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  • Author: Borbála Bökös x
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Human-Alien Encounters in Science Fiction: A Postcolonial Perspective

Abstract

An (un)conventional encounter between humans and alien beings has long been one of the main thematic preoccupations of the genre of science fiction. Such stories would thus include typical invasion narratives, as in the case of the three science fiction films I will discuss in the present paper: the Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956; Philip Kaufman, 1978; Abel Ferrara, 1993), The Host (Andrew Niccol, 2013), and Avatar (James Cameron, 2009). I will examine the films in relation to postcolonial theories, while attempting to look at the ways of revisiting one’s history and culture (both alien and human) in the films’ worlds that takes place in order to uncover and heal the violent effects of colonization. In my reading of the films I will shed light on the specific processes of identity formation (of an individual or a group), and the possibilities of individual and communal recuperation through memories, rites of passages, as well as hybridization. I will argue that the colonized human or alien body can serve either as a mediator between the two cultures, or as an agent which fundamentally distances two separate civilizations, thus irrevocably bringing about the loss of identity, as well as the lack of comprehension of cultural differences.

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Representations of Hungary and Transylvania in John Paget’s Travelogue

Abstract

Hungary was an important destination for British travelers in the nineteenth century, whose travel accounts provide intriguing insights into the cultural and political climate of the period. John Paget’s journey was meticulously recorded in his extensive book entitled Hungary and Transylvania (1839) that served as a travel guide for other British visitors after him. Paget, who took part in the 1848/49 War of Independence, and became a “Hungarian,” opened Europe’s eyes to the Hungarian people and their country, destroying several false myths that existed about Hungarians in Western Europe, thus attempting to shape up a more favorable picture about them. The present paper examines a few questions regarding the representation of Hungary and of Transylvania in general in the travelogue: how did Paget describe particular cities and regions, the inhabitants, as well as their everyday life? I will attempt to look at the (changing) images of Hungary and Transylvania in Paget’s writing, as well as to offer an insight into Hungarian society and culture in the nineteenth century as contrasted to English culture and politics.

Open access