C21 Literature

http://c21.openlibhums.org
C21 Literature aims to create a critical, discursive space for the promotion and exploration of 21st century writings in English. It addresses a range of narratives in contemporary culture, from the novel, poem and play to hypertext, digital gaming and contemporary creative writing. The journal features engaged theoretical pieces alongside new unpublished creative works and investigates the challenges that new media present to traditional categorizations of literary writing.

List of Papers (Total 19)

‘It Was Hame’: Cosmopolitan Belonging in Anne Donovan’s Being Emily

This article explores the notion of ‘hame’ as central to Scottish understand- ing of identity, focusing on Anne Donovan’s ‘Crossover’ novel Being Emily (2008). The analysis probes the novel’s reconfiguration of ‘hame’ (home) so that this space can become a notion/nation that is able to accommodate diverse races, genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations. McCulloch reads the...

The Poetry of Civic Nationalism: Jackie Kay’s ‘Bronze Head From Ife’

This article examines the work of the newly-minted Scots makar, Jackie Kay, charting her development as a black Scottish writer committed to the interrogation of identity categories. McFarlane focuses in particular on ‘Bronze Head from Ife’, a poem in Kay’s most recent collection Fiere (2012), and elucidates the synthesis this poem offers of Kay’s Nigerian and Scottish roots...

Narrating Devolution: Politics and/as Scottish Fiction

This article explores the tensions between the competing cultural and political narratives of devolution, anchored around James Robertson’s state- of-the-nation novel And the Land Lay Still (2010). The article emerges from the two-year research project ‘Narrating Scottish Devolution’, and includes excerpts from workshops held on this topic at the Stirling Centre for Scottish...

Tiny Jubilations: Using Photography in Fiction and an Extract from a Novel

Zoë Strachan offers here an examination of the haunting power of photography as a creative stimulus. She discusses the use of photographs in Janice Galloway’s two autobiographies This is Not About Me (2008) and All Made Up (2011), as well as her own use of photographic inspiration for her currently untitled new novel, an extract from which closes the special issue.

Echoes, Connections, Continuities: Bill Winnyford, James Robertson, and James Hogg in The Testament of Gideon Mack

This article looks to an engagement with canonical Scottish texts, explor- ing the intertextual resonances between James Robertson’s The Testament of Gideon Mack (2006) and James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Con- fessions of a Justified Sinner (1824). Murchison explores the playful and multiple connections between the two texts, offering both elucidation of the twenty-first...

‘Only the Dead Can Be Forgiven’: Contemporary Women Poets and Environmental Melancholia

Ecological crisis challenges the regenerative capacity of nature, revealing all life to exist in anticipation of death. In the face of this realisation, the human subject enters a melancholic state, which, in turn, permits deeper insight into the fate of the more-than-human world. The rhetoric of loss, identified by Juliana Schiesari as a key to melancholy, can be traced...

Ghost Stories, Ghost Estates: Melancholia in Irish Recession Literature

This article considers representations of melancholia in post-Celtic Tiger Irish literature. By situating their post-recession fictions in “ghost estates,” or largely uninhabited housing developments, Donal Ryan and Tana French present neoliberally-inflected varieties of melancholia for their contemporary readers to contemplate. The settings of the ghost estates – and the...

Melancholic Migrations and Affective Objects in Fadia Faqir’s My Name is Salma

Melancholia has been read as an individual pathological response to loss, a national cultural reaction to the end of the British Empire, and as a collective political emotion felt by socially marginalised groups. Fadia Faqir’s My Name is Salma (2007) conceives of melancholia as exceeding both individual and national boundaries. The novel illustrates how processes of migrant...

‘A Passport to Cross the Room’: Cosmopolitan Empathy and Transnational Engagement in Zadie Smith’s NW (2012)

This article seeks to demonstrate that Zadie Smith’s fourth novel, NW (2012), deviates away from celebratory multiculturalism in Britain, interrogating the struggle between critical cosmopolitanism and melancholia in a twenty-first century urban environment. It will be argued that Smith’s limited geographical focus (on an area in which she was born and continues to reside...

Melancholy in Contemporary Irish Poetry: The ‘Metre Generation’ and Mahon

This article explores the influence of Derek Mahon’s melancholic poetry on a younger generation of Irish poets. Drawing on Peter Schwenger’s The Tears of Things: Melancholy and Physical Objects (2006), it argues that Mahon’s influential early poems deliberately provoke melancholy in order to insist upon the subject’s alienation from the world. It traces how the poets Justin Quinn...

Network Fictions and the Global Unhomely

The paper suggests that the increasing proliferation of network fictions in literature, film, television and the internet may be interpreted through a theoretical framework that reconceptuallises the originally strictly psychoanalytic concept of the Unheimlich (Freud’s idea of the ‘unhomely’ or ‘uncanny’) within the context of political, economic and cultural disources fo...

“All that Howling Space”: “9/11” and the Aesthetic of Noise in Contemporary American Fiction

This article reappraises representations of “9/11” within a longer history of noise in the American novel. Consumed by the noise of the present, driven by the desire to speak loudly, and convinced of the importance of traumatic “event” both to the present moment and to the lives of future generations, novels of the political “now” are often afflicted by what Jacques Derrida...

Living Archives – Supporting Creative Practice Students Learning Leaps in Interdisciplinary Workshops

Understanding students’ creative process in order to identify meaningful ways to nurture, support and develop creative-practice students and enhance teaching and learning is a major challenge within Higher Education (HE). This paper evaluates a project that studied creative writing and visual-practice students’ experiences of specific creative workshops at the University of...

Contemporary Poetic Ecologies and a Return to Form

Ecology is currently coming under increasing poetic scrutiny in a range of terms (landscape, place, environment). Critical responses to this poetry commonly assume a relationship between form and content, wherein textual ecology – the shape of the poem on the page, the spatial and sonic relationship that its parts bear to one another – mimics or otherwise expresses the ecology...

Apologies for Blanks or Laments for Dumbness: Tina Darragh’s Opposable Dumbs as Open Source and/or Open Content

This essay engages in a reading of Tina Darragh’s publication Opposable Dumbs  (2010). This reading is carried out in pursuit of a number of critical and theoretical questions, that include asking what sort of text this is, and how we might read it. The essay considers how Darragh’s work connects to the debate around open source and free software, and to the politics and poetics...