s  New wave of “alternative” comics o Influence of punk aesthetic: “do it yourself” o Boom initially driven by anthologies  E.g. Raw (Art Spiegelman & Françoise Mouly, 1980)  Direct distribution and the new network of specialist comics shops gave independent comics artists a new means of reaching their audiences. Spiegelman and Mouly’s Raw 7 & 8 (1985 & 1986). Art Spiegelman’s Maus  Published in Raw (1980-1981), then in two book-length volumes  Pulitzer Prize, 1992 o Helped legitimize the comic as a literary form  The phrase “graphic novel” emerges into public consciousness: trade paperback reprints of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986), the first volume of Maus (1986) and Watchmen (1987).  Lone Wolf and Cub and Mai, the Psychic Girl (English translations from 1987): the manga boom expanded comics readership and helped create shelf-space in the bookshops for other comics  Today, a remarkable range of artists and writers to continue to explore and expand the medium, but comics still exist, at best, on the margins of “high” culture. Daniel Clowes (1961-)  Eightball (1989-) o Self-contained stories & ongoing serials o Most later published in book form  Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron (1993)  Pussey! (1995)  Ghost World (1997)  David Boring (2000)  Ice Haven (2005)  Wilson (2010)  Mr. Wonderful (2011)  The Death Ray (2011)  Eightball 16 (1995) (left): Ghost World appeared in serial form in Clowes’s self-produced comic book Eightball between 1993 and 1997, when the complete work was collected in book form. Clowes and the Ghost World  Clowes collaborated with director Terry Zwigoff on the 2001 film adaptation, starring Thora Birch as Enid and Scarlett Johansson as Rebecca Enid & Rebecca as Ironists & Misfits  Bearded Windbreaker  Allen (waiter at Hubba Hubba)  Beggar (43)  Carrie Vandenburg (23) Enid & Rebecca’s Insecurities & Vulnerabilities  Enid’s record (“A Smile and a Ribbon”)  “Goofie Gus”  Enid’s “Punk Day”  Loneliness & mutual envy  Anxieties over their own desirability o Competition over Josh Mass Culture in Ghost World  Enthusiasm in face of banality o Enid’s bondage mask o Hubba Hubba o the “Satanists” o Bob Skeetes o “Redneck guys” in diner  The Astonishing X-Men and Ghost World: contrasting visual narrative styles  Clowes saw the phrase “Ghost World” painted on a graffiticovered garage door in his Chicago neighbourhood. The title is suggestive – but of what, exactly? Who or what is “ghostly” in Ghost World?  Clowes’s cameo in Ghost World: Enid mis-remembers his name as “David” Clowes and later dismisses him as “this old perv.” In the one frame in which we see him, he sits alone at a signing table awaiting signature-seekers, and Enid is so disappointed that she doesn’t bother to speak with him. What is the function of this cameo?  Enid’s parting words: “You’ve grown into a very beautiful young woman.” How are we to understand what she says? What sort of closure does Ghost World offer? NOTES FROM WEEKS 2, 4-6 Defining the Field Defining the Field: “Popular,” “Folk” & “Mass” Culture A few keywords: “culture” “ideology” “popular” “mass” “folk” When you hear the phrase “Popular Culture” you think about . . . Popular forms:  Music  Film (Hollywood)  TV shows  Famous people  Magazines  Social media  Fashion  Advertisements  Books  Mass media  Something that appeals to most of the population  Popular trends; the latest craze  Something entertaining, fun  Today’s world we live in – interesting Culture  one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language” (Raymond Williams)  Williams offers three broad definitions . . .  A general process of intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic development • E.g., “Western culture”  A particular way of life, whether of a people, a period or a group • holidays, sport, religious festivals, distinctive cuisine, &c. • The sum total of a group’s social activities 3. Works and practices of intellectual and especially artistic activity Ideology  Ideology as a systematic body of ideas articulated by particular groups of people o Eg. “right-” or “leftwing” ideology  Ideology as False consciousness (the classic Marxist definition o Ideology as a distorting lens through which we view the world o Ideological cultural products implicitly or explicitly support the interests of dominant groups Ideological Forms  Culture as a site of contest between dominant and subordinate groups, ideas o The example of “Blaxploitation” cinema o “Art is never without consequences” (Bertholt Brecht) Popular forms don’t just reflect the world, they also help create it  Pop culture and norm production o e.g., fashion, social etiquette  Pop culture and identity formation Ideology as Material Practice  Not just a body of ideas, but woven into the very practices of everyday life o e.g., the university classroom Popular Culture  Latin “populus”: “people”  Williams’s four definitions . . .  “Well liked by many” o Purely quantitative criterion  That which is not ‘high’ culture  Mass culture o Work deliberately produced by a “culture industry” for mass consumption o Formulaic products to manipulate passive audiences 4. Folk Culture o Culture for and by “the people” – Local, hand-made The Idea of “Folk Culture”  A product of later 18th and 19th centuries  A response to effects of industrialization & urbanization  The collection & study of “folklore”: ballads, folk tales, folk songs  Movement closely bound to emerging European nationalisms  Folk culture” as other people’s culture  The idealized “peasant” of old vs. the despised modern “rabble”  Rural folk as preservers of a culture they didn’t appreciate or understand Romanticism vs. Modernity  Romanticism as another, related response to industrialization, urbanization o Wordsworth’s Preface to Lyrical Ballads (first included in 1802 ed.) The Roots of Cultural Studies The Culture and Civilization tradition: Matthew Arnold:  Poet, scholar and critic  Important role played in articulating theories of culture that were hostile Q.D Leavis and F.R Leavis  Impact on in which literature gets taught and thought of in university Cultural Studies: A Dissenting View: Harold Bloom:  is an American literary critic and is a sterling professor of humanities at Yale University  Since the publication of his first book in 1959, Bloom has written more than 20 books of literary criticism, several books discussing religion, and one novel. He has edited hundreds of anthologies  The literary "Canon" o A general law, rule, principle, or criterion by which something is judged o Being not sufficiently accurate o Represents those few works that are selected out of a large number of other books that are seen as valued where the other books are not Popular(Mass) Culture's Others: High culture: Matthew Arnold (1822-1888):  Culture and Anarchy (1867-1869)  The "Hyde Park Rough", 1866  Arnold's definition of culture: o A pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know the best which has been thought and said in the world o To maintain social order Leavisism:  F.R Leavis(1895-1978) and Q.D Leavis (1906-1981)  The Leavistite journal, Scrutiny (1932-1953)  Giants of literary criticism  Aim to recognize and celebrate the best: o Evaluative criticism  Good from bad  Moral significance of great literature  All important minority The notion of 'Mass Civilization': The 1930's context:  Impact of mass production  Notion of mass culture  Mass society, the masses The threat of Populism  "Revolution against taste once begun will land us in irreparable chaos" Mass Culture in America: Post-war debate:  Dwight Macdonald  I love Lucy Culturalism:  Richard Hoggart  Raymond Williams  Stuart Hall Characterizing Culturalism:  Mass audiences are manipulated, passive  Prey to mass companies  'Pursuit of Structures of Feeling', William's term: o Actual sense  Left Leavisism: o There are other things more important then others o Open to the possibilities of other culture being better Raymond Williams:  In The Long Revolution (1961), Williams identifies three general types of definitions: 1. Ideal o culture as “state or process of human perfection” o culture transcends particular historical moments, places – e.g., “the best which has been thought and said . . .” (Arnold) – e.g., “the human spirit,” “the human condition” 2. Documentary o Culture as “the body of intellectual and imaginative work, in which . . . human thought and experience are variously recorded”  i.e., “the best” AND THE REST 3. Social o Culture as “a description of a particular way of life” o “expresses . . . meanings and values not only in art and learning but also in institutions and ordinary behaviour” The “Birmingham School”: Hoggart & Hall • The Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (est. 1964) • Leavisite inheritance – “Left Leavisism” – Working both with
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