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«Of What is Past, or Passing, or to Come»

Travelling in Time and Space in Literature in English

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Liliana Sikorska

This volume, entitled Of what is past, or passing, or to come: Travelling in Time and Space in Literature in English was inspired by the work of the writer, culture historian and mythographer Marina Warner and the professor of comparative literature Cathy Caruth. The lines quoted above are from W.B. Yeats’ Sailing to Byzantium, which are recalled by one of the characters in Marina Warner’s novel In a Dark Wood (1977). The articles included in this volume are devoted to the explorations of individual space and landscape of the mind through analyzing trauma and addressing psychological wounds, and to travels into fairy tales, oriental scenery real and imaginary as well as interrelationships between memory and fiction in non-fictional and fictional discourses.
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“I’ll drown my book”: Travels between the lines of Shakespeare’s The tempest and Dickens’s A Christmas carol: Daragh Downes, Trinity College, Dublin

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Daragh Downes, Trinity College, Dublin

ABSTRACT

This paper offers a comparative character analysis of the male protagonists of two canonical texts of English literature. Prospero and Ebenezer Scrooge are read as two figures whose miscellaneous travels—spatial, temporal, imaginative, emotional and spiritual—are undertaken in response to certain psychological wounds sustained in the past and certain existential fears pertaining to the future. The keen special significance for both men of books, solitude, sociality, magic, power and death is explored in detail, with thematic and characterological lines of contour being drawn tentatively between the two texts. The argument is advanced that the ‘change of heart’ sponsoring each tale’s ostensibly happy dénouement in fact evades as many problems as it solves, leaving both men at the end scarcely less self-exiled than they were when we first encountered them. Prospero’s terminal acts of forgiveness and Scrooge’s late reabsorption into the convivial social world are thus subjected to a critical counter-reading that is staged under the double sign of self-alienation and inauthenticity.

“poor man”

William Shakespeare, The tempest

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