Call for papers
Dacoromania litteraria, 9/2022
The Ethics and Politics of Literary Irony: Central and Eastern European Perspectives
There is a “history” of irony and its forms that traverse modernity: from the romantic irony, philosophically appropriated by the German Romantics and mobilized in literature as a worldview and as a discursive practice, to the modern irony, of an ethical nature, democratized following the traumatizing experience of World War I, and to the postmodern irony, understood either as a as way of reading (Paul de Man), or as a way of life (Gilles Deleuze). All of these hypostases of the ironic distancing and their historical records are, however, related to a western narration. They regard a process of establishing the subject, the phenomena of individual emancipation or the means of reacting to collective traumas, characteristic to the societies of “old Europe”. Which social, political, ethical issues does irony solve, as a discursive figure and a lifeform, in the marginal spaces of the continent? How was this millennial figure engaged in the emergence phenomena of the modern societies in Central and Eastern Europe? How did it articulate with the themes of the “tempered Romanticism” experienced by these “recent” cultures? How did irony participate in the absorption of the trauma left by totalitarianism in the former communist states from beyond the Iron Curtain?
In the Central and Eastern European literatures, irony and humour tend to stand out, having functioned since the 19th century as discursive solutions for social discipline or for bringing balance to certain cultural and civilisational gaps in relation with the West, in order to obtain, in the context of the totalitarian period that covered the second half of the 20th century, the value of certain subversive and democratising strategies in relation with the political power (Melor 1979; Croitoru 2014). An in-depth scrutiny of the ideological and ethical goals of literary irony is, from this viewpoint, far from having exhausted its resources, a reassessment of the practices of derision as a form of resistance in harsh geopolitical circumstances can generate a starting point for new interdisciplinary studies. Moreover, the perpetuation and the flourishment of the oblique discourse of irony in literature and journalism after the fall of the communist regime are thus able to contribute to the expansion of the reflection on the uncomfortable relationship between the communities and the social-political realities of each era. Closer still, the critical interrogations flourish around postirony, a concept that is important to the post-postmodern cultural paradigm and essential in defining the direction born in the American space, known as the New Sincerity (Wallace 1997).
Considering the fact that, regardless of the significance attributed to the concept of irony, the Central and Eastern European literatures still represent an extremely bountiful space for exploring this discursive strategy, the themed issue proposed by Dacoromania litteraria will prioritise the approaches that address:
- The Romantic, elitist irony of the 19th century, captured in the literary and journalistic discourse or in the rituals of the literary societies of Central and Eastern Europe;
- The modern irony of the Central and Eastern European literatures, of the literary criticism and of the intellectual life of the 20th century, in relation with the social, political and ideological context of the communist period;
- The practices of derision in literature and in art, as an expression of the affective and moral survival of the individuals under particular socio-historical conditions;
- The postmodern irony and post-irony in the economic, political and social context of post-communism;
- Irony as a stylistic matrix of certain works/authors from the Central and Eastern European space.
Please submit your paper proposals (150-200 words) until 15 May 2021. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 15 June 2021. The paper submission deadline is 15 September 2021. The editorial norms can be found at: http://www.dacoromanialitteraria.inst-puscariu.ro/en/nr.php
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