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Robert Kusek

Abstract

Over the last decade or so, David Lodge has become not only a reader but also an avid practitioner of “fact-based writing” - be it the biographical novel (The Master of 2004 and A Man of Parts 2011), the autobiographical novel (Deaf Sentence of 2008), the biographical essay (Lives in Writing of 2014) and - finally - a proper autobiography (Quite a Good Time to Be Born of 2015). The aim of this paper is to analyse Lodge’s recent turn to life narratives and, in particular, his autobiographical story of 2015; and, consequently, to address the following questions: Does Lodge’s memoir offer “an experiment in autobiography” (to quote H.G. Wells, one of Lodge’s favourites), or remain a conventional life story immune to the tenets of contemporary life writing? Is it the work of a (self- )historian, or a novelist? Does it belong to the “regime of truth,” or is it the product of memory? Finally, is it, indeed, a memoir (as its subtitle claims), or a specimen of self-biography? The paper will show special interest in the work’s generic characteristics and will offer an attempt to locate Quite a Good Time to Be Born on the map of contemporary life writing practices.

Open access

Anna Fornalczyk-Lipska

Open access

Concha Castillo

Abstract

This paper deals with the phenomenon of V-to-T movement, which is one of the major parameters differentiating Romance from the majority of modern Germanic languages, and it defends the idea that rich morphology is the cause or trigger of V-to-T: in Romance, in a modern Germanic language like Icelandic, and very particularly in Old English, the precursor of the modern English language. More generally, the discussion endorses the idea that all Germanic languages used to be V-to-T languages in their old periods. I begin by arguing that verbal forms in Spanish contain a specific kind of segment, namely the stem or thematic vowel, which gives rise to morphological variations or asymmetries across tenses in the language. Such a productive system of stem verb classes is also shown to be the case in Icelandic, though not in German (which is therefore rendered as non-V-to-T), and ultimately it is acknowledged for a language like OE. The hypothesis is that the syntactic computation of (OE) verbal forms demands it that the speaker first identifies the verb class that the form in question belongs to before tackling the processing of tense morphology and agreement morphology. In pure syntactic terms, the stem or thematic vowel segment is identified in the present account with a v-feature that T must value, which valuation is realised by means of the displacement of the verb to the T head, that is, by means of V-to-T movement. After the valuation of T’s v-feature comes the valuation of τ-features and φ-features, respectively.

Open access

Ken R. Hanssen

Abstract

After his death in 2012, there has been a notable resurgence of both popular and critical interest in the fiction of American writer Harry Crews. Frequently discussed in the context of Southern gothic, Crews’s novels are notable for their grim and darkly funny tales of life among the rural poor in the worst hookworm and rickets part of Georgia, USA. Still, while the regional identity of Crews’s fiction is strong, his subtle and deeply sympathetic creative imagination tackles questions of universal significance.

In the novel A Feast of Snakes (1976), Crews’s finest and most multi-layered work, we are introduced to former high-school football quarterback Joe Lon Mackey on the eve of Mystic, Georgia’s annual Rattlesnake Roundup. Through his sensitive and deeply-felt portrayal of Joe Lon’s failed struggle to reconcile with the traumas of the past and establish meaning and a sense of purpose in life, a development culminating in the liquidation of a snake-handling preacher, a sheriff’s deputy, his own high-school sweetheart, and a random bystander, Crews not only explores the deterministic cultural and socio-economic attributes of the rural south, but also gives articulation to a reflective consciousness far more individuated and multifaceted than allowed for in recent critical discourse.

This sombre ending is perhaps what Todorov would term “the realization of an order always preordained,” but it would be a mistake to dismiss it as merely the inevitable outcome of yet another southern boy’s unarticulated rage against modernity. Struggling endlessly like the pitfighting dogs his daddy breeds, Joe Lon, entangled in the determinants of his existence, comes to give mimetic shape to a contemporary American identity both utterly strange and jarringly familiar.

Open access

Arleta Adamska-Sałaciak

Abstract

The Kościuszko Foundation Dictionary (KFD)1, the only bilingual dictionary between Polish and American English, first came out in 1959 (English-Polish volume) and 1961 (Polish-English volume). Between then and 1995, it was reprinted fourteen times, with the content completely intact. In 2003, The New Kosciuszko Foundation Dictionary (NKFD1) finally appeared, in two printed volumes accompanied by a CD. Originally intended as a straightforward update of KFD, it ended up being closer to a brand new dictionary, linked with its predecessor mainly through the title - a consequence of the continuing patronage of The Kosciuszko Foundation - and through its focus on American English. With around 133,000 main entries, it was, at the time of publication, the most comprehensive English-Polish, Polish-English dictionary in existence. A new, revised and enlarged edition (NKFD2) is about to be published soon, this time exclusively in digital form. Having been involved in the latter two projects - respectively, as editor of the English-Polish volume and editor-in-chief - the author examines the development of the dictionary, tracing the continuity and change in its three successive incarnations.

Open access

Carlos Prado-Alonso

Abstract

The analysis of obligatory or formulaic XVS structures - as in “Here comes the sun” or “Now is the time to solve our problems” - has been neglected in the literature since it has been argued that there seems to be no linguistic variation involved in the use of these types of syntactic constructions. Here, I defend the view that obligatory XVS structures are productive, highly structured constructions which are worthy of serious linguistic investigation. On the basis of a corpus-based analysis of written and spoken texts, it is argued that the different obligatory XVS types distinguished in the literature are clear instances of constructions as understood in the Construction Grammar framework. Despite their formal and functional dissimilarities, the article shows that these XVS structures still relate to one another in systematic and predictable ways, and are in fact grouped in relation to a unit in the schematic network which is naturally most salient - the prototype - and form with it a family of nodes which are extensions from the prototype - in the system. In sum, the analysis here will show that obligatory XVS structures are constructions which form an interconnected, structured system or network and are best understood with reference to different forms of inheritance.

Open access

Paulina Ambroży

Abstract

The study is a close reading of Moore’s poem “The Fish” (1918) through the conceptual lens of Gilles Deleuze’s trope of the fold, as explained in his influential 1988 study of Leibniz, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. The purpose is to explore Moore’s (neo)baroque sensibility and her peculiar penchant for Baroque tropes, images and forms. The Deleuzian concept of the fold, with its rich epistemological implications and broad cultural applicability as the universal trope of crisis, change, unrest and transience, helps to comprehend Moore’s own philosophical and aesthetic concerns. The study, in accord with the interdiscursive character of the contemporary studies of modernism draws from art history, philosophy, theory, literature, and visual arts, to uncover a strong Baroque undercurrent in the poet’s polyphonic imagination. Seen in the light of Deleuze’s fold, Moore’s poem emerges as a quasi-Baroque ruin, a sunken cathedral-cum-graveyard, with a theatrical chiaroscuro lighting and folding and unfolding of sense, which both shelters and entombs the severely wounded modernist soul.

Open access

Ewa Maj

Abstract

Two successful women, Jacqueline Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson, influenced and were in turn influenced by the political careers of their husbands. An analysis of their oral histories, Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy (released in 2011) and Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History (2012), demonstrates that John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson became the first men of the American nation not only through their personal virtues, but also through the influence of their wives and who had a significant impact on their careers. Granted, both Jackie and Lady Bird extolled their husbands’ merits, stressing that they were “only” their wives; however, both First Ladies played an essential diplomatic and political role, ensuring their husbands’ physical and emotional well-being in private and public life. The article demonstrates how Jacqueline Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson promoted the positive images of their husbands’ terms in office via their oral histories and continued to do so after their deaths. Moreover, the article considers some important differences between the two histories. Jacqueline did not edit her previously authorized interviews, whereas Lady Bird made important changes to hers; furthermore, in direct contrast to Lady Bird, Jacqueline never wrote a memoir or autobiography, which makes her oral history the most valuable source on her views about her life and her husband’s career.

Open access

Katarzyna Małecka

Abstract

Most Western cultures place a great value on autonomy. American society in particular has always stressed the need to succeed via self-reliance, a characteristic which, in recent decades, has additionally manifested itself in an increasing inclination for self-examination reflected in the deluge of autobiographical writing, especially memoirs. This analysis focuses on memoirs of spousal loss, a specific subgenre of life writing in which, due to the loss of a loved one, the narrating self realizes how unstable a sense of autonomy is. In their bereavement narratives, Joan Didion, Anne Roiphe, and Joyce Carol Oates admit that after losing a life partner their world crumbled and so did their sense of self. The article examines the following aspects of the grieving self: 1. how grief tests one’s self-sufficiency; 2. how various grief reactions contribute to self-disintegration; 3. the widow as a new and undesirable identity; and 4. writing as a way of regaining one’s sense of self.

Open access

Magdalena Cieślak

Abstract

Jan Klata’s Shakespearean productions are famous for his liberal attitude to the text, innovative sets and locations, and a strong contemporary context. His 2004 H., a Teatr Wybrzeże production performed in the Gdańsk Shipyard, reaches to the Polish history of the eighties (the importance of Solidarity and the fall of communism) to comment on the state of the democratic Poland twenty years later. The 2012 Titus Andronicus, a coproduction of Teatr Polski in Wrocław and Staatsschauspiel Dresden, explores the impact of historical traumas on national prejudice and relations within the new Europe. The 2013 Hamlet with Schauspielhaus Bochum again tries to diagnose the contemporary condition and is again deeply rooted in a specific geopolitical context.

Discussing both Titus Andronicus and Hamlet, I would like to explore Klata’s formula of working with Shakespeare. Primarily, he takes advantage of the fact that Shakespeare’s texts are not simply source texts but hypertexts with multiple layers of meanings accumulated over the centuries of circulation, production and adaptation. Perhaps similarly to Heiner Müller, whose plays he willingly incorporates in his productions, Klata anatomizes the plays and then radically reconstructs them using other texts, literary and paraliterary. What Klata eventually puts on stage is a hybrid that is rooted in the Shakespearean hypertexts but also heavily draws from historical, cultural and political contexts, and that is relevant to him as the director and to the particular specificities of the venues, theatres and companies he works with.

The hybridized and contextualized Shakespeare becomes for Klata a way to comment on current issues that he sees as vital, like dealing with the burden of the past, confronting the reality of the present, or understanding and expressing national identity, problems that are at once universal and specific for a person living in the EU in the twenty first century.