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Themes and Contexts
The manner in which south-east Europe is viewed by western cultures has been an increasingly important area of study over the last twenty years. During the 1990s, the wars in the former Yugoslavia reactivated denigratory images of the region that many commentators perceived as a new, virulent strain of intra-European prejudice. British Literature and the Balkans is a wide-ranging and original analysis of balkanist discourse in British fiction and travel writing. Through a study of over 300 texts, the volume explores the discourse’s emergence in the imperial nineteenth century and its extensive transformations during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. There will be a particular focus on the ways in which the most significant currents in western thought – Romanticism, empiricism, imperialism, nationalism, communism – have helped to shape the British concept of the Balkans.
The volume will be of interest to those working in the area of European cross-cultural representation in the disciplines of Literary Studies, Cultural Studies, European Studies, Anthropology and History.
Over the last decade, migration flows from Central and Eastern Europe have become an issue in political debates about human rights, social integration, multiculturalism and citizenship in Great Britain. The increasing number of Eastern Europeans living in Britain has provoked ambivalent and diverse responses, including representations in film and literature that range from travel writing, humorous fiction, mockumentaries, musicals, drama and children’s literature to the thriller. The present volume discusses a wide range of representations of Eastern and Central Europe and its people as reflected in British literature, film and culture.
The book offers new readings of authors who have influenced the cultural imagination since the nineteenth century, such as Bram Stoker, George Bernard Shaw, Joseph Conrad and Arthur Koestler. It also discusses the work of more contemporary writers and film directors including Sacha Baron Cohen, David Cronenberg, Vesna Goldsworthy, Kapka Kassabova, Marina Lewycka, Ken Loach, Mike Phillips, Joanne K. Rowling and Rose Tremain.
With its focus on post-Wall Europe, Facing the East in the West goes beyond discussions of migration to Britain from an established postcolonial perspective and contributes to the current exploration of 'new' European identities.