FROM WALKING AROUND THE TOWN TO MAPPING: DAŠA DRNDIĆ’S LEICA FORMAT AS TOPOGRAPHIC PROSE

Author:
Dejan Durić
Email:
ddurić@ffri.hr
Summary
The issue of urban space and its representation is nowadays a dynamic area of research within literary and cultural theory, and it can be put into the context of literary geography as an interdisciplinary field that connects literary theory, geography and cartography. Literary geography and cartography are the results of the shift towards space, a theoretical paradigm that has aroused interest in space in social and humanistic disciplines, but also in literary science. A general consensus that the representation of an urban area is regularly subjected to the processes of fictionalization despite the possibility of topographic accuracy exists. The paper starts from the position of literary geography and cartography and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the use of maps as a means of interpretation by using Daša Drndić’s novel Leica Format as an example. We conclude that cartographic perspective has to be supplemented with topographical perspective which can tell us more about the constructed nature of space through a variety of social practices and relationships. In the paper we talk about specific urban surroundings located at a particular place and time that has its residents, typical locations, and urban infrastructure. Its representation takes place in a triple mode. At the fundamental level, there is the city as a given material. The next level is that of the subjective construct of the city which stems from the point of view of a female narrator and her relationship to it which is linked to the present time. The narrative segment about the past is shown in the manner of a tourist guide and exotization which deals with the urban labyrinth as modish scenery and also suggests an indicative representation of space in contrast to the environment and those who come into it. Finally, the last level is that of space as a social construct that includes two barely mentioned points of view which, together with the dissection of the mentality and behaviour of its inhabitants and social practices, complete the picture of the city.
Key words
space; topographical fiction; literary geography; literary cartography; city; Daša Drndić
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