Liminal Balkans

Broj 2 - Godina 6 - 06/2016

Uvodnik

It was our presumption that we would be able to tackle and cover, or at least sketch and therefore possibly define the equivocal notion of the Balkans that led us to the idea of dedicating an issue of our journal to this task. However, as these things usually end up, we were proven wrong. The notion of the Liminal Balkans even after the issue was concluded remained the same – a threshold, an elusive construct whose discursive diversity and complexity only instigated numerous new questions, together with new starting points for alternative debates, coming in the end full circle to the initial premise presented by Maria Todorova about the Balkans as a transitional space...

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Izdvojeno

This paper discusses Téa Obreht's 2010 novel The Tiger's Wife within the context of transmigrations and post-national conceptions of both the real and mythical translocality. Through analysis of Obreht’s discourse of disremembering, which is in Aleksandar Hemon’s definition a recognition of one’s own experience under the new narrative, the paper will explore the transnational dimensions of the Slavic-American identity of The Tiger’s Wife. The aim of this paper is to focus on the new understanding of transnational relationality as well as on a reconception of reality that disremembers Obreht’s or, on a larger scale, human experience within the mythical realism of The Tiger’s Wife.Keywords: transnationalism, the Slavic-American identity, disremembering, Aleksandar Hemon, Téa Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife, mythical realismTo disremember, according to Aleksandar Hemon, a celebrated Bosnian-American writer with an immigrant experience, is to recognize one’s own experience under the new narrative. He points out that it especially refers to the “people who have come through a form of actual, physical slaughter, and to the extent the construction of narrative is memory, then the narrative, for them, has to involve a quantity of amnesia. More amnesia that is involved in most narrative” (Interview by Richard Wirick). Disremembering blends non-fiction and fiction, genocide documentation and utopian imagery, and implies an alternative interpretation of reality. Hemon’s 2008 novel The Lazarus Project is a transnational project of disremembering. In The Lazarus Project, Hemon intertwines a double narrative of the multilayered parallel universes of the past and the present by following the narrator Vladimir Brik, a post-war Bosnian who lives in the United States, as he questions his life. Brik traces the story of Lazarus Averbuch, a young Jewish immigrant who is a survivor of the Kishinev pogrom in what is now Moldova, and an alleged anarchist. At the same time, Brik questions both the inner and outer aspects of his reality. In the first-person narrative, he explains that he needs to re-imagine what he could not retrieve, and to see what he could not imagine. For this reason, he disremembers his own experience within the story of Lazarus that also implies resurrection and a new birth story. This paper will analyze Téa Obreht’s evocative 2010 novel The Tiger's Wife from the point of view of a Hemonesque narrative concept of disremembering and, within the discourse, an Obrehtesque interaction of myth and truth....

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Albania lies at the crux of the doubly oriental identity of the Balkans on account of its Ottoman and Socialist past. This paper examines the role of the Ottoman Empire in literary works that engage with history in an effort to articulate a conception of Albanian identity as fundamentally European. The Kosovar epic ballads of Millosh Kopiliq and Ismail Kadare’s novel The Siege both portray the medieval conflicts between Albanians and Ottomans. Yet the works do not simply assert the cultural superiority of Albanians in the face of “oriental barbarism”. Instead, the Ottomans serve to dramatize the ambiguous cultural and geographical positioning of Kosovo and Albania. Using Lucien Goldmann’s method of genetic structuralism, this study understands the particular identity articulated in each text as a response to the geographical, cultural and political environment of its author.Keywords: identity, nationalism, Kadare, Albania, Kosovo, orientalism, Ottoman Empire, Millosh Kopiliq...

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“C'mon, let's go people, it's the coppers,” she would shout sometimes, out of the blue, but for the most part, Gracijela was saying things to herself on a loop and dragging her feet in shabby men's shoes. The day was cut off by a sharp siren – an air raid. On that note, all the doors opened. People came out of lunch-infused kitchens and headed towards our street. With her hair combed, Mrs. Doma straightened her skirt and calmly locked her green wooden door. Jelka limped fast from her street, so they met at the corner and walked together. Old men, Schmatte and Owl, both awarded the People's Liberation Movement medals for serving in the Second World War, tapped their canes across their rain-soaked courtyards. The 48 Prosciutto walked slowly with hands behind his back and seemingly indifferent, just going out for a walk, no intention of hiding from the planes. He was just passing through the street and saying hi to the neighbors: “You good, Mrs. Jele?”“All right, all right, Mr. Schmatte.”

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5 June 192312 June 192317 June 192319 June 192319 June 1923Marina Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow in 1892 and began to publish in her teens, to multiple good reviews by Russian literary critics. She was a working contemporary of Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, Boris Pasternak and Rainer Maria Rilke, all of whom were important to her as rival, lover, correspondent and mentor, respectively, and as they should have been, in her view, from time to time, as her views of their roles in her life were changeable.Tsvetaeva left the Soviet Union in 1922 to reunite with her husband after a four-year wartime separation during the Russian Revolution. She lived as an exile in Berlin, Prague and Paris through 1939. The period of exile in Prague, lasting from August of 1922 to May of 1925, was a very productive period, with new poems arriving every other day or so, or sometimes two poems a day, until her son Georgy (nicknamed Mur) was born in 1924, when the poems slowed to a relative trickle....

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