Interplaying national and transnational perspectives in post-1989 comparative literary historyPart of : Γράμμα : περιοδικό θεωρίας και κριτικής ; Vol.13, No.1, 2005, pages 101-114
Literary history in transnational perspective
The break-up of the bipolar world system in 1989 has removed the traditional ideological polarizations between East and West, "first" and "second" world, but has to some extent replaced them with nationalistic and ethnocentric perspectives that promote new cultural divisions. Under these circumstances, the input of a mediating consciousness is needed now more than ever. By comparing, translating and interfacing cultures, this type of consciousness can help us rediscover that middle ground between Eastern and Western, dominant and peripheral that we have neglected because of our polarized worldviews. Post-1989 comparative literary history can help us reconstruct that middle ground of interculturalcoexistence, emphasizing "transference,” "translation," and "cultural contact. ”The multifaceted landscape of East Central Europe, punctuated by multicultural and minority discourses, is an especially fertile ground for a transnational literary history that, while not neglecting the points of conflict, will foreground the conjunctions and crossings between cultures. I test these claims on examples taken from the History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe, a multi-volume work I am currently coediting with John Neubauer.