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The Life of Valdimir Nabokov

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“Please tell your son that he will never be a writer” (Vladimir Nabokov and Some Poets of Russian Modernism). This prophecy, supposedly made by a distinguished Russian poet to Vladimir Nabokov’s father, proved to be quite a short-sighted condemnation of the young Russian-born author. Nabokov went on to become one of …

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Darkness Within: An Overview of Achebe’s Critique of Heart of Darkness

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Chinua Achebe, author of Things Fall Apart, demolishes the premise of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, proclaiming that the latter is a “thoroughgoing racist.” (Achebe 1789) In his essay, “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,” Achebe violently criticizes the European perception of Africa and how it …

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Aesthete, Tragic Hero, Knight of Faith: Kierkegaard on the Universal Versus the Subjective

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“For the objective approach makes one into an observer, so objective that he becomes almost a ghost. Matters such as Christianity and ethics, however, require a decision, and a decision is a matter of subjectivity” (Truth or Consequences: The Promise & Perils of Postmodernism) Søren Kierkegaard’s denunciation of Hegelianism in …

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James Joyce’s Eveline, in Dubliners: A Suffocating City

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The short story Eveline in James Joyce’s collection of short stories, Dubliners, is a representation of Dublin’s asphyxiation of its people. The short story’s protagonist, Eveline, is trapped in Dublin by moral and familial obligations. She is paralyzed in a state of indecisiveness and fear of the unknown. The short …

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Justine, the Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell: An Interpretation of a Scent

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Written in retrospect, Lawrence Durrell’s Justine (first volume in his tetralogy, The Alexandria Quartet) is an attempt on part of Darley, the narrator, to be reconciled with Alexandria, the city that transfigured his life. During his stay in Alexandria, Darley is constantly torn between his love for Melissa and Justine. He associates …

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In an Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh: A Traveller’s Tale

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Travel writing is a literary genre that one might look upon with a degrading attitude; a Darwinian approach of the sort would be enough to send the branch of writing straight down to the bottom of the pyramid of genres, or as seventeenth century’s European academics would put it, the …

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The Dilemma Within Wuthering Heights: A Freudian Perspective

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Wuthering Heights is a novel rife with opposing elements, from the constantly present juxtaposition between the natural and civilized realms to the contradictory dispositions of such characters as Heathcliff and Edgar Linton. Similarly, the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, viewed the human psyche as another landscape of conflicting drives and …

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Apocalypse as Conveyed in the Romantic Movement: Not World’s End!

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Although the word “apocalypse” is always pictured as an end-of-the-world scenario, the word carries more meaning than is typically understood. ‘Apocalypse’ connotes a prophetic revelation regarding a catastrophic event which will bring with it vast scenes of violence and destruction but which ushers in a new peaceful millennium. In Christian doctrine, …

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Frederick Douglass: How Slavery Affected Both Slaves and Slaveholders

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In Frederick Douglass’s account of his transformation from a slave to a free man, he reveals, through instances from his own life and that of others, the dehumanization that accompanies the institution of slavery. He recounts how, from the very first moments of childhood, a slave is regarded by the white …

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The Castle of Otranto: The First Fort in Gothic Literature

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In 1764, the son and heir of a successful politician, Horace Walpole, launched his and humanity’s first attempt at Gothic fiction with his remarkable novel, The Castle of Otranto. Due to several elements that are present throughout the book, it is widely considered to be the initiating spark of a …

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