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  1. Diabolus ex machina : Bulgakov's modernist devil
    Published: 30.12.2014

    In 1937, when Bulgakov was working on Master i Margarita and suffering from rejection by the theatre community, an old friend appealed to him: "Вы ведь государство в государстве. Сколько это может продолжаться? Надо сдаваться, все сдались. Один вы... more

     

    In 1937, when Bulgakov was working on Master i Margarita and suffering from rejection by the theatre community, an old friend appealed to him: "Вы ведь государство в государстве. Сколько это может продолжаться? Надо сдаваться, все сдались. Один вы остались. Это глупо." And indeed "государство в государстве" ("a state within a state") is an appropriate way of describing a man who was feverishly working on a modernist novel at the height of socialist realism. The very fact that Master i Margarita was written in the oppressive environment of the 1930s makes it a unique modernist work, for it emerges as a protest against socialist realism and a defense of artistic freedom. In this respect the modernist qualities of Bulgakov's novel acquire a new dimension because Master i Margarita becomes a kind of artistic devil, fulfilling the traditional diabolic role of opposing authority. This is why Woland, as a character, is the metonymic expression of the novel's revolt.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Article
    Format: Online
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  2. Daniel and the Sonnenscheins : biblical cycles in István Szabó's film "Sunshine"

    As the exilic experience, initiated in 587 B.C.E., continued over millennia, no one has been able to settle the question of what it means to be a diaspora Jew. Are those who actively participate in non-Jewish life still in a position to claim the... more

     

    As the exilic experience, initiated in 587 B.C.E., continued over millennia, no one has been able to settle the question of what it means to be a diaspora Jew. Are those who actively participate in non-Jewish life still in a position to claim the heritage of Israel? And what about Jews who actively seek assimilation and renounce their roots altogether: are they still Jews in spite of themselves? Authors, from Joseph Roth to Sholom Aleichem to Chaim Potok, have tried to deal with this issue in light of different diaspora circumstances. One of the most recent perspectives on Jewish identity comes to us through "Sunshine", a powerful film by the Hungarian director Istvan Szabó (1999). Szabó, who wrote the screenplay with Israel Horowitz, tells the story of several generations in one Hungarian Jewish family: the Sonnenscheins. Living at the turn of the twentieth century, the patriarch of the Sonnenschein clan is Emmanuel, a successful distiller who seems to have found a balance between the two exilic extremes: neither complete assimilation, nor a retreat from gentile society.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Article
    Format: Online
    DDC Categories: 800
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  3. Mary versus Eve : paternal uncertainty and the Christian view of women

    The virgin Mary and Eve constitute two opposite sexual poles in the way Christian discourse has approached women since the time of the church fathers. This stems from a predicament faced by the human male throughout hominid evolution, namely,... more

     

    The virgin Mary and Eve constitute two opposite sexual poles in the way Christian discourse has approached women since the time of the church fathers. This stems from a predicament faced by the human male throughout hominid evolution, namely, paternal uncertainty. Because the male is potentially always at risk of unwittingly raising the offspring of another male, two (often complementary) male sexual strategies have evolved to counter this genetic threat: mate guarding and promiscuity. The Virgin Mary is the mythological expression of the mate guarding strategy. Mary is an eternal virgin, symbolically allaying all fear of paternal uncertainty. Mary makes it possible for the male psyche to have its reproductive cake and eat it too: she gives birth (so reproduction takes place) and yet requires no mate guarding effort or jealousy. Eve, the inventor of female sexuality, is repeatedly viewed by the church fathers, e.g., Augustine and Origen, as Mary's opposite. Thus, Eve becomes the embodiment of the whore: both attractive in the context of the promiscuity strategy and repulsive in terms of paternal uncertainty: "Death by Eve, life by Mary" (St. Jerome). The Mary-Eve dichotomy has given a conceptual basis to what is known in psychology as the Madonna-Whore dichotomy: the tendency to categorize women in terms of two polar opposites. This paper will explore the way mythology reflects biology, i.e., human psychological traits that have evolved over millennia.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Article
    Format: Online
    DDC Categories: 800
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  4. Under the hood of Tess : conflicting reproductive strategies in Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles"

    Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" is analyzed from an evocritical perspective in order to consider evolved human reproductive strategies through the psychology and behavior of the novel's three principal characters: Tess, Alec and Angel. It... more

     

    Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" is analyzed from an evocritical perspective in order to consider evolved human reproductive strategies through the psychology and behavior of the novel's three principal characters: Tess, Alec and Angel. It is argued that Hardy made the episode of Tess' and Alec's sexual contact, as well its interpretation by the characters, ambiguous, thereby suggesting the possibility of seduction rather than rape. In this context, two female mating patterns — inherited from our hominid ancestors — appear in Tess' behavior: a) the collection of high quality genes from a genetically fit male (Alec) who is not likely to stay with the female and provide for the offspring and b) mating with a provider male who is interested in long-term parental investment (Angel). Conversely, Angel and Alec represent two male mating strategies that evolved as possible courses of action in our species: the dad and the cad respectively. The unwillingness of Angel to forgive Tess her sexual past is considered in the context of another evolved feature of the human mind: paternal uncertainty (the fear of the male's genetic extinction through the possibility of raising another male's offspring). This is juxtaposed with studies of male jealousy in different cultures and periods. Tess' decision to tell Angel about her past is viewed in connection with the concept of modularity: an approach to human psychology based on the assumption that the mind is divided into specialized modules (responsible for different cognitive spheres) which can sometimes conflict.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Article
    Format: Online
    DDC Categories: 800
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  5. One Adam and nine Eves in Donald Siegel's "The Beguiled" and Giovanni Boccaccio's 3:1 of "The Decameron"
    Published: 17.03.2015

    Donald Siegel's 1971 film entitled "The Beguiled" is compared to Tale 1 of Day 3 from Giovanni Boccaccio’s "The Decameron". Both stories are about a man who arrives in a garden setting and finds nine sexually starved women. In Boccaccio's tale, a... more

     

    Donald Siegel's 1971 film entitled "The Beguiled" is compared to Tale 1 of Day 3 from Giovanni Boccaccio’s "The Decameron". Both stories are about a man who arrives in a garden setting and finds nine sexually starved women. In Boccaccio's tale, a male gardener finds himself in a convent occupied by nine nuns with whom he proceeds to have sexual relations to everyone's satisfaction. Siegel's film is about a wounded soldier taken in at a girls' finishing school whose nine female residents become the objects of the hero's amorous attention. While Boccaccio adopts a philogynist tone with respect to the material, "The Beguiled" appears to be a virulently misogynist film projecting its female characters as jealous demons who end up mutilating and then killing their male suitor. Findings from evolutionary psychology pertaining to female jealousy and reproductive strategies are used to consider the respective attitudes toward women in the medieval tale and the twentieth-century film. Conclusions are drawn about the difficulty of placing either of the stories within a clear-cut philogynist or misogynist category.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Article
    Format: Online
    DDC Categories: 800
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen