The Book and Beyond

Broj 1 - Godina 2 - 12/2011

Uvodnik

About a year and a half ago, or perhaps it was more, no one seems to remember the exact day anymore, when we decided to start [sic] – a Journal of Literature, Culture and Literary Translation, in our minds we had a small journal that would nevertheless stimulate debates and challenge authors to participate with their contributions in hope of offering a somewhat different view on various topics and themes that we think about in our professional life and work. We hoped for some hundred or perhaps two hundred pages of articles, essays and translations; we counted on contributions from our friends and colleagues from Croatia and secretly dreamed that someone from abroad will find our journal interesting enough to join in. And today, when we are releasing our third issue that counts well over five hundred pages of articles, essays and translations, with more than twenty authors from all over the world, we are safe to say that we more than exceeded our initial expectations and even our wildest hopes. ..

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Izdvojeno

U početku je to bio samo neki snažan instinkt samoočuvanja, samoobrane i ranjenog ponosa. Udarili su bez upozorenja, ranili nam mušku čast, povrijedili nas grubo, prostački, besramno, opljačkali, okupirali, zgazili teškim čizmama. Poludjeli smo od ljutnje. Tumarali pobješnjeli osunčanim cestama, neobrijani i zapušteni, kao skitnice. Tko se brinuo za izgled u te dane? Gledali smo se u oči zabrinuto, poznati i nepoznati, nastojali komunicirati, da svaki od nas shvati što drugi misli. Što će biti? Pitali smo se pogledom hoćemo li to progutati? Nećemo li nešto učiniti, konačno? Nitko nije znao.Kasnije su došli oni koji su prvi preuzeli inicijativu, ozbiljni, odlučni, sigurni. Pristupili su nam jednom po jednom, polako, hladnokrvno, procjenjujući, odmjerenim riječima, bez vidljive strasti. Okupili su nas u mala društva. Oni su govorili, mi bezizražajno slušali, skupljali njihove riječi i zabavljali se njima među sobom, kasnije, u samoći. Ujedinimo se čvrsto, govorili su, povežimo se svi Grci, gdje god pripadali, kakva god bila naša prošlost. Ostavimo po strani frakcije, ideologije, sve što nas može razdvojiti. Zaboravimo demokraciju, kraljevinu, desnicu i ljevicu, naše političke stranke i socijalni položaj. To sad nije bitno. Danas smo svi robovi, svi jednako udareni, jednako trpimo čizmu koja nas gazi. Jedan je cilj: sloboda. Nedopustivo je da razgovaramo o ičemu drugom pod čizmom. Uhvatimo se čvrsto za ruke, kao braća u nevolji, kao članovi iste, velike, složne, tople obitelji koja nas poziva da je spasimo. Kad se, neka bude sreće, oslobodimo, govorili su, opet ćemo steći unutarnju vlast, krenut ćemo ispočetka i vidjeti što će postati od naše zemlje. Ujesen je počelo nestajati zaliha hrane, izostalo je i nekog ljetnog obilja voća i povrća i iznenada se na nas spustila glad......

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Due to their self-reflexive propensity, postmodern fiction and metafiction, in particular, have been relentlessly criticized of solipsism and of an indifference to relate to the extralinguistic world. While the novel is deemed to pause in its trajectory to examine itself, to examine its conventions and rejections of them, to address its future uncertainties and its at-present struggles, it has become a misprision that all it can bestow to its readers is an understanding of itself. The basic argument unravels as follows: language is devoid of reality, therefore, literature does not contain reality either; now more than ever, fiction recognizes that it is a self-contained artifact which can only engage in a representation of itself, having no interest in proffering its readers anything but an understanding of itself. The novel in the postmodern period has faced the crisis of representation, when linguists and theorists alike unmask the insufficiency of language and its inability to represent reality. Under the scrutiny of language, metafiction emerges; a fiction which is more than ever aware of the inadequacies of its medium, and which is conscious of its subsequent inability to represent the world; hence the conclusions that all its pronouncements can only be about itself. This view delimits the possibilities of (meta)fiction, whose nature is apparently more intricate: while recognizing the distance between itself and reality, while shifting the emphasis from reality to itself, literature can never only be about itself; even if it attempts to repudiate the world, the world will forever be part of what makes literature possible....

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Carol i Robert Norris bili su stari prijatelji Nickove žene Joanne. Upoznali su se davno, mnogo prije nego što je ona upoznala Nicka. Poznavali su je kada je bila udana za Billa Dalyja. U ono vrijeme njih četvero – Carol i Robert, Joanne i Bill – friško oženjeni studenti na zadnjoj godini povijesti umjetnosti – živjeli su u istoj kući, velikoj kući na Seattleovoj verziji Capitol Hilla, dijelili stanarinu i kupaonicu. Često su zajedno jeli i sjedili do sitnih sati, pili vino i razgovarali. Jedni su drugima pregledavali i komentirali radove. Tijekom te zadnje godine zajedničkog života – prije nego što se pojavio Nick – čak su kupili jeftin brodić kojim su ljeti zajedno plovili jezerom Washington. “Kakva su to vremena bila, i dobra i loša, puna uspona i padova”, rekao je Robert drugi put toga jutra osmjehujući se i promatrajući lica prijatelja za stolom. Bila je nedjelja ujutro, a oni su sjedili za stolom u kuhinji Nicka i Joanne u Aberdeenu i jeli dimljeni losos, kajganu i peciva sa sirnim namazom. Bio je to onaj isti losos kojeg je Nick uhvatio prošlog ljeta i vakumirao i stavio u duboko zamrzavanje. Sviđalo mu se kad je Joanne naglasila da je on sam ulovio tu ribu. Čak je znala – ili je barem tvrdila da zna – koliko je teška. “Ova je imala osam kila”, rekla je, a Nick se zadovoljno nasmijao. Sinoć je izvadio ribu iz zamrzivača nakon što je nazvala Carol i rekla da bi ona i Robert rado svratili sa svojom kćerkicom Jenny kad budu u prolazu. ...

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The idea expressed in the quotation above, by a hostage-poet in 1960s Beirut that appears in Don DeLillo’s novel MAO II, suggests the importance of writing as a way to produce new space. The narrative examines the difficult and necessary relationship between the writer, the written word, and the production of social change. In focusing attention specifically on the power of text to influence systems of oppression on a large cultural scale, MAO II provides examples of the ways in which texts record and respond to unique oppressive situations. In this way, the text functions more complexly within the space of the larger social dialectic than simply as a record of social failings. By presenting the violence of oppressive space back to the society that created it, the novel becomes an object of social protest. An examination of two other novels of social protest, John Edgar Wideman’s Philadelphia Fire and Sherman Alexie’s Indian Killer, further illustrates the way that the book is used as an instrument of social change. These novels present arguments about the power of writing to radically expose failures of the social dialectic that, as a consequence, create new space within that dialectic....

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