‘Oriental Town in the Plain’. Ana Blandiana’s Totalitarian ‘Other’ Cover Image
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‘Oriental Town in the Plain’. Ana Blandiana’s Totalitarian ‘Other’
‘Oriental Town in the Plain’. Ana Blandiana’s Totalitarian ‘Other’

Author(s): Roxana Oltean
Subject(s): Gender Studies, Bulgarian Literature
Published by: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti
Keywords: Balkans; regional identities; totalöitarianism; inner emigration;
Summary/Abstract: Recent critical investigations into representations of Eastern Europe, whether based on a historical investigation of cultural clichés or on contemporary appreciations of the area, often focus on the predominance of the image of the Orient to signify what is perceived as alien to the Western observer. Blandiana’s image of the Oriental Town moreover captures both exotic spectre and totalitarian dystopia, feeding perhaps on a notion of Oriental despotism. An investigation of the convergence of the ‘Oriental’ and the ‘totalitarian’ model reveals that it is possible to argue that the Orient and the totalitarianism it signifies illustrates in retrospect the multiple binds o f a dystopian past, with the Oriental Town a repository of otherness, but interlaced with utopias of the motherland. Both self and other, home and exile, motherly and totalitarian, Blandiana’s Oriental Town comes to embody the uncanny force of Bhabha’s comment on postcolonial encounters when ‘the “other” [...] emerges forcefully, within cultural discourse, when we think we speak most intimately and indigenously “between ourselves”. The construction or even the invention of ‘Eastern Europe’ (the ‘Balkans’) forms a particularly volatile centre of debate for ‘Eastern’ and Western’ (or indeed ‘East-West’) scholars. A common point of departure for the core of imagological studies of Eastern Europe/the Balkans seems to be that geography implies a more or less conscious ideological choice, and the focus of these works is rather on the mechanisms of perception and imposition which create a regional identity.

  • Page Range: 37-51
  • Page Count: 15
  • Publication Year: 2005
  • Language: English