Roman

Roman

[raw-mahn]
Jakobson, Roman, 1896-1982, Russian-American linguist and literary critic, b. Moscow. He coined the term structural linguistics and stressed that the aim of historical linguistics is the study not of isolated changes within a language but of systematic change. In Czechoslovakia in the late 1920s and the 30s, Jakobson and a few colleagues, most notably N. S. Trubetzkoy, developed what came to be known as the Prague school of linguistics. They argued that synchronic phonology, the study of speech sounds in a language at a given time, must be considered in light of diachronic phonology, the study of speech sounds as they have changed over the course of the language's history. After leaving Czechoslovakia in 1939, Jakobson went on to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden before coming to the United States to teach at Columbia Univ. (1943-49) and later Harvard (1949-67); at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1957-67) he worked with Morris Halle on distinctive-feature theory, developing a binary system that defines a speech sound by the presence or absence of specific phonetic qualities, such as stridency and nasality. Through his contact with French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss and others, Jakobson was influential in the development of structuralism.

See his Six Lectures on Sound and Meaning (1978); Framework of Language (1980).

Polanski, Roman, 1933-, Polish-French film director, b. Paris. His family returned to Kraków, Poland, when he was three. His parents were imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps and his mother died at Auschwitz, but Polanski, living partly on his own, escaped the Holocaust. He began to act after the war and later (1954-59) studied filmmaking in Łódź, where he made a number of notable shorts, e.g., Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958). His first feature-length work, the Polish-language Knife in the Water (1962), a sexually charged psychological drama, brought him international acclaim. From his earliest efforts and throughout his career, Polanski has exhibited a taste for dramatic situations presented with a cool lack of sentimentality and marked by unexpected violence and a sense of irony, black humor, and isolation and dread. Moving to England, he made three films, the best known of which is the intense, erotic, and terrifying Repulsion (1965).

Polanski went on to Hollywood in 1968 and that year made his American debut with the horror classic Rosemary's Baby, his greatest commercial success. In 1969 his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, and a group of their friends were murdered by members of the Charles Manson "family." Subsequently, Polanski settled in France but returned to the States to make the award-winning noir detective thriller Chinatown (1974). After pleading guilty to statutory rape in 1977, he fled (1978) before sentencing to France, where he had become (1976) a citizen, and has not returned to the United States. In 2009 he was arrested in Switzerland on an outstanding warrant arising from the case.

Polanski later made a number of films including Tess (1980), based on a Thomas Hardy novel; the thriller Frantic (1988); the erotically compelling Bitter Moon (1992); and Death and the Maiden (1994), based on an Ariel Dorfman play. After a few largely forgettable films, he directed The Pianist (2002), a brooding, intimate, and fear-haunted drama based on the true story of a Holocaust survivor, for which Polanski received an Academy Award. He also has acted in and written screenplays for a number of his films.

See his autobiography (1984); biographies by T. Kiernan (1981), V. W. Wexman (1985), and C. Sandford (2008); studies by I. Butler (1970), B. Leaming (1981), J. Parker (1993), and D. Bird (2001); A. Corcetti, dir., Roman Polanski: Reflections of Darkness (documentary, 2000); M. Zenovich, dir., Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (documentary, 2008).

senate, Roman, governing council of the Roman republic. It was the outgrowth of the council of the kings. By the 3d cent. B.C. the senate was a group of 300 men with a high degree of political, legislative, and administrative power at Rome. There were serious checks on its power, especially in the hands of the tribunes. The members were chosen by the censors and included theoretically the best citizens; but as it worked out, the senate consisted of ex-magistrates, almost entirely members of a small number of old families from either the patrician or plebeian classes. Membership was usually for life. In the expansion of Rome in the 3d and 2d cent. B.C. the senate sent out the armies, made the treaties, organized the new domain, and controlled finance. The senatorial conduct of Roman affairs was fairly successful until c.130 B.C. After that the senate's provincial administration of the huge empire was increasingly inefficient and graft-ridden. However, the authority of the senate was not called into question until the growth of party-class division that developed with the agitation of the Gracchi. The leaders of the senate became also the leaders of the most reactionary group and would yield on no point, economic or political. The fatal development in the republic of two parties, optimates (the senatorial conservatives) and populares, grew out of this resistance to change. The optimates tried to foster the idea that they represented constitutionalism versus subversion, but after Sulla, who combined the bloodiest illegality with the strictest defense of the senate (which he raised to 600 members), such a claim by optimates was hypocritical and cynical. Caesar enlarged the number of the senate to 900. The ruin of the optimates and the senate was accomplished in the proscription of 43 B.C. after Caesar's assassination. After the proscription what was left of the senate was docile and ineffectual. Augustus lowered the number to 600. As an administrator he found he had to reduce senatorial control in the provinces. Under the principate the senate became a somewhat less hereditary body and gradually came to include provincials from most regions of the empire. It continued to include many of the empire's leading soldiers and administrators, until it lost much influence in the troubles of the 3d cent. A.D. In the later Roman Empire, it retained some prestige, but very little power. Under Byzantine rule in the 6th cent., the senate disappeared.

See M. Gelzer, The Roman Nobility (1969); R. J. A. Talbert, The Senate of Imperial Rome (1984).

Vishniac, Roman, 1897-1990, Russian-American biologist, photographer, linguist, art historian, and philosopher, b. Pavlosk, near St. Petersburg. Vishniac took degrees in medicine, philosophy, art history, and biology. He fled in 1920 to Berlin, where he conducted research in endocrinology and worked as a photojournalist. From 1933 to 1939 he produced a photographic record of Jewish communities in Central and Western Europe. A part of this unique humanitarian document was published in 1947 under the title Polish Jews. In the mid-1930s he was imprisoned 11 times and forced to do hard labor in two concentration camps. He escaped and emigrated to the United States in 1940. At Yeshiva Univ. he was appointed research associate (1957) at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and became professor of biological education there in 1961. A pioneer in time-lapse cinematography and light-interruption photography as well as the color photomicroscopy of living organisms, Vishniac became, in 1960, project director and filmmaker for the Living Biology film series sponsored by the National Science Foundation. His chief biological researches were in the field of marine microbiology, the physiology of ciliates, and circulation systems in unicellular plants. He proposed the hypothesis that the first living organisms were multicellular structures that emerged many times in many places by different biochemical pathways (polyphyletic origin). A volume of his color microphotographs of proteins, vitamins, and hormones, Building Blocks of Life, was published in 1971. Widely read and fluent in most modern and ancient European and Asian languages, Vishniac was a specialist in East Asian art and philosophy. He taught in several fields at many universities, including the City Univ. of New York, Pratt Institute, and Case Western Reserve Univ.
roman: see type.
Roman, town (1990 pop. 78,749), NE Romania, in Moldavia, at the confluence of the Prut and Siretul rivers. Sugar refining and the manufacture of building materials are the chief industries. The town was founded in the late 14th cent. by the ruling prince of Moldavia.
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