The Aesthetics of Literary Transculturation: The Latvian Case

Benedikts Kalnačs

Abstract


This paper offers an interpretation of Rūdolfs Blaumanis’ novella Andriksons (1898) that is based on three intellectual positions. (1) The insight gained by postcolonial criticism that the political and economic division of the world as created by colonial relationships and secured by a consciously shaped system of ideological models has left a lasting impression on the psychology of both the representatives of the superpowers and the local inhabitants of the colonized territories. The main thread of analysis is to research how the opinions of two characters and the differences in their worldviews meet in Blaumanis’ text, and to reveal how the colonial and anti-colonial viewpoints are expressed in such confrontations. (2) Since Blaumanis’ novella was written at the end of the 19th century, which was one of the most intensive periods of Latvian nation-building, the anti-colonial discourse is closely related to the manifestation of nationalism in art. Nationalism, or any ideology, is most powerful in a work of art when it is outwardly unnoticeable, but inwardly capacious and expressed as a potentiality; therefore, the poetics of the text are important in this paper. (3) The framework of my argument is provided by current debates on the so-called “decolonial turn” which also involves concepts of modernity, coloniality and decoloniality. Therefore, the strategic aim of this research can be described as an effort to trace colonial contexts and decolonial options of modern Baltic cultures in global perspective.

Keywords


postcolonial theory; colonial and anti-colonial discourse; modernity; coloniality; decolonial option; Baltic literature; Latvian literature; Rūdolfs Blaumanis

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References


Blaumanis, R. 1958. Andriksons. – Kopoti raksti. Vol. 2. Rīga: Latvijas Valsts izdevniecība, 307–331.

Kalnačs, B. 2011. “Es atsakos no jūsu žēlastības, baronlielskungs.” Rūdolfa Blaumaņa novele “Andriksons”: postkoloniāls lasījums. – Humanitāro Zinātņu Vēstnesis, 19, 17–22.

Kalnačs, B. 2012. Smoke and Fire: Autoethnographic Expression In Early 20th Century Latvian Literature. – http://www.otherness.dk/fileadmin/www.othernessandt-hearts.org/Publications/Journal_Otherness/Otherness_3.1new/Kalnacs.pdf

Maldonaldo-Torres, N. 2011. Thinking Through the Decolonial Turn: Post-continen- tal Interventions in Theory, Philosophy, and Critique – An Introduction. – Transmodernity (Fall), 1–15.

Mignolo, W. 2011. The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options. Durham & London: Duke University Press.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.12697/IL.2013.18.1.04

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