The bulk of the issue is devoted to the rubric “Literature and the Ideas of Space,” which was massively represented in Partial Answers 1/2 and continued by Rajeev Patke’s paper in 2/1. A brief historical survey of theories concerning the spatiality of literary discourse is undertaken in the first part of Sara Upstone’s essay. This paradigm of theoretical concerns is supplemented by Kay Young’s discussion of the spaces of privacy in a specific type of domestic architecture and its reflections in, and influence on, the epistolary novel and film melodrama. And if Young’s study deals with what Bakhtin might have called domestic chronotopes, Nina Segal’s paper analyzes Alexander Blok’s poem Retribution in terms of mythological, symbolic, historical, and lyrical chronotopes, showing the relationship between the poem’s composite spacio-temporal setting and its processing of a specific nexus of early-twentieth-century ideas.
As in Janet Thormann’s paper in Partial Answers 2/1, in several articles the issue of space is closely related to the rubric “The Cultural Other.” This is particularly prominent in William Over’s post-colonial reading of two of Ben Jonson’s Masques, as well as in two papers that deal with post-colonial writers: Paoi Hwang’s exploration of the treatment of the culturally alien notions of the picturesque in Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe and Upstone’s comments on the revision of spatial concepts in Infinite Riches by Ben Okri.
Eynel Wardi discusses the sense of otherness, alienation, as an epiphenomenon of a hyphenated culture. Drawing on Michel de Certeau’s distinction between place and space, the essay analyzes the poem “Sanctum” by the Israeli-American poet Shirley Kaufman, showing how its speaker finds sanctuary in environmental sculptures which, despite their rootedness in particular locations, lead to imaginative self-liberation from place and entry into space.
Interestingly, Upstone’s paper partly reverses this valorization of place and space: externally tabulated space emerges as part of the colonial project to obliterate the earlier semiotics of locations; resistance to this involves the recreation of the actual place in ways (fluid, mobile, creatively chaotic) that are meaningful to the inhabitants.
Entropic descents into chaos are viewed negatively in Natania Rosenfeld’s paper that discusses the topos of turning back as a subversive form of nostos in post-traumatic writing. Such writing is exemplified by approaches to the subject of the Holocaust in Martin Amis’s Time’s Arrow and W. G. Sebald’s The Emigrants. The first half of the paper is, however, devoted to the turning-back topos in the middle part of To the Lighthouse -- Virginia Woolf’s complex though understated response to the traumas of World War I, raising issues (also dealt with in Emily Miller Budick’s review of Susan Gubar’s Poetry after Auschwitz) whose importance would be appreciated well after World War II.
The rubric “Then and Now” is here mainly represented by Tzachi Zamir’s article on Othello. Like Bernard’s Harrison’s (1/1) and Cora Diamond’s (1/2) papers, this is a contribution to the dialogue between literature and moral philosophy. It shows how Shakespeare’s play provides the experiential grounding for modern concerns with the narrative view of identity and for the problems with the instrumental view of the self and with the indirect aggressiveness of erotic attachment.
As announced in Partial Answers 2/1, “Then and Now” is the subject of our current call for papers. The rubric was initiated by Harrison’s analysis of the treatment of Rational Absolutism in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1/1) and continued by Yael Feldman’s discussion of Virginia Woolf’s feminist pacifism (2/1). The journal also extends an ongoing welcome to articles on other subjects in the interdisciplinary field of literature and the history of ideas.
The journal’s website has recently been restructured: Notes on Contributors and search options have been added. The website now also makes full texts of the articles, in HTML and PDF formats, available to paid subscribers.