Nicholas Ruddick, “Courtship with a Club: Wife-Capture in Prehistoric Fiction, 1865-1914.” Yearbook of English Studies 37.2 (2007), pp. 45-63.
On the origin of the belief that a “caveman” would stun a woman of another tribe with a blow of his club and drag her by the hair back to his cave to be his wife.
Nicholas Ruddick, “Sexual Paradise Regained? C.J. Cutcliffe Hyne’s New Eden Project.” Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction 98 (Autumn 2006), pp. 74-84.
On C.J. Cutcliffe Hyne’s The New Eden (1892), an almost forgotten novel full of fascinating speculations about sexual and social evolution.
Nicholas Ruddick, “‘Not So Very Blue, after All’: Resisting the Temptation to Correct Charles Perrault’s ‘Bluebeard.’” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 15.4 (Winter 2004), pp. 346-57.
On why Perrault’s literary version of the popular folk tale about a serial killer of women is superior to all the other variants, and remains as relevant as ever.
Nicholas Ruddick, “The Ripper Naturalized : Gynecidal Mania in Tolstoy’s The Kreutzer Sonata and Zola’s La Bête Humaine.” Excavatio: International Review for Multidisciplinary Approaches and Comparative Studies Related to Emile Zola and His Time 14.1-2 (2001), pp. 181-93.
How the newly recognized phenomenon of sex-murder associated with Jack the Ripper was explored by both Leo Tolstoy in his novella The Kreutzer Sonata (1889) and Emile Zola in his novel La Bête Humaine (1890).
Nicholas Ruddick, “‘Tell Us All about Little Rosebery’: Topicality and Temporality in H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine.” Science Fiction Studies 28.3 (November 2001), pp. 337-54.
On how The Time Machine, a meditation on the nature of time, emerges from a very specific time in the life of the young H.G. Wells, desperate to make his mark on the world. Reprinted in Vintage Visions (2014).
Nick Ruddick, “The Search for a Quantum Ethics: Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen and Other Recent British Science Plays.” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 11.4 (2001), pp. 415-31. Reprinted by arrangement of the editors. See below.
Nicholas Ruddick, “The Search for a Quantum Ethics: Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen and Other Recent British Science Plays.” Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies 6.1 (Spring 2000), pp. 119-37. Reprinted in Drama Criticism, ed. Jelena O. Krstovic. Vol. 27. Detroit: Gale, 2006, pp. 119-137. See also above and Chapters in Books.
On contemporary plays about science and scientists including Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen (1998), Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia (1993), Hugh Whitemore’s Breaking the Code (1987), Timberlake Wertenbaker’s After Darwin (1998), and Stephen Poliakoff’s Blinded by the Sun (1996).
Nicholas Ruddick, “Nellie Bly, Jules Verne, and the World on the Threshold of the American Age.” Canadian Review of American Studies 29.1 (1999), pp. 1-11. Reprinted in Children’s Literature Review, ed. Scot Peacock. Vol. 88. Detroit: Gale, 2003.
How the global circumnavigation in 1889-90 by the American journalist Nellie Bly in under the eighty days of Jules Verne’s famous fictional adventurer Phileas Fogg marks a significant moment in the transition from European to American hegemony.
Nicholas Ruddick, “Life and Death by Electricity in 1890: The Transfiguration of William Kemmler.” Journal of American Culture 21.4 (Winter 1998), pp. 79-87.
On America’s first (horribly bungled) execution by the electric chair, of the axe-murderer William Kemmler at Auburn Prison, New York on 6 August 1890.
Nicholas Ruddick, “Putting the Bits together: Information Theory, Neuromancer, and Science Fiction.” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 3.3/4 (1994), pp. 84-92.
This piece on how information theory influenced William Gibson’s pioneering cyberpunk novel Neuromancer (1984) was published in the notorious lost issue of JFA several years after it was written.
Nicholas Ruddick, “Ballard/Crash/Baudrillard.” Science-Fiction Studies 19.3 (November 1992), pp. 354-60. https://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/58/ruddick58art.htm
Reprinted in Contemporary Literary Criticism Select. Detroit: Gale. 354-360.
On what I saw as Jean Baudrillard’s shameless distortion of the significance of J.G. Ballard’s novel Crash (1973), and why Ballard was so angry about postmodernist academic criticism.
Nicholas Ruddick, “Is There Any British Science Fiction? A Serious Inquiry.” New York Review of Science Fiction 40 (December 1991), pp. 1, 8-11.
A provocative piece arguing that there is such a thing as a British science fiction tradition distinct from the American mainstream, though cross-fertilized by it.
Nicholas Ruddick, “Flaws in the Timestream: Unity and Disunity in Keith Roberts’s Story-Cycles: Conclusion.” Foundation 47 (Winter 1989/90), pp. 33-42.
The third essay in this sequence, on Keith Roberts’s Kiteworld (1985).
Nicholas Ruddick, “Flaws in the Timestream: Unity and Disunity in Keith Roberts’s Story-Cycles: Part Two.” Foundation 46 (Autumn 1989), pp. 14-26. Translated into Spanish 2007; see Chapters in Books.
The second essay in this sequence, on Keith Roberts’s The Chalk Giants (1974).
Nicholas Ruddick, “Flaws in the Timestream: Unity and Disunity in Keith Roberts’s Story-Cycles.” Foundation 45 (Spring 1989), pp. 38-49. Translated into Spanish 2005; see Chapters in Books.
The first of three articles in consecutive issues of Foundation on the story-cycles of Keith Roberts. This one was on his most famous work, Pavane (1968), an alternate-history scenario in which Queen Elizabeth I was assassinated in 1588 and the Protestant Reformation defeated.
Nicholas Ruddick, “Keeping the Torch Burning: An Interview with Doris Lessing.” Wascana Review 23.2 (Fall 1988), pp. 3-13.
Reprinted in Wascana Review of Contemporary Poetry and Short Fiction: [Thirty Year Retrospective: 1966-1996] 32.2 (Spring 1997), pp. 126-35.
Doris Lessing on science fiction, Afghanistan, word processors, The Fifth Child, the Americanization of the world, and the academization of literature. A very prickly interviewee, Lessing became charm personified as soon as the tape recorder was switched off.
Nicholas Ruddick, “Philip Larkin’s ‘High Windows’.” Explicator 46.4 (Summer 1988), pp. 41-43.
On the significance of the image of “high windows” in Larkin’s poem of that title.
Nicholas Ruddick, “Deep Waters: The Significance of the Deluge in Science Fiction.” Foundation 42 (Spring 1988), pp. 49-59.
On catastrophic floods in science fiction, focusing on novels by Garrett P. Serviss, S. Fowler Wright, John Wyndham, John Bowen, and J.G. Ballard.
Nicholas Ruddick, “Out of the Gernsbackian Slime: Christopher Priest’s Abandonment of Science Fiction.” Modern Fiction Studies 32.1 (Spring 1986), pp. 43-52.
By the mid-1980s academic journals such as Modern Fiction Studies were starting to pay some attention to science fiction, in the form of special issues devoted to the genre. This piece derived from work on my Starmont Guide to Priest’s fiction.
Nicholas Ruddick, “A New Historiography of the Self: Robert Lowell’s History as History.” Wascana Review 20.2 (Fall 1985), pp. 3-15.
On Robert Lowell’s epic sonnet-sequence History (1973). The poet identifies with historical figures who anticipate his own predicament and discovers chronology as a valuable ordering principle.
Nicholas Ruddick, “The World Turned inside out: Decoding Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama.” Science-Fiction Studies 12.1 (March 1985), pp. 42-50. Reprinted in Children’s Literature Review, ed. Tom Burns. Vol. 119. Detroit: Gale, 2006, pp. 42-49.
My first article on science fiction, in which I “solve” the enigma of Clarke’s alien spacecraft and make an entirely wrong prediction about future visitations.
Nicholas Ruddick, “The Hoax of the Red Death: Poe as Allegorist.” Sphinx 4.4 (1985), pp. 268-76.
Click here for the full article: Hoax of the Red Death
How and why Poe’s famous tale “The Masque of the Red Death” (1842) begs to be read as an allegory … but cannot be interpreted as one.
Nicholas Ruddick, “‘Synaesthesia’ in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry.” Poetics Today 5.1 (1984), pp. 59-78.
A survey of the thinking about so-called “synaesthesia” in poetry, followed by an explanation of why existing theory is inadequate in relation to the highly original work of Emily Dickinson. Full of impressive-looking formulas associated with semantic transfers from one area of the sensorium to another!
Nicholas Ruddick, “W. H. Auden’s ‘Lady Weeping at the Crossroads’.” Explicator 42 (Spring 1984), pp. 54-56.
Offers a solution to the enigmatic narrative in this poem influenced by the old ballads.
Nicholas Ruddick, “Emily Dickinson’s ‘Banish Air from Air’.” Explicator 40 (Summer 1982), pp. 31-33.
On Dickinson’s poem #954 as a “bold poetic assimilation of contemporary scientific theory.”
Nicholas Ruddick, “The Meaning and Significance of Synaesthesia as a Literary Device.”Proceedings of the Linguistic Circle of Manitoba and North Dakota 21 (1982), pp. 26-28.
My first post-doctoral project was on synaesthesia in poetry, and this short piece derived from my first conference presentation at this small annual cross-border symposium in Grand Forks, ND.
Nicholas Ruddick, “‘The Color of a Queen, is this—’: The Significance of Purple in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry.” Massachusetts Studies in English VII/VIII (1981), pp. 88-98.
On the colour purple in Dickinson’s poetry, adapted from my PhD thesis completed in 1980, by coincidence the 150th anniversary of the poet’s birth.