Tea Rokolj deposited Many a Footnote and Afterword: Dubravka Ugrešić and the Essay in the group CLCS European Regions on MLA Commons 1 week, 2 days ago
A widely translated author, and a prominent voice from post-communist Europe, Dubravka Ugrešić has published a variety of literary forms in addition to literary criticism and translations. Playful experimentation with language, boundaries between texts, and literary conventions as well as an acute awareness of the contemporary socio-political context in which her own texts come to be are among the notable features of her writing. It is her essays, however, that invite a closer look at the interstices between the author and the narrator, the world and the text(s). From her early-1990s essays that were critical of the nationalist discourses of former Yugoslavia and which precipitated her exile through her more recent writing that engages with broader political and cultural questions, Ugrešić has come to embody a public intellectual and transnational writer. I argue that her choice of the essay as the literary form allows her to transcend these two identities, however fluid, and provides her with discursive authority and agency. Cognizant of its legacy and its expressive possibilities, Ugrešić continuously revisits the essay, and, at times, moves it into the realm of theoretical fiction. I shall focus on Ugrešić’s more recent work – the essays from Karaoke Culture, Europe in Sepia and Peščanik.