Numer 7 (1/2014)
Redaktorzy: Agnieszka Woźniakowska, Anna Łakowicz-Dopiera
Spis treści
Strony
Pobierz
Paweł Jędrzejko
New Wor(l)ds
5 – 6
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Afiliacja

Uniwersytet Śląski
Anna Łakowicz-Dopiera,
Agnieszka Woźniakowska
Introduction
7 – 8
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Afiliacja

1 Uniwersytet Szczeciński
2 Uniwersytet Śląski
Regina Schober
The World Wide Sea: Oceanic Metaphors, Concepts of Knowledge and Transnational America in the Information Age
9 – 34
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Streszczenie

‘I have swam through libraries and sailed through oceans’, Ishmael declares in Moby Dick, comparing the accumulation of knowledge to traveling the vast and boundless space of the sea. The ocean has always been related to human curiosity as well as anxiety towards (yet) unknown terrains, reflecting the restless desire to travel, explore, and seek the ‘truth’. As Elizabeth Bishop notes, the sea ‘is like what we imagine knowledge to be, dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free, drawn from the cold hard mouth of the world, derived from the rocky breasts forever, flowing and drawn’. In view of the massive proliferation of information and knowledge in the digital age, it is thus not surprising that the sea has become one of the leading metaphors for the Internet, the mythical space in which knowledge is stored, generated, and from which it emerges. Whether we navigate or surf on the World Wide Web, whether we immerse in data flows, or participate in swarm intelligence, nautical/sea imagery has been central in conceptualizing the Internet from the beginning on, suggesting notions of openness, infinity, shapelessness as well as creativity, diversity, and fluidity. In my paper I investigate the cultural and ideological functions of sea imagery in relation to new digital information technology, as manifest in American literature and culture, accounting for ascriptions of the Internet as a ‘particularly American technology’. From the creation of the term ‘cyberspace’ (cyber=Greek for steersman) in William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984), to the crowdsourced YouTube film collaboration Life in a Day (2011) with its extensive sea imagery to Google’s recent underwater mapping project ‘SeaView’, I seek to unravel the diverse web of connotations, implications, and allusions at play in conceptualizing the Internet in relation to maritime imagery. Against the backdrop of traditional concepts and models of knowledge, I thus intend to explore the heuristic potential and cultural propositions of the sea metaphor in America’s creative engagement and critical negotiation with the new worlds of the ‘Information Age’, taking into consideration its transnational and potentially posthuman future.

Afiliacja

Universität Mannheim, Niemcy
Alicja Bemben
History as an ocean
35 – 50
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Streszczenie

‘But there is a huge difference between writing a historical novel and writing history. If I may put it like this: history is like a river, and the historian is writing about the ways the river flows and the currents and crosscurrents in the river. But, within this river, there are also fish, and […] I am interested in the fish. The novelist’s approach to the past, through the eyes of characters, is substantially different from the approach of the historian’. This quotation might seem to have been taken from some pre-narrative-turn text whose author appears to profess the conviction that the scientific status of history and the fictional character of literature is what makes these two modes of writing about the past essentially different. In fact, these words come from Amitav Ghosh, a contemporary historian, social anthropologist, historical fiction writer who, more than forty years after the Linguistic Turn, seems to advocate a new version of ‘wie es eigentlich gewesen’ and literature opposition. Starting with Dipesh Chakrabarty’s arguments in favor of ‘regional and global configurations in modern history’, I would like to use them to criticize Ghosh’s idea of history as a river and put forward a thesis that history is like an ocean and if we understand it as such, then the boundary between writing a historical novel and history might be considered conventional and possible to be blurred. In order to justify this thesis I intend to provide a series of arguments supported mainly by Hayden White’s philosophy of history presented in Metahistory and Hans-Georg Gadamer’s theory of understanding from Truth and Method. In conclusion, I point to idiosyncrasies of the ocean-like perspective on history as a construct alternative to this proposed by Amitav Ghosh.

Afiliacja

Uniwersytet Śląski
Jolanta Szymkowska-Bartyzel
From the American Wild West to Bojszowy: Józef Kłyk’s Westerns as Social Rituals
51 – 71
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Streszczenie

Józef Kłyk is an over 60 year old amateur film maker from Silesia region of Poland who for over 30 years has directed over 50 westerns. All his western movies are made with 16mm Russian camera and the shooting is done on location in or near the village of Bojszowo, with the use of local people as actors and film crew. Kłyk’s films are a primer on the icons and symbols of the American Wild West: cowboys, Indians, saloons and ‘Wanted‘ signs. In his film stories the Author invokes the history of the American West and the history of Silesian villagers who in 1854 left for Texas and founded Panna Maria. The paper aims to examine the incorporation of the concept of this classical American film genre with its main distinguishing features in amateur production of the Polish director. It will focus on the ritual character of the genre movie and demonstrate how Kłyk’s western production is used by local community of the village of Bojszowo for ritual purposes. Reconstruction of village and rebuilding the history of Polish emigrants in Panna Maria within the form of film genre serve basic social function of expressing, fixing and reinforcing the shared values and beliefs of a community.

Afiliacja

Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie
Justyna Fruzińska
The Young Men and the Sea: Sea/Ocean as a Space of Maturation?
73 – 83
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Streszczenie

The sea (or ocean) in American literature and culture is marked by a distinctive ambiguity. On the one hand, and quite expectedly, the sea voyage can be a maturation experience: such is the case of Humphrey Van Weyden, the protagonist of London’s The Sea Wolf; such is also the interpretation that the Disney Company chooses to present in its animated adaptation of R.L. Stevenson’s Treasure Island. However, it is also a space of the opposite experience: one that accommodates remarkably immature characters. Be it in the person of captain Delano in Melville’s ‘Benito Cereno’, or the eponymous Billy Budd, it is a site welcoming naïve and escapist heroes, those who do not want to or cannot adapt to the demands of land society.

Afiliacja

Uniwersytet Łódzki
Pilar Martínez Benedí
Revolving the Vortex; or, Working through Trauma at Sea
85 – 103
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Streszczenie

Even as sea writing in antebellum America might have aspired to literary exploration—and possession, the ocean, as Hester Blum has noted, is a ‘landscape than cannot be tangibly possessed’. The of its waters gives the sea a formless, elusive quality, and its apparently material surface hides unfathomable and ultimately ungraspable depths. The view from the masthead, moreover, offered sailors a vast barren, monotonous panorama: rather than discovery, this vantage point showed nothing—only watery emptiness. On the other hand, sea voyages were inherently circular—they ended where they had started. Whaling voyages, in particular, were non-linear and non-teleological. Or, rather, their telos—the whale—was in perpetual motion, and the whaleship circumnavigated the slippery oceanic landscape in his chase. The concern with how these ontological features of seafaring reflect, and are reflected by, the epistemology of sea narratives will broadly frame my paper. In particular, I propose to look at the final vortex in Moby-Dick as an image that happily captures these aspects of seafaring—and of sea writing: elusiveness and circuitousness, and, at once, to point at how such aspects, and their blending, eloquently embody psychic trauma. A sea vortex—‘a circular movement of water with a vacuum at the center’, in Paul Brotdkorb’s words—echoes the spiral-like experience of working-through trauma; the ceaseless revolving around an event that cannot be known, since it was not grasped as it occurred, according to Cathy Caruth’s formulation. In turn, I will contend, this vortical image is an apt trope for Moby-Dick’s own circuitous form, visually replicating the convoluted process of working through its narrator’s trauma. Therefore, I will explore the ways in which, in his meandering, digressive tale, Ishmael—and, with him, the reader—seems to be revolving the vortex in order to gain mastery over the unclaimed experience of his lonely survival.

Afiliacja

Sapienza Università di Roma, Włochy
Valeria Gennero
Pearl S. Buck and the Forgotten Holocaust of the Two-Ocean War
105 – 116
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Streszczenie

During the Second World War, Pearl S. Buck was both a successful novelist and an influential political organizer, involved in well-known campaigns against racism and imperialism. In January 1942 she published Dragon Seed, a novel which described the Japanese sack of Nanking in 1937 and engaged the issues of nationalism and male violence from a gendered perspective. Buck wrote the novel before the United States entered the war: she hoped to promote American awareness of the Chinese fight for freedom, knowing that the tragic events which took place in Nanking after the fall of the city were virtually unknown in the United States. I argue that, despite its original propagandistic intent, Dragon Seed succeeds—as Buck’s novels often do—in problematizing the notion of national identity, foregrounding the sexual politics of war.

Afiliacja

Università degli studi di Bergamo, Włochy
Jacek Mydla
United by the Ocean? The Romantic Conan Doyle and the Transatlantic Sherlock Holmes
117 – 130
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Streszczenie

Biographers describe Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as a ‘Briton enchanted by America’. His letter ‘England and America’ has been called a ‘plea for Britons to understand the American point of view’. ACD entertained utopian (which is not to say, silly) ideas about the English-speaking part of the world, which made him make efforts to overcome mutual prejudices and to bring the English and the American nations together in terms of friendship. This despite the fact that he had reasons to feel sore due to literary piracies committed against him by American publishers. ACD’s fascination with merica—which was for him, in his own words, a land ‘full of romance’ shows in his greatest and enduring literary achievement: the Sherlock Holmes stories. Already the first of them, ‘A Study in Scarlet’, which in 1887 gave literary life to the now worldfamous consulting detective, is set for a significant part of the plot in the U.S. But ‘transatlantic’ motifs occur also in other stories, most famously in ‘The Five Orange Pips’ (1891), ‘The Yellow Face’ (1893), and ‘The Dancing Men’ (1903). Besides this, a number of other stories contain the motifs and tropes of sea/ocean/voyaging as leading ones, e.g. The story with a ‘whaling’ motif: ‘The Black Peter’. For ACD America was a land on which he projected, as the ‘American’ and ‘voyaging’ stories make evident, his major political and ideological concerns, such as those with justice and equality. In the paper, special attention is paid to the way in which in some of the stories the ocean (also: a sea and a river) features as something like a protagonist, even as one who administers justice and settles other types of account.

Afiliacja

Uniwersytet Śląski
Hitomi Nakamura Nabae
Creolization in Lafcadio Hearn’s New Orleans and Martinique Writings
131 – 150
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Streszczenie

The word tsunami, now commonly used throughout the world, was, according to the OED, first used in the 1897 story ‘A Living God’ written by Lafcadio Hearn. He wrote this story in Japan soon after reading the breaking news about the tsunami that had killed more than 20,000 people in North Japan. Having been trained as a journalist for twenty years in America, it was no wonder that he responded so quickly to such a catastrophe. Moreover, his first novel was also about oceanic catastrophe: a decade earlier in New Orleans he had written Chita, a story about the Gulf storm of 1856 which had swept away a resort island and swallowed up its inhabitants and vacationers. While Hearn obviously utilizes the catastrophe to dramatize the miraculous moment of survival, he also experiments with his narrative voice to render reality more powerfully. These two stories of oceanic catastrophe well illustrate how he turns journalistic realism into legendary myth by framing it within cross-cultural allegories, which arguably is an essential technique that he consciously crafted and developed so as to effectively address the multi-cultural readers of the world.

Afiliacja

Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, Japonia
Claudia Ioana Doroholschi
The ‘Oceanic feeling’ in Stephen Crane’s The Open Boat and S.T. Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
151 – 162
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Streszczenie

Stephen Crane’s The Open Boat is a fictionalized account of the writer’s experience of surviving the shipwreck of the Commodore, a steamboat on which he was heading for Cuba to act as a war correspondent. The present paper explores Crane’s account of the encounter between man and sea, setting it against the background of Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which Crane’s story echoes on several occasions, at key points in the plot. It examines the two texts in the light of the concept of ‘oceanic feeling’, as defined by Romain Rolland and Sigmund Freud, who both use the metaphor of the ocean as a site of the sublime to speak of a sense of oneness, of connectedness between man and world. While in Coleridge’s poem the Mariner first loses and subsequently recovers a mystical connection with nature, Crane’s short story seems to decode the events in a psychological rather than mystical key. Thus, it seems to suggest that a sense of oneness with nature is not the result of any transcendent connection between man and his surroundings, but merely a projection of the subject’s emotions onto an indifferent nature.

Afiliacja

Universitatea de Vest din Timișoara, Rumunia
Pobierz cały numer
1 – 176
PDF
International American
https://www.journals.us.edu.pl/index.php/RIAS
ISSN: 1991-2773 (Print)
Studies Association
https://doi.org/10.31261/RIAS.x.xxxx.xx
ISSN: 1991-2773 (Online)