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The Other in Slovene and Italia Poetry about Trieste in The First Half of the 20th Century
Ana Toroš, unpublished conference contribution

Abstract: The paper sheds light on the Slovene and Italian poetry about Trieste in the historically turbulent times of the first half of the 20th century. A significant role in this poetry is namely dedicated to the Other (Slovenes or Italians) in the Trieste region. The literary representation that emerged from it contributed to processes of stereotyping in connection with regional strategies of creating cultural meaning and impinged on the spheres of cultural, political, and economic practice. These stereotypes initially took the form of humorous teasing, but in the years before and after WWI turned into enduring judgements of value and lead to discriminatory acts and violence, as they were part of the destructive (war) propaganda: Before the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Slovenes were frequently mentioned in the Italian poetry about Trieste, though the references tended to be one-sided since Italian (irredentist) poets, dreaming of the union of Trieste with the Kingdom of Italy, were not interested about the Other in their own right, as a neighbour, but only as an antagonist, uncultured foreigner and threatening barbarian, someone to defeat in order to prevent their dreams of a "Slovenian Trieste" from coming true. In the Italian poetry about Trieste from the interwar period we are faced with the phenomenon of negation or silencing of the Other (Slovenes) – according to the forced Italianization of Slovenes in the fascist era. Effectively, this means that the Slovenes are no more allowed on the literary scene: all the names of the characters living in the Trieste region are strictly Italian, so are the names of villages that originally had a Slovene name. The poems tend to depict the Trieste region as an idyllic place free of any social or national tensions. In the Slovene poetry up until the end of WWI the Other (Italians) mostly appears without any value-laden label attached to it. After WWI the situation changed radically and a firm literary model was established: the good but powerless Slovenians struggling to defeat the Other (Italians), depicted as the cruel, unmoral antagonist, aggressive foreigner.
Keywords: lietararna imagologija, stereotipi, Simon Gregorčič, Anton Aškerc, Carlo Mioni, Igo Gruden, Janko Samec
Published in RUNG: 05.05.2016; Views: 5142; Downloads: 0
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