Egy képlet nyomában - Karakterelemzések az amerikai és a magyar irodalomból.
Budapest: Balassi Kiadó, 2012. 234 pp.
[In Search of a Formula-Analyzing American and Hungarian Literary Characters]
This book is about how the literary character gets created in the text: this is the "formula" it sets up, tracing the processes whereby the subject is performatively constructed with relation to existing scripts. The author first elaborates the theoretical framework for this formula, exploring theories of the subject from Descartes to Judith Butler, then discusses subjectivity constructions where inflections of gender, sexuality, and race mark the performed subject. Bollobás draws correspondences between the performative and the tropological, insisting that the re-performance of existing scripts accounts for metaphorical constructions, while the non-compliance with these normative discourses makes for the subject as catachresis. This theoretical formula is then applied in the close reading of a whole range of texts and characters from American and Hungarian literature primarily.
poems 49, 199, 223, 258, 280, 341, 486, 505, 508, 528, 657, 670, 675, 875, 1072, 1270, 1695, 1719 (Emily Dickinson); Three Valuable Pieces . A Private Diary (Thomas Shepard); Personal Narrative, Freedom of the Will, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (Jonathan Edwards); Hungarian folk songs and ballads; "Between two cigarettes" ["Két cigaretta közt"] (Antal Szerb); "Portrait sketch" ["Arcképtanulmány"] (Sophie Török); "Madame Récamier," "Who are you?" ["Ki maga"] (Ignotus); Daisy Miller, The Portrait of a Lady (Henry James); Sister Carrie (Theodore Dreiser); The Awakening (Kate Chopin); The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton); "The Birthmark"(Nathaniel Hawthorne); "The Yellow Wallpaper" (Charlotte Perkins Gilman); Divorce a Buda [Válás Budán], Adventure [Kaland], Embers [A gyertyák csonkig égnek] (Sándor Márai); "A Rose for Emily" (William Faulkner); A Streetcar Named Desire (Tennessee Williams); "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" (Flannery O'Connor); Wonder Maid [Édes Anna], "Scandal" ["Pletyka"] (Dezső Kosztolányi); Colours and Years [Színek és évek], Maria's years [Mária évei] (Margit Kaffka); Horror [Iszony] (Németh László); Three Lives (Gertrude Stein); Nightwood (Djuna Barnes); The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (Carson McCullers); The Fox (D. H. Lawrence); HERmione, Asphodel, Palimpsest, The Gift, Tribute to Freud (H. D.); Stop Mommy Theresa [Állítsátok meg Terézanyut!], There you go, Mommy Theresa [Nesze neked, Terézanyu!] (Rácz Zsuzsa); "Billy Budd" (Herman Melville); The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde); A View from the Bridge (Arthur Miller); A Book of Memories [Emlékiratok könyve], Parallel Stories [Párhuzamos történetek] (Péter Nádas); "The Beast in the Jungle," "In the Cage" (Henry James); Uncle Tom's Cabin (Harriet Beecher Stowe); "In uniform" ["Bakaruhában"] (Hunyady Sándor); Is He Dead? (Mark Twain); The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (James Weldon Johnson); Passing (Nella Larsen); Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov); M. Butterfly (David H. Hwang); (The Human Stain (Philip Roth).
THEY AREN'T, UNTIL I CALL THEM—Performing the Subject in American Literature.
Frankfurt am Main-Berlin-Bern-Bruxelles-New York-Oxford: Peter Lang, 2010. 233 pp.
In the story of the three baseball umpires, two novice umpires compete in boasting how they respect "truth" and the way things "really" are. One says, "I call them the way I see them"; the other, trying to trump this remark, responds, "I call them the way they are." Then enters the third, most seasoned umpire, saying, "They aren't, until I call them."
This book is about two widely argued issues in literature criticism today, performativity and subjectivity. How do literary characters become who they are? What performative processes and what scripts do they follow when they "do" gender, race, and sexuality?
Tying into speech act theories and subjectivity theories, as well as gender, race, and sexuality studies, the book explores-through the close reading of several American texts-the many ways words make "things" in literature.
The logocentric performative
Performative theories of the subject
Performing gender in American literature (normative performances vs. transgressive performativity)
Performing sexuality in American literature (conceptualizing the homosexual, gay readings)
Performing passing in American literature (gender, race, class passing)
Az amerikai irodalom története [A History of American Literature]. Budapest: Osiris, 2005. 874 pp.
A grand survey of American literature from its native pre-colonial beginnings to end of the 20th century, the book sets out to uncover the pluralism of American literature and the multiplicity of literary and interpretive canons. In addition to the traditional canon representing the culture of dominant social groups and producing the all too familiar national narratives, the History portrays the multicultural canon of representation as well as the canon of avantgarde experimentation. In other words, side by side with the familiar "Great Books," the writings of previously muted minorities -- women, African Americans, Native Americans, Chicanos, gays and lesbians, and others -- are treated as integral and representative works. At the same time, the history of avantgardism -- the impulse to innovate, renew, change, and experiment even at the expense of being "difficult" or inaccessible -- is being surveyed with similar scrutiny. The ultimate thesis of the book concerns one of the most exciting questions of U.S. literature: how representational diversity and experimentation compete for furnishing its unique "Americanness." Winner of the HUSSE (Hungarian Society for the Study of English) Award for Best Book.
Reviewed in Hungarian:
Bényei Tamás: Beleírás, átírás, szétírás. BUKSZ 19/4 (2007). 325-335. (pdf)
Charles Olson. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1992. 151 pp.
An introduction to the poetry and philosophy of Charles Olson, the monograph treats the early postmodernism of Olson as the continuation of the radical modernism of the Pound-Williams-Stein tradition, emphasizing its overall ambition to overcome Western humanistic logocentrism. In addition, Olson's epistemology is explained in the context of other artistic and scientific departures from logocentric Western humanism, such as those of John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Franz Kline, Norbert Wiener or Werner Heisenberg. After the chapters on the intellectual background of the poet and his major theoretical essays, the monograph gives readings of Olson's significant shorter poems as well as The Maximus Poems. (Out of print.)
Tradition and Innovation in American Free Verse: Whitman to Duncan.
Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1986. 328 pp.
This book examines three prosodic paradigms of 19th and 20th century American free verse, representing three possible answers to the challenge of formal innovation. The prosodic achievements of Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot, and the Pound-Williams line constitute three alternatives representing, from a typological point of view, three radically different innovations: (I) the prosody of grammar related to the sentence level (Whitman); (ii) vers libéré, or the prosody of (metrical) approximation (Eliot); and (iii) the prosody of textual contiguity of Pound, Williams, and the early postmoderns. Prosodic form is read by grammetrical analysis, a method flexible enough to handle prosodic innovation in its pluralism. Prosodic avantgardism is here studied in its contiguity and is presented as the major achievement of modern poetry. (Out of print.)