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Witnessing discourse in Croatian prose about Vukovar during nineties in 20th century


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Novinc, Vlasta. (2017). Witnessing discourse in Croatian prose about Vukovar during nineties in 20th century. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Croatian Language and Literature.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij kroatistike) [mentor Matanović, Julijana].

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This paper explores different narrative modes of autobiographical discourse which constructed the testimonies of reality in the 90s of the 20th century with one common link – the area of Vukovar. Corpus research consists of the following texts: Aleksandar Fedorovsky i Ţeljko Kliment, Vukovarski dobrovoljac (1992.), Siniša Glavašević, Priče iz Vukovara, (1992.), Nedjeljko Fabrio, Smrt Vronskog: deveti dio „Ane Karenjine“ Lava Nikolajeviča Tolstoja: romanzetto alla russa (1994.), Alenka Mirković, 91,6 MHz Glasom protiv topova (1997.), Pavao Pavliĉić, Nevidljivo pismo (1993.), Diksilend (1995.), Šapudl (1995.), Vodič po Vukovaru (1997.), Ivana Simić Bodroţić, Hotel Zagorje (2010.). The paper draws on post-structuralist theory of autobiography, performative reversals, trauma theory and the so-called topological-spatial approach. Determination of postmodern representation can be performed studying the structural nature of discourse and the area of Vukovar from toponym transfigures to the topos – discursive production of symbolic and cultural imaginary crucial for the identity conceptualization of the subject – witness – the victim. Accessing the Vukovar reality is only possible through discourse, and for understanding the weak subject, the determining trace is identity consolidation in relation to the Vukovar area. Dominant discourses whose function is ideological stabilization and homogenization of reality lack weak subjects, witnesses of history, in the consolidation of the gap between signifier and signified, discourse and events. Methodological framework for the reading of texts is poststructuralist; they are read as autobiographical statements arising on the intersections of different discourse – journalistic, literary, historical. Language is understood as a means of power and not as a place of neutral expression. Due to the nature of postmodern representation of the articles analyzed, they have common metatextual orientation and burden of inexpressible reality. Thus interdiscoursive representation of subjective focalization of witnesses imposes denotative production of reality in its performative, not constative function. The thesis of this paper is that the discourse of testimonies produces topos of Vukovar and that functions as a performative construction of reality. This understanding of representation stems from the performative reversal theory of storytelling – the subjects enter the language and discourse, and statements are formed unconsciously adopted linguistic conventions. Synchronic element (Croatian war writing) is crucial but the diachronic framework imposes as a necessary element for understanding the discourse testimonies in the context of Croatian literature of the nineties of the 20th century. Therefore, the two modes decisive in the construction of the Vukovar topos – postmodern version of newhistoric novels (J. Matanović) and autobiographical shaping of personal stories. The matrix of testimonies has a base in deconstruction of historical discourse and time identification is replaced with spatial as the basis for production of culturally-symbolic identity. The so-called weak entity replaces historical narrative with self-referential dialogism of voices in order to create a legitimate mode of testimonies (seeing with your own eyes, J. Matanović). Autobiographical testimonies are formed in the models for the public (P. Bourdieu) different identification framework (body = text). Such texts function as hybrid forms created on the edges, sutures of different discourses in which fiction is a result of the effect of closure, while narrative openness produces the effect of documentary and increased referentiality. For this study, poststructuralist theories of autobiography that distance themselves from the singular definition of the genre are important, and autobiographical narrative phenomenon studied (on the relationship between fiction and faction, literary and historiographical models representation of reality). In a study of autobiography, I rely mostly on works of Mirna Velĉić, Andrea Goldsmith and Helena Sablić Tomić. The term Mirna Velĉić – Radical autobiography (1991) – as a form of discursive demystification of penetration of other texts, dialogicality, heteronimy, and decentralization monologue voice in the statements by conscious polyphony, semantic openness in the process of endless echo prints stories – plays a significant role in structuring this work. One of the settings is a research and studied texts that do not arise in the function of the publication (totalization), but with the testimony of the trauma of the body. Discursive testimony linking event notions of representation and history, or signifying the concretized in the (hi)story. The theory of trauma (Caty Carut, 1995) exposes the fragility of the traumatized subject, that is, the impossibility of representation incurred after the destabilizing events, which causes in the victim only dread and speechlessness. Weak subject suppresses traumatic event, that is, its conceptualization in the language of the subject means just reliving violence. Therefore, the weak subjects, witnesses to the events themselves become seekers of wholeness and their heteronomous, fragmentary and, most often, subversive, statements become radical awareness of fractures and seams on the borders of different discourses. Their team concretized in performatisation experience, enrollment in the text – a simulacrum of events. Narration occurs as a concretization of the body in the discourse, and the selfreferential function is entered in the resulting hybrid texts as incomplete representations induced trauma, and lack of totalizing – metaphysical and historical – discourse. Spatial component appears as a thrust hub narrative and identity (cultural memory). The narrative is thus a subjective component associated with collective memory, replacing the subject of the zero point representation of the initial event. Therefore, the individual's testimony is full of common places necessary to preserve the consistency of an individual subject. The method of reading texts does not follow their chronology, indicating only authoring component output, and the texts under investigation as part of the discourse of testimony that the national narrative reality reliance in the spacial components production of culturally-symbolic identity of the topos of Vukovar.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: autobiographical discourse, the discourse of testimony, representation of reality, poststructuralistic autobiography, radical autobiography, Vukovar topos, performative reversals, Croatian war writing, weak subject, newhistoric novel, trauma theory
Subjects: Slavic languages and literatures > Croatian language and literature
Departments: Department of Croatian Language and Literature
Supervisor: Matanović, Julijana
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij kroatistike
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 12:14
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2017 12:14

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