Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, 2016 vol. 51.1


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    Scholar – fictionist – memoirist: David Lodge’s documentary (self-)biography in "Quite a Good Time to Be Born: 1935–1975"
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2016) Kusek, Robert
    Over the last decade or so, David Lodge has become not only a reader but also an avid practitioner of “fact-based writing” – be it the biographical novel (The Master of 2004 and A Man of Parts 2011), the autobiographical novel (Deaf Sentence of 2008), the biographical essay (Lives in Writing of 2014) and – finally – a proper autobiography (Quite a Good Time to Be Born of 2015). The aim of this paper is to analyse Lodge’s recent turn to life narratives and, in particular, his autobiographical story of 2015; and, consequently, to address the following questions: Does Lodge’s memoir offer “an experiment in autobiography” (to quote H.G. Wells, one of Lodge’s favourites), or remain a conventional life story immune to the tenets of contemporary life writing? Is it the work of a (self-)historian, or a novelist? Does it belong to the “regime of truth,” or is it the product of memory? Finally, is it, indeed, a memoir (as its subtitle claims), or a specimen of self-biography? The paper will show special interest in the work’s generic characteristics and will offer an attempt to locate Quite a Good Time to Be Born on the map of contemporary life writing practices.
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    Medusa’s head: Boss rattlers, rattlesnake queens, and goddamn true love in Harry Crews’s "A Feast of Snakes"
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2016) Hanssen, Ken R.
    After his death in 2012, there has been a notable resurgence of both popular and critical interest in the fiction of American writer Harry Crews. Frequently discussed in the context of Southern gothic, Crews’s novels are notable for their grim and darkly funny tales of life among the rural poor in the worst hookworm and rickets part of Georgia, USA. Still, while the regional identity of Crews’s fiction is strong, his subtle and deeply sympathetic creative imagination tackles questions of universal significance. In the novel A Feast of Snakes (1976), Crews’s finest and most multi-layered work, we are introduced to former high-school football quarterback Joe Lon Mackey on the eve of Mystic, Georgia’s annual Rattlesnake Roundup. Through his sensitive and deeply-felt portrayal of Joe Lon’s failed struggle to reconcile with the traumas of the past and establish meaning and a sense of purpose in life, a development culminating in the liquidation of a snake-handling preacher, a sheriff’s deputy, his own high-school sweetheart, and a random bystander, Crews not only explores the deterministic cultural and socio-economic attributes of the rural south, but also gives articulation to a reflective consciousness far more individuated and multifaceted than allowed for in recent critical discourse. This sombre ending is perhaps what Todorov would term “the realization of an order always preordained,” but it would be a mistake to dismiss it as merely the inevitable outcome of yet another southern boy’s unarticulated rage against modernity. Struggling endlessly like the pitfighting dogs his daddy breeds, Joe Lon, entangled in the determinants of his existence, comes to give mimetic shape to a contemporary American identity both utterly strange and jarringly familiar.
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    Continuity and change in "The (New) Kosciuszko Foundation Dictionary"
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2016) Adamska-Sałaciak, Arleta
    The Kościuszko Foundation Dictionary (KFD)1, the only bilingual dictionary between Polish and American English, first came out in 1959 (English-Polish volume) and 1961 (Polish-English volume). Between then and 1995, it was reprinted fourteen times, with the content completely intact. In 2003, The New Kosciuszko Foundation Dictionary (NKFD1) finally appeared, in two printed volumes accompanied by a CD. Originally intended as a straightforward update of KFD, it ended up being closer to a brand new dictionary, linked with its predecessor mainly through the title – a consequence of the continuing patronage of The Kosciuszko Foundation – and through its focus on American English. With around 133,000 main entries, it was, at the time of publication, the most comprehensive English-Polish, Polish-English dictionary in existence. A new, revised and enlarged edition (NKFD2) is about to be published soon, this time exclusively in digital form. Having been involved in the latter two projects – respectively, as editor of the English-Polish volume and editor-in-chief – the author examines the development of the dictionary, tracing the continuity and change in its three successive incarnations.
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    A constructional analysis of obligatory XVS syntactic structures
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2016) Prado-Alonso, Carlos
    The analysis of obligatory or formulaic XVS structures — as in “Here comes the sun” or “Now is the time to solve our problems” — has been neglected in the literature since it has been argued that there seems to be no linguistic variation involved in the use of these types of syntactic constructions. Here, I defend the view that obligatory XVS structures are productive, highly structured constructions which are worthy of serious linguistic investigation. On the basis of a corpus-based analysis of written and spoken texts, it is argued that the different obligatory XVS types distinguished in the literature are clear instances of constructions as understood in the Construction Grammar framework. Despite their formal and functional dissimilarities, the article shows that these XVS structures still relate to one another in systematic and predictable ways, and are in fact grouped in relation to a unit in the schematic network which is naturally most salient — the prototype — and form with it a family of nodes which are extensions from the prototype — in the system. In sum, the analysis here will show that obligatory XVS structures are constructions which form an interconnected, structured system or network and are best understood with reference to different forms of inheritance.
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    The morphological trigger of V-to-T: The case of Old English
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2016) Castillo, Concha
    This paper deals with the phenomenon of V-to-T movement, which is one of the major parameters differentiating Romance from the majority of modern Germanic languages, and it defends the idea that rich morphology is the cause or trigger of V-to-T: in Romance, in a modern Germanic language like Icelandic, and very particularly in Old English, the precursor of the modern English language. More generally, the discussion endorses the idea that all Germanic languages used to be V-to-T languages in their old periods. I begin by arguing that verbal forms in Spanish contain a specific kind of segment, namely the stem or thematic vowel, which gives rise to morphological variations or asymmetries across tenses in the language. Such a productive system of stem verb classes is also shown to be the case in Icelandic, though not in German (which is therefore rendered as non-V-to- T), and ultimately it is acknowledged for a language like OE. The hypothesis is that the syntactic computation of (OE) verbal forms demands it that the speaker first identifies the verb class that the form in question belongs to before tackling the processing of tense morphology and agreement morphology. In pure syntactic terms, the stem or thematic vowel segment is identified in the present account with a v-feature that T must value, which valuation is realised by means of the displacement of the verb to the T head, that is, by means of V-to-T movement. After the valuation of T’s v-feature comes the valuation of τ–features and φ–features, respectively.
Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego