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Literature Study Group (VII)

5/7 (Sat) 1:30 – 3:30

外語大樓 LA 115

* All the MA students are cordially welcome to attend and join our discussion.  The paper files are to be sent to those registered on Wed. 

Paper (1) & Abstract

Joseph Murphy -- “‘Far Shore’: The Post-Apocalyptic Coast in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.”

In Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2006 novel The Road, a father and son migrate toward the Atlantic Ocean across a post-apocalyptic American South after the entire earth has been laid waste by a catastrophe—of human or natural causation, we are never sure. This essay focuses on the seacoast as key to the novel’s allegorical design, its human relationships, and its place in American cultural history. The protagonists’ southeasterly trek to the Atlantic reverses the westward course of American history patterned by Puritans and pioneers. No longer conducive to immigration and commerce, McCarthy’s Atlantic is a desolate “vat of slag” that overturns the American geography of redemption. The ocean also sheds its conventional symbolism of primordial mother and cyclical time. Hollowed of its traditional American significance, disjoined from time, the coast pushes the father and son to reconceive both their own relationship and their relationship to the ruined landscape. The coast presents a last chance to re-inscribe the nation’s ruins and to transcend the narrative’s serial structure—a short-circuited Trinitarian mechanism where spirit, as “fire,” passes repeatedly between father and son but finds no social outlet. Situating The Road’s seacoast imagery in the context of Walt Whitman’s Sea-Drift poems, nineteenth-century American Luminist paintings of wrecked boats, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, and William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech—and drawing upon modern accounts of allegory by Erich Auerbach and Walter Benjamin—this essay charts a novelist territory stretching ambiguously between a ruinous coast and a “far shore” where the world’s unmaking might merge with the world’s re-creation.

Keywords: Cormac McCarthy, The Road, allegory, Atlantic Ocean, Walt Whitman, Sea-Drift, American Luminism, T. S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Erich Auerbach, Walter Benjamin

 

Reference

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road

Paper (2) & Abstract

Cecilia Liu -- Fantasy and the Theft of Enjoyment: The Anti-Semitism in Chaucer's "Prioress's Tale"  

This paper explores the anti-Semitism in Chaucer's "Prioress's Tale" as the manifestation of racist fantasy and the theft of enjoyment. Using as basis Slavoj Žižek’s suggestions that racism is the product of the conflict of fantasies instead of the conflict of differences, and the belief that the ethnic "other" has a strange access to certain enjoyment that the racist is not privy to, the disscussion begins with the Jewish blood libel accusation, which is both the consequence of racist fantasy and the theft of enjoyment, and the principle theme of the "Prioress's Tale."  The anti-Semitic elements in the "Prioress's Tale" are investigated along with Žižek’claims on the nature of racism to suggest that the anit-Semitism exhibited in the "Prioress's Tale" is the result of the racist's fantasizing about the Jew having the secret power and the Jew's stealing and taking pleasure of the racist's jouissance

 

Reference

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prioress's_Tale

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