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Images of Otherness

by Carles Cortés Orts (Volume editor)
©2022 Edited Collection 194 Pages
Series: Romania Viva, Volume 40

Summary

We define others based on the image we have of ourselves, in other words, by opposition to what we are or think we are. This is the theory advocated in sociological studies that seek to examine the deepest aspects of a changing society, ever more heterogeneous and complex. This monograph is intended as a meeting point for specialists from European universities, giving them a platform to reflect on aesthetics and alterity through a series of studies on literary works in the Mediterranean context. The chapters contained in this monograph analyse a number of theoretical issues in order to delve into the aspects listed above, also taking into account the diversity of artistic representations, whether literary, audiovisual or in the plastic arts.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editor
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Contributors
  • Images of Otherness (Carles Cortés Orts)
  • Absolute alterity in the French Enlightenment. Anne-Marie Du Bocage and her Colombiade ou la foi portée au Nouveau Monde (1756) in dialogue with Fontenelle and Voltaire (María Isabel Corbí Sáez)
  • The first stages of Concha Lagos’ life. An interpretation that considers the circumstances in Constancia de la Mora’s Doble esplendor. Similarities and differences (Estrella D. Correcher Juliá)
  • Art, literature and music: The case of Pintura musicada. Antoni Miró (2018) (Carles Cortés Orts)
  • Solitud, the other novel in search of an author (Miquel Cruz i Morente)
  • Alterity with a woman’s voice in Víctor Labrado’s non-fiction novels: Coarse, lively testimonies of hard times (Dari Escandell Maestre)
  • Female protagonism in Catalan young adult and children’s literature (Anna Esteve Guillén)
  • Alterity and uprooting in the autobiographical experiences of exile of Mercè Rodoreda and Anna Murià (M. Àngels Francés Díez)
  • The role of women in Joaquim Ruyra’s stories about the sea (Ivan Gisbert López)
  • “Because I know you, stranger, I can call you sister.” Representations of alterity in La germana, l’estrangera, by Maria-Mercè Marçal (Mònica Güell)
  • Borderlands, rural areas and emptied territories in Fran Ruvira’s Orson West (2012) (Antoni Maestre Brotons)
  • Writing about the margins, writing from the margins: The dramaturgy of Helena Tornero (Isabel Marcillas-Piquer)
  • Writing on the edge between the self and the other: Identity and alterity in poets from the 2010s (Meritxell Matas Revilla)
  • Liana Millu, Natalia Ginzburg and Marisa Madieri: Three models of excellent discourse in non-cannonical narratives from 20th century italian literature (Begoña Pozo-Sánchez)
  • Bad Bunny and Bakhtin: The tactical pluriverse of Latin trap (Dulcinea Tomás Cámara)
  • Series index

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List of Contributors

María Isabel Corbí Sáez (Universitat d’Alacant)

Estrella D. Correcher Juliá (Universitat Politècnica de València)

Carles Cortés Orts (Universitat d’Alacant)

Miquel Cruz i Morente (Universitat d’Alacant)

Dari Escandell Maestre (Universitat d’Alacant)

Anna Esteve Guillén (Universitat d’Alacant)

M. Àngels Francés Díez (Universitat d’Alacant)

Ivan Gisbert López (Universitat d’Alacant)

Mònica Güell (Sorbonne Université)

Antoni Maestre Brotons (Universitat d’Alacant)

Isabel Marcillas-Piquer (Universitat d’Alacant)

Meritxell Matas Revilla (Universitat de Barcelona)

Begoña Pozo-Sánchez (Universitat de València)

Dulcinea Tomás Cámara (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)

←7 | 8→

Carles Cortés Orts

Images of Otherness

We define others based on the image we have of ourselves, in other words, by opposition to what we are or think we are. This is the theory advocated in sociological studies that seek to examine the deepest aspects of a changing society, ever more heterogeneous and complex. Such complexity is reflected in every facet of our daily lives and has an impact on culture, understood and represented in novel ways. The aim is often to subvert the hegemonic approaches in place and step outside the boundaries that had existed until now. No consensus has yet been reached on the concept of identity construction, which remains a subject of debate—theoretical, political, social, literary and linguistic—in intellectual circles. To recognize an identity of our own, maybe we should know what we are looking for. We should also be able to see ourselves in others and, at the same time, differentiate ourselves from those who are unlike us.

This monograph is intended as a meeting point for specialists from European universities, giving them a platform to reflect on aesthetics and alterity through a series of studies on literary works in the Mediterranean context. There are three lines of analysis: gender, culture and society. The chapters contained in this monograph analyse a number of theoretical issues in order to delve into the aspects listed above, also taking into account the diversity of artistic representations, whether literary, audiovisual or in the plastic arts.

To help the reader understand the proposals for analysis, primarily concerned with the us, this introduction will outline the concept of identity. Identity is the way in which a community, culture or society is recognized through its cultural manifestations. These groups can adopt alterities with which to contrast their identity. As opposed to a unitary community perceived as an us, it should be identified as the other. Daniel Montero points it out in “El estudio estético y del binomio identidad-alteridad (nosotros-otros) occidental” [The aesthetic study of the Western identity-alterity (us-others) dualism]:1 “a culture’s perception of identity is possible only when its alterity is excluded”. For this reason, we understand that cultural differences are the ones that lead to an identity-based conception of societies.←9 | 10→

Accordingly, the vision of a collective identity will be re-examined in those chapters that analyse certain aesthetic trends in relation to various cultural forms. The first interpretation of alterity is thus introduced into what constitutes, or once constituted, the aesthetic manifestation of the other. Intercultural contact has led to aesthetic transformations that, in the case of literature, are more evident: alterity and literature establish a relationship that gives rise to the notion of the individual as an anonymous being who can be anyone else in their generality and specificity. These elements of analysis serve as the basis for the studies included in this monograph. The chapters, 15 in total, provide a practical analysis of how alterity has been reflected through literary and artistic manifestations in Mediterranean cultures over the last few centuries.

María Isabel Corbí Sáez, in the article “Absolute alterity in the French Enlightenment. Anne-Marie du Bocage and her Colombiade ou la foi portée au Nouveau Monde (1756) in dialogue with Fontenelle and Voltaire”, analyses absolute alterity through the poetic work of French writer Anne-Marie du Bocage. The article thus examines the other, its recognition and the relationships between civilized individuals and natives, noting that the author, who uses her writing as a means of concealment, is more in line with contemporary authors like Voltaire or Fontenelle. The second study, Estrella D. Correcher Juliá’s “The first stages of Concha Lagos’ life. An interpretation that considers the circumstances in Constancia de la Mora’s Doble esplendor. Similarities and differences”, compares the lives of two writers, Constancia de la Mora and Concha Lagos, and highlights similarities and differences between them.

In “Art, literature and music: The case of Pintura musicada. Antoni Miró (2018)”, Carles Cortés discusses the interaction between three arts—painting, literature and music—in an edition of paintings by artist Antoni Miró. The paintings were set to music, drawing inspiration from literary works. This constitutes a way of understanding alterity within the same culture, through the interplay between creative works from three artistic disciplines that, in a single artistic creation, become compatible with and complement one another. The fourth chapter is “Solitud, the other novel in search of an author”, where Miquel Cruz i Morente reflects on identity construction and the autobiographical elements that Catalan female writer Víctor Català (Caterina Albert) employed in her novel Solitud.

Dari Escandell, in “Alterity with a woman’s voice in Víctor Labrado’s non-fiction novels: Coarse, lively testimonies of hard times”, analyses alterity in the female characters of Víctor Labrado’s non-fiction novels. In a similar vein, the following chapter—Anna Esteve’s “Female protagonism in Catalan young adult and children’s literature”—examines a series of female characters in young adult and children’s literature in Catalan, focusing on the models they provide ←10 | 11→and the roles played by female characters as key elements in reflecting social reality in its diversity and multiple forms. The seventh chapter is “Alterity and uprooting in the autobiographical experiences of exile of Mercè Rodoreda and Anna Murià”, in which M. Àngels Francés Díez looks into the autobiographical experience of exile of both Catalan writers through the letters they exchanged with each other and with other people. The aim is to shed light on how the traumatic experience of exile was made worse by a process of alienation on the ground of gender and understand how both writers viewed their subordination to their male partners at a time in which women were educated to play second fiddle to men.

Ivan Gisbert López’s “The role of women in Joaquim Ruyra’s stories about the sea” addresses the role of the female protagonists of several stories with a seafaring setting written by Catalan author Joaquim Ruyra. The chapter revolves around Ruyra’s aesthetic recreations, which contain elements of Symbolism, the Decadent movement, Naturalism and Costumbrismo. Mònica Güell, author of the chapter “‘Because I know you, stranger, I can call you sister.’ Representations of alterity in La germana, l’estrangera, by Maria-Mercè Marçal”, reinterprets the poems referred to in the title from a stylistic perspective. The author analyses certain elements—namely words, images, figures of speech and poetic forms—in connection with alterity, seeking to explore identity construction through such themes as desire, lesbian love and motherhood. In “Borderlands, rural areas and emptied territories in Fran Ruvira’s Orson West (2012)”, Antoni Maestre Brotons takes a theoretical and critical approach to postcolonial studies with the aim of analysing borderlands and rural areas in the film Orson West. Directed by Fran Ruvira, it follows a film crew from Barcelona who are making a western in El Carxe county. This allows the researcher to delve into how identity is constructed, using the concepts of delimitation and border.

The following chapter is “Writing about the margins, writing from the margins: The dramaturgy of Helena Tornero” by Isabel Marcillas-Piquer. The chapter covers the dramatic techniques and cultural meanings present in some of the works penned by Catalan playwriter Helena Tornero, in which migrations are treated as a constant in the history of humanity and the characters’ identities are shaped under difficult circumstances. Meritxell Matas Revilla, in “Writing on the edge between the self and the other: Identity and alterity in poets from the 2010s”, is more interested in the poetic work of several Catalan women writers over the past decade, particularly in what is known as poetry of the body, in which the primary means of expression is the imaginary of the body. The researcher discusses identity and alterity, in which key concepts include the relationship with and creation of the other.←11 | 12→

The last two chapters are Begoña Pozo-Sánchez’s “Liana Millu, Natalia Ginzburg and Marisa Madieri: Three models of excellent discourse in non-canonical narratives from twentieth-century Italian literature” and Dulcinea Tomás Cámara’s “Bad Bunny & Bakhtin: The tactical pluriverse of Latin trap”. Pozo-Sánchez focuses on the fiction works of Italian writers Liana Millu, Natalia Ginzburg and Marisa Madieri, who devoted part of their work to figure out the space of women in processes related to exodus, exile and memory. Finally, Dulcinea Tomás discusses the undeniable rise of Latin trap in mainstream music and the social and cultural impact of its role models, to reflect on identity construction and alterity in the current urban music scene. All in all, the chapters show how these new approaches can contribute to a better understanding of contemporary works of literature and art in Mediterranean cultures.

Details

Pages
194
Year
2022
ISBN (PDF)
9783631865668
ISBN (ePUB)
9783631865675
ISBN (Hardcover)
9783631865651
DOI
10.3726/b18941
Language
English
Publication date
2021 (December)
Published
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2022. 194 pp., 11 fig. b/w.

Biographical notes

Carles Cortés Orts (Volume editor)

Carles Cortés Orts is a full university professor in literature at the University of Alicante Department of Catalan Studies and a member and director of the Multidisciplinary Research Group in Literature and other arts in Mediterranean Cultures (2002–2020). He was the University of Alicante Vice President for Culture, Sports and Languages (2012–2020).

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