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Aren Roukema

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

Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover

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.

Susan Petit

From the 1950’s, with Le Rempart des béguines, La Chambre rouge, Cordélia, Les Mensonges and L’Empire céleste, down into the 1990’s, with Adriana Sposa, Divine, Les Larmes, La Maison dont le chien est fou and Sept démons dans la ville, the work of Françoise Mallet-Joris has exercised a very special fascination over a very large readership. The content of her work, ever developing yet faithful to residual, either lived or observed, studied experience, is wide-ranging and unflinching – family relationships, the individual psyche, belief systems that move from quasi-nihilism to the mystical, sexuality, feminine consciousness, creativity, larger social frameworks, etc. – and she can move with ease from portrayal of the hypercontemporary to the researched – and finely imagined – historical reconstruction. Susan Petit, whose lively and elegantly written study addresses all these, and other, factors, argues modestly but wisely that “the works of Mallet-Joris provide stimulating, thought-provoking and coherent ways of apprehending ourselves and our human situation”. One need ask no more of an author who, though perhaps personally drawn to certain perspectives, maintains an admirable openness and multiplicity of interrogation of existence.

The Life and the Art

A Study of Conrad’s Under Western Eyes

Keith Carabine

The Life and the Art: A Study of Conrad's Under Western Eyes has a twofold origin. Over the past ten years, as an associate editor of the prospective Cambridge Edition of Under Western Eyes, the author, Keith Carabine, has worked on the genesis and composition of the novel in its several versions and on its literary, ideological, social, and historical contexts. At the same time during these years he has taught seminar courses on Conrad for undergraduates and on Conrad and Dostoevsky for postgraduates. This interpenetration of teaching and research constantly reminded the author that his many hours devoted to textual minutiae and manuscript variations or to a study of Conrad's Polish background should result not only in a scholarly edition of the novel in a book that will demonstrate the ways in which Conrad's life and his protracted, uncertain composition of the Under Western Eyes enrich his art; and the title of this book deliberately invokes Conrad's belief in the inseparability of the art and the life. This study's six chapters concentrate in different ways and with differing emphases on the complex inter-relations between the art and the life, on the intersections between Conrad's personal preoccupations, fictional aesthetic, and working practices with regard to what he described as without doubt ... the most deeply meditated novel that came from under my pen.

Varlam Shalamov’s Kolyma Tales

A Formalist Analysis

Nathaniel Golden

This book analyses eleven of Varlam Shalamov’s Kolyma Tales from a neo-Formalist perspective. The tales are a testament to Shalamov’s seventeen years in Stalin’s Gulags, and were written in an attempt to draw attention to this period in Soviet history. Nathaniel Golden has primarily utilised L. M. O’Toole’s work Structure, Style and Interpretation in the Russian Short Story as the major basis for analysis, but has incorporated many other Formalist and indeed Structuralist methods.
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.

In Search of 'Kynde Knowynge'

Piers Plowman and the Origin of Allegory


Madeleine J.A. Kasten

Readers today no longer relish sustained allegorical narratives the way they did in the Middle Ages, when the art of ‘other-speaking’ was as dominant in poetic discourse as it was elsewhere. Yet we live in an age which, following the postmodernist dictum that any sign can only refer to other signs, has declared all language liable to the ‘allegorical condition’.
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.

Sander Brouwer

In this book, the problem of literary character is investigated in a series of detailed analyses of short stories by I.S.Turgenev: Bezhin Lea, Mumu, A Journey into Polesé, The Dog and Punin and Baburin. Up until roughly the 1920's (in Russia: before Formalism), the approach to character in literary criticism was based on the implicit assumption that literary character somehow reflected characters in real life, who were thought to have a fixed inner essence (psychological and/or ideological). In post-formalist, structuralist studies, on the other hand, character as it were dissolved into the textual fabric of the work. In this book, the basic viewpoint of structuralist theory of character, namely its exclusively textual nature, is retained. But in that case, how is the structure of character in texts of the pre-modernist era to be described, in which the belief in the existence of an inner essence in actual as well as in fictional characters had hardly yet been shaken? In order to tackle this problem, the author turns to Roman Jakobson's idea, taken up and developed by W.Schmid and A.Hansen-Löve, that the meaning of a work of literature is generated by the interaction of paradigmatic and syntagmatic mechanisms. The image of character in Turgenev's stories is the result of devices characteristic of narrative as well as of verbal art. It is partly created with the help of leitmotivs that form sequences of equivalences, and of intertextual references. Thus (social) representation is supplemented by lyrical and philosophical overtones. Comparable observations have been made by V.M.Markovic (1982) on Turgenev's novels, as well as on those by Puškin, Gogol' and Lermontov. For the assessment of intra- and intertextual equivalences it has been found of great importance to pay more attention than is usually done to folkloric connotations of details in Turgenev's fictional world. Thus new layers of meaning can be uncovered in stories that have been considered well-studied; and a first-ever interpretation is given of The Dog, a story traditionally regarded as incomprehensible.