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Interférences Littéraires/ Literaire Interferenties: A Multilingual e-Journal in Literary Studies
Space and Everyday Life
in Contemporary Fiction
Eds. Liesbeth François (KU Leuven) & María Paz Oliver (KU Leuven)
Interférences littéraires / Literaire interferenties, n° 13, june 2014
Since the so-called spatial turn, literary analysis has stressed the importance of space as a way of representing the psychological, cultural and sociological dimension of life (Soja 1989, Hallet & Neumann 2009). At the same time, it has emphasized the necessity of rethinking certain catego¬ries that traditionally have structured the representation of space (center/periphery, country/city, nation/region, space/place), and that were subjected to systematic critique in postmodern works (Kaplan 1996). Concurrently, globalization has led to a new spatial inscription of individuals, societies and States, and this development has also affected literature, in the way it represents the contemporary experience of space, and especially everyday space.
In several literary traditions, contemporary fiction (published after 1990) aims to reflect on the ways in which the immediate present is represented in relation to space. This is the case, for instance, in novels labeled as ethnofiction (Augé 2011), where the gaze turns to the here and now to record the details of daily life. This observation applies, with different nuances, to works in French (e.g. François Maspero, Annie Ernaux), English (e.g. Teju Cole, Tao Lin) or German (e.g. Robert Walser, WG Sebald), as well as to Hispanic fiction, which has experienced a turn toward reality in the last ten years. This “territorial practice of everyday life” (Ludmer 2011), which can also be read as a shift from the interpretation of the recent past to narratives focusing on the immediacy of the present, has been pointed out by critics working on the writings of Sergio Galarza, Fabián Casas, Luigi Amara, Mario Levrero, and Roberto Merino Levrero, among others.
This interest in the “ethnographic representation of the present” (Sarlo 2007) shows the heterogeneity of temporalities and spaces that characterize contemporary everyday life. In this sense, the heightened attention to everyday life and its representations in the fiction of the last 25 years invites us to explore the contemporary experience of space, particularly from the point of view of the new rhythms that mark everyday life. Furthermore, it also illuminates the transformations and social tensions contained in the current experience of space, e.g., the non-places that compose the fabric of daily life in globalized societies (Augé 1986, 1992).
The purpose of this thematic issue of Interferences Littéraires/Literaire interferenties is to reflect on the different ways in which everyday space is constructed in contemporary fiction, and specifically to study how recent literature represents everyday space as well as registers everything that happens routinely in daily life and because of its unquestionable evidence has not been deemed worthy of being narrated (Perec 1973, Felski 2000, Highmore 2002). Thus, this issue will examine how a subject that has been often considered alien to literature feeds, paradoxically, a worldwide trend in recent years.
We welcome all papers on this topic, but are particularly interested in papers that combine the analysis of a specific case with a broader theoretical reflection as well as papers that compare works from various traditions. Contributions can be written in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian or Dutch. An abstract (300-400 words) should be submitted to Liesbeth François (Liesbeth.Francois@arts.kuleuven.be) and María Paz Oliver (firstname.lastname@example.org) before March 30. Authors will be notified by May 1 about the acceptation of their proposition. Final submissions must be sent anonymously by September 1. They will be evaluated by two peer reviewers. The issue is expected to be published in June 2014.