Issue 40.4


General Issue

Published: December 2007

View the issue introduction or see the issue summary and contents below.

 10 essays, totalling 184 pages

 $16.95 CAD

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Spatial theory, racial theory, trauma theory, feminist social theory: the ten essays collected in this issue read diaries, poetry, fiction, and film through a number of current theories. These essays approach the body, the black female body, as well as Kant’s Categorical Imperative. They examine the fashioning of masculinity along with the Amazon trickster, Camus’s La Chute, Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, Corbettt’s The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag, and Fahrenheit 911. This is the kind of issue that makes Mosaic the journal to read.

Falling for Dante: The Inferno in Albert Camus’s La chute

Harriet Hustis

Two features of Camus’s La chute have received critical attention: its status as a long-delayed response to Jean-Paul Sartre’s criticisms of The Rebel and the influence of Dante’s Inferno. However, the extent to which these two features of La chute are interconnected and the way in which Camus’s intertextual dialogue with Inferno is integral to that interconnection remains unexplored. This essay seeks to repair that omission.

Mutilated Selves: Pauline Melville, Mário de Andrade, and the Troubling Hybrid

Albert Braz

Pauline Melville’s The Ventriloquist’s Tale is a postcolonial novel that talks back to a variety of earlier works, notably Mário de Andrade’s Macunaíma. This essay argues that a crucial difference between the two texts is their rather dissimilar attitudes toward the cultural and racial multiplicity embodied by the Amazonian trickster Macunaima.

The Wages of Weight: Dorothy West’s Corporeal Politics

Meredith Goldsmith

This essay analyzes the black female body as a source of intraracial class conflict, uncovering parallels between West’s heroine, social climber Cleo Judson, and her sister, compulsive eater Charity Reid. West links the sisters by their appetites, which the black bourgeoisie sought to repress in their quest for respectability.

Neo’s Kantian Choice: The Matrix Reloaded and the Limits of the Posthuman

Dana Dragunoiu

Kant’s Categorical Imperative procedure is applied to the conundrum that animates the second installment of The Matrix trilogy: how can Neo act autonomously in a deterministic world? The essay argues that Neo’s success depends on his ability to act on principle, an achievement that recovers a liberal humanist ideal from the claims of posthumanism.

The Rhetorical Function of Comedy in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11

Aloys Fleischmann

This essay integrates models of genre and rhetorical analysis, psychoanalysis, and sociological trauma theory. It argues that the impact of the cultural trauma of 9/11 is deployed by Moore to destabilize state-sponsored avenues of that trauma’s own propagation, and that the comic form is a crucial mode in this destabilization.

Picture This: Space and Time in Lisa Robertson’s “Utopia/”

Ian Davidson

This essay examines relationships between space and time in Lisa Robertson’s poem “Utopia/,” demonstrating connections between Robertson’s poetics and aspects of spatial theory, and the ways in which her concerns with architectural form, urban space, “ornament,” style, and surface can inform readings of her work.

“Diamonds of the dustheap”: A quoi servent les journaux des femmes?

Valérie Baisnée

Cet essai analyse le rôle des journaux personnels dans l’écriture des femmes à la lumière de l’intérêt critique croissant pour le genre. S’appuyant sur des textes de langue française et anglaise qu’il confronte aux théories féministes et sociologiques, il démontre que les journaux écrits par des femmes du vingtième siècle aident celles-ci à se représenter comme écrivaines et leur permettent d’explorer les rapports complexes entre la vie et l’art.

The Politics of Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest

J.A. Zumoff

Although Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest is often read as a Marxist novel, this essay argues that the novel’s politics are much more ambiguous, reflecting Hammett’s position at the time as between his earlier employment as a Pinkerton detective and his later sympathy with the Communist Party.

Mr. Ramsay, Robert Falcon Scott, and Heroic Death

Allyson Booth

This essay charts Mr. Ramsay’s development as a character in To the Lighthouse by placing his journey in the historical context of Robert Falcon Scott’s fatal expedition to the South Pole and in the literary contexts of the works Mr. Ramsay reads and recites to himself throughout the novel.

Environmentalism and Imperial Manhood in Jim Corbett’s The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag

Jesse Oak Taylor

This essay examines the “imperial manhood” of the British Empire as constructed in relation to class, nature, and the hunt in Jim Corbett’s The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag. The essay argues that Corbett re-fashions this masculinity through his burgeoning environmentalism, attempting to maintain his identity despite the empire’s dissolution.