Modernization of National Identities in the Context of the New Weltliteratur

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Natela Chitauri
Shorena Shamanadze


Literature and national identity face the following challenges today: 

Goethe’s Weltliteratur notion has been extended. Literature overcame national models, creating geographically and qualitatively altered (thematic, linguistic practices) literary world. 

The main feature of the new Weltliteratur has become the existence of intercultural or "third space". This space is mostly formed by texts, written not locally, but abroad or reflect migration topics.

We have named this the intercultural – migration literature

Identity, considered to be the marker of stable condition before, today is subject to mobile environment; constantly transforming and socializing. 

Leading European and American universities have long been researching identities in literature created abroad; as for Georgia: process of search for national identity’s markers in national literature has already started, while national identity’s studying in texts written abroad is a novelty. 

Based on newWeltliteratur theory we created interdisciplinary methodology that appeared to be a good instrument for researching national identity in texts written abroad. 

In this literature, the dominant of cultural memory, as well imagology with modern oppositions, evaluation of the national from distance, create essential representations of identities: 

 – Oppositions of ethnocultural models or traditional/modern values are evident; 

 – Cognition of strengths and weaknesses of national identity under mobility condition of migration is possible; 

 – Relation of national culture – character with global environment is reflected; 

 – It is possible to realize what is today important in national mentality, what is the degree of its adaptation to the global. Today we see more characters for whom the tendencies of adaptation to external environment, search for alternatives is a priority.

Eventually, contexts of modernization of national identities, consciously or unconsciously, are formed in this writing. 

Aforementioned topics are discussed based on Zurab Guruli’s and Elif Shafak’s texts.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Comparative Literary Studies in Georgia: Challenges and Perspectives