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‘Moving back and forth of the I’

Parasite and Para-site in Beckett's The Unnamable

Jagannath Basu and Jayjit Sarkar


This article examines how in The Unnamable the unnamed narrator is caught up in a busy traffic of assemblage(s), ‘moving back and forth of the I’. Beckett places the narrator in a no-place (para-site), metaphorically both as the host and the (un)invited guest – the ‘no-mad’ who (dis)owns the system. The narrator acts, and is simultaneously acted upon. Sometimes it is the (un)invited guest (the outsider), and sometimes the host (the insider). The narrator, therefore, is the ‘it’ (the ‘quasi-object’), reaffirming Serres’ idea that every subject who parasites the other is simultaneously parasited by an-other: thus, moving the system. This curious interplay of host-guest double-bind makes the narrator exi(s)t within movement(s)-in-thought, with possibilities of seeing (para-sight) what Beckett terms as ‘something quite different’.

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‘A Scorneful Image of this Present World’

Translating and Mistranslating Erasmus's Words in Henrician England

Luca Baratta


Many of Erasmus of Rotterdam's works were translated into English during the reign of Henry VIII. In the process of translation, the original intention of these texts was often subverted, as Erasmus's reputation was appropriated by his translators and their patrons to serve a variety of political and religious agendas. The present article is devoted to the translating history of one of Erasmus's works, Sileni Alcibiadis, a proverb that was detached from the huge paremiographic repository known as Adagia and published as an autonomous work in London in the early 1540s. By highlighting corrections, retouchings and omissions, the article aims at pointing out the ways in which the anonymous translator adapted Erasmus's text to a different cultural and pedagogic context. The final purpose of this work is to show the way in which Erasmus's political thought ‘migrates’, with partial manipulations, into the turbulent context of mid-sixteenth-century England.

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Susan Abulhawa's Appropriation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Yousef Abu Amrieh


The purpose of this article is to examine how Palestinian American novelist Susan Abulhawa appropriates in her novel The Blue between Sky and Water (2015) some of the themes, tropes and motifs that Shakespeare employs in Romeo and Juliet (c. 1596) in order to depict how wars and conflicts turn Palestinian people's love stories/marriages into tragedies. In particular, love at first sight, the (negative) impact of families on love stories, exile/banishment, use of herbs/traditional medicine, humour and parties that practically turn ominous and fateful are among the themes, tropes and motifs that both Shakespeare and Abulhawa employ to represent love stories/marriages that are embroiled in ongoing violent events. Overall, in its depiction of ‘love and violence’, Abulhawa's novel appropriates Shakespeare's greatest love tragedy and shows the conditions under which Palestinians live in Gaza.

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‘As a Stranger Give it Welcome’

Foreignness and Wonder in Jacobean London

Lois Potter


The two early modern meanings of the word ‘stranger’ (someone one does not know; a foreigner) have become separated in modern English. This article looks at attitudes to the ‘stranger’ both as pathetic victim and as someone outside Anglophone language and culture, with special reference to the arrival of a Scottish king and his followers in 1603–04. Horatio's ‘wondrous strange’ (here, referring to the apparent ubiquity of the Ghost's voice) is as metatheatrical as Hamlet's later jokey comment on ‘this fellow in the cellarage’. The language of ‘wonder’, a particularly Jacobean phenomenon, suggests that intense artistic experiences, like experiences of shock and horror, can make the spectator or listener – as Milton put it – ‘marble with too much conceiving’.

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Between Science and Utopia

Physical and Astronomical Notions within French and Polish Fourierism

Piotr Kuligowski and Quentin Schwanck


This article investigates the role of physical and astronomical notions in the formation process of transnational political ideologies. It does so by focusing on the striking example of nineteenth-century early socialist movements, particularly Fourierism. Indeed, Fourier's bold cosmogony enabled him to connect many fields of knowledge, and soon became a powerful vehicle for his ideas on the international scale. The article likewise analyses the ideological process through which Fourierist astronomical conceptions were adopted by foreign socialists, focusing on examples of Polish thinkers such as Jan Czyński and Stanisław Bratkowski who, in drawing on Fourierist ideas and usage of scientific terms, tried to embed his vocabulary in the ongoing nineteenth-century debates about Polish history and, more generally, the burning issue of the independence of the Polish state. Our comparative analysis highlights the contextual influences which contributed to re-shaping such ideas within a new absorbing context.

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Book Reviews

Charles William Johns and Marcos A. Norris

Cox, Gary, How to Be an Existentialist: Or How to Get Real, Get a Grip and Stop Making Excuses, (London: Bloomsbury, 2020) 144 pp. ISBN 9781350068988 £9.99 (paperback).

Wicks, Robert L. Introduction to Existentialism: From Kierkegaard to The Seventh Seal. (London: Bloomsbury, 2020) 240 pp. ISBN 9781474272520 £21.59 (paperback).

French and Italian Stoicisms: From Sartre to Agamben. Edited by Kurt Lampe and Janae Sholtz. (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2021), 237 pp. ISBN 978-1-3500-8203-8 (hardcover).

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Certainty as Insanity

Lacanian Misrecognition and Sartrean Bad Faith

Constance De Meulder


I examine the Lacanian concept of misrecognition (méconnaissance) by comparing it with the Sartrean notion of bad faith (mauvaise foi). I focus on Jacques Lacan's 1946 article ‘Presentation on Psychical Causality’ in which Lacan criticises organicist psychology for misrecognising the cause of madness to be essentially organic and consequently failing to distinguish between ‘mad’ and ‘true’ ideas. I argue that bad faith, discussed by Jean-Paul Sartre in Being and Nothingness in 1943—and referred to six times in the Écrits by Lacan—has essential similarities with misrecognition in the Lacanian sense. By juxtaposing these concepts, I argue that this early Lacanian text is marked by an existentialist attitude which views human reality—and madness—as meaningful and grounded in being.

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Deconstructing Sartre

Alfred Betschart

François Noudelmann, Un tout autre Sartre (Paris: Gallimard, 2020), 206 pp. ISBN 978-2-07-288710-9. €18/e-book €13.

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John Gillespie and Katherine Morris

Imagination and the imaginary, both in life and in Sartre's treatment of these phenomena, seem so wide-ranging that it is hard to find your feet—what is in common between imagining the absent Pierre's face and imagining something never before seen? What role does imagination play in seeing someone in a portrait of them? What about in seeing Chevalier in Franconnay's imitation (or ‘performative simulation’) of him? Elad Magomedov's question is even trickier: how do we navigate the similarities and differences between Franconnay's Chevalier, Sartre's waiter's ‘playing at being a waiter’, and Jean-Claude Romand, ‘the “real” impostor who for fifteen years pretended to be a medical professional and ended up killing his entire family’?

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A Failed Attempt to Create an International Community of Communist Asian Studies in 1955

Huaiyu Chen


East German sinologists organized an international conference on East Asian studies in Leipzig in October 1955, bringing together scholars from most communist states and several scholars from Western Europe. This conference served to unite sinologists from both the Communist Bloc and West Germany in the early Cold War era. Since the Chinese delegation was particularly honored, this article suggests that China expanded its political influence in East Europe after the Korean War and the death of Stalin, which prompted a tension within the international communist community, especially between China and the Soviet Union. Moreover, this conference demonstrated a strong “modern turn” in the rising field of Asian studies, sinology in particular, because of the rise of the People's Republic of China in the 1950s.