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“The windows are moved once a guest has looked through them”: The architecture of the transitory in Gabriel Josipovici’s narrative
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Portuguese. University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies. (Literature, identity and Transculturality)
2014 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The British writer Gabriel Josipovici, well-known – even if in often unfortunate deprecatory terms – for his so-called experimentalism, published in 1987 his third collection of his short stories, In the Fertile Land. The collection contains eighteen short stories where the full range of the author’s concerns and modes of expression can be found, but most significantly it displays a particular emphasis on one of the most characteristic features of his oeuvre: the intermedial dimension of his writing. Indeed, we find stories which we can relate to artists as different as Vermeer, Klee, Vuillard, Picasso, Dix and Verbena, too name a few.

And yet, in “Second Person Looking Out”, one of the most notable stories of the collection, the shift changes from art to architecture. The story is a tripartite text written in first, third and second person, where the seemingly co-referential protagonists of each section try to find their way in and out of a house with sliding doors and windows. In a later essay, Josipovici confirms the crucial importance which the house plays in the structure of his story as he refers to the remarks of the German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen on Japanese architecture as the starting-point of his story: “He [Stockhausen] grew fascinated by the Japanese use of sliding doors and windows, which had the effect, he said in the interview, of blurring the threshold between inside and outside”.

Drawing on this, this paper shall seek to explore how the different sense of time and space which had earlier enticed Stockausen is then appropriated by Josipovici, focusing on the way the author not only uses Stockhausen’s anecdote as a stimulus for his story, but indeed bases the very narrative structure of the text precisely on this interplay between an inner and outer dimension. In the end, we shall see how this narrative structure of architectural nature contributes to an exploration and celebration of the transitory and interstitial.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Intercultural Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-18985OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-18985DiVA: diva2:845168
Conference
International Conference Arch&Lit: Inter-Arts Dialogues, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, New University of Lisbon, 4-5 December 2014
Available from: 2015-08-11 Created: 2015-08-11 Last updated: 2017-01-31Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
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  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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