Home Current Issue Submission Guidelines Contests Archives About Us

Index by Author

Index by Title












"The Undiscover'd Country": Sir Walter Ralegh’s Literary Approach to English Colonialism

Literary tools have relevance and power outside of literature, something sixteenth century explorer and poet Sir Walter Ralegh understood well. This paper examines the ways that Ralegh, in his 1596 travelogue The Discoverie of the Large, Rich and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana, revolutionized the traditional style of English travel writing. While continuing in the historiographic and ethnographic tradition common to the travel writing of his time, Ralegh innovatively employed literary devices and literary strategies within his nonfiction work. The uniquely literary nature of the text serves to bolster his argument for avoiding Spanish lands and invading Guiana. Ralegh uses metaphor, microcosm and characterization—along with other tools of writerly cunning—to craft his intricate rationale for an English invasion of Guiana. more...


Scene, Perspectively


Deriving Laws: A Comparison between Ijtihad among Shia Muslims and Istihsan and Istislah among Sunni Muslims in Contemporary Islamic Thought

The use of ijtihad, the creative interpretation of the sources of Islamic the law among Sunni Scholars has been rejected since the 10th century. Consequently, methods of interpretation of the laws which scholars recognize to be “less creative” than ijtihad have been developed such as istihsan and istislah. However, the author argues in this paper that the contemporary use of istihsan and istislah among Sunni Muslims is more creative than the use of ijtihad among Shia Muslims. Therefore, not only does the essay shed light on internal jurisprudential debates of Islamic Law for the benefit of western audiences, but it also breaks down the logic and process of developing laws between different schools of Islamic law. more...


Sincerity in Soliloquy: The Unraveling of Hamlet's Murderous Identity

This essay reveals Hamlet’s struggles with his own personal reflections on existence through a close reading of three soliloquies within Shakespeare’s famous drama. Each soliloquy focuses on Hamlet’s internal conflict, and exhibits his progression from a prince with a multitude of courtly roles to a murderer, sincere in his intentions for revenge. Such an approach to the soliloquies lends us a clearer understanding of Hamlet’s identity and of Hamlet as a whole. more...


The Quest for Spiritual Purity and Sexual Freedom: Gauguin's Primitive Eve

Gauguin's Tahitian sojourn helped him to reconcile the conflicting forces of Catholicism and sexuality in ways that had previously eluded the artist. In particular, Gauguin's primitive Eve serves as a visual testament to the inner harmony the artist finally achieved through his physical break with Western culture. In tracing and analyzing the gradual evolution of this figure over the course of Gauguin's career, it is apparent that Tahiti offered the artist a sexual, earthly paradise unfettered by the polluting effects of European culture and practices, which allowed Gauguin to finally unite religion and sexuality, two of the most predominant themes in his body of work. The importance of this research lies in its examination of the force of the "primitive" in reshaping prevailing Western values; indeed, this brand of escapist art and literature remains a potent cultural force today. more...

Queering To the Lighthouse

This essay provides a queer reading of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. It discusses Woolf’s exploration of homosexuality, homosocial relationships, and heteronormative gender roles. The essay draws from contemporary queer theory and links these ideas to early twentieth century views on homosexuality and Woolf’s own life. A queer reading of the novel uncovers radical approaches to gender and sexuality, and offers an insight into the ideological shifts that have occurred over the last hundred years. more...


A Human Hair Museum

Hair is often overlooked as a cultural commodity. Implicated in celebrity worship, human rights issues, and food production, human hair has the power to alienate producer from consumer, while simultaneously lending an aura of authenticity to an otherwise mass-produced object. Drawing on ideas from thing theory and dialectical materialism, this article elaborates on a few aspects of the socio-economic “story” of hair. more...


Our Backs Pinned to the Sands of Time


The Face Lost in the Book


The Myth of the Myth: Re-Examining Zen in the Art of Archery

Zen in the Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel, has long been regarded as a seminal text in the documentation of one of the West's first tastes of Eastern spirituality--in particular, Zen Buddhism--and as a guide for practitioners of any art. Recent research, however, has raised doubts as to the authenticity of Herrigel's teachers and his understanding of his own subjective experience. This essay explores the reasons why such arguments are, at best, fodder for post-reading discussion rather than a complete reassessment of the book's place in our cultural canon, and how the meaning instilled in the author's personal narrative trumps concerns over the blurry line between fiction and nonfiction. more...


The Sources of Anti-Americanism in Iran: A Historical and Psychological Analysis

This essay analyzes the origins and perplexing complexities of modern Iranian anti-Americanism. In order to completely comprehend modern Iranian anti-Americanism, one must understand how state elites capitalize on Iranian fear and anxiety, which resulted from Iran’s negative history with foreign powers. This essay contributes to the existing political science scholarship by combining historical and psychological explanations. more...


Giornale delle donne and the Discourse of Femininity in Post-Unification Italy: A Critical Discourse Analysis

Utilizing critical discourse analysis, this article seeks to demonstrate how language was used to both reproduce and resist the hegemonic, patriarchal, Catholic discourse of nineteenth-century Italy in the Giornale delle donne’s representations of women. A link between the social and political transformations experienced by Italy during this century and the changing role of women is suggested. Overall, this examination seeks to shed light on what currently remains a fairly unknown literary and cultural phenomenon, the nineteenth-century Italian women’s magazine, especially in regard to the genre’s contributions to the formation of female gender identity. more...


Parallelism and Confused Gender Roles in the "Female Economy": Othello, Moor of Venice and Much Ado About Nothing

This essay provides a comparison between the female characters in two of Shakespeare’s plays, the tragedy Othello, Moor of Venice and the comedy Much Ado About Nothing. The author explores the similarities and differences between the female characters and their corresponding relationships with men in order to shed light on why the latter play is able to be comedic while the former has tragic consequences. more...


Bondage, Bestiality, and Bionics: Sexual Fetishism in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner

What can a science fiction film tell us about human sexuality? Will the future be one of liberated self-expression or that of a strictly repressive Orwellian nightmare? Ridley Scott's film adaptation of the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep addresses some of these questions.  This essay uncovers the sexual motivations that drive nearly all characters in the film and provides insight into the true meaning of the "human" condition. more...


The Hermeneutics of Moses Stuart: Synthesis in Hostile Times

This examination of the hermeneutics of Moses Stuart, a 19th century New England biblical scholar, seeks to emphasize the unique synthetic qualities which Stuart was able to harness in a highly polemic religious atmosphere. The importance of Stuart's work as a pioneer of the German critical school in America is hard to overemphasize. His legacy, however, is further augmented by his defense of Orthodoxy by the very weapon Liberals were using against it--namely the German criticism. In this way, Stuart managed to elevate the conservative position by enabling the early New England Calvinist Church to combat Liberal theological attacks through the increasingly popular medium of Germanic biblical criticism and thereby sustaining a highly intellectual defense of conservatism. more...


Jean-Luc Picard, Kant, and Morality: An Ethical Examination of the Deontological Element of the Prime Directive

This paper examines the philosophical implications of one common moral struggle within the Star Trek universe—following the Prime Directive while seeing the need to disobey in order to help others—and proves that the Directive is not a suitable moral guideline. After defining the Directive as a Kantian maxim of non-interference and using elements of Virtue Ethics and Natural Law Theory, the essay demonstrates that this maxim does not hold up to scrutiny and is an unethical demand. more...




Contact Us
© 2010-2011 Valley Humanities Review | LVC Home