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Being “completely half afraid to think”: Confronting the Absurd in Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman

Abstract

In order to demonstrate an aspect in which the novel is relatable to the canon of absurdism and enrich the view of dimensions in which it functions, the purpose of the following article is a reading of Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman in relation to the Absurd as an ontological category of existentialism and absurdism. Firstly, some assumptions already made on account of the novel are introduced. Secondly, the relevant and chosen characteristics of the Absurd are summarized in relation to Kierkegaard’s and Camus’s conceptions of the Absurd. Then, the novel is interpreted in relation to the insufficiency of human knowledge and rational thought in terms of achieving comprehension transcending existence. Lastly, the novel is interpreted in relation to the narrator’s fear of death, with death as an element transcending existence and adding to its irrationality. Overall, the way in which the novel depicts a specific contraction resulting in the Absurd is illustrated.

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Bel Canto
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The concept of happiness in Night Zoo

Abstract

This paper deals with a psychoanalytic interpretation of the titular story. It is part of the first volume in the Hungarian anthology series entitled Night Zoo – An Anthology of Women’s Sexuality (‘Éjszakai Állatkert – Antológia a női szexualitásról’). The analysis focuses on the story Night Zoo (‘Éjszakai Állatkert’) written by Zsófia Bán according to Freud’s personality theory. The theory regards our psyche as divided into three parts. The id is the instinctual part of our mind that represents our sexual and hidden desires, the superego contains the moral conscience and the norms, and the ego mediates between the wishes of the id and the rules of the superego. The chosen short story seems to revolve around unfulfilled love between two people. But after critical reading, it is obvious that this is not a love story of two people, but the relationship lies between the narrator and her unfulfilled desires. There is an immense conflict between instincts and social expectations. The narrator’s id has a desire; she just wants to be happy and have harmony in her life. But the superego does not allow her to fulfill the desire. The ego is therefore instrumental in deciding what the correct decision is.

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Humanities Fiction: Translation and ‘Transplanetarity’ in Ted Chiang’s “The Story of Your Life” and Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival

Abstract

One of the more interesting science fiction movies of recent years, at least to Humanities academics, is Denis Villeneuve’s 2016 alien-invasion movie, Arrival. It is a film which not only features a Professor of Linguistics as its heroine, but the plot of which is organised around the critical global importance of a multi-million dollar translation project. This essay compares the film with the original novella upon which it was based – Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life” (1998) – to examine the role translation plays in both, with the aim of placing this in the context of the crisis in the Humanities which has marked universities over the last few years, and can be linked to a more general crisis in liberal values. While founded upon a time-honoured science fiction scenario the movie also clearly articulates the sense of global peril which is typical of much of the cultural production of our current times, manifested in fears about ecological catastrophe, terrorist attacks, and the anthropocene, etc. Another of its crisis-points is also ‘very 2016’: its ability to use science fiction tropes to express an anxiety about how liberal values are in danger of being overtaken by a self-interested, forceful, intolerant kind of politics. Arrival is as much a work of ‘hu-fi’ as it is ‘sci-fi’, that is, ‘Humanities fiction’, a film which uses Chiang’s original novella to convey a message about the restorative potential of ‘Humanities values’ in the face of a new global threat.

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Literary space in Ismail Kadare’s novel The Palace of Dreams (A semiotic approach)

Abstract

This research study focuses on a social semiotic approach to Ismail Kadare’s novel The Palace of Dreams. The novel was chosen for study and analysis because it is considered to be one of the Kadare’s most important works. The Palace of Dreams reflects many aspects of Albanian society including governmental abuse of power during the period of the communist regime. The analysis of literary space in this novel focuses on locating the literary discourse in the text and the spaces of the text that produce discourse with their shape, presence and extension. The purpose of this research study is to see how and in what way meaning is conveyed through spaces, and also how and in what shape it serves the comprehensive ideas of the novel. Our purpose is not only to highlight the values of this novel, but rather enable to understand the great importance that space plays in people’s work environments and in their private lives (the characters), and how crucial the space is for their lives and destinies.

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The motifs of happiness, distress, anger and misery in the tales of Magda Szécsi

Abstract

The present study focuses on the tales of Hungarian-Roma writer Magda Szécsi, which were studied using the content analysis method. This study constitutes part of a larger research project that aims to provide methodological guidance for the integration of Roma pupils in schools that use Hungarian as the language of instruction. The types of function of primary socialization and the types of intra- and extra-familial interaction are illustrated via examples in the study. The motifs of happiness, anxiety, anger and misery in the tales of Magda Szécsi’s two books, Madarak aranyhegedűn (Birds on the Golden Violin [1996]) and Az aranyhalas lószem tükre (Mirror of the Horse Eye with the Gold Fish [1988]), are analysed in light of the aforementioned aspects. I applied the research method of qualitative content analysis and explained the forms of happiness and unhappiness in the books. There are many examples in the tales under discussion of the conditions of happiness and the reasons for misery in Roma culture. The three components determining the characters’ happiness or unhappiness are faith in God, idolatry and Gypsy law.

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Of “You” and “Thou,” Lips and Pilgrims in the Translation of Romeo and Juliet’s “Shared Sonnet”: A Hands-On Perspective

Abstract

It is not a recent discovery in the field of language history that the address pronouns thou and you were not, in Shakespeare’s time, used indiscriminately. If the speaker did have a choice between the two forms, that choice was by no means random, idiosyncratic or arbitrary, but always dictated by the social, relational or attitudinal context of a speech act. Nonetheless, all 20th-century Romanian translations of Romeo and Juliet (and of other Shakespearean plays) – from Haralamb Leca’s rather loose rendering (1907) to Ștefan-Octavian Iosif’s and to Virgil Teodorescu’s more refined versions (1940 and 1984, respectively) – seem to ignore the difference in associative meaning between the two forms, which is sometimes essential for a correct assessment of the relationships between characters. The latest Romanian translation of the play, which we have jointly submitted for publication within the Shakespeare for the Third Millennium project (William Shakespeare. Opere XIII, 2018) acknowledges the importance of the various associative meanings that the two pronouns carry and strives to restore these meanings to the text, though not without difficulty, given the rather restrictive form of the original, i.e. iambic pentameters, often with strict rhyme schemes. Thus, focusing on the well-known “shared sonnet” as one of the most relevant instances of pronoun alternation in the play, our paper discusses the uses of you and thou in Early Modern English and sets out to assess how much is lost in 20th-century translations, to show how our own translation restores the associative meanings of the two pronominal forms and finally to exemplify how we managed to overcome translation difficulties entailed by the metrical and stylistic demands of the text.

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