The Comparative Literature Undergraduate Journal

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

Vol. 2(1): Spring 2012

Vol. 2(1): Spring 2012

Table of Contents

A Note from the Editor-in-Chief

In Search of Lost Space: Memories of Baghdad in Iraqi-Jewish Literature
Pelle Valentin Olsen, University of Copenhagen

The primary aim of this paper is to examine how the two short stories, Ṭanṭal by Samīr Naqqāš (1938-2004) and Fī al-madīna al-suflā by Šimʿūn Ballāṣ (b. 1930) relate to and describe Baghdad and Iraqi-Jewish history using personal memories as their starting point. Both short stories, however, problematize memory’s ability to recreate the lost space. Therefore, I argue, the quality of the two stories ought to be found, not in their possibility for an exact and accurate representation of the past, but in their questioning of the hitherto indisputable and given.


Shakespearovy sonety v současném českém překladu
Shakespeare’s Sonnets in Contemporary Czech Translation
Jitka Štollová

My study explores the resonance of Renaissance poetry in Czech cultural context by examining the latest translations of William Shakespeare’s Sonnets by the most prominent contemporary Czech Shakespearean translators, Prof. Martin Hilský, MBE. (*1943) and Dr. Jiří Josek (*1950). The study examines how both translators coped with such a linguistic difficulty and how creatively they made use of the possibilities of their mother tongue to compensate the losses which inevitably accompany the process of translation.

The Literary Connotations of Blood in ’Tis Pity She’s A Whore
Lily Cedarbaum, Columbia University

This essay analyzes the various usages of blood in John Ford’s 1633 Jacobean drama “‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore”. Building off of Terri Clerico’s own study of Ford’s satire, in which Ford satirically comments on the marital intermingling of the merchant and landed classes, I contextually explain Ford’s other metaphorical comments on society; I argue that through his utilization of the multiple symbolic connotations of the word “blood,” Ford illustrates the struggle between the superficial constraints of Renaissance England’s societal “dermis” of moral and religious pretensions, and the perverse carnality of internal desires for lust and violence. This literary conflict not only comments on the perversity of societal hierarchy constrictions, but also that of antiquated religious traditions and definitions of female sexuality.

Sculpting Memory: Reading Berlin’s Book Burning Memorial
Isabella Oppen, UC Berkeley

Berlin is a city overrun with markers of the past. The National Socialist book burning of 1933, which took place at the beginning of the Nazi rise to power in Germany, stands as a symbolically important event for Germany to process and acknowledge. This paper closely analyzes the forms of the planned East German memorials alongside their built Reunified German counterpart so as to elucidate the different memorial practices in the different Germanys. Close-reading of the forms of the memorials as well as the language of the planning documents through archival research allows for a multi-layered inquiry into the national memory and national identity embedded in the historical landscape of Berlin.


Translation in Conceptual Writing 
Carolina Martes, Columbia University

This project proposes a praxis (rather than a more static and abstract theory) of translation that responds to contemporary needs. Conceptual writing here serves as an appropriate case study since it already is performing many of the acts that our praxis provides: breaks from the dichotomies of the translation past. These dichotomies operate within hierarchies (i.e., the writer-genius and translator-imitator), and consequently entail an almost inescapable linear power structure of submission: the translator must receive orders from the master creator; if the creator is masterful enough, there will be a translator to operate under the stipulations of the original.

The Social Network: Power Relations, the Body, and the Struggle for Freedom
Elyssa Goldberg, Columbia University

My paper analyzes Luigi Chiarelli’s play La maschera e il volto through the lens of modern cultural theory in order to better understand Chiarelli’s positioning of his characters’ desires against the imposing and oppressive expectations of Italian society. By utilizing theories posited by Foucault, Butler, Althusser, and Gramsci, my paper investigates the effect of societal constraints (considered public) on the individual body (considered private) over which the characters assume they have control. At the heart of the paper is positioning Chiarelli as far more theoretically radical than he is normally given credit for, as he tries to navigate the definitions of  “identity” as similarity and sameness versus “identity” as unrepeatable uniqueness.

Reflections, Spectatorship, and Creation:Female Authorship in A Ma Soeur and Sex is Comedy
Charlotte Anderson, Brown University

What I argue, here, is that Breillat’s films, particularly A Ma Soeur (Fat Girl) and Sex is Comedy, portray a distinctly female experience which is all too often forgotten in the conventional cannon. Essentially, this is about representations (and realities) of female authorship beyond the scopophilic. It is a reconsideration of what makes up the social ‘I.’

Emanations and Disruptions: The Temporality of Aerial Bombing in Slaughter-House Five and Hiroshima
Annie Yi

The unearthly remains of both space and lives left survivors of the Dresden and Hiroshima aerial bombings grasping for a language to make sense of their experiences and, more challengingly, cope with the resulting trauma. However, with clichéd commonplace language doing little except as, in W.G. Sebald’s words, “a gesture to banish memory” and left with, as Kurt Vonnegut’s articulates, “nothing intelligent to say about a massacre,” as Kurt Vonnegut puts forth, writers had to find another mode to endow meaning to the events, so they turned to time. In this paper, I argue that the disrupted time scheme in Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House Five and the rippling temporal emanations in John Hersey’s Hiroshima encompass the exploded aftermath of aerial bombing.

Вяч. Иванов и Ф.Тютчев: к проблеме творческого вляиния.
Маштакова Любовь, студентка 5 курса филологического факультета
Уральского Федерального Университета.
Науч. руководитель: доктор филологических наук, проф.

Созина Е.К.

Впервые сводит поэтические миры Тютчева и Иванова Л.Пумпянский в работе «Поэзия Ф.И. Тютчева». Используя идею Пумпянского, мы поставили цель работы: исследовать степень влияния Ф.Тютчева на раннее творчество Вяч.Иванова. Исходя из обозначенной цели, нами были поставлены следующие задачи: раскрыть поэтический мир Иванова через призму произведений Тютчева в метафизическом (включая мотивы, образы и символы земного пространства и пространства морского) и историософском (включая  идею мессианства России, темы России и русского) аспектах. Для убедительности анализа нами будут использованы работы В.Соловьева, Ю.Лотмана и др., позволяющие раскрыть поэтический мир Тютчева, а также самого В. Иванова по теории символизма, раскрывающие суть его философии, ведь, как говорил А.Блок, «сознавая свое исключительное положение очень сложного поэта, Вяч.Иванов стал теоретиком символизма».