Alice in the Land of Criticism

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Alice in the Land of Criticism

Thus, through particularly careful and inventive reading, she offers a series of interpretations of the work of some of the bards of contemporary Macedonian poetry and prose, such as Mateja Matevski, Vlada Uroševic and Radovan Pavlovski, followed by the reviews of the work of Jovan Pavlovski, Risto Lazarov, Gordana Mihailova-Bošnakoska, Milovan Stefanovski and Zoran Ančevski, and reaching to the most current production of the younger generation, represented by Frosina Parmakovska, Igor Stanojoski, Petar Andonovski and others.

In the search of the so-called harmonious voices, her interest and her broad spiritual curiosity take as their subject, for example, the reception of Vasko Popa in contemporary Macedonian literature, the poetic dialogue between Liljana Dirjan and Joseph Brodsky, Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita and contemporary Macedonian literature, the perceptive analogies between the mythic unicorn of Vlada Uroševic and the albatross of Charles Baudelaire, Šandor Gjalski and the Macedonian fantastic short story, separate Slovak-Macedonian literary parallels and so on.

Poetry, this unsurpassed, dense form of language expression is certainly one of the greatest passions and the most difficult interpretative challenges for this author. But it seems that poets and writers like to deliberately “torture” critics, and in many cases it appears that they most often do not want to be interpreted! Let us mention in this regard a tickling wordplay between the poet and his critic. In one place in the book, Lidija quotes Vlada Uroševic, who says: “My ideal in poetry is to create a poem that cannot be explained: firm, closed, impenetrable, self-sufficient…” Paraphrasing the poet, Lidija, on the other hand, boldly declares: My ideal in essay writing is to write an interpretive essay on poetry that could explain the poem. I love poetry, that queen of the arts (according to Danilo Kiš), especially the poem that is “firm, impenetrable, self-sufficient”. But how do I interpret it? My attempt is condemned to failure from the very start. I am convinced that I will never succeed in writing that dream essay. But still, paradoxically, as a contemporary Sisyphus, I always accept the challenge to nick at least part of the field of the inexpressible

It is clear that Lidija sincerely loves, feels and defends poetry, having boundless confidence in it, following in some way the message by the Swiss theorist Emil Staiger, which she herself cites as the motto of one of her essays: How do I explain these verses? (asks Staiger, alias Lidija), Where do I start from? I love them, they tell me something, and since I have confidence in them, I dare to interpret them.

Lidija’s second long, lasting and passionate commitment is her interest in fantasy as a genre; she expressed it in her first book already, when she offered a brave and inventive typology of the fantastic stories in Macedonian literature, starting from Cepenkov’s prose, to the narrators at the end of the 20th century. Later, she returned to her passion for the conditions of the dream, the allegorical and the miraculous, through the particularly interesting anthology of contemporary Macedonian fantastic short story titled Hard Night (2009).

Lidija may have inherited, as a contagion, the passionate obsession with sleep, with the oniric and the unusual from her respected professor, the above-quoted Vlada Uroševic, who is present on the pages of this book as well. But she was able to continue and develop this initial incentive in a very unique, particular and original manner, not allowing the passion to die out or be diluted, which is certainly the first and indispensable condition for any successful creative endeavour.

Here’s how passionately she speaks of fantasy here, in the text “The Interpretive Paradigm of Fantastic Literature”: The free creative play of the spirit and the imagination, writes Lidija, devoid of intentionality, is a pillar of pure fantastic. But literary fantastic is not and cannot be just an ordinary play. Fantastic literature is much more, a response to the supremacy of some established stereotypes in literary practice or a rebellion against the rule of sameness. It practices ludism but in the name of otherness/difference, creates alternative worlds, liberates and encourages the awareness of otherness, opens up a dialogue between this (visible, known, tangible, material) and that (invisible, unknown, hidden, spiritual) reality, emphasizes human powerlessness in overcoming the Unknown, problematizes identity issues, actualizes the unconscious as an intersubjective discourse, stirs the fantasy… In a word, it returns the eros in literature, by offering the spirit an unrepeatable, seductive adventure.

Sometimes Lidija seems to have difficulty keeping the cold distance in her critical discourse. But this also testifies to an exceptional sincerity in her approach and gives it a characteristic, unrepeatable mark. Here is what she herself writes about the connection of the rational and the emotional in the process of critical interpretations, feeling sentimentally “touched” by someone else’s authorial text (The Three Novellas by Tanja Uroševic): All these things dragged me into the magical literary world of the heroes, which was so real, related to mine own, and which I equally experienced as my own personal world. Upon repeated encounter/reading of the novellas, objective glasses had to be applied, an effort had to be made to suppress the emotion on the margins and say something impartial, impersonal, nonsubjective. But both readings are inextricably linked, they are two aspects of perception that cannot be observed independently of one another. Isn’t there an irresistible charm in this desperate effort to preserve the strict interpretive tone of our critic, at moments when she yearns just to give into the admiration of the ordinary, immediate and spontaneous reading experience?

AuthorAnastasija Gjurčinova
2019-06-14T20:07:24+00:00 May 30th, 2019|Categories: Reviews, Literature, Blesok no. 125|Tags: |0 Comments