Rocky Mountain E-Review 
of Language and Literature

Volume 63, Number 1


Violence, Violation, and the Limits of Ethics in Robinson Jeffers' "Hurt Hawks"

Jordan L. Green 
State University of New York at Buffalo

This close reading of "Hurt Hawks" focuses on the poem's rhetorical and thematic violence and violation that challenge the primary ontological status of the human in relation to the nonhuman. In a meditation on an unforgiving natural world that abruptly transitions to his speaker's defiant ethical stance toward humanity, Jeffers' assault on the human upsets the historical anthropocentric classification of value that regards the nonhuman as unworthy of serious ethical consideration. This article also suggests that Jeffers should be read as more than a nature poet as his work reveals a modernist sensitivity to the possibilities of poetic language in addition to offering an important reconsideration of the sublime and the limits of common ethics.

The "Lukács Effect" in Twentieth-Century Hungarian Literature and Film

Agnes Vashegyi MacDonald 
University of British Columbia

This article explores ideas about nostalgia and hope in Hungarian culture by tracing György Lukács' literary and philosophical concepts that attempted to form a coherent theoretical movement. Lukács' denunciation of the outdated social forms in Hungary and his rejection of bourgeois capitalism left him at a psychological impasse and in a theoretical paradox. The article proposes to problematize Lukács' theoretical developments as a question of the Hungarian worldview and argues that twentieth-century Hungarian culture is a testament and legacy of the Lukácsian situation of paradox, hence the "Lukács effect." In order to promote its specific value for the dramatization and critique of literature and film Imre Kertész' novel Fateless and István Szabó's film Father are discussed.

Playing Secret Agent in Hans Christoph Buch's The Wartburg Warden. A German Story

Cornelius Partsch 
Western Washington University

To date, research on Stasi literature has focused on the manifold reactions of (former) East Germans to the information that came to light in the early 1990s about the secret police's extensive role in East German society. Once the Stasi Documents Law provided for access to the files the Stasi had archived, many victims of the state's surveillance measures were forced to undertake a reappraisal of their biographies. On the side of the perpetrators, Manfred Stolpe's evasive maneuvers drew widespread public attention. Situated in the context of these vexing issues and debates about the past, guilt, secrecy, and the status of the files, this article offers a reading of one of the few Stasi books contributed by a West German, Hans Christoph Buch's picaresque novel The Wartburg Warden. A German Story (1994). In this conspicuously playful text, an immortal narrator serves a number of oppressive institutions as informer. He is charged with controlling three iconic figures during periods of national upheaval and division (Luther, Goethe, Brecht) and finally manages to ease through the revolution of 1989 under the codename "Sekretär." Buch's heteroglossic novel offers a reflection on the responsibility of intellectuals and on historical representation in the face of the Stasi revelations, increasing right-wing violence, and a re-evaluation of postmodernist poetics in unified Germany.

The Impact of Mass Media Representations of Body Image 
on Personal Identity in Lise Tremblay's La Danse juive

Kelly-Anne Maddox 
Thompson Rivers University

Governor General's award laureate La Danse juive tells the story of an anonymous female narrator living in Montreal who contemplates her obesity vis-à-vis numerous image conscious characters and media figures. Tremblay's novel provides a pertinent reflection on individual identity within the context of contemporary popular culture and mass media paradigms as the narrator delves into an exploration of the origins of her obesity and tries to establish a connection between her body, her father, and the media-oriented consumer society in which she lives. Drawing principally on Jean Baudrillard's work, The Consumer Society, this article examines the portrayal of identity in La Danse juive through a discussion of mass media and popular culture, body image and self, and the consequences arising from mass media representations of body image standards.

Davis Award Winners

To encourage the engagement of graduate students in scholarly production, the Rocky Mountain Review is recognizing excellence among our graduate student membership by publishing two papers, first presented at the RMMLA conference, that won the Davis Award. Both papers are presented in their original versions: not subjected to peer-review but simply edited for publication. We hope that this feature will inspire graduate students in the humanities to pursue their scholarly efforts and to submit their work at our annual conference.

Life, Writing, and Problems of Genre 
in Elie Wiesel and Imre Kertész

Michael Bachmann 
Mainz University

From Elie Wiesel's famous dictum that "a novel about Treblinka is either not a novel or not about Treblinka" to Art Spiegelman's request that the New York Times Book Review categorize his Maus-comix as "non-fiction/mice," many works of Holocaust literature have challenged generic classification, including the work of Nobel Prize laureate Imre Kertész, a survivor from Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Although his first book Sorstalanság [Fatelessness] (1975) is based on the author's experience in these camps, he labels it a novel (regény). This might not be surprising, given the recurrent use of terms such as "autobiographical novel" to account for the tensions between "experience" and "writing." Kertész, however, rejects such hybrid classifications, or so we are led to believe when reading his latest work, K. Dosszié [Dossier K.] (2006). In what seems to be a comprehensive interview, the author states that "such a genre does not exist. Either it is an autobiography or a novel." K. Dosszié connects this binary opposition to a divide between writing and oral testimony. K. Dosszié, however, is both. Through writing, the author wants to escape from talking about his experience; and thus from the experience itself. The interviewer, on the other hand, attempts to link scenes from Sorstalanság to Kertész, thereby reinscribing them into an "oral sphere." By "forcing" him to speak, the interviewer tries to retrace this movement and in effect establish an oral scene of witnessing. However, in a destabilizing move, Kertész claims in his preface that he basically invented the interview, classifying it as "downright autobiography" and "novel." Thus, he himself is both interviewer and interviewee, and at the same time, neither one of them. Reading K. Dosszié against the background of its uncertain generic status, the article attempts to trace the movements between testimony (orality) and fiction (writing).

The Geographical Imagination in Toni Morrison's Paradise

Lindsay M. Christopher 
University of Denver

Oklahoma was once an empty space on the margins of a Euro-American map, ready to be filled by a land-hungry, brand new nation with fantasies of earthly paradise and fears of savage tribes. In her novel Paradise (1997), Toni Morrison unearths the Native populations, emancipated Africans, and violent land speculators who all worked to carve out homes in these blank, unincorporated margins. By centering the patriarchal, all-black town of Ruby inside rural Oklahoma and placing the racially ambiguous, all-female Convent on its wild outskirts, Morrison explores how conflicting ideas of land and property not only reflect on geography as a tool of domination, but how differing geographical imaginations can lead to loss of direction, to misunderstanding, intolerance, and even death. Morrison charts her characters' movements through this landscape to show how using the stories and experiential maps of those who came before can define the territory and ultimately resist colonization.


A Monstrous Pedagogy

Jacob Hughes 
Washington State University

Incorporating monsters into the freshman composition classroom may seem like a strange idea, but unpacking the deep layers of psycho-cultural issues and concerns serves as excellent critical thinking exercises for first-time college writers. Utilizing monstrous content from a variety of mediums, the author's writing sequence has allowed him to avoid cliché angles on common paper topics and more importantly to expand student experience and understanding beyond the familiar boundaries of popular culture. Requiring students to branch out into unfamiliar inquiries assists them in developing the skills necessary to adapt to a variety of different research environments. The writing sequence described here exercises student development in key intellectual faculties possessed by experienced writers: rhetorical awareness, research acumen, sensitivity to multiple perspectives, and investment into a series of ideas in a body of work over the course of a semester and beyond.

Lyric, Meaning, and Audience in the Oral Tradition of Northern Europe, by Thomas A. DuBois 

Reviewer: Joshua K. Johnson

New Interpretations in the History of French Literature: From Marie de France to Beckett and Cioran, ed. Aleksandra Gruzinska 
Reviewer: Catherine Marachi

The French Fetish from Chaucer to Shakespeare, by Deanne Williams 
Reviewer: Cindy Carlson

Piccolomini en Iberia: Influencias italianas en el génesis de la literatura sentimental española, by Jaime Leaños 
Reviewer: Paul E. Larson

Subtle Subversions: Reading Golden Age Sonnets by Iberian Women, by Gwyn Fox 
Reviewer: George Antony Thomas

William Camden: A Life in Context, by Wyman H. Herendeen 
Reviewer: Heather C. Easterling

Freedom's Empire: Race and the Rise of the Novel in Atlantic Modernity, 1640-1940, by Laura Doyle 
Reviewer: Sarah Gleeson-White

The Great Age of the English Essay: An Anthology, ed. Denise Gigante 
Reviewer: Renee Bryzik

Realist Vision, by Peter Brooks 
Reviewer: Paul Kerschen

Mark Twain: The Complete Interviews, ed. Gary Scharnhorst 
Reviewer: Jeffrey W. Miller

Five Fictions in Search of Truth, by Myra Jehlan 
Reviewer: Sravani Biswas

Una rosa para Ernestina. Ensayos en conmemoración del centenario de Ernestina de Champourcin, ed. Joy Landeira 
Reviewer: Frieda H. Blackwell

The Ox-Bow Man: A Biography of Walter Van Tilburg Clark, by Jackson J. Benson 
Reviewer: Debbie Cutshaw

Approaches to Teaching Lolita, ed. Zoran Kuzmanovich and Gayla Diment 
Approaches to Teaching Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 and Other Works, ed. Thomas H. Schaub 
Reviewer: Sura P. Rath

Literary Spaces: Introduction to Comparative Black Literature, by Christel N. Temple 
Reviewer: Randy Jasmine

Womanism, Literature and the Black Community, 1965-1980, by Kalenda C. Eaton 
Reviewer: Sarah Smorol

Approaches to Teaching Puig's Kiss of the Spider Woman, ed. Daniel Balderston and Francine Masiello 
Reviewer: Ana Isabel Carballal

Goth: Undead Subculture, ed. Lauren M.E. Goodlad and Michael Bibby 
Reviewer: Susan Nyikos

The Outside Child In and Out of the Book, by Christine Wilkie-Stibbs 
Reviewer: Susan J. Konantz

The Case for Literature, by Gao Xingjian 
Reviewer: Helga Lénárt-Cheng

On Eloquence, by Denis Donoghue 
Reviewer: Ingo R. Stoehr

Aesthetics and Literature, by David Davies 
Reviewer: Tom Hertweck

Humanism, by Tony Davies 
Reviewer: Helga Lénárt-Cheng

Elements of German: Phonology and Morphology, by Elmer H. Antonsen 
Reviewer: Louise E. Stoehr

Swedish: An Essential Grammar, by Philip Holmes and Ian Hinchliffe 
Reviewer: Lily M. Konantz

MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd ed. 
Reviewer: Joy Landeira