30.12.12

HAPPY NEW YEAR


May 2013 bring all the luck, health and wealth to everyone and be a better year than the 
previous one.
Season's Greetings,
ELIT Department




Ezgi Kıraçlı’s talk on John Milton’s Paradise Lost

On Tuesday, November 27th 2012, Bilkent ELIT graduate Ezgi Kıraçlı (2001) delivered a talk on John Milton's epic Paradise Lost as part of the ELIT 355 Major Writers of the Renaissance class. There were about twenty students in the room (T268) and our teachers Assist Prof Dr Patrick Hart and Dr Gül Kurtuluş were also present; as well as Kıraçlı's advisor, Dr Peter Starr, who have taught some of the students World Mythology and Appreciation of Literature in their freshman and sophomore years. 
 
Kıraçlı's talk is entitled “Paradise Lost: The Metaphorical Mind of John Milton,” and the idea that the Satan's state of mind in Milton's work show similarities between Milton's was of central importance to her argument. Kıraçlı started her speech by giving substantial historical background information about Paradise Lost, explaining the great influence of 17th century English politics on the work. 
 
According to Kıraçlı, the Satan embodies Milton's critique of the monarch and the monarchy. She says that the work implies it is better to rule in hell rather than to serve in heaven. She also adds that Satan does not act like a tyrant, but that the King of Heaven does. Therefore, the Satan thinks the people in heaven accepts subjection and are bewitched by all kinds of superstitions and idolatry. At this point, Kıraçlı adds that this matches with Milton's view of idolatry: he denounces it.
 
I think Kıraçlı successfully summarizes such an extensive work in one class hour. I respect her argument that Milton in a way describes his ideal society by favoring the constitutional parliament model and the freedom of speech in the hell, and that the King should share his power. Nevertheless, I would appreciate what kinds of reactions Paradise Lost got when once it was published, and what is its significance in the English Renaissance (if there was any English Renaissance, since we have shown by our instructor Assistant Prof Dr Patrick Hart that there are controversies about that describing this era as Renaissance can be problematic) period, as is the case in some others.
 
İpek Çakaloz (ELIT III)



26.12.12

Memory of a Large Christmas by Lillian Smith


Lillian Smith was born in 1897. She was a teacher, editor, and writer. She has traveled extensively in England, Italy, France, India, China and Brazil but has spent most of her life in the rural South, out of which much of her writing stems. From 1936 to 1946 she was co-editor and publisher of South Today, a magazine devoted to Southern problems. She gained prominence as a writer with the publication of her highly controversial novel Strange Fruit, 1944, which was followed by three nonfiction works- Killers of the Dream, 1949; The Journey, 1954; and Now Is The Time, 1955- and a novel, One Hour, 1959. In 1930 she was awarded a Special Citation for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Award Committee.

"Memory of a Large Christmas" from her book of the same title, is a portrait of Christmas as she knew it in her childhood. But in a larger perspective, "Memory of a Large Christmas" is a biography of a way of American life that flourished in the nineteenth century and lingered on in the South until the first decades of the twentieth century.

 Memory of a Large Christmas

Synopsis of The Salvation of Stephen Dedalus


ACT I

Scene i
Simon brings Stephen to Clongowes, a prestigious Jesuit boarding school. Simon is unaware of how even a hand holding might have consequences in this environment. Some school boys interrogate him about his father. The flow of time might be misleading here be careful because it will jump ahead with each scene.

Scene ii

 Stephen is in a classroom; everyone writes their themes. Prefect comes for an inspection and is not happy with the student’s progress.

Scene iii

After the Christmas Dinner the family gathers. Mrs. Riordan and Mr. Casey have an argument about politics and religion in front of young Stephen. In vain Stephen’s mother tries to heal the atmosphere.

Scene iv

2 – 3 years later. Simon cannot afford to send Stephen to Clongowes anymore. The family fortunes and income have declined drastically. During this time Stephen stays at home. He day dreams a lot; his mind is often far away and this annoys Simon. The gap between father and son widens. They move to Dublin; Stephen doesn’t like the city.

Scene v

Dublin siphons off Stephen inside its bowels; it is a new realm for Stephen especially with his relationships with the other sex. At a young age he encounters prostitutes and we see his relationship with Emma. His peers bully him about his views on literature and his relationship with Emma.

Scene vi

Joyce and Stephen in a dream like moment connect.  Simon, Johnny, and Stephen are in an ale house. Johnny is an old friend of Simon’s and they talk about their glorious past but Stephen seems not interested. His distance to his father increases even more.
Scene vii
Stephen is in a classroom with other students. The Rector announces the commencing of the retreat. In this retreat they will honor Saint Francis Xavier, a very important figure in Jesuit ideology. During this retreat students hear a series of sermons designed in Jesuit principles. Stephen is symbolically fallen and trapped.
  
ACT II
Scene i
Rector continues to talk about hell; his descriptions are extremely vivid for Stephen. Stephen’s imagination is powerful and the descriptions of Hell affect him deeply.

Scene ii

Lucky has a conversation with Stephen about sins of impurity. Lucky asks Stephen the question: Is God just?

Scene iii

After the conversation with Lucky, Stephen goes to confess to another Priest. He doesn’t want to confess his sins of impurity to his regular Priest. His confession shocks the priest. After the confession Stephen and Lucky meets again. Stephen is in a state of inner peace because his confession grants God’s grace to him. Now he has to work to remain in grace and not to slip again. Lucky explores on the notion of to sin over and over and confessing it all the time; he is worried that the confession might lose its validity.

Scene iv

Rector asks Stephen whether he wants to join the priesthood or not.

Scene v

Stephen encounters his school mates on the shore. He sees a bird girl; the vision causes him to experience an epiphany and finally he decides to pursue a life dedicated to art.
Scene vi
Stephen and his close friend Mulligan talk about Stephen’s future plans to leave Ireland.
Scene vii
Professor, students, and Stephen argue about faith and scientific explanation on natural phenomena.

Scene viii

McCann ushers other students and sets up his petition table about universal peace for signatures. He wants Stephen to be more active in political matters which Stephen refuses. As Lucky starts talking, the time stops in the back stage. In this dream like moment Stephen remembers Lawton’s story; after the story time returns back to present. Stephen leaves.

Ahmet Can Vargun (ELIT III)



24.12.12

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas


One Christmas was so much like the other, in those years around the sea-town corner now, out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve, or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.
All the Christmases roll down towards the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.
It was on the afternoon of the day of Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero's garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, although there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slide and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes.
The wise cats never appeared. We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows—eternal, ever since Wednesday—that we never heard Mrs. Prothero's first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. Or, if we heard it at all, it was, to us, like the far-off challenge of our enemy and prey, the neighbor's polar cat. But soon the voice grew louder. "Fire!" cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong.
And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, towards the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town crier in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. We bounded into the house, laden with snowballs, and stopped at the open door of the smoke-filled room.
Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, "A fine Christmas!" and smacking at the smoke with a slipper.
"Call the fire brigade," cried Mrs. Prothero as she beat the gong. "They won't be here," said Mr. Prothero, "it's Christmas."
There was no fire to be seen, only clouds of smoke and Mr. Prothero standing in the middle of them, waving his slipper as though he were conducting.
"Do something," he said.
And we threw all our snowballs into the smoke—I think we missed Mr. Prothero—and ran out of the house to the telephone box.
"Let's call the police as well," Jim said.
"And the ambulance."
"And Ernie Jenkins, he likes fires."
But we only called the fire brigade, and soon the fire engine came and three tall men in helmets brought a hose into the house and Mr. Prothero got out just in time before they turned it on. Nobody could have had a noisier Christmas Eve. And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim's Aunt, Miss Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said: "Would you like anything to read?"
Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: "It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea."
"But that was not the same snow," I say. "Our snow was not only shaken from whitewash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunderstorm of white, torn Christmas cards."
"Were there postmen then, too?"
"With sprinkling eyes and wind-cherried noses, on spread, frozen feet they crunched up to the doors and mittened on them manfully. But all that the children could hear was a ringing of bells."
"You mean that the postman went rat-a-tat-tat and the doors rang?"
"I mean that the bells that the children could hear were inside them."
"I only hear thunder sometimes, never bells."
"There were church bells, too."
"Inside them?"
"No, no, no, in the bat-black, snow-white belfries, tugged by bishops and storks. And they rang their tidings over the bandaged town, over the frozen foam of the powder and ice-cream hills, over the crackling sea. It seemed that all the churches boomed for joy under my window; and the weathercocks crew for Christmas, on our fence."
"Get back to the postmen."
"They were just ordinary postmen, fond of walking and dogs and Christmas and the snow. They knocked on the doors with blue knuckles...."
"Ours has got a black knocker...."
"And then they stood on the white Welcome mat in the little, drifted porches and huffed and puffed, making ghosts with their breath, and jogged from foot to foot like small boys wanting to go out."
"And then the presents?"
"And then the Presents, after the Christmas box. And the cold postman, with a rose on his button-nose, tingled down the tea-tray-slithered run of the chilly glinting hill. He went in his ice-bound boots like a man on fishmonger's slabs.
"He wagged his bag like a frozen camel's hump, dizzily turned the corner on one foot, and, by God, he was gone."
"Get back to the Presents."
"There were the Useful Presents: engulfing mufflers of the old coach days, and mittens made for giant sloths; zebra scarfs of a substance like silky gum that could be tug-o'-warred down to the galoshes; blinding tam-o'-shanters like patchwork tea cozies and bunny-suited busbies and balaclavas for victims of head-shrinking tribes; from aunts who always wore wool next to the skin there were mustached and rasping vests that made you wonder why the aunts had any skin left at all; and once I had a little crocheted nose bag from an aunt now, alas, no longer whinnying with us. And pictureless books in which small boys, though warned with quotations not to, would skate on Farmer Giles's pond and did and drowned; and books that told me everything about the wasp, except why."
"Go on to the Useless Presents."
"Bags of moist and many-colored jelly babies and a folded flag and a false nose and a tram-conductor's cap and a machine that punched tickets and rang a bell; never a catapult; once, by a mistake that no one could explain, a little hatchet; and a celluloid duck that made, when you pressed it, a most unducklike sound, a mewing moo that an ambitious cat might make who wished to be a cow; and a painting book in which I could make the grass, the trees, the sea and the animals any color I please, and still the dazzling sky-blue sheep are grazing in the red field under the rainbow-billed and pea-green birds. Hardboileds, toffee, fudge and allsorts, crunches, cracknel, humbugs, glaciers, marzipan, and butterwelsh for the Welsh. And troops of bright tin soldiers who, if they could not fight, could always run. And Snakes-and-Families and Happy Ladders. And Easy Hobbi-Games for Little Engineers, complete with instructions. Oh, easy for Leonardo! And a whistle to make the dogs bark to wake up the old man next door to make him beat on the wall with his stick to shake our picture off the wall. And a packet of cigarettes: you put one in your mouth and you stood at the corner of the street and you waited for hours, in vain, for an old lady to scold you for smoking a cigarette, and then with a smirk you ate it. And then it was breakfast under the balloons."
"Were there Uncles like in our house?"
"There are always Uncles at Christmas. The same Uncles. And on Christmas mornings, with dog-disturbing whistle and sugar fags, I would scour the swathed town for the news of the little world, and find always a dead bird by the Post Office or the white deserted swings; perhaps a robin, all but one of his fires out. Men and women wading, scooping back from chapel, with taproom noses and wind-bussed cheeks, all albinos, huddled their stiff black jarring feathers against the irreligious snow. Mistletoe hung from the gas brackets in all the front parlors; there was sherry and walnuts and bottled beer and crackers by the dessertspoons; and cats in their fur-abouts watched the fires; and the high-heaped fire spat, all ready for the chestnuts and the mulling pokers. Some few large men sat in the front parlors, without their collars, Uncles almost certainly, trying their new cigars, holding them out judiciously at arms' length, returning them to their mouths, coughing, then holding them out again as though waiting for the explosion; and some few small aunts, not wanted in the kitchen, nor anywhere else for that matter, sat on the very edges of their chairs, poised and brittle, afraid to break, like faded cups and saucers."

Not many those mornings trod the piling streets: an old man always, fawn-bowlered, yellow-gloved and, at this time of year, with spats of snow, would take his constitutional to the white bowling green and back, as he would take it wet or fire on Christmas Day or Doomsday; sometimes two hale young men, with big pipes blazing, no overcoats and wind blown scarfs, would trudge, unspeaking, down to the forlorn sea, to work up an appetite, to blow away the fumes, who knows, to walk into the waves until nothing of them was left but the two curling smoke clouds of their inextinguishable briars. Then I would be slap-dashing home, the gravy smell of the dinners of others, the bird smell, the brandy, the pudding and mince, coiling up to my nostrils, when out of a snow-clogged side lane would come a boy the spit of myself, with a pink-tipped cigarette and the violet past of a black eye, cocky as a bullfinch, leering all to himself.
I hated him on sight and sound, and would be about to put my dog whistle to my lips and blow him off the face of Christmas when suddenly he, with a violet wink, put his whistle to his lips and blew so stridently, so high, so exquisitely loud, that gobbling faces, their cheek bulged with goose, would press against their tinsled windows, the whole length of the white echoing street. For dinner we had turkey and blazing pudding, and after dinner the Uncles sat in front of the fire, loosened all buttons, put their large moist hands over their watch chains, groaned a little and slept. Mothers, aunts and sisters scuttled to and fro, bearing tureens. Aunt Bessie, who had already been frightened, twice, by a clock-work mouse, whimpered at the sideboard and had some elderberry wine. The dog was sick. Auntie Dosie had to have three aspirins, but Auntie Hannah, who liked port, stood in the middle of the snowbound back yard, singing like a big-bosomed thrush. I would blow up balloons to see how big they would blow up to; and, then when they burst, which they all did, the Uncles jumped and rumbled. In the rich and heavy afternoon, the Uncles breathing like dolphins and the snow descending, I would sit among festoons and Chinese lanterns and nibble dates and try to make a model man-o'-war, following the Instructions for Little Engineers, and produce what might be mistaken for a sea-going tramcar.
Or I would go out, my bright new boots squeaking, into the white world, on to the seaward hill, to call on Jim and Dan and Jack and to pad through the still streets, leaving huge deep footprints on the hidden pavements.
"I bet people will think there've been hippos."
"What would you do if you saw a hippo coming down our street?"
"I'd go like this, bang! I'd throw him over the railings and roll him down the hill and then I'd tickle him under the ear and he'd wag his tail."
"What would you do if you saw two hippos?"
Iron-flanked and bellowing he-hippos clanked and battered through the scudding snow towards us as we passed Mr. Daniel's house.
"Let's post Mr. Daniel a snowball through his letter box."
"Let's write things in the snow."
"Let's write, 'Mr. Daniel looks like a spaniel' all over his lawn."
Or we walked on the white shore. "Can the fishes see it's snowing?"
The silent one-clouded heavens drifted on to the sea. Now we were snow-blind travelers lost on the north hills, and vast dewlapped dogs, with flasks round their necks, ambled and shambled up to us, baying "Excelsior." We returned home through the poor streets where only a few children fumbled with bare red fingers in the wheel-rutted snow and cat-called after us, their voices fading away, as we trudged uphill, into the cries of the dock birds and the hooting of ships out in the whirling bay. And then, at tea the recovered Uncles would be jolly; and the ice cake loomed in the center of the table like a marble grave. Auntie Hannah laced her tea with rum, because it was only once a year.
Bring out the tall tales now that we told by the fire as the gaslight bubbled like a diver. Ghosts whooed like owls in the long nights when I dared not look over my shoulder; animals lurked in the cubbyhole under the stairs where the gas meter ticked. And I remember that we went singing carols once, when there wasn't the shaving of a moon to light the flying streets. At the end of a long road was a drive that led to a large house, and we stumbled up the darkness of the drive that night, each one of us afraid, each one holding a stone in his hand in case, and all of us too brave to say a word. The wind through the trees made noises as of old and unpleasant and maybe webfooted men wheezing in caves. We reached the black bulk of the house.
"What shall we give them? Hark the Herald?"
"No," Jack said, "Good King Wencelas. I'll count three."
One, two, three, and we began to sing, our voices high and seemingly distant in the snow-felted darkness round the house that was occupied by nobody we knew. We stood close together, near the dark door.
Good King Wencelas looked out
On the Feast of Stephen...
And then a small, dry voice, like the voice of someone who has not spoken for a long time, joined our singing: a small, dry, eggshell voice from the other side of the door: a small, dry voice through the keyhole. And when we stopped running we were outside our house; the front room was lovely; balloons floated under the hot-water-bottle-gulping gas; everything was good again and shone over the town.
"Perhaps it was a ghost," Jim said.
"Perhaps it was trolls," Dan said, who was always reading.
"Let's go in and see if there's any jelly left," Jack said. And we did that.
Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang "Cherry Ripe," and another uncle sang "Drake's Drum." It was very warm in the little house. Auntie Hannah, who had got on to the parsnip wine, sang a song about Bleeding Hearts and Death, and then another in which she said her heart was like a Bird's Nest; and then everybody laughed again; and then I went to bed. Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steadily falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept.
Title: A Child's Christmas in Wales
Author: Dylan Thomas
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0701261h.html
Language:  English
Date first posted: December 2007
Date most recently updated: December 2007

20.12.12

Once upon a time and a very good time…

James Joyce’s classic novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is being brought to the stage by the Department of English Language and Literature in C Block Auditorium, 13, 14, 18 December. "The Salvation of Stephen Dedalus," a play written and directed by Assoc. Prof. Don Randall. Based on James Joyce’s 1916 semi-autobiographical novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man tells a coming-of-age story about a young artist’s growth to maturity and adult reasoning, while highlighting the conflicts between the protagonist and the society in which he is raised. Central to the plot is Stephen Dedalus’ rebellion and rejection of the Catholic Church. The play takes place in Dublin, in the last years of the nineteenth century. Stephen Dedalus' schooldays are described, along with some parts of his family life. The play shows scenes of his puberty, together with his adult sexuality. Stephen's temporary yet fiercely experienced interest in becoming a priest is firmly examined. The play ends with Stephen's university graduation and his decision to leave his native land for the sake of a successful career as an artist. The title character Stephen Dedalus is played by ELIT senior student Berat Melih Kalender, with Assoc. Prof. Don Randall as his father and Asst. Prof. Patrick Hart in the role of James Joyce. Throughout the play Joyce and Stephen in dream like moments connect which brings out an extraordinary taste to the play.

It is always a challenge to adapt a well-known novel for the stage and make it accessible to an audience. However, Don Randall’s adaptation concisely captures the narrative and successfully condenses the action into a self-contained play. The production does not rely on theatrical techniques, such as physical theatre and sound effects, to breathe life into the content. The strength and beauty of the language is not damaged by overused techniques, the dialogue and the potential impact of Joyce’s classic are well reflected. There is nothing to cloud the originality of the text.
Don Randall’s interestingly cross-gender portrayal of the characters brings out an avant garde taste to the play. Most of the schoolboy roles are played by young women. Only the hero Stephen, who is played by Berat Melih Kalender, remains the same while the other cast members switch between roles, which is sometimes confusing as transformations come quickly and it is often unclear who’s who.
            The play shows me that the integrated use of physical theatre is not always necessary. To put this comment into context; the language alone paints the horrific picture of hell and, therefore, the actors need not enact flames. The audience is encouraged to engage their imagination.  But for some parts, I find myself willing the actors to play with the language a bit more: to enjoy the words.
The play successfully captures the Catholic fear and attitude towards eternal torment. During a lesson, the Rector lectures the class about Hell; his depictions are extremely vivid for Stephen and he is affected deeply. We see what it’s like to be in the mind of the young artist. The language is beautiful and this strong adaptation captures the era. For the best ever description of Hell, you should have seen this fascinating adaptation. Be warned against sitting in the front row, as you're likely to be sprayed with invective as the doctrine-fuelled Catholic priest delivers his fevered lecture on what to expect in the afterlife should you take the wrong turn.

The cast are energetic and embrace their roles with dedication and there are some genuinely funny moments. However, there are a couple of instances where some of the performers appear too enthusiastic; emphatically demanding and stealing attention from where it should be. And there are several times where the actors switch between roles however their tone of voices does not change, resulting in one-dimensional portrayals. On the other hand, the actors do not resort to shouting every line for dramatic impact; instead they connect to the text, visualize the fineness of the language and evoke meaning from the words.
Overall, this is a very interesting experience for me to watch an innovative portrayal of Stephen, the hero. The production demonstrates imagination and the high energy cannot be faulted. For the most part, the play is flawlessly rehearsed, slick and dynamic. Audience is allowed to penetrate into the mind of Stephen: the continuous presentation of the character’s consciousness inviting reader to an intimacy. The end of this innovative play suggests that Stephen has reached a sensible and sensitive maturity to create his own innovative portraits as an artist. For fans of Joyce’s novel this is a great opportunity, and a visually interesting way of bringing it to the stage. I am as an ELIT student very proud of my department once more. I would like to congratulate the ones who embrace this play with dedication and commitment.

Bengisu Yalçın (ELIT IV)

Venue: C Block Auditorium
Date Reviewed: 17 December 2012



6.12.12

A New Production by The Department of English Language and Literature: The Salvation of Stephen Dedalus


You are invited to the latest production of the Department of English Language and Literature, "The Salvation of Stephen Dedalus," a new play written and directed by Associate Professor Don Randall. The play is based on James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The premier performance will take place on Thursday, December 13th 2012 at 7:30 p.m, in the C Block Auditorium, Bilkent University.
Entrance is free. Two more performances will be on Friday, December 14th and on Tuesday, December 18th, at the announced time and place. Please join the audience and enjoy the play.

4.12.12

3rd Undergraduate Conference on Anglo-American Literature


CALL FOR PAPERS

Bilkent University
Departments of American Culture and Literature
& English Language and Literature


Undergraduate Conference on Anglo -American Literature:

“Madness”

12 –13 April 2013
Bilkent University, Main Campus

            Bilkent University is pleased to announce the second undergraduate conference on Anglo-American Literature, jointly hosted by the Departments of English Language and Literature and American Culture and Literature. The conference will concentrate on gender and identity in literary studies, but its scope is intended to be broader. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Literature & Psychoanalysis
  • Madness in Medieval Times
  • Female Insanity
  • Hysteria in Literature
  • Narratives of Hysteria in Victorian Literature
  • Mad Characters in Edgar Allan Poe’s Fiction
  • Madness in Tudor Age
  • Representatives of Madness in Gothic Fiction
  • Guilt, Evil & Sexual Assault in Literature
  • Psychology & Literature
  • Lunatic Characters in Arts
  • Mad Authors, Poets and Artists


We invite you to submit a proposal of 250 words by 10 February 2013. Proposals will be reviewed by the committee on the basis of academic value and originality. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by the beginning of March, 2013 and presenters will be asked to submit their complete papers by March 23. Paper presentations should not exceed 15 minutes. If you are interested in organizing a panel or a workshop, please include your requests while sending the proposal.

Contact:
angloamerican2013@bilkent.edu.tr

Forthcoming Undergraduate Conference: Madness in Literature and Arts

Dear Participants,
I am pleased to invite you to the 3rd Anglo-American Undergraduate Conference, which promotes scholarly papers of  young researchers on Anglo-American literature, broadly defined. Since 2011, the event has been aiming at providing opportunities for intellectual exchange among students of literature and the related areas, in a friendly, interactive environment.  The scope of study is as wide as the geographical diversity of the attendants. The conference welcomes students from all European countries, all countries in the world, as well as all cities in Turkey.  This annual meeting is the venue for various discussion topics from different and at the same time sister disciplines such as, history, art history, religion, history of science, musicology, and literary and cultural studies in English.
The 3rd conference is on “Madness in Literature and Arts,” which gets the highest vote from the attendants of the last conference. Doubtless, the most challenging and interesting papers will be presented at this conference, again. Bilkent University Library with its rich research facilities is at your service. We look forward to listening to your presentations in April, 2013. 
I wish you a productive stay at Bilkent, full of fruitful discussions, enthusiastic sessions and enjoyable social activities.
Heartfelt thanks to ELIT and AMER students, who act as wonderful organizers and hosts every year, with unending efforts in making the conference unforgettable.

Dr Gul Kurtulus
Faculty of Humanities and Letters
Department of Englsh Language and Literature
Acting Chair

28.11.12

The Salvation of Stephen Dedalus

The latest project of the Department of English Language and Literature is the production of "The Salvation of 
Stephen Dedalus", a new play written and directed by Associate Professor Don Randall. The play is based on James Joyce's novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, from which it takes some of its scenes and characters. Most of the dialogues and situations, however, are original. Don Randall plays four roles; Assistant Professor Patrick Hart plays James Joyce. Another colleague, Dr Gul Kurtulus, is the production manager. Some major and minor roles are played by ELIT students, including the title character, played by Berat Melih Kalender. The presentation of several minor roles and much of the backstage support for the play has been undertaken by students of the Department of American Culture and Literature, with the cooperation of Dr Christopher Rivera. Some important roles are performed by students from various other departments, and four international exchange students are also participating.
 
The action of the play takes place in Dublin, in the last years of the nineteenth century. Stephen Dedalus's schooldays are portrayed, along with selected moments of his family life. The play shows scenes of his adolescence, including the precocious and troubling emergence his adult sexuality. Stephen's short-lived but intensely experienced interest in becoming a priest is closely examined. The play ends with Stephen's university graduation and his decision to leave his native land in pursuit of a successful career as a literary artist.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Don Randall

22.11.12

Back to the Start: Frankenweenie

In this year, Tim Burton gives us two movies: Dark Shadows and Frankenweenie. As I watched these two movies, I could not believe that these two movies are directed by the same person. There are huge differences in terms of the storyline, characters and so on. I think this is because Tim Burton turns back to the start of his career because Frankenweenie is the remake of a short movie by Burton: Frankenweenie (1984).
 The first thing that caught my attention in the movie is, of course, its gothic elements. Frankenweenie is completely a gothic movie. Even colours –black and white- play an important role in the movie, indicating the darkness of the events. In addition, its reference to Frankenstein - protagonist of the movie is Victor Frankenstein - can also be considered as Burton’s ambition to master gothic movies.
  
  Although Frankenweenie is a stop-motion animation, it is not for children; I think it is for horror movie fans. It has lots of references to horror movies such as The Mummy (1932), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), The Birds (1963) and so on. Using stop-motion technique instead of CGI (Computer-generated imagery) also shows that Tim Burton still likes old fashion movie techniques and respects all of these movies.


Overall, Frankenweenie is a pure gothic movie. There is not much to say about it, it is a classic Tim Burton film. The most negative aspect of the movie is it lasts only 87 minutes. When it ends, you just want more – so if you crave more Frankenweenie after the movie ends, you should definitely watch the short version!

 Kaan Akın (ELIT II)

Everybody Needs a Reality to Follow: The Master

The Master, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, is his sixth movie. The director usually examines American society perfectly. In his previous film There Will Be Blood, he tries to examine how capitalism begins in the USA with a great but simple story. In The Master, Anderson examines why people need a family. Is it necessary? How do family connections work? Does family mean a shelter, protection?
            There are two main characters in the movie: Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) and Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Quell is a soldier who has been in a war very recently. When he comes back from his homeland, he cannot fit the society and he is uncertain of his future. On the other hand, Lancaster Dodd is a leader who tries to educate Quell and make him a member of his community, “The Cause”.

            To start with, the best part of the movie is the actors. Philip Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix’s performances are to perfection. Some scenes where there are dialogues between two actors are unforgettable. The way they look at each other, speak to each other reveals all the features of both characters. In these scenes, we can understand that Quell needs to be educated because he just follows his basic instinct in the movie which is why Dodd likens him a bad animal. The way actor Philip Hoffman acts his character gives away lots of clues about the character. Dodd is a character who does not show his feelings much. But sometimes, he loses his temper and we understand that although he looks confident and knows what he is doing, he is not certain. With these great actors, the characters are played flawlessly. In Oscars, I assume that Phoenix and Hoffman will be nominated at least.
            The director, Paul Thomas Anderson is the one who makes the movie perfect. In the hands of another director, this simple story of the movie might have turned out to be a disaster. Anderson knows how to tell his story properly and what to focus on to be effective. He is not interested in details of the story. He tries to keep it as simple as possible. He wants to show us the reactions, behaviour of the characters in specific events, such as the experiments done to Quell by Dodd. There is not one scene unrelated or far-fetched in the movie. This shows Anderson’s skill to tell his concerns and story properly.
             Overall, Paul Thomas Anderson and the actors do a great job. They deserve awards from the Academy. I hope that the Academy will give them due praise and credit.

Kaan Akın (ELIT II)

13.11.12

The Enduring Power of Shakespeare


Prof. Bülent Bozkurt, who served as dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Letters and chair of the Department of English Language and Literature from 1986 to 2005, was recently welcomed again at the university, where he presented a talk hosted by his former department. On November 7 in C-Block Auditorium, Prof. Bozkurt, a distinguished translator, drama critic and writer, spoke on the topic of "Shakespeare's Eternal Lines and Intriguing Characters."
He started his presentation by mentioning the sports page of a newspaper, which referred to a "To Be or Not to Be Match," as an apt illustration of the way lines from Shakespeare have endured
and remain part of everyday discourse even today. Prof. Bozkurt then focused on what makes the characters in such plays as "Hamlet," "Macbeth" and "King Lear" tragic and why they are still memorable. Numerous quotations from Shakespeare -- including, from Sonnet 18, "When in eternal lines to time thou growst" -- provided the basis for a profound analysis of the human condition and its sufferings. After the talk, Prof. Bozkurt responded to the many comments and questions from the appreciative audience.

Meryem Tugba Peksen (ELIT III)
(This news item is published in Bilkent News, Vol. 19, Number 8, Nov. 13th, 2012)


Book Reading at the Canadian Residence

3.11.12

Prof. Dr. Bülent Bozkurt's Talk on "Shakespeare's Eternal Lines and Intriguing Characters"

  
This week, the Department of English Language and Literature is hosting a lecture by Prof. Bülent Bozkurt who acted as Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Letters and Chair of the Department of English Language and Literature between 1986-2005. Among his many accomplishments are  his activities as a distinguished translator, drama critic and writer.
Prof. Bozkurt has taught and published in the following areas: Shakespeare, seventeenth century English literature, translation, literary terms, and twentieth century British and American travel literature. His translations include sixteen plays by Shakespeare and in collaboration with his wife Saadet Bozkurt, the complete “Sonnets”, John Donne’s “Songs and Sonnets”, and “Shakespeare: A Life” by Park Honan. 
 Prof. Bozkurt will present a talk entitled “Shakespeare’s Eternal Lines and Intriguing Characters.” The seminar will take place on Wednesday, November 7, in C-Block Amphitheater at 5:40 p.m. Everyone interested in translation, Shakespeare, art and literature is invited. Refreshments will be served after the talk. For more information, you may contact elit@bilkent.edu.tr.

10.10.12

Elizabeth: Heiress of the Beat Generation in THE CLOCK WINDER

The Clock Winder starts in 1960 and ends in 1970. Within the period of ten years the novel talks about the change in the lives of the Emerson family with appearance of a skilful girl who becomes the quintessential part of their routine. Elizabeth is introduced through a pure coincidence when she attempts to give hand to Mrs Emerson.
             The concept of time first comes out with the title “The Clock Winder” which suggests the idea that the writer is going to depict the passage of time and also a key which is used for winding a mechanism like clock. Both of the abovementioned subjects are handled with great caution as the novel covers a time span of ten years, moreover; Elizabeth who is the major character of the novel functions as a clock winder.
       In the first chapter Elizabeth’s encounter with Mrs. Emerson brings the notion of two generations who are separately influenced by the background they are brought up and also the circumstance they are in, which in a way they are sharing together. Elizabeth who is a young girl comes from North Carolina, California. She is an advocator of the hippie movement of the 60s which supports freedom in behaviour, life style, clothing in short everything. Elizabeth who wears pole jeans and boots exemplifies the non-conformism of her generation. She takes up the responsibilities of a man and starts working as a handyman for Mrs Emerson who fires Richard, the ex-handyman. Although Elizabeth is paid for this job, gradually she becomes a person in the family who is in charge of everything relating to Timothy’s, Matthew’s and Andrew’s lives.
Mrs Emerson is presented as a person who lacks self-confidence and self reliance. In all her life she never decides for anything independently. She depends on others and mostly on her husband. Therefore, his death comes as a stroke to her. Even she does not have the ability to wind the clocks which she inherited from her husband. Only her husband could understand the system. Mrs Emerson finds herself in the middle of disorder until Elizabeth appears. She comes as the life saver of the disorganized life of the family. With her youth, energy, cleverness and practicality, she reorganizes the disharmony shared by everybody. Unlike Mrs Emerson who even cannot take a step on her own, Elizabeth travels from California to Baltimore to find a job and bravely thinks of going back to Baltimore to spend her holiday with someone she chooses from the bulletin board.
            The sunny, bright image of California is reflected in Elizabeth’s personality and thus behaviours. It is as if she illuminates the place where she is in with her brightness. Her courage and intellect prove her to be stronger than the men in the novel. Although she has to leave the college she is attending she never gives up and takes the risk of going to another city and trying her chance there. Moreover, her clothing reflects her non-conformist attitude.
             Mrs Emerson who is a southerner shows a sign of courage at the beginning of the novel by getting rid of the handyman Richard although she knows quite well that she can do nothing without him. Yet this brave attempt leads to Mrs Emerson’s helplessness in face of loneliness. She suddenly finds herself in the middle of things. She regrets the fact that her husband is not with her in the most crucial moments. This depiction of the southern woman as opposed to the free spirit of Elizabeth is very outstanding in terms of the setting of the novel.
             Contemporary women writers who write about the 60s and 70s include the Hippie Movement into their works. Women writings on the whole deal with the problems of women, their assimilation and integration in the society which exists as a result of the aim of giving shape to a feminist ideology. Therefore, the theme of separation of women in a male-dominant society is frequently used by the woman writers. Most of the time the novels end with the female character’s self realization which adds to her progress in becoming an equal individual with the male character.
            However, these feminist messages are mingled with other movements and notions according to the social, political and economic background of the writer. For instance in Praisesong for the Widow, Marshall uses her own black background in the novel, which makes it not only an autobiographical but also an interesting book. While delicately talking about the feminist issues in the background she handles the identity problem of a black woman in a materialistic white society. Not only Avey Johnson’s as the female protagonist but also Jay Johnson’s self denials are given which add another dimension to the novel. That is, by dealing with the change in a male black character, Marshall brings the problems of blacks, their difficulty in assimilation and integrity with the problems of blacks, besides feminist issues and self discovery of a black woman.
            Anne Tyler, just like Paula Marshall adds other dimensions to her novel, The Clock Winder by introducing the effects of the Hippie Movement and clash between the tradition and unconventional ideas. The depiction of the protagonist Elizabeth is juxtaposed with the depiction of other female characters like Mrs Emerson, Elizabeth’s mother and her sister. She comes our as an unconventional female whose interests are mostly in the male world. She is portrayed as a girl who does not give importance to her clothing even when she is going out with the opposite sex and who is fond of carving which is suitable hobby not for girls but for boys. Her so-called “aimless” attitude towards life and her idea of living the moment and not bothering about the next hour, let alone the next day remind of the carpe-diem philosophy which in fact form basis to the Hippie Movement. Although these can be the first points which attract the attention of the reader at first sight, beneath this surface observation lies some subtle but at the same time strong feminist touches.
                Elizabeth’s first appearance at the beginning of the novel is through some hard work, like carrying the furniture which is again part of man’s job. She refuses to be a maid in Emerson’s house but insists on taking the job of the handyman who is fired by Mrs Emerson. Her skill in mending things and carving woods is a kind of protest of the feminist movement against those who believe that only men can do such things. Although her clothing reflects the effects of the Hippie Movement again Tyler tries to show that there is an enormous change from skirts, corsets and high-heeled shoes to the faded blue-jeans and sports shoes. Elizabeth in a way protests the conventional way of dressing for women which again results from the feminist movement.
            On the other hand, her outlook to life reflects the feminists’ ideas that women can also live like men and take decisions on their own. Elizabeth leaves her family and takes a long journey first from North Carolina to Philadelphia and ten to Baltimore. She acts in a way supporting and following the Hippie idea of living the day and not making any plans but on another level the way she chooses to travel -i.e. the cheap ride- tells a lot about her independence and freedom which the feminist movement tries to scatter among women. She takes the risk of travelling with a man whom she knows nothing about and gets Baltimore with cheap ride.
                As a result, it can be said that Elizabeth is the representative of the feminist movement with her clothing , style of living, ideas, interests and behaviours. It is evident that she reflects the effects of the Hippie movement of the 60s,but she is depicted as someone who can even replace Mr. Emerson who is the only person who understands the clocks. She becomes a handyman and takes care of everything in the house. Tyler probably tries to show that such a woman can also attract the attention of the opposite sex since the male members of the Emerson family are closely interested in her. The end of the novel also justifies the idea that Elizabeth still carries her feminine features and decides to get married in spite of all her revolutionary attitude. Tyler, in the end comes to  compromise that a woman can marry and at the same time survive her conventional side.
The Clock Winder by Ann Tyler U.S.A: Knopf, 1972
Dr Gül Kurtuluş