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Territorial Trap: Danilo Kis, Cultural Geography, and Geopolitical Imagination

Milutinovic, Z; (2014) Territorial Trap: Danilo Kis, Cultural Geography, and Geopolitical Imagination. East European Politics & Societies , 28 (4) 715 - 738. 10.1177/0888325414543082. Green open access

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Abstract

Most attempts to integrate “small,” or “minor,” or “third-world” literatures into a larger whole tend to be inadequate, deductive, and reductionist. Small literatures and their writers may crave recognition and attention, but they are not exactly helped if approached with a set of newly created stereotypes and dubious generalizations, which equate them with the geopolitical situation of their respective nations. This article focuses on Casanova’s The World Republic of Letters as an instance of this attitude towards small literatures. The article uses the example of Danilo Kiš, who figures prominently in Casanova’s book, and argues that his position within his native literary space and the place occupied by this space within world literature are misrepresented in The World Republic of Letters. This misrepresentation is not accidental: It necessarily follows from Casanova’s double mapping of this space, which is strongly influenced by geopolitical imagination and popular cultural geography. As long as the international literary space is imagined as overlapping with the space of great consecrating nations, comprising both their national as well as international writers, with the addition of international writers from the periphery “annexed” to them, the world literary map will only reproduce the (geo)political map of the world. The task of constructing a conceptual framework that will do justice to small or third-world literatures and their writers cannot be achieved so long as it is influenced by geopolitical imagination and popular cultural geography, and divides the world literature into the “first-world” and the rest.

Type: Article
Title: Territorial Trap: Danilo Kis, Cultural Geography, and Geopolitical Imagination
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0888325414543082
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0888325414543082
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1456322
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