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

Dogodilo se to u srijedu, to prosvjetljenje o kojem svi pričaju. Utorkom je Pedro bio Srce i razbijao gubice. Laka kategorija, žestok borac. S crvenom maskom i trokutastim crvenim boom na glatkim prsima. Uhvatio bi protivnika u polugu i stezao, sve dok se ne prestane opirati, i tek tad rekao sucu – Broji! Nema veze što sudac ne bi brojio ili bi brojio prebrzo, sve je to bilo samo predstava. Publika želi adrenalin, svjetla, galamu s tribina, divlju eleganciju borbe koja ga je svakog utorka navečer pretvarala u zvijezdu. Svakog bi utorka izlazio u noć, ozaren od pobjede.Zatim bi tu energiju ispucao s Marinom u najbližem motelu, ali vrlo brzo, dok bi je vozio kući, stvarnost bi počela nagrizati taj sjaj: jednosoban stan, Marinin stari, sav podbuhao od jeftina alkohola i buljenja u televizor, s poraženim izrazom lica, kao netko tko je svjestan koliko je zapravo jadan, tko neprestano smišlja kako da se izvuče, ali se nikako ne usudi napraviti prvi korak. Tad bi se Srce opet pretvorio u Pedra. Sutradan, na gradilištu, dok bi nosio vreće cementa i slagao cigle, preobrazba bi bila potpuna i Pedru bi opet bio pun kurac svega....

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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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In Croatia, the political changes involving most of Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s included a war fought between 1991 and 1995. This paper aims, by examining the press releases and newspaper articles published in the Italian daily La Stampa in 1995, to show how this influential newspaper worked on shaping Italian public opinion about the war in Croatia, and to examine the extent to which well-rooted stereotypes about the Balkans played a role in the process. The application of the methods of Critical Discourse Analysis on the material has confirmed the occurrence of stereotypes expressed through several types of polarized representations, for example, the one between the good (Italy/Europe/West) and the bad (Croatia/the Balkans – associated with “primitive” nationalism and chaos). It has also shown that Italy (as part of Europe), largely saw itself as the “appointed” Western civilized neighbour towards one of its Balkan neighbours, Croatia, and worked on trying, as Todorova would put it, “to normalise” it....

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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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