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Abstract

This paper deals with the reflection of Lacanian post-structuralist psychoanalysis in Paul Auster’s novel Oracle Night, with respect to the phenomenon of writer’s block. The paper argues that Auster’s novel is remarkably synchronized with the theoretical perspectives proposed by the noted psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan, as the root of his protagonist’s inability to write is linked to the medium of written discourse, and the obstacles which the protagonist of his story faces are thus put within the confines of the protagonist’s psyche. Writer’s block is thus being examined with respect to the Lacanian concept known as the chain of signification, as it is much more noticeable in writers because their primary conduit for describing the exterior and interior world is discourse in its written form. Auster exceptionally mirrors Lacan’s view of a writer’s psyche and vividly explores the foundation of the inability to write with respect to the symbolic realm of human experience.

Abstract

This paper attempts to evaluate the legacy of James Joyce’s avant-gardism for the literary experimentation of Mark Amerika, Kenneth Goldsmith, and Mark Z. Danielewski, three contemporary American writers and artists, working a hundred years after the first of Joyce’s crucial four “shocks of the new” shook the foundations of fiction. In doing so, the paper attempts to bridge the divide between the historical avant-garde and the neo-avant-garde as defined by Renato Poggioli and Peter Bürger, and regarded disparagingly by critics like Robert Hughes. Positing a threefold legacy of Joyce’s “revolution of the word” in its treatment of writing as trace, forgery, and idiom, the paper discusses Amerika’s Grammatron, Goldsmith’s uncreative writing, and Danielewski’s House of Leaves as continuing in and expanding on the achievements of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. This they achieve by pursuing what Marjorie Perloff has termed “differential poetics” and N. Katherine Hayles has rethought as “Assemblage” – two poetic strategies dominant at the beginning of the 21st century.

Abstract

Iris Murdoch’s novel A Severed Head (1961) is an example of convoluted relationships that may appear hilarious upon superficial analysis. A close reading, however, reveals the suffering triggered by the behaviour of the central characters. The most mysterious female protagonist, the sexually ambivalent Honor Klein, deploys a wide range of possible interpretations. Honor’s powerful figure is like an axis around which the rest of the characters rotate and without whom the plot would fall apart. The question is, nonetheless, if she is a real figure or not. This paper argues that this pivotal character is not a real person but a dreamy and ghostly concentration of elements in relation to the protagonist Martin Lynch-Gibbon. Honor Klein is a force, is suspicion, and fear, and seems to be an external projection of Martin’s subconscious imaginary fears and trauma. She has a similar narrative function as Shakespeare‘s ghosts in, e.g., Macbeth, Hamlet and Julius Caesar.

Abstract

This paper provides a close reading of a representative selection of suburban poems by the American writer John Updike (1932–2009). It also draws upon the existing scholarship by suburban studies historians (including Kenneth Jackson, Dolores Hayden, John Archer, and James Howard Kunstler), who have argued for the cultural importance of American suburbia in fostering identity, and develops the argument by literary critics including Jo Gill, Peter Monacell, and Robert von Hallberg, who have championed the existence of a viable suburban tradition in postwar American poetry. By scrutinizing poems from Updike’s early poetry, represented by “Shillington”, up to his closing lyric opus, “Endpoint”, the paper argues that Updike’s unrecognized importance is that of a major postwar poet whose lyric work chronicles, in memorable, diverse, and important ways, the construction of individual identity within suburbia, in a dominant setting for most Americans from the 1950s up to the present.

Abstract

To balance the research that has been carried out on negative emotions, the researchers in the field of second language acquisition (SLA) have recently focused on the role of positive academic emotions and their role in the process of acquiring a foreign language (FL). The aim of the present article is to examine the relationships between foreign language enjoyment (FLE), foreign language classroom anxiety (FLCA) and students’ academic achievement in English in order to prove that these two emotions do not constitute opposite dimensions but may converge and diverge from time to time during the learning process. This article calls for a more dynamic approach to studying emotions and investigating whether and to what extent these two emotions may mutually shape one another and thus affect learners’ achievement in the foreign language classroom.

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Abstract

Since Julia Kristeva’s first use of the term in the late 20th century, intertextuality has given rise to one of the literary theories most frequently applied in the interpretation of texts across different media, from literature to art and film. In what concerns the study of digital games, however, the concept has received little attention, in spite of the fact that the new medium offers a more than fertile ground for its investigation. The aim of the present essay, therefore, is to propose that digital games can be and, indeed, are intertextual in at least two ways. First, we argue, games deliberately refer to other games, which may or may not be a part of the same series. Secondly, they connect with texts from other media and specifically with literary texts. In both cases, the intertextual link can be a sign of tribute, a critical comment, or a means of self-reflection. Ultimately, however, these links are a form of aesthetic play that reveals new similarities between digital games and traditional media for artistic expression.

Abstract

Travel narratives are complex accounts that include a significant layer of factual information – related to the geography, history, and/or the culture of a particular place or country – and a more personal layer, comprising the author’s unique perceptions and rendering of the travel experience. In the last thirty years of transition from a communist to a democratic society, the Romanians have been free to travel to any country they choose; however, during the communist period, especially during the 1980s, travelling to Western, capitalist countries, such as France, Great Britain, Canada, or the United States, was rather limited and fraught with complex issues. Still, Romanian travelers during that time managed to visit the United States, on diplomatic- or business-related exchanges, and published interesting travel stories of their experiences there. Therefore, this essay sets out to capture, from a comparative perspective, the impressions and encounters depicted by Radu Enescu in Between Two Oceans (1986), Ion Dinu in Traveler through America (1991) and Viorel Sălăgean in Hello America! (1992), with a view to analyzing how their descriptions and perceptions of two major urban spaces, New York City and San Francisco, reflect the complexity of the American social and cultural landscape in the late 1970s and mid-1980s.

Abstract

This article examines how Sean O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock, written in 1924, anticipated the postmodern conception of gender, or more accurately, the postmodern deconstruction of gender as merely repetitive patterns of behavior. The focus is on how the play dramatizes the Foucauldian notion of the death of man in the neurotic and irresponsible behavior of the male characters. Taking the psychological vertical approach in the analysis, the article adds to the scholarly work that has been written about the play, which mostly focused on its sociopolitical and religious aspects. The analysis this article sets forth shows how O’Casey’s representation (or perhaps mal-representation) of male characters was symptomatic of the cultural upsurge that later came to be known as postmodernism. In so doing, the article makes a curious link between O’Casey’s representation of neurotic men and the more recent inception of postmodernism and its deconstruction of gender. This link, in other words, is between neurosis and deconstruction, between psychological disturbances and the much-celebrated postmodern theory that came later. Thus, the article concludes with the peculiar question of how much of postmodern thought was, albeit unconsciously, predicated upon psychological degeneration, especially when it comes to its deconstruction of gender dynamics.