Friday, February 27, 2009

John Clare and Community

If you only have time to read one thing during March - make sure it is Theresa Adams' fascinating study "Representing Rural Leisure: John Clare and the Politics of Popular Culture". In this article Theresa demonstrates how John Clare "shows the reader that leisure (including ballads, stories and customs) builds community horizontally between members of the same class, offering an escape from paternalistic surveillance, and providing what Raymond Williams calls 'a breathing-space, a fortunate distance, from the immediate and visible controls' of and unequal social systems. Customs are not merely entertainment, but an expression of laborers' customary rights, unwritten rules that limit the master's power and grant laborer's standing in the social body."

A careful analysis of some of some of Clare's key poems contrasts his writing with that of Thomson and Bloomfield to reveal the true extent of Clare's originality
Published in Studies in Romanticism, 47 (Fall 2008) 371-392

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Revolutionary Mode

Richard Porton, author of Film and the Anarchist Imagination, considers the anarchist cinema of the 21st century, on Moving Image Source:

Another Country

Claudia Roth Pierrepont writes about "James Baldwin's flight from America" in the New Yorker:

"Baldwin had been fleeing from place to place for much of his adult life. He was barely out of his teens when he left his Harlem home for Greenwich Village, in the early forties, and he had escaped altogether at twenty-four, in 1948, buying a one-way ticket to Paris, with no intention of coming back. His father was dead by then, and his mother had eight younger children whom it tortured him to be deserting; he didn’t have the courage to tell her he was going until the afternoon he left. There was, of course, no shortage of reasons for a young black man to leave the country in 1948. Devastation was all around: his contemporaries, out on Lenox Avenue, were steadily going to jail or else were on “the needle.” His father, a factory worker and a preacher—“he was righteous in the pulpit,” Baldwin said, “and a monster in the house”—had died insane, poisoned with racial bitterness."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Arrests, death threats, and Freedom of Expression

Johann Hari writes in the Independent about the continuing attack on freedom of freedom of expression by religious fundamentalism:
"I know that the price of taking offence is that I can give it too, if that is where the facts lead me."

[long url shorterned at tinyurl]

Meanwhile in Britain the space for dissent and alternative views is shrinking further. The way news is gathered and reported is under threat again from another piece of state legislation, this time it is the Counter Terrorism Act 2008. Section 76 of the Act which gives the police new powers to to stop and search photographers and prevent them from taking pictures in public comes into force next week.. Read more in the British Journal of Photography:

for details of recent incidents when press photographers have already been prevented from doing their job see this article on Hold the Front Page: