While the 2014 issue of Portals experienced a lull in submissions, we believe we have three quality texts to contribute to the continuing tradition of comparing literature here at Portals and San Francisco State University.
Carroll Clayton Savant’s essay, “And the Women Shall Inherit the Earth: Late Victorian Over-Population and the Condition of England on the Threshold in George Gissing’s The Odd Women”, connects representations in Gissing’s novel to the degeneracy debates so prominent during the fin de siècle. Savant examines issues of overpopulation, anxiety amidst technological advance, and shifting gender roles that are as much relevant today as they were at the time Gissing wrote The Odd Women.
“Post-Holocaust Poetry and the (In)efficacy of Language” by Heather Pujals presents a close textual analysis of several poems by Paul Celan and Charlotte Delbo. Finding a link of comparison in what may seem like the linguistic play of poetry, what is actually revealed is a failure of language the texts reflect when confronted with the unspeakable trauma of the Holocaust.
Dilatting the scope of history, Joshua Commander unpacks Jean Baudrillard’s concept of the simulacrum across time and space. Plato, Augustine, Lacan, Said, and Bhabha are read comparatively against Baudrillard’s post-modern concept of mediation in “‘The Omnipotence of Simulacra’: Tracing the Evolution of the Simulacrum throughout the History of Theory, Criticism, and Human Subjectivity.” Commander succeeds in providing readers new to many ideas in theory with a cohesive account of the simulacrum, as well as several threads in the long history of thought that share ties with the debasement of reality by higher and more exacting modes of mediation.
Thank you to all the contributors and to this year’s fantastic group of junior editors (Heather, David, and Sequoia). Thanks also to the continued efforts of our webmaster, Daniel Strickland, whose work on the Portals site, newly revamped, reflects our new outlook. While we, the managing editors, have finished our studies at State and our editorial duties at Portals, we sincerely hope that the eleventh installment of the journal will usher in another quality decade of comparative research published at San Francisco State University.
Danielle Tuttle and Nikita Allgire