Animals, Fairy Tales, film and visual cultures, Folktales, French, History, Poetry, Research

The Unicorn’s Journey from “Indica” to Instagram

boston terrier wearing unicorn pet costume
Photo by mark glancy on Pexels.com

Submission by Dr Jenny Barnett and Dr Joe Hardwick

When Dr Jenny Barnett started to research the history of the unicorn for her doctoral thesis it was unlikely she could have predicted the public’s interest in her work would have taken off as much as it has. A resurgence in the public’s fascination in the mythical unicorn has seen Dr Barnett’s expertise being called upon numerous times to provide a glimpse into the mysterious history of this fantastic creature. Just last year, she was interviewed by Paul McIntyre for ABC Radio Hobart, and more recently wrote an explainer article for the academic news website The Conversation.

Dr Barnett’s 2010 thesis explored Maurice Scève’s Délie, objet de plus haute vertu, a French book of emblems and poetry written in 1544 , and examines Scève’s use of woodcut images as a compliment to his textual explorations of the “dangerous” and “fatal” acts of seeing.  Scève uses figures such as the unicorn to reinterpret myths and legends to show that “the act of seeing is always pervaded by fear, deception and death”. Barnett notes that the “[s]cenes of sight and mirrored reflection in the woodcut images tell us more about the gaze than the ‘literary images’ in the text alone”. Continue reading “The Unicorn’s Journey from “Indica” to Instagram”

Animals, japanese, Japanese Culture, literature, Novels, Translation, Women

Revisiting Mieko Kanai’s “Oh Tama!” in translation

cat paws in shallow focus photography
Photo by Monica Silvestre on Pexels.com

Submission by: Assoc. Prof. Tomoko Aoyama

Kanai, Mieko. Oh Tama: A Mejiro Novel. Translated by Tomoko Aoyama and Paul McCarthy. Stone Bridge Press, 2018.

Originally published by Kurodahan Press, Oh Tama! A Mejiro Novel has been revised and re-published by Stone Bridge Press. Translators Tomoko Aoyama and Paul McCarthy have noted that this novel is not just for those who are interested in Japanese studies or translated works but would appeal to cat lovers, literary comedy and satire fans, and those who love to revel in nostalgia for the 1980’s (which is enjoying a boom in pop-culture at the moment evident through the popularity of series such as Netflix’s Stranger Things).  Continue reading “Revisiting Mieko Kanai’s “Oh Tama!” in translation”

Animals, chinese, film and visual cultures, Folktales, literature

Beyond nostalgia: Reconsidering the magic of Monkey in a contemporary context

saiyuki__monkey_magic__by_elmic_toboo_d5fq2by-fullview
Saiyuki (Monkey Magic) Stencil art by Elmic-Toboo (via DeviantArt)

Submission by Rebecca Hausler PhD (Cand.).

Hausler, Rebecca. “Far from white-washing, ABC’s Monkey Magic remake takes us back to its cross-cultural roots”. The Conversation. 31 Jan. 2018.
https://theconversation.com/far-from-white-washing-abcs-monkey-magic-remake-takes-us-back-to-its-cross-cultural-roots-90853

In this piece, I discuss the way in which an ancient Chinese folktale Xiyouji, known in English as The Journey to the West has appealed to audiences the world over, from its journey from China to “the West”. Earlier this year, the story was remade as an Australian-New Zealand co-production entitled The New Legends of Monkey. Continue reading “Beyond nostalgia: Reconsidering the magic of Monkey in a contemporary context”

Animals, Anime, Fairy Tales, Folktales, japanese, Japanese Culture, Legends, literature, Novels

Dogs, Gods, and Monsters in two Contemporary Hakkenden Retellings

Fuse_film
A girl hunter and a human-dog hybrid in Fuse: A Tale of a Girl with a Hunting Gun (dir. Miyaji Masayuki).

Submission by Dr. Lucy Fraser

Fraser, Lucy. “Dogs, Gods, and Monsters: The Animal-Human Connection in Bakin’s Hakkenden, Folktales and Legends, and Two Contemporary Retellings“. Japanese Studies. Vol. 38, iss. 1, 2018.

In this article, I delve into a fascinating tradition of legends and folktales from China, Japan, and other parts of Asia which tell of a human woman who must marry a dog or a dog-man (often after the girl’s parents jokingly promise her to the dog, and he takes them seriously). Continue reading “Dogs, Gods, and Monsters in two Contemporary Hakkenden Retellings”