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
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
Zachary Tavlin, University of Washington, USA:

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, ins...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lc.8
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
Jane Mattisson, Kristianstad University, Sweden:

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 cha...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lc.12
Literature and Culture
Nicola Blake, Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, USA:

“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,...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lc.7
Literary Translation
Aristenet and Sabira Hajdarević:

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; ugleda...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lt.1