Humanities and Social Sciences

Kwartalnik Neofilologiczny

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Kwartalnik Neofilologiczny | 2018 | No 2 |

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Abstract

Depression is not sexually stimulating, yet there exist multiple cultural representations of deeply unhappy women, who reach the height of their beauty when suicidal, or dead. From Ophelia, damsels in distress and swooning Victorian hysterics, ending with contemporary fashion, female suffering is glamourized. My paper answers the question why female depression is presented as sexy by culture. I seek the explanation in gender stereotypes as well as the tradition of ‘heroic melancholia’.
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Katarzyna Szmigiero
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The motif of death and the maiden, so popular in literature and painting, is referred to directly in Samuel Beckett’s All that Fall, when Franz Schubert’s piece of music, under such a title, is heard at the end of this radio drama. When discussing the vision of human existence, as consistently presented in this great Irishman’s oeuvre, it is advisable to become acquainted with the basic concepts of Martin Heidegger’s philosophy, and also with Beckett’s essay Proust in which he discusses human life, characterised by suffering as “the expiation for the eternal sin of having been born.” This article discusses death in the Beckettland of suffering. Death hardly ever comes to young characters, the majority of Beckett’s characters being either old or, at least, middle-aged, are all still longing for their end to come. Despite finding different kinds of pastimes to make their waiting less oppressive, time seems to be, as it were, at a standstill, and, to use Vladimir’s words from Waiting for Godot, they “have time to grow old.”
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Jadwiga Uchman
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The paper is based on the assumption that the balance of positive and negative, aggression and nurturing, or plus and minus results in the ultimate annihilation of the existence of both. The duality balance results in opposite reaction. The plus becomes minus and the minus becomes a plus. This is presented by the feminine becoming masculine, understood through Hofstede’s (2001) division into masculine and feminine cultures, by taking on the traditional male role, ultimately killing the feminine, being no-one and thus becoming death impersonated contrasted with assigning attributes to concepts fully understood through themselves. This will be based on the female character Arya Stark in J.R.R. Martin’s popular series “A Song of Ice and Fire” and its adaptation in “Game of Thrones.”
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Adam Bednarek
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Harriet said…, a lesser known, 1972 novel by an acclaimed writer Beryl Bainbridge (1932–2010), is a work about friendship. However, only apparently – as the events in the story unfold, the reader slowly realizes how toxic and corrupting the bond between the eponymous Harriet and her nameless friend (the narrator) is. Bainbridge, inspired by real-life tragedy, presents a haunting vision of friendship marred by violence, both emotional and physical. Two adolescent girls devise a specific life ideology and as they explore the limits of their self-understanding, they transgress social norms, which ultimately leads them to a completely gratuitous crime. Hence, an important questions arises – is it still a friendship or, rather, a form of mutual exploitation? What makes their relationship Gothic? The aim of my analysis will be to respond to these queries.
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Tomasz Fisiak
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Buffy The Vampire Slayer was a television series broadcast from 1997 to 2003. The narrative follows the heroine, Buffy Summers, ostensibly a normal teen, however she is also the latest in a long line of Slayers. Death is a gift of the Slayer. The three facets of this gift point to the conclusion that Buffy, the Maiden, is Death.
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R. Fiona Hayward
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In this comparative study of Angela Carter’s “The Lady of the House of Love” (1979) and Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979) eating habits, relation to the domestic and to (ir)rationality are examined in the female and male characters in both works to show how their authors create gender hybridity. Drawing upon Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (1985), the article proposes that the hybridity reproduces patriarchal transfer of power.
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Ewa Kowal
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This article looks at the allusions made by Austrian artists Birgit Jürgenssen and Assunta Abdel Azim Mohamed to the historical genres “Dance of Death” and “Death and the Maiden”. I examine in particular Jürgenssen’s series “Totentanz mit Mädchen” and “Untitled Polaroids” (also known as the “Death and the Maiden” polaroids). I raise the significance of her titles and argue that she is dancing with the genre, in effect with art history itself. Then I consider Mohamed, 43 years Jürgenssen’s junior. I propose her as an heir of Jürgenssen. I argue that one of the reasons both artists allude to the two traditional genres is in order for the work to address the nature of art itself.
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David Lillington
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English textbook authors generally take the “safe”, conventional approach’ to their topics. Meant to appeal to a heterogeneous, globalized market, textbooks avoid taboo and conflict, thus excluding broad areas of deeply universal human experiences. Using the example of “death” as an obvious “taboo” subject, this paper discusses the potential value of addressing controversial issues in language classrooms, as they encourage authentic communication and involvement.
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Halina Majer
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Martin and Doka (2011) define grief as a reaction to loss, which results from the tension caused by an individual’s desire to “maintain their assumptive world as it was before the loss, accommodate to a newly emerging reality resulting from the loss, and incorporate this reality into an assumptive world” (p. 18). In Western society, expectations for appropriate grieving reactions following the loss of a loved one are that emotional distress is expected and necessary following loss, that the emotions following loss should be worked through and that an intense phase of distress eventually ends, allowing closure and resolution. Furthermore, societal norms governing grief are shaped by gender, with women expected to be expressive in their responses to loss, and disciplined if their responses do not adhere to these gender-based norms. HBO’s Girls, created by Lena Dunham and co-produced by Judd Apatow, charts the lives of four upper class, white girls in their mid-twenties, navigating life in Brooklyn, New York. In Season Three’s Episode 4, “Dead Inside”, Hannah’s editor, David Pressler-Goings, is found dead, and Hannah’s reaction is to be more concerned about the fate of her e-book than the loss of her “champion”. Although Hannah’s non-normative response to the death of her editor could work to dismantle gendered norms of grieving through showing what women’s mourning practices might look like when not based upon the experiences of women who conform closely to patterns of heterosexual marriage where domestic commitments are privileged over an independent career, the responses of those around Hannah, particularly the men, function to reveal and reinforce traditional ideological codes about grief and grieving, and hysteria as a model of what “appropriate” grieving should look like for women.
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Fiona Ann Papps
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The article examines diverse relations between Cynthia Ozick’s The Shawl and the final distich of Paul Celan’s “Deathfugue,” which the American writer chose as an epigraph to her Holocaust prose. An intertextual analysis of both texts (which relate to each other in a midrash-like manner) demonstrates the existence of numerous parallels in the language and imagery used by both authors, as well as their identifiable references to the motif of “Death and the Maiden,” which can be found in German paintings (Grien, Deutsch) and music (Bach, Schubert, Wagner).
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Jacek Partyka
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Marylin Diptych by Warhol consists of twenty-five brightly coloured pictures on the left and the twenty-five black and white ones on the right. Since Western cultures typically conceptualise space in terms of directional metaphors LEFT IS THE BEGINNING and RIGHT IS THE END, the common interpretation is that the colourful images represent Marylin’s life with the greyish ones corresponding to her death. One way of clearing some doubts concerning this interpretation of the work is to assume that the painter used reverse perspective, which he most probably knew from the art of the Byzantine icon.
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Andrzej Widota
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Ursula K. Le Guin was an American writer, a master of science fiction and fantasy. She was the author of the famous Earthsea trilogy, in which magic remains the pivotal idea. In the novels, Le Guin links immense, yet dangerous, supernatural abilities with the idea of Equlibrium within realms, a principle that governs the universe. The paper is an attempt to elucidate how certain visions of life after death are constellated within Le Guin’s fantasy writings. Visibly inspired by Eastern mythologies and religious doctrines, the author does not steer clear from the vision rooted in Western traditions. The ongoing debate is an attempt at clarifying the universal concept of soul and mankind.
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Authors and Affiliations

Ewa Wiśniewska

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