Staff publications



Spunta englightening encounters

M. Spunta, ‘Fossati’s and Messori’s vision of landscape in Viaggio in un paesaggio terrestre’, in G. Alù and N. Pedri (eds), Enlightening encounters: Photography in Italian literature (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2015), pp. 70-97

This essay explores a recent phototext, Viaggio in un paesaggio terrestre, by the photographer Vittore Fossati and the late writer Giorgio Messori, a text that successfully brings together photography and writing, and that newly explores both the interaction of the two media on the page, and the recently renewed debate on landscape and its representations.


Bulletin GaravelliC. Garavelli ‘Conquering the Conquerors: Ricardo Darín’s Rise to Stardom in Spanish Film Culture’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

In the past two decades, Ricardo Darín has become a recurring figure in Spanish film culture. His appeal is due to a mixture of his ‘guy next door’ charisma; the strong influence of a large migration of Argentines to the Iberian Peninsula after its incorporation into the European Union, and later due to the ‘crisis of 2001’; and the growing connections between the representatives of the Spanish and the Argentine film industries. This article explores the reception of Darín’s image in both specialized and general public media with the aim of questioning how the impact of socio-economic  circumstances and the dynamics of the cinematographic industry on the reception of foreign actors reflects and refracts the collective Spanish imaginary at times of intense migration on both sides of the Atlantic.



C Garavelli

Garavelli, C. (2014), Video Experimental Argentino Contemporáneo: Una Cartografía Crítica, Buenos Aires

Since the beginning of the new millennium, experimental video in Argentina has spread at great speed. Far from being a cult product created by only a few, as was the case in previous decades, it has become popular and has acquired a wide range of characteristics. The disparity of aesthetics and creative processes, of conceptual models, of spaces and forms of exhibition, as well as the mutation of video in terms of its format and artistic medium, have continued to make the analytical categories of experimental video problematic, rendering traditional modes of inquiry/fields of knowledge insufficient in the study of these types of works. Accordingly, this book aims to systematically study, from a plurality of perspectives, these kinds of productions that have been increased exponentially and that illustrate, among other things, the changes not only in the field of audiovisual production but also in the national socio-political context. Hence, a critical cartography of contemporary experimental Argentine video productions is outlined, bearing in mind that such productions are influenced by a national reality marked by the post-dictatorship period and by the political, social and economic consequences of the rampant implementation of neoliberal policies. Thus, the corpus is limited to those works directly connected to this context and which have a particular social and political sensibility. This is a significant research project that aims to fill a gap in the theoretical field of Argentine video creation.

Further information concerning the publication and publicity for this work is available here



Spunta Journal of Italian Cinema and Media StudiesM. Spunta, ‘‘‘A magical balance of opposites’. Reading Luigi Ghirri’s photography through Walter Benjamin’, Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies, vol. 2:2, May 2014, pp. 215-235

In this article I contend that Ghirri’s photography can fruitfully be read through Benjamin’ thought, in particular through his key notions of experience, montage, aura, beauty, mystery and dialectical image, and at the same time I seek to redress a common misreading of Benjamin’s work in some art theory. This approach allows me to illuminate from a new angle Ghirri’s aesthetics and the change it underwent between the late 1970s and the early 1980s, and to demonstrate that his work effectively draws on Benjaminian dialectics to achieve a ‘magical balance of opposites’. Through a close analysis of selected Ghirri’s photographs from two of his main series from the 1970 – Kodachrome (1970–1978) and Still life (1975–1979) – and from two series from the 1980s – Il profilo delle nuvole/The Outline of Clouds (1980–1989) and Atelier Morandi (1989–1990) – I show that Ghirri’s photography moves from an early effort to deconstruct the assemblage of images that compose reality to an attempt to re-create an aura of places that are felt to be on the brink of disappearing. In so doing he both expressed a postmodern sense of loss of experience and history and challenged this by presenting photography as a means of achieving knowledge and experience of the world, before the onset of the digital age

Spunta Stillness in Motion

M. Spunta, ‘Interfaces of photography, writing and landscape – the landscape photobook from Ghirri to Fossati and Messori’, in G. Minghelli & S. Hill (eds), Stillness in motion. Italy, Photography and the Meaning of Modernity (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2014), pp. 288-313

In the 1970s and 1980s Ghirri initiated an important theoretical and practical renewal of photography as an art form.  This chapter explores the representation and theorization of landscape by the new school of photography that coalesced around Ghirri and its contribution to reflecting on the medium of photography itself. With this goal in mind, I focus on the ways in which, since the 1970s/1980s, photography has been posited in close relation with the other arts, most specifically (literary) writing, and how this cross-pollination has redefined the medium’s tasks and ontology. At the same time, I seek to demonstrate the key role of Ghirri’s photographic and critical work in stimulating Italian photographers to explore these possibilities. To this end, I analyse the collaboration of the photographer Vittore Fossati and the writer Giorgio Messori to show how they take Ghirri’s lesson a step further, bringing photography and writing closer together on the page. I argue that their revisiting the notion of landscape both as a philosophical reflection on inhabiting and as an intrinsically aesthetic experience at the same time sensorial, intellectual, imaginative, affective, and historical/memorial is crucial to understand the Italian contribution to rethinking the photographic.

M Baldo book

Subtitling and Intercultural Communication, edited by Beatrice Garzelli and Dr Michaela Baldo.

This volume, which officially launches the series of books InterLinguistica, brings together essays that explore the links between subtitling and intercultural communication in different audiovisual genres (cinema, TV, DVD and web), covering a wide range of European and non European languages. The need to investigate further the contact between subtitling and intercultural communication stems from the fact that subtitles are not merely instruments of representation of cultural differences but also potential tools for deconstructing cultural stereotypes and developing intercultural competence.
The volume represents a challenge: the beginning of a dialogue between Translation Studies and Intercultural Communication capable of offering fruitful insights into the realm of human communication.

The Naked King - MichaelaIl re nudo. Per un archivio drag king in Italia,

Identity in Avant-garde Times: Narcissism, Genius and Violence in the Work of Salvador Dalí and Federico García LorcaIdentidad en tiempos de vanguardia: narcisismo, genio y violencia en la obra de Salvador Dalí y Federico García Lorca / Identity in Avant-garde Times: Narcissism, Genius and Violence in the Work of Salvador Dalí and Federico García Lorca, by Dr Anna Vives

Comparative studies on Federico García Lorca and Salvador Dalí have typically focused on biographical aspects. This book overcomes the flaws of this approach by analysing the representation of narcissism, genius and violence in the poems, paintings, conferences and autobiographies by Lorca and Dalí. These topics are primarily examined from the points of view of psychoanalysis, analytic psychology, surrealism, psychiatry, philosophy and anthropology. The interest of this monograph also rests on what it reveals with regard to the perception of creativity according to the modernist intelligentsia, and on the analysis of Dalí’s poetry, which still constitutes a novelty task within the field of cultural studies. In short, the author explores the formation of the artistic subject in avant-garde times. Can Dalí and Lorca’s narcissism unveil a particular sexual tendency? Where does the Dalinian concept of genius come from and how does it compare to Lorca’s duende? What does Dalí and Lorca’s poetic violence hide with regard to the hybrid nature of modernity?

Video experimental argentino contemporáneo: Una cartografía crítica

Video experimental argentino contemporáneo: Una cartografía crítica, by Dr Clara Garavelli

Contemporary Experimental Argentine Video: A Critical Cartography.

Since the beginning of the 21st Century, experimental video production in Argentina has grown at great speed. Far from being a cult product created by only the few, as was the case in previous decades, it has gained in popularity and acquired multiple characteristics. This explosion in videography can be traced to various factors, including technological advances and the establishment of a global information society. Nevertheless, despite a period of intense production, the lack of attention paid by critics, historians, and researchers in general is notable. There is very little published work on the subject, and the majority of it is difficult to access. The difference in aesthetics and production techniques, conceptual referents, where and how the videos are exhibited, in addition to video’s own changes as both material and medium, have problematized the categories of analysis and relegated the so-called “experimental videos” to a place that’s difficult to approach from traditional areas of knowledge. Bearing this in mind, this book aims to be a systematic study of these types of productions, which shed light on the changes that have occurred in the field of local audio-visual production as well as in the socio-political context. With this in mind, a critical mapping of the production of contemporary Argentine experimental video will be carried out, considering how said production intersects with a national reality defined by post-dictatorship and by the political, social and economic consequences of uncontrolled neoliberalism. This is a unique and wide-ranging research that comes to fill-in the theoretical void in the eclectic field of contemporary Argentine experimental video.

The Peepshow and the Voyeuse: Colette’s Challenge to Patriarchy and the Male Gaze, in Sensational PLeasures in Cinema, Literature and Visual Culture: The Phallic Eye

The Peepshow and the Voyeuse: Colette’s Challenge to Patriarchy and the Male Gaze by Dr Marion Krauthaker in Sensational Pleasures in Cinema, Literature and Visual Culture: The Phallic Eye

This chapter analyses how the 1932 novel The Pure and the Impure by Colette depolarises binaries and liberates marginalised sexualities. It argues that the psychosexual positions presented anticipate contemporary gender theories. Colette’s voyeuse, a female homodiegetic narrator, who acts like the shutters of a peepshow box, constitutes an avant-grade denunciation of the patriarchal gaze, as well as a statement against heteronormativity.

The Man Who Was Old Mother Riley - The Lives and Films of Arthur Lucan and Kitty McShaneThe Man Who Was Old Mother Riley - The Lives and Films of Arthur Lucan and Kitty McShane, Dr Robert V Kenny

The French Comics Theory ReaderThe French Comics Theory Reader, Dr Ann Miller and Bart Beaty (eds)

Key French-language theoretical texts on comics translated into English for the first time. The French Comics Theory Reader presents a collection of key theoretical texts on comics, spanning a period from the 1960s to the 2010s, written in French and never before translated into English. The publication brings a distinctive set of authors together uniting theoretical scholars, artists, journalists, and comics critics. Readers will gain access to important debates that have taken place among major French-language comics scholars, including Thierry Groensteen, Benoît Peeters, Jan Baetens, and Pierre Fresnault-Deruelle, over the past fifty years.

This first issue from the new series 'Studies in European Comics and Graphic Novels' is now available

The series presents state-of-the-art contributions from research on European comics and graphic novels which aims to stimulate scholarship on European BDs. It includes titles from scholars working in different disciplines, such as history, literary criticism, literary theory, art history, and visual studies. Typical themes to be addressed will comprise European graphic novels and comics in historical context; gender and other social identity analysis; theorizations; and detailed case studies or wider surveys. The series publishes monographs and collections for university-level researchers and ambitions to advance knowledge of this still relatively under-discussed subject.

The Art Fair as NetworkDr Christian Morgner, The Art Fair as Network in the Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society. Volume 44, Issue 1, March 2014, pages 33-46

Although Howard Becker defines art worlds as networks of cooperating people and a broad range of studies has applied this idea of the network to art markets, research on fairs remains a neglected issue. This article aims to advance the idea of the network and the art fair with regard to the art fair boom, the differentiation of art fairs and their interlinking, and the role of networks with regard to the participating galleries and their interlinking within art fairs. Quantitative and qualitative data are brought forward to shed some light on these issues, including statistical information, along with interviews.

Pensar Los Estudios Culturales Desde España

Arroyo, P.; Casáus, M.; Garavelli, C.; Ortega, M. L. (eds.) (2012), Reflexiones fragmentadas: pensar los Estudios Culturales desde España, Madrid: Editorial Verbum. ‘Fragmented Reflections: Thinking Cultural Studies in Spain’

The title of this book describes, in a certain way, the context of its origin: A forum of discussion and debate open to various approaches to the field of Cultural Studies and to the reflection on the viability of this discipline(s) to analyse social, political and cultural issues of Latin America. A forum that took place within the realm of Spanish academia, which is a space of enunciation that - until recently - have been particularly resistant to the introduction of the in-discipline trend embedded in the field of Cultural Studies – known for its inter-trans-discipline(s) features. Even though today this field has many supporters, in practice the academic institutions that regulate the curriculum in Spain are still unwilling to contemplate the wide possibilities that breaking disciplinary barriers might entail. Accordingly, this volume aims to be a compendium of the key contributions of the last decades from Cultural Studies and Post-colonial theories to the specific field of Latin American Studies. Moreover, this book has the objective of being a proposal and an investment in the future of this theoretical approach in the field of analysis and new trans-disciplinary debates in Spanish academia.

Human StudiesDr Christian Morgner, Human Studies, Trust and Confidence: History, Theory and Socio-Political Implications. December 2013, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 509-532

Even before trust became a buzzword, theoretical developments were made, which have instigated the development of two forms of trust which are described as personal trust and system trust/confidence. However, this distinction remained rather secondary in the overall literature. There is an overall lack on the historical developments of these forms of trust, their internal logic and how they interlink, overlap, or work against each other. The paper aims to advance these three aspects: first through a historical overview of the semantic of this distinction, followed by a theoretical reconstruction of the historical material and third by demonstrating how these theoretical concepts can be applied to political crises (Revolutions of 1989), thus revealing their logic and mutual interlocking.

Back to the FuturistsBack to the Futurists: The avant-garde and its legacy, (eds). Dr Simona Storchi with Elza Adamowicz (Manchester: MUP, 2013)

In 1909 the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s Founding Manifesto of Futurism was published on the front page of Le Figaro. Between 1909 and 1912 the Futurists published over thirty manifestos, celebrating speed and danger, glorifying war and technology, and advocating political and artistic revolution. This collection of essays aims to reassess the activities of the Italian Futurist movement from an international and interdisciplinary perspective, focusing on its activities and legacies in the field of poetry, painting, sculpture, theatre, cinema, advertising and politics.

The essays offer exciting new readings in gender politics, aesthetics, historiography, intermediality and interdisciplinarity. They explore the works of major players of the movement as well as its lesser-known figures, and the often critical impact of Futurism on contemporary or later avant-garde movements such as Cubism, Dada and Vorticism.

The publication will be of interest to scholars and students of European art, literature and cultural history, as well as to the informed general public.

Un Ciel de Sang et de Cendres

Un Ciel de Sang et de Cendres, Dr Fransiska Louwagie with Anny Dayan Rosenman (Eds).

After escaping the ghetto of Lvov and surviving internment in the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Leitmeritz, Piotr Rawicz became the author of a unique book on the destruction of Eastern European Jewry, Blood from the Sky, first published in French as Le Sang du ciel in 1961. His novel achieved immediate literary success but gradually fell into obscurity, receiving little critical attention for a long time. This book volume will enable the reader to rediscover a complex and unclassifiable writer, whose work fascinates by the violent beauty of its writing, by its unusual combination of pain and lyricism, as well as by its disdain of norms and conventions, including those which have gradually become established in the field of Holocaust narratives.

The book brings together texts by literary critics and scholars for whom Blood from the Sky is one of the most significant literary works written after the Holocaust. It also gathers texts by some of his friends – including writers such as Hélène Cixous, Elie Wiesel and Danilo Kis – as well as some of his lesser-known texts and pages of his unpublished diary.

PutumayoDr Lesley Wylie, Colombia’s Forgotten Frontier: A Literary Geography of the Putumayo (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013)

Coming to prominence during the tropical booms of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Putumayo has long been a site of mass immigration and exile, of subjugation and insurgency, and of violence. By way of a study of literature of and on the Putumayo by Latin American as well as US and European writers, Colombia’s Forgotten Frontier explores the history and enduring significance of this Amazonian border zone, which has been visited both physically and imaginatively by figures such as Roger Casement, José Eustasio Rivera, and William Burroughs. Travel writing, testimony, diaries, letters, journalism, oral history, songs, photographs, and ‘pulp’ fiction are all considered alongside more conventional forms such as the novel. Whilst geographically peripheral, the Putumayo has played a central role in Colombia and beyond, both historically and, crucial to this study, culturally, producing a literature of extreme experience, marginality, and conflict.

Bulletin of Spanish StudiesDr Sheldon Penn, 'The Time-Image in Carlos Reygadas' Stellet Licht: A Cinema of Immanence', Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 90/7 (2013), pp. 1159 – 1181

Stellet Licht (Luz silenciosa/Silent Light), the third full-length film by Mexican director Carlos Reygadas, was awarded the Jury Prize at Cannes upon its release in 2007. This study offers a close reading of the film, drawing primarily on Gilles Deleuze's concept of the time-image as developed in his two Cinema books, first published in 1983 and 1985. I demonstrate how the film functions as an exemplary case for the application of many of Deleuze's key defining aspects of the time-image such as the ‘still life’, the ‘opsign’, the ‘heautonomous’ audio-visual image, the ‘spiritual automaton’, the ‘power of the false’, the ‘irrational cut’ and the ‘outside/inside’ topography of modern cinema. The study draws comparisons with Carl Dreyer's Ordet (1955), an overt model for this film's staging of the miraculous resurrection of one its characters. Rather than read the resurrection as an exceptional event that shatters the film's apparent realism, I argue that Stellet Licht presents it as a manifestation of the time-image thereby affirming the immanence inherent in the singularity of everyday existence. These conclusions serve to illustrate my contentions that Stellet Licht can be defined stylistically as a form of strange or paradoxical naturalism.
Surveying the American TropicsEdited by Maria Cristina Fumagalli, Peter Hulme, Owen Robinson and Dr Lesley Wylie, Surveying the American Tropics: Literary Geographies from New York to Rio. (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013)

‘American Tropics’ refers to a kind of extended Caribbean, an area that includes the southern USA, the Atlantic littoral of Central America, the Caribbean islands, and northern South America. European colonial powers fought intensively here against indigenous populations and against each other for control of land and resources. The regions in the American Tropics share a history in which the dominant fact is the arrival of millions of white Europeans and black Africans; share an environment that is tropical or sub-tropical; and share a socio-economic model (the plantation), whose effects lasted at least well into the twentieth century.The imaginative space of the American Tropics therefore offers a differently centred literary history from those conventionally produced as US, Caribbean, or Latin American literature.This important collection brings together essays by distinguished scholars, including the late Neil Whitehead, Richard Price, Sally Price, and Susan Gillman, that engage with the idea of a literary geography of the American Tropics and that represent the rich diversity of the writing produced within this geographical area.

Luis BunuelDr Sheldon Penn, 'On a Road to Nowhere: Parodic Movement as Time-Image in La Voie lactée and Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie', in Rob Stone and Julián Daniel Gutiérrez Albilla (eds), A Companion to Luis Buñuel, (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), pp.457-478

This chapter offers a close reading of La Voie lactée (The Milky Way, 1969) and Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, 1972) with reference to Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the time-image. Deleuze argues that, whilst Buñuel was a chief exponent of the ‘impulse image’ (a category of the movement-image), his later films present a non-cyclical view of time that potentially aligns him with the time-image of ‘modern’ cinema. Rather than attempting to prove or disprove that hypothesis, this chapter examines movement in these two late films, arguing that they perform a parody of the ‘normal’ movement that Deleuze identifies as intrinsic to the movement-image. I am therefore arguing for the presence of a ‘soft’, transitional time-image and a ‘type’ of cinema that inhabits ground in the division between the movement-image and the time-image. In the course of this study, the chapter illustrates how both films present an excess of ‘normal’ cinematic movement and, in the process, encourage scepticism in the spectator causing an eruption of the time-image. My analysis of parodic movement in the films draws attention to the role of the flâneur, Walter Benjamin’s peripatetic spectator and re-processor of modernity. Although the figure of flâneur has been invoked in connection with the director and his protagonists, this chapter offers the first sustained study of the theme. It concludes that, rather than dialecticians of modernity, Buñuel’s pseudo- flâneurs are functions of aberrant movement and vital components of his particular brand of time-image.

Marked Word Order in the Quran and its English Translations

Marked Word Order in the Qur'an and its English Translations, Dr Ahmed Saleh Elimam

The literature on Balaghah (the art of Arabic eloquence) and commentaries on the Qur'an stress that the style of the Qur'an is "beautiful", "eloquent" and "inimitable". This literature identifies word order as one of the most distinctive aspects of Qur'anic style. One of the main reasons for this is that, compared to English, Arabic has fewer restrictions on word order, thanks to its elaborate verb inflection system and case marking. This flexibility allows for the foregrounding of some elements within the sentence, resulting in a marked (or non-canonical) word order and fulfilling certain discursive functions, including specification, restriction, emphasis, amplification/glorification, and denial. Marked word order is used to highlight or downplay certain elements in speech or writing. It constitutes one way of delivering meanings to the addressee, as these meanings are ordered in the mind of the speaker in terms of their importance, making the style a precise reflection of the speaker's mind and feelings. This book is a descriptive study which attempts to examine how translations of the Qur'an have handled ayahs (verses of the Qur'an) that feature lexical foregrounding, focusing on ten published translations into English, carried out by translators from different ideological and linguistic backgrounds. It offers a systematic comparison of the ways in which the selected translators deal with the linguistic feature of word order variation, and examines issues relating to the translator's style. Specifically, the book identifies and examines the following: instances of marked word order discussed by commentators on the Qur'an, and the function served by each case of lexical foregrounding; secondly, the options and/or patterns employed by translators to render the different functions of marked word order; thirdly, the recurrent options and/or patterns for rendering different types of word order variation. Finally, the book explores the factors which may have influenced the choice of particular strategies by different translators, including the translators' motivations and the various historical contexts in which the translations were made.

Beyond the PiazzaDr Simona Storchi ed., Beyond the Piazza. Public and Private Spaces in Modern Italian Culture (Bruxelles: Peter Lang, 2013)

The volume is a collection of essays focussing on the cultural construction, perception and representation of public and private spaces in 20th and 21st century Italian culture. Through the study of a variety of spaces, this book provides an exploration of the notions of private self and public sphere and considers their interaction. It focuses on areas where the spheres of public and private merge, meet or clash, and assesses the role played by spatial practices and representations in the complex coexistence, mutual definition and constant negotiation of public and private. It offers a variety of approaches, ranging from literature to history, art history, film and cultural studies. It brings to the fore issues relating to the production of space, such as perceptions and definitions of the self and privacy, the politics of the private and public, gender representations, the construction of collective and cultural memory, and the relationship between the individual and the urban environmnent.

Get Talking Italian

Get Talking Italian, Maria Guarnieri and Federica Sturani

When travelling, do you want to journey off the English-speaking path, meet people and communicate easily? If so then you need to Get Talking. Through 10 common scenarios plus culture and travel advice, you'll learn the skills for understanding and the confidence to speak Italian in just 10 days.

Practise the most frequent words and expressions for: Hiring a car; getting a bus or taxi; booking a hotel room; ordering food and drinks; going shopping; visiting a local museum; arranging opera tickets; talking to a doctor/chemist.

Keep Talking Italian

Keep Talking Italian, Maria Guarnieri and Federica Sturani

When going abroad do you want to: - Communicate more accurately and precisely? - Get to places other travellers don't? - Do more than just 'get by'? - Have fun and more authentic experiences? ... Then you need to Keep Talking! Through 10 common scenarios plus culture and travel advice this advanced beginner level audio course will get you beyond the basics. - Practise the most frequent words and expressions for common travel situations. This book will help you to progress in your understanding of naturally-paced conversations, encouorage you to personalise the language through interactive role-plays and perfect your pronunciation to sound more natural.


The Modern Language Review; Vol. 108, No. 4 (October 2013) (pp. 1135-1155)

This article focuses on Margherita Sarfatti's articles on the visual and decorative arts for the Fascist newspaper Il popolo d'Italia and its supplement, La rivista illustrata del popolo d'Italia. It argues that Sarfatti's interpretation of the notion of the classical in her art criticism, while responding to the stances of the post-war rappel à l'ordre, was part of a wider political and ideological project and was charged with a specific political significance, according to which the classical acquired a dimension in which beauty, politics, history, and lineage interlinked and were mobilized to serve the purposes of modern mass politics.

The cult of the DuceMargherita Sarfatti and the invention of the Duce, Dr Simona Storchi in ‘Mussolini as Monument: The Equestrian statue of the Duce at the Littoriale Stadium in Bologna' in C. Duggan, S. Gundle, G. Pieri (eds), The Cult of the Duce. Mussolini and the Italians (Manchester: MUP, 2013), pp. 193-208.

The cult of the Duce is the first book to explore systematically the personality cult of the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. It examines the factors which informed the cult and looks in detail at its many manifestations in the visual arts, architecture, political spectacle and the media. The conviction that Mussolini was an exceptional individual first became dogma among Fascists and then was communicated to the people at large. Intellectuals and artists helped fashion the idea of him as a new Caesar while the modern media of press, photography, cinema and radio aggrandised his every public act. The book considers the way in which Italians experienced the personality cult and analyses its controversial resonances in the postwar period.

Academics and students with interests in Italian and European history and politics will find the volume indispensable to an understanding of Fascism, Italian society and culture, and modern political leadership.


The Debate on the Decline of SpainThe Debate on the Decline of Spain, Dr Helen Rawlings (Manchester University Press, 2012). ISBN: 978-0-7190-7963-4 (hardback), 978-0-7190-7964-1 (paperback)

The circumstances surrounding the transformation of Spain from its position as a dominant imperial power in the sixteenth century to that of a nation which suffered a dramatic reversal of its political and economic fortunes in the seventeenth century has generated one of the most seminal ‘rise and decline’ debates in early modern history. However, the scholarship it has generated has not thus far been analyzed from a historiographical perspective. This book aims to bridge that gap. It assesses how the debate has evolved from the sixteenth century to the present day via a study of the historians who participated in it, the ideological, political and philosophical influences that shaped their outlook on events and the trends in historical research, methodology and discourse that have informed it. It demonstrates how the decline thesis has frequently been contested, adapted, revised and even overturned altogether by successive generations of international scholars. It illustrates how the debate has defined the long view of Spain’s historical trajectory by building upon its predisposition for greatness and failure, identifying on-going fluctuations in its fortunes as a continuum of past events.


Bulletin of Hispanic StudiesDr Sheldon Penn, ‘Matter, Memory and Pre-Hispanic Myth: The Poetry of Bernardo Ortiz de Montellano’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 88/6, (September 2011), pp. 665-76

In 'La poesía indígena de México' (1935), Ortiz de Montellano argues that the indigenous poetic image survives in translation. He equates the poetic word to the physical body and the image to the soul: the body/written word (in the divine, creative sense) may have perished but the soul (metaphysical essence) remains. This article shows how Montellano's poetry – mediated through indigenous and classical influences – reflects the essay in its exploration of the relationship between dream, life and death. The poems discussed are 'Segundo sueño' (1933), 'Muerte de cielo azul' (1937) and, briefly, 'Primero sueño' (1931). Building on Flores Esquivel's study of 'Segundo sueño', I contextualise Montellano's work within contemporary aesthetic and intellectual currents, linking these to the cosmology of the Libro de Chilam Balam de Chumayel and the Popol Vuh. The article argues that Montellano's appeal to the indigenous soul in his poetry is best understood within the contexts of Henri Bergson's concept of durée, a philosophy that was influential in the early twentieth century in Mexico.

George Sand and ColetteDr Marion Krauthaker, Genre Identity in the Works of George Sand and Colette. l'Harmattan: ISBN: 978-2-296-56172-4 • novembre 2011 • 396 pages

George Sand and Colette are both remembered for their anti-conformist lives and their publications condemning the hierarchical relationships between the sexes in the long 19th century in France. This study reveals how, at a time when the critique focused mainly on "feminist" claims aiming at women's emancipation, both authors already had the intuition that patriarchal contexts affected individual, gender, sexual and social practices for men as well as women. Through their creation of fallen patriarchs, strong female characters, transvestites and gay, lesbian and androgynous protagonists, it is indeed possible to distinguish, in their works, traces of the latest 21st century gender theories.

RS Spatial Practices

Dr Helen Rawlings, ‘Representational strategies of inclusion and exclusion in José del Olmo’s narrative and Francisco Rizi’s visual record of the Madrid Auto de Fe of 1680’, Romance Studies, vol. 29, no. 4, November 2011, pp.223-41.

The auto de fe – the symbolic enactment of the Spanish Inquisition’s religious, judicial and political authority – conveyed its function essentially via representational means. As well as serving as a theatre for the condemnation of those accused of heresy where mass was celebrated, the auto was a carefully choreographed affirmation of order and rank in society, set within defined spatial confines. The impressive ritual and ceremony associated with the event reached their climax in that held in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor on 30th June 1680. This article explores some of the inconsistencies in the strategies of inclusion and exclusion that underpinned the spectacle via a close reading of the inquisitorial official José del Olmo’s narrative account of the act of faith (1680) alongside the artist Francisco Rizi’s complementary visual interpretation (1683) and examines the resulting challenges posed to a conventional interpretation of the proceedings.

Edited by Dr Anna Vives with contributions from Dr Marina Spunta, Dr Nicole Fayard, Dr Anna Vives, Dr Sheldon Penn (see below).

Romance StudiesDr Sheldon Penn, ‘Oneiric Landscapes of Creation: Visions of Life and Death in José Gorostiza’s Muerte sin fin’, Romance Studies, 29/4 (2011), pp. 255-68

José Gorostiza remains the most celebrated of the Contemporáneos poets, a group active during the 1920s and 1930s and one Mexico's most significant twentieth-century literary movements. This article offers a new reading of Gorostiza's major work, Muerte sin fin (1939) that examines connections with indigenous Mesoamerican culture, the Mexican baroque, and European modernist poetry. Concentrating on Gorostiza's construction of an oneiric landscape inspired by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz's Primero sueño (1692), the study examines how the poet develops a conceptualization of death. Following indigenous mythopoetic traditions, death is figured not as an opposite to life, but as a state and a phase that interconnects with life as a part of a cosmic system. This attitude, in turn, is combined with a Surrealist sensibility that connects spatial representations of the physical and the metaphysical to the conscious and the unconscious. Revealing links to the clear influence of European modernism, the study draws comparisons with Die Sonette an Orpheus (1923) and, in particular, with Maurice Blanchot's reading of Rainer Maria Rilke's attitude to death. In conclusion, the article underlines the importance of this comparison for an understanding of Muerte sin fin, but emphasizes the differences in tone that stem from the specifically Mexican undercurrents of Gorostiza's poem.

TémoignerDr Fransiska Louwagie with Daniel Weyssow (Eds), La bande dessinée dans l’orbe des guerres et des genocides du XXe siècle, Thematic Issue of Témoigner. Entre histoire et mémoire. Revue pluridisciplinaire de la Fondation Auschwitz, 109 (2011), 220 p.  No. 109 (March 2011): La bande dessinée dans l'orbe des guerres et des génocides du XXe siècle [Twentieth Century Wars and Genocides in Graphic Novels and Comic Strips]

Graphic novels and comic strips have played a part in the darkest events of our recent history, both as a wartime tool and through their accounts of genocide.
The first part of the dossier evokes the part played in France, Great Britain and the Netherlands during the Second World War by publishers and authors of comics who chose the medium as a means of serving or resisting the enemy. The contribution made by comics to the war effort highlights its potential as a means of action and propaganda.  The dossier’s second part concerns the possible ways in which authors of graphic novels can choose to describe these events: the two World Wars, the Armenian, Jewish, Cambodian and Tutsi genocides or the Sabra and Chatila massacres. The creative imagination they have displayed in approaching subjects which were long considered as taboo for this medium bears witness to its ability to transcend the mere “restitution” of facts.

Textual and Visual SelvesTextual and Visual Selves: Photography, Film, and Comic Art in French Autobiography Dr Ann Miller, Natalie Edwards (Wagner College) and Amy L Hubbell (Kansas State University/University of Queensland) (Eds.). It is published in paperback by University of Nebraska Press.

This publication considers the recent trend among French language writers (in France and elsewhere) to incorporate visual elements into autobiographical work which do more than simply illustrate the text. Many of these works use the visual element in contrast to the text, confounding the obvious meaning and increasing rather than decreasing the ambiguity inherent in any but the most literal autobiography. The chapters draw on the ideas of the French philosopher and semiotician Roland Barthes whose work explored notions of authorship. In fact his 1975 autobiography Roland Barthes on Roland Barthes includes the instruction that the reader should view the ‘Roland Barthes’ within the book as a fictional character.

There is a strong tradition of autobiography within French literature (and art), extending significantly beyond the conventional memoirs which one might normally associate with this type of writing. Authors and artists addressed in this book, who have used text and images to blur the concepts of identity, include Georges Perec, Marguerite Duras, Sophie Calle, Hélène Cixous (once described by Jacques Derrida as the greatest living French language writer) and Agnès Varda.

Francophone Women Between Visibility and InvisibilityCorporeal Performance and Visible Gender Position in Colette's The Pure and the Impure by Dr Marion Krauthaker in Francophone Women Between Visibility and Invisibility

This chapter explores the ever-changing and performed identities in Colette’s work. It argues that Colette debunks patriarchal codes as mere constructions and demonstrates that sexual difference is not troubled but would be completely viable if binary division of gender characteristics and roles were not accepted as prescriptive. Colette’s characters successfully manipulate corporeal surfaces in order to invalidate traditional gender codes, avoid marginality and gain visibility.

Ahmed CTIS Occasional Studies

Edited by Ahmed Saleh Elimam and Vicki Flippance

Volume 6 - 2010ISBN: 0-9540829-5-8
Volume 5 - 2010ISBN: 0-9540829-4-X
ISSN: 1474-578X

Ahmed Elimam and Vicki Flippance

The Manchester Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies

CTIS Occasional Papers aims to publish high-quality research reports and working papers written by guest speakers at CTIS seminars and other scholars connected to CTIS.

George Sand: Intertextuality and Polyphony 1

A cross reading of “out of time” and “out of space” dynamics as patriarchal denunciations by Dr Marion Krauthaker in George Sand: Intertextualité et Polyphonie 1

This chapter analyses the intertextual dynamics between two texts by George Sand and Colette and their creation of “out of time” and “out of space” refuges and havens, meant to offer symbolic alternatives to the constraints imposed by the patriarchal societies inhabited by their main characters.

Letteratura come Fantasticazione

L. Rorato & Dr Marina Spunta (eds), Letteratura come fantasticazione. In conversazione con Gianni Celati, Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 2009

This volume examines the role of Gianni Celati in shaping Italian fiction and culture since the 1960s as a leading narrator, writer, scholar, translator and filmmaker. The first volume on Celati, the book stems from a conference on Celati organised in Leicester in 2007, which was attended by Celati himself, and by writers Ermanno Cavazzoni, Daniele Benati, Jean Talon and Enrico De Vivo.

Immigration and National IdentityImmigration and National Identity: North African Political Movements in Colonial and Postcolonial France (International Library of Migration Studies) [Hardcover], Dr Rabah Aissaoui

Immigration is at the heart of social, cultural and political debate in France, a country still struggling to come to terms with its postcolonial legacy.  This book provides a re-examination of the assumptions about immigrants and ethnic and national identity through a study of the Maghrebis, especially their political mobilisation from the colonial to the postcolonial period. Combining insights from the archive and interviews with political activists, it examines the diaspora's voice and their struggle against racism and oppression. Through a study of key political movements, the author shows how they constructed a powerful and consistent political tradition and charts the development, in France, of the Algerian anti-colonial and nationalist movement, as well as new forms of political activism during the 1970s. "Immigration and National Identity" foregrounds the migrants' perspective and the necessary historical background to the fraught contemporary context of immigrant communities in France.

Colonial TropesDr Lesley Wylie, Colonial Tropes and Postcolonial Tricks: Rewriting the Tropics in the ‘novela de la selva’ (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2009)

The vision of the South American rainforest as a wilderness of rank decay, poisonous insects, and bloodthirsty ‘savages’ in the Spanish American novela de la selva has often been interpreted as a belated imitation of European travel literature. This book offers a new reading of the genre by arguing that, far from being derivative, the novela de la selva re-imagined the tropics from a Latin American perspective, redefining tropical landscape aesthetics and ethnography through parodic rewritings of European perceptions of Amazonia in fictional and factual travel writing. With particular reference to the four emblematic novels of the genre – W. H. Hudson’s Green Mansions [1904], José Eustasio Rivera’s La vorágine [1924], Rómulo Gallegos’s Canaima [1935], and Alejo Carpentier’s Los pasos perdidos [1953] – the book explores how writers throughout post-independence Latin America turned to the jungle as a locus for the contestation of both national and literary identity, harnessing the superabundant tropical vegetation and native myths and customs to forge a descriptive vocabulary which emphatically departed from the reductive categories of European travel writing. Despite being one of the most significant examples of postcolonial literature to emerge from Latin America in the twentieth century, the novela de la selva has, to date, received little critical attention: this book returns a seminal genre of Latin American literature to the centre of contemporary debates about postcolonial identity, travel writing, and imperial landscape aesthetics.

Claudio Piersanti

Claudia Piersanti, by Dr Marina Spunta

An in-depth analysis of the work of Italian writer Claudio Piersanti, which examines all his novels and collections of short stories since the 1970s, sets them in the context of Italian society and culture and explore their key themes and issues. This first monograph on Piersanti also includes an interview with the author and a detailed bibliography.



Ahmed Functions and TranslationsDr Ahmed Saleh Elimam, “Marked Word-Order in the Qur’an: Functions and Translation”, Across Languages and Cultures, Vol. 10(1)

Word order in English is relatively fixed and the meaning of a sentence depends on the position of words in that sentence (Biber et al. 1999:898). Arabic, on the other hand, is more flexible as far as word order is concerned, thanks to its elaborate case marking and verb inflection systems. Moving elements within a sentence are called ‘foregrounding’, ‘inversion’, ‘preposing and postposing’ etc., in English and al-Taqdīm wa al-Ta’khīr in Arabic. The Qur’ān, rather than only using unmarked word orders, employs this linguistic feature of altering the order of elements within a clause for certain discursive functions. Drawing on the Arabic balāghah (Arabic art of eloquence) literature, this paper attempts, first, to establish some of the functions that are realised through using marked word order in the Qur’ān and, second, emphasise that word order in the Qur’ān is used to realise specific discursive functions, which should be taken into consideration when translating it into other languages, including English.

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