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


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)


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


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.