rss_2.0East-West Cultural Passage FeedSciendo RSS Feed for East-West Cultural Passage Cultural Passage 's Cover“The Reason for War is War”: Western and Eastern Interrogations of Violence in Michael Ondaatje’s<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Michael Ondaatje’s <italic>Anil’s Ghost</italic> (2000) is set in civil war-torn Sri Lanka. This contemporary violent moment becomes a rupture through which the writer interrogates the division between Western and Eastern ways of approaching a violent situation. This essay sets out to investigate historical instances of violence and justifications for violence in the Buddhist context. The essay then turns to Buddhist scholars’ contemporary critical examination of violence and war in light of the teachings of ancient Buddhist texts. Then, having established the Buddhist history and contemporary debate around violence and war, the essay explores how Ondaatje comments on this history through the contemporary moment of civil war in Sri Lanka. The essay argues that rather than illustrating the need for a purer Buddhism or the separation between the political and the religious, as some scholars have argued in relation to <italic>Anil’s Ghost</italic>, according to Ondaatje, the only way to approach the problem of violence with any hope of reaching understanding is through appreciating the different ways of knowing offered by the East and the West.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-05-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Phonological Patterns in the Translations of Poe’s “The Bells” into Romanian<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Of all translation work in the world at any given time, poetry makes up just a small proportion. And of all theorists in translation, only a few tackled the issue of poetry translation for reasons that need no expatiation. The article below discusses two translations into Romanian of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Bells,” focusing on the approaches and techniques used by the translators in what concerns the transfer of phonological patterns from English into Romanian. The aim is to determine to what extent the target-language texts are faithful replicas in terms of orchestration and aesthetic function, and, whether the outcome has suffered any meaning transformation as a result of the transfer of phonological patterns.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-05-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Mihaela Ursa (coordinator). . Ed. Adrian Tătăran and Alexandra Turcu. Piteşti: Paralela 45, 2019’s Food Culture – From (Dumplings) to (Moon-Viewing) Burgers<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The purpose of this essay is to present how Japanese eating habits have changed in the context of globalization. We start from the premise that eating is not merely about meeting a basic need, but about creating a relationship with nature. It can be regarded as a ritual practice because it reveals a culture and its people’s beliefs, values and mind-sets. As Geert Hofstede et al. note, life in Japan is highly ritualized and there are a lot of ceremonies (192). Starting from the idea that food consumption is based on rituals too, we intend to explain the relationship between eating habits and lifestyle change in contemporary Japan. Considering that the Japanese diet is based on whole or minimally processed foods, we ask ourselves how Western food habits ended up being adopted and adapted so quickly in the Japanese society. With this purpose in mind, we intend to describe some of the most important festivals and celebrations in Japan, focusing on the relationship between special occasions and food. In other words, we aim to explain the cultural significance of food and eating and to see if and how these habits have changed in time.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-05-12T00:00:00.000+00:00The Image of the River in Kazuo Ishiguro’s<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This essay focuses on the theme of the river in Kazuo Ishiguro’s <italic>A Pale View of Hills</italic> which will be analyzed in relation to the nuclear devastation of WWII. Rivers have a special meaning to the inhabitants of Nagasaki since the rivers were filled with the corpses of people who were exposed to radiation after the atomic bombing. It is also known in Nagasaki that unidentifiable fireballs called <italic>onibi</italic> float over marsh ground at night in summer. Especially in his first novel, <italic>A Pale View of Hills</italic>, the river evokes the image of <italic>Sanzu No Kawa</italic>, a river which, in Japanese Buddhism, the souls of the dead are believed to be crossing on the seventh day of afterlife. The river imagery signifies the boundary between life and death, and it has been used as a metaphor for the transience of time. As such, the river displays an ephemeral texture. In <italic>A Pale View of Hills</italic>, the protagonist Etsuko reminisces about her days in Nagasaki. In her memories, she becomes friends with Sachiko and her daughter Mariko. One night, Mariko confesses to Etsuko that she sees a ghostly woman coming from the other side of the river. Ishiguro also writes about the rivers in other novels. For example, in <italic>Never Let Me Go</italic>, he uses the river as a metaphor for Kathy and Tommy’s fate. In <italic>The Buried Giant</italic>, at the end of the novel, Axl sets Beatrice free and lets the boatman carry her alone to the island, which can be read as Beatrice’s departure from life. My analysis explores Ishiguro’s intentions when using the river and various apparitions in his novels, with a special focus on <italic>A Pale View of Hills.</italic></p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-05-12T00:00:00.000+00:00The Challenges of Translating into Romanian<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>A classic of American literature, Mark Twain’s <italic>The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn</italic> has had a huge impact not only on American literature but also on world literature. Its bold and freshly creative style, its humor and the author’s endless verve and vitality, the multifaceted and novel approach to life have all contributed to its success and popularity. However, Twain’s greatest merit probably lies in the way in which he used language, crafting art out of the speech of ordinary people. His experiments with language, the vernacular in particular, have meant a huge step forward in American literature and have been a source of inspiration for many writers. However, the translation of the novel has generated huge challenges related to the linguistic register appropriate for the translation of the novel and the strategies for rendering dialect, the African-American one in particular. It has also divided Romanian translators with regard to the target readership the original novel addressed: children, adults or both.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-05-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Gender and Ethnicity: Life Stories of Jewish-American Immigrant Women in the First Half of the Twentieth Century<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In the first half of the twentieth century, immigrants left oral and written testimonies of their experience in the United States, many of them housed in various ethnic-American archives or published by ethnic historical societies. In 1942, the Yiddish Scientific Institute in New York City encouraged Jewish-American immigrants to share their life stories as part of a written essay contest. In 2006, several of these autobiographical accounts were translated and published by Jocelyn Cohen and Daniel Soyer in a volume entitled <italic>My Future Is in America</italic>. Thus, this essay examines the autobiographies of two Jewish-American immigrant women, Minnie Goldstein and Rose Schoenfeld, with a view to comparing how their gendered identity (as women and as members of their families) has impacted their choices and lives in their home countries and in the United States in the first part of the twentieth century.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-05-12T00:00:00.000+00:00“People Eat Their Dinner, Just Eat Their Dinner…”: Food Discourse in Anton Chekhov’s and Beth Henley’s<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The essay sets out to explore the functions of food discourse in the plays <italic>Three Sisters</italic> by Anton Chekhov and <italic>Crimes of the Heart</italic> by Beth Henley. Based on the critically established continuity between the two plays, the essay looks at the ways the dramatists capitalize on food imagery to achieve their artistic goals. It seemed logical to discuss the alimentary practices within the framework of everyday life studies (Edmund Husserl, Alfred Schütz, Fernand Braudel, Bernhard Waldenfels and others), moved to the forefront of literary scholarship by the anthropological turn in the humanities. Enhanced by a semiotic approach, this perspective enables one to understand food products and consumption manners as performing a variety of functions in each play. Most obviously, they are instrumental in creating the illusion of “everydayness” vital for new drama. Then, for Chekhov, food comes to epitomize the spiritless materiality of contemporary life, while in Henley’s play it is predominantly used, in accordance with the play’s feminist agenda, as a grotesque substitute for the lack of human affection. Relying upon the fundamental cultural distinction between everyday and non-everyday makes it possible to compare representations of festive occasions in the two plays seen through the gastronomical lens of “eating together.” Despite substantial differences, the emphases on alimentary practices in the plays serve to realize the inexhaustible dramatic potential inherent in the minutiae of quotidian life.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-05-12T00:00:00.000+00:00From the Ottoman Empire to pre-Islamic Central Asia: Theatre as an Ideological Tool<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>After Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the new Turkish Republic in 1923, the country went through a swift and radical transformation. The ruling elite made use of all possible tools to impose the ideals of the new Republic. Their main objective was to break the bonds with the Islamic Ottoman past to establish a new secular national identity. The essence of the new Turkish nation was found in pre-Islamic Central Asia. This view was supported with the help of the Turkish History Thesis, which asserted that the Turks are a supreme race, and their origins are from Central Asia. The state tried to propagate this thesis by various means. The most effective tool that could reach the illiterate people during that period was the theatre. Accordingly, the aim of this article is to explore how the state disseminated the Turkish History Thesis and the values of the new Republic through theatre. The emergence of this new narrative coincided with the tenth anniversary of the Turkish Republic. The plays, written in 1933, especially for this occasion, will be analyzed to determine how they support the Turkish History Thesis and the values of the new nation. Two plays, <italic>Akın</italic> (<italic>The Raid</italic>) and its sequel <italic>Özyurt</italic> (<italic>Homeland</italic>), will be explored in detail to give an elaborate account of the ideology behind such plays written during that period.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Speech Acts across Cultures: Teaching Compliment Exchanges<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Speaking a foreign language implies more than knowing its vocabulary and grammar. As such, teachers of foreign languages should keep this in mind and consider also other aspects than the ones mentioned. Attention should be paid to pragmatics and cultural issues, among others. The present essay aims to highlight the importance of raising foreign language students’ awareness of national and international linguistic and cultural behaviours. It describes briefly the field of cross-cultural pragmatics, focusing on speech acts and their culture-sensitive features. Then, it turns to one of the most important types of speech acts, namely compliment exchanges. Taking into consideration the key role played in cross-cultural communication by the appropriateness of compliments and their expected answers, the article proposes several activities to do in class in order to (1) raise students’ awareness regarding the importance of compliments for successful communication, (2) present them the usual patterns, topics, and cultural particularities of compliments, (3) familiarise students with possible communication threats, and (4) provide them with possible strategies to answer compliments. The activities are not restricted to students of foreign languages in general but are recommended also to those studying specialised subjects in foreign languages, such as communication, translation and interpreting.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Understanding Arab American Identity through Orientalist Stereotypes and Representations in Mohja Kahf’s (2006)<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Arab-American women’s literature has emerged noticeably in the early years of the 21st century. The social and political atmosphere in post-9/11 America encouraged the growth of such literature and brought it to international attention. This diasporic literature functions as a means of discussing the Orientalist discourse that circumscribes Arab American identity and its effects in determining their position in the wider American society. As such, this article investigates the extent to which Edward Said’s discourse of Orientalism is employed by Mohja Kahf in her novel <italic>The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf</italic> (2006) to project the stereotypes and misrepresentations that confine the identity of Arab and Muslim characters in the US society. This article suggests that post-9/11 Arab American fiction serves as a literary reference to such stereotype-based discourse in the contemporary era. The arguments in this article, while employing an analytical and critical approach to the novel, are outlined within postcolonial and Orientalist theoretical frameworks based on arguments of prominent critics and scholars such as Peter Morey, Edward Said, and Jack Shaheen, to name just a few.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Echoes of Sapphic Gods and Goddesses, Immortality, Eros and Thanatos in the Work of Modernist Women Poets<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>In the context of Modernism’s constant return to the past that results in self-knowledge and innovation, certain women writers found Sappho’s writings relevant for their own poetic endeavours. My article will mainly focus on the mythological aspects of both Sappho’s and the modernist women’s poetry. Invocations of and allusions to gods and goddesses and other mythical figures, which involve introspection and expressing certain erotic concerns in stylised ways, will be discussed in order to show how all these women poets innovated. and, in many different ways, significantly enriched the literature of their times. Critics have mainly focused on H.-D.’s poetry in relation to Sappho’s, most likely because the modernist poet had also translated (or adapted, according to most scholars) a number of Sappho’s poems. As regards other modernist women poets, such as, for instance, Amy Lowell or Marianne Moore, critics have refrained, for various reasons, from analysing their work in relation to Sappho’s. There are very few critical accounts of Sappho’s influence on their (and even H.-D.’s) poetry, and this article will, perforce, draw on these, but aims, all the while, to provide new and relevant insights.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Gandhian Fasting and Cultural Indigestion in Jeffrey Eugenides’ “Air Mail”<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>“Air Mail” is one of the ten stories included in Jeffrey Eugenides’ latest collection of stories, <italic>Fresh Complaint</italic>. Drawing on one of the characters in his third novel, <italic>The Marriage Plot</italic>, as well as on his own experiences in India working as a volunteer alongside Mother Theresa, “Air Mail” tells the story of young (and idealistic) Mitchell Grammaticus, who leaves the West in order to explore India, Bangkok, and a tropical island in the Gulf of Siam, where he finally succumbs to dysentery (as well as to thoughts regarding the futility of existence). Ripe in irony and biting sarcasm, coupled with a surprising tenderness and empathy, which are the landmarks of Eugenides’ writing, the story is a tongue-in-cheek debate on the East-West cultural conflict, as well as on the numerous (false) conceptions Westerners harbor regarding foreign cultures, paradigms and ideologies.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00A Comparative Analysis of Translations of Lucian Blaga’s Poetry into English<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The complexity of Lucian Blaga’s poetry is a matter of common knowledge. Part of this complexity is related to the elements of prosody that Blaga skilfully employs, to say nothing of the philosophical vein which infuses his writings, and which derives, understandably, from his philosophical work. Mention should also be made of the lyrical character of Blaga’s dramatic works, which adds significantly to the effort of translating his writings into English, or any other language for that matter. In what follows, we intend to offer a bird’s eye view of the volumes that have been translated into English and to analyse a selection of poems comparatively, in order to signal challenges and discrepancies, born in the process of transferring literary material from Romanian to English, and to point out what has been lost, and, if that be the case, what has been gained in the translation process.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00On Telling the Truth: A Cognitive Stylistic Reading of Philip Larkin’s “Talking in Bed”<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This essay presents a cognitive stylistic analysis of Philip Larkin’s “Talking in Bed,” highlighting the linguistic functions that aid the reader in the meaning-making process. In the poem, the realization of truth dawns upon the persona in the final moments of a lingering introspection, shedding light on the reason for which he is lying in bed beside his partner, profoundly incapable of uttering a word. It seems to him, in the end, that truth is indispensable to human relationships. This essay represents a thorough attempt at textually analyzing the poem, broaching snippets of knowledge from multiple fields – philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and literature – all in an attempt to present a comprehensive interpretation of Larkin’s poem. The aim is to further evidence the speaker’s realization, that the articulation of truth is a vital element in a healthy relationship, and to provide an understanding of the stylistic technique most utilized by Larkin, namely, the linguistic deviation he usually deploys by the end of his poems. I argue that the ambiguity he instills at the end of this poem makes for a cognitive attempt at empathically communicating to the reader the sense of meaninglessness the persona suffers from throughout the poem.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Ali Smith’s : Identity, Hospitality and Transcendence in the Age of Surveillance<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The aim of this essay is to prove that, throughout Ali Smith’s <italic>There But For Th</italic>e (2011), the “narrative” subjective identity (Alphen 83) accessed via the face-to-face relation (Levinas and Hand 42), as well as through storytelling itself, is liable to be turned into archivable information under the pressures of a surveillance state in which its citizens are complicit. I will use this archival/narrative identity dyad as articulated by theorist Ernst van Alphen in order to investigate at length the novel’s staging of hospitality as corrupted by surveillance. I will oppose the notion of identity as information against Emmanuel Levinas’s conception of the face-to-face relation (Levinas and Hand 42), whereby true hospitality depends upon the mutual respect one person has for the absolute singularity of the other, which involves personal information and the right to privacy. As it will become apparent, these identities lose or gain agency according to the engagement of the self with a newly arrived foreign alterity. Thus, the arrival of strangers throughout Smith’s novel thematizes the scenario of hospitality in tension with the stranger as surveyor or as surveyed. The doubling of language, the self-editing of one’s discourse and the risky openness towards the Other are modes of resistance that eschew the artificial categorizations upon which the archival identity is contingent. However, the bridge from interiority to exteriority is mediation. Smith therefore develops a conception of secularized Grace that works by exploring the revolutionary potential of this very mediation and can disrupt the logic of tyrannical surveillance. Part of this approach to history and language is informed by the witnessing of the traces left on the bodies of martyrized dissidents by unjust systems at their apex.</p><p><italic>There But For The</italic> is narrated by four characters in the mediatic aftermath of a bourgeois dinner party in an affluent suburb of London that witnessed the sudden and unexplainable reclusion of Miles Garth into the spare room of his stunned hosts. The event, as well as those leading up to and following it, is recounted by a grieving nature photographer in his sixties named Mark; May, a rebellious old woman suffering from dementia; an unemployed, middle-aged Anna; and Brooke, a ten-year old girl and voracious reader. The essay will approach these characters’ meditations upon the nature of identity as split between its narrative and archival forms.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-01-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Cultural Encounters: Glimpses of the United States in Late Twentieth-Century Romanian Travel Narratives<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Travel narratives are complex accounts that include a significant layer of factual information – related to the geography, history, and/or the culture of a particular place or country – and a more personal layer, comprising the author’s unique perceptions and rendering of the travel experience. In the last thirty years of transition from a communist to a democratic society, the Romanians have been free to travel to any country they choose; however, during the communist period, especially during the 1980s, travelling to Western, capitalist countries, such as France, Great Britain, Canada, or the United States, was rather limited and fraught with complex issues. Still, Romanian travelers during that time managed to visit the United States, on diplomatic- or business-related exchanges, and published interesting travel stories of their experiences there. Therefore, this essay sets out to capture, from a comparative perspective, the impressions and encounters depicted by Radu Enescu in <italic>Between Two Oceans</italic> (1986), Ion Dinu in <italic>Traveler through America</italic> (1991) and Viorel Sălăgean in <italic>Hello America!</italic> (1992), with a view to analyzing how their descriptions and perceptions of two major urban spaces, New York City and San Francisco, reflect the complexity of the American social and cultural landscape in the late 1970s and mid-1980s.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2019-12-26T00:00:00.000+00:00“She Isn’t Going to Give Up”: Women’s Resilience in Monica Ali’s – A Feminist Reading<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>While Monica Ali’s novel <italic>Brick Lane</italic> is most often analyzed from the vantage points of postcolonialism as a text dealing primarily with the plight of the Bangladeshi immigrant community in London, it is difficult, if not downright impossible, to overlook the crucial role women and feminine resilience (in the face of not only patriarchy, but also racism, religion and social unrest) play in the novel. In actual fact, the story can much easier be read as the plight of women in their quest for self-determination and identity than as a novel about cultural clashes in the multicultural metropolis. The present essay sets out to prove that feminism is actually at the forefront of Ali’s novel, and that the feminine characters in <italic>Brick Lane</italic> stand for a post-feminist reflection on the (still) gasping abyss between theoretical gender equality and real-life sexism.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2019-12-26T00:00:00.000+00:00‘The Cake is (Not) a Lie:’ Intertextuality as a Form of Play in Digital Games<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Since Julia Kristeva’s first use of the term in the late 20<sup>th</sup> century, intertextuality has given rise to one of the literary theories most frequently applied in the interpretation of texts across different media, from literature to art and film. In what concerns the study of digital games, however, the concept has received little attention, in spite of the fact that the new medium offers a more than fertile ground for its investigation. The aim of the present essay, therefore, is to propose that digital games can be and, indeed, are intertextual in at least two ways. First, we argue, games deliberately refer to other games, which may or may not be a part of the same series. Secondly, they connect with texts from other media and specifically with literary texts. In both cases, the intertextual link can be a sign of tribute, a critical comment, or a means of self-reflection. Ultimately, however, these links are a form of aesthetic play that reveals new similarities between digital games and traditional media for artistic expression.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2019-12-26T00:00:00.000+00:00Give Us This Day Our Daily Absurd, As We Also Have Given It to Our Absurd-mongers! One Look at the Absurd in Romanian Culture<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>An unpublished piece of prose in the style of Romanian writer Urmuz has rekindled my interest in absurdist writings and/or absurd cases which, in Romanian culture, are associated with the likes of Urmuz, Caragiale or Ionesco. I will ponder here, with the aid of the aforementioned authors and also by comparing their work with Lewis Carroll’s, the absurdist spirit of certain Romanian literary and dramatic pieces, or only of certain scenes therein, to propose a typology of the absurd as distinct from satire (the latter often a companion piece to the former). Mine is an investigation that crisscrosses texts, cultures and ages more than it offers an in-depth analysis by recourse to concepts and theories; asks questions more than it offers answers; plays more than it does sober research; and laughs – lest it should weep.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2019-12-26T00:00:00.000+00:00en-us-1