In this essay, Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Bewilderment Trilogy” is read as a series of Bildungsromane that test the limits of that genre. In these thematically unrelated novels, characters reach critical points in their lives when they are confronted with the ways in which their respective childhoods have shaped their grownup expectations and professional careers. In each, the protagonist has a successful career, whether as a musician (The Unconsoled), a detective (When We Were Orphans), or a carer (Never Let Me Go), but finds it difficult to overcome childhood trauma. Ishiguro’s treatment of childhood in these novels foregrounds the tension between individual subjectivity and the formal strictures and moral rigors of socialisation. In this respect, he comes close to modernist narratives of becoming, particularly James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Narrative strategies such as epiphanies and the control of distance and tropes such as boarding schools and journeys to foreign lands provide the analytical coordinates of my comparative study. While raising the customary questions of the Bildungsroman concerning socialisation and morality, I argue, Ishiguro manipulates narration very carefully in order to maintain a non-standard yet meaningful gap between his protagonists’ understanding of their lives and the reader’s.
The now-longstanding academic revival of allegory, as well as its import as a perennial buzzword of contemporary art criticism, owes much to a group of essays published in the journal October in the early 1980s. Authors Craig Owens and Benjamin Buchloh, in turn, drew a bloodline to the ideas of allegory that occupied Walter Benjamin throughout his literary career. However, whereas Benjamin saw allegory as the expression of a radical, indeed messianic, view of political possibility, the October writers found in allegory a counter-paradigm against Modernism that would resist the latter's totalizing tendencies by pursing its own deconstructive fate of “lack of transcendence.” In the following essay, I trace the source of this discrepancy to the crucial theological underpinnings of Benjamin's concept of allegory, without which the allegorical forms - appropriation and montage - produce not miraculous flashes of unmediated recognition but the permanent impossibility of communication.
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Two successful women, Jacqueline Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson, influenced and were in turn influenced by the political careers of their husbands. An analysis of their oral histories, Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy (released in 2011) and Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History (2012), demonstrates that John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson became the first men of the American nation not only through their personal virtues, but also through the influence of their wives and who had a significant impact on their careers. Granted, both Jackie and Lady Bird extolled their husbands’ merits, stressing that they were “only” their wives; however, both First Ladies played an essential diplomatic and political role, ensuring their husbands’ physical and emotional well-being in private and public life. The article demonstrates how Jacqueline Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson promoted the positive images of their husbands’ terms in office via their oral histories and continued to do so after their deaths. Moreover, the article considers some important differences between the two histories. Jacqueline did not edit her previously authorized interviews, whereas Lady Bird made important changes to hers; furthermore, in direct contrast to Lady Bird, Jacqueline never wrote a memoir or autobiography, which makes her oral history the most valuable source on her views about her life and her husband’s career.
The onset of Professor Jacek Fisiak’s scholarly career is marked by his 1961 Ph.D. dissertation devoted to the lexical influence of English upon Polish. This study, conducted 55 years ago, offers a multilayered analysis and sets the standards of studies on lexical transfer from English to Polish for the years to come. The present article is a tribute to Fisiak’s first scholarly endeavor; it examines the fate of lexical items comprising Fisiak’s corpus in the second decade of the 21st century. More specifically, by conducting searches in the National Corpus of Polish as well as a Google search, the paper checks which borrowings to the Polish language listed and scrutinized by Fisiak gained popularity, which fell out of use, and which underwent semantic changes.
Alice Munro has always been known for reworking personal material in her stories. On numerous occasions she openly admitted to adopting some of her real experiences into her fiction, yet at the same time she declared that her writing remains fictional, not autobiographical. However, the writer’s attitude seems to have changed with the publication of Dear Life (2012), supposedly the last book in her career. In the note preceding the last four stories in the collection, she suggests that they might constitute her autobiography.
This article discusses “The Eye,” “Night,” “Voices” and “Dear Life” in relation to Munro’s biography. It reflects on the narrative techniques the author uses to create the impression of authenticity and autobiographicality in the stories. It also aims to answer the question whether they should be indeed classified as Munro’s autobiography.
As a metaphysical poet, Richard Crashaw (1613-1649) is recognized for his stylistic experimentation and deep religious faith. In the course of his short life, he became a fellow at Cambridge, was later introduced to Queen Henrietta Marie, Charles I’s wife, in France after his exile during the Interregnum, converted to Catholicism from Anglicanism and was highly influenced by Baroque poetry and the martyrdom of St. Teresa of Avila in his style and themes. He is a poet with a “most holy, humble and genuine soul” and in the last six years of his life, which coincided with a period of great crisis in both personal and professional spheres, he worked intensively on the religious phase of his literary career (Shepherd 1914, p. 1). He reflected his devotion to St. Teresa and to God in his religious poems. Within this context, this study analyses Crashaw’s two Teresian poems, “A Hymn to the Name and Honour of the Admirable Saint Teresa” and “The Flaming Heart” featuring the themes of the quest for divine love and unification with the divine along with Crashaw’s divergence from other metaphysical poets, his affection for the European style(s), and his religious views concerning both his country and other countries in Europe.
This article examines the affective terrain of Poland, Canada, and the US in Eva Hoffman’s autobiographical account of her migration and exile in Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language (1989), the text that launched Hoffman’s reputation as a writer and intellectual. Hoffman’s Jewish family left Poland for Vancouver in 1959, when restrictions on emigration were lifted. Hoffman was 13 when she emigrated to Canada, where she lived until she went to college in the US and began her career. Lost in Translation represents her trajectory in terms of “Paradise,” “Exile,” and “The New World,” and the narrative explicitly thematizes nostalgia. While Hoffman’s nostalgia for post-war Poland has sometimes earned censure from critics who draw attention to Polish anti-Semitism and the failings of Communism, this article stresses how Hoffman’s nostalgia for her Polish childhood is saturated with self-consciousness and an awareness of the politics of remembering and forgetting. Thus, Hoffman’s work helps nuance the literary and critical discourse on nostalgia. Drawing on theories of nostalgia and affect developed by Svetlana Boym and Sara Ahmed, and on Adriana Margareta Dancus’s notion of “affective displacement,” this article examines Hoffman’s complex understanding of nostalgia. It argues that nostalgia in Lost in Translation is conceived as an emotion which offers the means to critique cultural practices and resist cultural assimilation. Moreover, the lyricism of Hoffman’s autobiography becomes a mode for performing the ambivalence of nostalgia and diasporic feeling.