Literary Refractions

No. 1 - Year 5 - 12/2014

Editorial

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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Featuring

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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Everyone knows that each thing has many different ways of being looked at. If you say something is beautiful or ugly, these are just different ways of looking at the thing. Looked at differently, you can say it is true or false; or, to view it still differently, you can say it is good or evil. It’s still the same fact, viewed in different ways, so we say the phenomenon viewed has several different viewpoints. For example, that old pine tree in the garden, whether viewed by you or me or anyone, will still be an old pine tree. Yet you see it from a positive perspective and I see it from a negative one. Your viewpoint is that of a young person, mine is that of a middle-aged person. These differences in mood and personality influence the way we see the old pine tree itself. Although the tree is a fact, the way you see it and the way I see it are two different things. If you and I both take our impressions of the tree and try to paint them or compose a poem about them, even though our respective skills may be the same, your painting or poem will have many important differences from mine. What is the reason for this? It is simply that consciousness is not totally objective and which forms one sees has many different subjective aspects....

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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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Ova malo poznata Aristenetova zbirka sastoji se od 50 pisama erotske tematike, podijeljenih u dvije knjige: prva sadrži njih 28, a druga 22, s tim da je posljednje nepotpuno. Korespondenti su navedeni imenom i riječ je većinom o fiktivnim likovima, ali pojavljuju se i poznate osobe, poput pisaca (Alkifron, Elijan, Lukijan) ili slavnih hetera. Uz tituluse (preskripte) koji navode korespondente pojavili su se s vremenom i svojevrsni naslovi koji sažimaju fabulu pisma koje slijedi. Prijevod je načinjen prema izdanju Mazal, O. (1971): Aristaeneti epistularum libri II, Stutgardiae, in aedibus B. G. Teubneri. Prijevod cjelovite zbirke na hrvatski jezik još ne postoji; tri je pisma preveo D. Novaković i objavljena su u časopisu Latina et Graeca, 20 (1982).U predgrađu se odvijala općenarodna svetkovina s obilnom gozbom, pa je Haridem sazvao prijatelje k sebi na slavlje. Bila je tamo i neka žena (ne trebam je imenovati) koju je sâm Haridem (znaš kako je mladić zaljubljive naravi) upecao; ugledao ju je dok je šetala trgom i nagovorio je da nam se pridruži na objedu. Svi su se gosti već bili okupili kad je naš vrli domaćin ušao s nekim starcem koji je očito bio pozvan kao i mi. ...

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