an extremely diverse movement, often interconnected with the modern occult network, which featured many individuals who shared Spiritualism’s interest in mediumship and its belief in alternate realms of existence accessible from the material world. 4 The otherworlds of All Hallows’ Eve and
The paper offers a comparative analyses of a novel and a film with a science fiction theme, but instead of interpreting the theme, the analysis interprets the structure of the two works. The claim is made that the narrative structure of a work (which, according to the Structuralist model, is much more encompassing than the linear narrative) is implicated in the construction of belief and value. On analysis, the value constructed in Zamyatin’s novel is that of a heterogeneous Modernist subject of the unconscious, while Tarkovsky’s film is ambivalent but could be read as a pseudo-scientific utopia of sectarian ‘pure belief’.
Stefanie Schnitzer Mills
Introduction The concept of Evil is something that rings familiar with virtually every culture across time and space. It seems to be a belief that is shared with some of our earliest ancestors – the idea of something so far removed from what we perceive as right and acceptable that simple terms
Garrett P.J. Epp
While the Wycliffite Tretise of Miraclis Pleyinge famously condemns religious theatre as sinful idleness and ‘signs without deed,’ biblical drama has the potential to be highly productive, as a form of performative theology. Much like the meditative mode of affective piety, likewise common in the later Middle Ages, when undertaken seriously by or for those who believe in what it represents, the performance of biblical drama can create rather than merely represent theological meaning. This paper examines a variety of texts and performances, medieval and modern, in order to demonstrate how religious belief and theatrical make-believe can intertwine.
Stefanie Schnitzer Mills
The essence of witchcraft in the American Colonies in the 17th century – the pact with the Devil and the rejection of God’s grace – was seen as the most wicked of crimes. By joining Satan’s quest to build a kingdom of Evil on earth, a witch had forfeited her soul and had nothing human left in her. There was no way of redemption, no extenuating circumstance – or was there? If we look carefully at the Salem trials, a change seems to have occurred that redefined the perception of evil as abruptly and as clearly as in no other case to my knowledge. The trials started out of social tensions and the idea of the inherent sinfulness of women brought them into the spotlight as potential witches. Fear and the belief that Evil was amongst the Saints of Massachusetts was the fuel that drove the trials onward. Yet, at the height of the trials, the colonial government put a halt to the trials, pardoning remaining suspects and dismissing any further accusations. And even more surprisingly, the accused went back to their lives, perceivably without any repercussions, and were reintegrated into the community without any apparent animosity. What had been considered the essence of evil had changed – almost overnight. It is this redefinition that will be looked at more closely in this chapter. This approach may help to understand the perception of Evil as a cultural concept, and the dynamics behind its definition and redefinition. In an age where evil becomes a label for political agendas, I find it paramount to understand how our concept of evil has and can change, not just gradually, but within one particular situation.
A Study of Conrad’s Under Western Eyes
A Formalist Analysis
The tales in each chapter are analysed by means of five major Formalist categories: Narrative Structure, Point of View, Fabula and Sujet, Characterisation and Setting. This process highlights many of Shalamov’s ideas and motifs in the tales. He frequently uses techniques of estrangement and paradox to augment camp experience, reflecting his belief that there is no moral, emotional or spiritual gain in suffering. He habitually employs a ‘focaliser’ to tell the tale from a near-death perspective and in consequence distances the author from events. His literary background is prominent within the tales, where he occasionally alludes to earlier Russian authors and their works to indicate the recurring nature of Man’s fallibility against the Gulag background. His characters are often simply portrayed yet representative of flawed heroes and the baseness of human beings subjected to an existence in extremis. His settings are minimal, yet form a major part of his message: Man is compared to nature, but nature is powerful and able to regenerate itself, whereas Man’s existence is temporary and futile.
This book therefore, shows that the Formalist approach is indeed still valid as a literary tool of analysis as well as showing that upon the 50th year of Stalin’s death, Varlam Shalamov’s time has arrived.
Piers Plowman and the Origin of Allegory
Madeleine J.A. Kasten
This paradox has led the author to question the epistemological assumptions underlying allegories composed in an era which, conversely, favoured the oblique form of expression while professing its belief in the divine Logos as the ultimate ground of all meaning. If art and doctrine appear so divided on the subject of allegory in our own day, then might not the relationship between allegorical writing and interpretation in the Middle Ages have been more complex than is often assumed? How solid are the grounds on which Michel Foucault has based his distinction between early modernity and its past - a time when, he claims, the languages of the world were still perceived to make up “the image of the truth”?
The present study addresses these and related questions through a heuristic comparison between historically and culturally different approaches to narrative allegory. In her analysis of the late-fourteenth century dream poem Piers Plowman by William Langland, Kasten sets up a critical dialogue between this extraordinary work and Walter Benjamin's study of German baroque allegory, The Origin of German Tragic Drama. Far from serving the narrow purposes of didacticism, she contends, Piers Plowman invites a reconsideration of the very grounds on which (post-) modernity has tried to distance itself from its cultural past.