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 Comparative Literature

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تاريخ التسجيل : 21/02/2012

مُساهمةموضوع: Comparative Literature   الأحد مارس 18, 2012 4:40 pm

Comparative Literature In his essay "Structuralism, Semiotics, and Deconstruction", David Richter discuss Saussure's concept of parataxis. Words can exists in the same category yet have very different shades of meaning or levels of uses. In Miramar, Mahfouz plays with the language in order to indicate different personalities and class backgrounds in his narrators. For example, Amer Wagdi, an elderly man who was once a well-known journalist, uses eloquent speech and high diction in his narration. The words he chooses to describe Alexandria are both cultured and romantic, emphasizing his education. He also tends to reminisce frequently, emphasizing his age and the many memories he has to reflect on. Sarhan El-Beheiry is a country boy from a good family; he is also educated and tends to reminisce, but the reflections are generally of a more innocent and rustic nature.
In contrast, Hosni Allam, an uneducated landowner, frequently uses colloquial expressions, such as "ferekeeko, don't blame me". The repetition of slang throughout Hosni Allam's narration establishes his lack of education.
Through such an analysis of the language used in the different characters' storytelling, the reader understands the characterization of each speaker.
The language each storyteller uses also establishes what Chatman calls the "presence" of the narrator. The narrator comes into existence when the story itself is made to seem a demonstrable act of communication. Chatman goes on to illustrate the difference between a narrator who tells his story and one who shows it. The narrator who tells his story does so in a voice that is clearly directed to the reader. The narrator who shows his story has the difficulty of convincing the reader that they have emerged into the midst of the story.
The narrators in Miramar clearly show differences in their styles of narration. From the beginning, Amer Wagdi's story is clearly told to us: he soliloquizes about the beauty of Alexandria, about the changes in his old friend Mariana. At times he speaks his thoughts directly to the city and to other characters, but he is still speaking to his readers. Hosni Allam's account also takes on " teller qualities. Mansour Bahy assumes the voice of one speaking to the audience. His habit of telling the audience what he thinks or feels establishes his role as a narrator who tells rather than shows. It is assumed from the beginning that Sarhan is showing the reader. This assumption is supported by the way Sarhan El-Beheiry uses the language to narrate.
The difference in narration style helps to establish character. The retelling of the events through multiple points of view develops more than just the story.
The narrators in Miramar come to symbolize the divisions of Egyptian culture precisely because the reader assumes there must be a valid reason for representing each facet of culture within the Miramar, the focus of the novel.

Naguib Mahfouz's Miramar provides material for a thorough structural analysis. The structure of language contributes to characterization, which in turn establishes a diverse view of Egyptian culture. The structure of the novel develops the story and its sense of pluralism. According to Henry James, "The only reason for the existence of the novel is that it does attempt to represent life". Miramar does indeed represent a slice of life, complete with the many variances in speech, character, class, and culture. Miramar is not simply an Egyptian novel - it is a universal theme.

(2)The 20Century Egyptian Politics in Miramar:-

An author's history, his nationality, and the time he lives affected our understanding of his writing. We must stretch to read an author whose native language is different than our own. Naguib Mahfouz's Miramar presents Zohra, a girl symbolic of Egypt's potential in turbulent political times. Luckily, he also gives us the character of Amer Wagdi, the primary narrator who symbolizes so much of Egypt's past.
T.S Eliot, in his essay, Tradition and the Individual Talent, describes the contextual component of literary meaning. Eliot argues for the high use of allusion, that every text must be a gloss connected to almost every other: "No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. You cannot value him alone; you must set him for contrast and comparison, among dead poets and artists". Miramar fails at Eliot's assertion that a text should contain everything a reader needs to understand it. In reading Mahfouz, we are not only touching upon a work of fiction and its literary tradition. We are also engaging a foreign culture.
When we read Miramar, we are acting as anthropologists. Mahfouz's characters are human enough for us to observe and relate to them, but we can better understand them with some knowledge of their history. Mahfouz neatly (cleverly) contrasts Zohra with Amer.
Amer is the most important narrator. He begins and ends the narrative cycle but his voice is more than a framing device. Amer represents the "past currents" of the 20century Egyptian politics.
Miramar was published in 1967, the year Egypt returned to war with Israel to regain the territory lost in Sinai. The revolution to which Mansour refers is the Revolution of 1962, during which ownership of land was reformed and Egypt strove to equalize her class system.
Amer is key to understanding Zohra as he, as the past of the Revolution, has laid the groundwork for her to move into the future of Egypt. His attempts to share his wisdom with Zohra are allegorical of the past attempting to inform the future.

Mahfouz's selective use of the Koran reflects the spirit of the time. The appeal to Islam was emphasized less than the appeal to Arab nationalism and unity. Arab unity had been accepted by previous governments of Egypt as an important strand in foreign policy.

The charactes most associated with Egypt's past, Amer, Tolba and Mansour all have the least chance of winning Zohra's affection. Young but looking backwards, Mansour is described as disinterested in her.
Mahfouz is building the important theme that Egypt's past is not her future and Zohra, in embracing literacy and independence symbolizes this.
By commenting on Amer's role in Egyptian politics, Mansour is reflecting on Amer the way the other characters of Miramar comment on Zohra. Amer is able to reflect on the past and comment because his ability to affect Egypt is gone.

Naguib Mahfouz's Miramar is a glimpse into the foreign culture of 1960s Egypt without the problems of exoticism.

(3) Emily Dickinson and William Bryant:-

Alan Shucard has attempted to distinguish only two "modes" of romanticism, the 'lighter' and the 'gloomier'. Emily Dickinson's poetry seems to represent the second mood of romanticism. She is not the blithe romantic at all.
Both William Bryant and Emily Dickinson have written about romantic themes, but with different perspectives. They have spoken for a visible nature, but one whose reverse aspect and subtle essence lay in invisible spirit. They are romantic poets whose poetry shows strains of romanticism that can be distinguished as different.
There is an attempt to study the romantic strains in the poetry of William Bryant and Emily Dickinson. Its purpose is to show the divergence in attitudes in the romantic poetry of both Bryant and Dickinson, which should throw light on the main features of their romantic strains.
Like Wordsworth, Bryant has been affected by the doctrine of the "association of ideas" in which the mind associates them with experiences from the past. Bryant is familiar with the poetry of Wordsworth and considers him his model. His estimate of Wordsworth is sober and judicial. Bryant considers himself a successor to the English poet, rather his imitator. Bryant has cultivated qualities of mood in a manner that suggests more the romantic poet. He mainly believes in the doctrines of the romantics. He believes that the poet appeals most frequently and most successfully to the imagination. Bryant disagreed with critics who find in the exercise of imagination the sole province of poetry. Poetry is not merely a collection of vivid images; its "great spring" is emotion and its true office is to "touch the heart".
William Bryant finds the literary inspiration of his life in Wordsworth. His poetry shows plain signs of many norms found in the eighteenth-century English poetry of feeling and in Wordsworth's early poems.
Bryant takes nature for a principle subject. While we read his poetic lines, our hearts rejoice in nature's joy. Bryant's doctrines are mainly Romantic.
Nature is one of the romantic themes handled by both William Bryant and Emily Dickinson, yet, their attitudes are different in a way that shows their basic romantic strains.
" The Prairies" is one of Bryant's great middle works which shows Bryant's affinity for American scenery.
Making a journey through Bryant's romantic poetry. One can find that it is warm and glowing with the deepest human emotions. As a poet of nature, he describes nature with more violent human passions, with pride and ambition and even love.

Emily Dickinson's treatment of nature in her poetry distinguishes her from other nature poets like Wordsworth. She either appropriates the landscape by internalizing it, or obviously denies the boundaries between self and nature by describing the landscape in the anatomical language of arteries and veins, impressing herself upon the land. Dickinson charges her language with private anxieties and an awareness of the destructive aspect of nature. Dickinson's view of nature is neither quiescent nor sentimental. Nature is no longer a friend but often an inimical presence. To Dickinson, nature is remains "a Haunted House".
Emily Dickinson has been influenced by British Romantic Movement and the romantic poets. She has maintained an active interest in the principle figures of the Romantic Movement. She includes Keats in her list of preferred poets.
Emily Dickinson writes poetry of birds and flowers as if no on has ever written of them before. Every thing in her work in immediate, personal and honest.
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Comparative Literature
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