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
Moira Baker, Radford University, USA:

Timely, provocative, and theoretically sophisticated, the essays comprising In the Face of Crises: Anglophone Literature in the Postmodern World situate their work amid several critical global concerns: the devastation wreaked by global capitalism following the worldwide financial crash, the financial sector’s totalizing grip upon the world economy, the challenge to traditional definitions of “human nature” and identity posed by technologies of the body and of warfare, the quest of indigenous communities for healing from the continuing traumatic effects of colonization, and the increasing corporatization of the academy as an apparatus of the neo-liberal state – to specify only a few. Edited by Professors Ljubica Matek and Jasna Poljak Rehlicki, these essays deploy a broad range of contemporary theories, representing recent developments in cultural studies, the new economic criticism, postcolonial film studies, feminism and gender studies, and the new historicism. The eleven essays sele...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lc.13
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
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
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
Jenni Fagan and Lana Filipin:

Padam unatrag u vrisak. Oštrice kosilice zazuje zrakom jedanput, dvaput, zariju se u meso, mišići se kidaju, kost puca i raskoli se, nebo se zabijeli. Motor reži, oštri čelični zubi deru tetive, paraju kuglice masti i glođu tkivo. Krv, meso, trava i zemlja u luku se dižu u beskrajno izbijeljeno zrakoprazno ništavilo. Sunovrati nečujno kimnu. Uz škripu metala, motor zabrunda, a zatim se zaustavi. Tišina.Povratak u zatvor.Prozorčići na vratima ćelija čvrsto se stisnu. Nevoljko se otvaraju, naglo, svaki na svojim vratima, kako bi oko pogledalo unutra, potom četiri koraka do sljedeće ćelije, klik, pogled, zatvoreno. Moja je ćelija broj 736a. Ležim na krevetu na kat i čitam članak o bolnici u Zimbabweu koja se zove Impilo, što na jeziku ndebele znači život. Tata moje Ame je iz Zimbabwea. Ali nije važno, ionako ga nikad nije upoznala.„Amadika“, rekla je kad smo se upoznale, nudeći mi svoje ime poput slatkiša umotanog u škotski naglasak. Amadika znači voljena. Opet se usredotočim na članak. B...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/1.5.lt.5