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Since the fall of communism in 1989 Southeast Europe has been a site of far-reaching societal transformation, much of it marked by political crisis, economic upheaval, ethnic tension, and bitter war. The book comprises articles investigating the history and development of civil society in post-communist Southeast Europe. How is civil society to be grasped, what are the historical factors shaping the civil societies of the region?, what is the function of civil society in the transition to democracy and a market-economy?, and what are the prospects for the future development of the civil societies of the region in an age of globalization?, –these are just a few of the major questions addressed in this collection of articles. Many of the authors are social scientists, philosophers, and activists from the region, offering first-hand critical analysis of the state of civil society in Southeast Europe and suggesting theoretical and practical strategies for the future course of its development. The aim is to provide the reader with insight into the complex challenges that face the civil societies of the region.
The traumatic experiences of persecution and genocide have changed traditional views of literature. The discussion of historical truth versus aesthetic autonomy takes an unexpected turn when confronted with the experiences of the victims of the Holocaust, the Gulag Archipelago, the Cultural Revolution, Apartheid and other crimes against humanity. The question is whether - and, if so, to what extent - literary imagination may depart from historical truth. In general, the first reactions to traumatic historical experiences are autobiographical statements, written by witnesses of the events. However, the second and third generations, the sons and daughters of the victims as well as of the victimizers, tend to free themselves from this generic restriction and claim their own way of remembering the history of their parents and grandparents. They explore their own limits of representation, and feel free to use a variety of genres; they turn to either realist or postmodernist, ironic or grotesque modes of writing.
This volume focuses on a previously under-researched area, namely exile in and from Czechoslovakia in the years prior to the Second World War as well as during the wartime and post-war periods. The study considers, firstly, the refugees from Germany and Austria who fled to Czechoslovakia during the 1930s; secondly, the refugees from Czechoslovakia, both German and Czech-speaking, who arrived in Britain in or around 1938 as refugees from Fascism; and thirdly, those who fled from Communism in 1948. From a variety of perspectives, the book examines the refugees’ activities and achievements in a range of fields, both on a collective and an individual basis. The volume will be of interest to scholars and students of twentieth century history, politics and cultural studies as well as those involved in Central European Studies and Exile Studies. It will also appeal to a general readership with an interest in Britain and Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.
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.
Fourteen Hard Questions and Straight Answers about a Baltic Country
What do we know about Latvia and the Latvians? A Baltic (not Balkan) nation that emerged from fifty years under the Soviet Union – interrupted by a brief but brutal Nazi-German occupation and a devastating war – now a member of the European Union and NATO. Yes, but what else? Relentless accusations keep appearing, especially in Russian media, often repeated in the West: “Latvian soldiers single-handedly saved Lenin’s revolution in 1917”, “Latvians killed Tsar Nikolai II and the Royal family”, “Latvia was a thoroughly anti-Semitic country and Latvians started killing Jews even before the Germans arrived in 1941”, “Nazi revival is rampant in today's Latvia”, “The Russian minority is persecuted in Latvia. . .” True, false or in-between? The Finnish journalist and author Jukka Rislakki examines charges like these and provides an outline of Latvia's recent history while attempting to separate documented historical fact from misinformation and deliberate disinformation. His analysis helps to explain why the Baltic States (population 7 million) consistently top the enemy lists in public opinion polls of Russia (143 million). His knowledge of the Baltic languages allows him to make use of local sources and up-to-date historical research. He is a former Baltic States correspondent for Finland's largest daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and the author of several books on Finnish and Latvian history. As a neutral, experienced and often critical observer, Rislakki is uniquely qualified for the task of separating truth from fiction.