A special issue of Textual Practice, dedicated to the work of Catherine Belsey
Literature and Culture: The Work of Catherine Belsey
Edited by Neil Badmington and Jürgen Pieters
About the IssueFor more than a quarter of a century, the work of Catherine Belsey has shaped and reshaped how we read literature and culture. This special issue of Textual Practice – the first of its kind – addresses the difference that Belsey’s work has made.
The collection is not a Festschrift; it is, rather, a series of theoretical, literary, and cultural investigations that take different aspects of Belsey’s work as a starting point. The engagement, moreover, is critical: if the volume works in the wake of Belsey’s writings, it regularly does so with a view to pushing her findings in new directions. Jean-Jacques Lecercle’s contribution, for instance, discusses Belsey and Žižek on Lacan’s concept of the real, establishes their differences, and then proceeds, drawing upon Marx, to move ‘beyond Belsey’. Alan Sinfield, meanwhile, looks back to Critical Practice, Belsey’s first book, and reconsiders the place of Pierre Macherey in Belsey’s radical challenge to traditional accounts of reading. In doing so, and in comparing the first and second editions of Critical Practice, Sinfield draws attention to the turn to ‘undecidability’ in Belsey’s work and questions its place in the practical realm of politics. For Sinfield, undecidability is not wholly satisfactory, and, like Lecercle, he calls for a move beyond the account offered in Belsey’s work.
Other contributions to the volume draw upon Belsey’s writings to discuss, among other things: Shakespeare and death; fairy tales and Roland Barthes; visual culture; psychoanalysis; non-human cultures and the limits of cultural analysis; tragedy and subjectivity; and New Historicism.
ContributorsNeil Badmington, Catherine Bernard, John Drakakis, Indira Ghose, Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Jürgen Pieters, Kris Pint, Alan Sinfield, and Julia Thomas. The collection closes with an afterword by Catherine Belsey.
Neil Badmington; Jürgen Pieters
Danger! Keep out!: exploring culture with Catherine Belsey (and other animals)
When the real matters: interpreting the visual with Catherine Belsey
Revisiting The Subject of Tragedy
Jesting with Death: Hamlet in the Graveyard
An old Bolshevik of theory, or: welcome to the abundance of the Belseyan real
‘I was never a new historicist’: Catherine Belsey's ‘history at the level of the signifier’
Kissing the text: performing the motif of Sleeping Beauty
Reading Critical Practice and Macherey
Illustrations by Belsey
Website: Literature and Culture: The Work of Catherine Belsey, Textual Practice
Also at A Piece of Monologue