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—winner of the 2020 Mythopoeic Award for Scholarship
ABSTRACT:A Modernist Fantasy unearths a legacy of politically radical and formally experimental modernist fantasy fiction, a red thread running from the 1890s to the 1970s. But the recuperation of that lost tradition is as important as revising the critical traditions that excluded it from the start, an exclusion that challenges how we understand modernism itself. The endless definitions of genre and rhetorics in fantasy and science fiction are transformed here by modernist studies as a catalyst. In both stances, anarchist critical and artistic praxis conjures a pathway to flexible new links between fields and ideas.
ABSTRACT: Gifford's invigorating work of metacriticism and literary history recovers the significance of the "lost generation" of writers of the 1930s and 1940s. He examines how the Personalism of anarcho-anti-authoritarian contemporaries such as Alex Comfort, Robert Duncan, Lawrence Durrell, J.F. Hendry, Henry Miller, Elizabeth Smart, Dylan Thomas, and Henry Treece forges a missing link between Late Modernist and postmodernist literature. He concludes by applying his recontextualization to four familiar texts by Miller, Durrell, Smart, and Duncan, and encourages readers to re-engage the lost generation using this new critical lens. Scholars and students of literary modernism, 20th century Canadian literature, and anarchism will find a productive vision of this neglected period within Personal Modernisms.
ABSTRACT: "A frightful hobgoblin stalks through Europe. We are haunted by a ghost, the ghost of Communism." This epigraph comes from the 1850 translation of The Communist Manifesto by Helen Macfarlane, and this special feature in The New Americanist assumes that a similarly frightful hobgoblin stalks through genre fiction, too. Fantasy as a genre is haunted by that same ghost: the ghost of critical cultural theory, the ghost of the literary criticism borne of Marx and Engels's work. The fantastic, the hobgoblin, and fantasy literature as we know it were "always already" present in the early articulations of critical theory. Fantasy, though, does not merely echo. It presents unique challenges to critical theory, both to readers and to literary critics, not least because of its seeming opposition to realism, materialism, and history itself. What then are readers to do? Must the hobgoblin be exorcised, or do we find a medium through which to communicate with it? The hobgoblin stalks, not strides, and by remaining hidden and hunting, it protects itself behind a veil of ideology and cultural hegemony. The invisible hand of the interests of a ruling class remain hidden and invisible as normative values, all the more powerful for being unseen, but so too are many of our theoretical assumptions for how to read fantasy as genre. These questions and concerns fuelled this special feature in The New Americanist. The answers in seven articles and a critical Introduction are varied and point to as many traditions in theory as they do traditions in fantasy.
Gifford, James, James M. Clawson, & Fiona Tomkinson. Eds. Archives & Networks of Modernism. Spec. issue of Global Review: A Biannual Special Topics Journal 1.1 (2013).
ABSTRACT:Archives & Networks of Modernism developed to address or collapse the
plurality of Modernist and Late Modernist networks and archives. The collection instead
adopts an international perspective, in particular where each network or archive intersects or
interrupts the other. In this, it draws from the established tropes of the New Modernist
Studies, but often moving through somewhat less established locales, methods, figures, or
Gifford, James, Ozen Asik-Dizdar, & Constance Bygrave. Eds. Globalize, Identify, Transform. Suppl. issue 1 of Global Review: A Biannual Special Topics Journal 1 (2013).
ABSTRACT: In today's world, change is inevitable in the institutions that shape our identity in multiple roles. Under the influence of globalization, cultural values combine in unprecedented ways and question existing institutions, values, identities, and future expectations. This supplementary issue of Global Review collects a selective proceedings from the Globalize, Identify, Transform symposium held at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Vancouver, 16-17 May 2013.
ABSTRACT: In 1989 some proclaimed the imminent universal triumph of a particular state form – the
modern liberal state. Since then, others proclaim the imminent demise of the modern nation state under
advancing globalization. Yet modern states continue to be formed – from the former Yugoslavia to the new
East Timor. One thing is clear in these developments. Despite the global promotion of science and commerce,
culture in various forms had and has a major if not central role in state formation, from ancient times to
the present. The four volumes of Culture and the State address all these issues, and more. Organized
around a set of flexible themes, the series considers the role of culture variously defined – high and low,
elite and popular, local and global, historical and contemporary – in the creation, maintenance,
transformation, and demise of states.
ABSTRACT: Durrell occupies a liminal position in the canon of twentieth-century literature. A British author, he was born in India to parents who had never been on the British Isles, and as a consequence was denied the right to enter or settle, though he resided in Britain for over a decade and held positions in the Foreign Office during and following World War II. In a similar pattern, his oeuvre exists 'in-between' schools and movements: he is neither as direct an author as Henry Miller nor as controlled as T. S. Eliot, both of whom
were major correspondents and influences; his works are known as both surrealist and realist; and as a modernist, his texts consistently anticipate effects and sensibilities associated with the postmodern. In this collection, a number of new perspectives on Durrell's works appear.
ABSTRACT: Edward Taylor Fletcher was a nineteenth-century literary figure who has
been almost completely forgotten by history. Poet, travel writer, essayist,
surveyor, philologist, and translator, Fletcher shared many characteristics
with the great literary figures of the time. Yet his writing represents a
significant departure from his contemporaries and a close reading of his
work reshapes our understanding of the Canadian long poem and the cultural
values of Canadian poetry. A polyglot, Fletcher's poetry interweaves
Canadian landscapes with modern and ancient traditions of the East and West
and integrates allusions and innovations from several different literary
traditions including the Kalavela, the Mahabharata, and the
Poetic Edda. By recuperating Fletcher's nineteenth-century works,
James Gifford uncovers a unique Canadian literary voice who explored
content, style, and concerns unlike the popular colonial narratives of his
ABSTRACT: Best known for his novels and travel writing, Lawrence Durrell defied easy classification within twentieth-century modernism. His antiauthoritarian tendencies put him at odds with many contemporaries„aesthetically and politically. However, thanks to a compelling recontextualization by editor James Gifford, these 38 previously unpublished and out-of-print essays and letters reveal that Durrell's maturation as an artist was rich, complex, and subtle. This edition promises to open up new approaches to interpreting his more famous works.
ABSTRACT: This critical edition of the 1923 state of Hemingway's In Our Time is the first of three volumes for each major state of the text. Few writers have shaped the style of twentieth century prose as did Hemingway, and it all began with the "vignettes" in The Little Review, which have been largely unavailable for scholars and entirely out of reach for classroom use. Hemingway's related "They All Made Peace – What Is Peace?" from the same issue is also included. The editions are released in Canada under a Creative Commons 3.0 unported license for free use and modification.
ABSTRACT: This critical edition of Hemingway's 1924 version of in our time is the second of three volumes for each major state of the text. Few writers have shaped the style of twentieth century prose as did Hemingway, and it all began with the "vignettes" of in our time, which have been largely unavailable for scholars and entirely out of reach for classroom use. The editions are released in Canada under a Creative Commons 3.0 unported license for free use and modification.
Fletcher, Edward Taylor. The Lost Island: Atlantis. Intro & Notes. James Gifford. Engravings. Peter Lazarus. Mission: Horse Whisper Press, 2011.
ABSTRACT: This fine edition revives Fletcher's 1889 long poem The Lost Island, written in Victoria, British Columbia. Produced at the Barbarian Press and using rich illustrations from with wood engravings by Peter Lazarus, the poem retells the myth of Atlantis while combining diverse mythic traditions from India, Scandinavia, and Europe in a landscape that reflects the West Coast of Canada. This edition attempts to fulfill Archibald Lampman's call in his 1893 review: "Let us do honor to such a poet, who has maintained a reserve so fine and so unusual, who has run so far counter to the clamorous custom of his age as to live out a long life in the tranquil life of books, wisdom and poetry."
Wilde, Oscar. The Picture
of Dorian Gray. Ed. & Intro. James Gifford. Victoria, BC: McPherson Library, University of
Victoria, 2011. (download updated EPUB or PDF directly)
ABSTRACT: In 1890, Oscar Wilde published the first version of The Picture of Dorian Gray in
Lippincott's Monthly Magazine. After vociferous public responses, Wilde completed his revisions,
expanding the novel by half again and adding his now famous "Preface" for what, in 1891, became the
standard version of the novel. This leaves readers with two distinct versions of this literary
masterpiece. This edition uses the British edition of the often overlooked 1890 printing prior to
Wilde's expansions and expurgations. It also fills a gap in student-oriented publications of The
Picture of Dorian Gray by making the 1890 instantiation of the novel available for classroom use.
As an entirely electronic edition, it encourages a blended learning environment that privileges the
text's accessibility and portability -- students have access to a standard document with uniform
pagination in a Portable Document Format as well as ePub formats for a range of mobile reading
devices. The annotations to this edition generally assume an undergraduate reader without
significant prior experience.
Stephanides, Theodore. Autumn Gleanings: Corfu Memoirs & Poems. Eds. Lindsay
Parker, James Gifford, & Anthony Hirst. Pine Bluff, AR: International Lawrence Durrell Society, 2011.
ABSTRACT: Theodore Stephanides was a polymath. He had an international reputation as a scientist (he
was a medical doctor, a naturalist and an astronomer), but he was also a poet and a translator. Stephanides
was born in India, but came to Corfu with his family as a child, and it was there, many years later, that
he encountered the Durrell family, who moved to Corfu in 1935. Complete for the first time in Autumn
Gleanings are Stephanides' memoirs of his meetings with Lawrence Durrell in Corfu, Athens and Egypt,
in the years 1935-44, together with his last (and hitherto unpublished) collection of poems. Both the
memoirs and the poems are, by turns, witty, perceptive, erudite and compassionate.
ABSTRACT: First published in 1937, two years after Durrell took up residence on the Greek island
Kerkyra, Panic Spring broke with the realist tradition in 1930s novels and shows the young author's
first attempts to extend High Modernist innovations in rural and personal landscapes. Cubist, surrealist,
and imagist techniques merge with rural life and the peasant village that an international group of
expatriates are led to by a curiously Pan-like boatman. Unavailable for seven decades, this new edition
of Panic Spring shows Durrell's emerging passion for Mediterranean life and the Greek world as
well as his first attempts to articulate a political-aesthetic direction distinct from his peers, George
Orwell and W.H. Auden. Under the shadow of financial and political ruin, on the verge of revolution and
war, the one chance summer depicted in Panic Spring will make readers reconsider the impetus and
interests behind Durrell's late modernist masterpieces, The Alexandria Quartet, The Black
Book, and Prospero's Cell.
Durrell, Lawrence. Pied Piper
of Lovers. Ed. & Intro. James Gifford. Victoria, BC: ELS Editions, 2008.
ABSTRACT: Durrell's first novel, Pied Piper of Lovers, was published in 1935, shortly after he
left England to live abroad until his death in 1990. As an autobiographical Künstlerroman, it traces Walsh
Clifton's Anglo-Indian childhood and his struggles to negotiate a life between "mother" India and "father"
England. The trauma of leaving India for an alien home propels the novel's concerns with colonial life and
its wounds, transitioning from an idyllic rural world to London and Bloomsbury in the 1920s. Pied Piper of
Lovers draws keenly from Durrell's own life and charts the emotional experiences that would drive the
rest of his career. For these reasons, Durrell never allowed republication, and the novel was largely lost in
the London Blitz. Pied Piper of Lovers prompts significant reconsideration of the impetus and political
tensions behind Durrell's late modernist masterpieces, The Alexandria Quartet, The Avignon Quintet,
and Bitter Lemons. This new edition allows readers to reevaluate Durrell's complex role as a colonial
writer in a postcolonial world by emphasizing his irony, privileges, and bitterness for a life always lived
Miller, Henry & Herbert Read. The Henry Miller-Herbert Read Letters: 1935-58. Ed. James Gifford.
Ann Arbor: Roger Jackson, Inc., 2007.
ABSTRACT: This book collects the correspondence between Herbert Read and Henry Miller, ancillary
writings by Read, and my extensive critical revision to the development and ideological underpinning of
Anglo-American Surrealism. I also reconstruct the literary network that developed around both authors
before and in the wake of the 1936 London International Surrealist Exhibition. Ancillary materials include
Read's related poetry The End of A War and his critical work on Miller.
ABSTRACT: The recent popularity of the film version of Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" has renewed interest in this widely read work set in the realm of Middle-Earth. A careful study of Tolkien's work can be used to raise several philosophical questions, particularly in the area of ethics. This course will examine such questions, also considering topics from political philosophy, cosmology, and literary theory. Brief mention will be made of Tolkien's colleague C.S. Lewis. Cross-lists with PHIL 3305.
ABSTRACT: Selected works from the literatures of former European colonies: African, Indian, Caribbean, Australian, Canadian, Latin American, etc. Colonialism waned in the 1940s through 60s amidst decolonization movements, yet globalization flourished in often unnoticed, hegemonic pathways. Considering cultural products of this moment leads us to ask what happens in the age of globalization that follows after an age of nationalism. When capital migrates, and labour follows, whence culture? What and who are the Others of a global culture? This course will give students the social, cultural, and literary tools to manage the critical paradigms that now shape the discipline. It assumes no familiarity with the critical materials and will build students' critical tools and literary background from the ground up.
ABSTRACT: An introduction to music appreciation and history that emphasizes the political, cultural, and social influences on music from antiquity to the 20th century. Contents include sacred and secular, vocal and instrumental, and folk and art music from across the Western world, including modern popular song. No previous musical experience necessary. All course materials, including textbooks, are included.
——. ENGL 3386: Studies in American & British Literature Study Guide. Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson U, 2015. 134 pp.
ABSTRACT: Courses in selected works from British and American literary tradition. English 3386 equips students for critical encounters with the texts, images, sounds, and situations that constitute American and British life, politics, history, and culture. This section is organized around the theme of "Versioning Digital Humanities." Many texts go through various "versions" as they are revised for republications, corrected for new editions, altered to suit audience responses, and so forth. To respond to the plural states of such texts, readers may draw on various tools, including digitizing, collating, versioning, and visualizing texts individually and in combination. Through a series of essays and formal assignments, students will also improve their understanding of persuasive and correct communication while acquiring the digital humanities skill sets that assist in responding to texts in multiple witnesses.
——. CMNS 358: Popular Culture & the Media. Athabasca, AB: Athabasca U, 2013. 249 pp.
ABSTRACT: This course introduces you to the field of cultural studies and covers two bodies of literature: the critical and scholarly work of cultural studies and the mass-produced entertainments of popular culture. To understand the critical readings in this course, you must recognize and appreciate your watching skills, and unpack the assumptions and habits they make invisible. Not only must you learn to read popular culture but you must relearn and become self-conscious of the skill sets you have internalized. Reading both the critical and the entertaining is a balancing act this course will help you perform well.
——. HUMN 2456: Dissent in Popular Culture Study Guide. Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson U, 2013. 233 pp.
ABSTRACT: The United States was born and thrives in a culture of dissent that has become an inseparable part of the American Experience. This course will explore the mutually beneficial relationship between the media and dissent in American culture touching upon music, literature, television and film.
——. HUMN 2439: Radical Political Thought Study Guide. Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson U, 2013. 174 pp.
ABSTRACT: This course explores major currents of political radicalism both within and outside of the dominant western political tradition. Topics considered may include antidemocratic radicalism, democratic radicalism, Marxian radicalism, radical feminism, radical individualism, and post-colonial radicalism. Cross-lists with PHIL 2439.
ABSTRACT: Introduction to the literary theory, form and style of Modernism, a literary movement which dominated the first half of the 20th century and continues to exert its influence over literature today, which, tellingly, is described by the label post-Modernism. Students will become familiar with Modernist literature and the various artistic movements designated under the term "Modernism." Students will learn to critically examine modernist materials by drawing on the critical perspectives most common in modernist studies: the New Criticism, Cultural Studies, and various forms of analysis. After completing the course, students will be adept at approaching modernist literatures as social artifacts influenced by and influencing various socio-political responses to modernity. General familiarity with modernist materials in the visual and performing arts will also be established.
ABSTRACT: Textual studies of the differing witnesses of Durrell's works have become a familiar approach among scholarship on his major novel series. However, his mid-career The Revolt of Aphrodite has garnered no textual studies, nor have any corrected editions been issued. Durrell's annotated copy of the first book of the series, Tunc, reveals his intended corrections, elisions, thematic concerns, passages for potential revisions, and the moments most important to unifying it with the subsequent volume Nunquam.
Gifford, James & Orion Kidder. "Alan Moore & Anarchist Praxis in Form: Bibliography, Remediation, & Aesthetic Form in V for Vendetta & Black Dossier." Working Class Superheroes: Populist Politics in Comics, Films, & Television. Ed. Marc DiPaolo. University Press of Mississippi, 2018. 94–125.
ABSTRACT: The Egyptian Surrealist Art et Liberté group was recuperated in two exhibitions beginning in 2016 and continuing through 2018. The larger exhibition by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath emphasizes the group's internationalism and the complexity of its engagement with various forms of Surrealism, including André Breton and Leon Trotsky's 1938 manifesto as well as anarchist revisions to Surrealism initiated by Henry Miller's Villa Seurat group that extended to the New Apocalypse in England and other English language writers in Egypt and America. The second exhibition curated through the Sharjah Art Foundation by Hoor Al Qasimi, Salah M. Hassan, Ehab Ellaban, and Nagla Samir instead stresses the group's Marxist affinities and represents it as preceding the subsequent instrumentalist art of the Egyptian Contemporary Art group. Critical responses to the exhibitions have emphasized the Trostskyist tradition. However, the elision of anarchist networks distributing Art et Liberté's work and of non-bourgeois notions of the individual limit interpretive opportunities. This article outlines how these complex political affiliations reveal that the group, like the Mediterranean Sea, was a point of connection to other global movements, periods, and ideologies rather than a barrier against them.
——. "Cairo to California: Art & Liberty to Anarchist Post-Surrealism." Art & Liberty: Rupture, War, & Surrealism in Egypt (1938–1948). Eds. Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath. Paris: Skira, 2016. 10–15. (Exhibition catalogue for "Art et Liberté," at the Centre Georges Pompidou Paris, the Tate Liverpool, & Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen)
——. "Dispossessed Sexual Politics: Henry Miller's Anarchism qua Kate Millett and Ursula K. Le Guin." Henry Miller: New Perspectives. Eds. James Decker & Indrek Männiste. London: Bloomsbury, 2015. 173–186.
——. "Anarchist Surrealism & Canadian Apocalyptic Modernism: Allusive Political Praxis in Elizabeth Smart's By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept." New Developments in Anarchist Studies. Eds. P.J. Lilley & Jeff Shantz. Brooklyn, NY: Punctum Books, 2015. 333–357.
ABSTRACT: This essay outlines an ongoing critical intervention in the growing field of late modernist studies by recuperating anarchism as a political philosophy for English language writers of the 1930s and 1940s. The first section gives an overview of the development of late modernism as a critical category and how its early basis in Marxist criticism developed from the Auden generation. The second section traces new and expanded international networks made visible through attention to anarchist rather than Marxist sen- sibilities. The third section considers the development of fantasy genre fiction based on the emergence of major authors from the antiauthoritarian literary networks outlined and as a continuation of the political transformation of activism to literary aesthetics and form. The conclusion anticipates coming expansions in the critical corpus through attentiveness to anarchism more broadly in late modernist studies and the new modernist studies generally.
ABSTRACT: Both Alex La Guma and Aidan Higgins stress a vital relationship between subjectivity
and territory. Both also vividly bond social consciousness to an indigenous sense of rootedness in
place, and for both it is a place of ancestors from which subjectivity emerges and to which it returns.
This surprises given the metaphysical rather than materialist concepts with which this figuration
aligns. They also share a complex decolonizing vision contextualized in both instances by the
Marxist understandings of class and settler colonialism that shaped postcolonial discourses of the
1960s. Hence, this article draws on theories of indigeneity in contrast to theories of social
conflict based on class to consider the importance of situatedness and belonging in two colonial
and postcolonial novels of South Africa and Ireland: Langrishe, Go Down (1966) and In the
Fog of the Season's End (1972).
ABSTRACT: Whether the administrative organization of people in the humanities takes the form of a department of English, philosophy, his-tory, or comparative literature, etc., in the modern university, humanistic disciplines continue to reflect the institution in which they reside, even as that institution submits them to "two cultures," "science wars," or corporatization. Neither disciplinary distinctiveness, group identity, nor solidarity within the humanities as a division protect these forms of inquiry and exchange against dominant institutional imperatives and incursions. Asa traditional container for academic activity, departments contribute to what is increasingly becoming a black box nexus of activity around the individual players: the black box being a reduction of a complex process to simply its inputs and outputs with the box around process itself.
ABSTRACT: Edward Taylor Fletcher is a nearly forgotten nineteenth-century Canadian poet, philologist, and travel writer whose poetic voice was defined by his experiences in Western Canada. His focus on distinctly Western landscapes in his later works anticipates several movements in the arts in Canada that followed. This article elucidates Fletcher's too-long neglected instantiation of this transplantation, not translation, of international poetic materials into distinctly Canadian landscapes.
ABSTRACT: Within the complex interaction between stage practices, politics,
literary production, and musical composition, this article traces the relationship
between Restoration libretti and musical scores by emphasizing their nationalist
interests, leading to the proposition that musical form can reflect or resist the
allegorical political interests of libretti, even to the point of subverting the
dramatic text. By moving across these materials, I argue for a necessarily
interdisciplinary approach to musical theater of this period, one that emphasizes
the combination of the musical and dramatic texts to form the operatic work as a
ABSTRACT: We teach, conduct research and fulfill our professional service during
a time when the idea of a university is transitioning from a space to a series of
relations or reputations and from a means of recreating particular national cultures to
a mechanism in the economic process of globalization. To the extent that such 'spaces'
have traditionally been predicated on exclusionary and imperialist cultures, so much the
better. However, insofar as the emergence of a new type of university marks the
imposition of new forms of cultural hegemony and effaces cooperative thought and action,
so much the worse. I am left asking what does the phrase 'a real university' mean, and
perhaps more importantly, how does it mean?
——. "Real and Unreal Cities: The Modernist Origins of Durrell's Alexandria." Durrell
and the City: Reconstructing the Urban Landscape. Ed. Donald P. Kaczvinsky. Madison,
NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2011. 13-29.
ABSTRACT: The striking disjunction between scholarly readings of Lawrence Durrell's
'city novels' and more general scholarly readings of the discursive trope of the 'city' in
modernist fiction points to a productive dialogism involving late modernist reconfigurations
of his modernist origins. And there is good reason. The tension between Durrell's trope of
the city and the city in modernist studies is striking, and I contend it reflects his
shifting late modernist discomfort with his predecessors.
——. "Anarchist Transformations of English Surrealism: The Villa Seurat Network." jml:
Journal of Modern Literature 33.4 (Summer 2010): 57-71.
ABSTRACT: This article traces the Villa Seurat's literary network and its neglected
anarchist background in Henry Miller's influence and Lawrence Durrell's unrecognized
anarchist affiliations. Miller and Durrell influenced an anarchist revision of the
socialist and communist orthodoxy of Surrealism. Their anarchist views, which retained
surrealist aesthetics, played a major role in the international development of English
language Surrealism prior to and during World War II. It had an impact on poets as
diverse as David Gascoyne, Henry Treece, Robert Duncan and Kenneth Rexroth.
ABSTRACT: We propose an alternative reading of the sequential construction of
Lawrence Durrell's The Avignon Quintet. The form only became clear as he prepared
the first volume, Monsieur; or, the Prince of Darkness, for publication. By
contrasting the published variant of Livia; or, Buried Alive, we draw attention
to Durrell's structural preoccupations. By tracing the publication history of the first
two volumes of The Avignon Quintet and the published variant, "Gog and Magog", we
demonstrate that the spiritual, Gnostic thematic content develops from overt formal and
theoretical concerns that Durrell articulated in his early variants.
Gifford, James. "Vassanji's Toronto and Durrell's Alexandria: The View from Across?"
Indian Writers: Transnationalisms and Diasporas. Eds. Jaspal K. Singh & Rajendra
Chetty. Postcolonial Studies 5. New York: Peter Lang, 2010. 171-182.
——. "Noses in The Alexandria Quartet: Groddeck and Stekel in Durrell." Deus Loci:
The Lawrence Durrell Journal 11 (2009): 150-154. (reprint)
——. "The Poets of The Booster, Delta, and Seven, 1937-40: Recuperating
Literary Networks." ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews
22.3 (2009): 42-47.
——. "Vassanji's Toronto and Durrell's Alexandria: The View from Across or the View from Beside?"
The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies 15.2 (2008): 28-43.
——. "Surrealism's Anglo-American Afterlife: The Herbert Read and Henry Miller Network."
Nexus: The International Henry Miller Journal 5 (2008): 36-64.
Miller, Henry. "Henry Miller's Letters to Herbert Read: 1935-1958." Ed. James Gifford. Nexus: The
International Henry Miller Journal 5 (2008): 3-35.
Gifford, James & Steve Osadetz. "Le Gnosticisme dans Monsieur de Lawrence Durrell:
Nouvelles Preuves." Hommage à Jacques Lacarrière: Durrell et Lacarrière rencontre
au bord du Styx. Eds. Corinne Alexandre-Garner and Christiane Séris. Nanterre:
Presses Universitaires de Paris X, 2008. 117-128.
Gifford, James. "Men, Masculinities, and Music." Routledge International Encyclopedia of
Men and Masculinities. Eds. Michael Flood, Judith Kegan Gardiner, Bob Pease,
Keith Pringle. Oxford: Routledge, 2007. Long entry.
——. "Masculinities and the Novel." Routledge International Encyclopedia of
Men and Masculinities. Eds. Michael Flood, Judith Kegan Gardiner, Bob Pease,
Keith Pringle. Oxford: Routledge, 2007. Long entry.
——. "Infidelity and Cheating." Routledge International Encyclopedia of Men and
Masculinities. Eds. Michael Flood, Judith Kegan Gardiner, Bob Pease, Keith
Pringle. Oxford: Routledge, 2007. Short entry.
——. "Men, Masculinities, and Bisexuality." Routledge International Encyclopedia
of Men and Masculinities. Eds. Michael Flood, Judith Kegan Gardiner, Bob Pease,
Keith Pringle. Oxford: Routledge, 2007. Short entry.
——. "Hellenism/Modernism: Negotiating Modernisms and the Philhellene in Greece." Ed. Tatiani Rapatzikou. Anglo-American Perceptions of Hellenism. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006. 82-97.
——. "Review: Incest: A New Perspective. Mary Hamer." Requested review for In-between: Studies in Literary Criticism. in press.
——. "'The sealed book of the future': Edward Taylor Fletcher's Poetic, Political, and Poly-lingual Canada, 1827-97." Eds. Aloys Fleischmann and Nancy Van Styvendale. Proceedings of Narratives of Citizenship. University of Alberta. Edmonton, AB. 1 September 2007.
ABSTRACT: This paper develops out of my current project to reprint the collected works of Edward Taylor Fletcher and to prepare a digital edition of his commonplace books. I give an overview of Fletcher, his works, and his importance, followed by a contextualization of his value to current notions of Canadian identity where multiple, overlapping, and contradictory narratives reflect an unstable subject. PODCAST:here. (.m4v)
——. "Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet and Colonial Knowing:
Implicating Friedrich Nietzsche and Edward Said." Lawrence Durrell Borderlands
and Borderlines. Ed. Corinne Alexandre-Garner. Confluences. XXVI. Paris:
Publidix l'Université Paris X, 2005. 95-112.
ABSTRACT: Ce papier se dispute pour l'importance d'intérêt de Lawrence Durrell dans Friedrich Nietzsche aux lectures de postcolonial de ses romans par les arguments de Edward Said dans Orientalism. En particulier, les epistemologies de Nietzsche et sa discussion de l'erreur du monde vrai contre le monde apparent perdent la nouvelle lumière sur les lectures de position de Durrell comme un colonial dans Le Quatuor d'Alexandrie.
:::: This paper argues for the importance of Lawrence Durrell's interest in Friedrich Nietzsche to postcolonial readings of his novels through Edward Said's arguments in Orientalism. In particular, Nietzsche's epistemological arguments and his discussion of the error of the real versus the apparent world sheds new light on readings of Durrell's position as a colonial in The Alexandria Quartet.
——."Delta and Dylan Thomas' 'Prologue to an Adventure.'" In-between: Studies in Literary Criticism 13.1 (2004): 19-23.
ABSTRACT: In 1939, Keidrych Rhys charged that Dylan Thomas' "Prologue to an Adventure" was reprinted "in Delta (Paris) without acknowledgement... without permission"; however, Ralph Maud contrarily argues "Durrell, as editor of Delta, asked Thomas for contributions and published something by him in all three issues" (123). Thomas' letters support the latter position and suggest he returned to the story for Delta, aiming for publication in a book project through the Obelisk Press in Paris. Hence, this later printing indicates his final intentions. This challenges the authoritative editions of Thomas, works, and I argue for a corrected edition of "Prologue to an Adventure" based on the Delta printing.
——. "'Convinced of the dead certainty of death': Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn and the Nexus of Fear and Violence.” Nexus: The International Henry Miller Journal 2 (2004): 106-118.
——. "Introduction: Culture and the State." Culture and the State:
Landscape and Ecology. Vol. 1. Edmonton, AB: Canadian Research Chair Studio,
——. "'CORFU LANDSCAPES Real & Imaginary': This Rough Colonialism that
Bonds Space to Popular Culture." Culture and the State: Landscape and Ecology. Vol. 1.
Edmonton, AB: CRC Studio, 2004. 25-37.
Previous scholarship on source materials for Lawrence Durrell's Gnostic themes in Monsieur
are insufficient in light of his marginalia in Serge Hutin's Les Gnostique and his notebooks for
the novel. We contend that archival evidence from the Bibliothèque Lawrence Durrell in Nanterre,
France, necessitates a reevaluation of previous work in order to account for the combination of
Hutin's approach to Gnosticism and newspaper clippings in the notebook, which recast the nature
of the Gnostic suicide cult that provides the impetus for the plot of the novel.
Gifford, James. "Noses in The Alexandria
Quartet." Notes on Contemporary Literature 34.1 (2004):
ABSTRACT: I detail the close textual relationship between between Semira's
reconstructed nose in Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet and passages from
Georg Groddeck's The Undiscovered Self that are emphasized by Durrell's
marginalia in the Durrell collection at the University of Victoria's McPherson
Library. I argue for Groddeck as source materials and suggest its thematic
——. "Durrell's Revolt of Aphrodite: Nietzschean
Influences." Mosaic: A Journal For the Interdisciplinary Study of
Literature 36.2 (2003): 111-127.
ABSTRACT:The Revolt of Aphrodite is often considered an aberration
in Durrell's career, its scholarship insufficient compared to
the Alexandria Quartet and Avignon Quintet. I contend something
different: that Nietzsche's writings inform Durrell's work, and that the
Revolt makes significant contributions to both Durrell's oeuvre and
ABSTRACT: This paper reads Zizek's works in contrast to materials drawn
from Existential Analysis and Terror Management Theory. I assert that Zizek's
writings are troubled by the problematic use of terms like "obversion" and
"paradox," as well as his resistance to notions of anxiety developed in Existential
Analysis and the empiric work of Terror Management Theory.
ABSTRACT: Based on the argument that foreknowledge of one's personal death is intrinsic
in self-consciousness and that instinctual fear of a threat becomes death anxiety in the context
of this foreknowledge, Terror Management Theory differs from familiar psychological and
psychoanalytic modes of reading in the Humanities. I focus on the relationship between fear,
anxiety, derogation of difference, and symbolic means to repressing or overcoming the
inevitability of death through processes identification and projection. Annaud's film
Enemy at the Gates is my focus for exampling the Terror Management paradigm and in the
second half of the paper I read the film to highlight distinctions between the method I propose
and those that are more generally accepted in the Humanities.
——. "The Corfiot Landscape and Lawrence Durrell's Pilgrimage:
The Colonial Palimpsest in 'Oil for the Saint; Return to Corfu.'" In-between:
Essays in Literary Criticism 11.2 (2002): 181–196.
ABSTRACT: Few landscapes have as overt a colonial influence as Corfu,
which offers up a cosmopolitan palimpsest of urban landscapes to countless
tourists every year. Its overlaying of histories, cultures, architectures, and even
personal experiences is the crux of Durrell's pilgrimage tale, "Oil for the
Saint." I suggest that Durrell, as the 'returning native,' subverts the colonial
mindset that allows him to define and delineate a foreign landscape for foreign
readers, while nonetheless engaging in an attempt at reconciliation—a pilgrimage
quite literally—between his various adopted 'homes.' Durrell 'dupes' the
trusting reader into a series of logical fallacies and material misconceptions.
Therefore, the text subverts the reader's easy acceptance of the travel narrative
and leaves the reader with an uncanny perception of himself or herself mirrored
in the foreign 'deus loci.'
——. "Hellenism Between Orient and Occident?" In-between:
Essays in Literary Criticism 11.1 (2002): 115–124.
ABSTRACT: This is a full-length review article focussed on David
Roessel's In Byron's Shadow and commenting on its place in postcolonial
criticism, but also reviewing Edmund Keeley's Inventing Paradise and Ian
MacNiven's Lawrence Durrell: A Biography.
——. "Extravagant Strangers and Durrell In Anthologies"
Deus Loci: The Lawrence Durrell Journal NS 8 (2001–2002): 231–233.
ABSTRACT: This is a combination of a Note on minor publications by Lawrence
Durrell and a Review of Caryl Phillips' anthology Extravagant Strangers.
——. "Homoerotic Anxiety and the East/West Dialectic in Lawrence
Durrell's Monsieur." Torquere: Journal of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Studies
Association 5 (2004): in press. (18pp.)
ABSTRACT: I detail the relationship between queer sexualities and the ambiguity
of identities in general in Durrell's Monsieur. I argue that the homoerotic
elements of Durrell's text, and his destabilizing of such distcrete categories as well
as the social anxieties surrounding same-sex object choice, mirror his more generalized
blurring of dialectical structures with regard to identities: East/West, straight/queer,
Self/Other, and so forth.
Gifford, James. "The Phenomenology of Death: Considering Otto Rank,
Ernest Becker And Herbert Marcuse In Lawrence Durrell's Avignon
Quintet." Lawrence Durrell Revisited : Lawrence Durrell
revisité. Ed. Corinne Alexandre-Garner. Confluences. XXI.
Nanterre, France: l'Université Paris X Nanterre, 2002.
ABSTRACT: Death and dying are prevalent throughout Durrell's
oeuvre, and perhaps nowhere more emphatically than in Monsieur.
Despite its recurrence and thematic significance, death remains a
mysterious question hanging over Durrell's fictions, distanced from
the knowable by an uncertainty that keeps both the
dead and the living from a 'direct apprehension' of death or the
hyper-reality of it. In conjunction with this uncertainty, the
lingering influence of Otto Rank can be detected in the trauma
associated with the existential incompatibility that death is shrouded
in, as well as the varying methods that Durrell presents for
psychologically repressing this trauma.
Djuna Barnes and Otto Rank shared Paris in the 1930's, and from this link
in both time and place, I suggest that their works contain a shared
preoccupation with the inter-related themes of the cognizance of mortality,
human sexuality and metaphysical speculation. Rank – like Barnes – was deeply
involved in the salon and arts community in Paris from 1926 to 1935 through
both his own practice and the salon of the analyst Rene Allendy. Moreover,
reading Nightwood via Rankian analysis gives a theoretical justification
for the intimately interlocked question of the 'night' with the sexual and
mortal preoccupations of Barnes' novel. I will go forward under the assumption
that this reading is appropriate, either for as yet uncertain, but possible,
biographical reasons, and under the more general suggestion that a psychoanalytic
and existential focus applies equally well to the preoccupations of the artwork
as it does to the preoccupations of individuals.
ABSTRACT: Lawrence Durrell's works occupy an uncertain canonic
status in Postcolonial Literature, most often read as the dying breath
of Empire gazing at the exotic Middle and Far East, but also arguably
among the most complex renderings of the problems of representation,
homelessness and national identity. Eagleton assures the reader that
Durrell's novels comprise "a monument of fake exoticism and
pseudo-profundity" (Eagleton n.pag) and moreover that Durrell "carved
himself a literary colony out of Alexandria" (Eagleton).
In opposition stands Caryl Phillips, who acknowledges that Durrell's
"expatriate status greatly influenced his work" ("London" 88). Ian
MacNiven takes the same stance, contending “the lonely colonial child
shadowed the cosmopolitan writer" (A Biography xvii). Noteably,
Phillips is referring to Durrell's first novel, Pied Piper Of Lovers
(1935), while Eagleton is referring to the much later Alexandria
Quartet (1957-60); the first work is largely autobiographical and
as a juvenile work it reveals its theoretical apparatus
quite easily, while the later quartet is emphatically not biographical and
refuses to render its theoretical agenda at a superficial level of reading.
This article will address Durrell's first novel, including the problem of
Durrell as both author and autobiographical subject in the work, while
keeping issues of colonialism and the idea of 'home' at the forefront;
however, I do this with an intent to more generally address how a
superficial reading of Durrell's works can misrepresent their careful
and nuanced approach to transience, home and Empire within the broader
context of human frailties and fears.
Dialectic of 'Madness' in Durrell's Zero and Asylum
In The Snow: The Liberations of Helplessness And The Restrictions of Freedom."
Deus Loci: Journal of the International
Lawrence Durrell Society 7 (1999–2000): 70–92.
ABSTRACT: Prior to The Black Book, Lawrence Durrell wrote a pair of
'short stories' that, along with some of his poetry, claim a unique place in the
canon. Anticipating features of Michel Foucault's Madness and
Civilization, Durrell creates a fictional space where ideas of the constructed nature
of both the rebelled against and the rebelling are fixed in the trap where, even if
artistic rebellion succeeds in creating new fiction spaces that alter social constructions,
such rebellion must continue without any consideration of a 'perfect' goal. Durrell's
primary technique in the story pair is a deconstruction of the alterity of madness
and an examination of its kinship to the creative act as an instance of rebellion.
——. "Nietzsche, Phenomenology and the Psychology of Mortality: Influences on Rank
and Differences in Patocka, With a Musing on Plato." Fait Accomplit: Literary Journal.
Winter (2000): 34–52.
ABSTRACT: Throughout his works, Friedrich Nietzsche
contends with the Cartesian dualism. The error of this dualistic division
of mind from body is – in Nietzsche's presentation – an aspect of the confusion of
cause and consequence, and plays a central role in his reworking of the false dualism
of the 'real' and 'apparent' worlds. Jan Patocka continues to develop Nietzsche's
model by furthering questions on the nature of
self-observation within a Heideggerian sense of being and manifestation of the
world. In doing so, Patocka exposes a conflict – and a hidden
complimentarity in his own work – with Cartesian mentalism and the extension
of these questions to the social realm; all these are areas that Nietzsche
likewise explored, but which are granted a twentieth century framework in
Patocka's Heretical Essays, in conflict with Nietzsche. It is the
hidden complementarity between Patocka's 'man in the world' stance and
the Cartesian division of mind from body or man from world (which potentially
follows as a necessary derivative of Patocka's stance) that is opposed to
Supervisor: Thomas Giannotti. Committee: Thomas Giannotti, Joanne Zitelli, and
ABSTRACT: In Lawrence Durrell's novels a development toward
epistemological skepticism is traced, leading to a reconsideration of the
formative elements of Durrell's fictions and his currently nominal
place in the twentieth-century literary canon. This development furthers
the literary environment of modernism, and is anticipatory of major
elements of postmodernism: primarily metafiction, intertextuality,
deconstruction, and multiplicity. Consequent of the vantage of
epistemological skepticism, postmodernism is redefined for both
Durrell's fictions, and potentially twentieth century literature
in general. Subsequently, current critical ideologies need to be
reevaluated within this context. These ideologies are primarily
post-colonialism, post-structuralism, deconstructionism, and archetypal
criticism. This study will use original works by Durrell, critical
interpretations of such, and works of current critical theory. Results
will be presented in two sections; (1) a tracing of the development
of epistemological skepticism in Durrell's novels, and (2) an
example of the reevaluation of current critical models in view of this
Abstract: In his article, "Reading
Orientalism and the Crisis of Epistemology in the Novels of Lawrence
Durrell," James Gifford argues that Edward Said's Orientalism has had a
far-reaching impact on the study of literature as well as in Comparative
Literature, especially in works that depict the "Eastern Other."
However, a question arises in those texts that have completed the philosophical
motion from existentialism to epistemological skepticism such as the novels of
Lawrence Durrell. For example, in The Avignon Quintet a provisional and even
counterfactual form of knowledge becomes central and obvious to the reader.
Subsequently, knowledge of the Other becomes deflated, and a poor means of
defining. The Other – all that is not the Self – becomes universalized as the
text reveals that (mis)perceptions of the Other are more of a reflection of the
Self than they are a truthful depiction of any absolute reality. Acknowledgment
of the artifice of art leads to a surrendering of the artist's power to
communicate any body of knowledge. In Monsieur, Durrell's forceful realization
of the fiction of his work, and constant dissolution of any knowledge it may be
communicating is a potential confounding of the knowledge/power relationship in
the East/West or Other/Self dialectic. As these theoretical elements serve an
important role in Comparative Literature, a further redefining of them in general
would be of value to their use in more specific circumstances.
Melnyk, Lubomyr and Max Tell (Robert Stelmach). Spider Tiny's
Christmas. ed. James Gifford. Langley, BC: Privately
This is a transcription into a performance score of
rough notes and recordings of Robert Stelmach's and
Lubomyr Melnyk's work for children. In addition, this
transcription involved much musical editing and arrangement
of parts for solo piano and speaker. This was both a
textual and musical project, funded by Canada Council Grants.
This is a reprint of one issue of Eliza Haywood's
famous 18th Century periodical, transcribed from an original, but modernized in
much of the spelling and with minor footnotes. This project
was supervised by Betty Schellenberg of the Simon Fraser University
Department of English.
Gifford, James. "Indigeneity & Decolonization: Place in Contemporary Canadian, Irish, & South African Literature." Axe: Lieux Communs. L'Université de Toulouse Jean Jaurès. Toulouse, France. 7 November 2017.
——. "'Who am I?' to 'Where is here?': Identity & the Liminal Suburb in Canadian Poetry." Suburbia: une archéologie du moment. L'Université de Toulouse Jean Jaurès. Toulouse, France. 1617 November 2017.
——. "An Improbably Moveable Mediterranean: Translating and Transplanting the Art et Liberté Group." The Mediterranean and its Hinterlands: le pays en profondeur. L'Université de Toulouse Jean Jaurès. Toulouse, France. 2830 September 2016.
——. "Mediterranean Modernisms & Caesar's Vast Ghost: Indigeneity & Migration in World Literature." Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. Paris, France. 15 January 2016. (plenary for l'agrégation de littérature comparée students & national faculty)
——. "Literatures of the Ionian Islands: From Stewart to H.D." Iowa Writer's Workshop, Overseas Workshop. University of Iowa. Corfu, Greece. 5 July 2010. (keynote)
——. "Surrealism's Anglo-American Afterlife: The Herbert Read & Henry Miller Network." Coordinates of Comparison: Texts, Readers, & Theories. Comparative Literature Program. University of Alberta. Edmonton, AB. 2931 August 2007. (plenary address)
——. "The Reader's Anticipation, History's Contradiction, and Literary Hermeneutics: Teaching the 'Unknown' in 'Oil for the Saint'." ESSE 2006, Research Development of Empirical Studies. University of Alberta. Edmonton, AB. 2021 April 2006. (keynote)
Gifford, James. "'To seek a home beyond the unknown sea': Nineteenth Century Poetry, Philology, & Translation in Depictions of Western Canada." Association of Canadian College & University Teachers of English. Congress of the Social Sciences & Humanities. University of Regina. Regina, SK. 2629 May 2018.
Gifford, James, Nyarai Tawengwa, Peter Mate, & Van Truong. "Undergraduate MVPs: The Modernist Versions Project, Digital Humanities, & Open Education Resources." From Evidence to Scholarship: Transforming Undergraduate Student Research in the Digital Age. Reed College. Portland, OR. 1416 March 2018.
Gifford, James. "Authority vs. Determinism in Delany's Nevèrÿon: The Collar & Economism Read Through Anarchism & Marxism." Canadian Association of Cultural Studies: Carceral Cultures. Simon Fraser University. Vancouver, BC. 14 March 2018.
Honchell, Stephanie & James Gifford. "Indigenizing the Multi-National Campus: Truths & Reconciliations in the University Core." BC Studies 2017. Vancouver Island University. Nanaimo, BC. 46 May 2017.
Gifford, James. "'To seek a home beyond the unknown sea': Nineteenth Century Poetry, Philology, and Depictions of Indigeneity in British Columbia." BC Studies 2017. Vancouver Island University. Nanaimo, BC. 46 May 2017.
——. "Poet into Hack: Mirrlees, Powys, & Day-Lewis through Marxism, Anarchism, & Cultural Studies." Modernist Studies Association. Claremont Graduate University & Pomona College. Pasadena, CA. 1720 November 2016.
——. "Hobgoblin Modernism: Anarchism and the Specters Haunting Fantasy Fiction." Modernist Studies Association. Claremont Graduate University & Pomona College. Pasadena, CA. 1720 November 2016.
——. "An Anarchist Fantasy: The Fantastic as Political Praxis in Popular Culture." Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Association of Canadian College & University Teachers of English. University of Calgary. Calgary, AB. 2831 May 2016.
——. "H.D.'s The Hirslanden Notebooks & Durrell's Claudia: Occult Modernism Across the Curtain & in the Mirror." 44th Louisville Conference on Literature & Culture Since 1900. University of Louisville. Louisville, KY. 1820 February 2016.
——. "Cold War Modernists, Cold War Rationality, and the Non-Aligned: Anarchist Politics of the Late Modernist Fantastic." MSA 17: Confluence & Division. Modernist Studies Association. Boston College & Boston University. Boston, MA. 1922 November 2015.
—— "Distributed Synchronous Learning & Digital Pedagogy: Teaching Modernism in Canada, the UK, & the USA." MSA 17: Modernism & Revolution. Modernist Studies Association. Boston College & Boston University. Boston, MA. 1922 November 2015. (roundtable)
Ross, Stephen, J. Matthew Huculak, & James Gifford. "Open Modernisms: Anthology Builder." Open Textbook Summit. BCcampus. Simon Fraser University. Vancouver, BC. 2829 May 2015.
Gifford, James. "Correspondence Counter-Narratives: The Growth of English Post-Surrealism in Unpublished and Pre-Published Distribution." MSA 16: Confluence & Division. Modernist Studies Association. Duquesne University & University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA. 69 November 2014.
——. "Fragmented Networks, Modernist Fantasy, & Anarchist Pluralism: Late ModernismÕs Relational Disunity." MSA 16: Confluence & Division. Modernist Studies Association. Duquesne University & University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA. 69 November 2014. (seminar paper)
——. "1930s Cairo + 1940s California: Public Poetics and Private Polemics in International Literary Networks." American Circuits, American Secrets. Canadian Association for American Studies. University of Alberta. Banff, AB. 18-21 September 2014.
——. "Multinational Distance Education & Copyright: Digitization, Fair Use, & Course Material in Asynchronous Online Courses." ABC Copyright Conference. Alberta & British Columbia Copyright Group. Camosun College & University of Victoria. Victoria, BC. 26-27 May 2014.
——. "Fragmentation, Parataxis, & Materialism: The Late Cultural Logics of Revolt." Durrell & Place: Translation, Migration, Location. Fairleigh Dickinson University. Vancouver, BC. 14- 17 May 2014.
——. "'Per omnia saecula saeculorum' or 'Inkaba yakho iphi?': Indigeneity in Alex La Guma and Aidan Higgins" Vancouver Research Symposium. Fairleigh Dickinson University. Vancouver, BC. 28 March 2014.
——. "The Elephant Writes Back: Reconciliations Among Orwell's Gun, Anand's Bar, and Durrell's Chutney." 42nd Louisville Conference on Literature & Culture Since 1900. University of Louisville. Louisville, KY. 20-22 February 2014.
——. "Anarchist Surrealism & Canadian Apocalyptic Modernism." NAASN 5. North American Anarchist Studies Network. Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Surrey, BC. 16-18 January 2014.
——. "Elizabeth Smart & Canadian Apocalyptic Modernisms." Research in the Interdisciplinary World. Athabasca University. Athabasca, AB. 4 October 2013.
——. "Verdi & Politics." Viva Verdi! Celebrating the Art of Giuseppe Verdi. Simon Fraser University. Vancouver, BC. 17 September 2013.
——. "Reinventing Tradition: The Edwardians Under Our Eyes." Contemporary Reflections. Simon Fraser University. Vancouver, BC. 14 September 2013.
——. "Productive Disappointment: The Modern University & Authority." Globalize, Identify, Transform: A Symposium. Fairleigh Dickinson University. Vancouver, BC. 16-17 May 2013.
——. "Transforming/Translating New Westminster in E.T. Fletcher's Long Poems: Literary Communities of the 1890s." BC Studies 2013. Douglas College. New Westminster, BC. 2-4
——. "Robert Duncan's 'Ark': The San Francisco Renaissance and English Surrealism's Apocalypse." 41st Louisville Conference on Literature & Culture Since 1900. University of Louisville. Louisville, KY. 21-23 February 2013.
——. "Harlem Blossoms: The Harlem Renaissance." Contemporary Reflections. Simon Fraser University. Vancouver, BC. 16 February 2013.
——. "Digital Humanities & Personal Modernisms." Humanities Research Forum. Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences. Athabasca University. Athabasca. 30 November 2012.
——. "Belated Modernisms: Anarcho-Surrealism & the Apocalyptic Novels of Late Modernism." Modernity, Ideology, & the Novel. Institute for the Humanities. Simon Fraser University. Vancouver. 25-27 October 2012.
——. "The (Afro-)Anglo-Irish: Aidan Higgins' Irish Ascendancy & Afrikaners." Crossing Boundaries III. Fairleigh Dickinson University. Vancouver. 10 September 2012.
——. "Durrell's Long Shadow from Cairo to California: English Surrealisms and the Cult of Sex & Anarchy." Durrell 2012: The Lawrence Durrell Centenary. Goodenough College & The British Library. London. 13-16 June 2012.
——. "From Albert Cossery to Robert Duncan: Durrell as Intermediary." 40th Louisville Conference on Literature & Culture Since 1900. University of Louisville. Louisville, KY. 23-25 February 2012.
——. "The San Francisco Renaissance, Egyptian Anarchists, and English Surrealists: Late Modernism's Migrations." Department Colloquium. Simon Fraser University, Department of English. Burnaby, BC. 25 November 2011.
——. "George Leite's Circle & George Henein's Network: Anglo-Hellenic Stopovers for Egyptian Radical Art." Crossing Boundaries II: Culture, Technology, & Economics. Fairleigh Dickinson University. Vancouver, BC. 26 October 2011.
——. "Anarchist Surrealism: From Cairo to California." MSA 13: The Structures of Innovation. Modernist Studies Association. SUNY Buffalo. Buffalo, NY. 6-9 October 2011. (seminar paper)
——. "Canadian Landscapes in Fletcher's Poetry and Translations: 1867-92." Faculty of Arts & Sciences Research Series. Athabasca University, Athabasca, AB. 20 May 2011.
——. "Late Modernist Philhellenism: Transplanting Poetic Modernisms through Translation."
World Literature, Comparative Literature. American Comparative Literature Association. Simon Fraser
University. Vancouver, BC. 31 March Ð 3 April 2011.
——. "Peddling Pulp: The Industrial Production of Popular Culture." Saturday Forum.
Simon Fraser University. Vancouver, BC. 19 March, 2011.
ABSTRACT: Industrially produced culture is ubiquitous; it is in our homes, on our airwaves, and around us at all times. Yet, we rarely think about what and how it means or even how we consume it. Does mass production limit what it can express? Can we think outside of its scope? Does it provide what we want or teach us how to want? Even our folk culture and local communities now echo pulp culture. This forum considers the structure and form of these materials in order to ask how we interact with pulp in daily life and whether mass production renders it interchangeable. We will draw examples from popular culture in a variety of media from the 20th century.
——. "Aidan Higgins' Shifting Landscapes: Locating the Anglo-Irish and the Afrikaners." 39th
Louisville Conference on Literature & Culture Since 1900. University of Louisville. Louisville,
KY. 19-21 February 2011.
——. "Death and Analysis: The Terror Management Paradigm and Mansfield's 'The Wrong House'." MSA
12: Modernist Networks. Modernist Studies Association. University of Victoria. Victoria, BC. 11-14
November 2010. (seminar paper)
——. "Swift Messages: Anarcho-Surrealist Networks in Europe and the Americas, 1935-45." MSA 12:
Modernist Networks. Modernist Studies Association. University of Victoria. Victoria, BC. 11-14
——. "Remediation and V for Vendetta: The Case for Bibliographical Cultural Studies." Lunch
'n Learn. Athabasca University, Athabasca, AB. 29 September 2010.
——."Remediation and V for Vendetta: Textual Studies v. Cultural Studies." Crossing Boundaries
I: Literature, Art & Culture. Fairleigh Dickinson University. Vancouver, BC. 2 September 2010.
——. "Anarchism and Poetics in Late Modernism: Paris, Cairo, San Francisco, London." On Miracle
Ground XVI. International Lawrence Durrell Society. Louisiana Technical University. New Orleans.
7-10 July 2010.
——. "Literatures of the Ionian Islands: From Stewart to H.D." Iowa Writer's Workshop, Overseas
Workshop. University of Iowa. Corfu, Greece. 5 July 2010. (keynote paper)
——. "Anarchism and Poetic Form: From the Villa Seurat to the New Apocalypse." Belief and Disbelief
in the Space Between. Conference of The Space Between Society: Literature and Culture, 1914-1945.
University of Portland. Portland, OR. 17-19 June 2010.
——. "Between the Auden Generation and the New Apocalypse: Politics and Poetry Networks in the 1930s
and 40s." Lunch 'n Learn. Athabasca University, Athabasca, AB. 20 January 2010.
——. "Theory and the Archive." (with Jean-Michel Rabaté, Michael LeMahieu, Melba Kuddy-Keane,
Michael O'Driscoll, Rachel Porter, and Stephen Ross). Round table Co-Organizer with Stephen Ross.
The Languages of Modernism. 11th Conference of the Modernist Studies Association. McGill University.
Montreal, QC. 5-8 November 2009.
——. "Anarchism, Late Modernism, and Author Networks from Cairo to California." The Languages of
Modernism. 11th Conference of the Modernist Studies Association. McGill University. Montreal, QC.
5-8 November 2009. (seminar paper)
——."Anarchist Form and Avant Garde Politics: American and British WWII Poetry Networks." &Now
Conference of Innovative Writing & the Literary Arts. University at Buffalo, SUNY. Buffalo,
NY. 14-17 October 2009.
Gifford, James. "Langrishe, Go Down and the Traveling Text: The Irish Novel's South African
Origins." Ireland on the Move. 19th American Conference for Irish Studies. University of Tennessee
Chattanooga. Chattanooga, TN. 20-22 March 2009.
——. "From Fabians to Anarchists: English Surrealism in the 1930s and 40s." 37th Louisville
Conference on Literature & Culture Since 1900. University of Louisville. Louisville, KY.
19-21 February, 2009.
Gifford, James. "Modernism/Mythistorema: Philhellenism in Late Modernisms." Modernism
and Global Media. 10th Conference of the Modernist Studies Association. Vanderbilt University. Nashville,
TN. 13-16 November, 2008.
ABSTRACT: In his essay "Cavafy and Eliot--A Comparison," George Seferis suggests a fundamental
distinction between the two poets' senses of tradition, instantiating an alternative approach to artistic
production in the Mediterranean. Reading Cavafy's "Those Who Fought for the Achaean League," Seferis:
appreciated that the poem was written in 1922, on the eve of the catastrophe in Asia Minor; and almost
without thinking I reread these lines as:
Written in Alexandria by an Achaean,
The year that our race was destroyed.
Seferis presents Cavafy within an intensely politicized sense of ethnicity and nationalism caught in a
poem of exile -- the affinity between past and present occurs in the same space and under related
circumstance but separated by millennia. This is a striking difference from Eliot's tradition, and Seferis
uses this wedge to pry the two apart. This reading of Cavafy is fatuous, but as a late modernist misprision,
it exemplifies distinctly Greek and Philhellenic literary activities from the early 1930s through World War
II. This view also reflects tensions among several late modernist authors active in the Hellenic world and
the territories envisioned as a Greater Greece prior to their demise in 1922. This talk examines the Cairo
Poets in this context as well as their influence on Anglo-American literary activities in the 1930s and
1940s. I particularly attend to the dense interactions among Greek influences on the anarchist
transformation of English Surrealism, Greek authors in the Government in Exile, American Surrealism, and
the New Apocalypse poets. PODCAST:here (.mp3).
——. "Anarchist Author Networks: From Athens to Big Sur in the 1930s and 40s."
Modernism and Global Media. 10th Conference of the Modernist Studies Association. Vanderbilt University.
Nashville, TN. 13-16 November, 2008. (seminar paper)
——. "Reconstructing the Villa Seurat Network: Anarcho-Surrealist Activity 1935-60."
On Miracle Ground XV. International Lawrence Durrell Society. UniversitƱ Paris X, Nanterre. Paris,
France. 1-5 July, 2008.
——. "'Caliban seeing his own face in a glass': Corfiot Travel Narratives and
Prospero's Refracting Dark Crystal." Travel Writing, Spirit of Place, and Discovery of Self. Durrell
School of Corfu, Greece. 1-6 June, 2008.
——. "Allotropes in the Obelisk: Late Modernist Love and Censorship of the Queer
Text." An Investigation of Modern Love. Durrell School of Corfu, Greece. 18-23 May, 2008.
——. "Poetic Text, Music Text: Competing Nationalist Styles in Restoration Opera."
Extraordinary Interpretations: Narratives and Practices. Comparative Literature Program. University of
Alberta, AB. 21-23 March, 2008. (seminar organizer)
——. "Anglo-American Surrealisms and the Villa Seurat: France, England, Greece,
America, and Egypt." Geographies of Visual and Literary Culture. 9th Conference of the Modernist
Studies Association. University of Southern California. Long Beach, CA. 1-4 November, 2007. (seminar
ABSTRACT: Edward Taylor Fletcher is an unusual and now-forgotten figure: poet, philologist,
essayist, architect, Surveyor General of Quebec, and musician. Landscape, language, and culture are
also troubling notions in narratives of Canadian identity, yet for Fletcher they are surprisingly
plural. His journals work in more than a dozen languages, his descriptions of place cover the oldest
cities in Canada and the newest provinces while integrating Classical allusions, his autobiography
includes residencies in Canada's major cities, and his recollections of cultural life across Canada
focus on richly overlapping communities. I focus on changes to landscape descriptions in his poetic
works, and in particular his Classical and Indian allusions, which coincide with his residency in
Western Canada. The Nile blurs with the Fraser or Vancouver Island with Atlantis -- the result is a
hybrid landscape and a poetic style that anticipate twentieth century movements while intervening in
the development of the Confederation poets and 19th century Canadian narrative poems. PODCAST:here.
——. "Surrealism's Anglo-American Afterlife: The Herbert Read and Henry Miller
Network." Coordinates of Comparison: Texts, Readers, & Theories. University of Alberta.
Edmonton, AB. 29-31 August, 2007.
ABSTRACT: I retrace the unrecognized counter-narrative to Surrealism and its English
offspring. I begin with Henry Miller and Herbert Read's unpublished correspondence surrounding the
London International Surrealist Exhibition of 1936. Their correspondence charts an
anarcho-individualist opposition to the socialism and dialectical materialism of the French
Surrealists. Histories of English Surrealism record it as a short-lived phenomenon rising rapidly
from the Exhibition and vanishing nearly as quickly. Contrastingly, the Read-Miller letters trace
the changing political aims of Anglo-American surrealists while maintaining its aesthetics and
techniques, which led to a reconstruction of the English-language Surrealists in a loose network
centred on the Anglo-American Villa Seurat authors in Paris. This paper derives from a scholarly
edition and study of the Miller-Read letters being published this Fall, as well as archival
materials held at the University of Alberta, the University of Victoria, and UCLA. PODCAST:here.
——. "Silence and Speaking -- Politicized Irony in Durrell's Spirit of Place." The
Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies. University of British Columbia. Vancouver,
BC. 17-22 August, 2007. (panel organizer)
ABSTRACT: At the 2004 session of the Durrell School of Corfu, Gayatri Spivak and Terry
Eagleton illustrated the difficulties within Durrell's works that result in his relative exclusion
from postcolonial studies of commonwealth literature: i.e. his ironic narrative voice in opposition
to the kitsch exoticism of the 1950s and 60s. Drawing on the biographical complexity of his early
position in Empire, I discuss the conflicts between Durrell's Orientalist exoticism, his longstanding
Philhellenism, his works' ethical examination of alterity, irony in his neocolonialism, and his
critiques of Imperialist power from within its privilege. PODCAST:here.
——. "'The sealed book of the future': Edward Taylor Fletcher's Poetic, Political, and Poly-lingual Canada, 1827-97." Narratives of Citizenship. University of Alberta. Edmonton, AB. 23-25 March, 2007.
ABSTRACT: This paper develops out of my current project to reprint the collected works of
Edward Taylor Fletcher and to prepare a digital edition of his commonplace books. I give an
overview of Fletcher, his works, and his importance, followed by a contextualization of his value
to current notions of Canadian identity where multiple, overlapping, and contradictory narratives
reflect an unstable subject. PODCAST:here. (.m4v)
——. "Allusion to the Old Poet: M.G Vassanji, Lawrence Durrell, E.M Forster, and
C.P. Cavafy." 35th Twentieth-Century Literature Conference. University of Louisville. Louisville, KY.
22-24 February, 2007.
ABSTRACT: under construction.
——. "Heterosexist Presumption & the Villa Seurat: Questioning Queerings of the Censored Text." Sexing the Text: Gendered Works and Working Gender. Simon Fraser University, BC. 2-4 November, 2006.
ABSTRACT: under construction.
——. "The Booster, Delta, and Seven 1937-40: Retracing Literary Circles and
Publication Histories." 8th Modernist Studies Association Conference. Conference of the Modernist
Studies Association. The University of Tulsa. Tulsa, OK. 19-22 October, 2006.
ABSTRACT: under construction.
——. "'Not translate, but transplant' a Tower of Babel: Metaphoric
(Dis)Continuities Between Cavafy, Eliot, Durrell, & Vassanji." Fourth Annual International
Translation Day Conference. The Erotics of Translation. University of Alberta & the
Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta. Edmonton, AB. 30 September, 2006.
ABSTRACT: Using Lacoue-Labarthe's transplantation versus translation in Revue de
Littérature Comparée, I discuss the tower as a continuous, yet translated,
metaphor in four works by C.P. Cavafy, T.S. Eliot, Lawrence Durrell, and M.G. Vassanji. The
reader is provoked to construct an 'etymology' that moves ever-closer to the 'true word,'
proceeding backward from the 'untrue' translation. Yet for all four, the cynosure of the tower
marks their attempts: it guides and attracts. Eliot's bridge for his allusions has fallen down,
and we can only shore the disjointed fragments of Nerval's "Le Prince d'Aquitaine à la
tour abolie" beside the "black ruins" of Durrell's and Cavafy's Alexandrian lighthouse, all
precariously near to Vassanji's leitmotif of the teetering "CN Tower blinking its mysterious
signal." This leads me to conclude that to "Not translate, but transplant" is "Unreal" across
these four highly allusive texts. My paper clarifies the failure of unity over discontinuity in
this dense series of allusions. PODCAST:here.
——."Henry Miller's 'Unknown' and Lawrence Durrell's Poetics: Vision and
Revision in a Literary Relationship." On Miracle Ground XIV. Conference of the International
Lawrence Durrell Society. University of Victoria. Victoria, BC. 25-29 June, 2006.
ABSTRACT: under construction.
——. "The Reader's Anticipation, History's Contradiction, and Literary
Hermeneutics: Teaching the 'Unknown' in 'Oil for the Saint'." ESSE 2006, Research Development
of Empirical Studies. University of Alberta. Edmonton, AB. 20-21 April 2006. (keynote address)
ABSTRACT: Keynote address. Please see linked abstract here.
——. "Hellenism/Modernism: Reading Eliot and Cavafy in Durrell's (Un)Real
City." 33rd Twentieth-Century Literature Conference. University of Louisville. Louisville, KY.
23-25 February, 2006. (invited paper)
——. "Nationalism and Operatic Form; or, Competing Texts in Dryden and
Purcell's King Arthur." Public Works. University of Alberta, Department of English. 16 February
ABSTRACT: under construction.
——. "Fairest Isle and Foulest Foreigners; or, Musical Politics in Early English
Opera.” Inner Sanctums and Outer Spaces in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods. Medieval & Early
Modern Institute, University of Alberta. Edmonton, AB 8-9 December, 2005.
——. "Hellenism/Modernism: Negotiating Modernisms and the Philhellene in Greece."
Anglo-American Literary Relations/Anglo-American Hellenisms. 5th Symbiosis Biennial Conference. Aristotle
University of Thessaloniki, Greece. 30 June – 3 July, 2005.
——. "Taking Owls to Athens: Philhellenic Modernism." Representations in Transit:
From the Wheel to the Reel. Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta.
Edmonton, AB. 18-19 March, 2005.
ABSTRACT: under construction.
——. "Modernist Communities of Desire: The
Villa Seurat Circle." 32nd Twentieth-Century Literature Conference.
University of Louisville. Louisville, KY. 24-26 February, 2005. (invited
——. "World War II and Alexandria: Lawrence Durrell's
War-time Metropolis." 6th Modernist Studies Association Conference. Conference
of the Modernist Studies Association. Simon Fraser University & University
of British Columbia. Vancouver, BC. 21-24 October, 2004.
ABSTRACT: Under construction.
——. "Reading Fletcher's Commonplace Books: The
Breadth of Cultural Influences in New Westminster, British Columbia,
1854-1895." Victorian Canada: Conference of the Victorian Studies
Association of Western Canada. University of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon, SK.
14-16 October, 2004. (accepted)
——. "Sexuality, Identity, and the Urban-Rural
Divide in Lawrence Durrell's Novels." On Miracle Ground XIII:
Conference of the International Lawrence Durrell Society. Ionian University.
Rhodes, Greece. 27 June - 2 July, 2004. (accepted)
——. "Agency and Domination in the Reconstitution of Male
Identity: Malcolm Lowry's 'Forest Path to the Spring'." Making It Like A Man!
Masculinities in Canadian Arts and Cultures. University of Regina. Regina,
SK. 10-12 June, 2004. (accepted)
ABSTRACT: Under construction.
-. "'Miller's Numinous Cock': Censoring the Phallus." Talking
Across Disciplines. Comparative Literature Program, University of Alberta.
Edmonton, AB. 5 February, 2004.
ABSTRACT: Under construction.
——. "Durrell's Corfu: Site, Sight, and
Textual Representation." 31st Twentieth-Century Literature Conference.
University of Louisville. Louisville, KY. 26-28 February, 2004.
——. "Queer Transformations and/of Urban
Space? Urban Geography and Sexual Identities in Lawrence Durrell's
Novels." Cities of the Mind. Department of English, University of
Toronto. Toronto, Ontario. 23-25 Jan. 2004.
Miall, David S., Don Kuiken, and James Gifford. "Why
do students choose to study literature?" Improving Learning, Fostering
the Will to Learn. European Association for Research on Learning and
Instruction. Padova, Italy. 26-30 August, 2003.
ABSTRACT: Under construction.
Gifford, James. "Durrell as Daedalus or Theseus? The Dark
Labyrinth of the Durrell Archives." Archiving Modernism. University of Alberta.
Edmonton, Alberta. 23-26 July, 2003.
ABSTRACT: I draw on (and survey) archival resources across North America
and Europe, including previously overlooked materials, as well as urban and rural
locales as records of the playfulness and referentiality of Durrell's works, with
special attention to Hellenic materials. In doing so, I demonstrate how the concept
of the archive and the academic excavation of a text (as well as the expectations
inherent in such reading methods) act as structural influences in Durrell’s texts,
such that the researcher continually finds an author who has anticipated his or her
textual-archival explorations, fishing Ariadne's thread to the minotaur and back,
so to speak. I argue that such readerly anticipations are best regarded as 'techniques'
specifically employed by Durrell in writing to the specialized reader.
——. "Terror Management Theory and Literature: Reading
Social Identity, Self-Esteem, and Fear." Culture and the State. University of
Alberta. Edmonton, AB. 2-5 May, 2003.
ABSTRACT: Under construction.
——. "'CORFU LANDSCAPES Real & Imaginary': Representing
Space in Popular Media." Culture and the State. University of Alberta. Edmonton,
AB. 2-5 May 2003.
ABSTRACT: This paper considers popular culture materials that depict
Corfu, Greece, in the context of postcolonial studies. The specific works include
Mary Stewart's romance-cum-mystery novel, This Rough Magic, Ian Fleming's
short story "For Your Eyes Only," and the James Bond film of the same title. My
general conclusions are that Hellenism, as a disciplinary field, may be profitably
explored in a manner akin to Edward Said's method in Orientalism.
van Woudenberg, Maximilian and James Gifford. "Beyond Electronic
Text: Seeing the Tonality of Text." Culture and the State. University of Alberta.
Edmonton, AB. 2-5 May, 2003
ABSTRACT: Under construction.
Gifford, James. "'Her eyes Confess the
flame her tongue denies': Using Visual and Aural Media to Explore Dido and
Aeneas in the Classroom." New Perspectives in Humanities Computing. University
of Alberta. Edmonton, Alberta. 5-6 December, 2002.
ABSTRACT: The multimedia classroom presents a quandary to the technologically
innovative instructor, and I found myself in this position when teaching Tate's verse
drama, Dido and Aeneas. My problem was not what to teach in this work,
but how to use the technological resources at my disposal, and subsequently,
why such work seemed to be uniquely "multimedia." Specifically, Dido and Aeneas
is the libretto for Purcell's Restoration opera, and the computerized classroom allowed
me to combine aural, visual, and textual materials in rapid succession, hence
demonstrating the interdisciplinary nature of the artwork. My quandary is this: in what
way does my 2002 Smart room at the U of A offer multimediality in a way unique from that
which I experienced nearly a decade earlier in a traditional music class? Is the term
"multimedia," in reference to technological innovations pedagogically sound, and how
should we describe the multimediality of traditional classrooms?
——. "Lear(ing) at Corfu: Intertextuality and Subversion of Colonial
Travels." Intersections II: Avenues of Literary Context. Simon Fraser University.
Burnaby, British Columbia. 27-28 September, 2002.
ABSTRACT: Few landscapes claim an overt colonial influence as strongly
Corfu, Greece. 'Beautified' by a replica of the Parisian Rue de Rivoli, two
Venetian fortresses (and a Venetian cityscape), British government buildings
and a church, and even an Austrian mansion, Corfu offers a cosmopolitan
palimpsest of urban landscapes to tourists every year. These overlaid histories,
cultures, and architectures form the crux of Lawrence Durrell's "Oil for the
Saint" (1966), which is itself a kind of palimpsest over Prospero’s Cell
(1945) and under Blue Thirst (1975).
ABSTRACT: How do readers in an introductory course in English literature
at the University of Alberta explain their own reading proclivities? What reasons
do they provide for the satisfaction taken in reading different types of text?
How are their preferences for particular types of text related to their reasons
for deciding to study literature? We are beginning to obtain answers to these
questions, thanks to a questionnaire designed by Achim Barsch, and used by him
and a group led by Sonia Zyngier in Brazil. Our interest in this work led us to
adapt the questionnaire for the Canadian context, thus we now have findings from
three different countries. In this paper we introduce some of our own findings.
Gifford, James and Jonathan Pearman. "The Online Critical Bibliography:
The Advantages and Challenges of the Online Medium." e-durrell Panel. On
Miracle Ground XII - Lawrence Durrell & Co: A Multicultural Circle.
Conference of the International Lawrence Durrell Society. University of
Ottawa. Ottawa, Canada. 20-24 June, 2002.
ABSTRACT: The available print materials cataloguing critical studies
of Lawrence Durrell's works are both extensive and highly valuable. Therefore,
in the shadow of this previous scholarship, my task in creating an online
bibliographic checklist involves an evaluation and justification of the need
for further work in this area, as well as an investigation of how the
electronic medium can offer new uses for this pre-existing work and the
additions I have made to it. Specifically, I will discuss the state of the
online bibliography project and the materials that it covers. This work
currently includes over one thousand and five hundred entries on critical and
primary sources, making it the largest source of such references available in
a single location; however, it is mostly un-annotated at this time, it exists
only as a checklist, and by virtue of the electronic medium, it questions
concepts of a 'single location.' Developing from the Koger-MacNiven
bibliography, the Vander Closter annotated resource, and the Brigham-Thomas
checklist, the online bibliography offers the advantages of constant updating
to a single site as new materials appear, as well as the eventual addition of
annotations, and the possibility of corrections or the addition of greater
details. Moreover, this makes materials available to scholars from a single
Gifford, James. "Homoerotic Anxiety and the East/West Dialectic in
Monsieur." On Miracle Ground XII - Lawrence Durrell & Co: A
Multicultural Circle. Conference of the International Lawrence Durrell
Society. University of Ottawa. Ottawa, Canada. 20-24 June, 2002.
ABSTRACT: There is a general perception that sexualities fall into
two broad categories: those that are 'correct' or 'moral' and 'everything
else.' I doubt I would encounter much resistance to placing Lawrence
Durrell's works in the 'everything else' group, especially since the first
group only exists as an idea. Therefore, I feel justified in calling
Durrell's transgressive sexualities 'queer.' Queer Theory has gained a
certain currency in academia over the past decade, and in this context
Durrell certainly queers the sexual landscape of his books. Given the
increasing cultural capital for queer theory, it is peculiar that the
articles focusing on sexual transgression in Durrell's works can be
counted on one hand and are generally from the past decade; moreover, they
confine themselves to gay and lesbian studies without moving into queer
theory. Out of the articles by Joseph Boone, Mark Hawthorne, and Roger
Bowen, where the homosexual and the themes of homosexuality, homoeroticism,
and transgressive sexualities are dominant, I find it telling that none take
as their focus Durrell's novel narrated by a homosexual, Monsieur;
that is, a work that depicts multiple queer sexualities, including
homosexuality and heterosexuality.
——. "Introduction: 'Technology and the Palimpsest in Literature and
Landscape.'" On Miracle Ground XII - Lawrence Durrell & Co: A Multicultural
Circle. Conference of the International Lawrence Durrell Society.
University of Ottawa. Ottawa, Canada. 20-24 June, 2002.
ABSTRACT: Under construction.
——. "Welcome to the Postcolonial World: Why 'Post,'
Why Corfu, and Why Durrell." Public Lecture. Durrell School of
Corfu, Ionian Cultural Centre. Corfu, Greece. 30 May 2002.
ABSTRACT: For academic orientations over the past
fifty years, few approaches to literature have been more pervasive
than postcolonial theory. In my talk, I intend to go over some
of the territory that defines the 'postcolonial' and why its
influence has been so wide and longstanding. I also want to
problematize some of the easy categorizations and assumptions
that often go part and parcel with postcolonial theory. In the
same vein, I want to be sure that I don't overlook the place
where this discussion is taking place, namely Corfu, Corcyra,
or Kerkyra (as some people call it). Lastly, since we are all
here, presumably, out of some affection or interest in the
writings of the Durrell brothers, I will give a few quick
examples of how Lawrence Durrell’s novels can offer important
materials to investigations of postcolonialism, colonialism,
Imperialism, and their aftermath.
——. "Self-Authenticity as Social Resistance: Reading Empiric Approaches to
Social Identity, Self-Esteem, and Fear via Lawrence Durrell's Monsieur; or,
The Prince of Darkness." Notions of Self and Selfhood. Conference
In Comparative Literature, Religion, & Film/Media Studies.
University of Alberta. Edmonton, Canada. 10-12 May, 2002.
ABSTRACT: Using examples and thematic materials from Lawrence Durrell's
novel Monsieur, I propose to debate the theoretical terrain surrounding
psychoanalysis' lost offspring, daseinanalysis, which has come to roost in
empiric psychology via Terror Management Theory and Social Identity Theory.
Moreover, I will focus my argument on how this debate suggests
self-authenticity as resistance to the domination of the individual by fear
and anxiety, usually through social institutions. Wayne Burns' and Richard
Rorty's distinctions concerning the private and public selves inform my
analysis of empiric psychology's dense linking of death awareness with
increased aggression, social identification, and resistance to self-reflexivity,
as well as self-esteem (predicated on social identity) as a buffer to this
anxiety. The theoretical apparatus behind this empiric research is derived from
Ernest Becker, Otto Rank, and Herbert Marcuse. Likewise, I will use Durrell –
as a member of this circle – as an author whose texts demonstrate the literary
exemplification of this theorizing and (now) empiric study. In this context, I
will argue that self-authenticity actively refutes the homogenizing force of
social pressure by wilfully gaining a symbolic mastery over the traum(a) that
social systems serve to deny. To contain my examination in a manageable
timeframe, I assume the possibility of a self-identity distinct from social
identity and death as a primary anxiety; however, I do so in the context of
other supportive theoretical and empiric research that I have engaged with
——. "Colonizing Death: Knowing, Defining and Denying In Terror
Management Theory." Speaking of Analysis: The Corpus, the Corpse,
and Mutual Efforts. Public Works. Graduate Students of English
Association. University of Alberta, Department of English. 28 Feb.
ABSTRACT: Under Construction.
——. "Landscape as Colonial Palimpsest in 'Oil for the Saint'."
Test Drive. University of Alberta, Department of English. 24
ABSTRACT: Using both aural and visual media, I propose to
visually trace the terrain and colonial history of Corfu using "Oil
for the Saint" as a 'travel guide' and to demonstrate the complexity of
Lawrence Durrell's debated relationship to Empire and colonial writing.
In the course of this discussion, I will demonstrate the usefulness of
considering both the textual materials and the physical facts of the
landscape they depict via the metaphor of a palimpsest. Moreover, I
contend that the intertextual and archeological aspects of this image
blur together, rendering Durrell's superficially simple narrative into
a complex depiction of the colonial history of Corfu.
ABSTRACT: Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet has
posed a difficult problem to the literary canon; how ought one read the
self-conscious creation of differing global perspectives (and readings
of Others) within a context of Foucauldian order-construction,
Nietzsche's single world assertion, and epistemic uncertainty? As
a result, it remains largely untaught and unread within the context of
current theoretical models and academic approaches to reading. Those
relatively few scholars who have taken modern views on postcolonial
theory to Durrell's work often fix it firmly in the territory
of colonial writings filled with disturbingly unabashed depictions of the
Oriental Other and bold assertions of the artist's colonization through
'knowing' in the act of writing. My paper is a writing-back at
these postcolonial readings of Durrell's Alexandria Quartet and
I additionally suggest that Durrell's self-reflexive
treatment of the author as fabulator both anticipates much of postcolonial
theory in the form depicted by Edward Said and problematizes its
oversimplification of the difficulty of epistemology within a knowledge-power
——. "Death Anxiety and Djuna Barnes'
Nightwood: The Conflict Over Freudian Analysis." Public Works. Graduate
Students of English Association. University of Alberta, Department of English.
16 Jan. 2001.
ABSTRACT: For a more complete version of this paper, please see
ABSTRACT: Images of death are prevalent throughout
Durrell's oeuvre, appearing in multiple forms ranging from the
physical to the Foucauldian death of madness. Despite its recurrence
and thematic significance, death remains a mysterious question hanging
over Durrell's fictions, distanced from the knowable by an
uncertainty that keeps both the dead and the
living from a 'direct apprehension' of death or the
hyper-reality of it. In conjunction with this uncertainty,
related to the broader epistemological skepticism at work in these novels, the
lingering influence of Otto Rank can be detected in the trauma associated with
the existential incompatibility death is shrouded in, and the varying methods
shown for psychologically repressing this trauma. This is the same subject
broached by Ernest Becker in his nearly posthumous The Denial of Death,
which is highly derivative of Rankian views. Durrell's works may
be appropriately viewed through this theoretical framework due to his early
interest in Rank's writings, and connection through Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin,
as well as his long-term contemplation of both death and psychoanalysis in
ABSTRACT: A recital of art song settings of Lawrence Durrell's poetry and
related musical works, with dramatic readings from his poetry, novels
and correspondence, as well as a more formal introduction).
——. "Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Uncertainty, Freud and Nietzsche."
Guest Lecture. English 101. University of Alberta, Department of English.
Edmonton, 23 Jul. 2002.
——. "Lawrence Durrell's Balthazar: Metaphysical
Speculation and Sexual Curiosity in The Alexandria Quartet." Guest Lecture.
English 366: British Literature from 1945. University of Alberta, Department
of English. Edmonton, 3 Apr. 2001.
——. "Lawrence Durrell's
'Asylum in the Snow': The Move to
Modernism." Guest Lecture. English 101. University of Alberta,
Department of English. Edmonton, 16 Feb. 2001.
——. "Keats and Negative
Capability: Letters and 'Ode to a Nightingale.'"
Guest Lecture. English 101. University of
Alberta, Department of English. Edmonton, 8 Jan. 2001.
——. "Deconstructing History: Relating the Medieval
Romance to T.S. Eliot, Lawrence Durrell and
Umberto Eco." Guest Lecture. Humanities 305: The Chivalric Ideal.
Simon Fraser University, Department of Humanities. Burnaby, 26 May.
——. "Telemann and His
Circle." Pre-concert Lecture. Le Ton Beau de
Telemann. Kammermusik. Vancouver, 27 & 28 Feb. & 1