The Shadow of the Precursor
Editor: Diana Glenn, Md Rezaul Haque, Ben Kooyman and Nena Bierbaum
Date Of Publication: Jan 2012
A shadow, in its most literal sense, is the projection of a silhouette against a surface and the obstruction of direct light from hitting that surface. For writers and artists, the shadows cast by their precursors can be either a welcome influence, one consciously evoked in textual production via homage or bricolage, or can manifest as an intrusive, haunting, prohibitive presence, one which threatens to engulf the successor. Many writers and artists are affected by an anxious and ambiguous relationship with their precursors, while others are energised by this relationship. The role that intertextuality plays in creative production invites interrogation, and this publication explores a range of conscious and unconscious influences informing relations between texts and contexts, between predecessors and successors. The chapters revolve around intertextual influence, ranging from conscious imitation and intentional allusion to Julia Kristeva’s idea of intertextuality. Do all texts contain references to and even quotations from other texts? Do such references help shape how we read? This multidisciplinary work includes chapters on the long shadows cast by Shakespeare, Dante, Scott, Virgil and Ovid, the shadows of colonial precursors on postcolonial successors, the shadows cast over Kipling and Murdoch, and chapters on other writers, dramatists and filmmakers and their relationships with precursor figures. With its focus on intertextual relationships, this book contributes to the thriving fields of adaptation studies and studies of intertextuality.
Diana Glenn is Dean of the School of Humanities at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. Her principal research interest is in Dante Studies. She is the author of “Dante’s Reforming Mission and Women in the Comedy” (2008). She has published numerous scholarly articles nationally and internationally and has jointly edited the following volumes: “Dante Colloquia in Australia 1982–1999”(2000), “Flinders Dante Conferences 2002 & 2004” (2005) and “Imagining Home: Migrants and the Search for a New Belonging” (2011).
Md Rezaul Haque teaches English linguistics and English-language literatures in the Department of English, Islamic University in Kushtia, Bangladesh. He is currently working on his PhD in the Department of English, Creative Writing and Australian Studies at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. His doctoral research is focused on the construction and deconstruction of Indian cultural/national identity in Indian English fiction and he has published in this area as well. He is a Transnational Literature sub-editor and a poet.
Ben Kooyman completed his PhD on Shakespeare, self-fashioning and film adaptation in 2009 at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. He works at the University of South Australia as a Language and Learning Adviser, and has published in the areas of Shakespeare, horror film, and comic book studies. Recent and upcoming publications include essays in Rapt in Secret Studies: Emerging Shakespeares, American Horror Film: The Genre at the Turn of the Millennium and The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture.
Nena Bierbaum is the publications coordinator and editor for the School of Humanities at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. She has co-edited “The Regenerative Spirit Volume 1: Polarities of Home and Away, Encounters and Diasporas, in Post Colonial Literatures” (2003), “The Regenerative Spirit Volume 2: (Un)settling, (Dis)locations, (Post-)colonial, (Re)Presentations – Australian Post-Colonial Reflections (2004), “London was Full of Rooms” (2006), and “Something Rich and Strange: Sea Changes, Beaches and the Littoral in the Antipodes “(2009).
"The Shadow of the Precursor is a collection of essays which began life as papers delivered at one of the legendary Kangaroo Island conferences, which were inaugurated by Syd Harrex when he was Reader in English and Director of the Centre for Research into New Literatures in English at Flinders University. Syd is the dedicatee of this volume, which was edited by four members of the Flinders School of Humanities. They have put together a generous selection of seventeen essays on the topic of influence and intertextuality.
[...] The essays cover a huge range of material, from the influence of Virgil on Christopher Marlowe (a contribution from Lucy Potter) to Truffaut’s cinematic adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451(by Laura Carroll). They take on an equally large range of approaches to these questions of influence and intertextuality – some look at a writer’s relationship to a particular precursor author, like the young Charlotte Brontë’s devotion to Sir Walter Scott’s historical novels, a very fine contribution by Christine Alexander. Others look at the effect on a writer’s work of a whole tradition, such as Iris Murdoch’s admiration for nineteenth-century realist novels – which, Gillian Dooley argues, was detrimental to her own novel writing. Others again discover a patchwork of intertexts in a single work, like Russell McDougall’s attention to Xavier Herbert’s massive novel, Capricornia."
- Susan Sheridan, Transnational Literature (November 2012).
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