Issue #3 – Music and Transformations/Metamorphoses – Abstracts

Maja Gwóźdź

Jagiellonian University

Phonaesthetic Phonological Iconicity in Literary Analysis Illustrated by Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber”

The article offers a phonosemantic analysis of Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber.” The phonosemantic investigation has been based on the corpus of nineteen relevant sound-related descriptions of the sea. Although most excerpts identified contain aural metaphors and are not phonologically iconic per se, there seem to exist at least three fragments which are particularly interesting from a phonosemantic point of view. Most notably, phonaesthemes /gl/, /l/, /r/ have been found to carry substantial meaning contributing to the overall interpretation of the story in question. Accounting for the inevitable subjectivity concerning iconicity, and in this case phonological iconicity, a few theories are presented in order to support the author’s reading of each phonaestheme’s contextual significance. The paper briefly reviews the chronological development of the field of phonosemantics and then combines the aural images theory (proposed by Richard Rhodes) with the “aural semiotic process” theory (the term coined by the author). Each analysis is further supplemented with scholarly views on respective phonaesthemes. On the whole, the paper does not aim to polemicize with the well-established definition of a phoneme and its generally accepted arbitrariness. Nevertheless, it has been observed that a speculative phonosemantic analysis of a literary work may yield noteworthy results.

key words: Angela Carter, iconicity, phonaesthemes, phonosemantics, “The Bloody Chamber”

Katarzyna Wiktoria Klag

Independent Scholar

The Power of Music in the Tale of Beren and Lúthien by J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien valued music in his private life, and this is mirrored in his works about Middle-Earth, which owes its very existence to music. It is born out of the song of the Ainur. But the role of music does not end with this creative act, rather, it continues to influence the history of Middle-Earth. The paper aims to analyze the role of music in the tale of Beren and Lúthien in the published Silmarillion. The tale of Beren and Lúthien was of personal significance to Tolkien himself. It also includes numerous allusions to music. It is the language of love for both Beren and Lúthien, who make their own songs. Lúthien’s music has power which allows her to overcome Sauron and Morgoth and to win a second life for Beren from Mandos, while Finrod uses music in his duel with Sauron. Music affects both positive and negative characters, including Sauron and Morgoth. Its importance is also emphasized by the existence of professional musicians, such as Daeron, Thingol’s minstrel. The story „Of Beren and Lúthien” demonstrates the power of music, which has a huge impact on the entire history of Middle-Earth. Without it, many events would never have happened.

key words: Beren, Lúthien, Middle-Earth, music, Tolkien

Patrycja Kordel

University of Gdańsk

The Transformation of the Mother-Daughter Relationship in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter’s Daughter

The mother/daughter bond is the central subject of Amy Tan’s two powerful books, The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter’s Daughter. Tensions that arise in the novels between a Chinese mother and her Chinese-American daughter are often described by the critics as being the result of two important factors. One is based on the misunderstandings caused by the generational gap, while the other comes from the cultural gap. For a Chinese-born mother the American reality instigates various confusions, as she still views her life with the eyes of her traditional Chinese upbringing. On the other hand, her daughter lacks any profound knowledge about her Chinese ethnicity, which makes her unable to recognize the influences of her mother’s Chinese past over their relationship. But in her novels Tan portrays also the relationship between the Chinese immigrant mother and her mother in China. Their relationship, which grew up exclusively on the grounds of the Chinese culture, is characterized by empathy and appreciation. In this paper I am going to discuss the change that occurred to the mother-daughter relationship after it has been replanted into a different cultural context. The line of argument will reveal in what ways the mother-daughter relationship underwent a significant transformation.

key words: Chinese American, Tan, mother, daughter

Emilia Wendykowska

Independent Scholar

Approaching Transhumanism: On How Human Beings Transform in the 21st Century

The following article is to introduce the reader into a cultural and intellectual movement whose aim is to identify the need for improvement in human life in the sphere of physicality as well as mentality with the aid of modern technologies – transhumanism. With the dramatic change in the perception of technology, transhumanist welcome the opportunity to improve cognitive skills, help to perpetuate human happiness, or increase longevity. Although the opponents of the transhumanist thought dismiss it as “the world’s most dangerous idea,” the adversaries advocate that the alternation of human form is both practical and reasonable. With the use of modern technology, enthusiasts of transhumanism try to prove that the human body needs to be re-invented in order to transcend the natural limitations. In my work I will try to tackle the problem of human body being currently subject to gradual transition from Homo Sapiens to Robo Sapiens, the process of ‘becoming’ a cyborg. By incorporating bodily augmentation, contemporary artists such as Stelarc or Neil Harbisson cast a light on the change of physical form, as well as the definition of being human. Evoking much controversy, transhumanism brings a completely new dimension to the understanding of the current human condition.

key words: transhumanism, posthumanism, Stelarc, transformation, Neil Harbisson

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