Hannan Lewsley

Hannan Lewsley

Hannan Lewsley holds an MRes from Western Sydney University. Researching the legacy of Modernism his interests lie at the intersection experience and literature.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

    4

    Presenting Problematic Issues in Art

    Lolita, when it was published in 1955 (after much delay) was received by a hostile combination of abhorrent dismay and critical acclaim. Similarly, Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses upon release in 1988 received both popular and critical praise but enraged a considerable portion of the Islamic community that resulted in a fatwa being placed on the author. More recently, the Netflix film Cuties was met with a #CancelNetflix response while the efficacy of the film’s intentions are still hotly debated. NITRAM, a film that explores the worst gun massacre in Australia’s history, has also faced significant objection.

    These works are a small example of art that attempts to discuss problematic issues in the public domain. In varying degrees, they all portray uncomfortable representations of social problems. Where does the line lie with the representation of problematic themes in works of art? Does a work of art with the platform of Netflix have more of a responsibility to stay within the confines of non-controversy? Or, conversely, because of its platform, should this be the very arena that tackles problematic social issues?

    An interesting angle for this article could be the role of cancel culture within the discussion. Do responses such as #CancelNetlfix inhibit the willingness of artists to attempt to tackle problematic issues and what is the consequence of this in broader social discourse?

    • Another example that jumps to mind is Jean-Jacques Annaud's 1992 film 'The Lover,' starring Tony Leung and Jane March. In the book, the unnamed female lead character, played by Jane March is 15. March turned 18 shortly after shooting began and (apparently) Annaud delayed shooting the sex scenes until after March's birthday. – Amyus 8 months ago
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    The Possibilities of Narrative

    The problem of representation has persisted since antiquity. Literature had long opposed the writer’s ability to tell a story on one side, and to represent reality accurately on the other. The twentieth century has shown that both are concurrently achievable and modern literature, in particular the novel, is the product of the confluence of these two ideas.

    An essay that explored how narrative has developed the capacity overcome this binary and to both tell a story and represent our experiences of reality would be a poignant contribution.

    This is particularly pertinent in a cultural climate that continues to move away from homogenous conceptualisations of existence. In a cultural climate where language continues to lose authority it would be interesting to explore how language can adapt (as it always has) to overcome the severe destabilisation of what is (I use the term hesitantly) a Post-Truth world.

    • There are A LOT of ideas here, this could easily achieve PhD length given the scope! Which isn't a bad thing, I'd read it. To keep this article length though I'd keep the idea of 'The Possibilities of Narrative' as the focus and perhaps go into a couple of current narrative forms that meld your core concepts of literary narrative, on the one hand, and fidelity to representing reality on the other. Mixed-media ARGs (Alternate Reality Games) jump to mind. – JM 8 months ago
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    Latest Comments

    Hannan Lewsley

    I wonder how Silvey’s new release would hold up to this analysis. I ask because there is also a variety of recent Australian works that draw positively on the notion of the ‘other’. Tara June Winch’s recent book ‘The Yield’ immediately comes to mind, as do various novels of Peter Carey. Australian Gothic is always a fascinating notion, but I wonder if its themes are beginning to become a little out of step with Australian culture more broadly?

    The Changing Faces of Fear in Australian Literature
    Hannan Lewsley

    Ha! I wonder what happened to the cultural cringe?

    The Changing Faces of Fear in Australian Literature
    Hannan Lewsley

    Actually I should ask, would you put down your abstract expressionist’s brush and head the fight against the oppressor?

    Social Realism, New Masses & Diego Rivera
    Hannan Lewsley

    Can you justify your abstract expressionism?

    Social Realism, New Masses & Diego Rivera
    Hannan Lewsley

    The application of realism in any context is always fascinating and this is no exception! It left me longing for a cerveza in the JRC… imagine the conversations.

    Social Realism, New Masses & Diego Rivera
    Hannan Lewsley

    Great article, really interesting ideas.

    The stratification of vernacular across a world like Middle Earth is particularly pronounced because most of the forms of language the reader is made privy to are represented in English. Yet English is far from a lingua franca for Middle Earth, in fact it sits quite low on the language hierarchy. It would be interesting to compare the representations of English and non-English vernaculars and to see how they are similarly stratified.

    Riddles in Rhetoric: Learning from Bilbo and Gollum about Linguistic Segregation
    Hannan Lewsley

    This is great, it highlights the power of narrative as a way of commenting indirectly on the realities of our present and such an approach reaches its zenith in the work of someone like Roald Dahl (do Fantastic Mr Fox next).

    I would, however, challenge the portrayal of what the article terms ‘mere fiction’. I think that it would be productive to consider fictional portrayals on the same level as their non-fictional equivalent. I don’t think that fiction as a form of narrative is any less effective (as this article has shown) at conveying the realities of the world. In fact, I would say that it regularly engages at a level that exceeds it’s non-fictional equivalents, such as the essay. This is particularly relevant in the context of the themes in which the article and Dahl’s text explore: capitalism, exploitation, the plight of children, etc., where the individuals involved are suppressed to the point of being unable to offer an authoritative opinion.

    Thrilling exegesis, love it.

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: A Capitalist Dystopia
    Hannan Lewsley

    The masking of humanity is always a fascinating exploration. This article highlighted 1984 vibes that I’d never really associated with Star Wars before: the struggle of the individual against malevolent structures of self-serving power. It’s always individual that loses out, but it is the persistence of the individual and the unperturbed -even increasing- humanism that accompanies it that makes these stories so very compelling.

    The Heartbreaking Symbolism of The Clone Helmet In Star Wars: The Clone Wars's Final Episodes