The purpose of this essay is to capture and convey, through the use of different works of philosophy that encapsulate thoughts on the same idea, the motif of the absurdity of life in Ernest Hemingway’s first novel The Sun Also Rises. The concept of the absurd will be, first and foremost, examined through absurdist criticism of the novel, using the philosophical thought of Albert Camus, Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche and other philosophers who captured the essence of the absurd in their philosophy, all in order to represent this concept in Hemingway’s novel and to show how it truly manifests itself upon some of the most important characters’ psychology and their actions, portrayed throughout the three parts of the book. Mention will be made of the concept of “Lost generation” as it is the cornerstone to understanding, firstly, the characters’ background and current psychological status and the effects that the war had on an entire generation, leading them to an unwilling search for meaning in what this essay strives to present as a meaningless life.
The digital environment in which the humanities are now firmly immersed has opened the door to innovative ways for students to interact with traditional formats such as archival and print material, and to develop a deep and personal understanding of topics and issues. Libraries, museums and archives are in the unique position of facilitating the creation of digital initiatives in the classroom by offering up their collections as “learning laboratories,” and by sharing their expertise in technology, information, and digital literacy as well as data management. Through active collaboration with course instructors, they can build bridges between their collections and the digital skills students need in order to embrace the new learning paradigm and to help lead them into the future. This paper outlines an archival-digital pilot launched in 2015 at the University of Ottawa, Canada. It situates the project in its historical context; details its early and subsequent iterations; and surveys the assumptions, challenges, surprises, and pleasures of introducing students to archival sources and to acquiring digital skills.
Chinese Shakespearean criticism from Marxist perspectives is highly original in Chinese Shakespeare studies. Scholars such as Mao Dun, Yang Hui, Zhao Li, Fang Ping, Yang Zhouhan, Bian Zhilin, Meng Xianqiang, Sun Jiaxiu, Zhang Siyang and Wang Yuanhua adopt the basic principles and methods of Marxism to elaborate on Shakespeare’s works and have made great achievements. With ideas changed in different political climates, they have engaged in Shakespeare studies for over eight decades since the 1930s. At the beginning of the revolutionary age, they advocated revolutionary literature, followed Russian Shakespearean criticism from the Marxist perspective, and established the mode of class analysis and highlighted realism. Before and after the Cultural Revolution, they were concerned about class, reality and people. They also showed the “left-wing” inclination, taking literature as a tool to serve politics. Since the 1980s, they have been free from politics and entered the pure academic realm, analysing Shakespearean dramas with Marxist aesthetic theories and transforming from sociological criticism to literary criticism.
This article examines two huaju performances of Shakespeare—The Tragedy of Coriolanus (2007) and King Lear (2006), which are good examples of cultural exchanges between East and West, integrating Shakespeare into contemporary Chinese culture and politics. The two works provide distinctive approaches to the issues of identity in intercultural discourse. At the core of both productions lies the fundamental question: “Who am I?” At stake are the artists’ personal and cultural identities as processes of globalisation intensify. These performances not only exemplify the intercultural productivity of Shakespearean texts, but more critically, illustrate how Shakespeare and intercultural discourses are internalized and reconfigured by the nation and culture that consume and re-produce them. Chinese adaptations of Coriolanus and King Lear demonstrate how (intercultural) identity is constructed through the subjectivity and iconicity of Shakespeare’s characters and the performativity of Shakespeare’s texts.
Ellen Glasgow’s works have received, over time, a mixed interpretation, from sentimental and conventional, to rebellious and insightful. Her novel In This Our Life (1941) allows the reader to have a glimpse of the early twentieth-century South, changed by the industrial revolution, desperately clinging to dead codes, despairing and struggling to survive. The South is reflected through the problems of a family, its sentimentality and vulnerability, but also its cruelty, pretensions, masks and selfishness, trying to find happiness and meaning in a world of traditions and codes that seem powerless in the face of progress. The novel, apparently simple and reduced in scope, offers, in fact, a deep insight into various issues, from complicated family relationships, gender pressures, racial inequality to psychological dilemmas, frustration or utter despair. The article’s aim is to depict, through this novel, one facet of the American South, the “aristocratic” South of belles and cavaliers, an illusory representation indeed, but so deeply rooted in the world’s imagination. Ellen Glasgow is one of the best choices in this direction: an aristocratic woman but also a keen and profound writer, and, most of all, a writer who loved the South deeply, even if she exposed its flaws.
The essay entitled “Food Imagery in Lesley Saunders’ Poetry” expands upon various food issues that will be approached via Gaston Bachelard’s aesthetic theory which situates us in the proximity of a sensible point of objectivity further enlarged upon from a phenomenological perspective that merges the exterior substantiality of food with the reality of imagination. The acquired intimate connotations of the poetess’ food environment are tackled in terms of the inner/outer opposition and the Platonic dialectics that involves old versus new, good versus evil, plenty versus scarcity, revealing the dynamic virtues of “roots,” the emblem of the diversity of food. Our approach to the house, where various types of food are being prepared, in relation to its pivotal functions of dwelling, preparing food and sharing it, turns both the house and food into the unfailing communality and sociality constructs of all places and ages.
This essay studies scenes that focus on food and eating in the films Chocolat (2000) and I Served the King of England (Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále, 2006). To assess whether or not they constitute food porn we compare and contrast such scenes with the description of an unwholesome recipe for cannibalistic eating in Titus Andronicus, which anticipates our contemporary food obsession. At its most basic (and controversial), food porn names the alluring visualisation of certain foodstuffs, which renders food the object of erotically tinged desire. Serving different purposes in the two films, such eroticisation of food can be more than self-referential insofar as it indicates human interactions framed as power relations. Showing chocolate making and eating, in Chocolat, actually visualises a woman’s exertion of power over the women and their husbands in a bigoted French village in 1959, intended to awaken the people’s benumbed desire. Not food proper is the object of desire in the Czech film, but the young woman served up as ocular side dish to the moguls dining in a stylish Prague restaurant before the outburst of WWII. By contrast, food eroticisation is completely absent in Shakespeare; at stake is a verbal (and implicitly visual) concern with the transformation of flesh and body parts into ingredients for seemingly festive consumption. Visualising food, in Titus, implicitly visualises the reclaim and exertion of power in the fictional Roman polity. In all these cases, the concern with food vectorises power relations and may fluidise gendered hierarchies, an issue which food porn scholarship rarely addresses.