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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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Simulacra in Science Fiction

Abstract

The paper examines the concept of simulacra, focusing on their employment in contemporary science fiction. It provides examples from literature as well as from popular cinematography, in order to present the topic in a more familiar context. These examples include Wachowski’s The Matrix, Gibson’s Neuromancer and Fassbinder’s Welt am Draht reflected in the light of ideas of theorists such as Baudrillard and Deleuze. The purpose of this paper is to provide the basic notion of the concept in connection with the science fiction genre, while also offerring a wide range of subject-related material

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Ars Aeterna
Literary Studies and Humanity
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Denial of Humanity and Forms of Enslavement in the Russian Gulag: Early Narratives of Gulag Survivors (1919–1940)

Abstract

Although the foundations of the Soviet concentration camp system date back to the Bolshevik Revolution and Russian Civil War, the amplitude of human suffering in the Gulag would not be known in detail until after 1962, i.e. the year when A. Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich was published. But even before the start of World War II, the totalitarian Soviet universe spoke the language of oppression that public opinion in the West constantly refused to acknowledge. This paper tries to recover a neglected corpus of early autobiographical narratives depicting the absurd Soviet concentration system, in the authentic voice of a number of Gulag survivors (G. Kitchin, Tatiana Tchernavin, Vladimir Tchernavin, S. A. Malsagoff, etc.).

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Ethnic Literature and Slovak American Research

Abstract

The article outlines the beginnings of ethnic literature research in the United States of America with regards to its reception from the 1960s to the 1980s. Aesthetic merit as a leading consideration in the evaluation of literary works, in view of the opinions of numerous critics, is quite problematic to apply in the case of Czech and Polish literature. Considering the output of Slovak-American research in the field of literary criticism and literary history, the results are not satisfactory either. There are a few works that provide valuable insight into the literature of the Slovak diaspora.

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Humanisation of the Subject in David Foster Wallace’s Fiction: From Postmodernism, Avant Pop to New Sensicerity? (Tri-Stan: I Sold Sissee Nar to Ecko, 1999)

Abstract

David Foster Wallace’s fiction is often considered to be an expression of the new American fiction emerging in the late 1980s, the authors of which expressed a certain distance from the dehumanised and linguistically constructed subject of postmodern fiction, and which depicted individuals influenced by mass media, pop culture and technology in technologically advanced American society. David Foster Wallace’s short story Tri-Stan: I Sold Sissee Nar to Ecko (1999), however, was also included in the Avant-Pop Anthology (Larry McCaffery, L., eds. After Yesterday’s Crash: The Avant-Pop Anthology. London, New York: Penguin, 1995). Some other critics (Adam Kelly, for example) consider him to be an author who expresses New Sincerity in his depiction of reality, which is a tendency in fiction trying to depict human experience and emotions through the use of language and which does not emphasise the human subject and experience to be a product of the interplay of signifiers as understood by Deconstruction criticism and many postmodern authors. This paper will analyse David Foster Wallace’s use of narrative strategies that are connected with postmodern narrative techniques and, at the same time, the way they express a distance from them through a depiction of human experience as interactive communication between human subjects. In addition, the paper will analyse the poetics of the new sincerity as part of contemporary postpostmodern sensibility. That is why I use the term sensicerity to express a combination of the new sensibility and sincerity.

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Humanism and Ethos in the Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Abstract

The article deals with the ideas of humanity and morality as reflected in the works of R. W. Emerson, the main representative of an intellectual movement called American transcendentalism. It conveys basic facts about the movement and focuses on the key aspects of Emerson’s transcendental philosophy, particularly his concept of the Over-soul and his concept of Nature, which gave his humanistic philosophy a religious and moral accent. Due to it, Emerson’s religious humanism also became the basis of American democratic individualism. The article offers insight into Emerson’s ideas on morality and ethical behaviour, which challenge us to live in harmony with God and nature.

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Speculative Cultural Constructs of the Human Condition in John Fowles’s Mantissa

Abstract

In Mantissa, Miles Green is deprived of his identity, and his Muse(s) attempt to help him reforget it through different (sub)cultural impersonations. This privately coded novel presents the process, which results in what could be termed a culturally determined variant of the postmodern human condition. My paper discusses some aspects of the way in which John Fowles reformulates his interpretations of the postmodern human condition, while demonstrating the capacity of art in general and of the novel in particular to adjust its rhetoric, narrative and technical solutions to the expectations generated by this extremely complex and difficult task.

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Under (Re)Construction – Belfast in the Poetry and Prose of Ciaran Carson

Abstract

Ciaran Carson’s poetry is deeply concerned with the city of Belfast, as many of the poems unfold their twisting itinerary against the active background of this northern urban location. In addition to the poems Carson has published a fair number of prose pieces and a tentative autobiography, which also resurrects the city in its dynamism, though on a different timescale. The poems and the prose pieces together constitute a narrative of the changing city with the conclusion that the most apparent element of permanence in the context of the city is change itself, which leads to a strained relationship between the city and the map representing it.

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