Metacritic Journal

for Comparative Studies and Theory

Space in Literature and Literature in Space 6.1 (July 2020)
ISSN 2457 – 8827
Marius Conkan & Daiana Gârdan Marius Conkan & Daiana Gârdan

Space in Literature and Literature in Space

The present introduction aims to outline the major theoretical approaches of spatial studies, together with their most relevant inquiries and pursuing their many methodological ramifications. Our main goal is to deliver a panoramic study engaging both traditional geocritical perspectives and contemporary transnational, quantitative, or digital studies that shaped the way in which we understand the notion of space and its literary functions. The present introduction targets national, transnational, and global...   ⇨ Read more
Bertrand Westphal Bertrand Westphal

Literature Helps Worlding the World – A Conversation with Bertrand Westphal

In the following interview, Bertrand Westphal, professor of comparative literature at the University of Limoges, discusses some of the prevailing issues surrounding contemporary forays into spatial studies and the function of the humanities in current academia. The dialogue also touches on subjects pertaining to World Literature studies, such as Immanuel Wallerstein’s “world systems analysis” or Franco Moretti’s “distant reading” method, in an attempt to propose an applied and pragmatic approach through which...   ⇨ Read more
Marco Petrelli Marco Petrelli

Post-Southern Geographies: Space and Literature in the Contemporary American South

From a geocritical standpoint, American gothic literature historically relies on the symbolical space of the wilderness: a labyrinthine parapsychological realm of darkness and irrationality, and a rhetorical inversion of pastoral motives. The traditional sense of place of the American South stems from society’s projected cultural values on the environment and from a strict separation of Garden and Wasteland. This separation was no longer held after agricultural capitalism swept the region in the 1920s and...   ⇨ Read more
Snejana Ung Snejana Ung

Crossing Borders: From (Ex-)Yugoslavia to the Whole World

Starting with the 1990s a myriad of literary texts that tackle the Yugoslav wars have been published worldwide. Despite the wide variety of texts, scholars (Obradović, Pisac, Vervaet, Wachtel) have focused mainly on those written by ex-Yugoslav writers and on the representation of the former country in these books. This paper focuses on the aforementioned literary phenomenon – the representation of ex-Yugoslavia – from a broader perspective. My selection includes texts that originate in different geo-cultural...   ⇨ Read more
Alina Cojocaru Alina Cojocaru

Dislocated Identities, Erased Memories: The Dystopian Architecture of Inner Spaces in J. G. Ballard’s High-Rise

What would a dystopian version of London look like? How would the architecture of the near future engage with personal and collective memories in order to define, or even transform the identities of the inhabitants? In an attempt to answer these questions, British New Wave science fiction turns its attention to the exploration of urban dwellers in relation to their dystopian surroundings. This article explores the extent to which the novel High-Rise by J.G Ballard highlights the erasure of memories and ultimate...   ⇨ Read more
Nkululeko Sibanda Nkululeko Sibanda

Utopian Places/ Spaces in Selected Bongani Sibanda’s Short Stories

The dire socio-political and economic landscape in Zimbabwe has forced many Zimbabweans, young and old, to relocate to various and different diasporic locations. When these diaspora-based Zimbabweans “visit” or literary represent their rural villages, disparate spatial metaphors emerge. Writing from Johannesburg, Bongani Sibanda ambivalently locates and dislocates his characters from the literary places and space he creates for them. Drawing on various utopian spatial theoretical perspectives, this article...   ⇨ Read more
Ovio  Olaru Ovio Olaru

Nature Aesthetics. Space in Contemporary Scandinavian Literature

This paper attempts to undertake a geo-literary analysis of contemporary Scandinavian literature, departing from the pastoral nature representations of 19th century literary awakening and lingering on recent Scandinavian crime fiction, as this subgenre represents the Scandinavian peninsula’s latest contribution to World Literature and a “temporary sub-centre” (Mads Rosendahl Thomsen) of provisional international interest. Transcending both the idyllical natural setting of romanticism and the estrangement of...   ⇨ Read more
Maša Uzelac Maša Uzelac

Urban Spaces, Non-Places and Bad Places: Intersections Between Theory and Fiction in the Writings of Aldous Huxley and Michel Houellebecq

In exploring the nature of space in contemporary society, the writers Aldous Huxley and Michel Houellebecq adopt an anthropological approach which focuses on space as a product of human activities instead of an inorganic and stable entity. Their novels conceptualise their theoretical positionings on mobility in urban spaces, issues of identity, and influence of modern urban architecture on individuals and society. This paper demonstrates how in Huxley’s and Houellebecq’s writings urban environments reflect the...   ⇨ Read more
Mihai Țapu Mihai Țapu

Subverting Transnationalized Latin-American Machismo. Junot Diaz’s Short Stories

This paper attempts to analyse the transformations that the Latin-American macho figure undergoes when caught up in migratory movements, taking as case study the two short story collections of Dominican-born author Junot Diaz (Drown, 1996 and This is How You Lose Her, 2012). Discussions on the consequences of migration on gender constitution have appeared relatively late and less frequently in migration studies when compared to the analyses of socio-economic factors influenced by migrations. Thus, after some...   ⇨ Read more
Ioana Pavel Ioana Pavel

Literature and Migration: The Re-presentations of Italy in Contemporary Romanian Prose

Thematised through the mechanism of fictionalization, migration is one of the common fields in which the social impact upon literature is visible on multiple levels. Discussions in which migration occupies a central place cover different areas of literary interest. Such areas are the status and the thematic preferences of the migrant writer, the “migration” (i.e. the circuit) of the book in the international space, and to the thematic reflection upon cultural, identity related, or psychological consequences of...   ⇨ Read more