Grotesque Revisited: Grotesque and Satire in the Post/Modern Literature of Central and Eastern Europe
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This collection of essays aims to recapitulate the state of grotesque poetics in modern and post-modern writing. It concentrates on Central and Eastern Europe, introducing the Western reader to the variety and ingenuity of this region's literary traditions, ranging from German and Russian to Lithuanian and Romanian literatures. At the same time, it seeks to highlight the importance of the grotesque mode of writing in the region. It includes new insights and interpretations of theories on grotesque and Menippean satire including (but not limited to) the works of Mikhail Bakhtin. The historic scope of the volume ranges from the legacies of Nazi dictatorship and exile to the post-communist times, but it is especially focused on the Soviet era. Scholars, not only from Central and Eastern Europe, but also from Great Britain, Ireland, and Turkey, analyze the literary devices of the grotesque, examining the relationship between the socio-political background and subversive representations of the grotesque. Many studies take on a comparative and transnational approach. Alternatively, some studies aim to present important and innovative creators of grotesque texts in greater detail. This book, which features, among others, contributions by Professor Galin Tihanov, George Steiner Chair of Queen Mary College at the University of London, Professor Alexander Ivanitsky of the Russian State University of Humanities, Professor Algis Kaleda of the Lithuanian Institute of Literature and Folklore, Professor Peter Arnds of Trinity College, Dublin, and Dr. Carmen Popescu of the University of Craiova, Romania, will appeal to a broad academic readership, including both students and professors wanting to discover more about the literary grotesque and modern Central and Eastern European literature and culture.
and Riþardas Gavelis), all written during the “stagnation” period, as Menippean satires. According to Katkus, one of the central motifs in all three texts is the Menippean motif of “the kingdom of the dead”, which appears to represent Soviet society. On the other hand, this eccentric vantage point allows the narrators to comment poignantly on political, social, and cultural issues. Another important theme in the texts is the relativity of reality, which is reflected on the narrative level as
losing to THEM, die or commit suicide. Furthermore, at the end of all three novels we find a device which could be 30 ɉɟɬɪ ȼɚɣɥɶ, Ⱥɥɟɤɫɚɧɞɪ Ƚɟɧɢɫ, 60-e: ɦɢɪ ɫɨɜɟɬɫɤɨɝɨ ɱɟɥɨɜɟɤɚ (Moskva: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenije, 1998), 71. 31 Erofeev, 75. 32 Ɇ.Ɇ.Ȼɚɯɬɢɧ, Ɍɜɨɪɱɟɫɬɜɨ Ɏɪɚɧɫɭɚ Ɋɚɛɥɟ ɢ ɧɚɪɨɞɧɚɹ ɤɭɥɬɭɪɚ cɪɟɞɧɟɜɟɤɨɜɶɹ ɢ Ɋɟɧɟɫɚɧɫɚ (Moskva: Chudožestvennaja literatura, 1990), 92. 33 Gavelis, 94. Laurynas Katkus 39 called a narrative oxymoron: it appears that the protagonists who narrated the
dissident movement, accusing it of fanaticism and narrowmindedness (however, it is their proposal that he set himself on fire that he agrees with). Perhaps the most impressive feature of this plethora of wit are the moments of self-irony, when, for example, Konwicki lets a dubious character quote lofty phrases from his own earlier works, or when Venichka makes fun of his own addiction, which turns every event, feeling or state into a pretext to drink (“You’ve got class, Venia. Drink the rest of
KƗrlis VƝrdiƼš 105 Bibliography Baer, Brian James. Other Russias: Homosexuality and the Crisis of PostSoviet Identity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Connelly, Frances S. Modern Art and the Grotesque. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Gellately, Robert. Lenin, Stalin and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe. New York: Knopf, 2007. Harham, Geoffrey Galt. On the Grotesque. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982. Knopp, Guido. Die SS: Eine Warnung der Geschichte. München: C.
“I believe in this—I feel it— that’s how I am—I’m ready to defend it,” we will say in all humility: “Maybe I believe in it—maybe I feel it—I happened to say it, to do it, or to think it.”7 This understanding of the mode of existence of the “son of earth” is strikingly close to the vision of human condition as can be derived from chaos theory.8 When following the mechanics of the formation of the human subject as presented in Ferdydurke, one inevitably notices the stress on relativity and