Mash-Up. Forms and Meanings of Hybridization in Literary Writing

full name / name of organization: 
«Ticontre. Teoria Testo Traduzione»
contact email: 

This «Ticontre» monographic issue aims at investigating the artistic practices grounding on the concepts of blending, transgression, fusion, and which seem to re-enact the romantic attempt to conceive a total and absolute work, merging all the different arts.
The goal of the issue is to trace the field lines and to understand the newness of the idea of permanent subversion apparently hinged on the very heart of the contemporary art system, ever since the identity and the boundaries of the speaking subject of the literary discourse
have been redefined by the opening toward "Otherness". For instance, why is the once clear distinction between novel, poetry and theatre less and less suitable to describe the current paths of literature? What makes the new forms (essay, report) more fitting with the expressive
needs of modernity? How did the artistic awareness, both creative and critical, of Romanticism activate a self-reflective process which, shaping art from the inside, redesigned the literary landscape?
Between the 19th and the 20th century, the growing complexity of the media system began to interfere with the aesthetic practices. Walter Benjamin associated the plates of Mallarmé's «Coup de dés» to the advertising posters, thus creating an analogy between the conceptual organization of the page and the semiotic organization of the metropolis. Benjamin's statement seems to set forth the irreversible hybridization of the space of imagination, whose interpretation requires new strategies of analysis and description.
The shifts from one code to another do not merely concern the theory of translation (providing concepts such as adaptation, transmutation, inter- or intra- semiotic translation), or the status of Comparative Literature as an academic subject. Indeed, the mash-up of different
languages is the driving force of modern creativity.
In this perspective, which are the representational patterns taking charge of contents that the traditional forms are not anymore able to convey? In the experiences inspired by the reflections of the avant-garde, the literary language settles formal and structural analogies with the language of the media. The media system enables meta-linguistic considerations and provides the discourse with organizational models, which, arranging signs according to a nonlinear
logic, wipe out the traditional syntax. Can the explicit programmatic attitude of these artistic experiments be interpreted as a symptomatic phenomenon? How can the ongoing poetic activity of the technically reproducible communication system be capitalized?
The medium is not just a tool for transferring information: it sets up a cognitive model, it embodies an organizational principle of the experience. Thus, literary writing has been greatly influenced by this modelling function: let us think, for instance, about the influence of journalism and periodical communication on narrative forms (which brought forth the modern novel); or the embodiment in the 20th century writing of the cinematographic cutting technique;
or the influence of the radio on the oral attitude of modernist literature (suffice to refer to Joyce); or the different audiovisual models and materials nourishing postmodernist literature; or, eventually, the latest writing experiments within the digital environment.
This «Ticontre» monographic issue will accept contribution analyzing and interpreting, in an international perspective, the ways in which modern literature is nourished by hybridization. Analyses can concern both the hybrid genres par excellence (i.e. novel, essay) and the blending among different discursive strategies and different models of enunciation.
Proposals can focus on the merging of poetry and prose, historical document and invention,
report and narrative, autobiography and fiction, philosophy and criticism, but also on the interchanges between comic and tragic and on the co-presence of traditionally distinct modal
categories (epic, drama, lyric) occurring in the modern and contemporary aesthetic system.
Proposed papers can be equally focused on unexpected crossing of themes and topoi, and on forms which recently assumed a new aesthetic value (report, biography, pamphlet). Thus, this monographic issue is intended to evaluate the usefulness of current rhetoric or pragmatic distinctions (such as the one between 'high-brow' and 'low-brow' literature) and to understand which relationships, if any, occur between two apparently opposed trends on which modern artistic paradigms are grounded, i.e., absolutization (or intransitivity), and "deaestheticization" (Entkunstung).
Proposals can concern studies focusing on little known works, but also questioning canonized authors, whose modernity is based on the spurious, heterogeneous, polyphonic attitude of their writing (Lautréamont, Schwob, Joyce, Proust, Beckett, Mallarmé, Broch, Gadda, Octavio Paz, Juan Ramón Jiménez, just to quote some possible example). The monographic issue also aims at investigating the growing critical attention - which characterized the 20th
century - for paratextual elements, , as that marginal space where new strategies of emancipation from tradition and of artistic validation are experienced.
Here are some possible perspectives of inquiry:
• textual analyses of case studies of literary hybridization among different genres and different discoursive models
• textual analyses of case studies of hybridization among different codes and different semiotic systems
• analyses of literary texts embodying forms, rhetorics and styles coming from other media
• inquiries on the limitations of writing with the conceptions of the word as an object and of the text as a manufactured product
• mutations of the critical discourse in relation with the engagement of literature in wider structures of formal and symbolic semiosis
• textual analysis of diaries, notebooks, letters, reviews, authorial critical notes

We accept proposals for contributions in Italian, French, Spanish and English. If interested, please send an abstract of about 300 words, together with a bio-bibliographical profile (max 150 words, attached in a distinct file), to, by June 30, 2015.
The results of the selection will be announced by July 15, 2015. Selected contributions must be sent by October 30, 2015, and will be peer reviewed. For information and requirements, please don't hesitate to contact the editors at