Rocky Mountain E-Review 
of Language and Literature

Volume 54, Number 1
Spring 2000

From the Editors

The dawn of a new century forces us to consider how our world has come to be, what elements took part in its formation. As scholars in the fields of language and literature, we deal in words and consider them an important aspect of that development. Whether we enthusiastically investigate language and the many discourses that can derive from it, or spend most of our time trying to get others to use it correctly, the manipulation of words and the phenomenon of language are matters that intrigue and challenge us. This issue explores the fascination we have for words and the forms in which they coalesce to create spaces for those who use them. We go from cultural uses of the neologism, to the phenomenon of punning, to actual formulations of reality from the imaginary spaces of poetry and film. It is a small sample of the diversity that language study entails, of the many worlds that have been created and are still emerging from the constructive uses of words.

We also present a new section in this issue: the Invited Scholar article, and as our first scholar Dr. Abdellatif Akbib from Morocco who spent some time recently in the US as part of an exchange. We include his work on an area that has not received much attention, feeling it was pertinent to our issue as a representation of a world not many of us have explored.

Despite our undeniable love for the feel of paper, we are advancing more and more towards becoming a primarily electronic publication. In accord with the recent board decision, not only is our journal available on the Web but back issues are now accessible to all who visit the RMMLA site. The most recent issues and those in development will still be accessible only to members. We hope this move will help glean for the journal more of the recognition it deserves and propel the work of our contributors to web-fame just in time for a whole new thousand years of scholarship. Not only an issue of space or finances, the E-Review entails the opening of another world as well. The possibilities electronic publication presents are endless, and we are more and more convinced it will be the foundation of this new era. After all, millennial fears last time involved the wrath of God; this time the dread focused on an anticipated e-pocalypse. What does that tell us?



Neologism as Oppositional Language 
in Fae Myenne Ng's Bone

Diane C. LeBlanc
University of Wyoming

Fae Myenne Ng's Bone offers a new paradigm of spiritual quest that challenges the notion of a unified self achieved through the realization of one term in its other. Self is momentarily realized through the invention of new language promised in the last word of the novel, "backdaire." This Chinese-English neologism is a powerful utterance signifying the main character Leila's unwillingness to privilege either her Asian or American identity. At the same time, it creates a paradox central to her quest. Although Leila no longer is fragmented by the composite of ever-changing differences that constitute a postmodern subject, Ng's creation of language that rejects the dominant discourse while threatening to impede Leila's access to power through that discourse acknowledges the material reality of living with difference.

Thomas Pynchon, Wit, and the Work of the Supernatural

Elizabeth Jane Wall Hinds
University of Northern Colorado

Thomas Pynchon offers, in The Crying of Lot 49 (1966) and other novels [Gravity's Rainbow (1973), Mason and Dixon (1997)], the pun as an energy-generating alternative to entropy in its ability to multiply meanings, to proliferate "output" from a single source, a word, or an image. In Pynchon's usage, the pun, even more than Maxwell's Demon, defies the second law of thermodynamics: it actually creates energy, causing a word to do the work of several with minimal effort. A look into Pynchon's Puritan past sounds the historical possibilities of Lot 49, suggesting that Pynchon's puns reinscribe the sacred into the secular world, visiting a supernatural effect upon the world of physical laws to defy those laws and to create life out of the void.

"Windows" and/or "Mirrors" in the Creation of Sexual/Personal Identity 
through Multicultural Women's Poetry

Annette Bennington McElhiney
Metropolitan State College of Denver

Borrowing from Emily Style's metaphor of curriculum as either "windows" or "mirrors," we can see how poetry written by women from African American, Asian American, Chicana, European American, and Native American backgrounds can function in one of two ways: as "windows" into the worldviews of someone from another culture or as "mirrors" that reflect our own cultures. Included are looks at racial/ethnic traditions, conventions, worldviews, historical events, and sociological conditions affecting the respective women's poetry, as well as readers' responses to the poetry. The poems of Marian Yee, Esmeralda Bernal, Kathleen Fraser, Carol P. Snow, and Lucile Clifton are illustrative of how women from different racial/cultural backgrounds claim their own sexual/personal identities while not ignoring the worldviews of their native cultures.

The Poetics of Camp in the Films of Alfred Hitchcock

MJ Robinson
New York University

Alfred Hitchcock has often been accused of inserting queer subtexts into his films. This examination seeks first to posit camp as a humor system that is subversive by nature. Hitchcock's use of a hidden poetics of camp is then considered as the way in which his queerness is expressed. The main focus is Hitchcock's camp exploitation of the "star persona," the use of which widens the subversive nature of camp to allow for more than just the categorizing of queer desires along the axes of homosexual and heterosexual and complicates the already contentious relationship between star, actor, star persona, and audience.

Birth and Development of the Moroccan Short Story

Abdellatif Akbib
Abdelmalek Essaadi University, Morocco

The development of the Moroccan short story written in Arabic from its birth in the early 1940s to its recent state in the late 1990s is charted out. For a comprehensive survey, attention is given both to the socio-cultural background in which the genre first saw the light and developed as well as to the major narrative techniques this literary category has experimented with in the last fifty years.


Why Contemporary Poetry is Not Taught in the Academy

Michael McIrvin
University of Wyoming

Contemporary poetry is increasingly not taught in college classrooms. At best, students in non-genre-specific survey courses are offered canned responses to the staid standbys from literature survey textbooks. Although there are valid reasons for the academy's inherent perception of poetry's irrelevance, including the mainstream tendency to solipsistic banality and to the art as careerist vehicle to tenure, the role that poetry has traditionally played as a means to explore the deeper self and the depths of human reality has not been usurped by anything else. Consequently, it is incumbent upon the teachers of contemporary literature to search the moribund corpus for the few excellent examples of the genre still being written, the work of the few poets and their publishers struggling to revivify the art.


Recent Collections of Latin American Historical Documents
      Colonial Spanish America: A Documentary History, ed. Kenneth Mills and William B. Taylor
      Women through Women's Eyes: Latin American Women in Nineteenth-Century Travel Accounts,
                  ed. June E. Hahner
      The Human Tradition in Modern Latin America, ed. William H. Beezley and Judith Ewell
Reviewer: John E. Kicza

The Idea of the Vernacular: An Anthology of Middle English Literary Theory, 1280-1520, ed. Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, et al. 
Reviewer: Elizabeth Holtze

Building Resemblance: Analogical Imagery in the Early French Renaissance, by Michael Randall 
Reviewer: Margaret Harp

Approaches to Teaching Stendhal's The Red and the Black, ed. Dean de la Motte and Stirling Haig 
Reviewer: Aleksandra Gruzinska

Contagion: Sexuality, Disease, and Death in German Idealism and Romanticism, by David Farrell Krell 
Reviewer: Hans Gabriel

The Presence of Pessoa: English, American, and Southern African Literary Responses, by George Monteiro
Reviewer: David Callahan

After Exile: Writing the Latin American Diaspora, by Amy K. Kaminsky 
Reviewer: Kathryn Bishop-Sanchez

Reconstructing Woody: Art, Love, and Life in the Films of Woody Allen, by Mary P. Nichols 
Reviewer: Douglas W. Reitinger

The Western Tradition. Videotape series. 
Reviewer: Peter Utgaard

Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Joanne M. Braxton 
Reviewer: Kathryn Rummell

Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior: A Casebook, ed. Sau-ling Cynthia Wong 
Reviewer: Wenxin Li

Poetry of the American West: A Columbia Anthology, ed. Alison Hawthorne Deming 
Reviewer: Carl Whithaus

The Fence and the River, by Claire F. Fox 
Reviewer: Francisco Manzo-Robledo

Latinos Unidos: From Cultural Diversity to the Politics of Solidarity, by Enrique T. Trueba 
Reviewer: Glenn A. Martínez

The Mirror of Ideas, by Michel Tournier 
Reviewer: Jann Purdy

Sustainable Poetry: Four Ecopoets, by Leonard Scigaj 
Reviewer: Anthony Flinn

Dangerous Territories: Struggles for Difference and Equality in Education, ed. Leslie G. Roman and Linda Eyre 
Reviewer: Maureen Shannon Salzer

The Pleasures of Academe: A Celebration and Defense of Higher Education, by John James Axtell 
Reviewer: John E. Loftis

The Wired Professor: a guide to incorporating the World Wide Web in college instruction, by Anne B. Keating with Joseph Hargitai 
Reviewer: Victoria Defferding

La Novela lúdica experimental de Julio Cortázar, by María D. Blanco Arnejo 
Reviewer: Sandra García Angeles