Literary Refractions

Broj 1 - Godina 5 - 12/2014

Uvodnik

As a ray of light, sound, or heat changes direction in passing obliquely from one medium into another changing thus its wave velocity, so changes a literary text with every new reading as the reader adds a new layer of meaning to it or, depending on your perspective, peels off the intricate fabric of words that the writer wove around the text's hidden meaning(s) to access its richness. The ninth issue of [sic] brings you a selection of papers in Croatian and English language that represent the result of such refractions. They discuss matters of literary subversion by means of comic effects, irony, satire, and anti-poetics, or social subversion by revealing modern society as being fundamentally disciplinary and averse to individual freedom. Interpreting texts written by Shakespeare and Levinas to those by Joshua Ferris, our authors cover a vast period of literary creativity only to show that what always and forever tickles the imagination of writers is the human condition. To write about the dreams and the human mind, or direct films that question the authenticity of life, means to employ different motifs and stories with the aim to return to ourselves and our daily existence refracted first by the creative genius of writers and then again by the curiosity of scholars. ..

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Izdvojeno

“Voys Lessons: Whirling Words in Chaucer’s ‘House of Rumour’” examines the lability of sound and its use in the dissemination, transposition, and authorship of stories within The House of Fame, a text exemplifying the mobility and flexibility of misused or unhinged words, as expressed through sound as opposed to text. By engaging the use and interpretation of sound in contrast to words, this new reading concentrates on the idea of narrative as material artifact with limited stasis. Geffrey’s pseudo-authorship, through his voyeuristic stance, engages the textuality of sounds and shows the related subtlety, elasticity, and democratic sociohistorical aspect of narrative construction. Chaucer’s dreamscape and use of authorial characters allows this argument to reposition the mobility and nature of sound, emphasizing its critical importance in the formation and corruption of stories, both written and oral.Keywords: sound, narrative, medieval, authorship, bricolage, authority, transposition, dissemination, context, Chaucer...

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Padam unatrag u vrisak. Oštrice kosilice zazuje zrakom jedanput, dvaput, zariju se u meso, mišići se kidaju, kost puca i raskoli se, nebo se zabijeli. Motor reži, oštri čelični zubi deru tetive, paraju kuglice masti i glođu tkivo. Krv, meso, trava i zemlja u luku se dižu u beskrajno izbijeljeno zrakoprazno ništavilo. Sunovrati nečujno kimnu. Uz škripu metala, motor zabrunda, a zatim se zaustavi. Tišina.Povratak u zatvor.Prozorčići na vratima ćelija čvrsto se stisnu. Nevoljko se otvaraju, naglo, svaki na svojim vratima, kako bi oko pogledalo unutra, potom četiri koraka do sljedeće ćelije, klik, pogled, zatvoreno. Moja je ćelija broj 736a. Ležim na krevetu na kat i čitam članak o bolnici u Zimbabweu koja se zove Impilo, što na jeziku ndebele znači život. Tata moje Ame je iz Zimbabwea. Ali nije važno, ionako ga nikad nije upoznala.„Amadika“, rekla je kad smo se upoznale, nudeći mi svoje ime poput slatkiša umotanog u škotski naglasak. Amadika znači voljena. Opet se usredotočim na članak. Bolničko osoblje pali amputirane udove na lomačama. Šesnaest se tijela već u potpunosti raspalo, još šezdeset je u naprednim stadijima raspadanja. Generator više ne radi. Čitam svaku riječ. Ne usudim se ovdje predugo razmišljati o Ami. Izdržala sam deset godina bez nje u svom krevetu. Sada znam kako ubiti vrijeme. Znam kako ne poludjeti. No i dalje umirem, malo po malo, i ona je jedina koja će me spasiti. Jedina osoba zbog koje sam nešto osjetila, moja Ama, moja Amadika. Moja cimerica hrče na krevetu ispod mene. Sutra prvi put izlazim van bez pratnje, to je nagrada za dobro vladanje. Lijepo sam se ponašala cijelo jedno desetljeće. Vjeruju mi da ću se vratiti. Prozorčić na vratima naglo se otvori, oko pogleda i prozorčić se naglo zatvori. Moja je cimerica visokorizična, stigla je iz ćelije u kojoj je sedam žena počinilo samoubojstvo pa nas osoblje provjerava svakih dvadeset minuta. Zabrinuti su da neće izdržati pa su je stavili k meni. Ja sam stabilizirajući utjecaj. Slušač. Mentor. Uzoran zatvorenik. Lagano prdne na krevetu ispod mene. Njezina se djeca smješe sa stare fotografije. Svih troje sad je pod socijalnom skrbi, jedno je u domu u kojem sam i ja bila. ...

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Friday 16 July 1852. Sunrise. The end of the night. It rained. It isn’t raining anymore. Large slate clouds run across the sky. Flaubert hasn’t slept. He goes out into the garden at Croisset: lime trees, then poplars, then the Seine. An outbuilding on a bank beside some water. He’s finished Part One of Madame Bovary.That Sunday, he would write Louise Colet how at dawn on Friday he’d felt strong, serene, blest in sense and in purpose. The dawn wind does him good. He has a tired fat handsome face, a calm fat handsome face. He loves writing. He loves the world.“Deprived of a party, country, house, personal life, etc., he made writing his only reason to live, and it grips one’s heart how seriously he takes the written world.” These words of Pasolini’s pertain to Gombrowicz. But they might just as well be applied to Flaubert, and one’s heart would not be gripped any less, maybe more. For, if Flaubert had a personal life (as Gombrowicz did after all, but then Pasolini always goes very fast), he pretended not to have one; just as he pretended to have no house, country, freedom, mother named Caroline, orphaned niece also named Caroline, Seine at the end of the path, rolling on before his eyes, sharecroppers’ hillside groves, heaps of disciples and flatterers, well-meaning interns hard at work on his behalf in the corridors of Paris journals and salons: all things Gombrowicz truly did not have, that he, Flaubert, had. Flaubert pretended to have none of all that, that which he had, and for him this pretension became real; he patched together a mask which comprised his skin, and with which he wrote his books; skin and mask had been so well glued that when he wished to retire it, he found nothing more in his hand than an indissoluble mixture of flesh and cardboard under the thick clown moustache. Perhaps it wasn’t truly the clown that he played so much as the monk, and not just to the stands, but in his own eyes and to himself: he was not only a defrocked friar with the guys or on the street; he donned the silk babouches when he went home too. He dispossessed himself of the Seine that rolled on before his eyes; the small girl who lived on her feet, whom he puts to death in all his books, he hardly saw her; the loveliest girls of his day, the finest too for sure, who wanted him, so that he happened to come – he dispossessed himself of them, whether he came or opted to come no more, which amounted to the same thing; no apples from Norman orchards, no trees deep in the woods, no unlaced Louise Colet, no lilies, no young laughter, no Louise Colet weeping at his door, he kissed it all off, laughed over it and kissed it off, cried about it and kissed it off, he was not there. In fact he had nothing, he was deprived of everything, since it was in his head....

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Flannery O'Connor's short fiction is overrun with female characters that embody the lost and corrupted ideal of the Southern Belle. O'Connor's method of shocking her characters into belief seems to take a harsher and uglier turn when it comes to women and this is particularly relevant to characters that not only renounce their femininity but also lack true spirituality. In this essay I examine three of O'Connor's female protagonists and it is my contention that these three women are emblematic of the decaying myth of the Southern Belle and of its treacherous nature. All three abandon – to some extent – the foundations on which this feminine ideal is based and by doing so essentially reject patriarchal authority. It is important to take into account the fact that their overstated assertiveness is often a result of an inescapable and harsh reality. However, I argue that O'Connor denies these women even a shred of sympathy because for her, rejecting the patriarchal scheme of life is, to a very large extent, a way of rejecting God's authority. While O'Connor criticizes the feminine Southern ideal by showing how oppressive it is towards women and thereby exposes the hypocrisy of the myth, she also uses its duality to validate her wrath towards these women who abandon the feminine ideal – and thus God – only to retrieve and exploit it when it suits them. All three characters project an unreliable, traitorous sense of womanhood and believe they can outsmart God. O'Connor – their creator and punisher – thought otherwise. ...

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