Ash Wednesday (image from Google Images)

Introduction:

My photo
Current: Danbury, CT, United States
Welcome! A few years ago, I discovered an application that artists employ in their works to bring cultural awareness to their audiences. Having discerned this semiotic theory that applies to literature, music, art, film, and the media, I have devoted the blog, "Theory of Iconic Realism" to explore this theory. The link to the publisher of my book is below. If you or your university would like a copy of this book for your library or if you would like to review it for a scholarly journal, please contact the Edwin Mellen Press at the link listed below. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Announcements

I will present or have presented research on Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan) at the following location(s):

October, 2019: Elms College, Chicopee, Massachusetts: "A Declaration of Independence: Dissolving Sociolinguistic Borders in the Literature of Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan)"

01 November, 2017

When in France...

                                         The view from a hotel room in Reims, France, taken a few years ago.

A few years ago, I presented a paper at the annual Association of Franco-Irish Studies conference in Reims, France. Ever since I spoke that first French word in my ninth grade French class, I've longed to go to that country. Finally, decades later, my dreams came true but not without the unfortunate realization that there were no washcloths at my hotel. So.....


When in France

In a French hotel in la cité de Reims,
an American searches for a washcloth. 
Alas, she finds none in this room,
so she must make do. 
This is France after all.
Sparkling white tub beckons her.
“Okay, Okay!”
She turns the water handle to HOT
and gently pours shampoo into the steady stream,
splashing the rising water to create more bubbles.
Then, smiling, she steps into the steaming water,
now filled with mounds of fluffy, fragrant bubbles,
closes her eyes and whispers to the 13-year-old girl
sitting in a French class, south of Detroit, decades ago.
“Oui, Jeanne ... tu seras en France un jour.”

© Jeanne I. Lakatos

25 September, 2017

A Brief Analysis of the Feminine in Sydney Owenson's Writing


Enjoy a cup of tea!

From pp. 128-130 of my book on the Rhetoric of Sydney Swenson (pictured on the right):

Drawing on traditional symbols of music, art and language, Owenson enlightens her readers concerning societal negligence. Her published collection of harp melodies, her visions of Innisfree and the beauty with which she symbolizes the people of Ireland whet the appetite for national pride within the souls of those who read her work in Ireland and England. She succeeds in feeding their hungry spirit with the sustenance of historical revelation.

The Irish historian, R. F. Foster comments, “Besides the numerous ambitious histories, written to invalidate or to justify the Union, there were novels like Lady Morgan’s The Wild Irish Girl (1806), which helped market the ideas of Irishness so influential later in the century (and ever since).” [1] All the while, she rhetorically explores the desire for Ireland to engage peacefully with the English government, represented by a similar desire for feminine ideology to receive the respect and recognition of men.

In the Preface of her 1814 novel, O’Donnel, Owenson sums up her true feelings of her purpose in writing: 
The character of my sex, no less than my own feelings, urged me, in touching those parts of Irish history which were connected with my tale, to turn them to the purposes of conciliation, and to incorporate the leaven of favourable opinion with that heavy mass of bitter prejudice, which writers, both grave and trifling have delighted to raise against my country. (O’Donnel, p. 10)
Clearly, Owenson is conscious of her British, aristocratic audience as she utilizes rhetorical representation of her feminine experience in direct correlation with her Anglo-Irish background while “embracing this ‘criminal’ role of Irish patriot, [creating] the psychological compensation of constructing her authority along recognizable masculine lines.” [2] In other words, she directly addresses the male British aristocracy by using her feminism and Irish culture to make her political statement of unification.

Feminine linguistics may be explained with a look to the feminist philosophers of the twentieth century, Julia Kristeva and Helene Cixous, who have given the world of literature an insight into the complicated workings of the female psyche, each with her unique perspective of why and how women approach the linguistic design of text. According to Kristeva: 
Sexual difference – which is at once biological, physiological, and relative to production – is translated by and translates a difference in the relationship of subjects to the symbolic contract which is the social contract; a difference, then, in the relationship to power, language, and meaning. [3]
The social significance of the feminine power of language directly affects the readers’ perception of the speakers’ views. A writer reveals to the reading audience an interpretation of each character in relation to personal experience. A writer reveals to the reading audience an interpretation of each character in relation to personal experience. Therefore, in analysing writing, one must consider the psycholinguistic qualities that are intrinsic to the writer and audience, as images experienced through aural and visual sensory perceptions appearing by means of unique lexical styles.




[1] R.F. Foster, Modern Ireland: 1600-1972, (New York: Viking Penguin, 1988), p. 161.
[2] Paula R. Feldman and Theresa M. Kelley, (ed), Romantic Women Writers: Voices and Counter voices (Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1995), p. 171.
[3] Kristeva, Julia, translated by Alice Jardine and Harry Blake, “Women’s Time.” Signs (1981), p. 21.

20 September, 2017

Dante Alighieri's "Paradiso"

Photo from Google Images

Dante Alighieri’s Paradiso

This week, I’ve placed parallel posts on my blogs with both exploring Dante Alighieri’s final book of The Divine Comedy: Paradiso.

Spheres and circularity dominate the theme of this epic poem. Dante often even imitates the shape of the circle with his words. The Pilgrim and guide enter heaven at the convergence of four circles with three crosses. (This use of seven symbols refers to the seven virtues: 4 cardinal, 3 theological.)

The term "cardinal" comes from the Latin cardo or hinge; therefore, the cardinal virtues (Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude) are pivotal to any life of virtue.In the Old Testament Book of Wisdom, 8:7, we learn that "She [Wisdom] teacheth temperance, and prudence, and justice, and fortitude, which are such things as men can have nothing more profitable in life."
In The Republic, Plato identified these virtues with societal classes and thus, the very  faculties of humanity:


Temperance: produces classes, the farmers and craftsmen, also animal appetites
Fortitude: associated with the warrior class and the spirited element in man
Prudence: associated with rulers and reason
Justice: stands outside the class system and divisions of man, and rules the proper relationship among them

The theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love (charity), indicate a higher level of consciousness and compassion. Lessons that pertain to each of these virtues repeat throughout the Old and New Testament and within more ancient religious precepts. 

01 August, 2017

Overflowing

A number of years ago, I wrote this brief poem about consciousness, using this fascinating painting by Alex Grey to illustrate:
http://www.artofimagination.org/Images/MemberImages/Grey/Transfigurations.jpg

Overflowing 
Between lyrics and dynamics
a dimension unfolds 
wherein my consciousness 
dwells - interprets 
language and intonation
of body and soul
one overflowing into the other
they- it- I
conflict - confide- coalesce
glorious 
in conscious renewal.

© Jeanne I. Lakatos

02 July, 2017

A Yankee Doodle Dandy

A dear friend, from time to time, has been like a surrogate Mom to me and just about everyone else in town.  Every 4th of July, she can be seen in the town parade, riding the back of a motorcycle. (See photo below.) She's the mother of a handful of children now living across the U.S., grandma and great-grandma to oodles more, and just a love. If you have the time, click (tick) onto A Patriotic Wave  to visit my other blog and another poem. 

Happy 4th of July from Connecticut, U.S.A! 

A Yankee Doodle Dandy
She's everybody's Mother.
She 'owns' the third pew
 at Mass on Sunday and daily, too,
just to be sure the priests stay true.
 She's an early bird all right
this merry widow dressed in red.

Prayed for the man for whom she wore white
50+ years ago
whispered one last "I love you!"
Sang the blues.
Then...
hopped on the back of this one's bike,
held on tight to save her life. 

Waves, smiles, stories to share,
filling up on love
feathered boa in mid-air
This yankee doodle dandy
in red, white and blue!

© Jeanne I. Lakatos

20 June, 2017

Thunder and Lightning, Then the Flood

'Tis the season...


I took this photo of lightning in Danbury, Connecticut.

Thunder and Lightning, Then the Flood

Flash!
An enlightened moment
of photon intensity
blinds the eye
and elicits the waiting
for thunderous rumble
that rattles a frame;
its invisible command
churns, collides, erupts.
Hellish and healing,
emptied tears
cross a parched terrain:
Flood!

© Jeanne I. Lakatos

13 June, 2017

Sydney Owenson and Self-Actualization


From my book: 

Sydney Owenson acknowledges the spiritual connection between humanity and natural law, a common theme occurring in Goethe’s works. In one of his conversations with Johann Peter Eckermann, he explains:

Freedom consists not in refusing to recognize anything above us, but in respecting something which is above us; for, by respecting it, we raise ourselves to it, and, by our very acknowledgment, prove that we bear within ourselves what is higher, and are worthy to be on a level with it.[1]
Owenson, then, incorporates the Romantic concept of nature’s influence on humanity’s intellectual actions while she introduces the reality of political and societal constraints through her characters struggles with self-awareness. Through this conflict, Owenson personifies the dichotomous nature of glory in which her birth nation struggles with true autonomy and its native glór (voice) to be heard.




[1] Johann Goethe, quoted in Conversations of Goethe with Johann Peter Eckermann, translated by John Oxennford, edited by J.K. Moorhead (New York: Da Capo Press, 1998), p. 157.