Works of Scholarship

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    China-Latin America Arms Sales: Antagonizing the United States in the Western Hemisphere?
    (Army University Press, 2018) Gurrola, George
    The engagement between the People’s Republic of China and the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region during the twenty-first century is highlighted by its extraordinary increase in commercial, political, and military relations...
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    While waiting for death, I still had the Journal des dix-neuvièmistes
    (Roman 20-50, 2018) Tonnerre, Olivier
    In an interview published by Mediapart a few days before the release of Soumission, Michel Houellebecq explains the genesis of this novel: "It was not to be called Soumission, the first title was La Conversion. And in my first project the narrator also converted to Catholicism. That is to say, he followed the same path as Huysmans, a century away: from naturalism to become Catholic. And I didn't manage to do that." Islam was therefore initially absent from the project, which makes you smile when you know how much this theme has obsessed criticism. Another interest of this interview, we learn that Houellebecq could probably have considered himself an imaginary friend of Huysmans in the same way as his narrator, and that he would have liked it. Indeed, at the beginning of his literary career, around thirty-five, Houellebecq read Huysmans, at least before the release of his first novel. For Bernard Maris, this ode to Huysmans that is Submission is very interesting to address the issues of Houellebecquian writing: "Huysmans; we understand a posteriori where Houellebecq drew his style and humor." Of course, the novel includes many nineteenth-century authors: direct mentions, delicate allusions and hidden references abound, which are more or less easily revealed. Our discussion will focus in particular on the part of the novel that is declined in diary. But Huysmans dominates: he opens the novel twice, with an epigraph taken from...
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    The Maid of the Highlands: Joan of Arc Reflected in West Point Iconography
    (The Hudson River Valley Review, 2018) Pendergast, John M.
    Over 600 years ago, in 1412, Joan of Arc was born. Nineteen years later, she was put to death at the age at which most cadets at the United States Military Academy (USMA) begin to study a foreign language in the Department of Foreign Languages. This is far from the only connection Joan of Arc has with West Point. In fact, cadets, staff, and faculty are surrounded daily by imagery which, in one way or another, is associated with her, sometimes quite obviously—as in the Panorama of Military History in the Cadet mess, and the Saint Joan window in the Catholic Chapel—and sometimes not so obviously. The image of greatest significance linking Joan and West Point is the USMA crest, whose most prominent detail is the helmet of Athena...
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    Bulgakov and Tchaikovsky: Themes and Variations
    (USMA, 2018) Pendergast, John M.
    References to Tchaikovskyís works in Bulgakovís writing function without explanation and somewhat surreptitiously as both signifiers of the writerís antipathy toward the nascent com-munist regime and as hermeneutic devices. They reveal the authorís ambivalence toward the characters and the works themselves, such as The White Guard, ìA Dogís Heartî and The Master and Margarita. Failure to interpret these enigmatic signposts may present no obstacle to understanding the plot, but unlocking the puzzle signified by their presence offers a much richer appreciation for the conflicts and dilemmas confronting the characters. The reader unfamiliar with Tchaikovsky may skim over musical references in these three works as merely atmospheric. This article posits that such a reader gains an impression very different from that which arises upon consideration of the musical and thematic associations. This consideration provides not only a deeper appreciation of the works, but reveals the extent to which Bulgakov himself was of two minds in his relation to them.
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    Comme une tradition de corps qui n’est qu’à eux” : les frères Goncourt et le corps noble
    (USMA, 2016) Tonnerre, Olivier
    For the Goncourt brothers, one’s nobility unravels in a pose, is unveiled by a gesture, displays itself as one’s je-ne-sais-quoi. Throughout the Journal, their depictions of noblemen and noblewomen often match those of their contemporaries. It never really matters who is described, as long as they are part of an old family: a secular grace of manners links them to one another and separates them from the rest, a more telltale sign than any name or coat of arms. This article endeavors to analyze the ways in which the representations found in the Journal intersect with the dominant discourses on the aristocracy, while at the same time shedding light on the relationship between the Goncourts and nobility. Jules and Edmond oscillate between envy and identification, even acknowledging their perceived feelings of inferiority when faced with the old aristocratic families. They nevertheless remain the poignant and often too accurate observers of their era, and many of their comments and intuitions point towards a revelation that they are the first to display so plainly: the soul of the nobility does not reside in its blueblood but rather within a body carefully masquerading as a model of natural superiority.
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    “Faut-il nécessairement que la beauté s’ignore pour ne rien perdre de son éclat ? ” : le goût et la grâce dans Le Piccinino de George Sand
    (Orbis Linguarum, 2019) Tonnerre, Olivier
    In Histoire de ma vie, George Sand claims that the main reason she wrote Le Piccinino (1847) was so that she could present her views on the nobility in three central chapters. While using the discourse of the nobility on itself, in particular when it comes to the relationship between heredity and aristocratic memory, she also subverts this discourse by democratizing the relationship between memory and lineage. The rest of the novel offers many representations of noblewomen and noblemen, who all seem to share a specific trait: good taste and grace of manners, whose degree seems to accurately represent their position in society. This essay will explore these two facets of the nobility and the way in which they conspire to display an aura of natural superiority, while simultaneously being undermined by Sand’s very personal opinion, as she strives to dispel this long-lasting illusion.
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    Enhancing the foreign language classroom through experiential learning: Connecting and reflecting
    (Routledge, 2021) Maggin, Sherry A.; Pendergast, John M.; Praud, Julia M.
    West Point’s Department of Foreign Languages provides students with collaborative experiential learning opportunities based within the surrounding community in order to bring multifaceted language, cultural, and civic engagement beyond the classroom for many of their students in a variety of language courses. In this paper, we will highlight examples of the various ways these students in beginner Russian, intermediate Spanish and advanced French engage with the local and regional community in educational and noneducational settings. We will discuss the history of these engagements and share instructor impressions as well as impressions from student participants and community partners concerning learning outcomes and the benefits to both our students and the community. In all three examples, the majority of students were taking the course to fulfill a core requirement. The number of students who participated in each experiential learning initiative varied from as few as ten to as many as 120 at a given time...
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    ONEGIN’S PATH FROM PAGE TO STAGE: A Study of Tchaikovsky’s Transposition of Pushkin’s Novel in Verse into Novel in Music
    (University of Arizona, 2002) Pendergast, John M.
    For all the popularity it enjoys today, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin did not meet with universal acceptance when it premiered in its entirety in March of 1879. Tchaikovsky himself wrote: “...there was heavy applause only after Gremin’s aria and Triquet’s couplets.” “In place of the accustomed bravado ensemble, the first scene ended with nanny’s recitative...The audience stared uncomprehendingly at the dropping curtain, thinking that it was a mistake.” In an 1881 article in the journal Artiste, the critic Kruglikov protested “...but to take plots from the modern life of the cultured class, to put a modern society parlor in an opera is, to me, risky beyond compare. Ordinary waistcoats and tails on the operatic stage?! A general in dress uniform invited to the footlights to sing a tender bass aria? – I cannot reconcile myself with all this!” The writer Turgenev, in a letter to Tolstoy about the opera, complained that he “did not care for the libretto, in which Pushkin’s verses describing the actors are put into the mouths of the actors themselves.” Indeed, even the detractors acknowledged the exquisiteness of the music, but musical beauty was not Tchaikovsky’s only goal in creating this work. An examination of the many factors that influenced the creation and further development of this work reveals that what Tchaikovsky intended to create was his own distinct interpretation of Pushkin’s masterpiece. In it, he intended to convey the powerful influence of Pushkin’s verse over his own creative spirit, while simultaneously revealing deeply felt personal opinions about the nature and potential of its enduring heroes.