By Anne Tyler


Evie Decker is a shy, somewhat plump youngster, lonely and silent. yet her quiet lifestyles is shattered whilst she hears the voice of Drumstrings Casey at the radio and turns into immediately interested in him. She manages to fulfill him, bursting out of her lonely shell--and into the attentive gaze of the intangible guy who turns into all too real....

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17 history of the spectacularization of destruction, through recreations of recent disasters, like the Galveston flood at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase exposition in Saint Louis (and the earlier version at Coney Island), the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, flood of 1889 at the Pan-American exposition in Buffalo in 1901, or the repeated Coney Island acts of Fighting the Flames at the beginning of the twentieth century, which included a miniature version in the Midget village. While considering also examples of historical catastrophes, such as the destruction of Pompeii at Coney Island and Nero, or the Destruction of Rome at the Barnum and Bailey Circus in Chicago in 1890—or other natural disasters like the eruption of Mount Kilauea—Valance focuses on the “spectacular plasticity” of the American examples of reconstructed cities during world fairs as a symbol of the recovery of large metropolises, such as San Francisco and Chicago after massive disasters hit them, like the 1871 Chicago fire or the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

In all of the essays the archival trace points to the crucial lived experience and to the time-bound, ephemeral performative nature that can be identified at the heart of modernity (and modernism) before any aspect may be hypostatized in work of art or in any medium. Contextualization, therefore, means retracing multiple perspectives and unstructured genealogies, considering also the longue durée of typologies associated with a pre-nineteenth-century history that cannot be simply dismissed by means of the trope of the radical paradigm shift of the end of the eighteenth century/beginning of the nineteenth.

Williams, Linda. Ed. Viewing Positions. Ways of Seeing in Film. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1995. Print. Wynne, Deborah. The Sensation Novel and the Victorian Family Magazine. Houndmills and New York: Palgrave, 2001. Print.  Brophy “Estrangement,” wrote Theodor Adorno, “shows itself precisely in the elimination of distance between people” (Adorno 41). Adorno’s aphorism focuses on modernity’s dehumanizing effects to reduce all communication to utilitarian exchange. ” Paradoxically, the “clarification and transparency of human relations” obliterated difference and the “possibility of relations without purpose,” a condition that, for Adorno, defined humanity.

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