If, in literature, Europe has been the subject of a predominantly partial approach in accordance with different geographic frameworks, either concrete or imaginary, other critical and theoretical approaches allow us to project a more complex and problematizing gaze on the geopolitical and geo-symbolic configurations acquired by the “Old Continent” between the end of the Second World War and the present day.
Over the past 75 years, multiple contexts have arisen which have detached Europe both from a colonial scenario and a continental centrality. Europe has become increasingly represented as existing in an unstable balance and an indeterminate future, between the ties of the local and the appeals of authenticity, on the one hand, and, on the other, the challenges of globalization and the confrontation of identities.
Thus, the European continent becomes more and more legible and interpretable by means of conceptual tools pertaining to what has come to be called area studies, and which presuppose the transversality of issues, flows and exchanges involving literary creation and mediation in a single geopraphical area, regardless of linguistic options (Moura, 2017).
As an area, post-1945 Europe is largely the result of writing and reading, both from an intrinsic outlook, which brings forward liminalities, urbanities and (trans)border experiences that were forgotten, exhumed or imagined, and from an exotopic point of view in which postcolonial subjects inscribe themselves in the European imaginary by means of migrant, exilic or diasporic experiences. These focus their sight “from outside” upon a “provincialized” (Chakrabarty, 2000) or postcolonialized Europe (Schulze-Engler, 2013), “upsetting it” (idem) by referring to its “postcoloniality”, or forcing it to face its “postcolonial melancholy” (Gilroy, 2006) and to (seek to) overcome it.
Europe, nevertheless, stamped as it is by a complex and often dramatic history, still remains a catalyst for hopes, even for utopias, as we also witness paradoxical phenomena such as the rise of radicalism and religious and ideological extremisms, trends of nationalist and identitary closure, migratory flows and social changes, and evidences of a postnational cosmopolitanism (Dominguez / D’Haen, 2015).
In addition to exploring the idea of Europe in contemporary literature, namely insofar as it questions the advantages and weaknesses of an unfinished, ongoing political project like the European Union, it proves equally relevant to examine some trends in the configurations of literary creation and mediation within the space of Europe. This involves consideration not only of its representations in literature, but also of the practices of translation and circulation of “European fiction” between peripheries and centres, between minority languages and languages with a wider international reach, as they are conditioned by legitimating instances as well as by editorial policies and markets.
We therefore invite researchers with an interest in any such aspects of “literary Europe” to submit a paper proposal, bearing in mind the following thematic fields:
- Literary representations of Europe and of the Europeans after 1945;
- The provincialization of Europe;
- Borders/liminalities in Europe;
- Utopian visions of Europe;
- The translation, circulation and legitimation of European literatures.