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Decoding Samuel Beckett’s language in Imagination Dead Imagine

Abstract

The study focuses on the short prose text Imagination Dead Imagine (1965) by the Irish writer Samuel Beckett (1906-1989). It argues that while at first sight Beckett’s text appears to be a chaotic verbal blend with no coherence, a close reading discloses an actual underlying pattern (mandala) which gives the text a structure and enables the reader to “understand” it. The authors of the paper claim that mandala, as the structural pattern of the text, represents an attempt to find a resolution of the existential and universal conflict within man. On one hand, there is spiritual alienation (exemplified here by the dissolution of the language) and, on the other hand, one’s desire to be integrated with unity and return to the centre

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The deficit myth of our culture. Confirming the Sacred

Abstract

The term sacred can define itself by the influence it has. It can also be quantified simply by reporting it to other realities such as the profane, the mysterious, the absolute, the infinite and even the possible. From this analogy, the most successful, most imposing collocation is the one made from the sacred and the profane. The opposition between the two underlines two realities, giving the former a rightful and expected brilliance, and the latter the well-defined role it has taken upon itself

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The elements of humanity and Sufism in Henry David Thoreau’s Walden

Abstract

It seems that the very important role of literature is its transcendental appeal. Literature knows no boundary and it ties whole nations even if they are politically segregated. The present paper tries to trace some of the salient features of humanism and Sufism, such as Absolute Unity, simplicity, selfknowing, purity, solitude, loving one another and some others in Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. This American writer, as an ardent follower of the Transcendental Club in America and the holy scriptures of the East, was known as the hero of simplicity in the U.S.A. Being a protester against government and society, he dwelled for more than two years alone in Walden Pond to see the mysteries of life and to find Reality and the Almighty. He believed Nature to be the best teacher and opined that every parcel of nature is a sign of God. He came to know about the holy scriptures of the East, especially those of the Indians and strongly used them in his writings, especially in Walden and the Week. Therefore such a person who seeks God, indeed, can be familiar with elements of humanism and Sufism, and one can find such elements in Walden by pondering its text

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An Existential Psychoanalyst in the Literary Therapy Genre: The Representation of a Psychoanalytic Encounter in Irvin Yalom’s The Schopenhauer Cure

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to describe the fictionalisation of psychoanalysis in the literary therapy genre written by psychotherapists. Being a psychotherapist, Irvin Yalom has written and published several literary therapy novels. The Schopenhauer Cure (2006) presents a psychoanalytic encounter with focus on the patient’s interpersonal issues in a group therapy session and draws a parallel line between fictional patients and the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. The fictionalisation of patients’ psychological symptoms and the way therapists examine themselves in the therapeutic milieu in The Schopenhauer Cure correspond to the fundamental concerns of isolation, meaninglessness, death and freedom in existential psychotherapy. I explore the literary representation of the psychotherapist and therapist-patient relationship and the therapeutic encounter in The Schopenhauer Cure in the context of how fictional narratives can be read as a form of highlighting the psychoanalytic encounter

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Surviving history: Kate Chopin

Abstract

Bearing witness to the colonial and anti-feminist atmosphere of 19th-century America, Kate Chopin created her works against a background of all kinds of repression reigning over social life. Likewise, Désirée’s Baby focuses mainly on a young woman’s marital life and the social/familial problems she confronts because of her personal background and imperial and gender-based oppression surrounding her life. Through a new historicist reading, the story has several humane elements to be taken into account. Reflecting the periphery and the repressed, Désirée’s Baby is a significant anticanonical writing with an inspiring human touch and a historically excluded work which depicts the dramatic existential problems of the time

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“Because Slovaks are the best people in the world and the Slovak language is the most beautiful language in the world”: Defamiliarising the Slovak “Imagined Community” in Samko Tále’s Cemetery Book

Abstract

National identity and language have been understood to be inseparable. This claim is supported by the history of the Slovak language, notably the codification attempts made by Anton Bernolák and Ľudovít Štúr as part of the Slovak National Revival Movement. National community tends to be perceived as being defined and categorized by a unified language, or by a homogenous grammar and lexicon shared equally among the community members. This concept of speech-national communities, I propose, is deconstructed in Daniela Kapitáňová’s Samko Tále’s Cemetery Book (Kniha o cintoríne), published in Slovak in 2000 and translated into English by Julia Sherwood in 2010. Through Samko’s pedantic engagement in Aristotelian categorization of knowledge, in his obsessive attempt to illustrate his (antilogical) logic of what it means to be a Slovak and to be part of a community which has gone through dramatic changes in history, tenets and beliefs which are unquestioningly accepted as truth are mercilessly defamiliarized, or “made strange”. Samko Tále’s Cemetery Book corresponds with Benedict Anderson’s notion of human communities as imagined entities in which people “will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion”.

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Imaginative Communities: The Role, Practice and Outreach of Community–Based Theatre

Abstract

In recent years, the artistic representation of communities (e.g. in community-based theatres) has found its source in the realm of the imagination (documentary drama, verbatim theatre, post-dramatic performance, etc.), addressing issues that are important and relevant not only for the communities themselves but also for the wider society. In this presentation I will use Zygmunt Bauman’s notion of the “seductive lightness of being” - or the transitory nature of our virtual experience - to talk about the role of selected community-based theatres in the United States and about their imaginative depiction and discussion of issues which are of vital importance for any community: identity, the personal vs. the political, a sense of belonging, progressiveness, social awareness and the capability of coexistence.

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The Individual and the Nation in Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o’s Early Writing

Abstract

In its essence, postcolonial literature evolved as an opposition to colonial discourse and ideological representation of the colonized subject inherent in colonial narratives. Springing out of the need to reconceptualize and reconstitute their communities, postcolonial writers often addressed the pressing historical and political issues of that time in their writing. In its early stages, postcolonial literature was therefore often marked by a strong sense of nationalism, interweaving fictional stories with the public narrative of pre-independence ideology. The paper seeks to explore the border between the public and the private in the early novels of the Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o. Just as his contemporaries in other colonized countries, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o tends to utilize literature as a powerful tool for raising national awareness. The pre-independence period, in which Ngũgĩ’s novels are set, is marked by a certain degree of romanticism and idealism, yet there is also an underlying sense of doom. Drawing on the cultural roots and mythology of his community, the writer steers his narrative in the direction of a larger, public discourse, suggesting that “the individual finds the fullest development of his personality when he is working in and for the community as a whole”. Therefore, the public/private dichotomy stands at the very centre of his writing, proving the rootedness of the individual in the public space.

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Pictures in Words – Kanji, Images in Literature – Sōshi

Abstract

From ancient times, the Japanese have been exploiting the image in as many ways as possible. They have used it in linguistics, literature, art - and the list is certainly much longer. Thus, the first part of my work tries to explain the importance of the kanji writing system and the “image” of a kanji, so that readers who do not understand the Japanese language can become familiar with it (origin, structure, mnemotechnics etc.). The second part of my work explains that later, in the 14th century, when “sōshi”or “zōshi” literature was born, n all of its books the relation between the text and the image was more than important. In the end, I conclude that the “image” is a defining element in understanding Japanese language and literature even in the 21st century.

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Poe’s Vision of Atonement: The Anthropic Principle in Eureka

Abstract

I will focus on the imaginative contribution that Edgar Allen Poe brought to scientific debates regarding the fate of our universe. At the basis of many a nightmarish vision of apocalyptic destruction, there lies the unwillingness of the human mind to make allowance for divine intervention or to make an imaginative appeal to the soothing power of such a morally superior instance. For all his avantgardistic vision, Poe insists upon and constructs his cosmological model around the principle of a Divine Essence, which initially created the universe and which is omnipresent, being embodied and living through all God’s creatures. As the instrument to detect this force, Poe proposes intuition and, empowered by it, he is able to state “calmly” an “absolute truth” - confirmed by present-day cosmology - namely that our universe is evolving, its existence a mere cycle in the beating of the Divine Heart. The cornerstone of Poe’s visionary cosmology consists of what is known as “the anthropic principle”, which will be used in the present paper as a possible key to achieving a dialogic interface between Science and Religion at a time when such an opportunity constitutes a rather stringent necessity.

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