Prague English Studies and the Transformation of Philologies
brožovaná, 218 str., 1. vydání
vydáno: březen 2013
doporučená cena: 250 Kč
Monografie připomene sté výročí pražských anglických studií, která byla oficiálně ustavena v roce 1912 jmenováním Viléma Mathesiuse, zakladatele Pražského lingvistického kroužku a prvního profesora anglického jazyka a literatury na Univerzitě Karlově. Kromě přehodnocení práce hlavních představitelů (Mathesius, Vančura a další) a posuzování vývoje na literaturu orientovaných pražských studií angličtiny a s ohledem na pražský strukturalismus, se kniha zaměří na metodologické problémy oboru v souvislosti s transformací humanistické a stejně tak moderní filologie, hledání souvislostí mezi dvěma historicky odlišnými interdisciplinárními projekty: humanistickou filologií a strukturalistickou sémiologií. Spolu s Paulem de Man, lze tento odkaz identifikovat jako problém rétoriky - jeho těžko postřehnutelné postavení mezi gramatikou a logikou, strukturou a významem a performativitou a hodnotou jazyka. Přehodnocení tohoto problému se zdá mít zásadní význam pro pochopení dynamiky současné transformace filologie a strukturalistické metodologie, jež jsou diskutovány v závěrečné části. Další zásadní metodologický problém je metodologie literární historie. Ačkoli se představitelům pražských anglických studií podařilo překonat ztuhlost synchronních postupů, jejich zpracování dynamických struktur je stále značně poplatný tradičním pojetí funkce a hodnoty .
Kniha je rozdělena do dvou částí: první se pokouší přehodnotit význam odkazu Mathesiuse (v literární teorii, historii a teorii překladu) a jeho následovníků (především Zdeňka Vančury a Jaroslava Hornáta), druhá zkoumá různé souvislosti a důsledky pražského strukturalismu, od politických aspektů ruských formalistických teorií, přes estetiku groteskní strukturalistické psychoanalýzy a nedávné textové genetiky.
1. LEGACIES: VILÉM MATHESIUS AND FOLLOWERS
The Value of Language: Rhetoric, Semiology, Philology and the Functional Approach
Vilém Mathesius as Literary Historian
Vilém Mathesius as Translator and Theoretician of Translation
A Structuralist History of Zdeněk Vančura
Jaroslav Hornát's Critical Method in His Studies of Charles Dickens
2. CONTEXTS AND OUTCOMES: FROM PRAGUE STRUCTURALISM TO RADICAL PHILOLOGY
Robert J.C. Young
Structuralism and the Prague Linguistic Circle Revisited
Functional Linguistics as the "Science of Poetic Forms": An ABC of the Prague Linguistic Circle's Poetics
A Gateway to a Baroque Rhetoric of Jacques Lacan and Niklas Luhmann
Jan Grossman, Structuralism, and the Grotesque
Attesting / Before the Fact
Given the role played by the Prague Linguistic Circle in the emergence and development of structuralism, it is, of course, not surprising that its foundational texts and other major writings have been collected in anthologies (e.g. Vachek 1964, Steiner 1982, Vachek and Dušková 1983, Luesldorff, Ponevová and Sgall 1994), that its conceptual apparatus and terminology have been discussed in dictionaries (e.g. Vachek 1960), while its essential tenets and methods of analysis have been the subject matter of books on the theory and practice of the Prague Linguistic Circle (e.g. Vachek 1966, Tobin 1988, Luelsdorff 1994, and, more recently, Procházka, Malá and Šaldová 2010) or of some of its prominent members (e.g. Burbank and Steiner 1978, Toman 1995).
Under the circumstances, it has to be said from the outset that Prague English Studies and the Transformation of Philologies is not a mere addition to the already rich body of literature on the Prague School. It was published on the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of English studies at Charles University in Prague, whose first Professor of English Language and Literature was Vilém Mathesius, much better known internationally as the initiator of the Prague Linguistic Circle and as a linguist. The book under review looks into both these facets of Mathesius's work as well as into his influence on a number of followers, and, in doing so, it also does justice to the intriguing plural "philologies" in the title. However, as explicitly mentioned in Martin Procházka's "Introduction", the book "does not pretend to list, explain and define all relevant aspects of the transformation of philology within the development of Prague English Studies and in the broader framework of Prague Structuralism" (20).
The volume is divided into two parts, both consisting of five chapters. The first part, entitled "Legacies: Vilém Mathesius and Followers", examines the relevance of Mathesius's work for literary and translation studies; the second part, "Contexts and Outcomes: From Prague Structuralism to Radical Philology", looks at the genesis of the structuralism of the Prague Linguistic Circle as well as into its implications for a number of selected domains.
In the first chapter, "The Value of Language Rhetoric, Semiology, Philology and the Functional Approach", Martin Procházka analyzes Mathesius's synchronic and functional approach in relation to topics such as the epistemological implications of arbitrariness in Aristotle's rhetoric, the humanistic philology of the 15th century humanist Lorenzo Valla, Friedrich Schlegel's Romantic philology, the so-called Junggrammatiker, and Ferdinand de Saussure's semiology. Also discussed and contextualized are some key concepts, e.g. the notions of "functional styles of language", "dynamic stability", and the integration by Mathesius of Romantic and contemporary biological views of the nation -the "organic community" and "national biology" - into his version of functionalism.
The second chapter, "Vilém Mathesius as Literary Historian", by Helena Znojemská, deals with Mathesius's views on aesthetics and literary criticism. Mathesius is widely known to have been a linguist, but relatively few are aware that he is also the author of a History of English Literature, considered to be the foundational act of Prague English Studies. The chapter discusses Mathesius's thoughts on issues such as the nature of critical judgement, the functions of literary criticism, and the methodology of literary criticism. It also identifies possible connections between Mathesius' conception of the nature of literary works and the theoretically far more articulated views of two other well-known members of the Prague Linguistic Circle, Jan Mukařovský and René Wellek.
Bohuslav Manek's "Vilém Mathesius as Translator and Theoretician of Translation" is an analysis of Mathesius' main translations, i.e. H. G. Wells's An Englishman Looks at the World and a selection from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, as well as of his views on translation. Mathesius as both a theoretician and a practitioner of translation is discussed within the context of Czech translation theory and practice.
In "A Structuralist History of Zdeněk Vančura", Pavla Veselá examines the convoluted trajectory of Zdeněk Vančura, a Czech scholar of English and especially of American literature, and a former student of Vilém Mathesius's. This chapter maps the evolution of Vančura's views from his first writings - bearing the combined imprint of Russian formalism, Prague structuralism and Mathesius's functional approach - to his later works, after the Communist take-over in 1948, which attest not only to his efforts to renounce structuralism under the ideological pressure of the totalitarian regime, but also to a switch to a predominantly psychological and biographical approach.
The first part of the volume ends with a chapter on another former student of Vilém Mathesius's. In "Jaroslav Hornáťs Critical Method in his Studies of Charles Dickens", Zdeněk Beran focuses on the influence exerted by two members of the Prague Linguistic Circle, Jan Mukařovský and Felix Vodička, on Hornáťs interpretation of Dickens. It is shown that the former's theory of "norm" and the latter's concept of "concretization" as well as their elaboration of the relation holding between fabula and sujet (first examined by the Russian formalists) played a significant role in Hornáťs approach to literary criticism, which combines structuralist and Marxist methods.
The second part of the volume opens with Robert J. C. Young's contribution, "Structuralism and the Prague Linguistic Circle Revisited"; it is an authoritative and fascinating reconstruction of the historical context in which the Prague Linguistic Circle was founded and of its ideological underpinnings. Operating with the instruments of post-colonial studies and critical theory, the chapter essentially proposes an interpretation of the structuralism of the Prague Linguistic Circle as not simply a methodology of analysis (in phonology, morphology and poetics, to name but a few domains), but rather as a cultural project, intellectually related to anti-colonial and anti-ethnocentric (and in particular anti-Eurocentric) thought in the first half of the 20th century. The examination of the various ideological threads gathered in the structuralism of the Prague Linguistic Circle is therefore much more profound and much wider in scope than other overviews (e.g. Trnka 1948/1966), restricted to a discussion of philological and linguistic theories. The issues covered range from the Eurasian movement (of which Nikolai Trubetzkoy was the acknowledged leader), through the critique of Eurocentrism, the idea of cultural mixture and its offshoot the Sprachbund, to a discussion of the theories and methods of the Soviet linguist Nikolai Marr, contextualized and compared to the views on linguistic convergence of two of the most prominent members of the Prague Linguistic Circle, Nikolai Trubetzkoy and Roman Jakobson.
The following chapter, "Functional Linguistics as the 'Science of Poetic Forms': An ABC of the Prague Linguistic Circle's Poetics", by David Vichnar, is concerned with the main tenets on poetics of the Prague Linguistic Circle. The chapter reassesses the part played by Vilém Mathesius in the emergence and elaboration of the poetic theory of two other members of the Prague Linguistic Circle, Bohuslav Havránek and Jan Mukařovský.
Both Havranek's thoughts on the "standard language" and Mukarovsky's functionalist aesthetics and views on "poetic language" vs. the "standard language" appear to have found a source of inspiration in Mathesius's conception of functional linguistics and in his impassionate appeal for "the new science of poetics".
In "A Gateway to a Baroque Rhetoric of Jacques Lacan and Niklas Luhmann", Erik S. Roraback analyzes the ideological content and the rhetoric of a number of selected works by the French theoretician of psychoanalysis Jacques Lacan and of the German system theorist Niklas Luhmann. The ultimate aim of this chapter is to suggest an interpretation of rhetoric in Lacan's and Luhmann's works, seeking to provide an answer to the question whether their rhetoric is simply an instrument or rather an end in itself. In addition to illustrating the intellectual debt of both these thinkers to Edmund Husserl, the analysis highlights unexpected parallels with the views held by the Prague philosopher Ladislav Rieger and by Vilém Mathesius.
Ondřej Pilný's "Jan Grossman, Structuralism and the Grotesque" discusses how the structuralist method is reflected both in the activity of one the of most influential Czech theatre directors and in his essays. A promoter of the theatre of the absurd, Jan Grossman staged, among other plays, Alfred Jarry's Ubu roi, an adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Trial and Václav Havel's The Memorandum. He was also the author of a number of essays on the theatre. Although he had been a student of, among others, Jan Mukařovský, Grossman distanced himself from the latter and his essays express views that can be traced back to those espoused by Vilém Mathesius.
In the last chapter, "Attesting / Before the Fact", Louis Armand attempts to demonstrate, from the perspective of the so-called "radical philology", the "incompleteness" of language, and, by way of consequence, the "vague" nature of philology as a system of knowledge. On this view, signs and symbols cannot be distinguished from facts, and this contradicts the principle of verifiability. Also discussed is the concept of "signifying materiality" in Jacques Lacan's and Jacques Derrida's works.
Most edited volumes cannot gather studies of equal value and insightfulness or cater to all expectations. The volume reviewed here is no exception. Two papers - Martin Procházka's and, in particular, Robert J. C. Young's - stand out with their wider scope and illuminating analyses, whereas some of the other contributions are - although understandably so - of a rather local interest, and are less likely to fully engage an international readership. Also, the present reviewer would have expected a chapter on Vilém Mathesius's legacy in the field of English linguistics as well. Here and there, the reader might occasionally choose to disagree with some statements, such as Young's unsubstantiated claim that "one of the most significant results of the Russian revolution internationally was that for the first time in modern history a major state was anti-imperialistic" (124). A more serious objection would be that the last chapter does not appear to be connected in any way to the rest of the volume. Indeed, absolutely no reference is made to and no link is established with either Vilém Mathesius's works or the Prague Linguistic School. The attempt by one of the editors to account for its inclusion in the volume by writing that "although these issues were not directly addressed by Prague Structuralists, they were arguably anticipated by them, especially in Mukařovský's analysis of of 'unintentionality'" (20) is not really helpful or convincing.
The critical comments above should not be seen as diminishing in any way the overall value of this volume. To conclude, Prague English Studies and the Transformation of Philologies lives up to its title and sheds light on many hitherto lesser known aspects of the intellectual history of Prague English Studies.
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