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Gender, the Nigerian Civil War and Hard Choices: Nihilism or Absurdism (?) in Isidore Okpewho’s The Last Duty

Abstract

This paper entitled “Gender, the Nigerian Civil War and Hard Choices: Nihilism or Absurdism(?) in Isidore Okpewho’s The Last Duty” evinces an evaluative excursion into the author’s delineation of gender in war and its concomitants regarding actions, inactions, and the mindset of the actors and the acted-upon (victims) of the fratricidal Nigerian conflict within a designated theatre. We demonstrated that the quantum impact of the war engages some near-totally nihilistic imperatives of the war. Nevertheless, we surmised, at the final count, that the war results in high-wire tension rather than erode the indices for hope regarding the war victims and victimizers alike; and by dangerous extension, the Nigerian nation. Although we conceded the presence of dystopia which is life-threatening and socially destabilizing, our calculation in the final analysis, is that the tensions generated against both genders in the war are essentially absurdist, not nihilist. In this vein of analysis, we concluded that Okpewho’s delineation retains deliberately enough rays for reconstructive, rehabilitative, regenerative and cohesive engagements that will pave the way for societal survival and continuity.

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Literature as a Political Tool: Whig Efforts to Prevent the Election of Martin Van Buren

Abstract

Starting with Andrew Jackson, presidential candidates in the United States used campaign biographies as useful political tools, and since 1824 no presidential election year has passed without a campaign biography. Martin Van Buren, President Jackson’s successor in the White House, became a target of a vicious campaign intended to prevent his election. His Whig opponents used a number of literary genres to slander him, including a mock campaign biography and a novel. The article focuses on the portrayal of Martin Van Buren in The Life of Martin Van Buren, allegedly written by Davy Crockett in 1835, and a novel named The Partisan Leader; A Tale of the Future, written by Nathaniel Beverley Tucker in 1836. Though being of different genres, these curious and obscure works have certain things in common - they were written under pseudonyms, their main goal was to prevent the election of Martin Van Buren and both of them failed in their goal.

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The Real, Imaginary and Possible in Robert Coover’s Short Story “Stick Man” (2005)

Abstract

In the context of Baudrillard’s theory of simulacra, this paper analyzes Robert Coover’s depiction of different versions of “reality” as manifested in his short story “Stick Man”. The paper argues that through the depiction of transworld characters oscillating between different ontological levels and modes of representation, Coover

  1. treats the relation between fiction and reality,
  2. deals, in the context of some post-structuralist theories, with a question of representation connected especially with the relation between language and reality,
  3. parodies celebrity culture, mass media manipulation of the audience and consumerism as important aspects of contemporary (American) culture, and points out the replacement of the representation by “simulation” in the contemporary technologically advanced world.

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in CLEaR
Teaching with New Critics

Abstract

Anglo-American New Criticism was one of the most important movements in the twentieth century literary theories. It stressed the objectivity of a literary work of art and claimed that literary critics as well as teachers should concentrate, primarily, on the text, its linguistic structures and the ambiguities of meaning resulting from them, and only secondarily on the text´s extraliterary relationships. After the New Critics´ popularity in the early decades of the last century, in its second part they were refused as pure formalists, supposedly unable to see the real nature of a literary work in its social circumstances. The article attempts to reassess New Criticism as a movement which contributed significantly to the reading and teaching literature and claims that their importance has not diminished even in the twenty-first century.

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Yahya Kemal and Nizar Qabbani: Two Poet-Diplomats in Spain and “Andalus” in their Poems

Abstract

Yahya Kemal and Nizar Qabbani were two poets who served as diplomats in Spain in the past century on behalf of the governments of Turkey and Syria. Yahya Kemal wrote two poems about Spain, “Dance in Andalusia “ and “Coffee Shop in Madrid”. “Dance in Andalusia,” a poem written about the Flamenco dance, has become very famous. In this poem, he described the traditional dance of the Spanish people and emphasized the place of this dance in their lives and the fun-loving lives of the people of Spain. In almost all of the poems which Nizar Qabbani wrote about Spain, on the other hand, a feeling of sadness rather than joy prevails. He gives a deep sigh in his poems as he regards Andalusia as the one-time land of his ancestors. His most important poem with respect to Spain is the poem entitled “Granada”. This poem is considered to be one of the most significant odes in the Arab literature describing Granada, the pearl of Andalusia, Arab influences there, the Alhambra palace and the sadness felt due to the loss of the city by Arabs. This study analyzes the two most important poems written by Yahya Kemal and Nizar Qabbani concerning Spain, namely “Dance in Andalusia” and “Granada”. Whenever it is deemed appropriate, other poems of the two poets regarding Spain will be dwelt upon and what kind of an influence Andalusia left in their emotional world will be revealed.

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From Text Comprehension to Creative Writing from the Aspect of Cognitive Linguistics

Abstract

Text comprehension is understood as a social and cultural phenomenon in which it is possible to identify the developmental phases, that is ontogenesis, from the aspect of communicating entity. The age-receptive value, as well as the age-receptive variability of text, is reflected in the texts for children. Works of folk or authorial provenance anticipate the mental dispositions of a child subject. Developing the understanding by children is resulting from formal and content criteria. Understanding – like speech – grows. The supreme level of text comprehension is the improvisation of larger narrative formations: Compared with the primary contact with the text in the form of rhymes, the form is released and the epic breadth of expression increases. The child as authorial subject produces a text that is characterized by such variability of expression values which is contained in the child´s current mental model reached through conventions and receptive experience. The study will demonstrate the expressive value of text using examples of creative writing of children. Methodologically, it relies on the semantic communication model of text and the expressive value of text.

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in CLEaR
Growing up Dalit in Bengal: Conversation with Manohar Mouli Biswas

Abstract

This is an interview of Manohar Mouli Biswas, Bangla Dalit activist and writer, where he expresses his views about the identity of Dalit people and the historiography of caste in India. He further speaks about the uniqueness of Bangla Dalit literature, its similarities with Dalit writings in other Indian regional languages and the position of Dalit women writers. He is candid enough to speak about certain autobiographical elements that provided him with the impetus to be a Dalit writer. He further speaks about Dalit drama and its performances which is a marker of its acceptance amongst the viewers. He emphasises on the role of translation of Dalit literature to generate awareness among the larger reading public towards Dalit literature.

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in CLEaR
History, Art and Consumerism— Richard Powers’ Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance

Abstract

This article analyzes three narrative lines as depicted in Richard Powers’ Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance (1985) and the way his depiction of real, photographed, present and past characters along with a narrative reference to a photograph create a metafictional and intertextual frameworks through the use of which Powers symbolically points out a sensibility of the late 20th century and its difference from early 20th century related to the vision of the world, understanding of reality, art, and history. In addition, the article emphasizes Powers’ use of postmodern allegory and the way it creates another meaning which points out a commercial and consumerist character of the 20th century and which also symbolically represents a history of technical and artistic depiction of the world.

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The Reflection of Leo Tolstoy and Ivan Turgenev Relations in the “Albert” Fabula and Motifs Organization

Abstract

The short story “Albert” is usually interpreted as a manifestation of Leo Tolstoy’s aesthetics. Thus, the narrative of the story is generally beyond the research scope. Tolstoy had been influenced by Turgenev when writing the story. Their relations were analysed through the sociocultural concept of the literary field. Tolstoy rejected the “patron - newcomer” type of relations. The conflict was explicitly depicted in the story narrative. This observation was confirmed by a comparison of three editions of the story. Albert represented Leo Tolstoy himself when he (the story protagonist) rejected Delesov’s patron intentions.

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Two Women, Two Literatures and One Fight for Dignity and Voice in the Society - About the Mexican Jesusa of Elena Poniatowska and the Polish Marta of Eliza Orzeszkowa

Abstract

Over the last centuries women have fought for their rights. On the pages of literature appeared hundreds of heroines who wanted to change the world. Poniatowska and Orzeszkowa - two women from distant cultures and times - created outstanding literary characters. The novel of Elena Poniatowska, published in 1969, was the chronicle of 20th century in Mexico, which included documentary material about Jesusa Palancares and her story about the revolution in 1910. The work is the epic of the folk hero closed in the labyrinth of solitude and attempt to determine his own character. Jesusa will be compared with Marta, the main character of Eliza Orzeszkowa’s novel, which was published in 1873 and is dedicated to the social rights of women. This contribution aims to discuss the literary techniques and topics in works of the important women-writers in Poland and Mexico. This paper analyses the novels not through feminism, but through the study of culture and politics. In the comparative analysis of Marta and Hasta no verte Jesús mío the paper shows similarities and diversities in the texts, considering differences in national identity and similar social-political situation as a bridge between the cultures.

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in CLEaR