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Hamlet’s Catch-22

A Psychoanalytic Reading of Hamlet and Catch-22

Bahareh Azad and Pyeaam Abbasi


The double-bind dilemma that Hamlet is engulfed in places him in a catch-22 situation from which there seems to be no way out. Locked in a psychological impasse exacerbated by a deficient Oedipal process due to the father’s death and mother’s remarriage, he is driven into (feigning) insanity, a situation that brings him close to Yossarian, Heller’s paranoid antihero who is as much inept in the face of the paternalistic ordeal he is subjected to as an army fighter. Evading the fear of castration on the one hand and becoming consumed with guilt for the incompetence to face the trial on the other give rise to problematic identities of both protagonists and numerous evasive strategies they plot. Nevertheless, through mainly linguistic/textual acts of defiance, these initially victimized subjects to the law of the father turn into rebels, mastering and thus making the Symbolic order backfire on itself.

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Ethics, Sublimity and Hospitality

Levinas and the Romantics

Mehrdad Bidgoli and Pyeaam Abbasi


This article presents a study of ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ by Coleridge and ‘Resolution and Independence’ by Wordsworth. The readings are mainly addressed by the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas and try to present a conception of sublimity which mainly revolves around ethical awareness and sensibility so as to gauge the extent to which they can possibly hint at ethical issues at stake. We propose that these poetic works deal with the other and the sublimity of the encounter between the self and the other. Each of these works offers similar images of the self before the encounter – that of dwelling, self-preoccupation and enjoyment – but the speakers come out of the encounter differently: in ‘The Rime’, the Mariner roams throughout the country and recounts his experience for other ‘others’ in the hope of spreading what he now can probably identify as ‘the Good’; in ‘Resolution and Independence’, the speaker simply comes out of the unsettling and sublime encounter with the leech-gatherer enlightened and mindful of the other. The conclusion is that one significant part of the idea of the sublime in Romanticism deals with irreducible alterities – cosmic/ontic as well as (more importantly) human – and while they ineluctably reduce them to the language of poetry, each treatment can be evaluated by analysing how well they express the ruptures and interstices of alterity within a language which can go beyond language.

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Reflecting upon Coriolanus as Being-in-and-for-Mother through the Gaze of Existential Semiotics

Maryamossadat Mousavi and Pyeaam Abbasi


This study applies Tarasti's existential semiotics, arguing that the protagonist of Shakespeare's Coriolanus (c. 1608) develops into a becoming subject through transcendental acts of negation and affirmation. First, Coriolanus discovers himself amidst Dasein's objective signs. Coriolanus is then thrown into negation as experiencing humiliation, when his already-established ascendency to consulship is destroyed by conspiracy. His movement, however, persists and follows affirmation, whereby he finds a supra-individual signification. Furthermore, the study portrays, through Z-model, subjectivity phases leading Coriolanus from M1 to S1. It reasons that Coriolanus's mother, Volumnia, as a transcendental idea or pre-sign, intrudes into the Dasein of the whole of Rome, becoming ‘actualised’ as an act-sign, precluding Coriolanus's war against Rome through her speech and prostration. Besides, Volumnia's impact as a post-sign pertains to Coriolanus's noble embrace of his death. The article concludes that Coriolanus, through acknowledgement of M(Other)'s opinions, validating his genuine self, eventually emerges as a geno-sign.

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Liturgical Time in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Meditated, Measured and Manipulated

Alireza Mahdipour, Hossein Pirnajmuddin, and Pyeaam Abbasi


Liturgies are communal in nature, and in the context of the medieval Christian economy of time they are developed and utilised to quantify, consecrate, control, utilise and unify time for the comprehensive end of the welfare of the society, both in the Here and in the Here-after. The liturgy was a social institution, and functioned for anniversaries, holy days, holidays and rituals that were the means of medieval social integrity. In the economy of socio-political and ethical life, the medieval Church linked the sacred to the secular by means of the liturgy. They were used for meditation, as well as a measurement of time, and arguably they were manipulated to parody or satirise the strictly hierarchal estates of the medieval society. Though one of the least liturgical books of his time, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is framed by the liturgical institution of the pilgrimage. Actually a pilgrim travelogue, it depicts the secularisation of liturgy and its appropriation for social control, and paradoxically, a carnivalesque celebration of the reversal of social hierarchy.

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Urban Decay or the Uncanny Return of Dionysus

An Analysis of the Ruins in Shelley's ‘Ozymandias’

Roohollah Datli Beigi, Pyeaam Abbasi, and Zahra Jannessari Ladani


Written in the familiar genre of ruin poems, Percy Bysshe Shelley's ‘Ozymandias’ (1818) is well-expressive of the poet's profound hatred of tyranny. One of the distinctive features of the poem is the vividly visual images it provides of the ruined statue and the desert as the setting of the poem. Focusing on the images of the desert and ruins, and using the concept of urban decay and mytho-archetypal notions, this study attempts to show that the ruins of the poem anticipate the modern phenomenon of urban decay as the return of the repressed in city-forms. However, what the poem presents as destruction, death, ruins and decay is in fact the potential of bringing about spring and regeneration. Reading this poem in the light of the mentioned concepts provides the reader with an understanding of the function of the ruins in Shelley's poems as an uncanny Dionysian defiance against both the tyranny of his age and the rationalism of the Enlightenment period.