Territories is a new and innovative international journal that covers the evolution of theories, notions and concepts, facts and interpretations of empirical analysis related to the field of regional studies. The journal aims to publish original research from an interdisciplinary angle, which deals with the economic, socio-political, environmental and philosophical dimensions of urban and non-urban (post-national) regions. The specific goal of Territories stands on the study, debate and intellectual argument on how the global scenario provokes a new understanding, recognition and evolution of regional realities around the world, which go beyond the national concept. This journal will publish papers that engage with the economic and political conditions that have a founded impact towards regional realities, and vice versa. It is important to note that this reverse angle is crucial to understand the global scene today. Territories represents a new agora where to bring critical perspectives that may help to understand and change the current hegemonic conditions.
Volume 2, Issue 1, 2020
“(Ultra)Minor/Small Literatures on the Brink: Historiographies of the 20th Century Revisited”
Memory and history are the paths that normally minority cultures follow to encounter their identities, along with the continuous practice of their own collective imaginary. These two activities, however, resemble different scenarios. Whilst the practice of a culture serves for reaffirmation proposes, the analysis and discussion of history and memories serves for reflection. Yet, the access to memory and history is also dependent on the language, style, tone, voice and prose of the narratives that reflect the backbone of any given culture, and these factors serve to shape the symbolism of past events.
Specially Western societies have a recollection of historical events narrated in dominant (and dominating) languages and cultures. The major events, the most significant ones in recent history, are described from hegemonic perspectives. This recollection of events still lacks the scope of the subaltern, marginal or peripheric. The very perception of territories and regions is blurred when the official narratives are translated into local dialects to resemble these collective imaginaries. Literature, at its purest, shapes the view we have of our own past.
Editor in Chief Note
This piece focuses on an analysis of Guillermo Cabrera Infante's Three Trapped Tigers and the role that the author's condition of exile played in its publication history: first, the impact of Franco and censorship on the book's final published version and secondly the impact of the writer's changing political perspectives, along with the process of translation as a literary reflection of the political situation.
In this paper, I propose to address the issue of transatlantic networks and the circulation of literary paradigms between Latin America and Europe. I will focus on a relevant actor from the time of the well-known and still controversial “boom” of Latin American narrative, within the context of the Cold War (Franco 2002, Sorensen 2007, Alburquerque 2010). This was a key moment in the internationalization of Latin American writers, as José Donoso underlined in Historia personal del ‘boom’ (1972, 1983). Donoso highlighted some names that served as nodes, such as Carlos Fuentes, who played an important role, thanks to his extraordinary and natural handling of informal networks (Gras 2015). Among these names that had a specific weight in the process of international recognition of the “boom”, Donoso also highlights the figure of the Uruguayan critic Emir Rodríguez Monegal (1921–1985), to whom I will devote these pages.
I will present a very specific—and even anecdotal—example: the reading reports that Rodríguez Monegal wrote for the prestigious French publishing house Gallimard over a single year, 1967. I will also analyze the relative influence of a recognized critic in the configuration of a publisher’s catalog. This exemplifies his ability to direct, in some way, the attention of the French public to a handful of Latin American writers, based on his suggestions and proposals for translation. In doing this, I also contribute to an understanding of the decision-making mechanisms of a publisher of the magnitude of Gallimard, which led to undertaking (or not) an expensive and risky translation process.
The aim of this article is to argue that both “minor literature” and “small literature” should be readdressed as Michel Ragon’s “secondary zone literature” from three perspectives. Firstly, it will be argued that “minor and small literature” began to lose its theoretical capacity with the advent of globalization after the new millennium. Secondly, the problems of “minor literature” and “small literature” will be updated. “Minor literature” mainly has two problems: 1) The first feature of “minor literature” runs the risk of not only dismissing all literature written by minorities in “minor languages”, but also diminishing the possible meanings of the term, “minority”; and 2) The second and third characteristics of “minor literature” are unable to explain why only non-European arts are perceived to be political and collective. “Small literature” also has two problems: a) it fails to explain why countries that hardly qualify as ‘small’, face problems similar to those of “small literature” in the international literary context; and b) it does not have the capacity to explain the literature of minority and marginal groups within a nation or country. Thirdly, “minor and small literature” will be reconsidered as “secondary zone literature”, not only in an attempt to emphasize cultural dynamics and power relations based on the visibility of various “minor & small” related literary works, but also to demonstrate that literature may be minor or small, but it always has quantitative implications.
Deleuze and Guattari’s 1975 text, Kafka, pour une littérature mineure, posited a theory concerning some groups of literary texts including those of Franz Kafka. Their theory was nevertheless highly connected to their own historical and geographical context in France, and much less so with that of Kafka who had himself previously attempted to theorize small literatures. By looking at the context of Kafka and of two other writers who might be considered as belonging to minor literary contexts, I argue that theorists of minor literature tend to view minor literature in a positive way when their own cultural context is further from nation-state building. On the other hand, those writers who are writing from inside nation-building contexts tend to emphasize minor literature’s limits on literary production. Interestingly, Milan Kundera and Eugene Ionesco who had first-hand experience of nation-building contexts, but then moved to France and wrote in French, take more nuanced views of minor literatures as they are further removed in time and space from their original minor contexts.
The Cold War is something I analyze in two parts. First, I examine its politics, including political literatures and cultures large and small that concentrate on central concerns of the Cold War. Second, I discuss small and minor literatures in the period of the Cold War in theory and practice, including examples from the Netherlands and Canada that are in the period of the Cold War but do not focus on it as its primary concern or theme. In these sections, I argue for the centrality of the tension between tyranny and liberty, individual and the group, conformity and nonconformity and related matters. The article ranges in the politics of the Cold War from the background of Marx and Mill though Churchill, Stalin, Truman, McCarthy to Russell, Grant and Ignatieff. In literature, that is the Cold War in ink, the essay analyzes Orwell’s essay on the nuclear bomb and his novels, Nineteen Eighty-four and Animal Farm as well as Miller’s play, The Crucible and a poem by Einstein on Russell. I concentrate on examples of Dutch fiction and their translation into English and a Canadian novel, The Weekend Man, by Richard B. Wright, because they are an element of “minority literatures.” Besides exploring the Cold War, I briefly examine theories of minor or small literatures, including some aspects of the views of Kafka, Deleuze and Guattari.
This article focuses on Armenian literature during the Soviet period and engages with the varied responses of Armenian writers to the Soviet imperialism from its periphery, with a particular eye to poets like Hovhannes Shiraz and Eghishé Charents, who, despite the censor’s unrelenting efforts to silence national discourse and remembrance of the Armenian Genocide, sought to rekindle the Armenian sense of self. This article also attempts to highlight the poetic sensitivity and daringness of those Armenian literati, such as Derenik Demirchian, Gurgen Mahari, and Kostan Zarian, who believed it was their duty to faithfully depict the current historical moment, even in the face of its inhumanity, as under Stalin, in order to preserve and re-member their nation’s past. Although a nation with millennia of literary history, Armenian literature remains virtually unknown outside the small group of Armenian speakers within the country and in its diaspora. This article hopes to shed some light on twentieth-century Armenian literary development and in the process counter the continued monopoly of Russian literature on Soviet and post- Soviet literary discourse by expanding its imaginative territory.
The Cold War era touched Spain only subtly. Because of the geopolitical situation of Europe during the second half of the 20th century, Spain remained almost isolated from macro politics, attempting impossible alliances with Italian and German fascism. For instance, whilst the rest of the world witnesses the beginning of the Cold War in 1947 and the Space Race, Spain’s history is marked by the death of a “matador”, Manuel Laureano Rodriguez “Manolete”, who copes the newspapers’ front pages for days and is followed by popular grief and controversy. Four decades before, Miguel de Unamuno already coins this ancestral voice of the Spaniard consciousness as “casticismo” and “intrahistoria”. However, in literary terms, Iberian literature showed clear signs of modernity, and sometimes, even of hybridity. The Iron Curtain did not cover the shame of a dictatorship regime in Spain, and yet, authors like Baroja describe that atmosphere at a great extent, even, as this paper wants to show, anticipates the Cold War psycho-social atmosphere. Authors like Levinas, on the other hand, provide a philosophical and theoretical frame to understand better both the Cold War period and the literary experimentation of Iberian authors towards the concept of the Other. In this piece, I discuss the proximity of the notion of the Other in Levinas and Baroja, and contrast this approach with the canonical vision of Baroja in Iberian literature.
From the Poetry of Late Socialism to the Dogmatism of Democracy: The Cinema of the Former Eastern Bloc before and after the Collapse of Communism
Using the examples of two films from the late socialist era, Roman Balayan’s Flights in Dream and Reality (1982) and Mircea Daneliuc’s Glissando (1982) and following Alexei Yurchak’s description of vnye as “deterritorialized milieus,” I plan to show how the entirety of the cultural space of late socialism amounted to what Foucault would term a heterotopic place featuring both simultaneity and juxtaposition. Finally, by further comparing this space to that created in the nonlinear postmodern era by Sergey Loznitsa in his documentary film Donbass, I will attempt to show that this cultural space, and by extension, the affective space of socialism right down to the everyday lives of the “masses,” unlike the totalitarian universe it is nowadays made out to appear, presented the early features of the very intermediality, non-linearity, and non-topicality we are celebrating in post-meta-narrative art cinema of the early 2000s. A home-bred version of magic realism, this Eastern European postmodern space should serve, due to its cohesive yet disparate nature, as a model of sorts for reconceptualizing contemporary views of post-narrative, transnational and, to employ Foucault’s powerful term, heterotopic media.
The last decade saw the publication of more and more monographs (partially) devoted to the history of comics (and/or graphic novels) in smaller or larger geographical/cultural areas around our globe. In this article I first focus on what – if anything – (the relevant chapters in) several of these books tell their readers about the history of comics in the former Republic of Yugoslavia and its successor states, and in Bulgaria, the other Slavic country on the Balkan Peninsula. In doing so, I discuss a (‘Cold War’) misperception about East European comics. In the second part, I probe the usefulness of extending the application range of the terms ‘minor [literatures]’ and ‘ultraminor [literatures]’ to the field of comics, whereupon I put forward some suggestions on how future contributions – scholarly and other – to the cultural transmission or opening up of the history of (post-)Yugoslav and Bulgarian comics, as well as those of countries/nations/language areas with comparable traditions, could look like.