The Angel of Nostalgia Trapped between East and West

  • Abstract:

    The paper focuses on the problem of East and West and the Central European paradigm as constructs for Western Europe to define itself against a distorting mirror where cultural, political and historical opposites of the hegemonic western story are contained. To address this issue, the article chooses to explore the literary works and debates of some writers trapped between East and West, always being pushed to the East, willing to flee to the West or rather opting for a vanishing point to liberate themselves from an etiquette in which they cannot recognize themselves. The focus will be on the late nineties, when the former space of Yugoslavia disappeared, taking this particular case as a paradigm and guided by the critical writings of Dubravka Ugrešić, who at a certain point becomes a sort of Walter Benjamin’s angel, trapped between past and future, East and West. The aim is to use this metaphor in order to delve into the unresolved paradox by way of accompanying Ugrešić’s voice with that of some other writers who help opening up the renewed debate East-West-Central Europe and critically presenting it in terms of space and time, mainly Yuri Andrukhovych and Andrzej Stasiuk. Moreover, the paper will point to some aesthetic choices that seek to subvert the grand narrative of progress and the problem of cardinal points.