Interlitteraria <table style="background-color: #ffffff;" border="0" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"> <tbody> <tr valign="top"> <td width="25%">Founded in 1996, <em>Interlitteraria</em> is the peer-reviewed journal of the Chair of Comparative Literature of the University of Tartu and the Estonian Association of Comparative Literature. <em>Interlitteraria</em> publishes original articles in English, French, German and Spanish, in the field of comparative literature.</td> <td width="25%">Revue à comité de lecture fondée en 1996, <em>Interlitteraria</em> est publiée par la chaire de Littérature comparée de l'université de Tartu et l'Association estonienne de littérature comparée. <em>Interlitteraria</em> publie des articles originaux en anglais, en allemand, en français et en espagnol, touchant princi­palement le domaine de la littérature comparée.</td> <td width="25%"><em>Interlitteraria</em> wurde im Jahr 1996 als international begutachtete Zeit­schrift am Lehrstuhls für ver­gleichende Literatur­wissen­schaft der Universität Tartu und der Assoziation der Vergleichenden Literatur­wissen­schaft in Estland gegründet. <em>Interlitteraria</em> ver­öffent­licht englische, franzö­sische, deutsche und spanische Original­artikel, vor­nehmlich aus dem Bereich der vergleichenden Literatur­wissen­schaft.</td> <td width="25%">Fundada en 1996, <em>Interlitteraria</em> es la revista con arbitraje de expertos promovida por la Cátedra de Literatura Comparada de la Universidad de Tartu y la Asocia­ción Estonia de Literatura Com­parada. <em>Interlitteraria</em> publica artículos originales en inglés, francés, alemán y español rela­tivos al campo de la litera­tura com­parada.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> en-US <p>The contents of <em>Interlitteraria</em> are published under CC BY-NC-ND licence.</p> (Jüri Talvet) (Katre Talviste) Thu, 01 Sep 2022 15:07:23 +0300 OJS 60 Editor’s Preface Katre Talviste Copyright (c) Wed, 24 Aug 2022 14:28:09 +0300 Introduction. Pandemics in the Western Literature and Culture (20th–21st centuries) Peggy Karpouzou, Nikoleta Zampaki Copyright (c) 2022 Peggy Karpouzou, Nikoleta Zampaki Wed, 24 Aug 2022 15:03:26 +0300 Gothic Elements in Representations of a Pandemic: Borislav Pekic’s Rabies <p>The paper deals with the Gothic elements in the representation of a pandemic based on the 1983 novel <em>Besnilo</em> (‘<em>Rabies</em>’) by Serbian author Borislav Pekic. The authors start from the premise that the elements ‘borrowed’ from the Gothic genre play a key role in creating the main plot of the novel: a catastrophe caused by an extremely contagious and deadly man-manipulated version of the rabies virus. The theoretical framework is based on Fred Botting’s (1995) and Jerrold E. Hogle’s (2002) views of Gothic writing as a diffused mode that exceeds genres and categories and contributes its various elements to various literary forms. Furthermore, Gothic elements characteristic of Gothic science fiction, such as madness, monstrosity, the Mad Scientist, people meddling with nature with catastrophic consequences, the apocalyptic vision of human future and “the removal of man from his natural, living state and entry instead into a state of being neither completely human or monster, and neither fully alive or completely dead” (MacArthur 2015: 79) are traced in the novel and analysed in the context of literary representations of a pandemic. As Pekic’s novel is a mixture of various genres and is often defined and described as a horror thriller novel, an attempt is made to offer a new reading that would consider its constituent Gothic elements against a backdrop of the deeply and inherently human drama of the everlasting struggle between good and evil. Thus, pandemics are represented as a kind of catalyst that exposes both deeply human and rational, and deeply inhuman and irrational, impulses, leaving the final outcome of that struggle uncertain.</p> Ana Kocić Stanković, Marko Mitić Copyright (c) 2022 Ana Kocić Stanković, Marko Mitić Wed, 24 Aug 2022 15:08:47 +0300 Physical Isolation and Viral Information in Mira Grant’s Newsflesh Stories <p>Set in the ongoing Kellis-Amberlee pandemic, Mira Grant’s zombie adventure series <em>Newsflesh</em> (2010–2016) conjoins knowledge-power with the physical and technological apparatuses of control for a group of narratives that place citizens against the government. The ongoing apocalypse is untenable, as exemplified in the radically constricted lives most people live in efforts to protect themselves from people or other mammals who have been transformed into zombies by the virus. This constriction, and therefore the extension of government framing of the pandemic as a crisis condition, consolidates power in the hands of a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that is actively and secretly working to eliminate human adaptive responses to the virus.</p> <p>“Physical Isolation and Viral Information in Mira Grant’s <em>Newsflesh</em>” explores the connections between knowledge, scientific authority, physical distancing, and collective action. Given the figural power of zombies, the apparatuses for control of the vulnerable and dangerous bodies in this uncontrolled pandemic substitute – and obscure the need for – widespread sharing not only of facts but of understanding the implications of those facts. Two decades of misinformation and fear campaigns, in <em>Newsflesh</em>, trampled the legacy of “the Rising” and transformed the survivors from collective actors who shared what they learned in their attempts to stay alive into fearful isolationists who lack the knowledge to exercise power or enact community. The abuses of power discovered by the characters in these texts point to possible ways of not merely surviving but of living amid the zombie pandemic.</p> Jenni G. Halpin Copyright (c) 2022 Jenni G. Halpin Wed, 24 Aug 2022 15:13:23 +0300 Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Video Game Narratives: Pandemic Themes in Covid Times <p>This article explores the relationship between Bram Stoker’s <em>Dracula</em>, and its influence on video game narratives. Video game sales have increased significantly since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The influence of Stoker’s <em>Dracula</em> and the narratives of vampire and pandemic video games is important, since some popular games are explicitly centred around pandemics and vampires, and are being played during the Covid-19 pandemic. The article explores the historical connection between epidemics and the vampire myth, and how that influenced the narrative of Dracula, especially the connection between the influence of cholera and his upbringing in Ireland. It then examines how the narrative has been influential in video game narratives. Finally, the article touches on how video games with pandemic themes may be used by a player to find a sense of control, explore difficult narratives in a structured environment, and explore various points of view and catharsis.</p> Vanessa L. Haddad Copyright (c) 2022 Vanessa L. Haddad Thu, 01 Sep 2022 13:49:44 +0300 Facing the Black Death: Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter in Times of Pandemics <p>At the end of Sigrid Undset’s medieval trilogy <em>Kristin Lavransdatter</em> (1920–1922), the heroine encounters the bubonic plague that so violently hit Europe in the mid-fourteenth century. The aim of this paper is to explore the connections between the 20th century novel and the European tradition of plague literature from the broader perspective of environmental history. Furthermore, it discusses the historical novel’s effect as a <em>distant mirror</em> for 20th and 21st century readers. An underlying argument is that the ethical imperative in <em>Kristin Lavransdatter</em> is affecting the way the protagonist encounters the plague, which may explain what distinguishes Undset from many of her contemporaries.</p> Sissel Furuseth Copyright (c) 2022 Sissel Furuseth Thu, 01 Sep 2022 13:52:52 +0300 “Do you think it is a Pandemic?” Apocalypse, Anxiety and the Environmental Grotesque in Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl <p>Paolo Bacigalupi’s <em>The Windup Girl</em> (2009), set in the post fossil-fuel, post turbo-capitalist country of Thailand, portrays the shocking after effects of bioengineering and gene-hack modifications in food crops. The narrative depicts a country tottering on the brink of an agricultural apocalypse on account of food production being severely affected by crop driven anomalies and rogue diseases such as “cibiscosis” and “blister rust” transmitted by variants of mutating pests. Natural seed stock becomes completely supplanted by the new genetically engineered seeds which become sterile after a single seasonal cycle of sowing and harvesting. The native population of Thailand is adversely affected by the pandemic scenario, which becomes aggravated by an expedient “scientocracy” that is at the heart of the neocolonial enterprises of American megacorporations and calorie companies like Agrigen, PurCal and Redstar who hail gene hacking as the new future of food resources and market profiteering. The consumption of the gene-hacked produce spreads through crops and affects the human body in unimaginable ways thereby resulting in a considerable rise of health issues including digestive and respiratory failures.</p> <p>This paper intends to articulate the idea of a pandemic, its historical understanding and affective influences in the context of a post techno-fossil fuel economy set in Thailand. It will analyse the idea of epidemiological colonialism; diseases introduced by colonising forces that reshape the natives’ existing environment thereby bringing forth a deep pandemic anxiety that percolates the collective memory of the Thai people. It also highlights how the novel portrays the conflict between traditional ecological knowledge systems and modern extractive enterprises that acts as a catalyst to hasten the destruction of sustainable systems of agriculture and food production that have endured the impact of climate change and ecological fallout. The paper will study the relevance of the pandemic as an agency of ecocatastrophe and its function in an eco-speculative science fictional narrative. Finally, the paper looks into the concept of the posthuman android, genetically modified humans in a “technologiade”, a society reconfigured by technoscience to resist the impact of environmental collapse, and explores how this trope is incorporated in Bacigalupi’s narrative to celebrate human striving for hope and survival in an imagined environmental future marked by a self-created agro-scientific grotesqueness.</p> Sanchar Sarkar, Swarnalatha Rangarajan Copyright (c) 2022 Sanchar Sarkar, Swarnalatha Rangarajan Thu, 01 Sep 2022 14:48:40 +0300 Rituals of Coexistence: Bodies and Technology during Pandemics <p>Pandemics not only challenge health systems and the economy, they also deeply transform our everyday lives and the ways in which we coexist. People have to find new definitions of what it means to be close to one another, to show empathy and to comfort each other. With social distancing, we must learn how to use digital technologies to create novel forms of closeness. Viruses becomes the new other, alien forces that invisibly permeate social life. They find hosts predominantly in the places where humans get close to each other. Rituals such as eating, drinking, and dancing are the links that hold an otherwise largely disembodied culture together. I will combine a perspective on human cognitive evolution as an embodied process, the hedonist drive towards bodily encounter in Sigmund Freud’s sense and the development of technology and the current tendency toward a culture of disembodiment. The article asks what the role of bodily ritual is in public space. Here I will argue that this is a vital role because it is the only way to create feelings of resonance and connectedness amongst larger groups of people. The pandemic prohibits these rituals, so we need to ask further: Does the pandemic lead to new forms of being together? This is closely linked to the accelerated development of technology. The more precise question is: Does technology afford new forms of embodiment? My aim is to introduce ideas of philosophical posthumanism to think in a productive way about incorporating technology in order to satisfy human needs for contact and resonance.</p> Yvonne Förster Copyright (c) 2022 Yvonne Förster Thu, 01 Sep 2022 14:54:14 +0300 Paralipomena of a Pandemic <p>The pandemic, which has affected the whole world and has many victims, changing our lifestyle and having its own narrative structure that would be interesting to retrace. Undoubtedly, despite science fiction getting us used to dystopian and apocalyptic scenarios, the sudden epidemiological emergency caught us unprepared. We could hardly have thought of suddenly giving up habits that we considered consolidated, such as being able to travel, meet friends, gather in public places, go to a restaurant, go to school. The pandemic suddenly cancelled all of this. But what caused this pandemic? Perhaps a simple virus from an Asian wet market? Perhaps the extreme connectivity of the human network? Perhaps the ecological alterations we have caused? Or is the pandemic the result of a deeper cultural crisis?</p> Roberto Marchesini Copyright (c) 2022 Roberto Marchesini Thu, 01 Sep 2022 14:57:43 +0300 About the Authors <p>About the Authors</p> About Authors Copyright (c) Thu, 01 Sep 2022 15:00:09 +0300