This anniversary tenth issue of Cultural Intertexts – a Journal of Literature and Cultural Studies – assembles articles on The Roaring (20)20s
, covering one hundred years of literary and filmic production, as well as of societal and linguistic change, with emphasis on text, pretext, context and intertext.
The contributors – scholars from Austria, China, Denmark, Georgia, Greece, Norway, Romania and the United States of America – tackle a wide range of aspects related to the problematic under focus, supported by relevant case studies.
A time of healing the wounds left by the Great War through art, excesses and joie de vivre, an era of artistic innovation and profound transformation at all levels, the 1920s provide rich ground for cultural analysis. Of course, the blooming film industry during that time is one of the focal points of interest for cultural studies. Consequently, Part One, The Roaring 20s, sets out from an investigation of the evolution, impact and revival of luxury movie theatres, the famous extravagant ‘palaces’. The celluloid world of illusion is taken further, from its flamboyant space of consumption to its fabricated ‘characters’, the silent movies stars, through mediated constructions of womanhood in fan magazines like Photoplay. The intrinsic and ever-flowing relation between film and literature is then exploited in a discussion on Woody Allen’s transposition of the Kafkian grotesque in the mockumentary film genre. Similarly, the much older connection between
painting and fiction finds a place in our collection with a review of the representations of the prodigal son within the European space, which, once again, features the famous misfit, Franz Kafka, but also the groundbreaking Modernist T. S. Eliot and great representatives of Surrealism and Dada, like Max Ernst and Giorgio di Chirico. As the Roaring 20s would be incomplete without at least one emblematic figure of the Lost Generation, strategies of rewriting the American 1920s are identified in John Dos Passos’s Manhattan Transfer. Finally, as the effervescence of the period was not an exclusive Western European or American affair, a journey to Greece is made, to read a Modernist poet’s reaction to his critic (Vafopoulos v Karantonis on shifting poetic codes).
The one-hundred-year bridge is, sadly and unexpectedly, 'consolidated’ by two pandemics: the Spanish Flu (1918-1920) and the current Coronavirus (2019 – ongoing) whose variations in the fabric of speech acts and the shift from cultural intertexts to inter-texting cultures are approached from a pragmatic and cultural perspective in the first article of Part Two, …and the Roaring 2020s. The topical negotiation of identity across cultures is traced in its representation at the level of the literary text signed Mojha Kahf, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf. Then, a return to the famous flight from reality specific to the early decades of the previous century is made obvious once again in the anti-realism of televised fairt-tales, fantasy series and science fiction novels. The analyses centres on telling the story of the characters’ literary emancipation and of the death of the author in the fantasy drama television series Once Upon a Time, on journeying across a literary heterotopia inspired by classical and modernist sources in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series, and on defamiliarizing Georgian society in bio-punk fiction: Chewing Dawns: Sugar-free.
As always, the editorial team is honoured by the collaboration with the members of the scientific committee, and grateful for the highly professional peer reviews received before publication.