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The landscape of trauma, pain and hope in Jim Crace’s The Pesthouse

Abstract

Jim Crace likes to refer to himself as a “landscape writer” and indeed, in each of his eleven novels he has created a distinct yet recognizable imaginary landscape or cityscape. This has led critics to coin the term “Craceland” to describe the idiosyncratic milieux he creates, which, through his remarkably authentic and poetic rendering of geography and topography, appear to be both other and familiar at the same time. In The Pesthouse 2007, the milieu is the devastated America of an imagined future, a country which has deteriorated into a pre-modern and pre-industrial wasteland so hostile to sustainable existence that most of its inhabitants have become refugees travelling eastwards to sail to a new life on another continent. Franklin and Margaret, two such refugees, are leaving their homes not only to flee misery and destitution, but also the trauma and pain occasioned by the loss of their relatives. Using geocriticism as a practice and theoretical point of departure, this article presents and analyses the various ways in which Crace’s novel renders and explores its spaces, landscapes and places, as well as how it links them with the transformation of the protagonists’ psyches and mental worlds.

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Media, simulation, freedom and control in Richard Flanagan’s The Unknown Terrorist 2006

Abstract

Richard Flanagan’s novel, The Unknown Terrorist, does not only depict terrorism and violence but especially contemporary postmodern life in an Australian urban setting influenced by media, information technologies and consumerism. Drawing on Jean Baudrillard’s theory of simulacra and simulation, this paper analyses Flanagan’s depiction especially of the main character, the Doll, and the way she symbolically represents various aspects of the process of simulation as understood by Baudrillard. In this context, the Doll and other characters are understood as subjects both manipulating and manipulated by the simulated image of reality represented by media and technology, the image which replaces physical reality. The imagery of manipulation is understood as a metaphor implying a critique of hypocrisy and consumerism of the contemporary urban setting in the technologically advanced society represented by the Australian city of Sydney.

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Romancing the crucifixion in biblical rewritings by Phillip Pullman and Colm Tóibín

Abstract

This paper focuses on how the romance mode is used to re-narrativize the trauma of Jesus’s crucifixion in two contemporary biblical rewritings: Pullman’s The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ 2010 and Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary 2012. Reflecting on the process of the composition of the Bible, these novels resort to romance in order to invite a critical reflection on different narrativizations of the traumatic event, dependent as they are on both conservative and more subversive effects of romance. As some characters rely on the strategies of traditional spiritual romance in order to alleviate their pain, others cynically resort to a dualistic vision to establish and consolidate power, and still others make use of the excess and disarticulation of romance to do justice to the absolute horror of the event, the novels draw attention both to the comforting and subversive function of Christian scripture. Adding a metafictional dimension to the narrative of crucifixion, the novels expose the way in which religious scriptures can become ideological instruments, and signal the potentially dangerous effects of the renewed significance of religion today.

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Acquiring penmanship and writing skills from the first to fifth grade of primary school: Joined-up writing vs. Comenia Script

Abstract

The project presented here deals with a typical human means of communication – writing. The aim of the project is to map the developmental dynamics of handwriting from the first to the fifth grade of primary school. The question remains topical because of the fact that several systems of writing have been used in the past few years. Our project focuses on comparing the systems of joined-up handwriting (the standard Latin alphabet) and the most widespread form of printed handwriting: Comenia Script. The research can be marked as sectional; pupils took a writing exam at the beginning and at the end of the 2015/2016 school year. The total number of respondents was 624 pupils, evenly distributed according to the school year, system of writing and gender. To evaluate handwriting, the evaluation scale of Veverková and Kucharská (2012) was adjusted to include a description of phenomena related to graphomotor and grammatical aspects of writing, including the overall error rate and work with errors. Each area that was observed included a series of indicators through which it was possible to create a comprehensive image of the form handwriting took in the given period. Each indicator was independently classified on a three-point scale. Thanks to that, a comprehensive image of the form of writing of a contemporary pupil emerged.

Open access
Conceptualization of negative emotions in modern linguistic consciousness (on the material of Russian, English and Slovak linguistic cultures: a contrastive analysis)

Abstract

The article aims to provide cross-cultural insight into the examination of emotion “envy” through comparative description of the emotional worldviews in Slavic (Russian and Slovak) and non-Slavic (English) linguistic cultures represented in the form of the concept. The obtained results have allowed us to clarify some common and different features of Slavic and non-Slavic nations in the realm of display the emotion “envy” to explore cultural peculiarities of nations and to contribute to the professional training and practices of professional dealing with international communication. The article also seeks to enhance public awareness on the following important issues: how cognate are perceptions of Slavic and non-Slavic nations; what universal features and cross-cultural differences are in regulation, somatization, the degree of prototypically of a seemingly equivalent concept, and how cultural rules influence the shaping of meaning and the expression of the investigated emotion in discourse.

Open access
Dark and literary: A tour to the Isle of the Dead

Abstract

Sites associated with the dark and literary aspects of tourism can prove beneficial to travellers since they can play an educational role while instigating an emotional and intellectual response. This article illustrates how a tour to the Isle of the Dead at Port Arthur in Tasmania provided the nescient traveller with insights into the literary and historical heritage of the place. The experience also acted as an inner journey in that it challenged the traveller to reassess his engagement with travel destinations.

Open access
Effects of Using Musical Fairy Tales in the Classroom: Action Research in Poland

Abstract

The paper concentrates on the problem of developing imagination understood as human trait and virtue. To realize the challenge educators have to face huge difficulties as a tendency to flatter the world and its inhabitants dominates and becomes more and more powerful. A musical fairy tale is presented as a valuable and effective school practice. From one side it refers to perennial human custom of listening, telling, and creating stories, fables, and sagas. They may base on real life or refer to imaginary situations. Thus creation may have various realizations, depending on personal knowledge, skills, life experience, cognitive horizon, individual interests and virtues. From the other side the idea of the fairy tale shown in the paper refers to the music and its uncountable possibilities of describing the world. Everything depends only on one’s imagination. The last part of the paper presents the effects of students’ work on musical fairy tales. Those students apart of being instrumentalists and vocalists of the Music Academy of Lodz, Poland plan to become music teachers in compulsory general education.

Open access
The involvement of neuro-linguistics and mind mapping in the development of a holistic perception of language education

Abstract

The majority of people who have experienced institutionalized education have found it extremely laborious, slow and a necessarily repetitive process. The authors of this paper focus on and present possibilities for making the teaching of a foreign language more effective through mind mapping: the implementation of neuro-linguistic knowledge and mind maps into the learning process.

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Preschool attendance of very young children: Parents’ choice and outcome satisfaction

Abstract

This empirical study focused on parents who enrolled their two-year old children in preschools in the Czech Republic. Recent provision of the Ministry of Education recommended that preschools accept children who are as young as two years, in response to increased demands of mothers who want to re-enter the employment after maternity leave. The purpose of the study was to examine the reasons of parents to place their children in preschools as well as their satisfaction of the developmental progress of their children in this institution. A representative sample of parents who enrolled their children in preschool from age two was surveyed (N=520). Surprisingly, caring for the child while at work was not the most important reason. They rated it 3.66 on a five-point scale. Other reasons were rated higher: getting the child accustomed to interaction within groups of same-age children (M=4.01), acquiring cognitive skills and knowledge (M=3.89), and getting accustomed to a routine other than that found at home (M=3.75). When asked to assess the developmental progress of their children due to preschool attendance on a 3-point scale, the parents noted progress in communication ability (M=2.35), social skills (M=2.37) as well as overall progress (M=2.62). Concerning demographic characteristics, the estimate of the child’s overall progress in preschool was significantly related to the mother’s level of education and her marital status.

Open access
The reception of antiquity in nineteenth-century British literature – an attempt at theoretical synthesis

Abstract

The aim of the paper is to make an attempt of theoretical synthesis connected with the idea of reception studies. It presents major aspects which are crucial for understanding the reception studies, especially for the reception of antiquity in Victorian literature (for instance chosen critical approaches to literature, contemporary tools for conducting the research like intertextuality). The paper also presents definitions of classics, classical tradition and reception and tries to explain why Victorian times and literature are a perfect research material to examine the reception of antiquity.

Open access