ESSE 2021

From 08/30/2021 to 09/03/2021

Lyon - France


Parallel lectures

Download the list of parallel lectures here


PL1 – Alice in Transmedia Wonderland
Lecturer: Anna Kérchy, University of Szeged, Hungary

Part of Alice’s appeal is her ambiguity, which makes possible a wide range of interpretations in adapting Lewis Carroll’s classic Wonderland stories to various media. Popular re-imaginings of Alice and her topsy-turvy world reveal many ways of eliciting enchantment and shaping make-believe. Adventures get “curiouser and curiouser” once Alice ventures into Transmedia Wonderland, transgressing the confines of the written text towards visual, acoustic, tactile, kinetic and digital new media regimes of representation. Late 20th-century and 21st-century adaptations dynamically interact with their Victorian source texts as well as one another to enhance the immersion into an elaborate fictional universe and maximalize audience engagement, while retelling a story that remains recognizably the same, yet turns radically different with each new retelling. The journey to Wonderland today signifies a metafantasmagoric, metamedial mission urging all to explore interactively the cultural critical and ethical stakes of our embodied imaginative experience of making sense of nonsense.

PL2 – Between Literature and the Public Sphere. Postmillennial Trends in the Indian Anglophone Novel
Lecturer: Rossella Ciocca, University of Naples, Italy

The Indian literary scene, after the breakthrough of the postcolonial novel, is now in its complex entirety a space of extremely lively and variegated narrative production. After the groundbreaking postcolonial sweep of the 80s and 90s with Rushdie, Roy, Seth, Mistry to set the model, in the third millennium a vast train of authors continue to experiment with a multifarious variety of trends, genres, forms and voices (Varughese; Singh). A new generation of writers chart out a vibrant and energetic literary landscape in which the novelistic and other modes, such as the graphic novel, the autobiography or the diary, question changing notions of authorship and interrogate the role of English in creating reading communities across regional borders (Ciocca & Srivastava; Tickell; Anjaria).Yet, due to its historical cultural activism, born from its relation with the anti-colonial movement and the progressive modernist agenda (AIPWA), it is no surprise that in India the dominant themes in writing from and about the subcontinent still engage intensely with civic, public, political, historical issues. Addressing with new vigor the unsolved tangle of problematic relations between different castes, religions, ethnicities and factors such as the spread of the neoliberalism with its exploitative economic model, postmillennial writers are ever more interested in delineating new political geographies in order to give voice to those who have only recently acquired the right to speak. The aim of my talk is to contribute to a reflection on the expressive possibilities of Indian postmillennial narrative prose in its particular relation with literary specificity on the one hand and the peculiar interplay with the subcontinental Public Sphere on the other. In this sense, I would like to address the particular case study of Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017). Continuing in fictional terms the author’s life-long commitment against neo-liberal depredation of Indian ecological resources and her unrelenting critique against the threats the rise of Hindu nationalism poses to democracy, Roy confirms a gift for storytelling that is genuinely, and almost daringly, literary. My aim is then to assess not only the breadth of this novel’s capacity to tackle thorny political issues, giving voice to traditionally silenced social actors, but also to account for its quintessentially artistic devotion to stylistic expertise and original rhetorical proficiency.

PL3 – Dialogism and Discourse Analysis
Lecturer: Giuliana Elena Garzone, IULM University, Milan, Italy

This presentation intends to illustrate the application, in linguistics and discourse analysis, of the notion of dialogism, and its sibling notions of polyphony and heteroglossia, originally introduced by Mikhail Bakhtin (1929/1984) with regard to the novel and later expanded to embrace all forms of linguistic communication (Bakhtin 1981). Recognising dialogism as an inherent property of discourse means postulating the presence of different ‘voices’ in ‘speech utterances’ (in Bakhtin’s terminology), i.e. the idea that discourse is never totally monologic: any utterance has no meaning in itself, but responds to previous utterances and at the same time anticipates future responses, being only “a link in the chain of verbal exchange” (“un maillon dans la chaîne de l’échange verbale” (Bakhtin 1952/1979/1984: 302-303).In linguistics and discourse analysis, the notions of polyphony and dialogism have been taken up and elaborated extensively by various scholars especially in the French tradition, starting from Ducrot (1984), who actually preferred the word “polyphony” to refer to the quality of text in which ‘the utterance signals, in its enunciation, the superimposition of several voices’ (Ducrot 1984: 183, my translation), so ‘there is a multiplicity of points of view that juxtapose, superpose or respond to each other’ (Ducrot 1986: 26). Among other researchers who have investigated these same aspects there are those belonging to2006 the praxematic circle, e.g. Jacques Bres, Alexandra Nowakowska and Jeanne-Marie Barbéris (Bres 1999; Bres/Nowakoska 2005; cf. Barbéris et al.2003), and the Scandinavian ScaPoLine group, e.g. Henning Nølke, Kjersti Fløttum and Coco Norén (Nølke, Fløttum & Norén 2004; Fløttum, Dahl, and Kinn2006) who have mainly focused on academic communication in French. But the concept of dialogism has exerted a less systematic influence on linguistic and discourse analytical scholarship in English and focusing on English, although for instance Martin and White (2005) rely on it for their notion of ‘engagement’, which they recognize to be informed by dialogism,and Fairclough (1992: 34; 84) refers to it when discussing his notions of manifest intertexuality and interdiscursivity (or constitutive intertextuality), for which he declares he is also indebted to Kristeva (1986) and Authier-Revuz (1982).Dialogism is realized by means of a range of different linguistic devices, some of which are evidently dialogic, e.g. reported speech (cf. Fairclough's manifest intertextuality: 1992: 117-123), while others are less manifestly so (Bres/Nowakoska 2005: 139), i.e. lexicogrammatical clues that signal the presence of two or more enunciative instances within the same utterance. The most comprehensive categorisation, put forth by Bres and Novakowska (Bres 1999; Bres/Nowakowska 2005; Nowakowska 2005), includes negation (including ‘renchérissment’: “not only ...but also”; rectification: “... not ... but...”), concession and opposition, presupposition, interrogation, ie. rhetorical questions, cleft sentences, echo-utterances, irony, reported speech and autonymical modalisation. Some of these same discursive traits –speech reportage (or ‘language representations’), presupposition, negation, irony –figure on Fairclough’s (1992: 117-118) list of indicators of “manifest intertextuality”. In this paper I will discuss the concept of dialogism, starting from its definition, also considering its sibling concepts of polyphony and heteroglossia, and show its usefulness as a conceptualisation to be relied on in discourse analysis, and in particular in the analysis of argumentative texts (e.g. in legal and political discourse) or texts that are aimed at the dissemination of information or knowledge from external sources (e.g. news discourse, popularization)

PL4 – The Construction of the European Intellectual: Petrarch in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature
Lecturer: Alessandra Petrina, University of Padova, Italy

Petrarch’s reflections on fame and the legacy of classical tradition prompted the inscription of poetry (his own, as well as his forebears’ and contemporaries’) within the wider structure of human history. While keeping faith to Augustine’s view of time and history, he also strove to comprehend a development of culture that clamoured to be understood in its own terms, beyond the overarching reference to the divine plan. This sometimes-painful search brought him to be hailed, in centuries to come, as a proto-humanist writer. As late-medieval English literature struggled to find its identity, in linguistic and cultural terms, the legacy of Petrarch proved essential, durable, and complex. The same legacy accompanied the development of English literature from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries. From one generation of poets to the next, from Chaucer to Lydgate, to Wyatt and Surrey, to Mary Sidney, William Shakespeare, and Anna Hume, the Petrarchan texts drawn upon and the reactions they generated changed, sometimes radically, providing a singular instance of translatio studii: translations, rewritings, and parodies of Petrarchan poetry chart the passage of English writing from the late Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Petrarch’s enfranchisement from the oppressive classical inheritance offers Chaucer and the following generations of poets a model on which to build a national literary canon, accompanying the emergence of English as the language of the nation; the dissemination of his Italian poetry provides models for the triumphal form and the sonnet. Read in the original Latin and Italian, or through intermediary translations in French, Petrarch’s works proved an extraordinary touchstone against which English and Scottish writers could test their poetic language, their use of literary forms, and their cultural ideology. In this sense Petrarch becomes a truly European poetic voice, which allows English-speaking writers to find a unique form of expression.

PL5 – D.H. Lawrence’s Italian Rhapsodies
Lecturer: Adrian Radu, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

The lecture reconsiders three of the writer’s nonfiction writings dedicated to Italy: “Twilight in Italy”, “Sea and Sardinia” and “Etruscan Places”. Italy was for Lawrence a country he sought not only for the beneficial effects that its sun and warm climate could have on his own poor health, but also for the beauty of its spellbinding landscapes untouched by the process of industrialisation, the temperament and friendliness of its inhabitants, its overwhelming history and flourishing art and civilisation. What he discovered here was also a materialisation of his concept of élan vital, the idea of resurrection and immortality of the Etruscans, the Mediterranean type of people that offered him his typical male portraits and typologies, a totally different way of life. These themes and a few more will constitute the backbone of this lecture intended to be a multimedia event dedicated to D.H. Lawrence’s Italy.

PL6 – Aotearoa English: Evidence from the New Zealand Stories Corpus
Lecturer: Alexander Onysko, University of Klagenfurt, Austria

Among the Englishes in Aotearoa New Zealand, the variety called Māori English has been subject to some controversy in linguistic research. While originally defined by Benton (1966: 79) as “a set of subdialects, originating in the acquisition of English by earlier generations of Maori speakers and involving semantic, lexical and grammatical features ‘transferred’ from Maori and standardized in adult speech”, some more recent research has highlighted the fact that Māori English should be conceived of as a sociolect rather than an ethnolect (cf. Bauer 1994). Holmes (2005) observes different registers of Māori English depending on colloquial vs. more formal types of language use –the latter being virtually indistinct from Standard New Zealand English. Bell argues along similar lines when he states that “differences between varieties tend to be relative rather than absolute. Few if any features are likely to be unique to Maori English” (2000: 222). At the same time, studies by King (1999) and D’Arcy (2010) emphasize that Māori English can function as an important means of expressing ethno-cultural identity, thus characterizing Māori English as an ethnolinguistic repertoire. Departing from previous research, which frequently focussed on the sounds of Māori English (i.e. its potential phonetic and prosodic features), this talk will shed new light on the complex picture, highlighting the role of Māori cultural knowledge expressed in English used in Aotearoa. Based on evidence taken from the New Zealand Stories Corpus (cf. Onysko & Degani 2017), a collection of small stories told by Māori and non-Māori New Zealanders, the talk will discuss a range of cultural concepts and their linguistic renderings that can be regarded as examples of Māoriness in English, i.e. Aotearoa English.

PL7 – In the Waiting Room of Emotions: Love Fulfilled or Affects Thwarted
Lecturer: M.S. Suárez Lafuente, University of Oviedo, Spain

Emotions are determined by culturally learned attitudes that, when they do not fit our circumstances, create anxiety and fear. Emotions such as Love are significantly built on expectations – expectations that keep us in a state full of uneasy questions about ourselves, a veritable “waiting room of emotions”. Uneasiness only increases the fictional and very subjective consideration we sustain of the person we decided to love and trust. Literature is full of examples in which everyday life clashes with love, till time and feelings relocate our affections, if not with a happy ending at least with a healthy (or unhealthy) beginning. I will draw examples from contemporary authors such as Alice Munro, Jeffrey Eugenides, Carol Shields and Jane Rogers, among others.

PL8 – Grammatical and Lexical Innovation in London English. New Linguistic Practices among Teenagers and Young Adults
Lecturer: Ignacio Palacios, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

After a brief introduction on the creation of large cities in Europe and in the rest of the world due to a number of social and economic reasons, and how this is reflected on language, this lecture will focus on the main distinctive grammatical and lexical features of the variety of English known as Multicultural London English (MLE), a new sociolect that has emerged in London in the last few years as the result of language contact and group second language acquisition within a large population of young speakers. For this purpose, I will be using corpus data, namely the Bergen Corpus of London Teenage Language (COLT) and the London English Corpus (LEC) together with supplementary material extracted from social networks, Twitter in particular. The second part of the lecture will be concerned with some of the features that have been identified as characteristic of London teenagers and young adults, such as the overuse of some intensifiers (really, so, bare, proper, bloody, fucking), a high presence of vague terms, either in the form of general nouns or placeholders (thingy, stuff), and general extenders (and stuff, or something), a special quotative system with the occurrence of constructions with be (like),that is+ pronoun, a high number of vernacular negatives (ain't, 3rd person singular dont, negative concord) and a mode of expression crowded with familiarisers (man, brother, dude, lad) and taboo or offensive vocatives (bastard, dick, idiot).The paper will conclude with a number of reflections on language innovation and change in (London) English in light of the previous findings.

PL9 – Narratives of Disposability in Contemporary British Fiction
Lecturer: Silvia Caporale, University of Alicante, Spain

In this lecture I will analyze Monica Ali’s In the Kitchen (2009) and John Lanchester’s Capital (2012). I draw on the notion of disposability (Brad Evans and Henri Giroux 2015, Standing 2011, Bauman 2004) to delve into the concepts of neoliberal subjectivity and exclusion for the analysis of the characters that in the novels embody subjectivities shaped by the logic of finance (economic migrants or asylum seekers). I argue that both works narrate different personifications of disposability resulting from neoliberal violence. In In the Kitchen and Capital, both Ali and Lanchester map a dark cartography of neoliberal British society. Both novels picture a society that is either indifferent to the violence provoked by neoliberalism, or unable to fight it back; the two works map a journey that slides from an apparently multicultural and opulent society down into a kind of dantesque social Inferno.

PL10 – Literary Translation Evaluation, Translator-Centredness and Translatorship
Lecturer: Titela Vilceanu, University of Craiova, Romania

The question of translation evaluation, and implicitly, of quality management, has been attached ever increasing importance in translation studies over the past decades (Alvstad and Assis Rosa, 2015; Alvstad et al. 2017; Baker, 2010; Basnett, 2014; Boase-Beier, 2014; Caderra and Walsh, 2017; D’hulst and Gambier, 2018; Gambier and van Doorslaer, 2016; Gentzler, 2017; Halverson, 2014; Hermans, 2007; House, 2014; Kuhiwczak and Littau, 2007; Jansen and Wegener, 2013; Maitland, 2017; Schäffner, 2000; Snell-Hornby, 2006; TOury, 2012; Tymoczko, 2007; Venuti, 2004, Vîlceanu, 2013, etc.). Nevertheless, it still lacks a comprehensive or unitary theory able to anticipate or solve all the recurrent problems. Under the circumstances, the lecture focuses on designing a framework for literary translation evaluation and for boosting the visibility of the literary translator. The lecture also considers re-translation evaluation and aims to identify the linguistic and extralinguistic factors accounting for the variability of literary translation. Any coherent theory of literary translation evaluation should underpin objective criteria, among which we mention: referential accuracy, grammatical and lexical adequacy, text-type equivalence, pragmatic compliance (including language variation equivalence) and cultural re-contextualisation. Literary translation evaluation and validation should not disregard translatorship, i.e., aggregating the translator’s competence and ideological affiliation, which determines his/her interpretation of the literary text seen as a cultural artefact. The question of preserving the stylistic identity of the source language text (in terms of authorship) becomes critical; therefore, translatorship and authorship should not be envisaged as two competing notions, but rather as complementary ones, securing the translation quality and its smooth insertion to the target language culture and literary system.

PL11 – Bodies, Spaces, and Forces in English and Beyond: A new Approach to Conceptualization in Lexical Semantics
Lecturer: Mihailo Antović, University of Niš, Serbia

In this talk I will present a research program on the semantics of concepts, which uses English as a test case to explore interfaces between language and other cognitive domains (music, oral poetry, religious cognition). The theoretical approach is based on a series of tools from modern anglophone approaches to language science: it is largely grounded in cognitive linguistic constructs such as embodiment, schematicity, and force dynamics, yet it partly diverges from cognitive linguistics proper in its renunciation of strict linguistic relativity. Rather, it attempts to reconcile segments of usage-based and more universalist approaches to meaning generation, by resorting to analytical tools such as image schema, metaphor, or conceptual blending, but equally looking for potential higher-order, cross-cultural invariants beneath apparently cross-linguistically chaotic instances of conceptualization. The work to be presented will include studies of idiom comprehension by Serbian EFL students and American students, conceptualization of music in American and Serbian sighted and blind speakers, oral composition-in-performance in epic poetry, based on translations of original pieces from the Balkans into English, and concepts in religious cognition. All these studies look for schematic, spatially or force-dynamically based in variants beneath conceptual items –be it idiomatic expressions such as “follow one’s nose”, musical concepts such as accidentals which are “sharp and flat” in English yet “heightened and lowered” in many other languages, or theological constructs such as the “struggle against oneself”, which in turn motivate entrenched expressions in broader cultural contexts, as in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the end, I will present the relevance of conceptual schematicity so defined to the theory of multilevel grounded semantics that I am currently developing.

PL12 – Exploring Sociocultural Change and Language Change in the History of English
Lecturer: Mina Palander-Collin, University of Helsinki, Finland

The proposed lecture focuses on the idea that social changes and changes in language practices work in tandem, and social processes can be observed in language. The first part of the lecture explores how this relationship of the linguistic and social has been studied in earlier research. For example, both philologists and historians (e.g. Hughes 1988, Williams 1958, Wierzbicka 1997, 2006) have established words and conceptual domains as important reflections of societal developments and cultural values. Linguists have focuses on tracing more holistic patterns of twentieth-century language change as a reflection of broad societal trends such as colloquialization, Americanization, and democratization (e.g. Leech et al. 2009, Mair 2006). Further technological advancements in big data like Google Books and tools like Google Ngram Viewer further encouraged new type of efforts in mining huge amounts of lexical data to find out about human behaviour and cultural trends through the quantitative analysis of digitalized texts (cultoromics; e.g. pechenicet al. 2015). The second part of the lecture will then present specific research carried out in the project on Democratization, Mediotization and Language Practices in Britain 1700-1950 (Academy of Finland 2016-2020). In this project, the relationship of linguistic and sociocultural processes has been empirically studied in a variety of public texts mediating ideologies and values, identities and role relationships, such as newspaper texts, parliamentary records, and court proceedings. The societal process discussed in the talk will be democratization and it ill show how by using a combination of corpus linguistic and socio-pragmatic methods as well as large data and small data, it is possible to track the interplay of societal and linguistic developments over long periods of time with an evidence-based approach. The talk will also highlight the role of genres in portraying and transmitting societal developments in different ways and at a different pace.

PL13 – Actually, there’s More to Pragmatic Markers in Learner Discourse than Meets the Eye
Lecturer: Lieven Buysse, KU Leuven, Belgium

Pragmatic markers have demonstrated their capacity to both signal textual relations and grease relations between interlocutors in interaction, even though these items are grammatically and semantically optional and do not contribute to the propositional content of an utterance. As a consequence, native speakers make abundant use of them in order to structure conversations as well as to build rapport with co-participants. In foreign language classrooms, pragmatics, however, often features at the bottom of the priorities list. The acquisition of pragmatic markers tends to be considered a feature of advanced learner language, if it occurs in learner data at all. Interestingly, learner language is typically contrasted to the learner’s mother tongue, which implies that differences and similarities in the use of pragmatic markers in the target language can be related to the presence or absence of similar markers in learners’ L1. One way of detecting this type of (positive or negative) L1 transfer is through a Contrastive Interlanguage Analysis (Granger, 2015), i.e. contrast learner language with similar data in the learners’ L1, on the one hand, and contrast data from learners of one L1 with that from learners of a different L1, on the other hand. This approach would appear to be particularly productive with pragmatic markers for which indeed either a clear cognate or an absolute gap between the target language and the L1 can be detected. An interesting case in this respect is actually, the English pragmatic marker expressing counter-expectation, which has an obvious counterpart in Dutch (eigenlijk), for which however specific diverging functions have been suggested (Van Bergen et al., 2011). Both also have a competitor marker in the same domain, which are again each other’s cognate: in fact and in feite, respectively. Moreover, French appears to have a cognate for in fact (en fait) but not for actually. All these observations taken together warrant an analysis that takes both a contrastive interlanguage approach and a traditional contrastive language perspective within a single study. In this lecture I will, therefore, compare (i) how learners of English who are native speakers of Dutch use actually and in fact to how their peers with French L1 as well as (ii) native speakers of English do so. These data will be supplemented with a contrastive analysis of actually, in fact and their equivalents in Dutch and French. To this end two corpora will be used: the Louvain International Database of Spoken English Interlanguage (LINDSEI; Gilquin et al., 2010) for the learner data and the Dutch Parallel Corpus (DPC; Macken et al., 2011) for the contrastive analysis. Piecing the results of these different types of analyses together yields an enriched picture of both how actually and in fact are used by native and non-native speakers alike and how their equivalents in other languages behave, as well as how the learners’ mother tongue may (positively or negatively) affect their pragmatic marker use in English.

PL14 – Representations of Space in Contemporary American Crime Fiction
Lecturer: Šárka Bubíková, University of Pardubice, Czech Republic

In his 1983 article “Geography as an Art” Donald W. Meining worried over the uncertainty of the impact of geographers’ studies of literary works among literary critics (in fact, his article was published by the Royal Geographical Society). However, since then literary theory has significantly turned its attention to representation of space and landscape in narratives. So far, theoretical interest in the way literary works depict space has been predominantly devoted to so-called classics or “high” literature, although Douglas R. McManis claimed already several decades ago that “mystery writing is an abundant source of literary geography.” (319)
In my talk, I would like to present my latest research on the ways space is represented in contemporary American (ethnic) crime fiction. Combining phenomenological approaches of Gaston Bachelard (The Poetics of Space, 1957) with the categorization of attitudes to landscape as proposed by Stephen Siddall in Landscape and Literature (2009), as well as employing the concept of place as literary topos as formulated by Czech scholars Michal Peprník (Topos lesa v americké literatuře, 2005) and Daniela Hodrová (esp. in Místa s tajemstvím, 1994) I will analyze works of several American crime fiction writers, such as Tony Hillerman, Aimee and David Thurlo, Dana Stabenow and Nevada Barr, to show how they variously create textual representations of space and how they employ them in the genre of crime fiction. As Lisa Fletcher has pointed out, there is “a powerful correspondence between types of setting and types of narratives” (1) and therefore studying textual representation of space in connection with a particular genre can provide an interesting insight into our spatial and narrative awareness and imagination.

PL15 – Echoes of the Spatial Turn in Contemporary British Fiction
Lecturer: Petr Chalupský, Charles University, Faculty of Education, Prague, Czech Republic

Throughout the second half of the 20th century, literary theory and criticism turned their focus on representation of space and place, which eventually gained the significance that time and temporality had enjoyed for centuries. This focal shift, insisting that the spatial properties of the narrative should not be restricted to mere background setting, emerged from the acknowledgement that the relationship between human beings and their environment is reciprocal and interactive. The fact that human beings live in space-time and both of these dimensions considerably determine our existence and are equally crucial for the formation of our identity opened to theorists a fruitful field of interest that culminated in what can be called the postmodern “spatial turn”. As a result, a number of often interdisciplinary approaches investigating literary representations of space and place, both real and imaginary ones, have been developed since the late 1970s, enhancing literary studies with findings from other fields such as psychology, philosophy, sociology, cultural anthropology, ecology and geography, and producing a diversity of such approaches, as can be demonstrated on the examples of geopoetics, ecocriticism, psychogeography, humanistic geography and geocriticism. Using these critical practices and their theoretical points of departure the lecture focuses on varied spatial representations in selected works of contemporary British fiction writers such as Jim Crace, Simon Mawer, Graham Swift, Sarah Waters, Will Self, Zadie Smith, Ian McEwan and Ian McGuire.

PL16 – Exploring Phraseology in Learner English Academic Texts
Lecturer: Markéta Malá, Charles University, Faculty of Arts, Prague, Czech Republic

It is now a generally accepted view in linguistics that “the language we use every day is composed of prefabricated expressions, rather than being strictly compositional” (Gray & Biber 2015: 125, cf. Ebeling and Hasselgård 2015). From the point of view of language learners, such units are the key to both comprehension and fluency, as they reduce the processing effort (Nesselhauf 2005). Since the prefabricated multi-word expressions differ across registers, both in terms of their structure and their functional load, they may also serve as an indicator of belonging to a particular discourse community (Hyland 2008). The lecture focuses on the phraseology of academic written English. The approach combines corpus-informed contrastive analysis and learner corpus research. It compares texts written by two groups of novice academic writers – L1 English university students and advanced Czech learners. The analysis relies on two corpora of academic student writing – VESPA-CZ and BAWE. BAWE comprises L1 university students’ assignments; VESPA-CZ essays written by Czech advanced learners of English. An additional corpus compiled from papers published in English academic journals serves as a yardstick against which the students’ essays are compared. The corpus-driven approach takes frequency lists, keywords and lexical bundles as its starting points to reveal areas in which phraseology distinguishes native speakers of English from L2 learners on the one hand, and novice writers (whether L1 or L2) from experienced academic writers on the other.

PL17 – Migrating Literatures: Bulgaria in the American Imaginary
Lecturer: Alexandra Glavanakova, St. Kliment Ohridski, University of Sofia, Bulgaria

One of the most intriguing areas for comparative research in contemporary cultural studies and world literature(s) (Emily Apter 2013) is the interrelation between cultural identity and the imagination. This paper aims to focus on the perceptions and representations of Bulgaria in the American cultural imaginary. To fulfill this goal, I will be looking for critical transatlantic readings of Bulgaria through American eyes, while examining the following questions: How are conflicts of identity thematized and represented in imaginary creative outputs, which reflect on the construction of the ‘West’ and the ‘East,’ of Self and Other, of ‘Europeanness’ (‘Balkanness’) and ‘Americanness’? How is transcultural identity demarcated in the process of mobility between different communities, which are ethnically, ideologically, and culturally distinct? How do perceptions of the transatlantic Other aid in defining and constructing American cultural identity?
So far, the U.S. has been studied extensively in relation to Bulgaria by Bulgarian critics and academics from the period of the Bulgarian Enlightenment to the present day. The focus in these analyses has been primarily on the reception / perception / representation of America in Bulgarian cultural production. However, the image of Bulgaria as reflected in American cultural spaces, though an intriguing topic worthwhile for academic study, has remained so far largely unexplored, especially regarding recent American cultural productions in the post-1989 and post-2007 (when Bulgaria joined the European Union) periods. Three main studies in this field, which I build on, are Larry Wolff. Inventing Eastern Europe. The Map of Civilization in the Mind of the Enlightenment (1994); Maria Todorova. Imagining the Balkans. [1997] (2009); Ludmilla Kostova (ed. et. al). Comparisons and Interactions Within/Across Cultures (2012). To these seminal works, which focus on the larger geopolitical areas of the Balkans and Eastern Europe, inclusive of Bulgaria, should be added a more recent exploration of the image of Bulgaria in the British, American and Canadian press (1980-2000): Kristin Dimitrova, Efirni pesni I taini sluzhbi. Obrazat na Balgariya v britanskata, amerikanskata i anglokanadskata presa prez perioda 1980-2000 (Sofia: Kolibri, 2015).
What interests me are the manifestations of the complexity and hybridity of cultural interactions with a focus on Bulgaria as a Balkan / East European country, but specifically as presented from an American point of view, discussed within the theoretical matrix of the transcultural. The transcultural approach acknowledges the limitations of each culture, alongside the continuous role of cross-cultural contact. Transcultural dialogues and reflections lead to self-transformation and are just as significant in shaping and reflecting on identity, as is the urge for self-protection from alien cultural forms (Arianna Dagnino 2015; Mikhail Epstein 2004, 2009; Mikhail Epstein and Ellen Berry 1999; Wolgang Welsch 1999, 2002). I prefer the term ‘transcultural’ to ‘transnational’ (the latter has been used widely in recent decades by many Americanists: Amy Kaplan, Rob Kroes, Heinz Ickstadt, Winfried Fluck, among others) to refer to the interdisciplinary nature of cultural studies at the crossroads of literature and history.
Bulgaria emerges not only as a setting for the action in fictional works written by U.S. writers, but also as a sub-text rich in implications and references. Bulgarian culture – its history, mythology, folklore, contemporary development – serve as a point of departure for self-reflection and for reflection on the contemporary processes of transcultural migration, Old World-New World, East-West, margin-center dynamics, Orientalism and Occidentalism on the Balkans, migration and expatriation in a post-communist, post 9/11-world. An illuminating illustration of this tendency in literary exploration are the following novels: Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian. (2005), Cynthia Morrison Phoel, Cold Snap Bulgaria Stories (2010), Ellis Shuman, Valley of the Thracians: A Novel of Bulgaria (2013), Ronesa Aveela, Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey (2014), Hannah Howe, The Hermit of Hisarya, (2015), Garth Greenwell, What Belongs to You (2016), Elizabeth Kostova, The Shadow Land (2017), among others. These can be compared with earlier publications from the period of the Cold War, such as John Updike’s story “The Bulgarian Poetess” (1965), and also with books by other Anglophone writers, for example, Malcolm Bradbury’s Rates of Exchange (1983), Julian Barnes’s The Porcupine (1992), Rana Dasgupta’s Solo (2009), Geoff Hart’s Bulgaria: Unfinished Business (2015), etc. These texts have also been inclusive of Bulgarian history, geography, politics, and culture. The analysis will aim to outline the shared thematic, genre and stylistic features of the explored texts and to provide explanations for the preferred choices that are established.

PL18 – Marlowe and Ruins
Lecturer: Efterpi Mitsi, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece

In Christopher Marlowe’s plays cities are repeatedly sacked and kingdoms ruined. From Troy, whose ruins appear in Marlowe’s inaugural play, Dido, Queen of Carthage, to Damascus, and from Malta to Paris, the fascination with ruination is not only an expression of the violence manifested in his drama but also a worldview; through the lens of ruins, Marlowe confronts contemporary catastrophes and creates new artistic practices. As Rose Macaulay has argued in The Pleasure of Ruins, Marlowe, Shakespeare and their contemporaries, inhabiting “a ruined and ruinous world”, were obsessed with ruins. Yet, unlike most of his contemporaries, Marlowe did not use the trope of ruins to reflect on loss and preservation, or to express a longing for timelessness through the immortality of art. Instead, his works focus on the process and performance of ruination as well as on the compulsion that leads a character to ruin, to “sack and utterly consume … cities and golden palaces” (2 Tamburlaine, 4.3. 3867-8). Culminating in scenes (or memories) of siege and images of breaking, burning and slaughtering, such destruction goes beyond the “will to absolute play” (Greenblatt 1980) and “absolute negation” (Guillory 2014), becoming strangely creative. Rather than inciting melancholy or nostalgia, Marlowe’s ruins seek to return the world to an empty stage, proposing a critical ruin discourse. From there, they might invite us to think about our own material world, strewn with rubble and rubbish and facing environmental ruin.