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Alexandru Macedonski: poetic irony of death

Abstract

Alexandru Macedonski, like most symbolist poets, has a „special relationship” with death. Anchored in the spirit of Western literature, he knew, without a doubt, the great poems dedicated to death, by Byron, Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud, etc. Not coincidentally, given the relationships, more or less blunt with the Junimea members, marked by polemics, exchange of epigrams, Caragiale called him, Macabronski. The theme of death, with minor exceptions, is, however, in Macedonski a philosophical obsession transfigured into a vision of the Whole, with its full and emptiness.

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Amorality, Immorality and Individualism in Hanif Kureishi’s Intimacy

Abstract

Hanif Kureishi, an acclaimed contemporary British writer of Pakistani origin, is known to the Romanian reading public primarily through the translations (under the aegis of the Humanitas publishing house) of his novels Intimacy, The Buddha of Suburbia, The Nothing, Gabriel’s Gift and Something to Tell You. One of the foremost representatives of British postcolonial literature, Kureishi masterfully, and at times shockingly, explores the postmodern urban world of human desolation, loneliness and alienation, with the surgical precision and mercilessness of a “terrorist”, as he himself describes the writer and his artistic mission in an interview. Intimacy, in a classic Proustian or Joycean manner, offers a glimpse into twenty-four hours in the life of a middle-aged Londoner, Jay, who fed up with the monotony and routine of his marriage, decides to leave his wife and children in order to pursue a passionate sexual relationship with a younger lover. The novel thematizes such concerns as the clash between traditional values and (post)modern society, between individualism / narcissism and moral duty, morality versus amorality / immorality, and the inevitable alienation of the individual who experiences these conflicts. The present paper aims at offering a reading of Kureishi’s text starting from the writer’s claim that “I’ve never had any desire to be good. (…) I don’t like goodness particularly. I like passion.” From the vantage point of this confession we shall proceed to analyze Intimacy not as a moral handbook, but as the eternal plight of the human soul, caught between the painfulness of duty and the irresistible call of passion.

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The Cioran case – a heideggerian case?

Abstract

If Cioran’s articles could be easily examined in terms of their political message, his aforisms, short texts, or essays have nothing to justify their analysis from the perspective of their “political” content. Cioran’s thoughts, bordering on the poetic, are not comparable to Heidegger’s writings in which, as some try to convince us, the totalitarian ideology has deeply penetrated the very core of the ontology he developed. Even if scholars have identified features of national-socialism in Heidegger’s works, it is still difficult to blame him for his ideas since he has quickly and lucidly reconsidered his approach to the Nazi ideology. Cioran’s writings have nothing in common with Corneliu Zelea Codreanu’s books, For My Legionaries or The Nest Leader’s Manual. Corneliu Zelea Codreanu’s hatred for Judeo-Communism has no correspondent in Emil Cioran’s writings.

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Clarice Lispector, Agua Viva: Autobiography, Exile, Violence

Abstract

Considered “the great witch of Brazilian literature”, acclaimed as the best woman-writer of Jewish origin and the perfect example of an exquisite reconfiguration of European modernist ideas, Clarice Lispector is a fascinating author. This is obvious since her first novel Perto do coração selvagem (Near to the Wild Heart, 1943), a book that was awarded several literary prizes in Brazil, even if afterwards the text would be often ignored within the critical studies dedicated to Lispector. Compared to Borges and Kafka and even to the narrative strategies used by Virginia Woolf (apparently influenced by James Joyce’s stream of consciousness, even if Lispector underlined that she had not read Joyce’s creation much later) her book entitled Agua viva (1973) represents a perfect example of a very special kind of aesthetic experiment, underlying the importance of art (painting or literature) in its protagonist’s life. Without being precisely an autobiography, this book is obviously influenced by the author’s life and work, also expressing Lispector’s ideas on two important issues of 20th century Latin American literature: exile and violence.

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The Cultural and Educational Dimension of the “New Silk Road:” The Re-invention of Mongolness at the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands

Abstract

In October 2013, Xí Jìnpíng presented not only an ambitious infrastructure project but a strategic initiative that promoted connections in many regards: the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). One intended strategic value of this initiative is the improvement of relations between China and its neigh-bours as well as the improvement of dialogue among different civilizations. Emphasis is placed on the importance of the shared historical cultural heritage of the involved ethnic groups, while the idea of a ‘harmonious society’ is promoted at the same time. The aim of this article is to shed light on how China expands its soft power through civilizational connections along the Sino-Mongolian-Russian Economic Corridor by referring to the Silk Road Academic Belt. This article is based on ethnographic field research in Hénán Mongol Autonomous County in the Sino-Tibetan borderlands of Qīnghǎi Province during an international conference titled “Historical and Cultural Links between Mongolia and Tibet,” held in July 2017.1

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Discourses of “Herbivore Masculinity” in Japanese Love Advice Books

Abstract

In the last decade, discourses of non-conforming masculinities have become increasingly prominent in Japanese mass media. In particular, the so-called “herbivore men” have been made infamous by Japanese newspapers and were accused of being responsible for sinking birth rates and economic stagnation in Japan (Schad-Seifert 2016). In this article, I explore the discourse on the “herbivore men” in Japanese love advice books which are meant to guide and inform the (female) reader’s assessment of potential romantic partners. Utilising Siegfried Jäger’s methodological approach (2015), this discursive analysis focuses on the line of discourse that implicitly criticises the “herbivore men” and rejects their turn away from hegemonic images of masculinity. The analysis yields that the “herbivore man” is constructed as an ‘unnatural’ form of masculinity in these publications, which allegedly causes women to become sexually active and career-driven “carnivores.” Japanese women’s empowerment from hegemonic gender ideals is thereby misrepresented as a symptom of psychological distress due to changing masculinities. By perpetuating ideas of biological determinism linked to the backlash against the “gender-free” movement in the early 2000s, this line of discourse propagates problematic relations of gender and power in Japanese society.

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East Asian Technical Cooperation Initiatives in Central America: A Comparative Analysis of Japan and South Korea in Guatemala

Abstract

This article describes the similarities and differences of Japanese and South Korean technical cooperation approaches in Guatemala. The literature review illustrates the transition from an initially donor-centric results chain approach towards one that is increasingly recipient-balanced due to new cooperation principles such as horizontality and demand-drivenness. Such approaches are mainly fostered by the rise of new emerging donors on the international development cooperation horizon, such as the advocates of South-South Development Cooperation (SSDC).

An analysis based on a framework by the Network of Southern Think Tanks (NeST) concludes that Japanese and Korean technical cooperation approaches are markedly similar, most notably in regard to officially proclaimed technical cooperation standards and commitments. Differences result from the degree of related implementation: Japan achieves higher results based on relative deficiencies in reporting by Korea as well as comparatively shorter bilateral Korean-Guatemalan relations. Similarities are fostered by analogous institutional and project related structures, stemming from an argued learning and simulation approach by Korea from the long-standing experiences of Japan. Lastly, it is argued that the growing assimilation of the traditional and the SSDC concept, as well as the increasing engagement of both countries in triangular cooperation contribute to the identified similarities.

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Emil Cioran – with Marin Sorescu

Abstract

Marin Sorescu”s trips to Paris meant, each time, meeting Emil Cioran. The spiritual closeness between the two so different personalities develops over the years, as prooved by the numerous notes in the diaries of the Romanian poet. Despite the political restrictions of the regime, Marin Sorescu promotes Emil Cioran’s work in Romania, in the magazines of the time and in volumes. About his appreciation is written also in the correspondence between the two of them, we publish here some unique texts kept in the archive of Sorescu family.

Open access
A first monograph synthesis on Pavel Chihaia

Abstract

Despite of some whiffs of degradation that we breathe every day, we rejoice, sometimes feeling the scent of the air filled with cultural facts that deserve our consideration. Such success belongs to the writer and Professor Ovidiu Pecican, who wrote a paper on a genuine scholar Pavel Chihaia (1922-2019), an intellectual noteworthy not only for his research, but also an author of a praiseworthy moral character.

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From the prehistoric to the posthuman selfie

Abstract

LeRoy McDermott’s hypothesis proposes a perceptual interpretation of the Venus statues from to the Upper Paleolithic period these being in fact the first examples of human self-representations. The arguments he brings are of an artistic nature par excellence and they refer to the visual distortions arising from the subject’s point of view. The fantasy of being admired by others through the means of the nude selfie has generated a whole trend in today’s pop culture and Kim Kardashian is a prime example in this sense. The “shareware body” has gone through an entire history of significance, from Albrecht Dürer’s mystical meaning of the body, to Érika Ordosgoitti’s activist take on the matter. The widespread presence of the nude selfie raises the issue of virtual identity “pornification” while Katherine N. Hayles’ hypothesis questions the future of a posthuman reality that has already been foreshadowed.

Open access