Chris Eagle from the University of Western Sydney is
soliciting previously unpublished articles or essays for an edited collection on the topic of representations of speech and language disorders in literature, film, and popular culture. At present, there is a growing interest in the field of Medical Humanities regarding the portrayal of conditions like stuttering, aphasia, mutism, etc. Recent works like The King's Speech, Rocket Science, and Diving Bell and the Butterfly also speak to the growing concern in contemporary popular culture over the status of the Self in relation to language loss and language breakdown. Since speech pathologies are neither illnesses nor outwardly visible disabilties, critical studies of their representation have tended to occupy a liminal position in relation to other discourses in fields like literary theory, medical humanities, disability studies, etc. One of the primary aims of this collection is to address that marginalization, to position a cultural criticism of speech pathology as a subfield in its own right, by combining previous criticism with original work in order to bring this subject into greater prominence.More details can be found here. I immediately thought of Laura Kinsale's Flowers from the Storm:
The working title of the collection is Talking Normal: Speech Disorders in Literature, Film, and Culture. The goal of this collection is to approach the issue of disordered or 'non-standard' speech from as many critical lenses as possible. So cultural studies, historicist, theoretical, sociolinguistic, formalist approaches etc. are all equally welcome. [...] Authors should submit an abstract of 300 - 600 words, along with a CV providing full contact information, by May 1st 2011.
The odd tidbit of original inspiration for Flowers came from a great-aunt of mine. When I was fairly young—7 or 8?—she suffered a stroke and lost the ability to speak. My grandmother, her sister, brought her to live at home for the next ten years. She would come up behind us kids and grab our hair or our arm, pinch so hard that it hurt, and say “No, no, no, no!” I thought she was nuts. Forgive me, I was young and afraid of her. My grandmother always insisted that she could understand what was said to her, and stood by her to the end.I know Barbara Cartland's heroines often pause ... when speaking, but ... I don't think those pauses were intended to be read as representations of a speech disorder. Can you think of any romances other than Flowers from the Storm which depict "disordered or 'non-standard' speech"?
Many years later, many—out of nowhere, the thought came to me that my grandmother had been right. That my great-aunt had been trapped behind a wall. It was a stunning realization.
I spent a fascinating period researching brain damage while writing Flowers from the Storm. Yes, for all those who’ve guessed or wondered, Christian suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. A one-time bleeding in the brain caused by a malformed blood vessel. He never had another one, I promise. I deliberately made him left-handed because left-handers have an atypical layout of speech centers in the brain, and often recover better from aphasic injuries.
And here's another recent call for papers.This one made me think a bit about time-travel and historical romances:
Philament, the peer-reviewed online journal of the arts and culture affiliated with the University of Sydney, invites postgraduate students and early-careers scholars to submit academic papers and creative works for our next issue upon the theme of Time. [...] Submissions close April 30, 2011, although late submissions may be considered.More details can be found here and the submissions guidelines are here. Please note that
Our definition of postgraduate extends to include recent graduates who have obtained their doctorate less than five years ago, and who are yet to secure permanent academic employment.I recently read Susan Stephens' Ruthless Boss, Dream Baby , a contribution to a Harlequin/Mills & Boon mini-series titled
MEN WITHOUT MERCYApparently the idea for the mini-series was inspired by the television programme Life on Mars:
Arrogant and proud, unashamedly male!
Modern Romance with a retro twist ...
Step back in time to when men were men - and women knew just how to tame them!
For those unfamiliar with the show, in a nutshell a 21st century policeman is transported back in time to 1970s Britain, where he meets DCI Gene Hunt – a completely unreconstructed alpha male from days of yore! In the second series, Ashes to Ashes, the action moved to the 1980s, when a 21st century female is thrown back to meet the uncompromising Gene Hunt, and gradually tension of a different kind started to simmer, and this got us thinking…I'm pondering the implications of the phrase "when men were men" and wondering if this combination of a modern heroine and a setting in which men can be men, is one of the appeals of "wallpaper historicals." Vacuous Minx recently described these as
What would happen if a 21st century Presents heroine came face-to-face with a completely unreconstructed Presents alpha hero from the past?
And that is how Men Without Mercy was conceived! Yes, we would need to include a little, (dare we say) time travel to make it possible, but as long as the story, relationship and passion was pure Presents – why not?
books where the characters are basically modern, but they wear period clothing, live in period houses, and refer to period events.There is no real pretense, by authors or readers who like the books, that these books represent serious attempts to depict a particular historical era. Think of it as going to a historical theme party: everyone dresses up in the theme, but they talk in their normal accents and use contemporary vocabulary and wear Spanx under their costumes.In wallpaper historicals do the heroes seem as modern as the heroines, or are they the embodiment of what some modern women believe men were like in the days "when men were men"?