2024 | 1

Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 12 of 12
  • Article
    Framing the War: THE CALVARY OF SERBIA (YU 1932/1940): Innovation, Faith, History in the Early Documentary Film
    Radovic, Milja (2024) , S. 109-134
    This article examines the early documentary film of the Yugoslav space, assessing the innovative deployment of film language to communicate faith and history in the context of the First World War. The pioneering work involved in developing war cinema in the Yugoslav space has been largely overlooked by scholars. The research introduces readers to the rich heritage of such documentary film and encourages new approaches to researching history and religion through this medium. The article is a case study of the documentary film THE CALVARY OF SERBIA (GOLGOTA SRBIJE, Stanislav Krakov, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, 1932/1940), which was assembled from various forms of footage and is regarded as the best documentary made in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia prior to the Second World War. Incorporating different modes and codes of representation, THE CALVARY OF SERBIA is a milestone in the development of film language. How the author(s) saw and framed faith and history within the context of the war resulted in a unique cinematic space, in which on-screen and off-screen spaces are (re)negotiated. To examine the language of film is to study film as a historical document, and in this sense this article approaches film as a primary source. Its overarching goal is to advance and enrich scholarly inquiry into early cinema and to introduce novel avenues for accessing documentary film.
  • Review
  • Article
    The The Bible, Religion, and Power in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale: A Close Reading from the Perspective of Biblical Scholarship
    Hartenstein, Friedhelm (2024) , S. 25-46
    This article offers a close reading of Atwood’s famous novel from the perspective of biblical scholarship. Anyone who reads The Handmaid’s Tale will readily notice how strongly biblical texts inform the narrative and the fictional world of Gilead. This relationship begins with Genesis 30:1–3, which appears as an epigraph. Religion in all its complexity is a cornerstone of the novel. The article looks at its threefold use of religion: as a biblically based foundation of the ideology and power structures of Gilead, as an anthropological foil for the leitmotif of seeing and being seen in Offred’s story, and as a point of departure and reference for the main character’s personal reflections. The article limits itself to observations based on the novel as first published in 1985.
  • Article
    The Handmaid’s Tale as a Palimpsest: Biblical (Re)Imaginings in Margaret Atwood’s Novel
    Jeffers, Ann (2024) , S. 47-63
    The Handmaid’s Tale inhabits an imaginary space defined by biblical narratives at a time set in the near future when low fertility has reached a critical point. The solution provided by the Bible-based totalitarian regime in place in Gilead is to offer “handmaids” as surrogate mothers to members of the ruling elite. The biblical basis for this is chillingly re-enacted through the set reading of Genesis 30:1-3 preceding and legitimising the ritual rape of the household dedicated handmaiden. While this text clearly provides the rationale for addressing issues of fertility in Gilead, I will focus more specifically on how the book of Judges (specifically Judges 19-21) is marshalled to provide an implicit framework for The Handmaid ’s Tale. The paper will analyse the complex ways in which the Bible is used and abused in both the novel and the fourth series, using literary and feminist lenses. It will be argued that both narratives, the Book of Judges and Atwood’s tale contain elements of subversion and deconstruction.
  • Article
    Biblical Narratives in The Handmaid’s Tale
    Nir, Bina (2024) , S. 65-87
    Through her dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), Margaret Atwood fuels the debate surrounding the global plight of women. Atwood weaves many biblical concepts, names, and motifs relating to the status of women into the novel, with a particular focus on the concept of the handmaid, whose sole function is childbearing. Atwood thus warns against fundamentalist readings of the Bible and other canonical texts that are the foundations of our culture. In order to reach a fuller understanding of the contextual biblical sources of the novel, in this article I take an in-depth look at the biblical source of the name “Gilead”, as Atwood chose to set her tale in the “Republic of Gilead”. Furthermore, as the novel presents a radical social hierarchy among women based on their childbearing duties, I will also examine the biblical narratives foundational to the hegemonic male interpretation that gave rise, according to the novel, to this dystopian reality. In this terrifying novel, the transformation of women into childbearing handmaids is based both on the biblical story of the handmaids and on the proprietary relationship of men over women in the Bible. I argue that the novel’s critical approach deconstructs the unspoken assumptions of a particular way of life.
  • Article
    "Are There Any Questions?": Fiction, Religion and Politics in The Handmaid's Tale. Editorial
    Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria; Fritz, Natalie (2024) , S. 7-24
    Editorial to the issue on Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale that highlights how the cross-media distribution of the novel since 1985 has helped the dystopian narrative to become a global phenomenon, and refers to its impact on socio-political discussions – not only on a visual level.
  • Article
    The Restrictions of Genre: The Television Series THE HANDMAID’S TALE as a Classic Dystopia
    Spiegel, Simon (2024) , S. 89-106
    While there is a long tradition of literary utopias, there are hardly any positive utopias in film. Cinematic dystopias, by contrast, abound. The typical dystopia usually features a protagonist who is in opposition to the ruling regime, a built-in dramatic conflict that makes dystopias particularly well-suited for films. Although the huge success of Hulu’s THE HANDMAID'S TALE seems to confirm the affinity between film and dystopias, the show also highlights that a series spanning multiple seasons has very different dramaturgical demands than a feature film. Those demands are at odds with the narrative structure of a typical dystopia. While the standard rebellion plot provides the needed tension, it cannot be prolonged endlessly. Sooner or later the rebellion either succeeds or fails, at which point literary dystopias normally end. A series like The Handmaid’s Tale needs to be able to continue that plot, which is the primary reason why the protagonist Offred never leaves Gilead despite having several opportunities to do so.
  • Journal Issue
    Fiction, Religion and Politics in The Handmaid’s Tale
    Since its publication in 1985, The Handmaid’s Tale, a novel by Margaret Atwood, has had an enormous impact on different media productions, from opera to graphic novel to a much-acclaimed TV series. The novel develops a disturbing vision of the theocratic, totalitarian state Gilead. The narrator records fragments of her everyday life as a “handmaid”, one of the women assigned as slaves to the elite’s families for reproductive purposes. Atwood’s novel points out how religious and political fanaticism fuel social violence, inequality, and the abolishment of individual rights. With its clear articulation of widespread fears concerning contemporary democracy and its future – dystopian – developments, The Handmaid’s Tale has become a global cultural phenomenon. The articles gathered in this issue approach the complex interdependence of fiction, religion and politics in The Handmaid’s Tale in light of the novel of 1985 and the Hulu series that started in 2017. The articles by Friedhelm Hartenstein, Ann Jeffers, and Bina Nir offer a close reading of the use of biblical references in the novel, analysing the ambivalent role of religion in the (de-)legitimation of a destructive political power. Simon Spiegel focuses on the TV series and explores the transformation of the dystopian novel into a serial drama, and the paradoxical challenges of the serie’s success. The articles of the thematic section are introduced by the editors’ contribution that describes the processes of the narrative’s diffusion across media and contexts, and the hermeneutical power of this dystopian universe to address the interplay of religion and politics.