Alojzija Zupan Sosič – ON THE QUAY OF CONTEMPORANEITY; LITERATURE AND THE NOVEL

The ten papers on the monograph entitled Na pomolu sodobnosti ali o književnosti in romanu (On the Quay of Contemporaneity; Literature and the Novel) investigate the role and meaning of contemporary literature. This investigation is in two parts: the first, On Literature, is theoretical in nature, giving a survey of writings on the history of literature. The second, Concerning the Novel, is dedicated to the analysis of a single Slovene novel in each  discussion. The two are not only linked by way of looking at the Slovene novel within the wider context and establishing the links between the two, but also through methodology, or, more precisely, methodological pluralism. The various methods, insights and approaches are balanced through the lens of post-classical narratology, stress being laid on context, the text and the reader / critic, the core rule of post-classical narratology being the shift between the text and the co-text. It passes from cognition through ethics to ideology; this is therefore not only an analysis of narration, but also its reading within a wider social and cultural context.

         The paper Literarnost, ponovno (Literariness) discusses the questions “What is literariness?” and “When is literariness?”Although sometimes there is a thin differentiating line that distinguishes a literary text from a non-literary one, it is precisely the knowledge of literariness that eliminates the challenge of differentiation, when the dominant or predominating features are taken into account in comparing various texts. In the study entitled Trivijalnost nakon postmodernizma (The formulaicity in literature after postmodernism) it was useful to add literary historical dimensions to socio-cultural analyses of mass literature, wherein belongs formula fiction, by connecting them with the properties of the post-modern, post-modernism and mass culture. Discussion Vrijeme uspješnica (The time of bestsellers) deals with the notion that the difference between literariness (the characteristic of a quality book) and formulaicity (the characteristic of a bestseller) is huge. A best-seller is a book which achieves an unusual market success by way of various factors: the actuality of the theme, fashion, market needs, propaganda, favourable offers made to the booksellers, multiplication by way of various media, praising of the book before it even proves itself on the market, prizes, celebrity endorsement, the size of the book market and lists of the factors of success as means of manipulation. Slovene literature in the post-modern age is not yet a complete phenomenon and so research Slovenska književnost nakon 1990 godine (Slovene literature since 1990) is faced with two challenges: to combine the literary perspective with the sociological, historical and culturological, and to achieve sufficient (academic) distance from current literary production.

The term transrealism is once again discussed in the study Transrealizam – novi pravac suvremenog slovenskog romana? (Transrealism – a new trend in the contemporary Slovene novel?). The very prefix in the term transrealism shows that it is closely connected with the previous realist trends and that in it repeatability and eclecticism take on a significance permeated by the new role of the literary subject.

In the paper Alamut I suggest several possibilities for introducing the novel in  historical, philosophical and religious, and psychological perspectives, by presenting the novel as a sketch for effective literary reading. Alamut can be read on various levels: while reading the double-layered text, the attention is directed first at the story and then at the broader narrative. In the study Pimlico, Pimlico by Milan Dekleva is compared to The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Both are modern European novels which can be successfully understood only through modern interpretation. In the paper Čitateljska skica za Jančarev roman Polarna svjetlost (A reading sketch for Jančar´s novel Severni sij) the picture of prewar Maribor conveys the contemporary message about the absurdity of violence, the limits of human reason and the limitless hatred. The article Antiutopijski otok u romanu Filio nije kod kuće Berte Bojetu (The distopian island in novel Filio is not at home Berte Bojetu) researches the novel as a modified traditional novel: takes it to be a modified type of traditional novel, looking as it does to the tradition while undergoing various transformations, the most present of which is its genre syncretism (a love story with a psychological bias, dystopian novel and parable,) the  role of the narrator and an increased amount of dialogue. This makes the narrative lively and dramatic, qualities that come most to the fore in the dialogue which conveys contemporaneity and the writer’s empathy. In the last paper, Pijetlov doručak, knjižna i filmska uspješnica (The Cockerel’s Breakfast, a best-seller and film blockbuster), a book by Feri Lainšček is compared to a film by Marko Naberšnik. The Cockerel´s Breakfast has been a hit both in book form and on the screen.