Critical Literary Studies

Critical Literary Studies

Critical Literary Studies, Vol 4, No 1, Autumn and Winter 2021-2022 (مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)



Epiphylogenetic Memory as Disorientation in Eimear McBride's "A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing"(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: disorientation Epiphylogenetic Memory Technics A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing Eimear McBride

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This article investigates Eimear McBride's novel A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing in the light of Bernard Stiegler's concept of disorientation. As a technical development, disorientation manifests itself in the girl's non-syntactic language and the gradual evolving linguistic repertoire as she matures. The article argues that McBride's usage of the idiomatic language and stream of consciousness is part of the narrator's tertiary memory or epiphylogenetic memory. The young protagonist-narrator cannot reach a state of equilibrium between her developing consciousness as an Irish girl and her "technic" of writing herself as the epiphylogenetic memory, hence her disorientation. The technics in the Irish context can include not only the Irish English, but also the theological and political technics which engulf the subject to form her or him to their image. Technics is a technical term used by Bernard Stiegler as the horizon of human existence. Technics, often used as a singular noun, is juxtaposed with episteme in order to highlight the ignorance of Western philosophy about the significant role it plays in the human evolution and consciousness.    

Ethical Telling and the Aesthetic Told: Ethical Narratology of Arundhati Roy’s "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness"(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Ethics of the Told Ethics of the Telling Authenticity recognition Rhetorical Narrative Theory Ethical Philosophy

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The present study seeks to argue the ethical values of the narrative strategies in The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, a post-postmodern novel by the Indian author Arundhati Roy. To carry out the research, the prominent features of James Phelan’s rhetorical theory of narrative and Charles Taylor’s ethical philosophy are examined. By applying such interdisciplinary approaches, the researchers investigate the characters' ethical positions in their quest for "authenticity" and "recognition" by focusing on the novel’s "ethics of the told" and "ethics of the telling." The study indicates the characters' attempt to reach full awareness of their in-depth inclinations and their quest to achieve an authentic self. Living in India's multicultural context, though suffering from non-/mis-recognition by others, Roy’s major characters can become authentic, free, and fulfilled through seeing the world and its people out of pure love for collective goodness. Eventually, highlighting the aesthetic strategies and authorial creativity provides a horizon to comprehend the different outlooks towards the ethical values and commitments that circulate freely within the novel's narrative world.

Thomas Pynchon’s Southern Californian Literary Heterotopology: Decompression Heterotopias in "Inherent Vice"(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Thomas Pynchon Inherent Vice Los Angeles Archaeological Analysis Literary Heterotopology

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Looking back at the early 1970s socio-cultural upheavals, Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice (2009) generates a discursive construct of Los Angeles that captures the transition from a Fordist culture to a Post-Fordist one. This essay holds that around this watershed moment, literary heterotopias specific to Southern California are being made. Michel Foucault defines heterotopias as realized utopias, emplacements that simultaneously represent, contest, and invert the normal space. This study reads Inherent Vice , using Foucault’s archaeological method of analysis to develop literary heterotopology. A discursive analysis of Pynchon’s novel reveals heterotopias’ discontinuous nature, which this study proposes as the seventh principle for heterotopology. Furthermore, Pynchon uses a new vehicle, Decompression Heterotopias, to reshape globalization in his retro-production of Los Angeles. Ultimately, the essay shows how the Fordist and Post-Fordist waves of globalization aspire to affect Angeleno’s lives by compressing the time-space spectrum. Pynchon’s decompression heterotopias, however, resist the status quo and propose reconfiguring globalization’s compression forces.

The Levinasian Responsible Subject’s Breaching the Face’s Command: An Inversion of the Master-Slave Relationship in Margaret Atwood’s "MaddAddam" Trilogy(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Subject Post-Apocalyptic Levinas’s Ethics of the Other Margaret Atwood Utopia

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In accordance with Emmanuel Levinas’s ethics, the interconnection between the subject and its Other is equated with the master-slave relationship, which is not by any means absolute. This article aims at illustrating an oscillating state of master-and-slave relation with regard to Levinas’s ethics in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy. The Face of the Other becomes a ‘poor master’ who needs help and yet gives a serious order to the subject, one that he should obey. Subsequently, the Other deprives the subject of his/her wealth, thus overcoming its own poverty; therefore, the Other as a ‘poor master’ and the subject as a ‘wealthy subject’ constitute an ethical relationship. Founding the argument on the above-mentioned Levinasian principles, this paper approaches the altruistic intentions of Atwood’s post-apocalyptic characters, and inspects how the post-apocalyptic world of her MaddAddam trilogy is ultimately orientated towards, if not also predicting, a return to now bygone humanistic, ethical and communal society.

“The Other jouissance” and “Desire” in Emily Dickinson’s “I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed”: A Lacanian Approach(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Emily Dickinson Other Jouissance desire Lacanian psychoanalysis mysticism signifier

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The present article investigates Emily Dickinson's poem "I taste a liquor never brewed" and aims to solve the confusion of scholars that struggled to specify the precise meaning of some of the terms in the text and fully appreciate the psychic dynamics of it in terms of Lacanian psychoanalysis. The first question the article asks is how is 'desire' represented, and the second is whether the speaker of the poem longs for an 'Other jouissance.' In Seminar XX, Lacan defines Other jouissance as the most intense and ineffable kind and equals it to the jouissance of the mystics. Desire, in Lacanian teachings, is unattainable and an inevitable consequence of language. The famous Lacanian maxims "desire is the desire of the Other," and the "Other is the treasure trove of signifiers" indicate that desire could be represented through signifiers. The article integrates These Lacanian notions in Paul Ricoeur's three-staged hermeneutic Arc, which consists of 1) explanation, 2) understanding, and 3) appropriation. The poem will undergo these three stages of interpretation. By the end of the last stage, the world of the text is appropriated by the selected Lacanian notions. The results of the study are the following: 1) the poem is unique in displaying what Lacan termed 'Other jouissance,' 2) it demonstrates an intense desire for a supreme being—the Other, 3) desire is explicitly named in the poem: it is manifested explicitly in the words ‘liquor," tankards," Alcohol," inebriate," debauchee," drams," drink," little tippler.'

Islamophobic and counter-Islamophobic YouTube representations of the British Muslim Communities(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)


کلید واژه ها: Discourse Islamophobia “Prosumers” Representation Web 2.0

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Based on David Gauntlett’s Web 2.0 approach of media audiences, this article argues that while Islamophobic discourses may be hegemonic in the British media in general, and the online media in particular, counter-Islamophobic ones have real potentials to subvert the anti-Muslims hegemony in contemporary Britain. Online media users, both as producers and consumers of mass-mediated representations, are empowered to blur the boundaries between the real and the virtual spaces in the construction of different conceptions of their own identities as well as of those of the others. To this end, comparatively, the comments of the users of two YouTube videos are analyzed and critically appraised to identify how they prosumed the different representations of Muslim communities of/in Britain. It is suggested that YouTube users contribute, from their respective subject positions, to the construction of diverse conceptualizations of their own identities and those of others as well. Their prosumed representations both entrench and defy a hierarchy of Islamophobic and Islamophallic images of Islam and Muslims in contemporary multicultural Britain.

An Ecofeminist Reading of H. P. Lovecraft’s Selected Works with Reference to Catherine M. Roach’s Theory of Mother/Nature(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Ecofeminism Ecopsychology Mother/Nature H. P. Lovecraft Ecocriticism

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Ecofeminist discourse is experiencing its peak importance with the rise of both feminism and ecocriticism to the summit of cultural and literary studies. Going back and revisiting authors and texts which helped shaping the current cultural forces through ecofeminist lenses may help us understand how nature and femininity both are viewed separately and together. As one of the most prominent and influential figures in horror and science fiction (and perhaps pop culture in general), Howard Phillips Lovecraft presents a thought-provoking portrait of women and femininity in his texts and since nature plays an integral role in worldview, femininity and nature almost blend into a single concept throughout his fiction. This paper intends to analyze the works of H. P. Lovecraft through Ecofeminist lenses and apply the Ecofeminist theory of Mother/Nature, developed by Catherine M. Roach, on Lovecraft’s life and fiction. The researchers intend to find a correlation between the idea of Bad Nature presented by Roach and the almost always evil representation of femininity in H. P. Lovecraft’s fiction.

“For Others, in Spite of Myself, from Myself”: A Levinasian-Feminist Reading of Charlotte Mary Matheson’s "The Feather"(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Alterity ethics feminism Lévinas Self and Other

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When Charlotte Mary Matheson began writing The Feather in 1929, numerous movements regarding women's rights were emerging. However, despite various references to contemporary issues, Matheson’s book initially did not receive much attention from critics; it was only after a few decades that The Feather became one of the best-selling novels, especially in Iran. In this article, a feminist reading of the novel was conducted on the basis of the alterity of the Other and the ethics of the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. The common ground between the theories of feminism and Levinasian philosophy is the relationship between the Self and the Other, which according to both theories, needs to change. Traditionally, men were accepted as the dominant power or the Self and women as the second sex or the Other. On the other hand, ethics, according to Levinas, emphasizes a proper relationship between the Self and the Other. Hence, the kind of relationship between the Self and the Other and the alterity of the Other become important; thus, this relationship requires a new definition. This reading of the novel shows how the relationship between the Self and the Other in the story, which begins with carnal desires, eventually ends in a moral one. In addition, the female character rediscovers her independence and identity, which was initially dominated by men.

Postmodern Paranoia, Schizophrenia, and Social Justice in Don DeLillo’s "Libra"(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Social in/justice Don DeLillo Libra social justice

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The present article attempts to demonstrate how Don DeLillo’s Libra addresses the lack of social justice because of the domination of paranoia and conspiracy in the contemporary American society. John Rawls, the late Harvard University professor, has written about a just society and a utopian world in his major works. In Libra , DeLillo explores the assassination of Kennedy by Oswald and its adverse effect on society in general. In this novel, paranoia is experienced as paranoid schizophrenia, in which sufferers exhibit traits of both of them. Although Libra is based on historical events and real-life figures, it is not an attempt to produce a historically accurate version of these events. DeLillo does not aim to explain what really happened on that day, or establish an unequivocally true account of the assassination conspiracy. Rather, he uses the character of the conspirator Everett’s young daughter Suzanne to portray the disturbing paranoid state. By combining fragmented reality and evoked paranoid responses DeLillo is producing a work of literature by illustrating how this paranoid schizophrenia breeds social disease. Therefore, the main objective of this paper is to illustrate there is no social justice in this paranoid postmodern world.

Trauma and Recovery in Shaila Abdullah’s "Saffron Dreams"(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Trauma recovery Narrative Techniques Saffron Dreams Shaila Abdullah

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This paper aims to analyze the impact of the traumatic experiences on the identity formation of Shaila Abdulla’s main character in Saffron Dreams and elaborates on how she manages to overcome her diverse emotional burdens. The author, who is concerned with Muslim women’s multiple identities and struggles in the American Diaspora, discusses the challenges of living in the increasing Islamophobic climate in the aftermath of 9/11 through the life of her heroine, Arissa Illahi, a Pakistani writer and artist, who loses her husband in the collapse of the World Trade Centre. Judith Herman’s conceptions of trauma and recovery are applied to discuss the impact of trauma on the identity formation of the character and how she succeeds to go through the process of healing. The paper also analyzes the literary strategies and narrative techniques in this feminist trauma narrative to indicate how the author has tried to represent what is originally marked by voicelessness. The results of the study demonstrates that although the traumatic event of 9/11 and its consequences has devastating effects on Arissa, she as an artist is able to utilize her psychological resources and to take advantage of familial ties to cope successfully with the traumatic experiences in her life, tolerate adversities, and even develop an optimistic view point about new possibilities for her future life. This paper supports the aim of contemporary feminist traumatology which is to make women’s trauma visible, give meaning to it, and ultimately create frameworks that promote the healing of trauma. Cathy Caruth, Judith Herman, and Laurie Vickroy are among the main theoreticians of the research.     

Flipped Learning on Reading and Grammar Achievement at a Language Institute in Kerman-Iran (2021)(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: EFL Learners Flipped Instruction Grammatical Knowledge Reading Comprehension

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This study seeks to explore the effectiveness of flipped instruction on the Iranian intermediate English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners reading comprehension and grammar learning. As the participants of the study, 60 Iranian intermediate EFL learners from a language institute in Kerman, Iran, were recruited based on convenience sampling in the form of two intact classes. Then, to conduct randomization, the two classes were randomly assigned to two groups namely, flipping group and control group. Next, the two groups were exposed to 14 treatment sessions in which reading comprehension and grammar were taught to the flipping group through explicit flipped instruction and to the control group through non-flipped mainstream instruction used in the institute. Data collection tools employed in the study included the Quick Placement Test (QPT), Michigan test of grammar, Michigan test of reading, and SPSS 21 software. The results revealed the significant effectiveness of flipped instruction on the Iranian intermediate EFL learners' reading comprehension and grammar learning. Accordingly, it is suggested that EFL teachers use flipped instruction if they seek to enhance EFL learners' reading comprehension and grammatical knowledge.

The Effect of a Newly- Developed Context-sensitive Framework of Writing Practice on Iranian EFL Learners' Writing Performance(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Context-sensitive framework Essay Writing Intermediate Iranian EFL students Upper-intermediate Iranian EFL students Writing practice

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The present quasi-experimental study attempts to investigate the effectiveness of a context-sensitive framework of writing on the improvement of Iranian EFL students' writing performance. To this aim, sixty sophomores majoring in English language translation from two intact classes at Islamic Azad University of Tonekabon, Iran participated in this study. An Oxford Quick Placement Test was administered to assess the participants' degree of homogeneity and classify them in intermediate (receiving 28-36 out of 60) and upper-intermediate (receiving 37-44 out of 60) groups. Then, each group was randomly assigned into experimental and control groups. A pretest of writing was administered to all participants. The experimental groups practiced essay writing according to the context-sensitive framework. After 12 sessions, all participants took part in the post test. Paired sample t-tests and independent sample t-tests were run to examine whether there were statistically significant differences between the means of the groups. The results revealed that both the intermediate and upper- intermediate experimental groups significantly outperformed the control groups stating that the context-sensitive framework was effective to improve the students' writing performance. However, there was no significant difference between the posttest scores of intermediate and upper-intermediate experimental groups. It means that implementation of context-sensitive framework was equally effective in both experimental groups. The findings supported the use of a context-sensitive framework for promoting writing ability of Iranian EFL learners. The study has implications for writing teachers, practitioners, and learners.