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Accepted Paper:

"Inbetweenness:" the question of language in the works of Chingiz Aitmatov, Andrei Volos, and Hamid Ismailov  
Caterina Re (Università di Genova)


The interaction between traditional Russian culture and that of the indigenous peoples of Central Asia creates a specific multicultural landscape, hybridized by a plurality of languages and ethnicities. Since the second half of the nineteenth century, the way of life of the region's inhabitants has been undergoing a process of transformation, which was implemented during the Soviet period. The political boundaries of the Soviet Socialist Republics - Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan - were drawn according to the principle of ethno-territorial federalism, according to which nationality and language coincide. The policy of literacy in the respective national languages laid the groundwork for the momentous cultural reform that helped to forge Soviet identity. However, one of the tools used by the Soviet government to promote cultural assimilation was the use of the Russian language, the necessity of which was promoted with increasing intensity over the decades. Russian became the language of intellectuals, a unifying element of Russian-speaking identity, and a bridge between the most diverse cultures. National languages, in a subordinate position, ended up representing de facto impassable walls in the Soviet literary landscape. My dissertation focuses on the literary production of contemporary Central Asian authors: Chingiz Aitmatov, born in Sheker, Kyrgyzstan; Andrei Volos, born in Dushanbe, Tajikistan; and Hamid Ismailov, born in Kyrgyzstan and raised in Uzbekistan; in this chapter I try to illuminate the relationship of these writers to the various languages that become part of the literary world they create, both in the creative process and in the literary creations themselves. The results of cultural and linguistic hybridization in the artistic landscape of their works will be explored, reflecting, on the use of Russian language and of the titular languages of those Soviet republics that gave birth to the three writers.

Panel LIT02
Literature in 20th Century Eurasia
  Session 1 Saturday 8 June, 2024, -