Journal of Baltic Studies 51/3 Available Now

Aug 18, 2020

The third 2020 issue of Journal of Baltic Studies (Vol 51, Issue 3) is now available online. The special issue Entangled Cultures in the Baltic Region contains articles on David Hilchen’s correspondence with humanists from the Low Countries; the model of entanglement and change in literary history; serfdom as entanglement; the readerly dynamic of ‘overhearing’; entangled discourses in a Bildungsroman of Soviet Estonian modernity; entangled perspectives on the book series Loomingu Raamatukogu; complementary occlusions and interlocking extremes in Baltic-Russian memory conflicts; and entangled memories of human rights in Kristina Norman’s video art.

The issue also includes three book reviews and a list of recently published Baltic titles.


Cultural entanglement in early modern letter-writing: David Hilchen’s correspondence with humanists from the Low Countries

Kristi Viiding & Thomas Hoffmann

In the early modern times, correspondence doubtlessly formed an indispensable tool of intercultural communication, exchange, and influence. To determine exactly how far this correspondence did not serve merely as a projection screen reflecting otherwise separated worlds, but effected true entanglement among the letter-writers and their cultural spheres, requires a detailed analysis of the interconnectedness of the ideas and intents transmitted by them. This article undertakes this task through the correspondence between the Livonian humanist and diplomat David Hilchen (1561–1610) and the humanists Justus Lipsius, Johannes Wowerius, Josephus Justus Scaliger, and Janus Dousa in the Low Countries.

KEYWORDS: Humanism in the Low Countries, cultural entanglement, humanism in Livonia, humanism in Poland, Neo-Latin epistolography, David Hilchen, Justus Lipsius

The model of entanglement and change in literary history: peculiarity and performance of a pattern for pre-national literature

Martin Klöker

The model of entangled history appears to be extremely helpful for the literary history of multilingual and multiethnic spaces, since it not only transcends how nations are fixed in the sense of state, ethnicities, and language, but also reveals the manifold entanglements of structures relationships, interactions, and the like. The processes of change in literary history from an epochal structure to an everyday one set the shape of the literature as a whole and of the single text, and as a rule they appear different when seen from a global perspective rather than a local one. Therefore, how suitable the interlacing model is for describing and analyzing these conversion processes needs to be examined.

KEYWORDS: Entanglement, literary change, literary history, German literature, baltic German literature, cultural transfer

Serfdom as entanglement: narratives of a social phenomenon in Baltic history writing

Linda Kaljundi & Ulrike Plath

Serfdom narratives belong to the most prominent, emotionalized, and politicized elements of Baltic history writing. We are claiming in this article that serfdom narratives, although used mainly in national narratives, are regionally and globally entangled topics shared not only by historians from very different contexts but also created outside the historical canon in fiction and the arts. To analyze Baltic history writing as a form of entangled literature we are comparing serfdom narratives in Estonian and Baltic German history writing throughout the long nineteenth century.

KEYWORDS: Serfdom, entanglement, history writing, transnationalism, Estonia, Baltic Germans

Entangled histories and divided audiences: overhearing Joseph Conrad, W. G. Sebald, and Dan Jacobson

Kaisa Kaakinen

This article focuses on specific effects that occur when transnational literary texts encounter diverse readerships that do not share the same historical imaginary. The author highlights a readerly dynamic of ‘overhearing,’ in which readers realize their outsider position within the discourse of a text but also recognize something sufficiently familiar in it to imagine a linkage to their own historical and social position. This dynamic is studied through texts by twentieth-century émigré authors Joseph Conrad and W. G. Sebald as well as by Dan Jacobson, whose memoir on the Lithuanian past of his Jewish family is referenced by Sebald.

KEYWORDS: Comparative literature, transcultural memory studies, postcolonial studies, post-Soviet studies, central and eastern Europe

Entangled discourses in a Bildungsroman of Soviet Estonian modernity: from an Ugly Duckling to Gagarin’s Space Princess?

Piret Peiker

Rannamaa’s youth novel duology Kadri (1959) and Stepmother (1963), set from mid-1950s to 1961, has retained its appeal across generations in Estonia. This article discusses the novels as a postcolonial Bildungsroman, analyzing the tangle of divergent and often contradictory strands inflecting the socio-political, cultural, and literary phenomena and interconnections operative at the time of their writing. The example of the Kadri novels and their history of publication will show how a particular locus of entanglement need not be static, but rather one transforming in time, and, crucially, one producing propulsions to untangle combined with the dynamics of entanglement and relationality.

KEYWORDS: Entangled history, postcolonialism, modernity, Bildungsroman , youth novel, Franco Moretti, Sarah Nuttall, Silvia Rannamaa, Yuri Gagarin

Translating the Soviet Thaw in the Estonian context: entangled perspectives on the book series Loomingu Raamatukogu

Daniele Monticelli

This article develops a multilayered analysis of the Estonian book series Loomingu Raamatukogu within the context of the Soviet Thaw. The series has been issued since 1957 and is principally devoted to translations of foreign literature. My argument takes the Thaw as a new field of uncertain possibilities and shows how a wide translation project became the catalyst for experimentation in the gray zone between the allowed and the forbidden. Investigating the entanglement of different levels of contextual analysis through the prism of Loomingu Raamatukogu lets us refine our understanding of the Thaw and of the complex possibilities and constraints that shaped the performative capacity of cultural agents in the Soviet 1960s.

KEYWORDS: Thaw, Soviet Estonia, translation studies, translation history, entanglement, Loomingu Raamatukogu

Entangled histories in Eastern Europe: complementary occlusions and interlocking extremes in Baltic-Russian memory conflicts

Kevin M. F. Platt

Eastern Europe is the scene of multiple memory conflicts, especially between the Russian Federation and other regional states. Typically, analyses of these conflicts examine contradictions between opposed accounts, critique distortions of the historical record, and attempt to establish corrected narratives. Instead, the present article examines how seemingly incommensurate accounts may be elements of larger structures of entangled mutual reinforcement. Analysis is directed toward Latvian and Russian documentary film accounts of World War II, and reveals how alternate regimes of truth may operate not to destabilize one another, but rather to reinforce opposition and to support symmetrical occlusions in memory discourse.

KEYWORDS: Memory war, fetish narrative, World War II, Latvia, Russia, Šnore, The Soviet Story , Chertkov, Nazism , Baltic Style

Entangled memories of human rights in Kristina Norman’s video art: space, visual frames, politics of art

Eneken Laanes

This article deals with entangled acts of memory in contemporary art that intertwine memories of a violent past with human rights violations or experiences of bloody conflicts in the present to study their potential for solidarity and justice. The article argues that the aim of Kristina Norman’s video art is not only to create awareness of human rights issues in the present, but to also reflect on esthetic, ethical, and political problems related to entangled remembering, in particular (1) the role of space as a trigger of entangled memory, (2) the role of discursive norms and visual frames in the asymmetrical distribution of recognition, and (3) questions of the politics of art dealing with human rights, cultural memory, and recognition.

KEYWORDS: Transnational memory, entangled memory, human rights, video art, Kristina Norman

Book reviews and recent publications

Politische Dimensionen der deutschbaltischen literarischen Kultur, edited by Liina Lukas, Michael Schwidtal, Jaan Undusk, Münster, Lit Verlag, 2018, 440 pp., €49.90 (paperback), ISBN: 978-3-643-14181-1

Kersti Lust

Vorstellungen politischer Ordnung in Litauen: Entwicklungen und Diskussionen seit dem nationalen Erwachen (im frühen 19. Jh.), by Nicolas Daniel Winkler, Marburg, Herder-Institut, 2018, 398 pp., €72.00 (Paperback), ISBN: 978-3-87969-431-0

Vasilijus Safronovas

Yellow star, red star: Holocaust remembrance after communism
by Jelena Subotić, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 2019, 264 pp., $30.00 (hardback.)/$15.00 (e-book), ISBN: 978-1-5017-4240-8

Brett Winestock

List of books received and recent publications

About the journal

Journal of Baltic Studies (JBS), the official journal of AABS, is a vital source of scholarship for those engaged in Baltic state and Baltic Sea region studies. JBS is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal published on a quarterly basis that aims at progressing and disseminating knowledge about the political, social, economic, and cultural life – both past and present – of the Baltic states and the Baltic Sea region. JBS seeks high-quality original articles and review of broad scholarly interest that advance knowledge of the Baltic states and Baltic Sea region.

Published quarterly by the AABS, the annual fee for both membership in the Association and a subscription to JBS is $70.00, $35.00 for full-time students, and $35.00 for emeritus members. Members of the Association receive a free personal subscription to the Journal.

JBS welcomes article and book review submissions from AABS members and other scholars. See the Instructions for Authors page for more info.

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