Browse

61 - 70 of 272 items :

  • Literary Studies and Linguistics x
  • Linguistics and Semiotics x
Clear All
Aesthetic distance as a form of liminality in selected short stories of American literature

Abstract

Aesthetic distance is a phenomenon that has attracted a considerable amount of attention, especially since the first works of postmodernism came to light. Aesthetic distance is based on creating such works which - using certain artistic tools and techniques - break the illusion and thus inhibit readers from immersing themselves in the literary world portrayed in the work they read. As a result, aesthetic distance creates a liminal space, or an invisible but consciously perceivable border between reality, i.e. the world we live in and fiction, i.e. the world we want to relocate to and enjoy during the reading process. The paper is based on an article by Bjorn Thomassen, in which he presents several types of liminality and states that the typology is not final. My aim is to prove that liminality can occur in literature as well, particularly in works built on aesthetic distance. In this matter, I focus on the reception theory of Wolfgang Iser, who studies literary texts from three perspectives: the text, the reader and the communication between the two. The theory is applied to selected short stories of American literature, which contain illusion-breaking features and thus may be viewed as liminal spaces.

Open access
Hawthorne’s Rome – A city of evil, political and religious corruption and violence

Abstract

Hawthorne’s Rome is the home of dark and evil catacombs. It is a city haunted by evil spirits from the past that actively shape the romance’s plot. Rome’s dark gardens, endless staircases, hidden corners and vast catacombs, as well as the malodorous Jewish ghetto, affect Donatello’s and Miriam’s judgment, almost forcing them to get rid of the Model, Miriam’s persecutor. Hawthorne’s narrator’s shockingly violent, harsh and seemingly anti-Semitic description of the ghetto in Rome is just one among many similarly ruthless, and at times offensive, accounts of the city wherein Hawthorne situates his last completed romance, The Marble Faun. Hawthorne’s two-year stay in Rome in 1858-59 sets the scene for his conception of The Marble Faun. In addition to providing Hawthorne with the extensive contact with art and artists that undoubtedly affected the choice of his protagonists (Kenyon, a sculptor; Hilda and Miriam, painters), Italy exposed Hawthorne to Jewish traditions and history, as well as to the life of Jews in the Roman ghetto. Most probably it also aroused his interest in some of the political affairs in which Italian Jews were involved in the 1840s and 50s. This historical background, especially the well-publicized abduction and conversion of a Jewish child, Edgardo Mortara, in 1858 provides important political and cultural background for Hawthorne’s portrayal of Miriam in The Marble Faun.

Open access
Jane Austen Americanized: The democratic principle in recent adaptations of Emma

Abstract

When they first reached an American readership, Jane Austen’s novels enjoyed mixed reactions among intellectuals. The main charge levelled against Jane Austen’s fiction was that it conflicted with the democratic principles American society was based on. The next century brought about an explosion in the attention paid to Jane Austen, whether via adaptations, spinoffs, biopics, musicals, detective fiction, scholarly texts, societies or even websites. Most of these creative extensions of Jane Austen’s ideas (and her personality) seem to embrace contemporary American values and sensibilities and therefore, logically, make attempts at revising some of the less palatable aspects of the English society of the Regency era. This paper focuses on two prime examples of such a revisionist approach to Jane Austen’s most classconscious novel, Emma, in Douglas McGrath’s eponymous 1996 film adaptation and in Clueless, Amy Heckerling’s 1995 satirical film based on the same novel.

Open access
Protected values and the meaning of life in Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead

Abstract

The paper examines the protected values in Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel Gilead (2004). The aim of the study is to show the significance of three major values, namely faith, family and education. It also attempts to suggest how complexly these values interrelate and eventually represent the central tenets of the life worth living.

Open access
Towards freedom and social awareness: Hopeful narratives and performatives in American theatre and literature

Abstract

The paper addresses the complexity of social issues in contemporary American society through the prism of its reflection in theatre and literature. The characteristic features of American narratives and performatives are freedom and an almost utopian belief in diversity and social understanding. At the same time, the discussed works present a comprehensive look at social issues using a great variety of forms and genres, and appealing to the aesthetic sensitivity of different groups of recipients. In the face of future problems in the political arena, American art offers an interesting transatlantic perspective on the complexity of 21st-century issues which are relevant all over the world.

Open access
Adverbial Markers of Epistemic Modality Across Disciplinary Discourses: A Contrastive Study of Research Articles in Six Academic Disciplines

Abstract

Epistemic adverbs, like other markers of epistemic modality, are concerned with the speaker’s assessment of the truth value of the proposition. In other words, they indicate that the speaker considers certain situations as possible, impossible, probable, certain, or uncertain. At the same time, they signal the author’s presence in the text, and invite the reader to make his/her own conclusions and interpretations. The use of modal markers has been demonstrated to differ across academic disciplines, but the specific differences concerning the use of epistemic adverbs have not been studied systematically. This paper investigates the use of epistemic adverbs in research articles representing six disciplines belonging to three different branches of science: the humanities (linguistics and literary studies), the social sciences (law and sociology), and the natural sciences (physics and medicine), with the aim of establishing discipline-specific tendencies in their use. The study is based on a corpus of 160 research articles compiled by the author. It begins with an attempt at delimiting the category of epistemic adverbs in English. After that, a list of the most frequent epistemic adverbs in the subcorpora of all the disciplines is established and discussed. The study demonstrates that frequent use of epistemic adverbs is largely a property of research articles in the humanities and social sciences. Medical and physics research articles use them significantly less often. The most frequent epistemic adverbs in the research articles under analysis include indeed, perhaps, clearly, certainly, of course, arguably, possibly, and reportedly. Some adverbs appear to be associated with specific disciplines, e.g., clearly (physics, linguistics, sociology, medicine), indeed (linguistics, literary studies, sociology), possibly, reportedly (medicine), arguably (law). The association of individual adverbs with specific disciplines may serve as an important clue to the understanding of their functions, in particular in the case of the less frequent ones, such as arguably and reportedly, which remain significantly understudied. The findings may also prove useful in teaching English for academic purposes.

Open access
Clipped Wings and the Great Abyss: Cognitive Stylistics and Implicatures in Abiezer Coppe’s ‘Prophetic’ Recantation

Abstract

In this article, two major paradigms within cognitive stylistics, the Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT) and the Conceptual Integration Theory (CIT), are applied as largely complementary approaches to discuss the scope and implicatures of the central metaphorical image of Copp’s Return to the wayes of Truth (1651), a text written by one of the most famous radical preachers of the Civil War period as a plea to be released from prison. The article will focus on how the linguistic and cultural contexts of Coppe’s prophetic writing, in their interaction with the dynamic conceptual relationships of a conceptual integration network, open up new possibilities of perspectivizing and insinuating radically different meanings and implicatures: the use of blends in Coppe’s text has a direct effect on the structure of the analogies that can be made between mental spaces, thereby triggering new meaning effects, supplementary symbolizing patterns, and unpredictable perlocutionary effects.

Open access
Measures in Medieval English Recipes – Culinary Vs. Medical

Abstract

The present paper deals with an analysis of medieval culinary and medical recipes. A major feature which will be of interest is the use of measure terms. The research has been based on material from 14th and 15th century recipe collections. First, the major weight and measure systems which were used in the Middle English period will be presented. Then, the measure terms used in the analysed texts are collected and categorised into three groups: specific, non-specific, and container-related terms. The study, apart from showing the variety of measure terms used at the time, also compares two types of recipes, i.e., medical and culinary.

Open access
Objects, Words, and Religion: Popular Belief and Protestantism in Early Modern England

Abstract

This article deals with selected aspects of popular belief in post-Reformation England as compared to the pre-Reformation popular tradition of the fourteenth and fifteenth century. Through a discussion of the politics of superstition and religiously-shaped concepts of reason in Early Modern England, this article discusses medicinal magic, and the power of objects and words in the context of religion and popular belief, focusing in particular on leprosy and exorcism. By examining the Protestant understanding of the supernatural as well as its polemical importance, the article investigates the perseverance of popular belief after the Reformation and outlines some of the reasons and politics behind this perseverance, while also examining the role of the supernatural in the culture of belief in Early Modern England by tracing the presence and importance of particular beliefs in popular imagination and in the way religion and confessional rhetoric made use of popular beliefs.

Open access
“When That Wounds Are Evil Healed”: Revisiting Pleonastic That in Early English Medical Writing

Abstract

The origin of pleonastic that can be traced back to Old English, where it could appear in syntactic constructions consisting of a preposition + a demonstrative pronoun (i.e., for py pat, for pæm pe) or a subordinator (i.e., op pat). The diffusion of this pleonastic form is an Early Middle English development as a result of the standardization of that as the general subordinator in the period, which motivated its use as a pleonastic word in combination with many kinds of conjunctions (i.e., now that, if that, when that, etc.) and prepositions (i.e., before that, save that, in that) (Fischer 1992: 295). The phenomenon increased considerably in Late Middle English, declining rapidly in the 17th century to such an extent that it became virtually obliterated towards the end of that same century (Rissanen 1999: 303-304). The list of subordinating elements includes relativizers (i.e., this that), adverbial relatives (i.e., there that), and a number of subordinators (i.e., after, as, because, before, beside, for, if, since, sith, though, until, when, while, etc.). The present paper examines the status of pleonastic that in the history of English pursuing the following objectives: (a) to analyse its use and distribution in a corpus of early English medical writing (in the period 1375-1700); (b) to classify the construction in terms of genre, i.e., treatises and recipes; and (c) to assess its decline with the different conjunctive words. The data used as source of evidence come from The Corpus of Early English Medical Writing, i.e., Middle English Medical Texts (MEMT for the period 1375-1500) and Early Modern English Medical Texts (EMEMT for the period 1500-1700). The use of pleonastic that in medical writing allows us to reconsider the history of the construction in English, becoming in itself a Late Middle English phenomenon with its progressive decline throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.

Open access