Echinox Journal

Current Issue

2023 volume 45 – Diasporic Voices / Different Voices: Resonance, Silence, and Performance


Editors: Laura T. Ilea, Mohamed Baya, Isabelle Galichon
Editor: Phantasma. The Center for Imagination Studies
Publisher: Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, România
ISBN 1582-960X (România)
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45

Laura T. Ilea, Mohamed Baya, Isabelle Galichon



This volume compiles texts from two international conferences: “Diasporic Voices: Tears, Silences, Laughter” and “In a Different Voice: Resonances, Silences, Counterpoints, and Performances.” Held in Cluj-Napoca on April 14, 2022, the former was a collaboration between the Phantasma Centre for Imagination Studies, the Centre for African Studies, and the Centre for Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean Studies at the University Babeş-Bolyai, Romania. The main objective of this conference was to explore the notion of diaspora through the prism of literary studies and political science while emphasizing the intertwining of tragedy and comedy. Held in Montreal from October 5 through 7, 2022, the latter (“In a Different Voice”) was an experimental workshop between Département de littérature française, Département de littérature et langues du monde, Université de Montréal, the Phantasma Centre for Imagination Studies at the University Babeş-Bolyai, and Unité Plurielles, Université Bordeaux Montaigne.

As coordinators of this volume, we emphasize the striking connections between the two conferences since both explored deviances, experiments, suppressed words, and, above all, silences and performances.

The conference Diasporic Voices: Tears, Silences, Laughter laid the foundation for this compilation by exploring the interplay of the tragic and the comic within the diaspora, with scholars from diverse backgrounds converging to examine the subtleties of diasporic cultural production. Throughout discussions, questions of time and place, and the intersections of reception with belonging and displacement emerged as central areas of exploration, emphasizing the emotional depths found in diasporic artistic expression.

One significant insight was the uncovering of a wide range of perspectives that showed how similarities and differences, repetitions, and adaptations are intertwined, emphasizing the roles of both uniformity and diversity, as well as originality and uniqueness. Primarily concerned with an inquiry into the tragic and the comic, the conference unveiled new understandings of literary works that shed light on the diverse experiences within the diaspora, directing attention to three core aspects: the presence of tears, moments of silence, and bursts of laughter.

Through the application of a diasporic framework to recent and classic works alike, the presentations provided unexpected interpretations that challenged conventional readings. Discussions revolved around the processes of evaluating cultural production within the diasporic context, questioning identity discourses and acknowledging the intricate and ever-evolving facets, as well as the fluidity of diaspora. Covering a diverse range of human emotions, these conversations enriched and broadened the examination of diasporic cultural production and served as a reminder of the ongoing significance of diaspora studies.

By examining well-known texts through a diasporic lens and engaging with lesser-known literature, the conference encouraged a revaluation of criteria used to assess artistic production within the diasporic context. This highlighted the distinctiveness of the notions of place and nostalgia, as well as the frequently overlooked importance of the interplay between light-heartedness and gravitas.

An opportunity to explore how diasporic communities navigate issues of space, time, and memory was provided by the conference, shedding light on how the intertwining of tears, silences, and laughter functions as coping mechanisms and expressions of resilience. It also became apparent that among diasporans, creative artistic voices are emerging as responses to the challenges and opportunities within the diaspora, often integrating innovative approaches in blending the tragic and the comic.

While the presentations and discussions reflected upon audience engagement with diasporic cultural production, they also prompted questions of interpretation within the field, and delved into the intricacies of understanding and evaluating diasporic cultural artifacts. The conference fostered a reconsideration of the audience’s role in shaping the perception and interpretation of diaspora, while also underscoring the significance of both tragedy and comedy in this ongoing conversation on the aesthetic value of diasporic cultural production.

Within the following pages, the examination of diaspora features prominently throughout various artistic landscapes. Transgressions of diaspora within the world of Commedia dell’arte are highlighted, shedding light on the role of improvisation in challenging cultural boundaries. Diasporic experiences come into focus through examinations of the works of Leila Aboulela, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Monica Ali, with a particular emphasis on the connection between geography and identity. The complex discourses within Jewish-Romanian interwar literature are navigated, inviting exploration into projective spaces. Familiar texts by Philip Roth and Nicole Krauss are reevaluated through the lens of counterfactual narratives. Humour, laughter and self-critique within the Muslim diaspora are examined in narratives set in European superdiverse urban contexts. Jewish identity within Philip Roth’s The Plot against America is subjected to re-examination through counterfactual storytelling. A mapping the crossroads where Africa, jazz, politics, and revolution intersect within the diasporic context, in turn, creates pathways for exploring how diaspora develops and questions of identity arise.

Personal reflections on diasporic nostalgia are offered, encouraging a connection with the emotive aspects of displacement. The elements of tragedy in Malika Mokkedem’s work are likewise examined, encouraging a reassessment of their presence within the narrative. Hidden narratives within the literature of descendants of harkis are uncovered, urging engagement with the silenced voices in the diasporic context. Spaces of self-discovery and transformation in Lynda-Nawel Tebbani’s work are presented for exploration, with a spotlight on the role of interstitial spaces in diaspora. The literary contributions of Andrei Codrescu are reconsidered, shedding new light on his work, and creative responses to displacement and nostalgia within C.D. Florescu’s short stories are discussed.

While the conference Diasporic Voices addressed the diversity of diasporic experience, the conference “In A Different Voice” was inspired by the fortieth anniversary of the publication of Carol Gilligan’s 1982 book In a Different Voice, a groundbreaking text introducing care studies. The idea was to advance the book’s discourse and explore the different voices that could give rise to new care practices. We focused mainly on the encounters highlighting the sensitive experience of the voice viewed as the expression of attention shown towards oneself and others, briefly as the foundation of relational ethics of interdependence and vulnerability. As organizers, we underlined the apprehension of the voice as a material phenomenon, pre-language and spontaneous vocal composition, the entanglement of human and non-human voices, and the voice of affects.

Our role was also to facilitate discussions and convey knowledge non-traditionally, based on experiments with voice, intensities, affects, and rhythms and with different layers of lecture and orality of poems. The most challenging part of this workshop was the encounter between researchers in letters and philosophy and researchers in care studies.

As a keynote speaker, Carol Gilligan of New York University addressed the performative aspect in her presentation, “Resonating Voices: Toward an Embodied Care Ethics.” She expounded on the under voice notion and the idea of freeing the natural voice. Gilligan considers the voice a literal barometer of relationships. Furthermore, her presentation focused on liberation ethics, reason and emotions, suffocated voices deciphering and increasing the capacity to learn how to read the under voices through radical listening. The latter stems from the crucial question: What happens to the voice? How do we retrieve it? Under these conditions, the most important experience would be the passage from judgment to curiosity, cultivating disruptive voices through theater and writing—performative acts that express themselves against the “forces that go in the world.”

Moreover, the conference proposed rethinking the ethical implications of conceiving the voice as a physical phenomenon whose materiality resonates in our discourses without being reduced to them, thus prolonging the essential questioning concerning voices that express, manifest, and mobilize the difference.

On the background of these theoretical and practical remarks, several workshops took place, namely the sound installation “Hallway Whispers,” workshops on “Choir of Emotions,” a somatic and auditory experience that aimed at attaining the catharsis without necessarily passing through discursive language; “Give Voice to Emotions,” through which we understood that the voice (placed between human intelligence, anatomy, and verbal expression) has a vital role in the expression of emotions. The particular vocal timbers of different voice devices are all singular despite the influence of DNA, language, culture, or hierarchical and generational conventions on how we express our voice. The workshop has allowed the participants to explore different vocal colors related to emotions and recognize their muscular and physiological support, which enlarges the specter of dynamics useful to their transmission.

Another workshop explored “the animal voice,” the hybridity of the human and animal voice inspired by practices highlighting the sacred spirit of animals in the Innu world. This was followed by the workshop “Valleys” and the idea of “sympoiesis” of the ecofeminist artist Donna Haraway, creating choirs made out of human voices and land sounds, reworked in the studio. The materiality of the voice served to explore the connection of human time to other temporalities (geological or ecological) to respond to the question of how to form a non-anthropocentric choir and to learn “to stay with the trouble?” The last workshop, “The Mirror Lecture,” was articulated in two tempos, starting in a low voice and finishing aloud, allowing the participants to seize the difference between the intimate reading of a literary text, compared to a public lecture of one’s own text.

As a follow-up to these two international conferences and workshops, we aimed to investigate how new and different voices can emerge: first, on the large scale of the Diasporic Voices, and second, by scrutinizing texts that highlight other, Different Voices. These intertwined voices result in volume 45 of Echinox Journal, Diasporic Voices / Different Voices: Resonance, Silence, and Performance.

We have thus put together contributions from various disciplinary fields (performative studies, literary studies, political studies, etc.), which explore the multivocality of diasporic struggles with an emphasis on the intertwining of the tragic and the comic, “the dialectical relationship between the idea of displacement and nostalgia for a lost time and space” (Ato Quayson), voices that provide a distinctive past to the person or community, involving satire, laughter, irony, and manifesto—but also texts which underline the apprehension of the voice as a material phenomenon; pre-language and spontaneous vocal composition; the entanglement of human and non-human voices and the voice of affects.

Diasporic Traditions, Transgressions, and Identities

Carmen Borbély
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.01

“Whence, then, is this change of sentiment?”: Homesteading and Restorative Nostalgia in The Woman of Colour

Abstract: Following the lead of recent inquiries into The Woman of Colour (1808) as a sensibility narrative that fleshed out the unfinished project of abolitionism at around the time when the slave trade was being outlawed in England (1807), this study explores the intermingling between what Svetlana Boym has identified as two distinctly oriented strands of nostalgia, reflective v. restorative, that innervate the title character’s sensibility of (dis)enchantment with her homesteading voyage, as she is transported from her native island into another – partly ancestral yet also foreign and emetic – insular space, from which she eventually tries to expunge herself into a yet-to-be-undertaken voyage of return.

Keywords: The Woman of Colour, homesteading, restorative/reflective nostalgia, diasporic intimacy, circumatlantic diaspora

Gabriel C. Gherasim
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.02

Diasporic Transgressions of Commedia dell’arte

Abstract: Ever since its ‘birth certificate’ on February 25, 1545, Commedia dell’arte’s substantial resources of itineracy, improvisation, subversion, extraterritoriality, extemporaneity, laughter, and  joy have unceasingly unveiled their essential mutability and ambiguity, prompting UNESCO’s depiction of commedia as an “invisible and intangible cultural asset”. The present study attempts to disclose the diasporic transgressions of Commedia dell’arte by considering four basic dimensions: the formal, the tropological, the topological, and the temporal, respectively. This approach further examines how and to what extent the diasporic transgressions of Commedia dell’arte can be elucidated by considering the afore-mentioned categories of explanation. Ultimately, the itinerant and improvisational character of Commedia dell’arte is explanatory for the mutations and developments within the four dimensions themselves.

Keywords: commedia dell’arte, diasporic transgressions, theatrical formalism, cultural tropes, topological and temporal transgressions

Maria Chiorean
Faculty of Letters, ULBS, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.03

A Geocritical Reading of Diasporic Identity in the Prose of Leila Aboulela, Jhumpa Lahiri and Monica Ali

Abstract: This paper proposes a geocritical reading of diasporic identity in the prose of Leila Aboulela, Jhumpa Lahiri and Monica Ali. It starts by looking at the experience of women joining their husbands in the West, their integration (or lack thereof) and the characters’ strategies for maintaining their faith, humor and specific cognitive mechanisms in spite of the culture shock they are facing. My hypothesis is that, instead of conforming to consecrated patterns of cultural interaction – such as assimilation into Western modernity, isolationist rebellion against it or voluntary uprootal – these characters manage to find another way of defining themselves against a new background: namely, they create mental spaces to inhabit, bringing their original homes and their adoptive ones into constant dialogue and subjecting both worlds to a combination of irony and empathy. Thus, I aim to use Bertrand Westphal’s geocritical framework to show that what he calls the “closing” of open space by the West can be undone by diasporic actors subverting distance and cultural polarization.

Keywords: diasporic identity, geocriticism, open/closed spaces, postmigration, humor, community

Dragoș Bucur
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.04

Ghettos, Shtetls and Projective Spaces

Diasporic Discourses in Jewish-Romanian Interwar Literature

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to investigate the interconnections between diasporic discourse, spatiality, and Jewish literature within an analysis of a certain movement from Interwar Jewish-Romanian literature, the so-called literature of the ghetto, represented by authors such as I. Peltz, Ury Benador and Ion Călugăru. Depicting the lives of Romanian Jews in shtetls or marginal neighbourhoods, this literary discourse features a close relationship between spatiality and identity at its core. Alongside the space of the ghetto, multiple topoi (such as America, Palestine, or Russia) appear in these writings. I call these projective spaces as they are included in the novels through the longing of the narrators, for which different political affinities play a key role, or by means of fragmented stories that, often altered, echo through the ghettos. Therefore, my goal is to investigate the concept of diaspora that Jewish literature intrinsically constitutes while also trying to disentangle a symbolic network of diasporic spaces articulated within the literature of the ghetto.

Keywords: Jewish literature, Interwar Romania, ghetto, shtetl, spatiality

Counterfactual Histories and Trans-Border Texts

Laura T. Ilea
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.05

Counterfactual Histories: Philip Roth and Nicole Krauss

Abstract: The canon of verisimilitude is a widely discussed concept, aiming at establishing the fictional pact ever since Aristotle’s Poetics. Multiple experiences of time seem to unsettle the logic of this fictional pact. To highlight the disjunctive chrono-methodology and its implications in reformulating a well-established canon, I choose the concept of uchronia—developed and discussed theoretically and literarily by two American writers of Jewish origin, Philip Roth and Nicole Krauss. The two developed alternative legacies and counterfactual histories of Franz Kafka: He either escapes to Palestine or gets immersed into an accomplished love relationship with Dora Dymant during the last year of his life. Thus, the “u-chronic” writers unsettle Kafka’s canonical legacy left to Max Brod, the official detainer of his post-mortem history.

Keywords: uchronia, literary canon, counterfactual history, Philip Roth, Nicole Krauss, Franz Kafka, legacy

Mohamed Baya
University of Western Ontario, Canada
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.06

The Muslim Diaspora Giggles Back: A Touch of Humour in Notre-Dame and the Vatican’s Shadow

Abstract: By reason of historical ties, France and Italy appear as two significant destination countries for the Maghrebi Muslim diaspora in the twentieth century. While the earlier literary production of the Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian Muslim diaspora writing in French and Italian is characterized by its autobiographical overtones, some literary texts written in the twenty-first century have engaged in more experimental enterprises. Kiffe Kiffe demain (2004) originally written in French by French-born Algerian diasporan Faïza Guène, and Divorzio all’islamica a viale Marconi (2010) published in Italian by Algerian-born Amara Lakhous are two fictions that have achieved international success. If the two texts have been acclaimed for their humorous colorations, a comparative study of the ways in which they depict the articulations of Muslim identities in the context of two superdiverse European capital cities, Paris and Rome, remains to be completed. This article argues that the tragic and the humorous are interwoven in the two texts by investigating Guène and Lakhous’s depiction of Muslimness as both a source of torment and exhilarating humour. Through the exploration of a series of humoristic devices, this paper also aims to discuss the authors’ deployment of levity as resistance tactics to religious extremism.

Keywords: Diaspora, Muslimness, Humour, Faïza Guène, Amara Lakhous

Raluca Moldovan
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.07

Counterfactual History and Diasporic Identity in Philip Roth’s The Plot against America

Abstract: The Plot against America, a 2004 novel by acclaimed American author Philip Roth, starts out from a counterfactual premise, i.e., that aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh defeated Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 election, running on an isolationist platform summarised in the slogan “America first!” The novel is a masterful exploration of trauma and the perception of history viewed through the eyes of a young boy, the author’s alter ego, Philip, who is also the narrator, and who sees his family and others around him question their place in society and their identity as American Jews in a world swiftly turning against them. The present article aims to investigate the way in which Jewish diasporic identity and strategies of resistance (or accommodation) are represented in both Roth’s novel, as well as in the 2020 HBO miniseries based on the book, which was met with widespread critical acclaim and sparked renewed interest in Roth’s work, especially in the Trump era in which the “America first!” slogan was a frequent occurrence.

Keywords: Philip Roth, The Plot against America, Jewish identity, resistance, counterfactual history

Constantin Tonu
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.08

Slavophile Elements in Andreï Makine’s Prose

Abstract: This paper aims to analyze the influence of the 19th-century Slavophile ideas like samobytnost (originality, uniqueness, distinctiveness) or sobornost (a common spiritual bond uniting members of a community) on Andreï Makine’s novels The Life of an Unknown Man and The Woman Who Waited. Although he has lived in France since 1987 and writes exclusively in French, mainly for a French readership, Russia remains one of his great obsessions, which he poetically transfigures, in a Dostoyevskyan manner, into a world of both ugliness and beauty. Beyond the sordid and unbearable social reality, Makine suggests that there is a profound, authentic Russia, not in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but in the secluded and forgotten villages, where people like Vera and Volski, the main characters of the two novels, live organically in peaceful communities, keeping intact traditional Russian spiritual values.

Keywords: Slavophilia, Russia vs. the West, Russian soul, Soviet Russia, Sobornost, Samobytnost

Maria Barbu
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.09

Voices of the “in-between”. Anarchetypal Crossings of the Frontier in Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy

Abstract: Ever since Christopher Columbus set foot in America, the leitmotif of the travel narratives written by those visiting it has been that of shaping the unknown territories according to prefabricated ideas which never matched the reality of those spaces. At the same time, the importance held by the myth of never-ending expansion in American culture has also created a fascination for everything situated beyond the culturally constructed borders of the country. Cormac McCarthy’s The Border Trilogy tackles both these matters, as it is centred around the frontier between Mexico and the southwestern part of the United States, but also on the temporal border between the modernizing post World War Two world and the previous pastoral world order that still pervaded people’s minds. Starting from these coordinates, this paper will analyse the patterns of movement taken up by these characters in crossing the borders, while also using Corin Braga’s concept of the “anarchetype” to characterize them as products of an in-between state in which the characters cannot follow a clearly structured route anymore because they belong to both and neither of the two extremes simultaneously.

Keywords: Cormac McCarthy, The Border Trilogy, anarchetype, journey, frontier, North American literature

Mapping Diaspora: Politics, Memorials, and Praxis

Horea Poenar
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.10

The Curious Case of the Invention of Diasporic Identity.

A Story of Jazz, Politics, Africa and Revolution

Abstract: When Malcolm X visited Africa in 1964 and gave a lecture at the University of Ghana, he introduced himself as an exiled in his own country: “I’m from America but I’m not an American”. He was not the only one in this situation; most of the jazz performers of that age understood themselves in a similar way. As exiles in their own country, they did not simply jump to the alternative of Africa as a home to return to, but viewed it as an opportunity to be seized, more universal than any paradigm allowed before, and especially more universal than the universalism of the whites. We will investigate the possibility of such an invented and open diasporic identity. We will consider it, at least for the context defined above, as an X that provides the chance of a radical change in articulation both with the emergence of free jazz and with the independence of Africa. We will try to define this invention as a subtraction (from the Master-paradigm) and thus as a model for a paradigm shift: nothing less than a potential geography and a potential history.

Keywords: diaspora, identity, revolution, jazz

Andrada Yunusoğlu
University of Bucharest, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.11

Longing and belonging in If They Come for Us by Fatimah Asghar and Home Is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo

Abstract: In this study I shall analyse the sense of belonging in Fatimah Asghar’s debut poetry collection If They Come for Us, and in Safia Elhillo’s novel Home Is Not a Country. Both writers describe a specific experience – being Muslim in the US, and also trying to recover places that were once home. Moreover, these books discuss identity from a feminist perspective, especially from an intersectional point of view, taking into account their multiple identities. Moreover, I aim to showcase that not only by using a first-person perspective, but by addressing issues such as identity, selfhood, belonging, family and (dis)placement, being a woman or a non-confirming person with a Muslim cultural background and also living in a westernized culture, Fatimah Asghar and Safia Elhillo give a voice to a marginalized group. Furthermore, by writing from a feminist perspective they are creating an empowered voice, raising awareness on the abovementioned issues. After the 9/11 attacks, Muslims around the world and especially in the US encountered different types of aversions and discrimination, facing a personal crisis – either they fit in and denounce their religion or they continue to be oppressed and discriminated against. Safia Elhillo and Fatimah Asghar write about those experiences of trying to maintain your selfhood in a world that is against you, by describing their relationship with Islam and the westernized world and how both those worlds are intertwined. My objective is to highlight the importance of the political and social issues that influence the voices of the minorities.

Keywords: feminism, identity, intersectionality, Fatimah Asghar, Safia Elhillo

Lavinia Tache
University of Bucharest, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.12

Embodiments and Voices of Inseparable Identities in

 The Book of My Lives and The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon

Abstract: Aleksandar Hemon’s books encapsulate a sense of ghostly, yet concrete belonging to disparate places, as he explores in various forms his own identity of an immigrant in the US. Hemon conveys the complex emotional and geographical displacement through a collage of frames and portraits depicting the relationality between past and present. This article looks into the representations of home, family, and distance in the memoir The Book of My Lives and The Lazarus Project through Ortega y Gasset’s notion of intrabody, renewed by the contemporary philosopher Emanuele Coccia in the study The Sensible Life. Coccia emphasizes the importance of a “micro-ontology” created within the space of interaction between our body, its reflections, and other presences in the world. Therefore, the intrabody represents an immaterial sphere of existence, an area of constantly changing sensations. This shift in perceiving one’s dialogue with the exterior is similar to Hemon’s process of adapting to a foreign language in an entirely different space from Sarajevo, and of being part of a diaspora. The article also takes into account the use of images in The Lazarus Project, because they seem to symbolize the unifying medium between two different temporal coordinates about the destiny of an Eastern European Jewish immigrant. These dark-hued pictures are complementary to the narration, as they suggest an intimate feeling of being lost in a world of conflicts, highlighting the voices of marginal individuals.

Keywords: Aleksandar Hemon; Memory; Space; Displacement; Memoir; Diaspora; Intrabody; Emanuele Coccia

Georgiana Tudor
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.13

Diasporic Voices in The Messiah of Stockholm by Cynthia Ozick or  ‘We agree to lie but you lie to yourself’

Abstract: This study is going to analyse the condition of the stranger of the protagonist of the novel The Messiah of Stockholm by Cynthia Ozick in relation to Jacques Derrida’s study Of hospitality, his complex relationship of care with Mrs Eklund as well as the changing of the reader’s position regarding the access to the inner life of Lars Andemining. There will be a highlight on the mixture of different cultural voices, on the condition of the immigrant, and, last but not least, on a relationship of care that is not fully sincere, even though it succeeds. Furthermore, we would argue that the novel accomplishes the function of seductively sabotage the readers into the complexity of human relationships in diaspora through different voices.

Keywords: Cynthia Ozick, The Messiah of Stockholm, diasporic voice, aesthetics of care, hospitality, seductively sabotage

Raluca Panait
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.14

The Western Reception of Forugh Farrokhzad:

New Orientalism and Confessional Poetry

Abstract: The following study proposes to deconstruct the mythologising of Forugh Farrokhzad, (1934/5-1967), a poet known mostly as Iran’s Sylvia Plath. This kind of analogy is based on interpretative and cultural preconceptions that connect women’s poetry with personal experience and amount the poetic voice to the empirical reality. Beyond that biographical obsession, reified through the export of confessionalism, comparing the two writers also implies appropriation of Forugh Farrokhzad to a Western cultural and literary field. By analysing a few poems, taking a close look at her interviews, and examining the historical context, I shall try to demonstrate that Farrokhzad is actually split between two worlds. Therefore, to associate her with Sylvia Plath can be read as an example of what Fatemeh Keshavarz, a researcher on Persian literature, calls the New Orientalist narrative.

Keywords: confessionalism, poetry, world literature, New Orientalism, Western reception, literary canon

Diasporic and Interstitial Spaces

Loubna Achheb
Université Mohamed Lamine Debaghine-Sétif 2, Algérie
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.15

Drame diasporique faussé et voix brisées dans l’écriture mokeddemienne

Abstract: The present article sheds light on the question of the distorted diasporic drama from which the broken voices of Malika Mokeddem’s writing derive. The author, in her novel Je dois tout à ton oubli, breaks her voice and that of her heroine by shaping an aborted tragedy that materializes in several forms. First, she uses various processes such as : parallelism, interbreeding and accumulation to create a tragic effect erased within the story. Then, she engenders a diasporic poetics of the in-between spaces to erase the crack and make its tragic nuance disappear. Our study is based on the foundations of narratology and stylistics.

Keywords: diasporas, drama, tragedy, broken voices, miscegenation, intertextuality

Ioana Marcu
Université de l’Ouest de Timisoara, Roumanie
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.16

Silence(s) des patriarches : configurations et valeurs de la « parole retranchée » dans la littérature des descendants de harkis

Abstract: The engagement in the French army during the Algerian war condemned the harkis to a silent existence. Considered as traitors in their country of birth, and undesirable in their country of exile, “under house arrest” (from a spatial and linguistic point of view) in what should have been the new “home”, they strive to remain invisible and silent. In the writings of their descendants who decided one day to tell the traumatic Hi/story of their community, a character inevitably stands out: the father walled in silence, leading his life alone, for fear of disappointing or not being able to give the best explanations for a “shameful” past. To illustrate the different «configurations» and values of the «entrenched words» that the descendants of harkis inscribe in their literary works, we will base our analysis on the novels Mon père, ce harki (2003) by Dalila Kerchouche, Mohand, le harki (2003) by Hadjila Kemoum and L’Art de perdre (2017) by Alice Zeniter.

Keywords: harkis, Algerian war, silence, trauma, invisibility

Nezha Aït-Aïssa-Boukerdenna
Université Mustafa Ben Boulaid, Algérie
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.17

L’interartialité une forme de l’écriture diasporique dans L’éloge de la perte de Lynda-Nawel Tebbani

Abstract: The article discusses Lynda-Nawel Tebbani’s book “L’éloge de la perte” and her unique approach to Algerian literature in French. Tebbani uses a hybrid language and an inter-artistic approach that infuses her text with Andalusian music. The book evokes a melancholic aesthetic and a poetics of three main cities: Paris, Algiers, and Constantine. The article aims to unveil this poetic of the city, linked to Andalusian music, that imbues the book with its originality and Algerianness, and the singular voice of the diaspora. The interdisciplinary and analytical approach draws on geocriticism, psychoanalysis, and Gaston Bachelard’s poetics of space.

Keywords: poetics of the city, inter-artistic, melancholy, hybridity, diasporic voice.

Romanian Exile and Imagined Homelands

Ruxandra Cesereanu
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.18

Andrei Codrescu – A Portrait of a Writer in Puzzle

Abstract: The present portrait dedicated to the writer Andrei Codrescu (the most impactful American author of Romanian origin in postmodern world literature) is one of synthesis, depicting the multi-facetedness of this complex and provocative author, who is continuously innovative, experimental and charming as a poet, prose writer, essayist and thinker.

Keywords: Andrei Codrescu, multicultural nomadism, Lucian Blaga, Tristan Tzara, Ted Berrigan, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Dada movement, New York School of Poetry, Exquisite Corpse

Gabriela Glavan
West University, Timișoara, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.19

Reimagining Centrality in Cătălin Dorian Florescu’s Short Stories

Abstract: Cătălin Dorian Florescu’s main tropes had been traditionally confined to the stylistic regime of the novel until 2017, when he opted for a short stories format in his volume Der Nabel der Welt. My paper will investigate the themes and dynamics of Florescu’s dialect of displacement, cultural transfer and the search for a homeland in this collection of short stories, while also paying close attention to the framework of diasporic identity as it was projected in his earlier works. Drawing on contemporary theories concerning displacement and diasporas, my contribution seeks to explore the specific manner in which these issues calibrate Florescu’s original perspective of what it means to have a coherent individual identity against the fragile background of a European one.

Keywords: displacement, migration, postmigration, homeland, postcommunism.

Edoardo Giorgi
University of Pisa, Italy
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.20

Du sexe de la femme de Matei Vișniec : l’histoire d’un carnage incarné racontée à travers une superposition de voix

Abstract: This article focuses on one of the few dramas of Matei Vișniec analysing the effects of war (in this case the Yugoslavian one) on the innocents. It is through their superposing voices that the dramatist expresses all the horror and conflict, also utilizing characters that coincide in one person and that are different to one another by intentions and by ‘sources’. The victim and protagonist assume upon herself – willingly or not – two incorporeal voices, the foetus’s and the Balkan’s men. All of this happens inside the context of the Yugoslavian diaspora happened during the war (1991-2001), that forced many to flee in other Countries to escape persecutions dictated by a profound and unbridled political hate. Another saddening event bounded with that period’s diaspora is the one of the prostitution rackets, analysed by Vișniec in another drama that take place during the same war, Le mot ‘progrès’, where a young woman who lost her husband and child to war decide to prostitute in Paris to economically help her parents. In this article I will try to analyse the causes and the effects of rape as an instrument of war by the means of anthropology, to help clarify the play’s scenic situations in a scientific way that can connect with the strong ethic of the drama.

Keywords: theatre, Yugoslavian wars, superposing voices, violence, difference’s perception, forced diaspora.

Catrinel Popa
University of Bucharest, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.21

Voicing the Unspeakable in Alexandru Vona’s Fiction

Abstract: Since 1993, when Alexandru Vona’s novel Ferestre zidite [Les fenêtres murées/ Bricked-Up Windows] has finally been published, critics and scholars have repeatedly tried to find the right frame for interpreting this exceptional work. Some of them insisted on those strategies that make it, to a certain extent, similar to Surrealists’ writings; others found reasons to compare its bizarre atmosphere to that in Kafka’s or Robert Walser’s prose, while others noticed its affinities with the Gothic novel. However, most of them have acknowledged the uncommonness of Alexandru Vona’s fiction, insisting on the writer’s endeavour to reveal a strange sense of frailty, or – in Marta Petreu’s words – the voice(s) of an unsure and fragile self, moving dreamily, clumsily and full of fear in a fluid world which encompasses death. On the other hand, the exceptionality of this novel could be explained (at least partially), by its “in-between” condition. As it is well known, the text had been written in Romanian, a few years after the second world war (specifically in 1947, before the writer emigrated to France), for being printed only in 1993 and shortly after translated in French by Alain Paruit (1995). Written in the first person, Ferestrele  zidite represents more than an attempt to harmonise memory and oblivion, writing and remembering, inner exile and mystery. It explores in depth one of the fundamental dimensions of human condition: its frailty in relationship with Death. For all these reasons, the novel can be analysed from the perspective of a poetics of silence (or, in Brian Richardson’s terms, of “voicing the unspeakable”), which might prove useful in mapping out an uncommon fictional universe, pervaded by the melancholic intuition of ending.

Keywords: poetics of silence; spectrality; inner exile; paramnesia; memory; space

Different Voices

Corin Braga
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.22

Littérature et théorie du chaos

Abstract: While poststructuralist attacks against structured forms freed literature from the dominance of Aristotle’s canon, twentieth-century evolutions in physics and cosmology brought about a new world vision which also deeply influenced modern authors. If the universe was no longer Newtonian, linear and predictable, and if literature was to “imitate” this new reality, world-texts were also supposed to explore anarchical and complex landscapes. To be able to investigate these anti-structure texts, literary and art critics adapted analytical tools from mathematical and physical theories. More precisely, modern literature was associated mainly with the theory of quanta, and postmodern literature with chaos theory. In this paper, I engage with some of the main mathematical and physical concepts used as instruments in literary analysis, such as non-Euclidian geometries, the field concept, relativity, entropy, uncertainty principles, fractals, chaos, strange attractors, etc.

Keywords: Anti-canon, anarchic literature, quantic literature, chaos theory, fractals, strange attractors, Katherine Hayles.

Radu Toderici
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.23

Romans Divers”: The Novel, Its Earliest Classifications and the Early Modern Peripheries of the Genre

Abstract: The first classifications of the novel date back to the early 18th century. Then, the novel was still a new genre and was defined in relation to ancient Latin or Hellenistic models and to their narrative variations from the 17th century. By analyzing the first works that try to trace a history of the new genre and a taxonomy of the various types of novels, penned by authors such as Nicolas Lenglet Du Fresnoy, James Beattie and Clara Reeve, this paper argues that the works seen as peripheral in relation to a canonical, archetypal narration, typical for the novel, are in itself illustrative for a wider phenomenon – the marginalization of those narratives which do not fit a current and implicit definition of a genre. Using Corin Braga’s concept of “anarchetypal narrative”, this paper discusses the works to be found in the 18th century at the peripheries of the novel and the explicit and implicit reasons for their theoretical dismissal.

Keywords: Novel; Utopian Narrative; Anarchetypal Narrative; Periphery; Nicolas Lenglet Du Fresnoy; James Beattie; Clara Reeve.

Simon Harel
Université de Montréal, Canada
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.24

L’écriture de l’alité. Dépathologiser la dépression dans Désormais ma demeure de Nicholas Dawson 


Abstract: Désormais ma demeure by Nicholas Dawson explores the aftermath of depression, which he sees as both the personal site of psychic collapse and the site of exile in his transgenerational composition.
The latter is made possible by a queer constellation whose diasporic existence makes it possible to grasp the racialized and gendered practices that are so many habitus and forms of emancipation. The writing appears, in this context, as a story that takes shape in the aftermath of the healing.

Keywords: Diaspora; Narrative; Depression; Queer Revindication; Racialization; Healing; Gender; Exile.

María de los Ángeles Hernández Gómez
Universidad de Granada, Spain
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.25

Pour une éthique de la parole dans la « littérature-refuge » : l’écriture impliquée de Marie Cosnay

Abstract: The “refuge literature” brings together a range of literary productions in which the voices of people who live the experience of exile are heard, as well as those of actors who work on refuge from the perspective of a literature of commitment. This contemporary literature on migration is also part of a literature of intervention, which proposes a work on representations with an ethical and political purpose: a micropolitics of the sensitive far from abstract moral discourses. Instead, explores new voices and practices of care in literature. In this article, we will focus on the work of Marie Cosnay, whose writing on contemporary migration opts for intervention in the social field, with a desire to face the world, and to give an account of the voices concerned by the migration phenomenon.

Keywords: Marie Cosnay, literature, 21th century, investigation, ethics of speech, writing, voice, migration, commitment.

Iulia Ursa
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.26

Voice Modulation through Imaginative Exercises

Abstract: The present article proposes an analytical cartography of voice exercises from the perspective of the material force through which they act at the psychosomatic level. The analyzed exercises are identified in the most known and used training methods developed throughout the 20th century. The analysis of exercises follows the effect of imagination in the development of qualities such as: flow, lightness, efficiency. The maximization of vocal qualities requires awareness of the interdependencies between body-voice-imaginary stimulus through training applied constantly within the hours intended for psycho-vocal training. The types of training and their applicability will produce results to the extent of their correlation with the specific disciplines of the actor’s art that integrate processes such as body awareness and the influence of the imaginal stimulus in the creative act. The various methods of learning and assimilating vocal expression education techniques are recommended to be practiced in an individual system in order to be able to concretely and systematically follow the progress made by the practitioner under the assistance of the vocal coach.

Keywords: voice, imagination, vocal training, vocal technique, breathing.

Anda Ionaș
“Lucian Blaga” University, Sibiu, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.27

The Author’s Voice in Genre Films. Miracle and Unidentified by Bogdan George Apetri

Abstract: Romanian cinema after 1989 was mainly oriented towards creations through which directors sought to win critical acclaim and awards at international festivals, but which were not addressed to the general public, as films belonging to a cinematic genre generally do. In this paper we discuss how Romanian director George Bogdan Apetri, now living in New York, represents a distinct voice in Romanian cinema today. In his films Unidentified and Miracle, he manages to harness his dual cultural perspective (American and Romanian), combining the conventions of the crime fiction genre but also elements specific to the Romanian New Wave, making two films that are pleasing to the audience but at the same time part of the arthouse circuit.

Keywords: genre, author’s voice, crime fiction, Romanian New Wave Cinema, narrative techniques of the detective novels

Library Survey

Luca Mătăsaru
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.28

Ruxandra Cesereanu, Noah’s Literary Ark for Gourmets. Studies and Essays in Comparative Literature, Milano, Edizioni AlboVersorio, 2023

Teona Farmatu
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.29

Thomas J. Cousineau, The Séance of Reading. Uncanny Designs in Modernist Writing, Bucharest, Bucharest University Publishing, 2023

Laura T. Ilea
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.30

Achille Mbembe, La communauté terrestre, Éditions La Découverte, Paris, 2023

Carmen Borbély
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.31

Jarlath Killeen, Christina Morin (eds.), Irish Gothic. An Edinburgh Companion, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2023

Ioana Pavel
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2023.45.32

Mihaela Ursa, Indisciplina ficțiunii. Viața de după carte a literaturii, Cluj-Napoca, Casa Cărţii de Știinţă, 2022

2022 volume 43 – Contemporary Eastern/Southeastern European Noir. Print-and-Screen Fiction, in a European and Global Perspective


Editor: Phantasma. The Center for Imagination Studies
Publisher: Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, România
ISBN 1582-960X (România)
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43

Caius Dobrescu

Noir, Eastern Europe, and the Global Imaginary


Originally, the idea for the present theme issue of Caietele Echinox germinated in the hotbed of the DETECt project, which reunited fourteen universities from ten European countries around a research agenda that becomes apparent in the unfolding of the above administrative (but also poetic…) acronym: Detecting Transcultural Identity in European Popular Crime Narratives. The project explored the manner in which, on the lines of the free circulation of persons, capitals, and labour, a productive European circulation of rhetoric, narrative, symbolic, and thematic structures connected to crime fiction (in its extended understanding as literature, cinema, television, and all their imaginable hybridizations) could also be identified and described. The main working hypothesis was that the spreading rate of such production across the flexible inner borders of the European Union from 1989 to the present was indicative of both their impact on collective imagination, and of a rhizomatic identity dynamics exposing not homogenization, but complex, to time problematic, even contentious, but always relevant and vibrant intrication.

DETECt exercised its European comprehension through a policy of mapping and exploring the different geo-cultural and historical areas of our continental union. The task of covering, if not actually producing “Eastern Europe” was shared by academic representatives of the University of Debrecen and the University of Bucharest. And since one of the most convergent of the theoretical premises of the project was that noir might be the concept best suited to overarch the different subgenres and tendencies of contemporary crime narratives – together with our Debrecen colleagues we set the course for discovering and displaying East-European noir, mainly in its present but also in its historical hypostases. Our collaboration resulted in a number of project deliveries and scientific articles,[1] but we all agreed on the fact that there is still a great deal of work to be done, concerning actual comparative research on all the relevant fields (i.e. production, textual articulation, distribution, reception), but also for extending the network of scholars interested and with relevant expertise in these fields. The core expectation of the original concept of the present thematic issue of Caietele Echinox was that enlarging the network of scholars interested in East-European crime/noir fiction (equally implying the printed and screened varieties) is the only way of obtaining a more accurate image of the diverse regional developments. I embarked on this exploration together with dr. Sándor Kálai, who currently teaches at the Department of Communication and Media Studies of the University of Debrecen,[2] and dr. Roxana Eichel, my colleague at the Literary Studies Department of the Faculty of Letters of the University of Bucharest.

But the project actually gained momentum when it intersected, almost providentially, the endeavours of our friends and colleagues from the Phantasma Centre for Imagination Studies. We were happy to discover on the rich research agenda of this prestigious research hub coordinated by professor Corin Braga a distinct interest in symbolic concretions that obviously and expressly intersected the sphere of the noir. From this point on, the project underwent a substantial change of design. We reframed East-European contemporary noir not only as a subject in itself, but also as opening a perspective on, or granting a way of access to larger processes of what might be called, with a bit of conceptual stamina, the global cultural imaginary.

The structure of this thematic issue is the result of the interaction of the above vectors. Its first segment, titled “East European Noir – General and Particular,” stakes out a specific, regional way toward the general problems of defining and understanding noir. Caius Dobrescu and Doru Pop approach the subject matter with the instruments of interdisciplinary area studies rooted mainly in the textual analysis of screened fiction. The former contribution attempts to substantiate, via a genetic and transformative social-cultural model, the notion of East-European noir, while the latter enticingly narrows the comparative focus to East-European cinematic and televisual detective fiction for children and adolescents. Marcela Poučová offers a very dense presentation of the development of crime fiction in the Czech literature of the 20th century, while Katre Talviste and Primož Mlačnik concentrate each on an individual contemporary author (namely Juhan Paju and Sergej Verč) in order to open the gate towards Estonian, respectively Slovenian crime fiction. The last contributor in the section, Radu Toderici, offers a reading as close as it is subtle and penetrating of two masterpieces of the Hungarian “Black Wave” of the 1990s: Béla Tarr’s Damnation and György Fehér’s Passion.

The next topic has been abundantly researched, but not necessarily from the thematic and geo-cultural perspectives illustrated by the authoresses present in the section: the intersection between gender and noir/crime. Amalia Mărășescu makes the first move with the analysis of two Romanian fictional women detectives, coming from different epochs and with astoundingly different social-cultural backgrounds (a peasant woman of the 1920s, and a mathematics professoress turned intelligence officer in the 1970s). Roxana Eichel sets fort her research on gender from the perspective of the theory of interstitiality initiated in the frames of the DETECt project by applying these finely tuned analytic tools on the Romanian crime series Umbre/Shadows. Andrada Fătu-Tutoveanu hints at another form of intersectionality, by associating women representation in the classical film noir with fragmented avatars of the religious and mythical imaginary.

The third section, “East Seen from the West,” opens up with an attentive, considerate, and theoretically engaging study of Canadian scholar Paul Bleton on a comprehensive corpus of East-European crime novels recently translated in French. With comparable minutiae, Ioana Diaconu focuses on “Romanian characters in German television thrillers beginning with the Millennium.” Sándor Kálai continues on the same lines, but changes and broadens the area of reference and, at the same time, the artistic medium, in his investigation of “the Eastern Europe of Scandinavian detective novels.”

The last section, “Noir sans frontiers: Beyond Genre and Geography” brings together salutary attempts of expanding the relevance of noir beyond conventional limits of genre, to wit of assuming a special connection between noir and genres and media hybridization. At the same time, all the contributors view noir as immersed in different forms of global, or glocal culture.  Marius-Mircea Crișan and Carol Senf explore the osmosis of noir with vampire fiction against the backdrop of the East-European tensions between traditional and cosmopolitan mental frames on the basis of a post-communist Romanian novel: Alexandru Mușina’s Nepotul lui Dracula/Dracula’s nephew. Alex Văsieș equally anchors his survey of mystery and SF&F hybridization and of the mainstreaming of genre fiction in the analysis of a contemporary Romanian novel: Greva păcătoșilor/Sinners Strike by Florin Chirculescu. Maria Barbu raises the stakes of the redefinition of noir by associating it with utopian and dystopian venues of post-humanist prophesizing, in her approach of the world-famous HBO sci-fi series Westworld. Carmen Borbély, in her analysis of the novel Zoo City by South African authoress Lauren Beukes, and Ruxandra Cesereanu, in her highly empathetic reading of Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives, spectacularly extend the geo-cultural system of reference, while simultaneously deepening the aesthetic and philosophical implications of noir.

The final contribution to the present issue is not directly connected to the main topic. But the concepts tackled in Călina Părău’s essay “Residues and Presents in Contemporary Shrinking Temporalities” raise, taken apart as well as in all their possible connections, fertile theoretical provocations for the research of crime/noir fiction. The fact that, in different local/regional/global approaches, the latter has been almost entirely absorbed in what we use to term the “spatial turn” is an unavoidable evidence. Through its sharp rendering of new modes of problematization of temporalities, this final contribution might show the way toward a whole new world of crime fiction theory, or at least toward a possible second issue of Caietele Echinox dedicated to this intricate and intriguing topic.


[1] I would especially mention Caius Dobrescu, Roxana Eichel, Dorottya Molnár-Kovács, Sándor Kálai, Anna Keszeg, “A game of mirrors: Western/Eastern European crime series and the struggle for recognition”, Journal of European Popular Culture, no. 12(2), pp. 119-134, 2021.

[2] In order to offer a hyper-concentrated suggestion of all the personal qualities that make Sándor a great research partner and an ideal intellectual friend, I will reproduce here the ending of his presentation of the site of his department: “His motto is the same as Georges Simenon’s: To understand and not to judge.”

East European Noir – General and Particular

Caius Dobrescu
University of Bucharest, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.01
P. 13 – 37

Exploring / Inventing East-European Noir. An Attempt to Modelling Historical Transformation

Abstract: The essay proposes a common spectrum of noir detective fictions emerging in the countries of the former Soviet Bloc. Accordingly, it substantiates the assumption that similar political, social, cultural, economic threats and opportunities contributed to the preservation of a certain air de famille among the genre productions of the countries of the area even after the fall of Communism. The common Communist heritage of genre fiction, cinema, and television is synthesised in three main categories: Cold War “noir” and Socialist “grey”, alternative noir, and popular noir. The crime & detection dimensions of the EU phase of the evolution of East-European countries are equally organised in three clusters, called retrospective noir, introspective noir, and prospective noir.

Keywords: East-Europe; Eastern Europe; Central Europe; Central and Eastern Europe; Communist Detective Fiction; Post-Communism; Area Noir..

Doru Pop
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.02
P. 38 – 61

The Socialist Boy Detectives and The Cold Wars of Childhood

Abstract: This paper discusses the various manifestations of children as protagonists in Romanian socialist cinema, and particularly those present in the juvenile detective movies of that time. Several productions of the socialism cinema industry had children as their main heroes and the movies discussed here were deploying tropes and narrative strategies specific to the global genre of boy detectives. The analysis uses examples that range from written texts, books or cartoons, to films and television series, as these cultural products were exploring not only childhood, but also a particular behaviour of young children and teenagers. Movies like Babușcă’s Adventures (Aventurile lui Babușcă, 1973), The Redhead (Roșcovanul, 1976), The Son of the Mountains (Fiul munților, 1981), The Knights of the Cherry Blossoms (Cireșarii TV series 1972 and the movie in 1984) or other TV series such as The Freckled (Pistruiatul, 1973), a continuation of The Redhead or The White Rocket (Racheta albă, 1984), which are part of a particular sub-genre in children’s cinema are closely analysed. They are considered to be relevant for understanding the transformations in Romanian society, as the socialist regime was creating an educational environment for children according to the dominant ideology, the narratives were exploring the resources of a wider genre. They belong to a more complex cultural phenomenon, then simply to a propaganda mechanism.  By means of popular cinema and using the strategies of detective storytelling, the common elements of these films are shared with the global “youth detective” sub-genre.  The impact of these movies, seen by millions of viewers of all ages in the socialist society, is undeniable and today many of these movies are broadcasted again by some Romanian television stations. Often the question that is addressed remains centred around the political use of children and childhood, which makes their aesthetic dimensions and their use of genre conventions secondary. Based on a genre analysis and using examples from a selected corpus, this interpretation focuses on the internal processes of these narratives and their functions. While the ideology behind the storytelling is explicit, we need to be questioning their inner mechanisms and their emotional appeal. These heroic children’s characters and their childhood under the socialist regime have more dimensions than simply their labelling as propaganda or their role in imposing the myth of the Father and Mother of the nation. Moving beyond the simplistic explanations, claiming that the literature and cinema created during state socialism were only mindless tools of the dominant ideology, this paper is a contribution to understanding the global cultural dialogue and the contribution of Romanian socialist cinema to the international exchange of ideas. In the absence of a complete cultural history of childhood in socialist Romania, this paper uses the child protagonists and the representation of children in several juvenile detective style movies, created during the 70s and the 80s, as an instrument to understand the cultural history of the autochthonous socialist society.

Keywords: Romanian cinema; Communism; Childhood; Detective movies; Entertainment; Cultural infantilization; Symbolic exploitation

Katre Talviste
University of Tartu, Estonia
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.03
P. 62 – 76

The Curious Case of Juhan Paju and a Fortunate Choice of Pop Lit over Poetry

Abstract: This essay proposes a study of the poetics and local generic context of the work of Juhan Paju (1939–2003), arguably one of the very few original Estonian crime writers emerged from the twentieth century. The focus is on five of his novels centred on investigations led by Toivo Kivistik, a small-town police detective. The series is set in the last decades of the twentieth and the early years of the twenty-first century. This tumultuous period in local history has provided rich material for socially relevant themes. Paju’s work is original in treating this material, but also in his experiments with generic conventions, which he progressively adapts to his own talent and to the local context.

Keywords: Estonian literature; Genre fiction ; Crime fiction; Detective fiction ; Roman à énigme; Roman noir; Juhan Paju

Primož Mlačnik
Centre for Humanities, University of Nova Gorica, Slovenia
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.04
P. 77 – 92

From Minor Literature to Neoliberal Noir: The Detective Novels of Sergej Verč

Abstract: In this article, we analyze the politics of representation in the detective tetralogy (1991-2009) of the late Slovenian and Triestinian writer Sergej Verč to trace the changing patterns of cultural representations in the period of Slovenian transition from socialism to capitalism. Originating from transdisciplinary perspectives, addressing several aspects of Verč’s primary literary semiotic device of schizophrenia, we trace a simultaneous literary and chronological shift from minor literature to neoliberal noir. We expose the fundamental representational ambiguity by analyzing the detective triad (murder-victim-criminal), the fetishization of detective clues, erotization of detection, and the underlying binary oppositions. Verč’s detective novels critique the Slovenian capitalist transition but also reproduce culturally conservative representations of gender, sexuality, and family.

Keywords: Slovenian Literature; Sergej Verč; Minor literature; Neoliberal noir; Trieste; de(mythologization); Schizophrenia; Politics of representation; Detective novels; Critique of capitalism; Cultural conservatism

Marcela Poučová
Université Masaryk, Brno, République Tchèque
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.05
P. 93 – 103

« Accepter et pardonner, c’est se réconcilier avec soi-même », L’Histoire tchèque du XXe siècle vue par le roman policier

Abstract: The article explains the development and specific features of the detective genre in the Czech Republic (and its predecessor Czechoslovakia) from the beginning of the 20th century. It observes that these features are just as valid in the last 30 years. The main focus is on crime fiction literature and, in particular, TV crime series that have become especially popular since 2015, both of which have been inspired by true organised crime cases between 1990-2010. However, it is noted that in its historical examination of the Communist era, the media culture is still avoiding delving into the issues connected with the problematic post-war history of the Czech Sudetenland.

Keywords: Czech Republic; Czech history; Organised crime; Detective genre; Crime fiction literature; TV crime series; Philosophy in the 20th century

Radu Toderici
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.06
P. 104 – 113

Late Modernist Noirs: Béla Tarr’s Damnation/ Kárhozat and György Fehér’s Passion/ Szenvedély

Abstract: Since the 80s, a large number of films, manifestly indebted to the classic American noir films of the 40s and 50s, have been appropriately labeled neo-noirs. An interesting, but less well documented version of this phenomenon, mostly American in its nature, is the case of some of the films belonging to the so-called Hungarian “Black Series”. Made at the end of the 80s and during the 90s, these films are modernist, stylized versions of the classic noir films. This essay tries to give an outline of this East European reappraisal of the noir film, by insisting on the narrative and aesthetical strategies used by directors such as Béla Tarr or György Fehér in order to deconstruct the classical genre.

Keywords: “Black Series”; Modernist Noir; Hungarian Cinema; Béla Tarr; György Fehér

Gender & Noir

Amalia Mărășescu
University of Pitești, Pitești, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.07
P. 117 – 133

Female Detectives in Romanian Literature: Vitoria Lipan and Minerva Tutovan

Abstract: The essay draws a parallel between two female detectives in Romanian literature: Mihail Sadoveanu’s Vitoria Lipan and Rodica Ojog-Brașoveanu’s Minerva Tutovan. While Vitoria Lipan is not commonly regarded as a detective, Minerva Tutovan is a professional State Security officer and investigator. Mention will be made of their marital status, profession, pets, moral qualities and others, in an attempt to show that although they differ in many respects including education, background, social status, historical epoch and purpose, they are equally skilful in finding criminals and bringing them to justice. They will also be analysed as mentors: Vitoria for her son Gheorghiță and Minerva for her subordinate, lieutenant Vasile Dobrescu.

Keywords: Romanian literature; Mihail Sadoveanu; Rodica Ojog-Brașoveanu; Female detective; Gender roles; Investigation

Roxana Eichel
University of Bucharest, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.08
P. 134 – 147

Intersecting Inequalities in Romanian Crime Series Shadows (HBO). Expressions of Identity between Authenticity, Stereotypes and ‘Eastploitation’

Abstract: The representations of gender, ethnicity and class play a particularly significant part in structuring the way in which East European crime fiction makes sense of its cultural identity. Issues of social inequality and discrimination are addressed by the European institutions through the promotion of inter- and multi-cultural values that are meant to foster awareness about social stereotypes and prejudices and promote the artistic expression of more balanced representations (i.e. the EIGE policies). Yet sometimes the gap between the inclusive aims pursued by the European policies and the realities represented in crime films, TV dramas and novels is more than noticeable. This article aims to discuss this fluctuation between disparity, stereotypization, realism and exploitation in the HBO production Shadows (Umbre, 2014-2019).

Keywords: Eastern European identities; Crime fiction series; Exploitation; Cultural stereotypes; Self-orientalization; Gender; Class; Ethnicity

Andrada Fătu-Tutoveanu
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.09
P. 148 – 157

Death Becomes Her. Implicit Religion, Relics, Myth-Making and the Witch Complex in Visual Representations of Women in Film Noir. A Case Study

Abstract: While cinema and especially the Hollywood Golden Age has constructed a mythology of its own, cinematic storytelling has also recycled heavily on classic mythologies and cultural stereotypes. The female figures have represented during the Hollywood Golden Age and in film noir in particular a special category from this perspective, being both deified and demonized, depicted as goddesses, vampires, fascinating ghosts and, above all, femmes fatales. Classic feminist studies have argued (see Laura Mulvey, 1975, Ann Kaplan, 1978) that both this depiction/representation, verbal or visual, and the intended spectator, are male. Based on a comparative case-study, the current paper discusses the manner in which what I call a cinematic witch complex is constructed through either hiding or revealing in order to conclude which is more efficient in the process of gendered myth-making.

Keywords: Film Noir, myth-making, representation, gender, Alfred Hitchcock, Rebecca (1940), Laura (1944)

East Seen From the West

Paul Bleton
Université TELUQ, Montréal, Canada
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.10
P. 161 – 171

Lu à l’ouest, le crime de l’est a du lest

Abstract: Based on a corpus of Eastern and Western crime novels dealing with crime in the former Eastern Bloc countries, three issues are examined:

– the globalization of the crime fiction market through French translation and a few of its deterritorializing consequences for writers and readers;

– the a priori pragmatic-semantic configurations informing the act of reading (culture of fiction, culture of the author and culture of the reader);

– the symbolic displacement of the disappeared Iron Curtain towards two types of thematic border: one by excess (the perpetuated over-border) and the other by default (the checkpoint and the confines).

Keywords: Eastern Noir; Western Eastern Noir; Translation; French readership; globalization;

Ioana Andrea Diaconu
Transylvania University, Brașov, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.11
P. 172 – 184

Creating and destroying prejudices. Romanian characters in German television thrillers beginning with the millennium

Abstract: The study includes over 30 German TV thrillers and series aired during a 20-year period, with the plots located in different regions, in which Romanians play parts of different degrees of importance for the story. The main interest is to identify whether or to which extent the different roles are tributary to stereotypes about Romanians and to what extent the characters might contribute to creating a perception of Romanians in the German society, respectively to changing the existent one. Thus it is important to find out the socio-cultural background of the characters, their occupational status and their regional origins, if known. Attention will be also paid on the names of the characters and cast. There is also an interest in whether there is a link between the German regions where the plots are located and the appearance of Romanians in the films, and if so, which fact is this owed to. Another question would be to which extent are the characters/roles connected to the social reality, or just filling in gaps with stereotypes to allow the plot to develop. As far as the characters are those of criminals, it is interesting to find out what place on the ranking of criminals do Romanians occupy, and, if possible, to identify the relation with other non-German felons. An important issue is the fact that the analysed films were aired on public TV stations with an explicit educational, non-commercial mission and editorial policy. It is to be identified, whether the image of Romanians is also tributary to such a policy.

Keywords: Eastern Europe; Romanians; German crime series; Imagology; Stereotyping; Migration; Discrimination; Crime Scene

Sándor Kálai
Université de Debrecen, Hongrie
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.12
P. 185 – 197

Europa Blues (L’Europe de l’Est des romans policiers scandinaves)

Abstract: The Scandinavian detective novel (or at least some of its authors) elaborates on local materials in an increasingly global or European context. From the perspective of its social relevance, the detective novel provides some of the most influential representations of Otherness. What interests us here is the place of Eastern Europe in the novels of certain Nordic Noir authors: Inger Wolf, Arne Dahl and Jo Nesbø. The dynamics between private and public, individual and collective, as well as the rich representation of different forms of mobility make it possible to build a wide variety of character identities, and to embrace both the local and the European/global. On the one hand, for the Scandinavian West, Eastern Europe is problematic, which makes Nordic noir detective novels regularly return to its genuine exploration. But from another angle, the fictional representation of the Eastern part of Europe is largely dependent on stereotypes. The novels in the present selection only partially or intermittently problematize these stereotypes, which could be due to the fact that, on the whole, Eastern Europe plays only a minor and sometimes rather ornamental part in the plot.

Keywords: Scandinavian literature; Detective Novels; Inger Wolf; Arne Dahl; Jo Nesbø; Diversity; Globalization; Stereotypes

Noir sans frontiers: Beyond Genre and Geography

Marius-Mircea Crișan
West University of Timișoara, Romania
Carol Senf
Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.13
P. 201 – 215

The Mysteries of the Post-Communist Vampire: Detective features in the novel Nepotul lui Dracula by Alexandru Mușina

Abstract: The association of the vampire with Eastern Europe has evolved in crime fictions which transform this fantastic character from a supernatural being to a means to comment on politics, many of them focusing on the imagological opposition between Eastern Europe and the Occidental world, a treatment that began with Stoker’s Dracula. Our paper analyses the transformation of this imagological vampiric stereotype, by investigating the deconstructivist novel Nepotul lui Dracula (“Dracula’s Nephew”) (2012) by the Romanian writer Alexandru Mușina. This paper focuses on the detective features of this parodic work, and analyses the elements typical to vampire crime fiction, as well as reflects on problems which the post-Communist society has to face, such as the reversal of values, the shadows of the Communist past, the remnants of the Communist secret police, and corruption in different layers of the society.

Keywords: Romanian literature; Dracula; Transylvania; Alexandru Mușina; Vampire crime fiction; Detective story; Vampire stereotypes

Alex Văsieș
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.14
P. 216 – 225

Narrative Devices in Motion: From Genre Fiction to Mainstream Fiction in Florin Chirculescu’s Prose

Abstract: This article explores the dynamics between Romanian genre fiction and mainstream fiction in the postcommunist period, trying to negotiate the instrumentalizations of narrative devices usually found in popular literature (be it fantasy, crime, or mystery fiction) in a novel that transcends normative genre boundaries. Thus, the text traces a specific way in which some Romanian writers (in this case Florin Chirculescu) have navigated the strenuous path brought by capitalism in the local literary scene.

Keywords: Romanian literature; Genre Fiction; Mainstream Fiction; Maximalist Novels; Florin Chirculescu; Anarchetype

Maria Barbu
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.15
P. 226 – 245

Virtual dystopias: Westworld and technology’s potential to save or enslave the world

Abstract: After the two World Wars and the rise of totalitarian regimes, dystopian narratives have begun to spread within the literary and social imaginary in an attempt to warn against the grim future of such socio-political realities. Lately, considering its continuous developments, technology has also become the subject of very heated debates: will it contribute to the qualitative enhancement of human life? Or, on the contrary, will it become another factor that will threaten humanity’s existence (and maybe even its dominance) on earth? The aim of this paper is to answer these questions by closely examining Westworld (Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, HBO Entertainment, 2016 – present), one of the series that has addressed the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence in a very complex manner during the past few years. Apart from analysing how themes such as free will, conscience or power are discussed throughout the series, this research will also draw comparisons with the European colonizers’ attitude towards the native Americans they encountered during the discovery of the New World, in order to show that man’s eternal desire to subjugate “the other” (be it the race of American natives or the androids specifically created to satisfy his pleasures) can lead to a scenario just as dystopic as the one in which the supremacy would belong to the initially oppressed side.

Keywords: Westworld; Dystopia; Violence; Artificial Intelligence; Technology; Alterity; Free will; Conquest

Carmen Borbély
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.16
P. 246 – 261

Noir Affect in Lauren Beukes’s Zoo City

Abstract: Taking its cue from Christopher Breu and Elizabeth A. Hatmaker’s rethinking of noir affect as a descriptor of detective fiction, this paper contributes to the discussion of South African writer Lauren Beukes’s Zoo City as a narrative that both harnesses and fluidifies the generic conventions of the crime thriller. Pondering Beukes’s claim that her story may become the site for the transmutation or transmission of ethically adjusted emotion, the paper resorts to Lauren Berlant’s thoughts on detective fiction as a genre condensing the “cruel optimism” of the ordinary, rather than the evental, present to explore the clues of affectional attunement in Lauren Beukes’s postapartheid novel.

Keywords: Noir Affect; Crime Fiction; Muti Noir; Lauren Beukes; Cruel Optimism

Ruxandra Cesereanu
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.17
P. 262 – 267

The Savage Detectivism of Roberto Bolaño’s Fiction

Abstract: The present study analyses Roberto Bolaño’s engagement with marginality in the novels The Savage Detectives and 2666, via the conventions of the noir genre. The aesthetics of the peripheral, the poetics of triviality, vagrancy, bohemian wanderlust, and enigmatic rituals are performed in an inimitable personal style that problematizes issues pertaining to the theory of literature and the theory of the novel. Atomised, puzzle-like novels with deliberately obscure police procedural plots, The Savage Detectives and 2666 break several authorial and narrative architectural patterns, becoming major landmarks in today’s novelistic worldscape.

Keywords: Roberto Bolaño; The Savage Detectives; 2666; Marginality; Poetics of triviality; Vagrancy; Bohemia; roman noir

Călina Părău
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.18
P. 268 – 275

Residues and Presents in Contemporary Shrinking Temporalities

Abstract: Taking into consideration the inherent crisis in our experience and perception of time, we will have to ask ourselves what is the link between the way in which we engage with the ‘present’ and with the ‘aesthetic’ in our postmodern societies as we experience the opposing categories of the ‘resisting’ and the ‘elusive’. Zygmunt Bauman believes that our “liquid culture” is marked by discontinuity and forgetting as our social realities become more and more fragmented. Frederic Jameson also mentions the ways in which “the displacement of old-fashioned industrial labor by the newer cybernetic kind” has changed continuity-based possibilities of engaging with reality. A temporality of “passive reception” rather than ‘agency’ characterizes our possibilities of making sense of a preexisting reality made up of circuits that flow in and out of non-temporalized worlds. It is highly important to discuss about the language of an aesthetic, cultural and subjective ‘present’ as a possibility of creating meaning from inside categories of experience that oppose our culture of the fugitive and disengagement.

Keywords: Zygmunt Bauman; “Liquid Culture” ; Fragment; Time; Experience; Culture; Anarchetype; Perception

Les imaginaires du féminin/masculin dans la littérature/Feminine vs. Masculine Imaginaries in Literature

Najate Nerci
Hassan II University of Casablanca, Morrocco




Ce dossier est consacré à des articles relevant des actes du colloque : « Imaginaires du féminin/masculin : Permanences et métamorphoses » organisé à l’Université de Casablanca au Maroc les 4 et 5 Mars 2020 en collaboration avec le Centre des recherches internationales sur l’imaginaire (CRI2i). Cet événement s’inscrivait dans le cadre du projet : « Genre et droits humains » financé par le programme Ibn Khaldoun d’appui à la recherche dans le domaine des sciences humaines et sociales[1]. Les articles du présent dossier se penchent sur divers aspects que revêt la dyade du féminin/masculin dans la littérature. L’apport des lettres dans l’élaboration d’un matériau riche en interrogations sur cette dualité n’est plus à prouver. En effet, la littérature depuis ses origines constitue le lieu de dépôt mais aussi de mobilisation de l’imaginaire dans l’expérience narrative de l’être et du monde. Cet objet de recherche aux multiples métamorphoses qu’est l’imaginaire du féminin/masculin trouve un lieu d’expression favorable d’investissement des mythes, des archétypes et des représentations dans la littérature. Les articles que nous présentons dans ce dossier en fournissent un exemple éloquent. Les nouvelles configurations de mythes relatifs au féminin et au féminin y trouvent une place de choix. L’un des plus marquants et fascinants est bien celui des amazones devenu topos revisité par nombre d’écrivaines de la deuxième vague féministe des années 60 (Les Guérillères by Monique Wittig (1969), The Female Man by Joanna Russ (1975), Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy (1976) and A Door into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski (1986). L’utopie des Amazones en devient une « expérience de pensée », une démonstration par l’absurde servant de mise en garde contre les dangers de perpétuer une société discriminatoire envers les femmes (C. Braga). La reprise contemporaine du mythe féminin, elle, dans deux films : L’Antichrist (2009) de Lars Von Trier et Mère! (2017) de Darren Aronofsky, présente la nature féminine comme malfaisante, irrationnelle et fragile. Au Brésil, l’imaginaire du féminin étudié par Luísa Assunção Pesché dans trois romans est constitué également par la figure féminine dangereuse. La femme fatale est l’archétype par excellence de cet imaginaire. Trois héroïnes brésiliennes : l’oblique Capitu, l’héroïne de Machado de Assis dans le roman Dom Casmurro (1900) ; Gabriela, la mulâtresse de Gabriela, cravo e canela (1958) de Jorge Amado, et Hilda Furacão, la prostituée du roman homonyme de Roberto Drummond (1991) permettent une interprétation de l’archétype féminin enfoui dans les profondeurs de l’imaginaire brésilien. Il y est synonyme de fascination et de menace pour l’ordre établi entraînant la perte de l’homme (Assunção Pesché).

Or, d’autres comme Georges Sand rêvait, d’Indiana à Nanon, de 1832 à 1872, d’une union harmonieuse entre le masculin et le féminin et tenta même de trouver le moyen de surmonter la dualité à travers l’art (G. Peylet). A une époque plus proche, Yourcenar laisse transparaître à travers son personnage impérial : Hadrien, sa perception de l’unité originaire, divine et androgyne en inscrivant l’être humain dans l’ordre naturel de l’être sacré (C.M. Zărnescu). Dans « ZABOR ou les psaumes de Kamel Daoud », la réinvention, le détournement et la transformation du personnage féminin de Schéhérazade en personnage masculin se fait à la fois par le corps et par l’usage du récit pour contrer la mort (S. Atoui-Labidi). Black Milk d’Elif Shafak décrit comment les expériences des femmes reflètent un destin tragique dans un monde post-moderne où l’individualité est marquée par la diversité et la multiplicité. La maternité s’avère être un fardeau vu les normes de la société patriarcale imposant une identité « donnée » pour les femmes et les hommes (E.-S.-A. Yunusoglu). Pour Yasmine Chami, l’exploration de la sphère de l’intime s’effectue à la manière d’une spéléologie de la conscience d’être au monde. L’auteure mobilise un imaginaire multiforme par l’usage du conte et de la mythologie permettant à la question du féminin/masculin de se déployer conjointement sur le plan intime et universel. (F.-E.Taznout)

Flaubert, dans Salammbô, octroie au roman un projet unique : l’affirmation d’une confrontation entre configurations mythologiques masculines et féminines. Le nihilisme de Flaubert cherche à détruire les plus hautes valeurs de la culture bourgeoise et culmine dans une attaque contre les rôles qu’il assigne au sexe opposé. (H. Ismail). Plus proche de nous, le nihilisme féminin au Canada francophone prend une autre ampleur. Il est analysé, ici, à travers les expériences scripturales de Nelly Arcan (Burqa de chair) et Catherine Mavrikakis (Deuils cannibales et mélancoliques et La ballade d’Ali Baba). L’analyse montre que si, chez Nelly Arcan, la pesanteur de la matérialité du corps et la certitude qu’elle n’y a aucune autre dimension qu’elle mène à un nihilisme autodestructif, chez Catherine Mavrikakis, le nomadisme réitéré, la force de la narration et le cosmopolitisme affiché éludent la solution du nihilisme. (L.T. Ilea)

Bien que distinctes les uns des autres, ces écritures littéraires de la dualité féminin/masculin sont liées par des questionnements d’une grande acuité. Ils manifestent le désir de recréer un imaginaire foisonnant qui s’adosse à un passé archétypal et font de leurs produits un lieu de déconstruction et de recréation, un lieu qui achemine l’imaginaire des sexes vers de nouveaux circuits de sens. La dyade féminin/masculin n’a de cesse d’être l’endroit idéal pour interroger le rapport de l’être humain à lui-même et au monde.


[1] La première édition du programme Ibn Khaldoun d’appui à la recherche dans le domaine des Sciences Humaines et Sociales a été mis en place par le centre national de la recherche scientifique et technique et le ministère de l’éducation nationale, de la formation professionnelle, de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche scientifique pour trois ans (2019-2022)

Corin Braga
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.19
P. 281 – 290

The New Amazons: Second-Wave Feminist Dystopias

Abstract: From Antiquity to Modernity, the topic of the Amazons questioned the relationships between men and women, triggering a series of anthropological, social and cultural problems, such as the separation between the sexes, the fascination with parthenogenesis, or the reversal of the social and cultural roles of the genders. In the wake of the second-wave feminism of the ’60, resonating with the Women’s Liberation Movement, several authors revisited this topos: Monique Wittig, Les Guérillères (1969), Joanna Russ, The Female Man (1975), Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time (1976), Joan Slonczewski, A Door into Ocean (1986). In this paper I focus on Joanna Russ’s “polytopia”, in which four distinct personas of the narrator live in four alternative worlds differentiated by the relationship between the sexes, and Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time, the only utopia (to my knowledge) in which the ideal society is situated not in a different space or time, but in the (delusional) mind of the protagonist. My thesis is that, in these texts, the Amazones’ utopia is a “thought experience”, a demonstration by the absurd warning against the dangers of perpetuating a society that discriminates women.

Keywords: Utopia; Dystopia; Feminism; Amazons; Joanna Russ; Marge Piercy

Assunção Pesché Luísa
Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.20
P. 291 – 308

Les héroïnes (fatales) brésiliennes : archétypes et métamorphoses

Abstract: This work proposes to observe the appropriation of the myth of the femme fatale, the great guiding myth of French decadence[i] and its system of symbols in the Brazilian imaginary. Three Brazilian heroines, which fall under the theme of fatality in women, constitute the main corpus of this research: the oblique Capitu, the heroine of Machado de Assis in the novel Dom Casmurro (1900); Gabriela, la mulâtresse de Gabriela, cravo e canela (1958) by Jorge Amado, and Hilda Furacão, the prostitute from the homonymous novel by Roberto Drummond (1991). The echoes of the myth allow us to see that these heroines are fatal women par excellence, their figures moving within an evolving patriarchal society in Brazil.

[i] Voir Gilbert Durand, « Lettres sur les deux mythes directeurs du XXe siècle », in Champs de l’imaginaire, Grenoble, ELLUG, 1996.

Keywords: Brasilian literature; Machado de Assis; Jorge Amado; Roberto Drummond; Femme fatale; Myth; Metamorphosis

Gérard Peylet
Université Bordeaux 3, France
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.21
P. 309 – 324

Le masculin et le féminin dans le roman sandien: Vers un dépassement de la dualité

Abstract: From Indiana to Nanon, from 1832 to 1872, G. Sand never ceased to revolt against the abuse of power of which women are victims in a society made for men and directed by them. She also sought to find a positive response to this tyranny which makes women a dependent being, by reflecting on another form of relationship between man and woman and on a new role that women could play within the society. After being a victim, the Sandian woman becomes an educator of herself and others, a true mediator before engaging in social life alongside men. In this male/female relationship, education, which plays a central role, is based on dialectical thinking. Through education, the Sandian character learns to overcome the social, political, cultural and psychological barriers that hinder being. It is a weapon to conquer freedom, to give back to the degraded feminine identity its dignity. George Sand was not content to seek another power for women. She did not want to affirm the superiority of women either. She dreamed of a harmonious union between masculine and feminine and even tried to find the way to overcome duality through art.

Keywords: Masculine/feminine; George Sand; Feminine identity; Power; Duality.

Crina-Magdalena Zărnescu
University of Piteşti, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.22
P. 325 – 340

Sous le masque du masculin? Approche poétique du roman Mémoires d’Hadrien de Marguerite Yourcenar

Abstract: Marguerite Yourcenar could have said “Hadrian, it’s me” like Flaubert whose conception of impersonal narrator she shares, but she didn’t say it! She leaves behind her Me and all the emotions, feelings, life experiences which Me represents by replacing it with and auctorial and imperial I of Hadrian. She barrows Hadrian’s voice to convey her thoughts on human condition, liberty, authenticity, and truth. Her author traits meet the emperor’s traits which manifest themselves wonderfully in this novel by their capacity to access the essential, to immerse in the historical context to unveil in an a-historical way, let’s say, Hadrian’s eminent, august, and human personality. Beyond this writer-character “substitution”, one accedes to her literary credo on the originary divine, and androgyne unit which writers can remake in their texts by putting the human being with all its the attributes in the natural order of its sacred existence. By the above assertions, we have configured the main directions of our poetical approach which also uses hermeneutical and psychoanalytic instruments.

Keywords: Marguerite Yourcenar; Mémoires d’Hadrien; Masculine/feminine; Me/I, Human condition; Authenticity; Masculine writing

Souad Atoui-Labidi
Université Mohamed Boudiaf de M’Sila, Algérie
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.23
P. 341 – 353

Réinvention et détournement du féminin ou Schéhérazade au masculin dans ZABOR ou les psaumes de Kamel Daoud

Abstract: Scheherazade, an important female character in the collection of tales The Thousand and One Nights, its main storyteller and guarantor since she ensured its continuity by inventing each night a new story to achieve a specific goal: (to) save from the execution. She is also presented as the perfect embodiment of the therapist who wields speech with great intelligence to heal the king of his complexes and his insatiable desire for revenge. But what fate was reserved for her after the thousand and one nights stories (Les Mille et Une Nuits)? What was the destiny of this “out of the ordinary” female character after her last story? Her fate has certainly changed… The current literary writing has ensured many mutations and important metamorphoses. In this article, we analyze the novel by Algerian author Kamel Daoud ZABOR ou les psaumes focusing our attention on the reinvention and diversion of the female character of Scheherazade to the masculine.

Keywords: Kamel Daoud; Scheherazade; Literary imagination; Zabor; Reinvention; Diversion; Scheherazade to the masculine

Eylül-Sabo-Andrada Yunusoglu
Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.24
P. 354 – 370

“The Harem Within” The complexity of female identity in Elif Shafak’s Black Milk

Abstract: In a post-modern world where selfhood is defined by diversity and multiplicity, Elif Shafak’s Black Milk outlines how women’s experiences depict a tragic fate. In this memoir Elif Shafak writes about motherhood and authorship and the many stereotypes women face in a patriarchal society. For many women writers, motherhood became a burden, because they had to choose between being a “good” mother and a “good” author. This article aims to explore the complexity of women’s identity in Black Milk through a feminist perspective and also to analyse Elif Shafak’s feminine discourse and its empowerment process. Elif Shafak questions the norms of the patriarchal society, because it enforces a “given” identity for both women and men. Black Milk also outlines the anxiety women face when it comes to writing, motherhood and many other experiences, describing an enormous pressure put on women to reflect an ideal.

Keywords: Elif Shafak; Black Milk; Feminine identity; Motherhood; Authorship; Memoir; Feminist theory

Fatema-Ezzahra Taznout
Université Hassan II, Casablanca, Maroc
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.25
P. 371 – 386

Yasmine Chami, une écriture de l’intranquilité

Abstract: Yasmine Chami’s fictional work is made of the meticulous exploration of the sphere of the intimate in the manner of a caving of the consciousness of being in the world. A narrative motif in particular comes off for the systematic nature of its occurrences, that of abandonment (of the woman by her spouse). This leitmotiv strikingly crystallizes the fragility of couple bonds and inevitably induces a profound questioning of the relationships between women and men and the representations that underlie them. In order to shed new light on the life path of her heroines, the author mobilizes a multifaceted imagination. In the present study, the focus will be primarily on the ingenious use she makes of storytelling and mythology as major narrative springs which allow the work to unfold simultaneously on the intimate and the universal level.

Keywords: Yasmine Chami; Gender imaginaries; Myth; Oral tradition; Memory; Interpretation; Abandonment

Hichem Ismaïl
Université de Sfax, Tunisie
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.26
P. 387 – 400

L’antagonisme du féminin et du masculin dans Salammbô de Flaubert

Abstract: In Salammbô by Flaubert, the representation of the ancient universe reveals a struggle between two opposing principles, masculine and feminine, which takes on a character that is both mythological and cosmological. While revealing the dangers of the encounter between these two poles, the story stages a fierce confrontation between these two imaginaries presenting themselves as mutually exclusive. The fiction is driven by a single project and revolves around a single purpose: to highlight the antagonism between the mythical configurations of the masculine and those of the feminine. This antithetical construction will give rise to a whirlwind of passion and cruelty that will consecrate the triumph of monstrosity over amorous emotions. In the Punic work, the language of violence prevails over that of love so much so that the deep energy that nourishes amorous desire is transformed into a veritable force of generalized annihilation. Flaubert’s nihilism strives to undermine the highest values ​​of bourgeois culture, which disgusts it, and reaches its peak when it attacks the roles it assigns to the opposite sexes.

Keywords: Gustave Flaubert; Salammbô; Antagonism; Myth; Sexual stereotypes; Feminine vs. Masculine; Desire; Subversion

Laura T. Ilea
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.27
P. 401 – 413

La littérature féminine en infrarouge. Au-delà du nihilisme 

Abstract: The article analyzes two versions of feminine nihilism in the French-speaking Canada: Nelly Arcan, especially in her posthumous book, Burqa de chair, and Catherine Mavrikakis, in two of her novels, Deuils cannibales et mélancoliques and La ballade d’Ali Baba. By emphasizing the terms mélanomanie and néantisme, the headliners of the “professors of despair” in the homonymous book by Nancy Huston, my text defends the idea that the story-telling operation specific to the search for the “great novel” in La ballade d’Ali Baba is capable, through its reiteration of nomadism, cosmopolitanism and a “poisoned narrative”, to overcome the nihilism inherent to the solipsistic writings of Nelly Arcan.

Keywords: Canadian Literature; Feminine nihilism; Professors of despair; Nelly Arcan; Flesh burqa; Catherine Mavrikakis; Poisoned narrative

Library Survey

Andrei-Călin Zamfirescu
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.28
P. 417 – 423

Marius Conkan, Building Secondary Worlds in Portal-Quest Fantasy Fiction, Interdisciplinary Discourses, 2020

Carmen Borbély
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.29
P. 424 – 428

Marcus Tomalin, Telling the Time in British Literature, 1675-1830. Hours of Folly?, New York and London, Routledge, 2020

Ioana Pavel
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.30
P. 429 – 433

Călin Teutișan, Scenarii ale criticii. Protagoniști, metode, interpretări, Cluj-Napoca, Editura Școala Ardeleană, 2021

Laura T. Ilea
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.31
P. 434 – 438

Cătălin Pavel, Archéologie de l’amour. De l’homme de Néandertal à Taj Mahal, Éditions de l’Aube, La Tour-d’Aigues, 2022

Constantin Tonu
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
DOI: 10.24193/cechinox.2022.43.32
P. 439 – 445

Vasile Voia, Religia în epoca romantică: Un imaginar al Absolutului, Cluj-Napoca, Școala Ardeleană, 2022

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