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

This paper explores the comic devices in "The Overcoat" by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol in accordance with Boris Eichenbaum’s analysis and his claim that skaz (a type of first-person narrative based on verbal play) has the main role in the structure of Gogol’s short story. The thesis of the paper is that skaz is the basis of humour in the short story and that the semantic aspects of the work are realized by means of the possibilities contained in language itself, which is illustrated through a number of examples. At the same time, the interconnection between certain stylistic devices is brought to attention. By emphasizing the expressive features of words and mimicking the style of conversational speech, the features of both prose and poetry are brought together in Gogol’s work. Therefore, the comic devices in this paper are grouped according to the types of figures of speech which reflect the characteristics of prose and poetry respectively. In addition to that, the reader also has a significant role in creating the illusion of conversational speech and Gogol encourages them to participate actively. The paper concludes that the artistic value and the significance of "The Overcoat" to a greater extent stem from Gogol’s mastery of language use, rather than his intention to create "an illusion of reality" in the fictional world of "The Overcoat"....

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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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This article discusses Downton Abbey, the most popular series in the history of British television. The series is a means of bringing history to the many and thus an important feature of collective cultural memory. Based on the premise that television series such as Downton Abbey are the primary means by which people learn about history today and that they play a major part in determining how the heritage and identity of England and Englishness have been understood, this article discusses why Downton Abbey is so popular, identifying seven primary reasons: the coherence of the historical setting and the characters; the current interest in country estates; the accessibility of the series to all generations; the modern tempo; the equal focus on the aristocratic members of the Crawley family and their servants; the attention to historical detail; and the prominence given to World War One as a catalyst for social and intellectual change. Special focus is placed on the historical context and the impact of World War One, as these are the most important and tangible reasons for the enormous popularity and success of Downton Abbey both on television and in literature....

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In his seminal Existence and Existents, Emmanuel Levinas linked the impersonal event of the il y a, the “there is” of inert, factical existence, to a condition of insomnia. His analysis of insomnia holds a unique place in his oeuvre where a thorough ambivalence toward 'being' manifests itself: to be-for-the-Other (before the self, or before all neglected Others) is the highest moment of existential and ethical transcendence, though to be 'awake' in order to encounter the Other is also to be pulled in a diametrically opposed direction, toward the factical and purely immanent experience of the world and of my own existence. In this essay I will read Shakespeare's Henry IV (Parts I and II) with an eye toward reading the relationship(s) between sleep, insomnia, and ethics anew. I will develop a Levinasian reading of Shakespeare: sleep as a transcendence of the factical, everyday situation is at the same time a passage toward the ethical situation.Keywords: Levinas, Shakespeare, ethics, insomnia...

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