In Homer and Langley, E.L. Doctorow’s 2009 novel of New York City, the author focuses on past Manhattan, which he sees as the epitome of his own self-destructive modern and contemporary society. I would argue that Doctorow acts here mainly to denounce excessive material culture in the context of egotistic, upper-class Manhattan dwelling at the end of the nineteenth century. I would also like to show that the novelist criticizes the idea of material progress along more than a hundred years, from the end of the nineteenth century, when the plot starts, to the beginning of the twenty-first century, when the novel was written. The self-contained, isolated world in the novel is the result of our society’s propensity for excessive production and consumption. At the same time, Homer and Langley brings to mind ideas of exhaustion of the human, who agrees to be literally replaced by objects. The fact that such a phenomenon occurs already at the end of the nineteenth century suggests that there might have never been a plenary moment of being human, as we have long entertained the closest possible relationship and even synthesis with the non-human world of objects and tools.
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In the postcolonial context, language represents one of the crucial tools of cultural communication and is therefore often a subject of heated discussion. Since language constitutes the framework of cultural interaction, postcolonial authors often challenge the privileged position of Standard English within their writing by modifying and substituting it with new forms and varieties. The Trinidad-born writer Sam Selvon belongs to a handful of Caribbean authors who initiated linguistic experiments in the context of Caribbean literature and is considered one of the first Caribbean writers to employ dialect in a novel. His 1956 novel The Lonely Londoners reflects the possibilities of vernacular experimentation and thus communicates the specific experience of a particular cultural group in an authentic way.
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From the manuscript to the screen: Implementing electronic editions of mediaeval handwritten material
This paper describes the electronic editing of the Middle English material housed in the Hunterian Collection at Glasgow University Library (GUL), a joint project undertaken by the universities of Málaga, Glasgow, Oviedo, Murcia and Jaén which pursues the compilation of an electronic corpus of mediaeval Fachprosa in the vernacular (http://hunter.filosofia.uma.es/manuscripts). The paper therefore addresses the concept of electronic editing as applied to The corpus of Late Middle English scientific prose with the following objectives: (a) to describe the editorial principles and the theoretical implications adopted; and (b) to present the digital layout and the tool implemented for data retrieval. A diplomatic approach is then proposed wherein the editorial intervention is kept to a minimum. Accordingly, features such as lineation, punctuation and emendations are every now and then accurately reproduced as by the scribe's hand whilst abbreviations are yet expanded in italics. GUL MS Hunter 497, holding a 15th-century English version of Aemilius Macer's De viribus herbarum, will be used as a sample demonstration (Calle-Martín - Miranda-García, forthcoming).
Since the arrival of the Internet and its tools, computer technology has become of considerable significance to both teachers and students, and it is an obvious resource for foreign language teaching and learning. The paper presents the results of a study which aimed to determine the effect of the application of Internet resources on the development of learner autonomy as well as the impact of greater learner independence on attainment in English as a foreign language. The participants were 46 Polish senior high school students divided into the experimental group (N = 28) and the control (N = 18) group. The students in the experimental group were subjected to innovative instruction with the use of the Internet and the learners in the control group were taught in a traditional way with the help of the coursebook. The data were obtained by means questionnaires, interviews, learners’ logs, an Internet forum, observations as well as language tests, and they were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. The results show that the experimental students manifested greater independence after the intervention and they also outperformed the controls on language tests.