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Paradise Lost and the Dream of Other Worlds

Hrileena Ghosh, Jadavpur University

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Abstract

The doctrine of plural worlds is an ancient concept which received a new lease on life as a result of developments in astronomy in the sixteenth century. In his epic Paradise Lost, John Milton repeatedly references this idea. Milton uses the concept of plural worlds in two distinct forms: at the literal level, he invokes the possibility of plural worlds within the created universe of the poem, and on a more metaphorical level, he invokes the possibility of the existence of several distinct but overlapping worlds. This paper seeks to consider how and why Milton uses this idea in the ways he does.

The Semiotics of Violence: Reading Italo Calvino’s The Castle of Crossed Destinies

Debamitra Kar, Women’s College, Calcutta, India

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Abstract

This paper attempts a reading of Italo Calvino’s novel, The Castle of Crossed Destinies (1969) from a postmodern perspective. The novel has always been seen as structuralist experimentation, particularly because it was written at a time when Calvino was associated with the OULIPO, the group of the French philosophers like Claude Levi-Strauss, Roland Barthes and others. The paper argues that the simultaneous reading of the words in the text and pictures in the margin, challenges the very practice and method of reading. The novel suggests that it can be read as a card game, a game that accentuates deferral and plurality of meaning. These conflicting readings create the semiotics of violence, which again is reflected in the theme of the stories. The paper cites example of three stories which show that the violence of language is codified as the violence of the feminine on the masculine, arguing that the feminine challenges the rules, laws, and structures of language as well as life and destroys things that adheres to any strict binary form. The conflict between the rule of the Father and the lawlessness of the Mother leads to no higher synthesis—it ends in violence that refuses all routes of communication or meaning.

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