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Literary perspectives
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Carl Henrik Fredriksson

Literary perspectives: An introduction

The re-transnationalization of literary criticism

Editorial Eurozine's new series of essays aims to provide an overview of diverse literary landscapes in Europe. [ more ]


Read also A longer version of Carl Henrik Fredriksson's article The re-transnationalization of literary criticism. [ more ]


Literary perspectives special: Witold Gombrowicz

Piotr Kiezun, Jaroslaw Kuisz

A brutal auto-vivisection

Witold Gombrowicz's secret diary published in Poland

life writing The recent publication of the private diary of Witold Gombrowicz provides unparalleled insight into the life of one of Poland's great twentieth-century novelists and dramatists. But this is not literature. Instead: here he is, completely naked. [ more ]

Pawel Majewski

Life itself (whatever that is)

survival If Gombrowicz would have written these notes just for himself, to refresh his memory, he would have asked his wife to destroy the manuscript. On the contrary: he always wanted her to save "Kronos" from the fire. It was meant to survive, writes Pawel Majewski. [ more ]

Jerzy Jarzebski, Adam Puchejda

No mean bookkeeping

An interview with the editor of "Kronos"

conversation We should not think of "Kronos" as a testimony similar to Gombrowicz's "Diary", says Jerzy Jarzebski to "Kultura Liberalna". While the "Diary" is his contribution to "European and world thought", "Kronos" is an attempt to record an objective, sometimes very candid, truth. [ more ]


Ukraine 2

Peter Pomerantsev

Sometimes we dream of Europe

essay Until 1991, Ukraine had largely failed to establish a narrative for itself in the world. Peter Pomerantsev shows how, thereafter, a new literature emerged that made contemporary Ukrainian writers Europe's grittier Latin Americans, mixing magical realism with domestic abuse, folklore and mafia. [ more ]





Tom Van Imschoot

Literary perspectives: Flanders


Flanders In the last decade, Flemish fiction has stepped out of the shadow of its Dutch older sister, writes Tom Van Imschoot. One discernable trend is the turn from metafiction towards various forms of realism, be it the regional, the semi-autobiographical or the "virtual". [ more ]



Almantas Samalavicius

Literary perspectives: Lithuania

Almost normal

Essay The literary field in Lithuania has established itself since independence, despite vastly smaller print runs. Today, a range of literary approaches can be made out, from the social criticism of the middle generation to the more private narratives of the post-Soviet writers. [ more ]



Andreas Harbsmeier

Literary perspectives: Denmark

The contemporary literary reservation

Essay Committed, critical writing in Denmark is emerging from its sheltered existence in a literary reservation, in doing so collapsing the boundaries between the literary field and the broader public sphere, writes Andreas Harbsmeier. [ more ]



Andrea Zlatar

Literary perspectives: Croatia

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Essay A new generation of post-feminist writers in Croatia has emerged in the crossover between literature and journalism. Common to much new Croatian writing is the postwar experience, with authors using marginal characters to explore tensions between individual and society. [ more ]



Jonas Thente

Literary perspectives: Sweden

Beyond crime fiction, handbags and designer suits

Essay Recent literary debates in Sweden have dwelled, among things, on authors' love lives and penchant for designer handbags. Yet there is more out there if one looks: Hans Koppel's satire of suburban manners, for example, or Magnus Hedlund's explorations of human perception. [ more ]

Pär Thörn

We're like a boat with water up to the gunwales and there are waves breaking over the sides the whole time!

Prose Pär Thörn, one of Sweden's most acclaimed young writers, studied the discussions between the executive managers on the web forum ("the executives"). Read the results of his copy-pasting. [ more ]

Hanna Hallgren

Depressive European

Prose Chocolate cigarettes, AIDS, and homes for battered wives. Hanna Hallgren conducts a critical, poetic search for European identity. [ more ]

Athena Farrokhzad, Tova Gerge

Manual for postmodern childrearing

Prose How would you bring up a child if you took the lessons from postmodernism literally? [ more ]


Read also Ida Börjel, "European waistelines"; Andrej Tichy, "The scream of geometry"



Daniela Strigl

Literary perspectives: Austria

Anything but a "German appendix"

Essay Austrian novelists are still referred to as Germans despite recent critical and commercial success. From the new narrative "miracle" to the darkly humorous "writer's novel", Daniela Strigl finds a contemporary Austrian scene at the top of its game. [ more ]



Märt Väljataga

Literary perspectives: Estonia

Waiting for the Great Estonian Novel

Essay While the Great Estonian Novel has yet to be written, the range of fiction in Estonia is wide enough to serve as an indicator of the post-communist country's hopes and fears, anxieties and obsessions. writes the editor of "Vikerkaar". [ more ]


Read also Jaan Kaplinski's 1992 parable of writers in transition: From harem to brothel. [ more ]

Jaan Kaplinski

The visitor

Prose One evening, the director of a zoological museum receives a visitor with a very unusual interest in the exhibits... [ more ]

Andrus Kivirähk

A brave woman

Prose Cynical and naive mentalities mix in an absurd short story by Estonia's most popular young author. [ more ]



Tymofiy Havryliv

Literary perspectives: Ukraine

Longing for the novel

Essay In Ukraine, the demand for engagement with the recent past has produced a series of novels that are better described as autobiographies. But, asks Timofiy Havryliv, is autobiography equal to the task? [ more ]


Northern Ireland

Matt McGuire

Literary perspectives: Northern Ireland

Shaking the hand of history

Essay While the Northern Irish literary tradition is closely bound up with the experience of sectarian violence, contemporary Northern Irish writing defies the assumption that "the Troubles" are all there is to the country's literature. [ more ]


Read also Alan Gillis's poem The Ulster way. [ more ]



Ales Steger

Literary perspectives: Slovenia

A hollowed-out generation

Essay Slovenian novelists are developing original responses to the experience of post-communist society, writes Ales Steger. While male novelists take a hyper-realist, social-critical approach, their female counterparts are creating fictions only loosely connected to contemporary time and space. [ more ]


Read also Protuberances: poetry by Ales Steger. [ more ]

Read also The first chapter of Fuzine blues, a novel by Andrej E. Skubic. [ more ]


The Netherlands

Margot Dijkgraaf

Literary perspectives: The Netherlands

"Profound Holland" and the new Dutch

Essay While the work of novelists Jan Siebelink and Arnon Grunberg reflect the new need for security in the Netherlands, a parallel strand of contemporary Dutch literature sidesteps such concerns: writers with migrant backgrounds are introducing new styles into the Dutch literary repertoire. [ more ]


Read also Hella S. Haasse's short story, A stone jar from Arelate (in French) [ more ]

Read also The first chapter of Jan Siebelink's novel Kneeling on a bed of violets (in German) [ more ]

Read also Excerpts from Arnon Grunberg's novels: The asylum seeker and Tirza (in Dutch) [ more ]



Gábor Csordás

Literary perspectives: Hungary

Mastering history through narrative?

Essay Gábor Csordás reads the newest Hungarian novels, that all share a concern with narrative, holding out to the reader the hope of mastering history. [ more ]


Read also György Spiró in interview: A witness of the first century. [ more ]

Satire Literary EU standards? A satire by György Spiró. [ more ]

Gábor Csordás

The body of the text

Corporeal writing in Péter Nádas's "Parallel Stories"

Essay Parallel Stories, the new novel by Péter Nádas, interweaves four sets of narratives driven by the twin motors of politics and eroticism. But Parallel Stories is more than the sum of its plot lines. [ more ]


Read also Peter Nadas on Hungary '56: A headless revolution. [ more ]

Zsófia Bán

A box of photos

(Captions on the back)

fiction A man looks at photographs of his youth in pre-war Budapest. Above all he remembers his love, the seductive Jolika. Yet memory is tainted by sorrow as it becomes clear that this is a story of loss and displacement. [ more ]

Tim Wilkinson

Why does anyone translate?

On translation The English translator of Imre Kertész talks about the lack of literary translations in the UK and US, and assesses past, present, and forthcoming efforts to bring Hungarian literary fiction to the English-speaking market. [ more ]

György Spiró

Imre Kertész and his time

Not Jewish. Not Hungarian. Not anti-German enough.

Essay The "perfect normality" of his fiction placed Imre Kertész on the sidelines of Hungarian literature during socialism, and still causes dislike, says a leading Hungarian playwright. [ more ]

Attila Bartis


An excerpt

Literature Attila Bartis's Resting (2001) portrays a consciousness for which "rest" is unattainable. Both private psychodrama and portrait of the end of the Communist era, the novel is one of the darkest to have emerged from contemporary Hungarian literature. [ more ]


Read also Ilma Rakusa's introduction to Bartis's novel. [ more ]

András Forgách


Literature A Hungarian-Israeli mother addresses her daughter in Europe in a letter she never sends. In a fictional monologue, András Forgách explores the private suffering and political ambivalence of a life in postwar Israel. One of Hungary's most interesting authors for the first time in English translation. [ more ]




More literature in Eurozine

Märt Väljataga

Why study literature?

Essay Literary studies in Estonia has taken a crash course in twentieth-century theory. With mixed results, says the editor of cultural journal Vikerkaar. Now literary critics should stop baffling one another with jargon and aim at a wider readership. [ more ]

Richard Tempest

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, (anti)modernist

Russia For Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, modernism in Russia foretold "the most destructive revolution of the twentieth century". Exploring Solzhenitsyn's (dis)engagement with European modernism, Richard Tempest argues he employed modernist means to achieve anti-modernist ends. [ more ]

Margriet de Moor, Marek Seckar

"Water is more dangerous than the rise of Islam..."

Interview with Dutch writer Margriet de Moor

In conversation Although often using female heroines in her novels, Margriet de Moor finds pigeonholing literature into male and female categories is a pointless exercise. "The social issue of women suffering under a male dominance – no, I don't find it terribly interesting." [ more ]

Stig Sćterbakken

My heart belongs to Europe. Therefore it is broken

Essay Does literature help maintain individual and collective identity, or does it inspire us to discredit it? [ more ]

Bernard Magnier

The presence of African literature

The evolution of literary criticism, publishing, and readership

Essay Africa’s growing role in western European culture is reflected in the increasing interest in its literature. Soon Kourouma will be shelved between Kafka and Kundera. [ more ]

Anna Friman

Pornographers in black

Essay Is the female pornographic eye dangerous? Or is it just another male fantasy? Anna Friman on what happens when women write about sex. An award-winning essay on posh porn. [ more ]

Andrzej Tichy

The scream of geometry

(modified excerpts)

Literature "How can these cities, villages, and their people exist? How can they stand there selling tomatoes and speaking their language and drying their laundry without considering the infinite number of other places where someone else is standing, selling tomatoes or potatoes and speaking their language and drying laundry?" [ more ]

Ida Börjel

European waistlines

Literature Swedish poet Ida Börjel confronts us with our favourite and most insulting national prejudices about ourselves and our European neighbours. But does she confirm them? [ more ]

Amir Or

Anthology of contemporary Hebrew poetry VII

Poetry Helicon editor Amir Or's latest addition to the Hebrew poetry anthology presented in Eurozine. [ more ]

Jesper Gulddal

A heavy prelude to chaos

Aspects of literary anti-Americanism in the interwar years

Essay Interwar European literature represented the US as the quintessence of unbridled modernity that prefigured the destruction of Europe. Jesper Gulddal surveys the uncharted territory of literary anti-Americanism. [ more ]

Ieva Lesinska, Christopher Ricks

A lesson in Dylan appreciation

Interview When Christopher Ricks, author of critical works on Milton, Keats, and Eliot, turned his attention to Bob Dylan, critics grumbled that he could talk one into believing that even a phone book is poetry. Now that Dylan has won the Pulitzer Prize, they may have to reconsider. [ more ]

Harold Bloom, Ieva Lesinska

Breakfast with brontosaurus

An interview with Harold Bloom

In conversation "Partly from encountering wisdom, I have to say I have no wisdom." American literary critic Harold Bloom talks to Latvian journal Rigas Laiks about his twenty-ninth book, Where Shall Wisdom Be Found? [ more ]

Karin Sarsenov

Is it a sin to travel?

Itinerant women in post-Soviet narrative

Russia Three contemporary Russian novels undermine the stigmatization of Russian women as prostitutes and destabilize the patriotic discourse that forbids women's travel. [ more ]

Ismail Kadare

Don Quixote in the Balkans

Essay Ismail Kadare on why Don Quixote belongs to Balkan folklore, how Cervantes first came to be translated into Albanian, and why today's politicians should be banned from using the knight errant's name as a term of abuse. [ more ]

Jiri Travnicek

Twenty-two years later

A second reading of Milan Kundera's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"

Literary criticism Twenty-two years after it was first published in Czech, Jiri Travnicek discovers a new appreciation for the narration, characterization, and above all wisdom of Milan Kundera's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being". [ more ]

Jörg Magenau

On the privileges of the literary critic

Literary criticism Literary lunches aside, what are the critic's privileges? According to Jörg Magenau, it's all about accumulating others' experiences, about "being in the world", about avoiding the media's barrage of facts. And about having lots of books... [ more ]

Erica Johnson Debeljak

Gained in translation

On translation What is the translator's job? To bring the text to the reader or the reader to the text? And either way, do translators receive the credit they deserve? [ more ]

Rainer Just

Against love

Seeking the literary traces of the Natascha Kampusch affair

Radical critique "The birth of love out of the spirit of totalitarianism expressed itself in exemplary manner in the Kampusch abduction story. A person is shut in, all the others shut out – that is the ideological core of romantic love."[Czech version added] [ more ]


Focal points     click for more

Ukraine: Beyond conflict stories
Follow the critical, informed and nuanced voices that counter the dominant discourse of crisis concerning Ukraine. A media exchange project linking Ukrainian independent media with "alternative" media in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Greece. [more]

Ukraine in European dialogue
Post-revolutionary Ukrainian society displays a unique mix of hope, enthusiasm, social creativity, collective trauma of war, radicalism and disillusionment. Two years after the country's uprising, the focal point "Ukraine in European dialogue" takes stock. [more]

Culture and the commons
Across Europe, citizens are engaging in new forms of cultural cooperation while developing alternative and participatory democratic practices. The commons is where cultural and social activists meet a broader public to create new ways of living together. [more]

2016 Jean Améry Prize collection
To coincide with the awarding of the 2016 Jean Améry Prize for European essay writing, Eurozine publishes essays by authors nominated for the prize, including by a representative selection of Eurozine partner journals. [more]

The politics of privacy
The Snowden leaks and the ensuing NSA scandal made the whole world debate privacy and data protection. Now the discussion has entered a new phase - and it's all about policy. A focal point on the politics of privacy: claiming a European value. [more]

Beyond Fortress Europe
The fate of migrants attempting to enter Fortress Europe has triggered a new European debate on laws, borders and human rights. A focal point featuring reportage alongside articles on policy and memory. With contributions by Fabrizio Gatti, Seyla Benhabib and Alessandro Leogrande. [more]

Russia in global dialogue
In the two decades after the end of the Cold War, intellectual interaction between Russia and Europe has intensified. It has not, however, prompted a common conversation. The focal point "Russia in global dialogue" seeks to fuel debate on democracy, society and the legacy of empire. [more]

Eurozine BLOG

On the Eurozine BLOG, editors and Eurozine contributors comment on current affairs and events. What's behind the headlines in the world of European intellectual journals?
In memoriam: Ales Debeljak (1961-2016)
On 28 January 2016, Ales Debeljak died in a car crash in Slovenia. He will be much missed as an agile and compelling essayist, a formidable public speaker and a charming personality. [more]

Conferences     click for more

Eurozine emerged from an informal network dating back to 1983. Since then, European cultural magazines have met annually in European cities to exchange ideas and experiences. Around 100 journals from almost every European country are now regularly involved in these meetings.
Mobilizing for the Commons
The 27th European Meeting of Cultural Journals
Gdańsk, 4-6 November 2016
The Eurozine conference 2016 in Gdańsk will frame the general topic of solidarity with a focus on mobilizing for the commons. The conference will take place in the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk thus linking contemporary debates to the history of a broad, non-violent, anti-communist social movement which has started in the city's shipyard in 1980. [more]

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If you appreciate Eurozine's work and would like to support our contribution to the establishment of a European public sphere, see information about making a donation.

Time to Talk     click for more

Time to Talk, a network of European Houses of Debate, has partnered up with Eurozine to launch an online platform. Here you can watch video highlights from all TTT events, anytime, anywhere.
Neda Deneva, Constantina Kouneva, Irina Nedeva and Yavor Siderov
Does migration intensify distrust in institutions?
How do migration and institutional mistrust relate to one another? As a new wave of populism feeds on and promotes fears of migration, aggrandising itself through the distrust it sows, The Red House hosts a timely debate with a view to untangling the key issues. [more]

Editor's choice     click for more

Jürgen Habermas, Michaël Foessel
Critique and communication: Philosophy's missions
Decades after first encountering Anglo-Saxon perspectives on democracy in occupied postwar Germany, Jürgen Habermas still stands by his commitment to a critical social theory that advances the cause of human emancipation. This follows a lifetime of philosophical dialogue. [more]

Literature     click for more

Karl Ove Knausgĺrd
Out to where storytelling does not reach
To write is to write one's way through the preconceived and into the world on the other side, to see the world as children can, as fantastic or terrifying, but always rich and wide-open. Karl Ove Knausgĺrd on creating literature. [more]

Jonathan Bousfield
Growing up in Kundera's Central Europe
Jonathan Bousfield talks to three award-winning novelists who spent their formative years in a Central Europe that Milan Kundera once described as the kidnapped West. It transpires that small nations may still be the bearers of important truths. [more]

Literary perspectives
The re-transnationalization of literary criticism
Eurozine's series of essays aims to provide an overview of diverse literary landscapes in Europe. Covered so far: Croatia, Sweden, Austria, Estonia, Ukraine, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Hungary. [more]

Debate series     click for more

Europe talks to Europe
Nationalism in Belgium might be different from nationalism in Ukraine, but if we want to understand the current European crisis and how to overcome it we need to take both into account. The debate series "Europe talks to Europe" is an attempt to turn European intellectual debate into a two-way street. [more]

Multimedia     click for more
Multimedia section including videos of past Eurozine conferences in Vilnius (2009) and Sibiu (2007). [more]

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