History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe VOLUME II
A COMPARATIVE HISTORY OF LITERATURES IN EUROPEAN LANGUAGES SPONSORED BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE LITERATURE ASSOCIATION HISTOIRE COMPARÉE DES LITTÉRATURES DE LANGUES EUROPÉENNES SOUS LES AUSPICES DE L’ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL DE LITTÉRATURE COMPARÉE
Coordinating Committee for A Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages Comité de Coordination de l’Histoire Comparée des Littératures de Langues Européennes 2006 President/Président Mihály Szegedy-Maszák (Indiana University) Acting Vice-President/Vice-Président par intérim Daniel F. Chamberlain (Queen’s University, Kingston) Secretary Treasurer/Secrétaire Trésorier Gábor Bezeczky (Hungarian Academy of Sciences) Acting Treasurer/Trésorier par intérim Daniel F. Chamberlain (Queen’s University, Kingston) Committee Liaison Eugene Chen Eoyang (Lingnan University) Members/Membres assesseurs Richard Aczel, Jean Bessière, Fernando Cabo Aseguinolaza, Marcel Cornis-Pope, Margaret Higonnet, Elrud Ibsch, Eva Kushner, Vivian Liska, Inôcencia Mata, Laura Cavalcante Padilha, Fridrun Rinner Past Presidents Mario J. Valdés (Toronto), Jacques Voisine (Paris), Henry H.H. Remak (Indiana), Jean Weisgerber (Bruxelles) Past Secretaries György M. Vajda† (Budapest), Milan V. Dimić (Edmonton) Published on the recommendation of the International Council for Philosophy
Volume XX (Volume II in the subseries on Literary Cultures) History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe: Junctures and disjunctures in the 19th and 20th centuries Edited by Marcel Cornis-Pope and John Neubauer
History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe Junctures and disjunctures in the 19th and 20th centuries volume iI
Edited by Marcel Cornis-Pope Virginia Commonwealth University
John Neubauer University of Amsterdam
JOHN BENJAMINS PUBLISHING COMPANY AMSTERDAM/PHILADELPHIA
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences — Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1984.
Introduction: Mapping the Literary Interfaces of East-Central Europe Marcel Cornis-Pope 1.
Cities as sites of hybrid literary identity and multicultural production
Introduction: Representing East-Central Europe’s Marginocentric Cities – Marcel Cornis-Pope Vilnius/Wilno/Vilna: the Myth of Division and the Myth of Connection – Tomas Venclova The Tartu/Tallinn Dialectic in Estonian Letters and Culture – Tiina A. Kirss – Postscript on a Marginocentric Experiment: The Frontier School of Tartu – Jüri Talvet Monuments and the Literary Culture of Riga – Irina Novikova Czernowitz/Cernăuţi/Chernovtsy/Chernivtsi/Czerniowce: A Testing Ground for Pluralism – Amy Colin, with Peter Rychlo on post–1940 Czernowitz ‘The City That Is No More, the City That Will Stand Forever’: Danzig/Gdańsk as Homeland in the Writings of Günter Grass, Paweł Huelle, and Stefan Chwin – Katarzyna Jerzak On the Borders of Mighty Empires: Bucharest, City of Merging Paradigms – Monica Spiridon Literary Production in Marginocentric Cultural Node: The Case of Timişoara – Marcel Cornis-Pope with John Neubauer and Nicolae Harsanyi Plovdiv: The Text of the City vs. the Texts of Literature – Alexander Kiossev The Torn Soul of a City: Trieste as a Center of Polyphonic Culture and Literature – Anna Campanile Topographies of Literary Culture in Budapest – John Neubauer and Mihály Szegedy-Maszák Prague: Magnetic Fields or the Staging of the Avant-Garde – Veronika Ambros Cities in Ashkenaz: Sites of Identity, Cultural Production, Utopic or Dystopic Visions I. Jewish Visions of the City – Seth L. Wolitz
Vilna: The Jerusalem of Lithuania – Seth L. Wolitz Kiev: City in Ashkenaz – Seth L. Wolitz The Hebrew Literary Circle in Odessa – Zilla Jane Goodman St. Petersburg in the Russian Jewish Literary Imagination – Brian Horowitz Jewish Warsaw – Seth L. Wolitz with Zilla Jane Goodman
Regional sites of cultural hybridization Introduction: Literature in Multicultural Corridors and Regions – Marcel CornisPope A.
The Literary Cultures of the Danubian Corridor Mapping the Danubian Literary Mosaic – Marcel Cornis-Pope with Nikola Petković (on Kyselak and Krleža) Upstream and Downstream the Danube – John Neubaeur The Intercultural Corridor of the ‘Other’ Danube – Roxana M. Verona Regions as Cultural Interfaces Transylvania’s Literary Cultures: Rivalry and Interaction – John Neubauer and Marcel Cornis-Pope, with Sándor Kibédi-Varga and Nicolae Harsanyi The Hybrid Soil of the Balkans: A Topography of Albanian Literature – Robert Elsie Up and Down in Croatian Literary Geography: The Case of the Krugovaši – Vladimir Biti Ashkenaz or the Jewish Cultural Presence in East-Central Europe – Seth L. Wolitz Representing Transnational (Real or Imaginary) Regional Spaces The Return of Pannonia as Imaginary Topos and Space of Homelessness – Guido Snel Jan Lam and Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach: Galicia in the Historical Imagination of Nineteenth-Century Writers – Agnieszka Nance Macedonia in Bulgarian Literature – Inna Peleva Transformations of Imagined Landscapes: Istra and Šavrinija as Intercultural Narratives – Sabina Mihelj
The literary reconstruction of East-central Europe’s imagined communities: Native to diasporic
Introduction: Crossing Geographic and Cultural Boundaries, Reinventing Literary Identities – Marcel Cornis-Pope Kafka, Švejk, and the Butcher’s Wife, or Postcommunism/Postcolonialism and Central Europe – Nikola Petković
185 188 194 195 200
217 224 232
245 283 301 314
333 344 357 364
Table of contents – – –
Tsarigrad/Istanbul/Constantinople and the Spatial Construction of Bulgarian National Identity in the Nineteenth Century – Boyko Penchev Paradoxical Renaissance Abroad: Ukrainian Émigré Literature, 1945–1950 – George G. Grabowicz Paris as a Constitutive East-Central European Topos: The Case of Polish and Romanian Literatures – The Manifold Faces of Romanian Paris – Monica Spiridon – Paris and the Polish Emigration – Agnieszka Gutthy – Syllogisms of Exile: Cioran and Gombrowicz in Paris – Katarzyna Jerzak A Tragic One-Way Ticket to Universality: Bucharest–Paris–Auschwitz, or the Case of Benjamin Fundoianu – Florin Berindeanu
390 413 428 428 433 436 443
Index of East-Central European Names: Volume 2
List of Contributors
The literatures of East-Central Europe have often interplayed ethnocentric ambitions and regional aspirations, but are perhaps best served today by a historical approach that deemphasizes national boundaries and seeks instead analogies, points of contact, and mediations among various cultures. Volume II in the History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe follows the latter impulse, focusing on topographic sites (cities, border areas, corridors, and regions) with a multicultural and multiethnic history. We have carefully avoided both a nationalist and a globalizing treatment, pursuing instead the interaction between native and foreign, local and global, national and regional. While highlighting the intercultural history of these areas, the contributors to this volume have tried not to idealize the transnational impetus, suggesting that the multicultural literary achievements of cities and regions were usually temporary and contested, mixing the “myth of connection” with the “myth of division.” In the General Introduction to Volume I of our History, we focused on the identity of the region and its different mappings. More speciﬁcally, we discussed the conﬂicting constructions of the region’s identity, pointing out the limitations of the topographic macrostructures that have been used to deﬁne it, each implying different borders and, above all, a different set of perspectives and connotations. Thus, the notion of a pan-Germanic Mitteleuropa backgrounded other ethnic traditions (Slavic, Romance, Hungarian, etc.); the Soviet-inspired notion of Eastern Europe disconnected the region from its traditional interactions with Central and Western Europe; and the mostly utopian concept of “Central Europe” was revived periodically (most recently in the 1980s) to differentiate the region from the Eastern and Southern imperial powers, Czarist/Soviet and Ottoman. In opposition to these deﬁnitions, the editors adopted the term “East-Central Europe” to designate the transitional space between the imperial powers in the west, east and south-east (German, Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman). In their view, East-Central Europe stretches from the Baltic countries in the north to the South Slavic countries and Albania in the south, and from the Czech Republic in the west to the Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova in the East. The article that follows the General Introduction, Robert Paul Magocsi’s “Geography and Borders” (1: 19–30), further mapped the geographic, cultural, linguistic, socioeconomic, and political “spheres” of East-Central Europe, emphasizing both the “foundations” of the region’s literary cultures and the way these foundations are being redeﬁned over time. The rest of Volume I explored the literatures of this in-between region under temporal and genre categories. The temporal nodes (1776, 1848, 1867, 1918, 1944, 1956, 1968, and 1989) are “crossroads” at which various narrative strands come together, without forming an organic unit. They emerge as “nonhomogeneous” entities that connect cultures across national boundaries while at the same time allowing them to experience similar events with different rhythms and even directions of development. The second part of Volume I approached literary periods and genres through a similarly nontotalizing perspective, offering paradigmatic studies in periods and genres that attempt to exemplify how traditional national categories may be reconsidered within transnational approaches to literary history. Instead of seeking the “core” of a national or regional genre
(the “essence” of Polish lyric poetry or of the Romanian novel), we focused on “boundary transgressions,” highlighting the emergence of new (sub)genres like the reportage, the lyrical novel, the ﬁctionalized autobiography, parody, and literary theory, or examining literature’s transgression of its own boundaries in the subsection on the multimedia arts of opera and ﬁlm (for a complete Table of Contents of Volume I, see below). Volume II returns to the topographic concerns of Volume I’s “General Introduction,” but moves from a focus on the region’s macrostructures to a microstructural focus on the literary cultures of speciﬁc geographical locations (multicultural cities, border areas, geocultural corridors). In doing so, this volume intends to put into practice a new type of comparative study. Traditional comparative literary studies established transnational comparisons and contrasts, but thereby reconﬁrmed, perhaps inadvertently, the very national borders they tried to deemphasize. This volume inverts the expansive momentum of comparative studies towards ever-broader regional, European, and world literary histories, to some extent even in deviation from our overall project. While the theater of this volume is still the literary culture of East-Central Europe, we focus here on pinpointed local traditions, on geographical nodal points. We believe that this approach is a powerful corrective to the limitations of national literary histories because it identiﬁes the presence of “foreign” elements in centers of national cultures. Our histories of Riga, Plovdiv, Budapest and Timişoara, to name only a few, show how each of these cities was during the last two-hundred years also a home for a variety of foreign or ethnic literary traditions next to the one now dominant within the national borders. By foregrounding these non-national or hybrid traditions, we implicitly call not so much for the practice of regional, continental, or global literary histories but for a diversiﬁcation, pluralization, and, to a certain extent, “de-nationalization” of the national and local ones. A genuine comparatist revival of literary history will involve, in our view, the recognition that “treading on native grounds” means actually treading on grounds cultivated by diverse people. In the current context of new interethnic conﬂicts and lingering divisions in East-Central Europe, the work undertaken in the History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe will, hopefully, foreground alternative ways of identity-making in the area, which emphasize local, regional, and transnational possibilities. The two remaining volumes will amplify this dialectic: Volume III deals with the conﬂictual founding, dismantling and reconstruction of literary institutions typical for the region, while Volume IV, concerned with literary ﬁgures (historical and imaginary), acknowledges the simultaneity of the local and global positionings of self and other. The institutional nodes described in Volume III are not shared institutions but region-wide analogous institutional processes (national awakening, modernist opening, communist regimentation, the (ab)uses of folklore, the theater, and censorship) that were asynchronous and different in speciﬁcs. The literary ﬁgures (national icons, ﬁgures of male and female identity, ﬁgures of the other) considered in Volume IV are not static entities but shifting subjects that enter literary history through canonization or marginalization. Our History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe appears in a new subseries on regional histories within the Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages, published by the Coordinating Committee of the International Comparative Literature Association. It was initiated and guided in its early development by the Literary History Project at the University of Toronto led by professors Mario Valdés and Linda Hutcheon. Both afﬁliations have been very
productive for our project, offering us a preliminary conceptual framework, continuous encouragement, and rigorous evaluative feedback along the way. Acknowledgements We would like to express our gratitude to a number of organizations that have generously supported the elaboration and production of this volume: – – – –
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the University of Toronto for providing the original grant; The Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) for providing ﬁve Fellowships during the academic year 1999–2000; The Coordinating Committee of the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA) for providing a subsidy towards the incidental costs of the project; The Netherlands Research Board (NWO), the Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW), NIAS, the University of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Theater Institute, and the Allard Pierson Foundation for contributing to the costs of a working Conference that was held in the summer of 2000 at the NIAS Institute in Wassenar, the Netherlands; Virginia Commonwealth University, its College of Humanities and Sciences and its English Department, for granting one of the editors paid study-research leave and helping with editing and travel costs.
We would also like to thank Virgil Nemoianu for his comprehensive external evaluation of our project, Randolph Pope and Fridrun Rinner for their critical response to several essays in this volume, Steven T. Collis for his copyediting of the entire manuscript, and Roel Schuyt for his careful checking of all proper names, titles, and references in this book. Last but not least, we would like to express our thanks to Isja Conen at John Benjamins Publishing Company for helping set up the new sub-series, in which this History appears, and for guiding this volume through the editing and printing process in a professional, patient, and genial manner. Marcel Cornis-Pope and John Neubauer
Note on Documentation and Translation
As in Volume I, we give the full original title for all works mentioned in the text, followed by an English translation and the date of publication in brackets. Original book titles are italized; articles are given in quotation marks. We follow the MLA Style Manual and use no footnotes. Quotations and references in the text contain only the page number(s) and the minimum amount of information readers will need in order to ﬁnd the full bibliographical entry in the ﬁnal consolidated WORKS CITED. The list of WORKS CITED records all the works mentioned and/or quoted. We have opted for one composite bibliography in lieu of separate ones at the end of chapters or sections, both for reasons of consistency and in order to provide quick and complete information. The entries are listed alphabetically, following the general order of the Latin alphabet. The alphabetization ignores the effect that diacritical marks have on the order of the alphabet in a number of languages. Books The bibliographical entries start with the author’s name, the title in italics and its English translation in brackets; this is accompanied, wherever necessary, by the original date of publication, followed by the place, the publisher, and the year of publication of the edition used in the volume. In a number of cases we list subsequently the standard English translation, though no systematic effort has been made to ﬁnd all the existing translations. Quotations are documented to the ﬁrst edition, whenever possible, or to a reliable reprint. Articles in collections The name of the author is followed by the original title in quotation marks and the English translation in brackets. This is followed by the name of the editor, unless all of the essays in the volume are by the same author. The place of publication, publisher, and year are followed by the page range of the article in the volume. Articles in journals The name of the author is followed by the original title in quotation marks and the English translation in brackets. The subsequent Title of the Journal is given in italics, followed, where sensible, by the translation of the title and/or the place of publication. The entry concludes with the volume and, where needed, the issue number, preceded by a dot. The year of publication is given in brackets, followed by the page range.
Note on Documentation and Translation
Collective volumes without an editor Listed alphabetically under the original title. Other considerations Where no place or publisher could be found we enter n.p. For serialized works that run through a great many issues we indicate only the volume and issues of the journal without the pages. Special issues of journals are occasionally listed under their title (e.g., the “Budapest Roundtable published in Cross Currents). Places of publication that have commonly accepted English forms, are rendered in English. We have eliminated from the publisher’s name the initials and ﬁrst name, as well as words meaning “publisher” or “press.” Unless stated otherwise, translations in this volume are provided by the authors of the individual articles. Films Listed alphabetically under their English title, followed, in brackets, by the original title. Both titles are italicized. We then specify the country where the ﬁlm was produced, the director’s name, and the year the ﬁlm was released.
Table of contents, Volume I
Table of Contents
Preface by the General Editor of the Literary History Project
Note on Documentation and Translation
Marcel Cornis-Pope and John Neubauer, “General Introduction”
Paul Robert Magocsi, “The Geography of East-Central Europe”
PART I Nodes of political time Marcel Cornis-Pope and John Neubauer, Introduction 1. 1989 Marcel Cornis-Pope, “From Resistance to Reformulation” Włodimierz Bolecki, “1989 in Poland: Continuity and Caesura” Epp Annus and Robert Hughes, “Reversals of the Postmodern and the Late Soviet Simulacrum in the Baltic Countries — with Exempliﬁcations from Estonian Literature” Monica Spiridon, “Models of Literary and Cultural Identity on the Margins of (Post)Modernity: the Case of pre–1989 Romania” Péter Krasztev, “Quoting Instead of Living: Postmodern Literature before and after the Changes in East-Central Europe” 2.
33 39 39 51 54 65 70
1956/1968 Marcel Cornis-Pope and John Neubauer with Jolanta Jastrzębska, Boyko Penchev, Dagmar Roberts, Mihály Szegedy-Maszák, Svetlana Slapšak, and Alfred Thomas, “Revolt, Suppression, and Liberalization in Post-Stalinist East-Central Europe
1948 Tomislav Z. Longinović, Dagmar Roberts, Tomas Venclova, John Neubauer, Mihály Szegedy-Maszák, and Marcel Cornis-Pope, “Introduction: The Culture of Revolutionary Terror” Letiţia Guran and Alexandru Ştefan, “Romanian Literature under Stalinism” Renata Jambrešić Kirin, “The Retraumatization of the 1948 Communist Purges in Yugoslav Literary Culture”
107 112 124
Table of Contents, Volume I
Alexander Kiossev, with Boyko Penchev, “Heritage and Inheritors: the Literary Canon in Totalitarian Bulgaria” 4.
1945 John Neubauer with Marcel Cornis Pope, Mieczysław Dąbrowski, George Grabowicz, Boyko Penchev, Dagmar Roberts, Svetlana Slapšak, Guido Snel, Marcena Sokolowska-Paryż, and Tomas Venclova, “1945”
132 143 143
1918 John Neubauer with Marcel Cornis-Pope, Dagmar Roberts, and Guido Snel, “Overview” Margaret R. Higonnet, “Women Writers and the War Experience: 1918 as Transition” Guido Snel, “The Footsteps of Gavrilo Princip: The 1914 Sarajevo Assault in Fiction, History, and Three Monuments” Katherine Arens, “Beyond Vienna 1900: Habsburg Identities in Central Europe” Veronika Ambros, “The Great War as a Monstrous Carnival: Jaroslav Hašek’s Švejk” Dorota Kielak, “Polish Literature of World War I: Consciousness of a Breakthtrough”
1867/1878/1881 John Neubauer with Vladimir Biti, Nikolai Chernokozhev, Gábor Gángó, Albena Hranova, Nenad Ivić, Ewa Paczoska, Mihály Szegedy-Maszák, and Tomas Venclova, “1867/1878/1881”
1848 John Neubauer with Mircea Anghelescu, Gábor Gángó, Kees Mercks, Dagmar Roberts, Dinko Župan, “1848”
1776/1789 John Neubauer, “Introduction” Larry Wolff, “The Spirit of 1776: Polish and Dalmatian Declarations of Philosophical Independence” Svetlana Slapšak, “The Cultural Legacy of Empires in Eastern Europe” Vilmos Voigt, “The Jacobin Movement in Hungary (1792–95)” Dagmar Roberts, “1776 and 1789 in Slovakia” Inna Peleva, “1789 and Bulgarian Culture”
177 191 202 216 228 236
294 307 311 313 315
PART II Histories of literary form 1.
John Neubauer, Introduction
Shifting periods and trends
Table of Contents, Volume I Roman Koropeckyj, “Between Classicism and Romanticism: The Year 1820 in Polish Literature” Péter Krasztev, “From Modernization to Modernist Literature” Robert B. Pynsent, “Czech Decadence” Endre Bojtár, “The Avant-Garde in East-Central European Literature” 2.
Shifting genres Diana Kuprel, “Literary Reportage: Between and beyond Art and Fact” Guido Snel, “Gardens of the Mind, Places for Doubt: Fictionalized Autobiography in East-Central Europe” George G. Grabowicz, “Subversion and Self-Assertion: The Role of Kotliarevshchyna in Russian-Ukrainian Literary Relations” Miro Mašek, “Poeticizing Prose in Croatian and Serbian Modernism” Svetlana Slapšak, “Stanislav Vinaver: Subversion of, or Intervention in Literary History?” Galin Tihanov, “The Birth of Modern Literary Theory in East-Central Europe” Arent van Nieukerken, “Polish Poetry in the Twentieth Century” Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska and Antony Polonsky, “Polish-Jewish Literature: An Outline” Marcel Cornis-Pope, “Shifting Perspectives and Voices in the Romanian Novel” Boyko Penchev, “Forms of the Bulgarian Novel” The historical novel John Neubauer, “Introduction” Sándor Hites, “The Hungarian Historical Novel in Regional Context” Jasmina Lukić, “Recent Historical Novels and Historiographic Metaﬁction in the Balkans” Igor Grdina, “The Historical Novel in Slovenian Literature” Marcel Cornis-Pope, “The Search for a Modern, Problematizing Historical Consciousness: Romanian Historical Fiction and Family Cycles” Zoﬁa Mitosek, “The Family Novel in East-Central Europe, Illustrated with Works by Isaac B. Singer and Włodzimierz Odojewski” Histories of multimedia constructions John Neubauer, “Introduction” John Neubauer, “National Operas in East-Central Europe” Dina Iordanova, “East-Central European Cinema and Literary History” Nevena Daković, “The Silent Tale of Fury: Stalinism in Yugoslav Cinema” Katherine Arens, “Central Europe’s Catastrophes on Film: The Case of István Szabó”
Volume 3 PART IV Institutional Frames PREFACE NOTE ON DOCUMENTATION AND TRANSLATION
Introduction John Neubauer with Zoﬁa Mitosek, Inna Peleva, Robert Pynsent and Mihály Szegedy Maszák
1. Publishing and Censorship John Neubauer, Introduction
Neil Stewart, “The Cosmopolitanism of Moderní revue (1894–1925)” József Szili, “The Uncompromising Standards of Nyugat (1908–41)” Marcel Cornis-Pope, “A Contest within Romanian Modernism: Sburătorul vs. Gândirea” Tomislav Brlek, “Krugovi: A Croatian Opening (1952–58)” Kersti Unt, “Underground Publishing in Estonia under Soviet Censorship” Dagmar Roberts, “Slovak Literary Journals” Robert Elsie, “Albanian Literary Journals”
36 42 52 56 58 60 62
Censorship Jan Čulik, “Shifting Modes of Censorship in Bohemia” Kees Mercks, “Censorship: A Case Study of Bohumil Hrabal’s Jarmilka” Dagmar Roberts, “Forms of Censorship in Slovakia” Mihály Szegedy-Maszák, “The Introduction of Communist Censorship in Hungary (1945–49)” Violeta Kelertas, “Censorship in Soviet Lithuania (1944–90)” Włodzimierz Bolecki, “Getting Around Polish Censorship (1968–89)” Karl E. Jirgens, “Censorship after Independence: the Case of Aleksander Pelēcis”
65 71 82 85 95 103 106
xx 2. Theater as a Literary Institution Dragan Klaić, General Introduction
Professionalization and Institutionalization in the Service of a National Awakening Dragan Klaić, Introduction Zoltán Imre, “Building a(s) Theater: the Pesti Magyar Színház in 1837” Lado Kralj, “Slovenia: from Jesuit Performance to Opera” Ondřej Hučín, “Czech Theater Supports the National Revival in a Paradoxical Manner” Dagmar Roberts, “In Slovakia, Theater Starts as an Amateur Endeavor” Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska, “Polish Drama Sustains Spiritual Unity in a Divided Country” Audroné Girdzijauskaitė, “Lithuania: School, Court, and Clandestine Performances” Jaak Rähesoo, “Politics and Artistic Autonomy in Estonian Theater” Marian Popescu, “Theater Speaks Many Languages in Romania” Joanna Spassova-Dikova, “From the chitalista to the National Theater in Bulgaria”
112 113 117 118 122 123 125 126 128 130
Modernism: the Director Rules Dragan Klaić, Introduction Nikola Batusić, “The European Horizons of Stjepan Miletić” Zoltán Imre, “Reform within: the Thália Társaság 1904–1908” Ondřej Hučín, “Modernist Inroads into Czech Theater” Veronika Ambros, “Fuzzy Borderlines: the Čapeks’ Robots, Insects, Women, and Men” Dagmar Roberts, “Interbellum Emancipation of the Slovak Stage” Marian Popescu, “Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism Clash on the Romanian Stage” Joanna Spassova-Dikova, “Institutionalization and Innovation in the Bulgarian Theater” Ewa Wąchocka, “Polish Modernist Drama” Eleonora Udalska, “Monumentalism, Intimacy, and Plasticity in the Polish Modernist Teacher” Violetta Sajkiewicz, “Stage Design in Polish Modernism” Dorota Fox, “Popular Amusement and Avant-garde in the Polish Cabaret” Michael Steinlauf, “Yiddish Theater” Audroné Girdzijauskaitė, “Stage in Independent Lithuania” Baņuta Rubess, “Kicking with Poetry: Female Trailblazers on the Latvian Stage” Jaak Rähesoo, “Ebbs and Flows of Modernist Energy in Estonian Theater” Sibila Petlevski, “Branko Gavella: Director as Thinker”
Dragan Klaić, Introduction Libor Vodička, “The Short Interlude of Liberalizing Czech Theater” Dagmar Roberts, “Slovak Drama: Reconciling the Absurd with Socialism” Marian Popescu, “Communism and After in Romanian Theater” Joanna Spassova-Dikova, “Mandatory Socialist Models vs. Stylist Eclecticism on the Bulgarian Stage” Robert Elsie, “Enver-Hoxha Dictatorship Stiﬂes Albanian Theater” László Bérczes, “From Provincial Backwaters to Budapest and World Reputation” Ewa Wąchocka, “After Witkacy and Gombrowicz: Faces of Postwar Polish Drama” Eleonora Udalska, “Wyspiański’s Offsprings” Violetta Sajkiewicz, “The Visual Richness of the Polish Stage” Audroné Girdzijauskaitė, “With Independence, Lithuanian Directors Earn International Recognition” Jaak Rähesoo, “Estonian Theater Loosens the Soviet Straightjacket” Lado Kralj, “Ideological Critique and Moral Rectitude in Slovene Dramas” Aleksandra Jovićević, “Ingenious Dramatic Strategies Reach across the Yugoslav Theater Space” Dragan Klaić, “Epilogue: After Socialism”
3. Forging Primal Pasts: The Uses of Folklore John Neubauer, Introduction: Folklore and National Awakening Ülo Valk, “Levels of Institutionalization in Estonian Folklore” Endre Bojtár, “Mythologizing Contemporary Baltic Consciousness” Karl E. Jirgens, “National and International Traits in the Latvian Trickster Velns” Tamás Berkes, “The Ideal of Folk Culture in the Literature of the Czech National Rebirth” Dagmar Roberts, “Folklore in the Making of Slovak Literature” Marcel Cornis-Pope (with Otilia Hedeşan on St. Friday), “The Question of Folklore in Romanian Literary Culture” Vilmos Voigt, “The Heidenrösleinkrawall: a Debate in 1864 on the Origins of Folk Ballads” Albena Hranova and Alexander Kiossev, “Folklore as a Means to Demonstrate the Existence of a Nation: The Bulgarian Case” Robert Elsie, “The Rediscovery of Folk Literature in Albania” Jolanta Sujecka,“’Sons of Black Death’: The Semantics of Foreignness in Twentieth-Century Bulgarian and Macedonian Writings”
217 227 231 235 238 249 253 262 264 273 276
xxii 4. Literary Histories and Textbooks John Neubauer, Introduction Epp Annus, Luule Epner, and Jüri Talvet, “Shifting Ideologies in Estonia’s Literary Histories, Textbooks, and Anthologies” Agita Misāne, “Latvian Literary Histories and Textbooks” Jolanta Jastrzebska, “Polish Literary Histories” Robert B. Pynsent, “Nineteenth-Century Czech Literary History: National Revival and the Forged Manuscripts” Dagmar Roberts, “Overcoming Czech and Hungarian Perspectives in Writing Slovak Literary Histories” John Neubauer, “The Narrowing Scope of Hungarian Literary Histories” Monica Spiridon, “Career of a Latecomer: Romanian Literary Histories” Nenad Ivić, “Thinking up the Canon of Croatian Literary History, 1900–50” Svetlana Slapšak, Guido Snel, and John Neubauer, “Widening the Rift between Criticism and Serbian Literary Histories” Robert Elsie, “Albanian Literary History: A Communist Primeur” Alexander Kiossev, “National Identity and Textbooks of Literary History: the Case of Bulgaria” Endre Bojtár, “Pitfalls in Writing a Regional Literary History of East-Central Europe”
The writer as national icon Dvir Abramovich, “Bialik, Poet of the People” Jeremy Dauber, “Creating a Yiddish Canon: Authors as Icons in Modern Yiddish Literature” George G. Grabowicz, “The ‘National Poet’: The Cases of Mickiewicz, Pushkin and Shevchenko” Roman Koropeckyj, “Adam Mickiewicz as a Polish National Icon” Călin-Andrei Mihăilescu, “Mihai Eminescu: The Conﬂicting Sides of a Foundational Lyrical Discourse” Robert Pynsent, “Macha” Thomas Salumets, “Jaan Kross: Negotiating Nation”
Thomas Salumets, “The Estonian Poet Jaan Kaplinski: A National Icon Without Nation — A Poet Without Poetry” Artūras Tereškinas, “The Gendering of the Lithuanian Nation in Maironis’s Poetry” 2.
Heroes (ﬁgures of male identity) George Grabowicz, “Cossacks and Cossacophilism in 19th century Polish, Russian and Ukrainian Literature” Karl E. Jirgens, “Petty Demons and Other Tricksters in Latvian Literature”
Figures of collective self Włodzimierz Bolecki, “The Idea of the Homeland and the Poet Joseph Mackiewicz” Alexander Kiossev, “Notes on the Self-colonizing Cultures” Miro Mašek, “Models of Collective Identity in the Novels of Milos Crnjanski”
Figures of trauma Jūra Avižienis, “Performing Identity: Lithuanian Memoirs of Siberian Deportation and Exile” Nevena Daković, “Remembrance of the Past and Present: War Trauma in the Yugoslav Cinema” Jolanta Jastrzebska, “Traumas of World War II” Tiina A. Kirss, “Family Trauma in Twentieth-century Estonian Literature” Lado Kralj, “Goli Otok Literature” Jasmina Lukić, “Gender and War in South Slavic Literatures” Renata Jambrešić Kirin, “Gender and Traumatic Memories in Yugoslavia”
Figures of female identity Marcel Cornis-Pope, “Women at the Foundation of Literary Culture: From Muse to Writing Agent” Lada Čale Feldman, “Women’s Corpuses, Corpses or (Cultural) Bodies?” Sandra Meškova, “Figure of the Daughter: Representation of the Feminine in Latvian Women’s Autobiographical Writing of 1990s” Sandra Meškova, “Constructing a Woman Author Within the Literary Canon: Aspazija and Anna Brigadere” Inna Peleva, “The Image of the Mother in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Bulgarian Literature” Robert Pynsent, “Czech Feminist Antisemitism: the Case of Božena Benešová (1873– 1936)” Agatha Schwartz, “A Desire of Their Own? Representations of Sexuality by Hungarian Women Writers at Two Fin-de-Siècles” Svetlana Slapšak, “Women’s Memory: The Alternative Kosovo Myth” Metka Zupancić, “Feminist Dystopia: Berta Bojetu-Boeta, a Slovene Model”
Figures of the other Dvir Abramovich, “Tlushim: The Alienated and the Uprooted” Craig Cravens, “From Golems to Robots”
xxiv Nevena Daković, “Love, Magic, and Life: Gypsies in Yugoslav Cinema” 7.
Figures of mediation Pia Brânzeu, “Lovely Barbarians: British Travelers in Romania” Gábor Gángó, “József Eötvös: Thinker of a Multinational State” Gabriella Schubert and Miro Masek, “Slavic Weimar/Jena” Péter Hajdu, “On the Ethnic Border: The Image of Slovaks in Kálmán Mikszáth’s Writing” Lida Stefanowska, “Antonych”
PART VI Spatial and temporal coordinates 1.
Epilogue and outlook 1989– Marcel Cornis-Pope, “Literary and Cultural Reconstructions after 1989: Postmodernism, Postcommunism, Postcoloniality” Boyko Penchev, “Bulgarian Literature of the 1990s” Mihály Szegedy-Maszák, “Postmodernity and Postcommunism in Hungary” Katherine Arens, “Austria in the Central European Imagination after 1989: ‘The Balkans Begin at the Gürtel’” Dagmar Roberts, “The 1990s in Slovak Literature” Karl E. Jirgens, “Psychic Dismemberment: Anti-Colonial Identities in Latvian Writing since 1990” Artūras Tereškinas, “Threatening Bodies/Bodiless Nation: Erotics of National Disembodiment in Postcommunist Lithuania” Tamara Trojanowska, “Polish Theater and Drama at a Turning Point” Domnica Rădulescu, “Tragicomic and Performative Dimensions in Romanian Theater after the 1989 Revolution”
Chronological Table of the National Literary Traditions Chronological Table of Interchanges
Introduction: Mapping the Literary Interfaces of East-Central Europe Marcel Cornis-Pope
It is space, more than time, that now hides consequences for us. Edward Soja, “Inside Exopolis” (94)
The events that have unfolded since the tearing down of the Berlin Wall bear out Edward Soja’s warning: the post–Cold War period has freed our imagination from traditional ideological polarizations, but has often replaced them with nationalistic or ethnocentric concepts that promote violent divisions. Much of this new ethnic and nationalist fundamentalism has emerged in direct reaction to the pressure of “globalizing” ideologies in the First World, which, far from being “deimperialized,” reinforce the “international division of labor and appropriation […] beneﬁting First World countries at the expense of Third World” (Ebert 286) and — we could add — Second World postcommunist societies. The new tensions between global interdependency and ethnocentrism, First World centers and Third World peripheries, indicate a state of continued crisis at the level of the ideological frameworks that we use to relate to one another. While time remains an important dimension in the narratives that order our understanding of particular worlds (and East-Central Europe has had its share of conﬂicting historical narratives — see “Nodes of Political Time” in vol.1: 33–320 of our History), this crisis is most evident in our topographic imagination, often stuck in traditional notions of delineation and demarcation. Our work as literary historians must, therefore, consider the implications of spatial deﬁnitions that can become contentious, creating the sort of predicaments we have witnessed more recently in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, or the Middle East. Geography cannot and should not displace history; it sufﬁces if it brings “a new animating polemic on the theoretical and political agenda, one which rings with signiﬁcant different ways of seeing time and space together, the interplay of history and geography, the ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ dimensions of being in the world freed from the imposition of inherent categorical privilege” (Soja, Postmodern Geographies 11). This type of work is especially important for the East-Central European literary cultures that have been all too often held hostage to conﬂicting mappings, either enforced on them or of their own making. The cultural identity of this region has been based on divergent histories and narratives of demarcation that have periodically oscillated between centripetal and centrifugal pulls. From the time of the Roman Empire, through the Ottoman and Habsburg rule, and from the intrusions of the Republic of Venice, Napoleon, Hitler, and Mussolini to the Soviet occupation after World War II, East-Central Europe was subjected to various military, ideological, and imaginary mappings, with borders frequently overlapping or clashing. Its cartography reﬂects complex processes of negotiation that often opposed “Occidentalism” to “Orientalism,” Catholicism to Eastern Orthodoxy, Christianity to Judaism and Islam. This mental polarization was subsequently challenged by integrative-federalist projects, political unions, or by cross-cultural hybrids (Greek
Catholicism in Eastern Europe, Latinity in Romania, integrative movements on the Western model of nationhood, “oriental” inﬂuences in Western music, “Eastern” hybridization of Western metropolitan centers, etc.) that cut across the imaginary dividing line between Eastern and Western Europe. And yet, no matter how porous or artiﬁcial, cultural oppositions have a tendency to perpetuate themselves, “pitting one place against another, closing down this space, fortifying that space, […] and exploiting the place of the Other” (McLeod 85). It is in the nature of boundaries to insist on separation even as they articulate a connection. As an interface between competing religions and cultural-literary ideologies, East-Central Europe has often felt the pressure to redeﬁne itself by streamlining its past and integrating its ethnic complexities into some coherent concept of regionalism or Europeanism. Not surprisingly, most of these efforts have created new divisions in the very act of integrating differences. In Milan Kundera’s well-known 1984 essay “The Tragedy of Central Europe,” the region between Russia and Germany features as the most European part of Europe, made up of families of small peoples determined not by geography but by culture and destiny. But this idealized image is obtained through a double act of differentiation: Central Europe is opposed ﬁrst to Eastern Europe, embodied for Kundera in the “other” civilization of orthodox, pan-Slavic Russia that missed the two deﬁning moments of modern Europe, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment; it is also opposed to a post-war Western Europe “kidnapped” by the American inﬂuence (Kundera’s republished essay was called “A Kidnapped West or a Culture Bows Out”). Even as he tries to retrieve a Central Europe rendered invisible by the Cold War polarization, Kundera creates new divisions that transform Central Europe into a solitary island rather than a connecting bridge, a utopia rather than a reality: “Central Europe is not a state: it is a culture or a fate. Its borders are imaginary” (35). In a scathing response, Joseph Brodsky took Kundera to task for trying to be “more European than the Europeans themselves” (“Milan Kundera” 31) and creating a false opposition between civilized anti-Slavic Slavs (the Czechs) and aggressive pan-Slavic Slavs (the imperialist Russians). But Brodsky’s own perspective enhances the divide even further: in his description, Central Europe is simply a region of Asia — “Western Asia.” That these divisions are not merely academic has become painfully clear after a new round of Balkan wars that opposed Catholic Slavs against Orthodox Slavs, and Orthodox Slavs against Muslim Slavs and non-Slavs (on the debate surrounding the concept of “Central Europe,” see also vol. 1: 5, 396, 398 of our History). The perspectives proposed by the Western writers and politicians have not been more helpful. Especially when inspired by theories of cultural untranslatability, these perspectives insinuate new ideological divisions in East-Central Europe. In his controversial The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1997), Samuel P. Huntington divides the world into nine distinct civilizations that are coterminous, unique, and self-interested. Huntington’s perspective introduces a certain relativism in the evaluation of civilizations (no civilization is universal or necessarily superior — 20–21), but at the same time denies any true exchange between them because they are allegedly “non-translatable.” Though avoiding both the Cold War polarization into Western and non-Western and the post-Cold War fragmentation into hundreds of colliding nations, Huntington’s mapping is no less conﬂicted, pitting larger cultural entities against one another. For Huntington, the “clash of civilizations” is not only unavoidable but also necessary: “Unless we hate what we are not, we cannot love what we are” (20). Thus, the solution he recommends against ethnic fundamentalism is not a focus on shared transcultural values, but rather a fortiﬁcation of
one’s own identity. American culture, Huntington argues, must enter a rapport with other civilizations not by cultivating multicultural diversity at home or universalism abroad but rather by strengthening its own identity, “the unity of [its] people” (306). Only at the very end of his book, does Huntington move from “civilization in the singular” to the idea of intercivilizational “supplementation,” urging “peoples in all civilizations [to] search for and attempt to expand the values, institutions, and practices they have in common with peoples of other civilizations” (320). The application of Huntington’s perspective to East-Central Europe reinforces civilizational divisions, splitting the region along religious, geographic, and cultural “fault” lines. Thus for George Schöpﬂin and others Central Europe remains a “part of Western Christianity” (20) — i.e., Catholic and Protestant rather than Eastern Orthodox, also Christian rather than Judaic or Muslim — an understanding of the region that leaves out not only Romania and most of the Balkans, but also the East-Central Jewry, whether Ashkenazic or Sephardic. In addition to reinforcing old stereotypes that cast the peoples of East-Central Europe as Western Europe’s uncouth others, such a perspective ﬂattens history, wiping out the memory of Ancient Greek democracy, overlooking the role that Byzantium played in preserving the Greco-Roman heritage and synthesizing it with oriental inﬂuences, minimizing the signiﬁcant contribution of East-Central European Jewry to Western culture, and ignoring the aspirations to European integration that the Balkan countries have periodically felt while defending the South-Eastern margin of the continent against the Ottomans. It is clear that, in deciding which East-Central European countries to admit ﬁrst into its fold (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the Baltic States), the European Union has been swayed more by this dividing perspective than by Miłosz’s integrative vision according to which the “baroque Wiłno” connects by invisible cultural lines with the “differently baroque Prague or the medieval-Renaissance Dubrovnik” (“Central European Attitudes” 116). In her seminal book Imagining the Balkans (1997), Maria Todorova takes to task those Western scholars who have applied an “Orientalist” approach to the literary cultures of certain areas of East-Central Europe, especially the Balkans, describing their “cross-bred” identities and “mongrel” creations as Europe’s untamed “other” (3, 124). The Balkans appear to them as a “no man’s land between East and West” (49), mapped into ill-deﬁned countries, veritable geocultural blanks like Agatha Christie’s ﬁctional Herzoslovakia: “Principal rivers, unknown. Principal mountains, also unknown, but fairly numerous. Capital, Ekarest. Population, chieﬂy brigands. Hobby, assassinating kings and having revolutions” (The Secret 9–10). Little wonder, therefore, that the “statesmen who signed the Yalta agreement so easily wrote off a hundred million Europeans from these blank areas in the loss column” (Miłosz, The Witness 7); or that after 1989 a “new curtain [has fallen] across eastern Europe, dividing north from south, west from east, rich from poor and the future from the past” (Longworth 1, 6). Against both Huntington’s essentialization of the East-West opposition as a “fault-line” and the “Balkanization” inside the area, with the various ethnic groups deﬁning themselves in opposition to their more “Eastern” neighbors (58), Todorova emphasizes the perspective of those Western and local writers who acknowledge the role of the Balkans as a “bridge” (as in Andrić’s 1945 novel Na Drini ćuprija [The Bridge on the Drina]), a “junction of western and oriental cultures,” and a “crossroads of continents” (59). These writers turn the “handicap of heterogeneity” (133) into a positive cultural feature, foregrounding the region’s different legacies (Byzantine, Orthodox, Ottoman) and the role of the latter in allowing the other two to develop further. But in her effort to retrieve the hybrid middle ground of the Bal-
kans as a possible model for mapping East-Central Europe, Todorova creates her own divisions between Balkan people (primarily Bulgarian) who accept their geopolitical situation sensibly and others (Romanians, Hungarians, Serbs) who reject it, and ends up defending the “passionate and reckless nationalism” of the former (114) because it embraces the Balkan condition. The work of rearticulating the history of East-Central European literatures around consistent cross-cultural principles must include a reexamination of such ideological mappings (and what mappings are not ideological?) in order to ﬁnd ways to break across old or new division lines. We must transcend not only the bipolar structure of Europe inherited from the Cold War but also divisions inside the former Eastern Europe, such as those between the lands associated with western Christianity and those associated with eastern Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The term “East-Central Europe,” which we have adopted for this history, allows us to retrieve the complex cultural shifts and exchanges in an area that stretches beyond the region traditionally associated with Central Europe, including the Baltic Countries, Bucovina, Moldavia, the Ukraine, Romania, and the Balkans. As an interface of heterogeneous cultural and literary traditions, East-Central Europe offers an important case study in cultural “translatability” and “supplementation” (pace Samuel P. Huntington). If one of the chief characteristics of East-Central Europe is its “vocation of the ‘in-between,’ of the interval, of the state of geographic but also historical suspension” (Babeţi, Dilemele 39), its literatures are best served by an approach that deemphasizes national boundaries and historical moments, replacing them with crossings, durations, and points of contact between various cultures. Comparative literary study may well be “one of the few ways through which literary developments can be studied in a manner not restricted to or determined by a national frame” (Clearly 10). But in order to successfully perform this task, it will need to venture into such complex areas as “geographically intermingled cultures,” “partitioned states,” “romance-across-the-divide,” the “extraordinary dilemmas” of nationalism, and “the borderless world” that contemporary globalization is supposedly creating (Clearly 10–12). The present volume, titled Shifting Topographies of Literary Cultures (the second in our History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe), proposes to do just that, retrieving those areas of intercultural exchange that were obfuscated by nationalist treatments of literature. Like in Volume I of our History, the focus here is on analogies, mediations, hybrid and transitional phenomena that traditional literary histories have either ignored or deliberately suppressed. Without neglecting the corresponding areas of disjunction and conﬂict, contributors to this volume foreground the topographic interfaces that have encouraged the interaction of local literary productions, as well as the literary dialogue across the larger provinces of Europe (Eastern and Western, Northern and Southern). A particularly productive example of this type of interactive cultural space is offered by multiethnic nodal cities like Vilnius/Wilno/Vilna, Cernăuţi/Czernowitz, Danzig/Gdańsk, Lviv/ Lwów/ Lemberg, Sibiu/Nagyszeben/Hermannstadt, Timişoara/Temesvár/Temesburg, Ruschuk/Ruse, Novi Sad/Újvidék/Neusatz, Bratislava/Pozsony/Pressburg, and Trieste/Trst — to name only a few — that were genuinely multiethnic before the emergence of national cultures and continued to challenge the national cultural paradigm from the margin, ascribing to it a dialogic dimension, both internally (a dialogue with other ethnic traditions) and externally (a dialogue with larger geocultural paradigms). It is their very marginality, we may add, as well as their multiethnic composition that has
allowed these cities to establish a fertile nexus between Eastern and Western literary traditions. Such “marginocentric” cities encouraged a de/reconstruction of national narratives, a hybridization of styles and genres, and alternative social and ethnic relations (for examples, see articles in Section 1). It is also true that these “marginocentric” cities had to withstand increased pressures of assimilation to the national literary tradition, especially at the end of the nineteenth century and again after World War I; these pressures greatly undermined their multicultural potential (see the cases of Czernowicz and Plovdiv). Paradoxically, the Soviet-touted “internationalism” after World War II did not help retrieve genuine multicultural traditions of literature. Local ethnic interests were encouraged only to the extent they served the Soviet policies of division and control. Otherwise, ethnocultural differences were leveled out, assimilated into a monolithic Soviet concept of literary culture. Equally important for facilitating a cross-cultural dialogue have been those larger topographic interfaces (crossroads, borderlands, multiethnic areas, federations of states) that cut across national boundaries, rendering them permeable to the ﬂow of transnational literary messages. The articles in Section 2 on “Regional Sites of Cultural Hybridization” suggest that regionalism played an important counterbalancing role as the cultures of East-Central Europe went through a nation-building phase, both in the nineteenth century and after World War I. Some of the emerging nation states (Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania) remained more multicultural than they cared to admit, so that their literatures revealed a certain “hybridity,” a number of multicultural crossings (see articles on Albania, Croatia, Istra, Transylvania, and the Danube corridor). Despite the increased pressures of nationalism after World War I, regionalism continued to play a lingering centrifugal role in the provinces of Bessarabia, Galicia, Transylvania, Banat, and Slovakia, resisting the program of national centralization coming from Moscow, Warsaw, Bucharest, and Prague. The literary and artistic production in these areas involved a negotiation of tensions between nationalism and regionalism, metropolitan inﬂuences and local patriotism. Regionalism often worked as a corrective, turning potentially chauvinistic projects into intercultural ones. A good example is provided by Béla Bartók’s search for the ethnic roots of Hungarian culture, which — once Bartók realized that most of the Hungarian peasant music was formed by means of constant interaction with the music of other peoples in the region — was turned into a campaign to collect and study Slovak, Romanian, Serbian, Ruthenian, and even Turkish and Arab folk songs (see vol. 1 of our History, p. 18). Unfortunately, under the homogenizing pressures of successive right-wing and left-wing dictatorships, the regionalist impulse in East-Central European literatures was seriously eroded during and after World War II, becoming a negligible counter-force in most areas of the communist bloc. Regional experiments, such as the establishment of an Autonomous Hungarian Region in Eastern Transylvania, failed because their role was not to reinvigorate the local ethnic cultures but rather to provide the Soviet power with enclaves easier to control. As a result of forced emigration, ethnic purging, and assimilation, the alternative models of literary culture — hybrid, multicultural, transitional — were all but eliminated from the topographic reality of the region in the latter decades of the twentieth century. And yet they reemerged in the topographic imaginary of some of the region’s writers: in the new debates around the real-imaginary toponyms of Central Europe, Pannonia, Galicia, the Balkans, but also in the new imaginary communities of the diaspora that have greatly expanded the boundaries of East-Central Europe (see Section 3, “The Literary Re-
construction of East-Central Europe’s Imagined Communities: Native to Diasporic”). These topographic supplements of East-Central Europe have refocused attention on the shifting boundaries of the region and the changing identities of its literatures. The collapse of the Soviet block in 1989 has released certain regional aspirations, reviving the interest in the East-Central European area rendered invisible by the Cold War polarization. However, it also brought to the surface ethnocentric resentments that had lain dormant for several decades under the “internationalist” pressures from Moscow. In the current context of new interethnic conﬂicts and idiosyncratic divisions of East-Central Europe, the work undertaken in the present volume is meant to retrieve those areas of multicultural convergence suppressed by the political passions of the present and past. The good news is that our work does not take place in a vacuum. Similar efforts to recover the idea of a multicultural “Third Europe” as a buffer between countries with hegemonic ambitions and as a response to local ethnocentrisms are undertaken in East-Central Europe by several groups of literary scholars, some (e.g., those associated with the University of Soﬁa, the Slovenian Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis, the Bucharest “New Europe Institute,” the Timişoara “Third Europe” group, or the Central European University in Budapest) represented or discussed also in our History. For these scholars, East-Central Europe is, at its best, not a fault line but a region of convergences, a forma mentis structured around a “phenomenology of the middle way” and a “transregionalism purged of mistrust in speciﬁcity” (Spiridon, “Response to an Inquiry” 31–32). This somewhat idealized notion of a “Third Europe” echoes the concept of “third space” articulated by postcolonial/postmodern theorists like Homi Bhabha and Edward Soja. As a version of radical liminality (“in-betweenness”), interposed between defensive localism and leveling globalism, the notion of a “Third Europe” foregrounds complex negotiation between East and West, central and peripheral, global and local. Postcolonial theory itself is useful to a discussion of EastCentral European literary cultures, which used to be located at the intersection of three imperial systems, Ottoman, Habsburg, and Tsarist/Soviet (see the articles by Venclova, Novikova, Kirss, Colin, Mihelj, and Petković in this volume; also Slapšak, “The Cultural Legacy of Empires” in vol. I of our History, and the Epilogue to our forthcoming vol. IV), as long as this approach is applied to them with a nuanced understanding of their “semi-colonial” status through the nineteenth and twentieth century, which acknowledged the presence of foreign masters but allowed a certain degree of variance from the hegemonic culture. Coupled with a focus on transitional spaces, the postcolonial framework encourages the retrieval of “cultural difference” in the East-Central European region, replacing hierarchical models of development with a more ﬂexible understanding of the relationship between dominant and minor culture, center and periphery. It can also offer a better response to the new geopolitical polarizations that sprung up after 1989 than the concepts proposed by global theorists. While rejecting the dichotomous world order of the Cold War, advocates of globalism perpetuate stereotypical divisions between a civilized West and a culturally retrograde East. For example, in his 1993 essay, “Culture, Community, Nation,” Stuart Hall has difﬁculty dealing with the social movements (politico-religious and ethnic) that emerged in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia at the end of the twentieth century. While noting the parallel development of nationalist movements in post-Cold War Western Europe and the non-Western world, Hall carefully divides nationalisms into big and small (or “good” and “bad”). He regards the emerging na-
tionalisms of small countries (as a result of the National Liberation Movements or, more recently, of the collapse of the Soviet Empire) as failed imitations of big nation-building strategies. Like Huntington, Hall laments the absolutism of the Orthodox and Muslim world but seems to overlook the “othering” violence perpetrated by Western Catholic and Protestant states in their imperial expansion. As Václav Havel put it in his keynote address at the Conference on Europe’s New Democracies (July 13–19, 2001), the Euroamerican West “has exported to the rest of the world, in addition to numerous remarkable values […] also rather problematic ones: from the principle of the forced eradication of other cultures and the repression of other religions to the cult of permanent economic expansion, without concern for its qualitative effects” (12). Therefore, we need to move away from the stereotypal divisions between a civilized West and a culturally backward East, regarding them as coequal regions in a “multicultural and multipolar world” (12). In Havel’s view, the new world order should encourage the development of regional groupings, emphasizing simultaneously “decentralization and integration.” Participation in a “supra-national region” does not diminish the individual countries’ sense of cultural identity; on the contrary, it “eases their access to a vaster and more complex geopolitical horizon and assists in external recognition of their individuality” (Carter, Jordan and Rey vii). In similar ways, regions themselves should maintain their identity, contributing their speciﬁc features to a multicentered Europe. In order to be successful, cooperation must take place between “clearly delineated regions and historically grounded entities” (Havel 13). The various contributors to this volume subscribe to this concept of dynamic regionalism, treating East-Central Europe both as a [multi]center and an “interface” between two other major regions in Europe (Carter, Jordan, and Rey vii). They conceive of the region’s literatures as interrelated components rather than as competing entities, emphasizing the ﬂow of cultural products across borders, physical and otherwise. The literary mappings they offer have their lines of demarcation continually crossed, blurred, and (re)mapped. Still, both the individual literatures that participate in this interaction and the larger regional entities maintain their identity, contributing to a dynamic form of transculturality that preserves creative differences. Each essay acknowledges the simultaneity of the local and regional positionings of authors, texts, and their representations. Authors, texts, and the ﬁgures they represent are not static but moving entities that enter various relationships within and across the national boundaries. Their dynamic identity questions traditional deﬁnitions of particular literary cultures, redeﬁning them as dialogic, products of regional interaction. A ﬁnal word on the structure of this volume: the essays are arranged around a cluster of theoretical ideas (from a problematization of the deﬁnitions of East-Central Europe to an analysis of its contradictory mappings) and a geographic-topographic progression (from cities to regions, intercultural corridors, and diasporic spaces). The various subsections follow similar progressions: from actual to imaginary places, from eastern to western, from northern to southern locations, from national to transnational. The primary focus remains on authors and their literary texts but in the process of their analysis these essays periodically confront the problems of deﬁning and mapping East-Central Europe, proposing a number of alternatives to nationalistic or imperialistic cartographies. The concept and structure of this volume has developed slowly over a period of several years, but we want to acknowledge here the essential contribution that the year the two coeditors of this
volume and other colleagues spent as fellows of the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies (1999–2000) made towards clarifying and reﬁning this work. With the help of NIAS, we were able to organize a ﬁnal conference of our project (June 28–July 1, 2000) that brought together more than 30 contributors from North America, Western Europe, and East-Central Europe. A number of them are featured in this volume. We also want to thank Virginia Commonwealth University and the College of Humanities and Sciences, for allowing one of the coeditors to take a year-long study/research leave and for generously supporting this project in its subsequent stages; the area editors (Seth Wolitz, Alexander Kiossev, Monica Spiridon); and all the other contributors to this volume for their challenging rereadings of East-Central European literatures and cultural identities.
1. Cities as Sites of Hybrid Literary Identity and Multicultural Production
Introduction: Representing East-Central Europe’s Marginocentric Cities Marcel Cornis-Pope As the articles in Section 1 suggest, the multiethnic cities of East-Central Europe have often been presented fragmentarily in literary histories, from the perspective of only one national culture. This type of treatment defeats their lingering multiculturality, their role as relays of literary modernization and pluralization in the region. As Cornel Ungureanu, founding member of the “Third Europe” research group in Timişoara, has argued, provincial cities like Czernowicz/Cernăuţi/ Chernovtsy/Chernivtsi, Braşov/Brassó/Kronstadt, Oradea/Nagyvárad/Grosswardein, Timişoara/ Temesvár/Temesburg, Lugoj/Lugos/Lugosch, Novi Sad/Újvidék/Neusatz, and Bratislava/Pozsony/Pressburg, tried to resist — more or less successfully — the nationalistic leveling of culture after World War I, but also imperialistic, pan-Germanic deﬁnitions of Mitteleuropa, opposing to them a more genuinely polycentric concept of culture (“Cutia Pandorei” 57). Metropolitan centers like St. Petersburg, Istanbul/ Tsarigrad, Bucharest, Budapest, or Prague (as the contributions by Brian Horowitz, Boyko Penchev, Monica Spiridon, Mihály Szegedy-Maszák, and Veronica Ambrus suggest) have also functioned at times as “liminal cities” for several cultures and “magnetic ﬁelds” that interfaced Eastern and Western literary trends in a continuous though mostly unequal dialogue (the Eastern or “oriental” input functioning often as the tolerated or opposed other). In order to better understand the multicultural potential of these “liminal” cities, which has developed unequally through different historical periods and in relation to the conﬂicting cultural dynamic in the larger regions adjacent to them, the reader is invited to read in parallel the essays on Transylvania, the Danube corridor, the Balkans, etc., in Section 2 of this volume. I have called the nodal cities discussed in the ﬁrst section “marginocentric” because of their tendency to challenge the hegemony of the metropolitan centers, offering an alternative to their national pull (see in this sense the essay contributed by Tiina A. Kirss, which counterposes Tartu to Tallinn, seeing in their “dialectic” confrontation a generative paradigm for Estonian culture; also Jüri Talvet’s treatment of Tartu as a “frontier” city that occasioned a revolutionary multicultural “school” in literary theory). The “marginocentric cities” challenge our preconceived notions of literary and cultural topography. Topo-graphy (the “writing of a place”) makes use of complex acts of naming and delineation that further “relate to the politics of nationalism as they involve border demarcations and territorial appropriations” (Miller, Topographies 4, 5). When these acts of delineation are applied to marginocentric cities that are culturally hybrid, located at the crossroads of civilizations and at the interface of ﬁction and reality, culture and nature, they tend to break down. Like the postcolonial metropolis described by Salman Rushdie, the East-Central European marginocentric city challenges traditional boundaries between periphery and center, bringing together “things that seem not to belong together,” setting “alongside each other in odd, often raw juxtapositions all sorts of different bodies of experience to show what frictions and sparks they make”
(Rushdie, in Appignanesi and Maitland 8). The characteristic literary descriptions of Vilnius (discussed by Tomas Venclova), Riga (Irina Novikova), Czernowicz (Amy Colin), Gdansk (Katarzyna Jerzak), Timişoara (Marcel Cornis-Pope), or Trieste (Anna Campanile), emphasize a margin in which reverberate, with different intensities, “the reﬂexes of the Center. The favorite topoi are the Main Street, the café, the barracks, the high school, the theater, the hotel; the dominant ﬁgures — the functionary, the ofﬁcer, the merchant, the artist; ‘great’ but also ‘small’ themes reiterated continually — cosmopolitanism, multiethnicity, plurilingualism, […], the Jewish presence, trust in the values of civilization and culture, even if sometimes in the style of a ‘central-European version of bad taste’” (Babeţi, “Cuvânt înainte” 9). Lest we fall into nostalgic idealism, we should add that the same topographic sites often reverberate with ethnic conﬂict, the horrors of pogroms, and the dictatorial repression of diversity, whether fascist or communist (see especially the essays on Vilnius, Czernowicz, Gdańsk, Timişoara; also the cluster on the “Cities in Ashkenaz” contributed by Seth L. Wolitz, Zilla Jane Goodman, and Brian Horowitz). The marginocentric cities represent a challenge not only to traditional models of linear and totalizable historiography, disrupting them with their ex-centric evolutions, but also to literary representation itself. To apply Alexander Gelley’s insightful analysis of urban topographies to our discussion, such cities function as partly non-totalizable “aggregates” that “challenge textual articulation. [They] induce a kind of vertigo, a blockage at the level of representability” (240). We are confronted with an inexhaustible topographic, political, cultural-religious, and imaginary spectacle. The resulting “city text” (240) problematizes our representational practices and our deﬁnitions of the modern city. The East-Central European “city text” harkens back to the Enlightenment concept of urbanity (descriptions of Timişoara linger on its array of restaurants, cafés, and theaters that exude a small- scale Viennese atmosphere; and Bucharest or Budapest were at one time called the “Paris of the Balkans”), but it also challenges the techno-rationalistic discourse of the Western city. Anticipating the postcolonial/postmodern redeﬁnition of the Western city as multifaceted and decentered as a result of immigration, East-Central European literary representations have periodically emphasized the heteroglossic potential of marginocentric cities, bringing together in odd juxtapositions center and periphery, nature and culture, reality and ﬁction (see, for example, the essays on Riga, Plovdiv, Timişoara, and Trieste). Even though, as Kiossev’s article on Plovdiv reminds us, the plurivocality and multiculturality of the East-Central European cityscape does not always translate into a multicultural text, the different national literatures tending to develop in ignorance of one another, the very existence of diverse language and literary traditions challenges the monoglossic perspective on these places. This process is well illustrated by the essays in our volume that, even when focused on one primary literature, intersect other literatures, being expanded and challenged by them (see in this sense the discussion of the Ashkenaz literature that supplements/revises the treatment of the national literary traditions in cities like Vilnius, St. Petersburg, Odessa, or Warsaw). A sobering overtone can be felt in many of these essays, as they reexamine the literary cultures of marginocentric and metropolitan cities from a post–1989 perspective. A number of articles (Alexander Kiossev’s on Plovdiv, Katarzyna Jerzak’s on Gdańsk, Tomas Venclova’s on Vilnius, Seth Wolitz’s on the cities of Ashkenaz, mine on Timişoara) mourn, implicitly or explicitly, the loss of the traditional multiculturality of these city-texts, as a result of forced emigration (particularly of the German ethnics), pogroms and ethnic purgings of “inassimilable” others, and nationalistic pro-
grams of realignment. They suggest poignantly that the literary victories of multicultural cities are temporary and contested, mixing — in the words of the prominent Lithuanian poet and essayist Tomas Venclova — the “myth of division” with the “myth of connection” (see his essay below).
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Vilnius/Wilno/Vilna: The Myth of Division and the Myth of Connection Tomas Venclova “Wilno […] was eccentric, a city of crazily commingled strata that overlapped each other, like Trieste or Chernowitz” (Miłosz, Beginning with My Streets 27), a famous Polish poet wrote about Vilnius, the city of his youth between the two world wars. The city retains this character even now, though its fate underwent an extraordinary change: from provincial Polish town it turned into the capital of Lithuania. Such a radical change of an urban paradigm is not new for Vilnius. One can even say that after many centuries the city reverted to its original status. Grand Duke Gediminas founded it in the fourteenth century precisely as the capital of the independent Lithuanian state