How to deal with trans-local / trans-cultural / trans-civilizational dimension of Modernist movements?
The familiar vision of Fernando Pessoa at his table in Café Martinho and the solitary ambulations of Bernardo Soares throughout the urban core of Lisbon suggest a localized understanding of Modernism. Still, the gist of the Pessoan literary endeavor consists in an attempt of radical de-localization of language and imagination in order to transcend the limitations of “placedness”. The same could be said about Bruno Schulz in Drohobycz in the eastern borderlands of Poland. A substantial part of Modernist writings may be interpreted as a response to the frustration of “being there”. No wonder, thus, Modernism's greatest achievements may be synthesized as voices that privilege the margins: Ireland rather than England, Barcelona rather than Madrid, without forgetting the Modernist spaces in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia and Arabic world.
Modernist capitals are many, and their location is often far from obvious. As Melvin B. Tolson wrote in his Harlem Gallery, “the listening ear can hear / among the moderns, blue / tomtoms of Benin”. Such hidden roots of Modernism entwine the whole planet. A possible approach to Global Modernism(s) would be thus to attempt a cartography of connections that detach themselves from the current geography and merge into an alternative topology of the world in which unexpected dimensions emerge perpendicularity to the spacetime of everyday experience.
The collection of artifacts preserved at the wall of André Breton's cabinet, and similar facts from the cultural history of the avant-garde movements, should be thus interpreted beyond the concept of colonial museum as it marks a longing that transcends the usual understanding of the colonial categorizations. The Modernist esthetic revolution brings about the Golden Age of anthropology and ethnology. Malinowski, Eliade and Warburg can be read in the context of the Modernist aspiration of transcending not only one's own local and cultural positioning, but also the finitude of a civilization.
The trans-cultural and trans-civilizational potential of Modernism lies at the roots of our present globalized condition; on the other hand, internal contradictions of Modernism mark the limitations of our present consciousness. This is the reason why it is important to reinterpret the Modernism from a planetary perspective. The Modernist literature enters the global ways of circulation and becomes the object of de-localized readings. Our aim in this issue is to gather such readings and foster the debate on how to deal with Modernism understood not only as trans-national, but also trans-cultural and trans-civilizational movement.
The contributions to this issue of “Planeta literatur” should be sent before the end of February 2014 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if English remains the privileged tool of academic communication, any other languages, if the authors prefer to chose them, are welcome.
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