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. ...

Literary Translation
Zhu Guangqian and Ron S. Judy:

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 respe...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lt.4
Literature and Culture
Tanja Reiffenrath, University of Paderborn, Germany:

Mental disorders have become the topic of numerous contemporary American novels. Attesting to the ongoing fascination with the workings and the sciences of the human mind, many of these texts turn to neuroscientific questions. This paper offers a close reading of one of these ‘neuronarratives’ – Joshua Ferris’s acclaimed 2010 novel The Unnamed, a story in which the protagonist is afflicted with an utterly mysterious condition that disrupts his sense of self as his mind appears to be separated from his body. In this paper, I aim to show how such a dualist conception problematizes not only the concepts of self and agency as the unnamed disease is linked to contemporary lifestyles in corporate America, but also helps to craft a counternarrative that challenges recent materialist conceptions and neuroscientific theories. Keywords: illness narrative, mental illness in fiction, (in)coherence, neuronarrative, body, mind, Philosophy of Mind, dualism

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lc.10
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
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
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
Literary Translation
Tommy Wieringa and Željka Hrg:

Ujutro je pred kuću stigao rasklimani kamionet. U njemu su sjedila dvojica muškaraca. Jedan se zvao Johan, drugi je bio stari crnac kojega nisam poznavao. U prikolici je stajala svinja, gadno stvorenje medvjeđe veličine, zlih očica. Jedva je čekala da provali i razbije nas. Spustili su vratašca prikolice i istjerali je van. Svinje koje sam viđao u divljini bile su crne, ova je bila ružičasta. Uvoz. Baš kao i mi. Našli su je kod seljaka u Tamarijnu.Muškarci su odveli svinju do drveta iza kuće, prebacili uže preko grane, jednim joj krajem zavezali stražnje noge i, podigavši je, objesili je naglavačke. Skvičala je iz petnih žila. Drvo se treslo od siline kojom se trzala na užetu. Kad je bila pola metra nad zemljom, crnac joj je jednim potezom prerezao grlo. Vrela je krv šikljala iz rane. Na tlu je stajala limenka od ulja u koju je krv istjecala. Zvijer se grčevito koprcala, oblijetale su je muhe. Zatim je još par puta zadrhtala i onda je bilo gotovo.Mesari su iscijeđenu mrcinu položili na...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lt.6