Volume 30-2 Winter 2022


An issue containing ten articles written by the participants in the ESSE Doctoral Symposium. Foreword by Professor J. Lachlan Mackenzie (CELGA-ILTEC, Portugal), Organizer of the ESSE Doctoral Symposium

Leave Neverland, Fall down the Rabbit Hole

Tuğçe Alkış

Philip Pullman’s multi-layered contemporary children’s fantasy fiction, His Dark Materials, embraces profound subjects while discussing the misconceptions of childhood. His well-known trilogy, which focuses on Lyra’s adventurous journeys through the alternative worlds, employs fantasy in order to examine the problems and concerns of the contemporary world and to subvert the canonized and idealized associations with childhood innocence. The aim of this study is to discuss how Pullman’s trilogy reconceptualises the dichotomy between the innocence of childhood and the maturity of adulthood and how fantasy enables us to interpret real life issues from a refreshed vantage point.

 “Free, equal lords of the triumphed world”

Amira Aloui

The argument of this paper is centred on early modern Tacitism and emergent political theory in Ben Jonson’s England and his play Sejanus His Fall. Early modern political theory displayed a shift from a Christian humanist framework to what has been termed as Tacitean politics. In this paper, I will be discussing how Ben Jonson’s Sejanus His Fall comments on current political affairs via contemporary Tacitism and particularly George Buchanan’s political theory, especially his oeuvre De Jure Regni Apud Scotos; A Dialogue Concerning the Rights of the Crown in Scotland. Jonsonian scholarship has successfully discussed Ben Jonson’s sources and focused mainly on the famous Flemish influence of Justus Lipsius’s Tacitism but has overlooked George Buchanan’s thought and his importance in the drama of Ben Jonson and his play Sejanus His Fall.

 From “violence against women” to  “violence against women and girls”

Célia Atzeni

The aim of this paper is to discuss the reconceptualisation of violence against women in the United-Nations discourse on violence against women between 1996 and 2019. The paper relies on a corpus-based approach to discourse analysis and argues that the term “violence against women and girls” became the United-Nations’ preferred term to discuss the issue of violence against women in their press releases because of a shift in the feminist theorisation of the concept of “violence against women” and the influence of the geopolitical context of the 2000’s and beginning of the 2010’s.

 The Self and Sovereignty

Shreya Bera

In this article, the novel Mistress of Spices (1997) evinces the interaction between two socio-cultural environments, at times resulting in disillusionment. This concept of disillusionment will further debate on the feelings of terror, reason, and freedom to showcase the formulation of the sublime within diaspora studies. Immanuel Kant’s account of the sublime will help to propose exile and diasporicity as natural stimulus that permits humanity to revel in some extraordinary power of their own minds. The sublime describes the awakening of a certain psychological phenomenon, especially in the subjugated woman, aiding her freedom from the masculine construct of the society and reaching the sovereign self.

Nonsense as the Artist’s Identity Quest  in Mervyn Peake’s Letters from a Lost Uncle

Vanessa Bonnet

This paper explores the use of nonsense in Mervyn Peake’s Letters from a Lost Uncle (1948). It aims at shedding a light on how nonsense highlights the character’s quest for identity which ultimately reflects the author’s own quest as an artist. The figure of the author is shown as struggling to get a firm grasp on language while compensating through drawing, which gives him back some control. Parody and exaggeration allow Peake to take a step back on his own work and depict artistic creation as an endless quest for the unreachable.

 Poetics of an abstract author  in Ackroyd’s The House of Doctor Dee

Khanim Garayeva

This paper constitutes a part of one of the subchapters of my doctoral thesis the aim of which is to examine the different attitudes to esotericism in Dan Brown’s and Peter Ackroyd’s selected six novels. The general chapter under which this subsection falls is an attempt to frame Peter Ackroyd’s and Dan Brown’s esoteric narratives. Having introduced the authors’ literary activities at this point, it investigates the narratological differences between them. Nevertheless, this paper exclusively focuses on one of such differences, namely, the presence of the abstract author in Peter Ackroyd’s The House of Doctor Dee (1994). Here, using the theory of Wolf Schmid, it argues that Peter Ackroyd’s text deviates from Barthes’ concept of “the death of the author” and conveys the presence of the real author stylistically along with several semantic-linguistic techniques by locating Ackroyd himself within the text as an abstract author.

 Against Dehumanised Hermeneutics

Krystian Piotrowski

The paper problematises two distinct approaches to contemporary hermeneutics which advocate its complete reconceptualisation. One, offered by Jacques Derrida, excoriates “hermeneutic somnambulism” that disregards the text’s sovereignty, and – by extension – the author’s intended meaning. Derrida criticises the prescriptivist mindset of an exegete who imposes their interpretation on a text in an attempt to classify, delimit, and appropriate its meaning. On the other hand, Roland Barthes, as one may read in The Pleasure of the Text and A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments, praises the ultimate readerly and interpretative freedom; to read deeply is to achieve a sense of bliss (jouissance), a sensual pleasure which Barthes compares to that of a sexual climax. Both authors noticeably eroticise their language and employed imagery: partly to shock, and partly to make their reader aware of how much human corporeality, affectivity, and carnality have been disregarded in traditional hermeneutics. Both, too, propose exchanging scholarly hermeneutic paradigms (active interpretative stance) for the sheer readerly pleasure (passive receptive stance), by means of which reading – freed from its exegetic function – becomes a passionate act full of interpretative possibilities.

 On Translatability of an Intensional Function within Computer-Assisted Literary Translation

Tereza Šplíchalová

This paper discusses literary translation against the backdrop of digital humanities and explores the applicability of a computer-assisted approach to detection, re-creation, and translatability of an intensional function. Using Sketch Engine as the main tool, a single-novel parallel corpus is set up, containing an English novel and its Czech translation, and a series of computations is performed so as to reveal potentially useful narratological and linguistic data. The results are interpreted through the lens of fictional worlds theories, arguing that with the intention of successfully rendering a fictional world available to readers of another language, its intensional structure needs to be considered in the process of translation. Accordingly, this paper uses the proposed corpus-aided model to detail the distribution of a naming function in both, the source and target text, and suggests what adjustments might have been made in order to preserve the intensional trace.

 Turns of the Century  108

Yuliia Terentieva

The city is a frequent setting in various novels written in the last century and an important entity, almost a character in its own right, in many of them. This paper investigates the modes and techniques of narration in the representation of the city in selected novels of David Lodge and compares them with those of James Joyce in order to investigate the similarities and differences of the representation of the city at the beginning and the end of the 20th century, as well as to establish the ways in which the image of the city and its suburbs affects the representation of the novels’ characters and their narratives in general.

 Presentation of vox pop in public media broadcasts

Iveta Žákovská

My dissertation project, written in the English Linguistics doctoral programme, focuses on the investigation of the presence of “vox-pops”, sound-bites and fragmented interviews with members of the public in TV news broadcasts, as part of the tendency towards the “conversationalization” of public discourse. This article introduces the aims and methods of the project, outlines the theoretical points of departure and presents a preliminary small-scale study performed within the project, focusing on the strategies used for representing voices of citizens in TV news broadcasts on a public-service Czech and British channel and a commercial Czech channel.