From memory and imagination, to the forgotten, the future, intergalactic, the idea of the self, mirrors, orality and performance, literature from varying time periods bleeds into an endless number of different spaces. For this 2016 volume, Portals has featured papers that explore dimensions of time and space in diverse literary and linguistic traditions.
In “Rebels with a Cause: Alberto Caeiro and Heidegger in the Search of Being through Poetic-Philosophy,” Margarida Duque de Castela Downhour attempts to understand Heidegger’s propositions concerning Being’s rupture from metaphysical models through some works of Portuguese poet Alberto Caeiro, Fernando Pessoa’s heteronym.
Adan Falcon’s “The Monstrous Eye: Digression as Aesthetic in Un Chien Andalou” poses the following central question: what kind of issues exists in bringing representation to the masses through a form challenging the audience with destabilized shapes, known as surrealism? Director Luis Buñuel placed this challenge early on through his first film with painter Salvador Dalí in Un Chien Andalou with its attack on the love story through its fragmented presentation to their viewers.
In “Fairytale Rejection: Female Agency and the Refutation of ‘Happily Ever After’ in Haruki,” Megan Kwong argues that Haruki Murakami’s story, “The Little Green Monster,” and Angela Carter’s “The Erl-King,” are both primed for fairytale endings, but as the authors show, women do not need magic to determine their happiness. Rather, they only need themselves.
“Challenging Cultural Crossroads: Memory, Identity, and Narrative Purpose in Patrick Chamoiseau’s Solibo Magnifique and Mario Vargas Llosa’s El hablador” is Elizabeth Lee’s exploration of how one chooses to negotiate between tradition and change, past and present. The essay analyzes the cultural identities of these narrators by comparing the manner in which they portray their subject, ultimately considering the act of writing as an attempt to gain understanding of themselves and of the storytellers that confound them, a method of shaping and reshaping themselves as they do the same to others.
Heejung Sim takes on the project of translating and reflecting upon three Korean poems by different authors with the goal of transferring the historical, cultural and emotional aspect of Korean poems to life in English. She specifically delves into the concept of “Han,” an overwhelming sense of sorrow and melancholy; this unique Korean trait, implied or explicit, is found in every aspect of Korean life and culture.
Given this diverse and fascinating group of essays, it is apparent that the discipline of Comparative Literature traverses cultural times and spaces. Thank you to all the San Francisco State University students, graduates, and faculty who contributed to the publication of this year’s volume.