Silent dialogue

"Silent dialogue", by the Italian artist Daria Petrilli. The Organizing Committee warmly thanks the artist for authorizing the use of her work.

During the first two decades of the 2000s, identity issues took on a central role in women’s literature both in Russia and in Poland. Starting from positions and trajectories in some cases independent, in some others converging, numerous women writers from the Russian and Polish areas have felt the urgency to seize mythologies (in the broad sense of the term) to affirm a new sociocultural “order”. In the construction of a new mythology, based on a sort of “multi-mythical bricolage”, the act of writing becomes for women a place of investigation and production of their own identity, which is in turn linked to a search for origins. Therefore, a reconnaissance on the concept of “myth” and the way contemporary Slavic women writers address it touches some transversal issues. Notably, they are partly related to the intimacy of the individual, explored thanks to the therapeutic value of literature, and partly related to collective imagination, to the beliefs and memories of a specific community.

In this context, the use of myths, their rewriting or even their re-creation influences the social and cultural fabric by producing an alternative cultural heritage. In some cases, this alternative integrates women in a canonically masculine space dominated by heteronormativity. In some others, it generates a new awareness in which the overcoming of stereotyped images of women finds stability and foundation.

Privileging a comparative approach for the analysis of the “re-writing” and “de-construction” of myths – without forgetting their declinations, – the conference will take into account the convergences or divergences of new trends in Russian and Polish female narratives. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The concept of “myth”: “old” and “new” myth, their modalities of representation and articulation;
  • Methods and forms used to (de)construct myths;
  • The concepts of “demythologization” and “remythologization”;
  • myth and folklore;
  • the use of myth for the construction of alternative/counterfactual Histories;
  • the relationship between literary genres and the rewriting of myths;
  • problems of translation from Russian and Polish, with specific reference to contemporary literature focused on the (de)costruction of myth and produced by women.

This conference is part of a national project, funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research in 2015, entitled “Myth (De)construction in Contemporary Women’s Literature between Russia and Poland. A Comparative Study”. Involved institutions include: Salento University, Alma Mater Studiorum – Bologna University, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Turin University.