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Ekphrasis

A Figure of Transgression in Literature, Theatre, and Cinema: Aglaja

Ștefan FIRICĂ


Abstract:

Ever since the publication of her two books (Warum das Kind in der Polenta kocht, 1999, and Das Regal der letzten Atemzüge, 2002), Aglaja Veteranyi seemed to fall in between the classical divisions of literary systems. As a multingual (with a Hungarian-Romanian heritage, performing in Switzerland as a circus entertainer, writing in German), she was regarded as a representative of migrant literature in Romanian, Swiss, or German cultures as well, i.e., an epitome of marginality. Her texts were described as fiction, autobiography, or poetry, given their mixture of elements pertaining to each of the genres. Moreover, they were adapted into several pieces of pop art (film, theatre, music), able to showcase, for larger audiences, some of the encounters specific for today’s societies: individual vs. authority, migrant vs. native, citizen vs. non-citizen,”West” vs. ”East”, male vs. female (encounters undermined by superiority / inferiority complexes, scars, guilt, etc.). Giving a feel of freshness and vulnerability, Aglaja has become a compelling figure of transition of our times (between ”high” an ”low”, between cultures and arts). This article looks into some of the strategies used in literature, film, theatre, or music, that helped turn Aglaja into an icon of transgressive art.

Keywords: identity, migrant literature, feminine literature, interart studies, circus

DOI: 10.24193/ekphrasis.18.7

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