(Post)modernism and the Other

Broj 2 - Godina 1 - 06/2011

Uvodnik

There is always a good reason to cherish and celebrate a second issue of a journal. In our case it would probably be the fact that in spite of the severe world financial crisis and its repercussions on the academic world we found a way to beat the odds and publish what is hopefully a progressive, intellectually competitive and, at the end of the day, an interesting collection of academic papers. As opposed to the first issue, dedicated to the theme of the endangered "body", the second one functions as a form of proceedings from the conference that was held at the University of Zadar in September 2010. The conference entitled Re-Thinking Humanities and Social Sciences questioned the issue of (Post)modernism and the Other through an extremely wide variety of scientific approaches, creating an atmosphere of highly academic competitiveness surrounded by a distinct Mediterranean ambiance. The second issue of our journal is an intellectual and textual extension of that unique experience. Obviously the papers presented here are merely a fragment of that experience but nevertheless we believe that they will provide the reader with an interesting and challenging insight into the issue of (Post)modernism and the Other. ..

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Izdvojeno

Richard Yates’s novel Revolutionary Road did not receive much academic attention despite the fact that it is an exceptionally refined and capturing piece of fiction. It was critically acclaimed following its publication in 1961, nominated for the National Book Award in 1962 and then forgotten. Not surprisingly, the novel was “rediscovered” once a movie adaptation was made in 2008. Revolutionary Road is typically read – quite expectedly – as a story of suburban malaise and a critique of the American (suburban) life in the 1950s. However, in an interview, published in Ploughshares in 1972, Yates stated that although he intended the novel to be an indictment of American life in the 1950s because of a general lust for conformity (DeWitt and Clark 66), he never planned the novel to be anti-suburban in any way. On the contrary, he hoped to make it implicit in the text that he is writing about a particular couple, the Wheelers, and what turns out to be specifically “their delusion, their problem” (DeWitt and Clark 66). In that sense, the novel should be read as a psychological exploration of the universal issues of human desire and the relationship of the individual to the pre-established (social) system in which he or she lives. Consequently, it becomes clear that Yates’s novel hardly represents an indictment of a way of life, but quite the opposite: an indictment of the individual unable to adapt to the demands of the Other. In Lacanian terms, Revolutionary Road is a story about the unattainable desire to create one’s identity regardless or in spite of the socially constructed Symbolic order. ...

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Since film first established itself as pre-eminently a narrative medium there has been a long-running questioning on the nature of the connections between film and literature. Conrand’s known statement about his novelistic intention - “My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the powers of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel – it is, before all, to make you see” (McFarlane 3) - has often been quoted by the first filmmakers who were striving to make an adaptation and explore the vast territory of the cinematic world. Some novels have been constantly adapted, and, like Bram Stoker’s Dracula (written in 1897), have created a whole genre. In this essay we will try to analyse some aspects of the adaptation of Stoker’s novel Dracula in the first preserved film version of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnaus’ Nosferatu (1922), and, one of the latest adaptations, Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola (1992). Some differences are noticeable between the ‘original’ narrative and how its complexity produces new readings, turning Dracula into a commodity appearing on the silver screen. We shall attempt to outline the hermeneutical circle of film adaptations in which all components play an influential role in the process of adaptation as well as in a final product; further we will indicate how historical and ideological shifts influence the adaptations and the differences between them. ...

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In the beginning of this short text, which will discuss the question of the postmodern Other, I will propose that the post-Other, or Other in the postmodern condition, be called the biopolitical Other. The thesis is as follows: when we think about the question of the Other in the contemporary condition, which for want of a better definition and following Lyotard could be named postmodern, the dominance of the biopolitical Other can be observed on a global scale. In approaching the question of the biopolitical Other, I will not follow the path usual in problematizing the biopolitical. When thinking about biopolitics, the usual path begins with the creator of the term, Foucault, to theorists who adopted and somewhat changed its original meaning, such as Agamben and others. I will approach the term of the biopolitical Other using terms borrowed from political theory which problematizes notions such as State, sovereignty, Nation-State, Law, international Law. I will begin the analysis starting with some aspects of the notion of sovereignty, problematized in the 1920s by Carl Schmitt and relate it to the notion of biopolitics, recently popularized by Agamben. But the path to the notion of biopolitics will be slightly different than Agamben's....

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Although film history has mostly been understood in national terms, there have also been attempts to present a general history of film styles. The history of film styles can be roughly divided into four distinct phases, each drawing on different aspects of narration. In the beginning, cinema privileged documentation and spectacle, presenting the exhibitionistic aspect of the new medium, whose structural characteristics had yet to be explored. Nöel Burch labeled this pre-narrative style a Primitive Mode of Representation, and this mode defied the narrative aspect of film-making. The shift towards narration occurred in the period between 1907 and 1909, when narrative films became the dominant mode of storytelling. The transition towards narrative cinema was mainly prompted by the demands of the market, which resulted in the gradual predominance of fictional narratives. The new style became known as the classical realist cinema, and Classical Hollywood Cinema became the leading representative. ...

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