Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, 2014 vol. 49.4


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    The transformations of the novelistic canon: The comparison of Daniel Defoe’s and Penelope Aubin’s dedication to truth and virtue
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2014) Maciulewicz, Joanna
    The aim of the article is to discuss the evolution of the concept of the literary canon in the context of eighteenth-century fiction. The concept of the literary canon has been traditionally associated with timeless, universal values which transcend the ideological conditions of the period in which texts are created. In present criticism, which is shaped by cultural studies, the association of a canon with universality has been challenged. A canon has been recognised by cultural critics as an instrument of an ideological power struggle which presents the values of dominant social groups as universal. The analysis of novels written by Penelope Aubin and Daniel Defoe at the beginning of the eighteenth century demonstrates that the study of literature only from an ideological viewpoint does not account for the workings of the literary canon. Both Aubin and Defoe employ the same formula of fiction, adventure story with a moral commentary, but while Defoe's fiction has survived in literary histories, Aubin's stories, after their initial success, fell into oblivion and have been rediscovered only recently by feminist critics. The varying fates of Aubin's and Defoe's fiction point to the insufficiency of the definition of canon which binds literary value too strongly with ideology.
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    Nurslings of Protestantism: The questionable privilege of freedom in Charlotte Brontë’s "Villette"
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2014) Mazurek, Monika
    In Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, a number of foreigners at various points express their amazement or admiration of the behaviour of Englishwomen, who, like the novel’s narrator Lucy Snowe, travel alone, visit public places unchaperoned and seem on the whole to lead much less constrained lives than their Continental counterparts. This notion was apparently quite widespread at this time, as the readings of various Victorian texts confirm – they often refer to the independence Englishwomen enjoyed, sometimes with a note of caution but often in a self-congratulatory manner. Villette, the novel which, similarly to its predecessor, The Professor, features a Protestant protagonist living in a Catholic country, makes a connection between Lucy’s Protestantism and her freedom, considered traditionally in English political discourse to be an essentially English and Protestant virtue. However, as the novel shows, in the case of women the notion of freedom is a complicated issue. While the pupils at Mme Beck’s pensionnat have to be kept in check by a sophisticated system of surveillance, whose main purpose is to keep them away from men and sex, Lucy can be trusted to behave according to the Victorian code of conduct, but only because her Protestant upbringing inculcated in her the need to control her desires. The Catholics have the Church to play the role of the disciplinarian for them, while Lucy has to grapple with and stifle her own emotions with her own hands, even when the repression is clearly the cause of her psychosomatic illness. In the end, the expectations regarding the behaviour of women in England and Labassecour are not that much different; the difference is that while young Labassecourians are controlled by the combined systems of family, school and the Church, young Englishwomen are expected to exercise a similar control on their own.
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    On South African violence through Giorgio Agamben’s biopolitical framework: A comparative study of J.M. Coetzee’s "Disgrace" and Z. Mda’s "Ways of Dying"
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2014) Bartnik, Ryszard
    In this article I argue that the developments of countries going through transition from authoritarian to democratic rule are always stamped by numerous references to formerly sanctioned and fully operational institutionalized violence. A perfect exemplification of this phenomenon is [post-] apartheid South Africa and its writing. In the context of the above, both the social and the literary realm of the 1990s might be perceived as resonant with Giorgio Agamben’s ‘concentrationary’, deeply divisive imaginary. Escaping from, and concurrently remembering, past fears, anxieties, yet seeking hope and consolation, the innocent but also the formerly outlawed and victimized along [interestingly enough] with [ex]perpetrators exemplify, as discussed in J. M. Coetzee’s and Z. Mda’s novels, the necessity of an exposure of the mechanism of South African ‘biopoliticization’ of life. Their stories prove how difficult the uprooting of the mentality of segregation, hatred and the policy of bracketing the other’s life as insubstantial, thus vulnerable to instrumental violence, in [post-] apartheid society was. In view of the above what is to be highlighted here is the authorial perception of various attempts at disavowing past and present violence as detrimental to South African habitat. In the end, coming to terms with the past, with the belligerent nature of local mental maps, must inevitably lead to the acknowledgement of guilt and traumatic suffering. Individual and collective amnesia conditioned by deeply-entrenched personal culpability or personal anguish is then construed as damaging, and as such is subject do deconstructive analysis.
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    The significance of space in Iris Murdoch’s "The Unicorn" as a twentieth-century Irish Gothic novel
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2014) Jarząb, Joanna
    During the twentieth century almost all literary genres came back to prominence in different and alternative forms. The Gothic is no exception to this phenomenon as many a writer made an attempt at using this eighteenth-century genre once again, but adding to it some contemporary elements. Consequently, an abundance of new techniques have been introduced to Gothic fiction to evoke the feeling of horror and terror among the more and more demanding readers of modern times. Still, some writers prefer to return to the traditional concept of the Gothic – as does Iris Murdoch in her novel The Unicorn. The purpose of this article is to analyse the text from the perspective of the Irish Gothic. Those features of the genre which are traditional as well as local are going to be discussed in the context of space as the dominating aspect of the novel. The typical Irish landscape abounding in marshes, bogs and the sea will be contrasted with the inner space of the house, and its resemblance to the old Victorian mansions popular among the Anglo-Irish ascendancy of nineteenth-century Ireland. In what follows, the paper aims at showing how Murdoch’s skilful play with the spatial differentiation between the inside and the outside dislodges other more universal issues, such as the question of freedom, of social taboos and of the different anxieties still present in Irish society today.
Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego