This year’s issue of Cultural Intertexts hosts a guest section dedicated to “Representations of the Danube in Literature, Music and Visual Arts”,
including articles collected and edited by Monica Manolachi, from the University of Bucharest, in partnership with scholars from “Dunarea de Jos”
University of Galati.
The impact and avatars of the Danube are tracked in Romanian literature, with emphasis on: the construction of cultural spaces and associated identities in Queen Marie’s writing; the limits of fictionality and the narrative challenges of Mircea Eliade’s Miss Christina; exile, migration, and the trauma of separation with novelists from Banat (Sorin Titel, Miloš Crnjanski, Danilo Kiš, Herta Müller and others); the metamorphosis of the blue Danube into its black counterpart in the poetry signed by detainees in the communist forced labour camps of the Danube-Black Sea Canal. Universal literary texts encapsulating Hungarian culture are also selected in view of highlighting the real and represented river (The White King by György Dragomán, Train to Budapest by Dacia Maraini, Under Budapest by Ailsa Kay and Los Amantes Bajo el Danubio by Federico Andahazi). Moreover, the Danube – in shape and ethos – is traced at the level of urban landscapes (Galaţi, Brăila, Sulina) where natural and artificial watercourses indicate tradition and generate renewal. The river is also cartographied to reveal past realities, which only inhabit collective memory today; the reference is to the island of Ada-Kaleh, which, although no longer on the map, is recreated in popular culture. In music, the Danube is shown to take on additional consequence and to communicate in plural ways, charged with cultural significance; the case studies include Romanian folk songs, Ioan Ivanovici’s waltz and George Grigoriu’s operetta “Danube Waves”, and four film soundtracks. Last but not least, snapshots of the river – which emerges as a shape shifter – are collated from photography, literature and sculpture to unveil colourful waterscapes, latent musical scores and entire worlds in words which tell herstory.
The second part of the volume, “On Gender and (Re)writing Patterns”, comprises articles which cover broader solid and fluid, real and imagined spaces, and which are aimed at: exploring the connections between ghostwriting and spectrality, as emerging from Robert Harris’s intertextual novel with a political substratum The Ghost; exposing neoliberalism in the editorial practices of scholarly journals in higher education, and encouraging feminist repurposing; discussing the politics of (re-)representing men and women, as well as the strategies of (re)constructing gender identity in fiction with John Fowles, Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller and Robert Lowell.
The editors of Cultural Intertexts wish to express deep gratitude to reviewers, contributors and partners alike. The yearly publication of the series would not be possible without their academic expertise, dedication and teamwork.