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

In this article I argue that the Harry Potter novels constitute a Gothic narrative about homoerotic child abuse. The various confrontations between Harry and the Dark Lord are interpreted as representing the unavoidable encounter with what Ruth Bienstock Anolik has defined as ‘the sexual Other’ infiltrating the Self in Gothic texts. Specifically, I examine the re-enactment of trauma in the narrative as a typical trope of the Gothic. Harry’s progressive acquisition of knowledge on his adversary is therefore interpreted as a metaphor for the gradual re-assertion of repressed traumatic memories on consciousness.Keywords: Harry Potter, trauma, repression, Gothic, abuseThe critical readings on J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels hitherto published have mainly focused on the commercially-successful and worldwide consumerist phenomenon of the series and have specifically considered it as belonging to the literary genre of children literature (Carey 159; Rangwala 140; Nafici 209; Nikolajeva 240). We could, however, also inscribe the series into the Gothic genre. This is due to the use of many figures (such as the monster), locations (such as the castle), and tropes (such as the depiction of the story’s villain as a sexual threat or the theme of the return of the past) that are typical of the Gothic genre. The novels begin with the murders of Lily and James Potter and the attempt on the life of Harry (Hook 91) and are then permeated by the “themes of evil, darkness, destruction and murder” (Patrick and Patrick 221). As some critics have noted, there are “numerous and horrendous instances of violence” (Taub and Servaty-Seib 22) throughout the series and death is one of the dominant themes of the narrative, which “moves from wonder, innocence, and comedy to fear, experience, and tragedy” (Behr 263). Secondly, many of the scenes of the seven novels are set in environments which are typically Gothic, as the following examples illustrate: the Forbidden Forest inhabited by many dangerous and lethal creatures in The Philosopher’s Stone; the mysterious and hidden chamber under the Hogwarts castle within which a frightening and monstrous horror resides in The Chamber of Secrets; the low and narrow secret passages leading out of the castle in The Prisoner of Azkaban; the dark and overgrown graveyard in The Goblet of Fire; the labyrinthic corridors of the Department of Mysteries in The Order of the Phoenix, full of rooms which are actually laboratories where dangerous experiments unknown to the community at large take place; and the frightening cave containing a lake which hides an army of zombies in The Half-Blood Prince. As Anne Hiebert Alton has recognized, the use of such Gothic elements “leads to an atmosphere that tends to be frightening” and thus further stimulates suspense in the reader (203). For example, the tunnel under the castle – a location which itself has been the proper setting for Gothic narratives since Horace Walpole’s 1764 The Castle of Otranto – leading Harry and Ron to the Chamber of Secrets in the second volume of the series is depicted as ...

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Ivana Sajko is a young Croatian author (1975) whose theatre work is ascribed by contemporary anthologists to the so-called new Croatian drama (Rafolt 9). Leo Rafolt observes that, if such a notion can be recognized at all, its main features would include the authors’ experimental and destructive attitude towards conventional modes, as well as an increasing thematic occurrence of violence in written texts and on stage (9), thus making the new Croatian drama similar to the in-yer-face dramaturgy. The paper provides an overview of ideas which seem to prevail throughout Ivana Sajko’s theoretical and dramatic work, some of which represent an original and very personal approach to theatre and playwriting. In addition to this, the analysis of Sajko’s trilogy Archetype: Medea, Bomb-Woman, Europe in this paper will show Sajko’s perception and understanding of madness, revolution and limits of art, more precisely, writing through the female characters in these three monodramas....

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Wordsmiths & Warriors relates a real journey of thousands of miles undertaken by David and Hilary Crystal. The result is a fascinating combination of English-language history and travelogue (the study gives detailed instructions on how to find each place mentioned). David is responsible for the descriptions, and Hilary, for the full-colour photographs. The book comprises a guide for those wishing to follow in their footsteps; at the same time, it reflects the chronology of the language. The Crystals visit places associated with such well-known writers as Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Wordsworth; dictionary compilers such as Johnson and Murray; and a number of well-known and lesser-known dialect writers, elocutionists, and grammarians. Warrior wordsmiths such as King Alfred are also mentioned.Wordsmiths & Warriors emphasises the centrality of the Anglo-Saxon, medieval and early modern periods in the development of the English language as it is known today. A progressive view of language change and transition is generally avoided in the study in favor of a more personal selection of texts. The scope of the book is wide, incorporating small villages as well as major cities, ancient texts and more modern ones. Fifty-seven chapters take us to places as far apart as St Albans, Peterborough, West Malvern, Grasmere, Bath, Pegwell Bay, Lindisfarne, Cerne Abbas, Bourne, Canterbury, and Oxford. Wordsmiths & Warriors gives its readers an appetite to know more as fascinating details about the relationship between places and literary works emerge. The most important names are included: Chaucer (Southwark and Canterbury); Shakespeare (Stratford-upon-Avon and Park Street, London – the location of the original Globe Theatre), Dryden, Burns, Wordsworth, Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, and Dylan Thomas. The Bible is discussed in detail in relation to a number of geographical locations, including Lutterworth, Leicestershire, where Wycliffe translated the Bible in the 14th century, and Hampton Court Palace, where the King James Bible evolved at the famous Hampton Court conference. ...

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In this paper I look at the sci-fi film Blade Runner and the ways in which it tackles the question of defining the human and posthuman. The film examines the ability of technology to change our understanding of what is specifically “human” and raises some important bioethical, biopolitical, and epistemological issues pertaining to the accelerating development of technology and its imbrication in the medico-juridical system. I argue that “humanness” in the film is defined through the conceptual and spatial exclusion of replicants, who are not deemed worthy of ethical consideration and are thus not seen as subjects in the proper sense. However, the film ultimately subverts this distinction by showing not only that the other is produced in order to define the self, but also that the self qua human is not as authentic as one might think.Keywords: posthumanism, film, subjectivity, performativity, authenticity

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