The Comparative Literature Undergraduate Journal

A Premier Humanities Research Journal at the University of California, Berkeley

Note From the Editor in Chief

This semester, the CLUJ staff proudly presents four pieces of exceptionally well-written work. The authors featured in this issue have all succeeded in carrying out thoughtful examinations of the tools used in academic discourse: reading, writing, interpretation, and expression. The diversity of their subjects—ranging from Rashi’s treatment of Biblical verse to the popularity of the zombie—provides a wonderful example of just how expansive the field of comparative literature can be. Through extensive research and thorough analysis, these authors have produced a series of discussions that are original, thoughful, and sure to satisfy the appetites of inquisitive minds.

In “Comparative Analysis of New Critical Principles and Rashi’s Interpretive Methods,” Rachel Frommer discusses the similarities between New Criticism and the interpretive program of Rashi. In doing so, she conducts a thorough exploration of the methods’ approaches to finding meaning in textual content and reveals significant parallels in their usage.

In “The Conversion of the Gaze in the Work of Georges Perec,” Austin Sarfan examines the work of French author Georges Perec in order to demonstrate a link between writing and spiritual exercise in philosophy. Identifying said exercise as the “conversion of the gaze,” Sarfan seeks to explain how seeing the world differently—releasing ourselves from the habits that limit our perspectives—is in and of itself a spiritual exercise.

Shawn Flickner, in “The Russian Dead: Ayn Rand and Mikhail Bakhtin in World War Z,” examines the question of why the zombie has become such a popular figure in contemporary media. Employing the distinctive ideologies of Ayn Rand and Mikhail Bakhtin, he offers an explanation for the proliferation of the now-ubiquitous undead figures: They provide carnivalesque equality in an environment plagued by inequality.

Doron Darnov, in “Inscription: Virtual (Hyper)Reality and the Observing Subject,” dissects the cultural relevance of virtual reality. He exmaines its roots in visual history and traces the path it takes towards becoming a force that rivals the imagination in terms of sensory stimulation. Through a discussion of Baudrillard’s hyperreality, Darnov aims to shed light on the relationship between the virtual realm and its observers.

This issue was compiled thanks to the hard work of CLUJ’s editorial team. Their contributions were, as always, crucial to the success of this journal. As I am graduating and vacating my position within CLUJ, I would like to add a few more words of gratitude to my fellow staff members. I joined this journal during my first semester at UC Berkeley, and seeing it grow over the years has been an incredible honor. I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made, the submissions I’ve had the pleasure of reading, and the experience of being a part of such a passionate and welcoming community. To our readers and all of the members of CLUJ, past and present: Thank you. I look forward to seeing CLUJ soar to even greater heights.

Without further ado, I introduce to you the Spring 2016 issue of CLUJ.

Happy reading,

Tina Nguyen