Monthly Archives: October 2013

Notre Dame Football and eighteenth-century revolutionary ephemera

October 9, 2013
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Notre Dame Football and eighteenth-century revolutionary ephemera

Actual page from a program distributed by the University of Notre Dame at the Michigan State–Notre Dame game on September 21, 2013, with FEATURED ACADEMIC Julia V. Douthwaite, professor of French and Francophone studies and expert on the French Enlightenment, the Revolution, and French–English relations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries— From Douthwaite’s The Frankenstein of 1790 and Other Lost Chapters from Revolutionary France: Consider a Juicy Couture print advertisement of 2010. A Marie Antoinette look-alike with an enormous pink hairdo stares out at viewers dolefully. She is cradling, with one hand, a huge bottle of perfume that has a bird perched on top, and gesturing suggestively, with her other hand, to her nether parts. This portrait’s subtle repurposing of the Greuze painting Jeune Fille qui pleure son oiseau mort (1765) or the eighteenth-century motif of a girl lamenting her pet bird’s demise or escape (read her lost virginity) makes a provocative commentary on the queen’s rumored promiscuity while inviting consumers to try it on for themselves. Or consider the bizarrely menacing “Napoleonic” ad campaign for Dolce and Gabbana clothing launched in 2006, one of whose advertisements showed two men in dapper period fashions threatening a third in a chair . . .

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Terrence Malick on Margaret Doody

October 8, 2013
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Terrence Malick on Margaret Doody

A piece on Terrence Malick’s latest film To the Wonder appeared shortly after its release this April at New York Magazine‘s online site Vulture. Nothing about the title of the piece need grab you at first engagement—though “Radiant Zigzag Becoming: How Terrence Malick and His Team Constructed To the Wonder” is elegiac and ponderous and a bit of a mouthful, not unlike the reputation of Malick’s oeuvre. What ends up fascinating in this article—besides lines we like such as, “the film has struck some as a particularly Malick-y Terrence Malick film”—is the breakdown of that radiant zigzag becoming, which the writer traces to a scholarly introduction penned for an edition of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela; or Virtue Rewarded, a tawdry Stockholm Syndrome-done-good epistolary novel that shocked and awed its eighteenth-century readers. The Intro was written by our own Margaret A. Doody, the John and Barbara Glynn Family Professor of Literature at Notre Dame and a specialist in Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature. The relevant connection to Doody’s work? One odd but telling reference point Malick gave his editors was Margaret A. Doody’s introduction to the Penguin Books edition of Samuel Richardson’s revolutionary 1740 novel Pamela. In the intro, Doody discusses the . . .

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Victor Brombert’s Musings on Mortality

October 7, 2013
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Victor Brombert’s Musings on Mortality

Victor Brombert is the Henry Putnam University Professor Emeritus of Romance and Comparative Literatures at Princeton University. He is also an escapee of German-occupied France and a veteran of the Second World War; a scholar of comparative narrative studies and the history of ideas; the author of more than a dozen books; former president of the Modern Language Association and of the Association of Literary Studies; a Fulbright Fellow, a National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Fellow, a two-time Guggenheim Fellow, a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, and is Commandeur des Palmes Académiques. Death is a theme that has preoccupied Brombert at least as long as his youth: first, as the opening pages of his latest book Musings on Mortality alerts us, following the death of his pet canary, and later in the wake of his experiences during World War II. The liner notes read something like, death can be found all around us, but the literature we produce is on the side of life. In the book, Brombert takes on Coetzee, Bassani, Camus, Kafka, Woolf, Thomas Mann, and Primo Levi, among others, in order to ground the works of these writers in the philosophical complaints of the human condition, . . .

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Norman Rockwell: The Underside of Innocence

October 4, 2013
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Norman Rockwell: The Underside of Innocence

Deborah Solomon’s American Mirror: The Life and Work of Norman Rockwell takes on the touted icon of American normalcy with a bit of a charge—paralleling the illustrator’s rise at the Saturday Evening Post with the unraveling of his marriages (some occasioned by loss) and his close friendships with other men. By the time the artist was invited to dinner with the Eisenhowers, he was deeply engaged in therapy with Erik Erikson. There are lots more anecdotes from Solomon over at the Smithsonian Magazine, including a bit about Andy Warhol’s fascination with and attendance at Rockwell’s first, late-in-life gallery show. Before there was Solomon’s biography, there was Richard Halpern’s Norman Rockwell: The Underside of Innocence, which argues that that the sense of innocence we locate in Rockwell’s work arises from our reluctance—and also Rockwell’s—to acknowledge its often disturbing dimensions (lust, desire, voyeurism, perversion), even though these acts remain more or less hidden in plain sight. As Halpern notes: “To lay my cards on the table right away: the kinds of material that Rockwell’s work both exposes and disavows are to no small degree sexual in nature. The claim that forms of sexuality, often perverse, find a place in so wholesome and apparently innocent . . .

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Free ebook for October: Thirty Years of Phoenix Poets

October 1, 2013
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Free ebook for October: Thirty Years of Phoenix Poets

In 1983, the University of Chicago Press published David Ferry’s Strangers, the first book of poems in its Phoenix Poets series, to critical acclaim. The New York Times Book Review lauded Ferry for his “short, sparse lyrics are as perfectly and simply composed as Japanese haiku,” calling them, “a rare accomplishment in poetry written in English.” Thirty years later, the Press is still publishing a robust list in American poetry, from young poets pushing forward their first books to those still engaged masters, like Ferry, at the peak of storied careers. Our free ebook for October, Thirty Years of Phoenix Poets, 1983–2012: An E-Sampler, presents some of the best poets and poems from those three decades, beginning with that first book by David Ferry and ending with his latest, the National Book Award–winning Bewilderment. The selections in between reveal the changing landscape of American poetry, though all are distinguished by keen awareness of the history and possibilities of poetry, as part of the mission of the Phoenix Poets series. Those poets included: Elizabeth Arnold, Peter Balakian, Turner Cassity, Dan Chiasson, Michael Chitwood, W. S. Di Piero, David Ferry, Kenneth Field, Christine Garren, Reginald Gibbons, Susan Hahn, Mark Halliday, Ha . . .

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