Liminal Balkans

No. 2 - Year 6 - 06/2016

University of Zadar | ISSN 1847-7755 | SIC.JOURNAL.CONTACT@GMAIL.COM

Editorial

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....

Literature and Culture
Duncan Lien, Karadeniz Teknik Üniversitesi, Turkey:

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

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.6.lc.1
Literary Translation
Theresia Töglhofer and Sanja Cimer:

Ne, kažem.Znam, kad kažem „ne“, to je to s nama, čist račun, rekli smo, karte na stolu, vino, keksi, humor – presuhi; klima, poljupci, zemlja za cvijeće – prevlažni. Dogovori umjesto sapunica kao kod drugih. Ne gubimo vrijeme na stvari koje nikoga ne zanimaju, čak ih ni na televiziji ne gledamo, nemamo televizor, imamo pametnijeg posla, i zabavljamo se jer znamo da se svijet ne može spasiti, mi smo spašeni samo privremeno, vremena je malo i nikada ne bismo skočili, ali osjećali smo se tako živima dok su nam se noge klatile preko ograde na terasi zgrade. Gledala sam vrhove svojih tenisica, stražnja svjetla automobila koji su se tamo dolje redali jedan za drugim poput crvenih mrava, gurali se u kolonama kroz uske ulice, noge mi još nikada nisu djelovale toliko kratko.Kao na moru na madracu na napuhavanje, rekla sam i ugrizla se za jezik, koji je viski razvezao jer nisi izgledao kao da imaš madrac na napuhavanje.Samo te voda nosi kad padneš, objasnio si, zrak te ne nosi, a ipak si bio tak...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.6.lt.7
Literature and Culture
Ivana Škevin and Iva Grgić Maroević:

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 To...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.6.lc.2
Literature and Culture
Selma Raljević, Džemal Bijedić University of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina:

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...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.6.lc.4
Literature and Culture
Graham St. John Stott and Aysar Yaseen:

In The Secret of Chimneys (1925) Agatha Christie uses the all too familiar Balkan stereotypes of backwardness and brigandage, but not – as was usually the case at the time – as an Other to illustrate British virtue, but as a mirror to British vice. It is Britain, not the fictional Herzoslovakia, that is a nation of brigands. Herzoslovakia remains relatively unknown, as none of the novel’s scenes take place there, but it is described by disinterested observers as democratic and prosperous. In London, however, the Foreign Office plans to overthrow its government to secure oil rights promised by a royal heir-in-exile to a London-based financial consortium. Keywords: Christie, Balkans, Romania, oil, brigandsAgatha Christie’s The Secret of Chimneys (1925) has been faulted for being on the one hand a frothy mix of Anthony Hope and P. G. Wodehouse (Thompson 143) and on the other a mishmash of popular ethnic, national and regional stereotypes – including those of the Balkans (Todorova 122). It...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.6.lc.3
Literature and Culture
Miranda Levanat-Peričić, University of Zadar, Croatia:

Beginning with the concept of "nesting orientalism" introduced by Milica Bakić-Hayden in the sense of patterns of representation used to describe the Other by all ethnic groups in former Yugoslavia, this paper examines four views of "nesting balkanism" in post-Yugoslav literature. First, there is a chronotopic view from the post-Yugoslav exile back to the past, in which the Balkans function as a contextual synonym for the "former homeland," always used in a context of "war," "violence," "primitivism," "disorder" and "cruelty". The second view refers to several Slovenian authors, starting with Slavoj Žižek, Aleš Debeljak and the young novelist Goran Vojnović, who show specific balkanistic representation connected with sevdah and turbofolk music. The third view is connected with travelling and trains, as a frequent topic of orientalistic representation inherited from the Orient Express novels. Finally, the fourth view draws on examples from Dubravka Ugrešić’s descriptions of her "fellow-...

DOI: 10.15291/sic/2.6.lc.5