Literary Refractions

No. 1 - Year 5 - 12/2014

University of Zadar | ISSN 1847-7755 | SIC.JOURNAL.CONTACT@GMAIL.COM

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. ...

Literature and Culture
Tihana Bertek, Central European University, Budapest:

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

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lc.2
Literature and Culture
Marta Brajnović, University of Zagreb, Croatia:

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 sig...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lc.6
Literature and Culture
Vedrana Čerina, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Croatia:

In his dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange (1962), Anthony Burgess focuses on the phenomenon of adolescent violence in order to investigate the nature of the relationship between the individual and the societal body as a whole. While doing so, Burgess depicts the society of A Clockwork Orange precisely as he sees the modern society – as striving to achieve a predictable functioning of the societal life. In order to achieve the set goal, the society will resort to any means necessary, including a systematic disciplining of the individuals, who are in return expected to accept whichever the role the authority instances have intended for them. The individual who refuses to do so is labelled as “abnormal”, as Michael Foucault would say, and is to be corrected and shaped into an exemplar citizen.Foucault’s insights into the subject matter prove to be valuable for offering a possible interpretation of the issues at stake in Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. Foucault’s reflections on the terms of p...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lc.11
Literature and Culture
Libby Bagno-Simon, University of Haifa, Israel:

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...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lc.3
Literature and Culture
Stephanie Jug and Sonja Novak:

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.

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lc.9
Literary Translation
Pierre Michon and Erik Noonan:

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),...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lt.3