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(#1) gregorik

(senior tag)

a topik címe egy amatőrfilmre utal, amin jelenleg dolgozunk páran.
hat éve írok naplót, ez itt most nem annak kiegészítése lesz. kezdetnek egyszerűen bemásolom ide saját gyártású angol szakos háziesszéimet, hogy itt is meglegyenek, ha kellenek. lássuk:

1. esszé:

Thin fabric
Gregorik Andras AN312.16

I.Thick fabric
III.Three types of prose narration
IV.The Augustan novel

''...no matter what kind of pleasure may await his senses,
unless it serves exclusively the glory of God,
he needs to cut it off of him, giving it up
out of his love towards
Jesus Christ...''1


Taking its time to establish a radically theological point of view, this essay aims to apply it to the body of novel literature in 18th century England, probing and inquiring it whether it is in support of Christianity as laid down in the New Testament or not. It assumes the stance of an advocate of ''the narrow path'', the strict and unforgiving measuring scale of those few taking the Christian way of life truly seriously. Thus, the arguments and deductions featured herein - which are the actual purpose of the piece - may well strike materialist and novel-advocate minds as unnotable and subjective. The author, on the other hand, is firmly convinced - on the grounds of faith - that the conclusions to come are as objective as it is possible, being based on the revelations of the Holy Trinity. All views and opinions featured are his own except where signified.
First of all, we may start the discussion with an analogy that sets the mood and aligns the frame of mind to the possible uncommonness of the argument system to be introduced. The images of this analogy will also come handy later and might ease the essay's overall understanding for those unaccustomed to the exclusively religious take on life.
Picture, if you will, a high wall and thousands of bricks it is comprised of; now picture one of the single bricks coming to life, finding itself as part of the wall. This brick in the wall is unable to measure the dimensions of the structure it was built inside. In case it could come loose and jump out of the wall with the help of a supernatural force, it might be frightened at the sight of the oppressive building it used to support for long - and vow never to return to it, but serve its saviour instead.
The only means of establishing a distance between the Truth and human culture's tailormade 'truth' we indulge in does not seem to be any of the traditional manmade tools for extracting and gathering knowledge: psychology, sociology, philosophy and their clever alloys leave us running in circles when seeking the cure for all the ominous signs and phenomena in our society. The only means seem to be the one 'science' which was initiated by Someone other than man: theology.
The liberated brick from the wall, now supported by God, might arrive at the following conclusion while gazing at the building: something is inherently wrong with this structure. Junk relationships, junk ideals and junk goals form the cornerstones of people's lives, while they are walking about with a wide plastic smile and are made to believe that they are following a flawless, unquestionably great life-scheme that will lead them to permanent happiness. Better yet, they are already following it. The brick would now feel terribly sorry for all his ex-fellows still in the wall in oblivion. He would keep on contemplating: this is not a new issue at all, tracing back to ancient Rome, and even further back in time, perhaps right down to the original sin. What can be said for sure is that by the Eighteenth Century human culture had finally become something that has nothing to do with God's original purpose for mankind. Slowly but surely, we have defined a value system that makes society appear more and more similar to a Satanic cult when compared to the authoritative systems of ancient times: those of Greece, Judaism and Christianity. Now Satanic cults - especially those masquerading as righteous organizations - utilize the methods of brainwashing, mass deception, hypocrisy and driving devotees to commit ever worse sins, while making them believe that they are on their way to personal and social fulfillment.
It is as if man's culture has become a hermetic homeostasis created by his weakness and tunnel vision based on materialism. According to God, children need to be connected to Him mentally and emotionally in order to get to know life and gather experiences with His guidance. Now young people born into this society are first of all cut off and pulled away from God and then treated with internalized skills instead, which are needed in the process of linking them with a set of sophisticated, prefabricated 'pleasure hooks', designed to bind them into this homeostasis.
The thick fabric of both 'high' and 'low' literature, education and upbringing swiftly builds up these devices in the children, and the devices start to function as pleasure hook receptors from a very early age. Those affected with them become active seekers and users of a range of 'activity packs': shopping, dating, sex, 'polite conversation', travel, newspapers, sports and so on. As exaggerated as it may sound, these packs have the power to permanently 'claim one's soul' for the fee of some pleasure. They are subject to constant propagation, glorification and accentuation from the part of this thick fabric, which is the reason why young adults quickly develop the conviction that these comprise the essence of being. They are persuaded to feel that they are 'alive' only as much as they pursue these activities. The infinite domain of life, where this fabric grows thin and finally disappears - and where the liberated brick is now happy to fade into - remains in hiding from them.
To illustrate our point even further, we may also turn to a parable by Simone Weil2, mystic mind of the early 20th century. The world is a labyrinth, she explains, and the opening of this labyrinth is none else than the beauty of the world, alluring all of us to enter. And we do enter, during the beginning of our life, enchanted by the beauty of the world. After a few steps, however, we come to realize that this beauty is frayed and quickly dissolving before our eyes. The tunnels of the labyrinth destroy its memories and the original opening is nowhere to be found. All of a sudden we feel completely alone, wandering lonely, losing the help of everyone important to us, losing even our sense of ourself. We do not know anymore if we are actually progressing or just circling around ourself. Most of our fellow wanderers give up their unsung struggle without the slightest bit of knowledge on their situation. They eventually become bricks in the wall of the tunnels. There are only a few who do not lose their bravery and continue their way towards the inside of the labyrinth. And there, in the center of it, God is awaiting them and devours them. Transfigured and digested by Him, they are now sent to the entrance to become guardians of the labyrinth. There they stand at the opening in order to gently invite those who are approaching.


The mystic-tinted parables and trains of thought written above may seem out of place in a literary essay, but they very much have their purpose in this particular piece. Having established our standpoint, we are almost ready to face the novel genre in general and later the 18th century British novel in particular. First, though, it is felt essential to reach directly to the Bible and single out a crucial phrase voiced in three thoughts by St. Paul. The sentences3 in question are:

''See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.'' (Colossians 2:8)

''So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world.'' (Galatians 4:3)

''How is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?'' (Galatians 4:9)

The Greek original for the highlighted phrase is ''ta stoicheia tou kosmou''4 and in strict translation means ''the building blocks of the world'', referring to the inherently godless fundaments of secular universe in general. The blocks are really principles and values, a huge system of them unwittingly observed by mankind for millenia. In essence, these principles are all clever lies and half-truths perpetrated by none else than Satan in order to alienate man from God. Instead of presenting another list of these, we might just add that basically all materialist and mundane principles and values are stoicheia5, thus nearly everything that man stood for since the beginning of history. In fact, there is no way out for the individual of this entrapping in cultural and spiritual lies but one: through the grace of God - as we saw in our two metaphors. Man is victimized by Satan to the degree that not even the majority of his thoughts are his own - they are implants or 'devices'.


What is the purpose of novel literature? Basically it is to narrate in prose and in epic length a slice of life concerning the focal point of the text. This very broad definition of the genre already arouses an objection from our stance. Given that we live in stoicheia entrapped in an oblivious wall of lies, why would we need epic prose narration of any subject whatsoever - apart from the one enclosed in the Bible that alone may save us? The deduction is simple: any lengthy form of narration that is not the Old and New Testament is a deadly digression designed to entangle man in their subject matter that has to be absolutely irrelevant when compared to the one and only valid engagement of finding and being with the saviour, Jesus Christ. Neither the act of looking for him nor the state of being with him requires or tolerates 'prose narrations of epic length'. The establishment of the novel genre, thus, is in alignment with the conception of Satan, that is, a supporting part of stoicheia, perpetrated to digress and entangle humans in peripheral subject matters for the longest possible durations. According to a Christian saying, the cleverest lie Satan had devised was to convince man that he can take his time. This was just the lie that resulted in the birth of the novel genre in Latin countries (Boccaccio, LeSage, Cervantes) and its refinement in England (Defoe, Richardson).
It needs to be added, though, that a number of more or less faithful Christians also tended to fall prey to this three hundred year- old vogue. The pinnacle of their output - serious, thoughtful, focused novels on strictly Biblical themes - can be classified as secondary prose narration as opposed to the primary narration of the Bible itself and the irrelevant third rate narration of entirely stoicheia-induced novel literature.


The purpose of this part is to leave the grounds of generalization for the sake of specifics. We shall examine some of the specimens of the aforementioned English refinement 'movement' of the 18th century, meaning some of the novels that are deemed evergreen classics for long, and see if at least some of them qualify for our criteria of secondary prose narration. The 'Augustan' era, the time and place is crucial in the development of the genre. We shall focus on the accomplishment, positive or negative, of Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift and Samuel Richardson.
First we need to take a glance at the social and cultural context in which their novels were born. The social setting of this period is an especially unflattering one when it comes to evaluation from our point of view. Although stoicheia was always predominant in the history of mankind, in 18th century England it conquered new areas when compared to earlier phases -- the religious-superstitious medieval times, the heroic Elizabethan era or the still theology-centered Restoration. The Augustan period is synonymous in the public conscience with shallowness, snobbery, 'polite conversation', and most importantly, with being the roots of modern materialism, the origins of industrialism, an 'age of prose and reason'6. This is all quite sad but what concerns us here is the state of religious life. It comes as no big surprise that in accordance with the secular phenomena of the era, the visible Church and the faith in God of English people in general both entered a phase of deterioration following the Restoration. England in the 1700's began a tragic process of turning from God to man, perfecting a host of scientific branches and cultural devices that had no relation to the Divine. The fact that this unholy process led to the birth of the middle class which in turn led to the prosperity of the British novel thanks to a growing and lazy reading base already speaks volumes on the probable moral-theological value of the novel output.
We shall now turn directly to Defoe and his train of thought in the popular Applebee's Journal (1725): ''Writing, you know, Mr Applebee, is become a very considerable Branch of the English Commerce. ... The Booksellers are the Master Manufacturers or Employers. The several Writers, Authors, Copyers, Sub-writers, and all other Operators with pen and Ink are the workmen employed by the said Master Manufacturers.''7 According to the father of British novel, his genre of choice is a tame product of commerce in an oppressive machinery. In the semi-autobiographical Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe he states: ''This supplying a story by invention is certainly a most scandalous crime, and yet very little regarded in that part. It is a sort of lying that makes a great hole in the heart, at which by degrees a habit of lying enters in.''8 This statement needs even less comment. He had taken up the godless profession of novel-writing out of pressure of his circumstances, financial and social. Our interest in him in this essay is based on the fact that he was one of Christian upbringing and his apparent aim in his first novel, Robinson Crusoe, was to take Cervantes' genre and try to apply it to sacred means; we shall examine if he managed to create an example of the secondary narration.
Robinson Crusoe was supposed to be a parable on the way a once loyal believer becomes entangled in mundane affairs - he becomes a wealthy merchant - that eventually entrap him (he wrecks his ship) but is finally saved by the grace of the Lord - the end of the novel. Since the subject is entirely secular to begin with, the conditions for our criteria are not given a chance. Furthermore, Defoe himself becomes mundanely entangled during the course of writing: his complicating of things with circumstantial physical details is far from good Christian writing. An even more serious objection is that an undercurrent of non-religious values pervades every page: we see Crusoe rewarded by life for his sins; it is told that he was born into ''the middle station of low life''9 only to emerge later as a rich slave trader by untold suspicious means. Also, Crusoe's acts manifested in the novel are less than Christan-like: he decides to sell the Moorish boy who saved his life for sixty silvers; later, he seems to treat Friday in a condescending, unequal manner that Defoe does not condemn. We may now argue that Robinson turned out to be Defoe's sub-conscious celebration of stoicheia that found a new ally in England's Augustan tendencies. The novel, then, is to be written off as third rate and harmful.
We now promptly turn to Moll Flanders which is regarded as the author's best novel. Sadly, the moral bankruptcy of this prototype of the British social novel is even less debatable. Centering on a basically amoral woman, it tells the long-winded story of how almost all the characters in her life adored and admired her while she kept treating them with dishonesty and abandon. The neglectment of Moll's bloodchildren by both her and the author is beyond words and gives reason enough in itself to classify the book as base literature. In the end, Moll's stolen goods formed the basis of her wealth and harmony.
Jonathan Swift was picked also based on his well-documented affiliation with Christianity and his attempt to create a decidedly sublime theological satire in Gulliver's Travels. Deemed by critics as one of the key Augustan novels, the first books are regarded as less controversial and less serious than the last one on which we are focusing. The first books, in fact, are peripheral in their lengthy examination and caricature of human affairs, and are not fit to Christian consideration. The last book presents the land of the Houyhnhms and the caveman-like Yahoos, and - isolated from the rest of the novel - almost makes it as secondary narration. The problem, again, is the substitution of Biblical imagery with complete fiction. As a blameless Irish clergyman, Swift is less suspect of being a covert advocate of stoicheia than Defoe; he fought his daily battles with his pre-industrial environment, a war reflected most notably in this last book of his novel. His faith seems to be strong, which is one thing. His Gulliver, even at its best, does not relate directly to the Scripture, which is another thing, equally as important. He made up an imaginary world instead which has much to say to the unwitting secular individual, but still comes off as a misapplication of his faith. It is the final deduction that makes this last book slightly noteworthy: Swift argues that man has the likeness of Yahoos due to the original sin and he needs the Christian miracle to escape his beast-like identity. In the process, he must avoid becoming the likeness of the Houyhnhms who represent the lifeless, logic- and reason-based reality of the Augustan era.
Samuel Richardson easily surpasses the previous two in psychological depth and character forming, but also reaches new lows in hypocrisy and exploitation. As D.H. Lawrence remarks, ''Boccaccio at his hottest seems to me less pornographical than Pamela or Clarissa Harlowe.''10 We include Richardson because it is inevitable in any discussion of the 18th century novel. His Pamela is a prime example of the lengthy third rate narration type. It sets up the theme of 'virtue rewarded', then lingers endlessly on episodes of thin-veiled pornography as a landlord goes on and on in his attempts to seduce a young maiden ''whose dreams are filled with ideas of rape, but whose waking moments resound to prate about her honour''11. Pamela is hailed to this day as the first truly complex psychological novel, which is a praise irrelevant to our system of values, as being complex and analytical makes no sense in case of the exclusion of the Divine.
In Clarissa Harlowe, this kind of hurtful secular complexity is taken even further, to the point of sickly obsession, with the whole tumult ending with the death of the protagonist.


The examination could go on for several pages, from Fielding's Joseph Andrews to Smollett's Humphrey Clinker, but the point is made clear: the novel genre in general, including its 17th century South-European forefathers and its 18th century British pioneers, is of secondary value at best when it comes to the all-essential questions of life. These questions are fully covered in the one book that embodies the category of 'primary narration'. Any subsequent specimens of epic prose narration are potentially damaging or at least irrelevant (which, in this context, also qualifies as harmful).
Unfortunately, the masses advocating and fervently reading the ocean of secular novels - which are in no case second, but third rate material - are the equivalents of the lost wanderers in Simone Weil's labyrinth, or the oblivious bricks in the wall in our other analogy. The thick fabric of hexing stoicheia might never grow thin for them.


Disciple-Nations: http://www.disciple-nations.org

Ford, Boris, ed.: The Pelican Guide to English Literature, Vol.4 (Penguin, London, 1973)

New International Version Bible (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1990)

Ruiz, Federico: Bevezetes Keresztes Szent Janos tanitasaba (Prugg, Eisenstadt, 1987)

Weil, Simone: Ami szemelyes, es ami szent (Vigilia, Budapest, 1983)

(#2) gregorik

(senior tag)

esszé 2:

The Tatyana-caste

'...Just as the storm clouds often slay
The scarcely breathing new born day.' 1

One of the most popular of Tennyson's poems, The Lady of Shalott relates the tragic story of an extremely lonely young lady longing for a soulmate. A poem of ''technical virtuosity, inspired landscape-painting based on precise observation, and a dreamworld of artistic beauty denying the commonplace''2, ''turning to beauty as a possibility of a more complete life''3, it is one of the highlights of the author's early years.
This paper shall attempt to prove my opinion that the work is very much parallel to an even more famous Russian narrative poem finished about the same year as The Lady of Shalott. I will omit discussing the poem's popular critical interpretation concerning ''the conflict between the artist's own sensual vision and his need to experience life directly''4 -- I'll rather concentrate on my individual, rather alienated thoughts and feelings arised during the reading, and I will not go into Arthurian considerations, either.

Concerning both the subject of a yearning, introverted young lady and the bleak solution, Tennyson's poem may be readily compared to two other, albeit larger scale, masterpieces of the early 1830's -- Balzac's ''Eugenie Grandet'' and, even more notably, Pushkin's ''Onegin'' --, each dealing with the same kind of pastoral, embowered, dreamy, grave and generally misunderstood girls or young women. This 'caste' sticks out of its rustic environment like a sore thumb, often being regarded by their own relatives and acquaintances as hopeless misfits, spinsters or nuns to be; being highly sensitive, imaginative and deep-feeling, they find it exceptionally hard, even actually impossible, to become accepted and understood within their immediate environment made up of generally cruder and simpler sorts. Thus, these girls feel obliged to create a world of their own as a progressive act of counterbalance and self-condolence, rich with remnants of childhood fantasy, romantic works they've read and an air of bittersweet wistfulness. Pushkin's memorable portrayal of Tatyana as a child may well resemble the early years of the Shalott Lady:

''She was no beauty, like her sister,
And had no roses on her cheeks,
Which would attract admiring looks.
A wild thing, mournful and retiring,
Like a doe seen in a forest clearing,
In the midst of all her kith and kin
She seemed like something alien.
She could not manage a caress
With ma or pa, or a soft touch.
Herself a child, in the crowd of infants,
She had no wish to play or dance,
And often on the window sill
All day she sat, silent and still.''5

It is presumable that the Lady is in her twenties, thus she's the same age as Eugenie or Tatyana. Tennyson does not reveal her past, dealing only with her present continuous.
As if to emphasize her isolation from all human affairs, the reader is made conscious of the constant flow of life around the island of Shalott. The Lady's peaceful singing before the occurrence with Lancelot is just like Tatyana's pastoral life before the appearance of Onegin: innocent, harmless, bittersweet, secretive and longing. The reader gets the impression that the Lady has been singing this song for a long time now.
''His [Tennyson's] words project colorful, living reality constantly like the mirror of the Lady in the tower''6. We may draw a parallel between the shadow of the real, material world reflected in the Lady's magic mirror, and Tatyana's vivid fantasizing about being the heroines of all the romantic pieces she reads. Both of them view life through their own peculiar, distanced way that stands between them and life itself; and they don't feel like giving their ways up, being locked into a durable pattern.

''She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down on Camelot.''

The mysterious whisper might be none else than her very own, girlish fear of life that prohibits her from opening up to unbridled passion, thus becoming a Woman; a kind of self-delusion not at all unfamiliar to the mental world of her 'soulsister' Tatyana; as she gives it away in her letter to Onegin:

''Why did you come to visit us?
In this forgotten rural home
Your face I never would have known,
Nor known this bitter suffering.''7

It is the curse of her own passionate love, banging, from within, on the sealed gates of a secluded, silent life -- the curse of inner conflict between the old, harmless, innocent, girlish, grayish, habitual lifestyle, and the new one: just the one she has been secretly yearning for years, at least ever since she stepped into early adolescence.

''My life till now was but a pledge,
Of meeting with you, a forward image;
You were sent by Heaven of that I'm sure,
To the grave itself you are my saviour...''8

This correlates the equally crucial lines:

'''I am half sick of shadows', said
The Lady of Shalott.''

''She is just becoming aware of the inadequacy of her life as she contemplates the young lovers she sees in the mirror.''9 Enter Lancelot, who is, of course, the Lady's unwitting 'Onegin'; her behavior displayed at this point much resembles that of Tatyana upon realising that she's in love with the man she only saw once. This behavior involves an almost apocalyptic sense of novelty and a sudden disdain of all that is worn and habitual (note how the Lady tosses away her web and the mirror gets cracked). These male figures in both poems are the symbols of personality and fulfillment in the vast scene of the world's growth and beauty; these men seem to the ladies to provide an even more specific promise: the achievement of individual identity. Both the Lady and Tatyana display a most impersonal attitude to their surroundings, as they always did; when their 'knights' finally enter their life, they become extremely personal all of a sudden. Lancelot is the first person to be named in the poem, and he seems to guarantee the validity of names and their ability to give permanence and meaning to the self.

'''The curse is come upon me', cried
The Lady of Shalott.''

The same turning point in Onegin:

''Ah, nanny, nanny, my heart is breaking,
I'm sick, my dearest nanny, dearest,
I want to cry, I want to sob!..''

The Lady proceeds to embark on a boat ride ''like some bold seer in a trance'' to reach Lancelot; she scribbles her name on the prow of the boat to claim the promise of personality Lancelot had, in her mind, held out for her. This is in concert with Tatyana's trancelike, but more realistic, scribbling of her letter that eventually leads to her devastating, invalidating, face-to-face confrontation with Onegin, who doesn't really want to do anything with her. The final stanza of the Tennyson poem also depicts a kind of face-to-face situation that corresponds with the aforementioned scene in Onegin: unwitting Lancelot gazes intently at the now dead Lady, wishing her a blissful afterlife, remarking ''she has a lovely face''. This remark is absurdly inadequate, and again, extremely invalidating, to the emotionally saturated tragedy of the Lady.
According to E.A.Poe, ''the death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world''.10 The degree of impact of the male figures on the lives of their respective 'victims' seems to differ considerably at first. The actual impact is all but the same in significance: the Lady dies as a result of her thoughtless, hasty flight in the boat, and as for Tatyana, well, she doesn't pass away physically:

''Indeed, far worse, with cheerless desire
Wretched Tatyana is on fire,
And sleep deserts her bed completely.
Health, life's colour and its sweetness,
Her smile and girlish serene calm
Quite disappeared, as empty sound,
And fair Tatyana's youth then faded;
Just as the storm clouds often slay
The scarcely breathing new born day.''

Tennyson physically 'kills off' his protagonist, putting an inevitable end to the story, while Pushkin, basically a realist writer, keeps her alive in order to be able to draw a verisimilar circle encompassing many years.
At the end of his narrative poem, 32-year-old Pushkin, who was a bonvivant, an early dandy who knew womanfolk exceptionally well, admits Tatyana as his ''true ideal''11 of woman; with all his experience and disillusion, he wishes for himself a spouse that would be chaste, loyal, serious and not too sociable.
As for 22-year-old Tennyson, he seems to condemn Pushkin's ideal spouse for being lifeless and joyless. His Lady, however, perfectly embodies the Victorian image of the ideal woman: virginal, embowered, spiritual and mysterious, definitely of the Tatyana-caste. The young poet speaks about the Lady in a tone that is slightly compassionate, affectionate, condescending and ironic at the same time. The broadest, most general irony of the poem is that the Lady simply exchanges one kind of imprisonment for another; her presumed freedom is her death.
She dies by freezing in the cold of the night. Tatyana, also looking for love in the wrong place, is turned down by an ice-cold Onegin, her heart permanently frozen to death.

The Lady is most commonly seen as a form of the artist, and doubtless her absorption in weaving the web (and singing) suggests that. But the poem as a whole can also be interpreted as an allegory of adolescence, a time when the quiet, protected idyll of childhood comes besieged by the blooming passion of sensuality; when this passion gets denied and restrained for too long -- in this case, well into young adulthood --, it tends to burst out suddenly, violently -- and in this case, tragically -- upon unexpected stimulus arriving from the outer world. According to E. Nelson, ''the real dilemma is one that can be neither judged nor solved. The Lady must obey and must defy the curse.''12
The bottom line is that the same applies to Tatyana, doomed heroine of a poem with a more realistic approach. The two works, written at the same time but not nearly the same place, deal with the same subject of embowered, escapist young ladies, and arrive at the same conclusion of the very basic truth: Life cannot be evaded for too long--the pendulum needs to swing out to both sides.

1 Onegin, Book 4
2 Világirodalmi lexikon 15. kötet, 313. o.
3 Az európai irodalom története, 520. o.
4 E. Nelson: The Lady of Shalott
5 Onegin, Book 2
6 Az európai irodalom története, 520. o.
7 Onegin, Book 3
8 Onegin, Book 4
9 E. Nelson: The Lady of Shalott
10 E.A. Poe: The Philosophy of Composition
11 Onegin, Book 8
12 E. Nelson: The Lady of Shalott


Elizabeth Nelson: The Lady of Shalott (Ladies of Shalott: a Victorian masterpiece and its contexts, ed. G. Landow, Brown U., 1979)
Edgar Allen Poe: Complete Works (Wordsworth, Hertfordshire, 1993)
M. Babits: Az európai irodalom törtenete (Nyugat kiadó, Budapest, without date)
Világirodalmi lexikon 15. kötet: Tennyson (Akadémiai, Budapest, 1993)
A. Pushkin: Onegin (Oxquarry Books, London, 2001)

(#3) gregorik

(senior tag)

A film szinopszisa:

What planet are you from?
A feature film

Andras is not exactly the pride of the family; well, he never wanted to be, anyway. He is of a rare breed, the kind that defies judgment, that may be viewed in a positive or negative light. To claim that he's different would be an understatement; he's the very fabric of difference. Alone, lonely, isolated, yet somehow not unhappy. He has no friends, never had a girlfriend and next to no one knows him in college by name. He feels at peace at home – a mountaintop house on the outskirts of Budapest (the 'thin fabric'). He feels nervous, sometimes terrified when in college or exposed to the tumult of downtown (the 'thick fabric'). He writes short stories, novellas – growing in skill writing them – usually based on his own childhood and current life. He reads books, many of them – growing in skill telling good literature from bad. What he is not growing in is social skills and experience.

Enter Nika and Daniela, two visiting students from faraway countries who make money by cleaning houses; Andras' mother hires them. Daniela is a strikingly mainstream girl and yet our hero must see something in her because he sees her and falls for her on the spot; everything changes in his delicate little world. It may be more than romantic love – obsession, perhaps? They never speak, yet like Tatyana to Onegin1, he takes all his courage to write her an elaborate love letter; and like Tatyana, he is rejected in the face (“what planet are you from?”). Now everything is in ruins apparently beyond repair. A new kind of change kicks in.

Based on this all-important rejection, Andras is turning into something entirely alien to his old self. His spirits descend below the 'apocalypse line', extreme nihilism and rebellion become his main drives. He plunges headlong into the world of half-light parties and sex trips, or at least he attempts to; his lack of skills leaves him stranded most of the time. No more short stories, no more being alone and content. The spiralling downward seems unstoppable.

A negative miracle demands a positive miracle for remedy; and it happens. Based on his random, sporadic encounters with Christians, a conviction slowly and painfully builds up in him, culminating in his solitary conversion. Shades turn brighter and his spirit rises from the abyss. He is still alone but no more lonely. And he meets a Christian girl.

(#4) gregorik

(senior tag)

Comparison of three versions of a passage from Richard II
Gregorik András AN311.40

The following selection is from Act 5 Scene III of Richard II, the first part of the Bard's historical tetralogy composed probably in 1595. The paper is concerned with comparing a classic and a modern Hungarian translation with the original. The early translation was done by Szász Károly and originally published possibly in the 13th volume of Kisfaludy Társaság's Shakespeare anthology in 1872, Pest. The later translation is a mid-20th Century affair by Vas István, published, among numerous other volumes, in the 1992 Complete Works of Shakespeare by Helikon Kiadó. The original passage follows1:

SCENE III. A royal palace.

Can no man tell me of my unthrifty son?
'Tis full three months since I did see him last;
If any plague hang over us, 'tis he.
I would to God, my lords, he might be found:
Inquire at London, 'mongst the taverns there,
For there, they say, he daily doth frequent,
With unrestrained loose companions,
Even such, they say, as stand in narrow lanes,
And beat our watch, and rob our passengers;
Which he, young wanton and effeminate boy,
Takes on the point of honour to support
So dissolute a crew.

My lord, some two days since I saw the prince,
And told him of those triumphs held at Oxford.

And what said the gallant?

His answer was, he would unto the stews,
And from the common'st creature pluck a glove,
And wear it as a favour; and with that
He would unhorse the lustiest challenger.

As dissolute as desperate; yet through both
I see some sparks of better hope, which elder years
May happily bring forth. But who comes here?

Where is the king?

What means our cousin, that he stares and looks
So wildly?

God save your grace! I do beseech your majesty,
To have some conference with your grace alone.

Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.

Exeunt HENRY PERCY and Lords
What is the matter with our cousin now?

For ever may my knees grow to the earth,
My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouth
Unless a pardon ere I rise or speak.

Intended or committed was this fault?
If on the first, how heinous e'er it be,
To win thy after-love I pardon thee.

Then give me leave that I may turn the key,
That no man enter till my tale be done.

Have thy desire.

[Within] My liege, beware; look to thyself;
Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.

Villain, I'll make thee safe.

Stay thy revengeful hand; thou hast no cause to fear.

[Within] Open the door, secure, foolhardy king:
Shall I for love speak treason to thy face?
Open the door, or I will break it open.

What is the matter, uncle? speak;
Recover breath; tell us how near is danger,
That we may arm us to encounter it.

Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know
The treason that my haste forbids me show.

Remember, as thou read'st, thy promise pass'd:
I do repent me; read not my name there
My heart is not confederate with my hand.

It was, villain, ere thy hand did set it down.
I tore it from the traitor's bosom, king;
Fear, and not love, begets his penitence:
Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove
A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.

O heinous, strong and bold conspiracy!
O loyal father of a treacherous son!
Thou sheer, immaculate and silver fountain,
From when this stream through muddy passages
Hath held his current and defiled himself!
Thy overflow of good converts to bad,
And thy abundant goodness shall excuse
This deadly blot in thy digressing son.

So shall my virtue be his vice's bawd;
And he shall spend mine honour with his shame,
As thriftless sons their scraping fathers' gold.
Mine honour lives when his dishonour dies,
Or my shamed life in his dishonour lies:
Thou kill'st me in his life; giving him breath,
The traitor lives, the true man's put to death.

[Within] What ho, my liege! for God's sake,
let me in.

What shrill-voiced suppliant makes this eager cry?

A woman, and thy aunt, great king; 'tis I.
Speak with me, pity me, open the door.
A beggar begs that never begg'd before.

Our scene is alter'd from a serious thing,
And now changed to 'The Beggar and the King.'
My dangerous cousin, let your mother in:
I know she is come to pray for your foul sin.

If thou do pardon, whosoever pray,
More sins for this forgiveness prosper may.
This fester'd joint cut off, the rest rest sound;
This let alone will all the rest confound.

O king, believe not this hard-hearted man!
Love loving not itself none other can.

Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here?
Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear?

Sweet York, be patient. Hear me, gentle liege.

Rise up, good aunt.

Not yet, I thee beseech:
For ever will I walk upon my knees,
And never see day that the happy sees,
Till thou give joy; until thou bid me joy,
By pardoning Rutland, my transgressing boy.

Unto my mother's prayers I bend my knee.

The first striking difference between not only the two Hungarian versions but even the above original and the 19th century Szász translation is the fact that the latter actually marks Scene 3 as Scene 2, with the original Scene 3 ending (Enter Sir Exton Pierce and a Servant) substituted as a minuscule Scene 3 with an interesting footnote below: “Több kiadás itt nem kezd új színt. Fölösleges is a változas. A király stb. eltávozása után, az üresen maradt színre jöhet egyenesen Exton stb.” This is of course proof that Szász himself compared two or more English editions and still seems to have opted for an 'unorthodox' one, at least by today's standards. Thus as far as the Szász version is concerned, from now on we focus on what it labels as Act 5 Scene 2, while the other versions are both Scene 3.
Another quirk of the Szász translation from the beginning of the passage is its relative verbosity depicting the surroundings. Both the original and the late translation are laconic in their ways, simply stating 'A royal palace' and 'Windsor vára'; Szász writes: 'Windsor. Szoba a kastélyban'. This tiny addition may be seen as sign of the times of 19th century Pest, more precisely the Ausgleich era: a touch of self-importance or pompousness; but this is probably being carried away.
Progressing through the text to line 4, we arrive to an intriguing detail: the original cries out, 'I would to God, mylords, he might be found', with the 20th century translation closely following it: 'Hol találhatnók meg, az Istenért?'2. It is the 'Ausgleich'-version again that strikes us with its dissonance: there is no trace of 'God' in 'Urak, szeretném feltalálni őt.' This fact could be the breeding ground for a range of speculations – which we are bound to avoid here –, but the most probable cause is that circa 1870 Hungary in general was an incomparably more pious country, especially officially, than either Shakespeare himself – in particular the young one circa 1595, the one who abandoned his wife and child and was known for his love of London pubs – or the same Hungary around 1950, at the time the second translation was born. Circa 1870, crying out to God on the printed paper was deemed unacceptable, if only due to an unwritten consent; translators of even Shakespeare felt they ought to alter or, in this instance, eliminate similar outcries if their work was to pass editors' scrutiny. In Vas István's time, on the other hand, one could write on God and Christianism whatever he liked, though for all the wrong reasons. 1950 era Budapest and 1595 Shakespeare had probably more in common than meets the eye: materialism, cynicism, bitterness and a degree of depravity are traits the two seems to have shared.
That said, the now appropriate next lines on London pubs and riff-raff are closely translated in both versions, with no serious deviations. That is, until the original's broad expression of 'stews', at which point the roles seem to reverse: the pious 1870 version boldly translates the line as 'Azt mondta, bordélyházba megy...', while the 1950 text puts it simply as 'Csak azt, hogy tüstént a városba megy...'. At first glance it is hard to see the point in this as the former version's context was established as a God-fearing and pure environment in contrast with the latter text's which is supposed to be sort of rotten. Then we return to our earlier remark that circa 1870 Pest-Buda was regarded pious especially officially and go on to consider the historic fact that brothel life greatly prospered under the surface; now we have reason to surmise that the Ausgleich-era text, as a sign of its time, possibly went into a state of denial: an officially pious state with an underground 'stew' life. Focusing on the late text, it had nothing to deny, since by 1950 Budapest brothels were aggressively rooted out, as far as this author's knowledge is concerned. In fact, they were uncommon until as late as 1989.
Our next point of interest is a short question a few lines below; the original is a polite and restrained 'But who comes here?' and is closely imitated by 1870's 'Nos ki jő?'. The Vas version however reads more like a violent outburst: 'Ki jön már megint?'. 20th century literary translators in general grew bolder and more outspoken; this was mainly due to the forceful current of first Realism/Naturalism, later Modernism demanding more lifelike, even gritty, uncompromising dialogues free of anything bombastic or pompous – which would deem these dramatic dialogues downright laughable for 20th century audiences. 'Ki jön már megint?' is a long way from 'But who comes here?', but this was a path necessary to travel through in order for 16th century works to gain total acceptance 350 years in the future. Today's English-speaking Shakespeare audiences are in fact known to be envious of foreign theater-goers for the modern translations they are treated.
The next significant dissonance comes further below in a line uttered by Bolingbroke; here the new text is more informative than either the original or the 1870 example; while Szász is faithful ('A szinpad változik'), Vas elaborates: 'Szinünk komolyról bohózatra vált'. The above mentioned new cultural currents that the c.1950 version was no doubt exposed to in its making also allowed for a certain degree of artistic freedom in the act of translation. 'Elaboration' may indeed be the most precise term in this case: what Shakespeare and the early translator only cursorily indicates, the late translator feels free to unfold employing more than one expression. This practice may have been intolerable in the artistically less flexible Pest-Buda of 1870.
Bolingbroke's same sentence proceeds as: 's épen talál/Az a darab ránk: Koldusnő és király.' in the early text. In turn, it is this text that turns out to be the more informative in this instance, because a footnote reads: 'Shakspere (sic!) elött s korában kedvelt szinmü czime.' The late translation seems oblivious as to informing the reader on what exactly is 'The Beggar and the King'; it probably expects that the reader assumes it must be just what the early footnote reads. 20th century translations generally assume a higher degree of intelligence and cultural knowledge from their readers' part than early texts.
It is interesting to note that the 'Beggar' in the title is translated 'Koldusnő' in the 1870 and 'Koldus' in the 1950 text. It seems that this minor alteration was taken by the former in the interest of rhythm.
Finally, the poetic line by the Duchess, 'Love loving not itself none other can' is “de-poetised” to a certain degree by Szász ('Ki rosz övéihez: hozzád is ál!'), while Vas's version nearly matches the original's psychological and artistic depth: 'Ki magához nem jó, mást sem szerethet.'. 'Love' is personalized by the Bard, while 'Ki' is substituted for it by Vas; Szász also makes 'Ki' out of the essence, however he uses it in an almost unemotional sense as if discussing History or even Politics. This appears to be a good note to conclude on: Shakespeare's invariably soulful originals were always and still are potential subjects to twists and turns from the translators' part on a more superficial level – good-natured or bad.


Shakespeare szinművei, 13.kötet (Pest, Ráth Mór bizománya, 1872)
Shakespeare összes művei (Helikon, Budapest, 1992)
The Complete Moby Shakespeare at ftp://gatekeeper.dec.com/pub/data/shakespeare/

(#5) gregorik

(senior tag)

már vagy két hónapja csak a Szoftverpiac miatt nézek fel a ph-ra; kéne a Kotor1 meg 2 -- nem mintha lenne időm játszani, a vizsgaidőszak + filmezés kombó teljesen leköt.

megmaradt ph-s híveimnek :) üzenem, hogy a mozifilm, amiről szó van, nagyon lassan készülget, és hetente 1x biztos eljutok a teljes feladás határára. antipatikus arcok (is) vesznek körül (SzabPeti, nem rád célzok), csak a pénzem kéne mindegyiknek. over&out.

(#6) gregorik

(senior tag)

készülök Kubába. félek a tífusz, tetanusz stb. oltásoktól, hogy egy hétig nem bírom majd felemelni a karomat (valszeg egyiket se), meg hogy gyengített trópusi kórokozókat lődöznek belém, amiket még hírből se ismert eddig a szervezetem.. kemény hetek lesznek, ez világos, magamra leszek utalva a Karib-tenger közepén. :C


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