BSJ

The Butler Scholarly Journal

Category: Literature

  1. The Harlem Renaissance poets and identity

    The Harlem Renaissance was a time of flourishing cultural, artistic and social development in Harlem, New York, during the 1920s. The neighbourhood of Harlem was claimed to encapsulate a productive sense of living together and creativity. There is some confusion about a clear definition for the movement as it derived from overlapping phenomena. The term ‘Negro Renaissance’ arose in the early to mid-1920s to signify a general cultural awakening and moment of recognition.[1] However, there is a distinction between the sense of a ‘Black Renaissance’ and ‘Harlem Vogue’: the emancipation and revolution of black creativity versus the interest of white…

  2. ‘Lifting the gauze’: How Walt Whitman connects with Americans in Song of Myself

    Almost two centuries after his birth, Walt Whitman remains one of America’s most respected and well-loved poets. But why is it that we continue to feel such a connection to this 19th-century man and the words he wrote? The ideas of connection and unity are ones I will explore in relation to Whitman’s work. Whitman’s treatment of the concept of the soul is particularly important in addressing boundaries, or lack of them, within ‘Song of Myself’. The poet perceives little distinction between his own soul and those of others, particularly in the line “Clear and sweet is my soul, and…

  3. Bodily Experience in D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers

    Bodily experience often seems difficult to adequately portray in literature, given its subjectivity. However, D. H. Lawrence’s novel Sons and Lovers arguably attempts to forge a style of writing centred on sensation. Despite exploring abstract notions of spirituality and the unconscious, Lawrence grounds his narrative in the experience of the body in a way that may be linked to his status as a ‘Modern’ writer. We may consider Hugh Stevens’ question of Lawrence’s novels: ‘can fiction be modernist when it aims to help us to recapture a premodern…relationship with nature and with our own bodies, and dissolve boundaries between the…

  4. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: A response to Gove’s English syllabus reforms

    Michael Gove recently caused somewhat of a furore with the announcement of his plans to remove American Literature from the GCSE English Literature syllabus, discarding John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in favour of Austen and Dickens. One fellow English Literature student wailed, ‘Now kids will never know about Atticus Finch, and that is just wrong!’ Much as their melodramatic anguish made me laugh, I could neither refute that their point was valid nor that I was equally infuriated by Gove’s decision. That is not to say that Charles Dickens is anything short…

  5. Slaughterhouse-Five: A Crisis of Representation?

    Literature can be something we use for pleasure and escapism. We find narratives comforting because they convey meaning onto events which may otherwise seem illogical and upsetting; stories may use certain common tropes to settle the reader with something familiar and often offer some form of satisfying closure when they come to an end. What we sometimes forget is that literature can also be the site of cultural, societal, and political criticism in ways which may be jarring and unsettling. Literature which seeks to really make us think often consciously breaks away from typical narrative forms in order to challenge…

  6. Interview: The Lion and the Lamb

    John Henry Clay is a novelist and lecturer in medieval history at Durham University. The Butler Scholarly Journal caught up with him to discuss his highly acclaimed debut novel, The Lion and the Lamb (July 2013). The Butler Scholarly Journal: What drew you to mid-4th century Roman Britain as a setting for your first novel, The Lion and the Lamb? John Henry Clay: I first came across the period as an archaeology undergraduate, and something about it caught my imagination. It was the ‘Golden Age’ of Roman Britain, a world of palatial country villas and bustling cities, with a highly…

  7. Time Documentary

    This is the first documentary produced by the Butler Scholarly Journal on the topic of ‘Time’. What is time? When did time begin? Is time travel possible? These questions are discussed by Matt Armitage and Jack Bryan in terms of physics, by Hannah Buckley in terms of philosophy, and Ruby Lawrence in terms of English Literature. Produced by Carmen Horrocks Edited by Bryn Coombe

  8. Fictions of Terrorism: Authorship and Consolation

    It is no small wonder that so many novelists have capitalised on the unique emotional intensity and intrigue surrounding the various manifestations of that elusive concept, ‘terrorism’. Acts of terrorism can be brutal and devastating, ‘manifestoes written in the blood of others’ (Régis Debray) which are intended to shock and disturb. Few people of our generation will forget the first time they heard of the appalling 9/11 attacks, and responses to terrorism can be similarly disturbing; a Brazilian commuter was killed by British police subsequent to the London Underground bombings of July 2005 (Matthew Carr). The relationship between terror and fiction is perhaps an…