Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters <div style="text-align: justify;"> <p><em>Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture</em>, based at the University of Lodz, is an international and interdisciplinary journal, which seeks to engage in contemporary debates in the humanities by inviting contributions from literary and cultural studies intersecting with literary theory, gender studies, history, philosophy, and religion. <em>Text Matters</em> was founded and developed by Professor Dorota Filipczak (1963-2021).</p> <p>The journal focuses on textual realities, but contributions related to art, music, film and media studies addressing the text are also invited.</p> </div> Lodz University Press en-US Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture 2083-2931 “Brought up to Live Double Lives”: Intelligence and Espionage as Literary and Philosophical Figures in Ciaran Carson’s Exchange Place and For All We Know https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11254 <p>The article examines the figure of the spy—alongside themes related to espionage—as employed in two books by the Northern Irish writer Ciaran Carson (1948–2019): the volume of poems <em>For All We Know </em>(2008) and the novel <em>Exchange Place </em>(2012). Carson’s oeuvre is permeated with the Troubles and he has been hailed one of key writers to convey the experience of living in a modern surveillance state. His depiction of Belfast thematizes questions of terrorism, the insecurity and anxiety it causes in everyday life, as well as the unceasing games of appearances and the different ways of verifying or revising identities. In Carson’s later work, however, these aspects acquire greater philosophical depth as the author uses the themes of doubles, spies, and makeshift identities to discuss writing itself, the construction of subjectivity, and the dialogic relationship with the other. Taking a cue from Paul Ricoeur’s and Julia Kristeva’s conceptions of “oneself as another,” the article examines how Carson’s spy-figures can be read as metaphors for processes of self-discovery and identity-formation, tied to the notion of “self-othering.” Carson employs the figure of the spy—who juggles identities by “donning” different clothes or languages—to scrutinize how one ventures into the dangerous territory of writing, translation and love, as well as to reconsider notions of originality and self-mastery. Ultimately, Carson conceptualizes literature as specially marked by deceptions and metamorphoses, defining in these terms the human condition.</p> Grzegorz Czemiel Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 35 50 10.18778/2083-2931.11.03 Shibboleths of Grief: Paul Muldoon’s “The Triumph” https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11255 <p>The essay explores Paul Muldoon’s elegy for the fellow Northern Irish poet Ciaran Carson with a view to showing that “The Triumph” seeks to evoke a ground where political, cultural and religious polarities are destabilized. As the various intertextual allusions in the poem are traced, it is argued that Muldoon seeks to revise the notion of the Irish shibboleths that, as the poem puts it, “are meant to trip you up.” In lieu of this linguistic and political slipperiness, “The Triumph” situates Carson’s protean invocations of Belfast and traditional Irish music as the new shibboleths of collectivity.</p> Wit Pietrzak Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 51 63 10.18778/2083-2931.11.04 Northern Ireland’s Interregnum. Anna Burns’s Depiction of a (Post)-Troubles State of (In)security https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11256 <p>This paper aims to present the main contours of Burns’s literary output which, interestingly enough, grows into a personal understanding of the collective mindset of (post)-Troubles Northern Ireland. It is legitimate, I argue, to construe her fiction (<em>No Bones</em>, 2001; <em>Little Constructions</em>, 2007; <em>Milkman</em>, 2018) as a body of work shedding light on certain underlying mechanisms of (post-)sectarian violence. Notwithstanding the lapse of time between 1998 and 2020, the Troubles’ toxic legacy has indeed woven an unbroken thread in the social fabric of the region. My reading of the novelist’s selected works intends to show how the local public have been fed by (or have fed themselves upon) an unjustified—maybe even false—sense of security. Burns, in that regard, has positioned herself amongst the aggregate of writers who feel anxious rather than placated, hence their persistence in returning to the roots of Northern Irish societal divisions. Burns’s writing, in the above context, though immersed in the world of the Troubles, paradoxically communicates “an idiosyncratic spatiotemporality” (Maureen Ruprecht Fadem’s phrase), namely an experience beyond the self-imposing, historical time limits. As such, it gains the ability to provide insightful commentaries on conflict-prone relations, the patterns of which can be repeatedly observed in Northern Ireland’s socio-political milieu. Overall, the main idea here is to discuss and present the narrative realm proposed by Burns as (in)determinate, liminal in terms of time and space, positioning readers between “then” and “now” of the region.</p> Ryszard Bartnik Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 64 83 10.18778/2083-2931.11.05 “. . .delivered from the lie of being truth”: The Affective Force of Disinformation, Stickiness and Dissensus in Randy Ribay’s Patron Saints of Nothing https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11260 <p>Waged in 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs has claimed over 20,000 lives according to human rights groups. The Duterte administration’s own count is significantly lower: around 6,000. The huge discrepancy between the government’s official count and that of arguably more impartial organizations about something as concretely material as body count is symptomatic of how disinformation is central to the Duterte administration and how it can sustain the approval of the majority of the Philippine electorate. We suggest that Duterte’s populist politics generates what Boler and Davis (2018) call “affective feedback loops,” which create emotional and informational ecosystems that facilitate smooth algorithmic governance. We turn to <em>Patron Saints of Nothing</em>, a recently published novel by Randy Ribay about a Filipino-American who goes back to the Philippines to uncover the truth behind the death of his cousin. Jay’s journey into the “heart of darkness” as a “hyphenated” individual (Filipino-American) allows him access to locally networked subjectivities but not its affective entanglements. Throughout the novel, he encounters numerous versions of the circumstances of Jun’s demise and the truth remains elusive at the end of the novel. We argue that despite the constant distortion of fact and fiction in the novel, what remains relatively stable or “sticky” throughout the novel are the letters from Jun Reguero that Jay carries with him back to the Philippines. We suggest that these letters can potentially serve as a form of “dissensus” that challenges the constant redistribution of the sensible in the novel.</p> Vincent Pacheco Jeremy De Chavez Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 84 96 10.18778/2083-2931.11.06 Transforming the Ich-Du to the Ich-Es: The Migrant as “Terrorist” in Kabir Khan’s New York and Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11261 <p>Terror narratives have been characterized by a dialogism where the “normative” I—i.e. the “non-threatening mainstream”—defines and delineates subjects whose identity is centred on their (actual or presumed) location in the terror network. This is especially so in the case of Asian migrants who settle down in Western countries, as their very identity as Asian locates them at a precarious point in the real or imagined “terror network.” The migrant is no longer the <em>Du </em>(Thou), but the <em>Es </em>(It), imparting an identity to the <em>Ich </em>(I), where the <em>Ich </em>denotes the “original” citizens of the country. The transactions of the “I” with the “Thou” and the “It” become significant in the context of Asian immigrants in that, for the dominant mainstream (the “I”), the “terrorist” is an <em>Es</em>/”It” that has gradually marked its transition from the <em>Du</em>/“Thou.” The person of the “terrorist” finds its ontological properties from the gradual movement away from a “Thou” to an “It.” The hitherto unbounded “Thou” is transformed into a definable “It,” by ascribing to her/him a religion, race, colour, nationality and ethnicity. He/she is not confronted, as every “Thou” is, but is rather “experienced” as a source of terror, as an “It.” The paper attempts to explore the transformation of the figure of the “migrant terrorist” from a confronted “Thou” to an “imagined/experienced” “It” through an analysis of <em>New York </em>(2009) by Kabir Khan and <em>Home Fire </em>(2017) by Kamila Shamsie.</p> Minu Susan Koshy Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 97 105 10.18778/2083-2931.11.07 Victim-Warriors and Restorers—Heroines in the Post-Apocalyptic World of Mad Max: Fury Road https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11262 <p>The article discusses the evolving image of female characters in the <em>Mad Max </em>saga directed by George Miller, focusing on Furiosa’s rebellion in the last film—<em>Mad Max: Fury Road</em>. Interestingly, studying Miller’s post-apocalyptic action films, we can observe the evolution of this post-apocalyptic vision from the male-dominated world with civilization collapsing into chaotic violence visualized in the previous series to a more hopeful future created by women in the last part of the saga: <em>Mad Max: Fury Road </em>(2015). We observe female heroes: the vengeful Furiosa, the protector of oppressed girls and sex slaves, the women of the separatist clan, and the wives of the warlord, who bring down the tyranny and create a new “green place.” It is worth emphasizing that the plot casts female solidarity in the central heroic role. In fact, the <em>Mad Max </em>saga emerges as a piece of socially engaged cinema preoccupied with the cultural context of gender discourse. Noticeably, media commentators, scholars and activists have suggested that <em>Fury Road </em>is a feminist film.</p> Anna Reglińska-Jemioł Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 106 118 10.18778/2083-2931.11.08 Aligning with Sociopaths: Character Engagement Strategies in Highsmith’s and Minghella’s Talented Mr. Ripleys https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11263 <p>Patricia Highsmith’s stated reason for writing <em>The Talented Mr. Ripley </em>(1955) was to see if she could elicit empathetic engagement for her immoral protagonist Tom Ripley. Amongst other factors, she achieves her goal by allowing readers to align affectively with the protagonist’s road to self-discovery. Her experiment culminates with Tom’s fruition into an aggressive consumer, thus resolving his and the readers’ apprehensions. On the other hand, Anthony Minghella’s <em>Ripley </em>leaves more room for interpretation. In his interviews, the filmmaker states that he does not aim for his protagonist to remain the sociopath from Highsmith’s novel. Instead, his story explores the absence of a father figure and how it affects his main characters. Consequently, he frames Tom as an underprivileged youth whose emotional instability brings about his demise. To this end, he employs victimization scenes, as well as moral disengagement cues. I argue that, amongst other factors, such an application of an industry-tested design of emphatic concern elicitation obscures the filmmaker’s initial intent. As a result, Minghella’s Tom can be seen as a manipulative sociopath, as well as a victimized tragic hero.</p> Lech Zdunkiewicz Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 119 136 10.18778/2083-2931.11.09 Mer-Hagography: The Erasure, Return and Resonance of Splash’s Older Mermaid https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11264 <p>The 1984 feature film <em>Splash </em>initially included a scene featuring an embittered, older mermaid (referred to as the “Merhag” or “Sea-Hag” by the production team) that was deleted before the final version premiered. Since that excision, the older mermaid and the scene she appeared in have been recreated by fans and the mer/sea-hag has come to comprise a minor element in contemporary online culture. The term “Merhag,” in particular, has also spread beyond the film, being taken up in fantasy fiction and being used—allusively and often pejoratively—to describe notional and actual female characters. Drawing on Mary Daly’s 1978 exploration of supressed female experiences and perspectives, this essay first examines <em>Splash </em>and associated texts with regard to the general figure of the hag in western culture (and with regard to negative, ageist perceptions of the ageing female), before discussing the use of “Merhag” and “Sea-Hag” as allusive pejoratives and the manner in which their negative connotations have been countered.</p> Philip Hayward Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 139 156 10.18778/2083-2931.11.10 From Romero to Romeo—Shakespeare’s Star-Crossed Lovers Meeting Zombedy in Jonathan Levine’s Warm Bodies https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11265 <p>Since their first screen appearances in the 1930s, zombies have enjoyed immense cinematic popularity. Defined by Romero’s 1968 <em>Night of the Living Dead </em>as mindless, violent, decaying and infectious, they successfully function as ultimate fiends in horror films. Yet, even those morbid undead started evolving into more appealing, individualized and even sympathetic characters, especially when the comic potential of zombies is explored. To allow a zombie to become a romantic protagonist, however, one that can love and be loved by a human, another evolutionary step had to be taken, one fostered by a literary association.</p> <p>This paper analyzes Jonathan Levine’s <em>Warm Bodies</em>, a 2013 film adaptation of Isaac Marion’s zombie novel inspired by William Shakespeare’s <em>Romeo and Juliet</em>. It examines how Shakespeare’s Romeo helps transform the already evolved cinematic zombie into a romantic protagonist, and how Shakespearean love tragedy, with its rich visual cinematic legacy, can successfully locate a zombie narrative in the romantic comedy convention. Presenting the case of Shakespeare intersecting the zombie horror tradition, this paper illustrates the synergic exchanges of literary icons and the cinematic monstrous.</p> Magdalena Cieślak Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 157 177 10.18778/2083-2931.11.11 Lacanian Implications of Departures in Zemeckis’s Beowulf from Beowulf, the Old English Epic https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11266 <p>Although Robert Zemeckis’s film <em>Beowulf </em>(2007) is a re-writing of the Old English epic <em>Beowulf </em>with a shifting of perspective, certain details in the film can only be understood by referring to the poem. That is, a better understanding of the film is tied closely to an awareness of certain narrative elements in the epic. The emphasis on Beowulf in the poem shifts to the Mother in the film. This shift obviously leads to a recontextualization of the narrative elements of the former text. In the epic, Grendel is left without a father; however, in the film, he is fathered by Hrothgar but this biological fathering does not lead to linguistic castration. In their case, things are reversed: rather than the infant being castrated by the Law/language, the biological father is led to a psychic regression due to the son. This appears to be a dramatization of the conflicts between the (m)Other and the shared Other/the representative of the paternal metaphor: that is, Hrothgar. This time, the (m)Other conquers the representative of the paternal metaphor and annuls his masculinity, which radically changes the way in which we evaluate the course of events in the film. These departures make more sense if they are analyzed against the background of Lacanian epistemology. This paper aims to explore the film’s departures from the poem by approaching it from a Lacanian perspective.</p> Nurten Birlik Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 178 185 10.18778/2083-2931.11.12 Hercule Poirot and the Tricky Performers of Stereotypes in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11267 <p>Agatha Christie’s <em>Murder on the Orient Express </em>(1934) remains well-read, and its hero Hercule Poirot continues to enjoy popular currency. Yet the text has not aged well due to some of its now clichéd plot developments and dialogue, as well as Christie’s depiction of class, ethnic and national prejudices in it and her other novels. This study hopes to re-energize discussion on <em>Murder </em>by finding defensible reasons for its apparent flaws. Not only do the stereotypical behaviors of the passengers narratively distract Poirot and the reader from a solution, but their flaws serve as foils against which Poirot’s heroic gravitas and cultural values are positively contrasted. Further, criticism often misses the point that the passengers are performing their behaviors, and if so, the deployment of stereotypes as only acted performances destabilizes them as permanent aspects of national or ethnic identity. Can <em>Murder </em>then be read as an <em>anti</em>-racist text?</p> Kenneth Eckert Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 186 203 10.18778/2083-2931.11.13 Dystopias in the Realm of Popular Culture: Introducing Elements of Posthuman and Postfeminist Discourse to the Mass Audience Female Readership in Cecelia Ahern’s Roar (2018) https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11268 <p>This article analyzes selected short stories in Cecelia Ahern’s thirty-narrative collection <em>Roar </em>(2018) to see how (and with what losses or gains) the perspectives of posthuman and postfeminist critique can be incorporated via the common dystopic umbrella into the mainstream female readership of romance literature. The dystopic worlds created by Ahern in <em>Roar </em>portray inequality and power imbalances with regard to gender and sex. The protagonists are mostly middle-aged women whose family and personal lives are either regulated by dystopic realities or acquire a “dystopic” dimension, the solutions to which are provided by, among other tropes, “posthuman” transformations. <em>Roar </em>introduces other-than-human elements, mostly corporeal alterations, in which the female bodies of Ahern’s characters become de-formed and re-formed beyond androcentric systems of value. The article raises the question of whether feminist and, to some extent, “posthuman” (speculative) approaches, need to be (and indeed should be) popularized in such an abridged way as Ahern does in her volume. The answer depends upon the identification of the target audience and their expectations. Ahern’s <em>Roar </em>represents popular literature intended to be sold to as many readers as possible, regardless of their education, state of knowledge, etc. Viewed from that perspective, what some critics could perceive as the collection’s structural weaknesses constitutes its utmost marketing asset. The essay argues that despite not being a structurally innovative work of art, Ahern’s book fulfils the basic requirements of the popular fiction genre, intermittently providing some extra, literary gratification and popularizing rudimentary elements of the posthuman and postfeminist thought.</p> Katarzyna Ostalska Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 204 221 10.18778/2083-2931.11.14 Performing More-Than-Human Corporeal Connections in Kiki Smith’s Sculpture https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11269 <p>The article examines work by contemporary American artist Kiki Smith, who proposes a future in which human and nonhuman bodily borders merge. The artist’s contribution to the more-than-human artistic entanglements is juxtaposed with Joseph Beuys’s artistic manifesto from 1974 which proposes, among other things, an attempt to get outside of the represented human towards the asignified ahuman. In Kiki’s sculpture, both human and nonhuman animals undergo constant morphogenesis, becoming hybrid forms far beyond the human-social paradigm, implying that the human and nonhuman binary, due to the exchange of affective entanglements, is no longer valid in the heyday of techno-scientific development. The analyzed work shows that both human and nonhuman bodies are raw materials not separated from one another but always interconnected with the world and its ongoing material processes. Thus, the article emphasizes that it is only through the transgression of the human and nonhuman border that one can acknowledge the more ethical and political ways of cooperation needed for the appreciation of the multispecies dimension of our world and its survival.</p> Justyna Stępień Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 225 239 10.18778/2083-2931.11.15 “Never Trust a Survivor”: Historical Trauma, Postmemory and the Armenian Genocide in Kurt Vonnegut’s Bluebeard https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11270 <p>The article focuses on Kurt Vonnegut’s lesser-known and underappreciated 1987 novel <em>Bluebeard</em>, which is analyzed and interpreted in the light of Marianne Hirsch’s seminal theory of postmemory. Even though it was published prior to Hirsch’s formulation of the concept, Vonnegut’s novel intuitively anticipates it, problematizing the implications of inherited, second-hand memory. To further complicate matters, Rabo Karabekian, the protagonist-narrator of <em>Bluebeard</em>, a World War II veteran, amalgamates his direct, painful memories with those of his parents, survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Both the novel and the theory applied to it centre on the problematics of historical and personal trauma, engendered by two genocides which are often the object of comparative analyses: the Armenian Genocide, also referred to as the Armenian Holocaust, and the Jewish Holocaust. The latter is central to Hirsch’s interdisciplinary work in the field of memory studies, encompassing literature, the visual arts and gender studies. In <em>Bluebeard</em>, Vonnegut holds to account a humanity responsible for the atrocities of twentieth-century history: two world wars and two genocides for which they respectively established the context. The article examines the American writer’s reflection on death and violence, man’s destructive impulse and annihilation. In a world overshadowed by memories of mass extermination, Vonnegut interrogates the possibility of a new beginning, pointing to women as agents of renewal and sociopolitical change. He also identifies the role that art plays in the process of potential reconstruction, the story of Karabekian, a failed artist and highly successful art collector, being a Künstlerroman with a feminist edge.</p> Alicja Piechucka Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 240 262 10.18778/2083-2931.11.16 “My Monster Self”: Violence and Survival in Margaret Atwood’s Moral Disorder https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11271 <p>Margaret Atwood’s novels are usually celebrated for their blunt feminism. However, in <em>Moral Disorder</em>—a series of interconnected stories that forms a novel—feminist concerns are replaced with worries about territory and survival. The protagonist is an insider whose sole concern is to survive and to protect her territory. The confrontation between the narrator as the insider and the outsiders does not occur directly but could be inferred by her cruelty toward other characters and her violence against the animals under her care. The present study argues that this cruelty, which abounds in the novel, could be viewed as a substitute for violence against the outsiders. The narrator’s gaze at the Indian boy who entered the protagonist’s territory manifests a garrison mentality. The frequent references to axes in the novel are compared to the use of axes in “Wilderness Tips,” a short story by Atwood in which axes also have a metaphoric significance. The beheading and dismemberment of domestic animals could be the punishment awaiting the intruder. The novel establishes a division between the insider/outsider, here/there, self/other and civilized/barbaric to call for action and awareness about the importance of protecting one’s territory.</p> Nahid Fakhrshafaie Alireza Bahremand Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 263 278 10.18778/2083-2931.11.17 Narrative, Insecure Equilibrium and the Imperative to Understand: A Hermeneutics of Woundedness https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11272 <p>Addressing trauma as a phenomenon which happens on the level of the human psyche and body, this article explores the impact of the interlocking nature of human lingual and bodily being in discovering a fuller possibility of interpreting and understanding woundedness. The non-transparent and problematic character of trauma calls for a hermeneutic investigation in order to gain a far-reaching insight into what happens <em>with </em>us and <em>in </em>us in traumatic experience(s). The imperative to understand the situation of affliction is an unending task which not only relies upon extant understandings but continually pro-<em>vokes </em>new ones. I argue that the process of healing, encompassing the spoken and bodily narrative, does not establish a secure equilibrium, but rather searches for self-restoring, healing energy and commences ever new understandings of what needs to be comprehended and healed. This article offers an examination of trauma as featured in three short stories by British authors: Rudyard Kipling, D. H. Lawrence and James Joyce, to exemplify the possibilities of literature to shed light on the intricate nature of traumatic experience. It interrogates the ways in which literature, hermeneutics and psychoanalysis meaningfully converge.</p> Małgorzata Hołda Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 279 298 10.18778/2083-2931.11.18 Tragic Victims of Mania a Potu (“Madness from Drink”): A Study of Literary Nineteenth-Century Female Drunkards https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11274 <p>Temperance literature, though widely popular in America and Britain between 1830–80, lost its allure in the decades that followed. In spite of its didactic and moralistic nature, the public eagerly consumed temperance novels, thus reciprocating contemporaneous writers’ efforts to promote social ideals and mend social ills. The main aim of this paper is to redress the critical neglect that the temperance prose written by women about women has endured by looking at three literary works—two novellas and one confessional novelette—written by mid-nineteenth-century American female writers. These works serve as a prism through which the authors present generally “tabooed” afflictions such as inebriation among high-class women and society’s role in perpetuating such behaviors. The essay examines the conflicting forces underlying such representations and offers an inquiry into the restrictive and hostile social climate in mid-nineteenth-century America and the lack of medical attention given to alcohol addicts as the possible causes that might have prompted women’s dangerous behaviors, including inebriation. This paper also demonstrates the cautious approach that nineteenth-century female writers had to take when dealing with prevalent social ills, such as bigotry, hypocrisy and disdain directed at female drunkards. It shows how these writers, often sneered at or belittled by critics and editors, had to maneuver very carefully between the contending forces of openly critiquing social mores, on the one hand, and not being censored, on the other.</p> Irina Rabinovich Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 299 318 10.18778/2083-2931.11.19 The Gospel of Divine Mercy in King Lear https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11275 <p>The paper discusses Shakespeare’s preoccupation with the Christian notions of divine love, forgiveness and justice in <em>The Tragedy of King Lear</em>. In my reading I employ Jean-Luc Marion’s phenomenological reflection on the givenness of love and Hans-Urs von Balthasar’s theology of Paschal mystery. I take issue with the Marxist and existentialist interpretations of Shakespeare’s tragedy which prevailed in the second half of the 20th century. My aim is not a simple recuperation of the “redemptionism” of the play, but an in-depth consideration of Christian allusions in the play which may tie love and forgiveness to justice and throw light on the ending of <em>King Lear</em>.</p> Małgorzata Grzegorzewska Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 321 333 10.18778/2083-2931.11.20 Griselda’s Afterlife, or the Relationship between Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, Chaucer’s The Clerk’s Tale and the Tale of Magic https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11276 <p>Some influence of Chaucer’s <em>The Clerk’s Tale</em>, also known as the story of the patient Griselda, on Shakespeare, and particularly on <em>The Winter’s Tale</em>, has long been recognized. It seems, however, that the matter deserves further attention because the echoes of <em>The Clerk’s Tale </em>seem scattered among a number of Shakespeare’s plays, especially the later ones. The experimental nature of this phenomenon consists in the fact that Griselda-like characters do not strike the reader, especially perhaps the Renaissance reader, as good protagonists of a tragedy, or even a problem comedy. The Aristotelian conception of the tragic hero does not seem to fit Griselda because there is no “tragic fault” in her: she is completely innocent. It was thus a bold decision on the part of Shakespeare to use this archetype as a corner stone of at least some of his plays.</p> Andrzej Wicher Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 334 352 10.18778/2083-2931.11.21 Mesmerization with the Lights On: Poe’s “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11277 <p>Edgar Allan Poe’s eerie short story “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” is a particularly noteworthy example of the sublime, a psychological state in which one is overwhelmed by the magnitude of that which is perceived by the mind. Valdemar exemplifies the sublime in that his death has somehow been suspended in time because he was under hypnosis as part of a medical experiment at the moment of his passing. However, the story also draws particular attention to the means by which insight into the nature of death is acquired by the hypnotist who narrates the story. For a more comprehensive understanding of the sublime experience, one may turn to the psychoanalytic theory of Jacques Lacan and the postmodernist work of Slavoj Žižek, which lead to the conclusion that the dramatic chain of events in “Valdemar” is an example of the sliding signifier, and, moreover, that the instability of the signifier may explain the sublime effect.</p> Robert Tindol Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 353 368 10.18778/2083-2931.11.22 One Hundred Frogs in Steve McCaffery’s The Basho Variations https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11278 <p>The article discusses Steve McCaffery’s <em>The Basho Variations </em>with a focus on various modes of transtranslation/transcreation/transaption of Matsuo Bashō’s famous frog haiku. The emphasis is placed on the complexities (of the processuality) of transtranslation which deliberately alters, distorts and reimagines the source text. The intercultural and intertextual quality of McCaffery’s poems is discussed in the context of multilevel references to classical Japanese aesthetics of haiku writing. The comparative reading of McCaffery’s and Bashō’s texts foregrounds the issue of events, or “frogmentary events,” and the importance of the role of the reader in completing poetic messages.</p> Monika Kocot Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 369 388 10.18778/2083-2931.11.23 Conceptualizing In-Text “Kshetra”: Postcolonial Allahabad’s Cultural Geography in Neelum Saran Gour’s Allahabad Aria and Invisible Ink https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11279 <p>Literary renditions of cities have always gravitated towards the spatial imagination and its ethical counterpart outside the textual space. This paper explores the multicultural geography of the North Indian city Allahabad (recently renamed <em>Prayagraj</em>) observed through Neelum Saran Gour’s postcolonial narratives <em>Allahabad Aria </em>and <em>Invisible Ink</em>, projecting the narrative alignment of spatial aesthetics and cultural ethics. Interrogating the spatial dimensions of a “narrative world” within narrative theory (Ryan) and its interdisciplinary crossover with cultural geography (Sauer; Mitchell; Anderson et al.), the article seeks to examine Gour’s literary city not simply as an objective homogeneous representation, but as a “kshetra” of spatio-cultural cosmos of lived traditions, memories, experiences and collective attitudes of its people, in the context of E. V. Ramakrishnan’s theoretical reflections. The article proposes new possibilities of adapting the Indian concept “kshetra” to spatial literary studies; its aim is also to suggest a new source of knowledge about the city of Allahabad through a community introspection of “doing culture” in the texts, bringing into view people’s shared experiences, beliefs, religious practices and traditions as offshoots of the postcolonial ethos. The article aims to re-contextualize the city’s longstanding multicultural ethics in the contemporary times of crisis, which may affect a shift in the city’s relevance: from regional concern to large-scale significance within ethnically diverse South Asian countries and beyond.</p> Chhandita Das Priyanka Tripathi Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 389 403 10.18778/2083-2931.11.24 Episodic Literary Movement and Translation: Ideology Embodied in Prefaces https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11280 <p>This paper discusses translation practices from a historicist viewpoint, contextualizing them in their emerging “episode.” The latter is a concept drawn from sociology of literature and accounts for the rise of certain discourses and ideologies in a society. On the basis of the argument that translation practices are informed by the general literary and socio-cultural milieu in which they are produced and consumed (also known as ideology of representation), the paper studies the translators’ prefaces to three translations published between 1953 and 1978—a period dominated by Leftist and Marxist discourse in Iran. Drawing on a historically oriented model which holds that the translator’s ideology is revealed at the moment in which he/she chooses a text, and continues through the discourse he/she develops to translate that text, the research embarks on studying translation practices on two levels of choice mechanism and prefaces. Prefaces are discussed in the light of the dominant ideology of representation that is characterized by a revolutionary discourse. The research demonstrates that these translators opted for a strategy that incorporates the translations in the Persian cultural setting with minor changes in a way that politicizes the foreign literature.</p> Mir Mohammad Khademnabi Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 404 417 10.18778/2083-2931.11.25 Professor Dorota Filipczak In Memoriam https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11252 Alison Jasper Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 9 14 10.18778/2083-2931.11.01 Editorial: Literature and Security https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11253 Liam Francis Gearon Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 17 34 10.18778/2083-2931.11.02 A Review of Agnieszka Łowczanin, A Dark Transfusion: The Polish Literary Response to Early English Gothic: Anna Mostowska Reads Ann Radcliffe (Peter Lang, 2018) https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11281 David Punter Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 421 424 10.18778/2083-2931.11.26 Thinking about Thinking Nothing: A Review of Nolen Gertz’s Nihilism (MIT P, 2019) https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11282 Pedro Querido Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 425 427 10.18778/2083-2931.11.27 “Whenever there’s too much technology”: A Review of Don DeLillo’s The Silence (Scribner, 2020) https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11283 Mark Tardi Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 428 431 10.18778/2083-2931.11.28 A Review of Natalie Crohn Schmitt, Performing Commedia dell’Arte, 1570–1630 (Routledge, 2019) https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/textmatters/article/view/11284 Piotr Morawski Copyright (c) 2021 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2021-11-22 2021-11-22 11 432 436 10.18778/2083-2931.11.29