Postmodernist Experiment as a New Worldview Code in Post-Soviet Georgian Literature (Z. Karumidze's novel "The Wine-dark Sea")

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Sophiko Kvantaliani
Irine Manizhashvili


 The post-Soviet reality in Georgian culture is distinguished by marking out a new creative orientation, which was conditioned to the desire of integration with the Western cultural-world. At the end of the 1990s, the disclosure of postmodernist tendencies in Georgian literature became obvious, which was clearly revealed in Z. Karumidze's novel " The Wine-dark Sea"(1996-2000). Postmodern indications were identified in Georgian artistic thought (mainly in theater, cinematography, paintings and partly in literature) much earlier, (than 1960s), however, in prose it had a sporadic and / or incomprehensible character. Therefore Z. Karumidze's novel can be considered as the first postmodernist text. It is created with a direct postmodernist purpose and also can be noted as an attempt to attribute Georgian literature to the modern world culture, which, at the same time, implies a desire to liberate from Soviet memory. Admittedly, this is a typical postmodernist novel including all its features (citation, centrism, rhizome, deconstruction, intertextuality, parody-irony, etc.). The author reinterprets traditional literature in an anti-narrative way. The novel has no narrative line, and is a peculiar mixture of allusions and mystifications. This is the first novel in Georgian reality where the plot is completely rejected. The whole text is an extensive art game and this playing field requires a well-trained reader. Noteworthy is that Zurab Karumidze is both a prose writer and a theorist, and based on his dual experiences he tried to manifest postmodernism in the Georgian cultural-worldview as a contemporary mindset and artistic thinking. This was once more conditioned by the suggestions of continuity of Georgian literature in international cultural processes and the desire to fully adapt to it.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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The Post-Soviet Literary Space and the World after Cold War