Borders and Crossings

No. 2 - Year 10 - 04/2020

Editorial

This special issue contains selected papers presented during the Borders and Crossings International and Multidisciplinary Conference on Travel Writing in Pula and on the Brijuni Islands in September 2018 (https://www.unipu.hr/borders2018). The event, organized by the Juraj Dobrila University of Pula, marked a special occasion: the 20th anniversary of the “Borders and Crossings” conference was celebrated, and the conference itself was an opportunity for all scholars interested in the issues of travel, travel writing, and tourism to meet in the unique historical environment of Pula and the Brijuni Islands National Park. The 120 papers presented at the conference by scholars and researchers from universities, institutes, research centers, and libraries from around the globe included a wide variety of topics related to transnational mobility, literature, culture, and literary translation in a historical and global perspective. ..

Continue reading →
Featuring

In this paper, I examine representations of Croatian identity in contemporary Croatian film through their links with the theme of travel. In particular, I look at practices of displacement as a specific element of travel writing, which “emerge as constitutive of cultural meanings rather than as their simple transfer of extension (Clifford 3; emphasis in the original). I argue that, following the emergence of physical borders after the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Croatianness may be defined through the encounters with different types of travelers within the “complex and pervasive spectrum of human experiences” (Clifford 3). Their presence highlights not only “the discovery of places but also … their creation” (Bishop 143), demonstrates that the imaginative geography of the country becomes “less a matter of physical geography than a qualitative assessment” (Bracewell and Drace-Francis 343), and turns its territory into a field for articulation of “different imaginative practices of foreignness” (Chard 9). In the paper, I explore this issue by looking at selected Croatian films of the first two decades of the 2000s and divide them roughly into films featuring cinematic representations of external border crossings and those featuring allegorical travels within the country. What they have in common is engagement with the exploration of the country’s newly created identity, its position within the wider identity of Europe, and the country’s relationship with its own past. Films representative of the first group, such as Branko Schmidt’s The Melon Route (Put Lubenica, 2006) or Ognjen Sviličić’s Armin (2007) examine imaginary transitions between the mythical East and the mythologized West by featuring various displaced characters, from former Yugoslav neighbors to illegal migrants, crossing into Croatia in search of the route to better life. Concurrently, travels within the Croatian territory, such as a search of what seems to be imagined medieval identity in Igor Bezinović’s A Brief Excursion (Kratki izlet, 2017), critically investigate mythologizing approaches to the national identity by delving into its past....

Continue reading →

In the first half of the 20th century, the Sicilian Princess Topazia Alliata di Salaparuta kept a diary (1938–1941) of her voyage and stay in Japan with her husband, Fosco Maraini, and her three daughters. This journal intime was then passed on to her eldest daughter, Dacia Maraini, the renowned Italian writer, who created a multilayered narrative account entitled La Nave per Kobe: Diari giapponesi di mia madre (The Ship to Kobe: My Mother’s Japanese Diaries), which was published in 2001. The female-voiced factual text explores, through two sets of eyes and two people’s experiences, the transcontinental contacts from several perspectives. From the physical voyage on board of the Italian ocean liner Conte Verde to their very first days and daily life in Japan – first in Hokkaido and then in Kyoto, before the family’s deportation to a concentration camp in Nagoya – Maraini focuses on the subtle plots of interpersonal dynamics, enriching the account with her own childhood memories and her witty remarks generating a meaningful link across time and space. The present paper analyzes the act of crossing physical and figurative borders as a source of reflection in terms of cultural, social, and language exchange. A multidisciplinary approach is used to consider the dialogic nature of the Self and the Other and to explore the identity construction of the two transnational subjects. ...

Continue reading →

Invisible Cities, Calvino's novel, or rather antinovel, is about very many things. It is actually one of the few literary attempts that have managed to palpably approach the realization of Mallarmé's ideal Book, into which the entire world would collapse. Consequently, it has attracted all kinds of interpretation, including sociological, urbanist, even political. Such practices have contributed to bypassing what Invisible Cities is in the first place: a linguistic artifact. Once appreciated as such, the (anti)novel starts opening up as language on language, and as literature on literature, which, according to the author of the article, is the novel's prime concern. Its self-referentiality is presented so condensedly and thoroughly (despite the modest size of the book) that the initiated reader will have made his journey through the fifty-five cities, woven together (precisely as a textus!) by the narrator's voice and the conversations between a fictional Marco Polo and an equally such Kublai Khan, with the feeling that both language and its expression closest to perfection, that is, literature, have been covered in all their crucial aspects. There are also correspondences with the various approaches and contributions of literary criticism. A secondary text the size of an article cannot illustrate them all, but making an imperfect – although representative – selection it can at least hope to succeed as an invitation to a systematic, and inspired, (re)reading of what the article signals as Calvino's most authoritative pronouncement, however invisible, on the world of his vocation....

Continue reading →

The aim of this paper is to present the term 'city' both as a constructive element and a key to interpreting the same-named novel. The paper is focused on the term’s etymology and contemporary definitions, and on the novel’s interpretations in the postmodern framework. In order to understand all the layers, the intertextual and intermedial theories are also important. Gould and his governess Shatzy Shell are the main characters of the novel. Gould is a teenager who has been recognized as a genius, which has brought him loneliness and desire to achieve success. That loneliness could be compared to some descriptions of postmodern cities, and on the other hand the cities could be compared to postmodern literature. The novel’s most important city is Closingtown – a city that does not appear on any map. It is a town in the West where the time has stopped. The town is compared to a fragmented postmodern literary work and this novel, as Baricco said, is a representation of what a city might be. A double postmodern language game is present in the novel. The first is related to the Closingtown as a Western city and Shatzy’s aspiration to write a western. The second is related to the comparison of the Closingtown and the postmodern text. Someone in the city has torn up time, which can be reflected in the fragmented narration, and it can be read that the citizens have a choice between leaving the town and patching time. The choice requires a dedicated reader who will deduct the story from the patchwork; as the citizens patch time, the dedicated reader finds a new patch of the overall story. These language games have a reflection on a game that uses physical strength and strategic approach – boxing. The interpretation game is also possible if we take into consideration intertextuality and intermediality that require a dedicated reader who is able to understand and enjoy all the segments that construct this complex novel....

Continue reading →