Three years ago, our friends chez Booker changed house rules so that novels by North Americans became eligible for the prize. This provoked a backlash from certain contemporary observers, who augured Americans predominating Booker long- and shortlists going forward. Essentially, this hasn’t happened: two Americans making the six-strong shortlists of 2014 and ’15 is vanishing cause for concern. What this article explores is a corollary issue: whether an influx of American authors necessarily means an influx of an ineffable “American-ness”. Continue reading
In Absence, Hollis discusses the picture of America circulated, he theorizes, by London theatres via “theatergrams” and “theatermemes”. Respectively, these terms comprise elements of character, scene, and situation; and shared allusions, ideas, catchphrases, and the like . More precisely, Hollis discusses and tracks across plays: the ‘meme of the craven adventuring Virginian colonist; the ‘meme of cannibalism; the ‘meme of the displaced Indian; and the theatergrams of European males disguising themselves as Indians [27-9]. Continue reading
“Homage”: the deliberate but respectful recreation of one work within another. Think of Michael Cunningham’s The Hours, homage to Ms. Dalloway; the BBC’s Life on Mars and The Sweeney; the stairway shoot-out in The Untouchables and the Odessa Steps scene in Battleship Potemkin. They are all homage, yet all their own.
But contiguous with homage is plagiarism: disrespectful, deceitful, and what one expects prima facie of Noah Hawley’s Fargo. Continue reading
To look at jazz’s preeminent players and albums, or its popular historical narratives, one would think a “Native American” had never picked up a horn. Indeed, finding Native Americanism in a so thoroughly African-American art form may seem offbeat even for jazz. Yet a “Native jazz” tradition does exist— has … Continue reading