Literature of the Italian Minority in Slovenia NIVES ZUDIČ ANTONIČ This presentation examines the literary and cultural space of Slovenian Istria, its characteristics, and its significance, followed by a comparison with the Italian and European context. It describes literary and cultural life in Istria, which was most significantly marked by Italian culture in the past. Istrian literary history becomes cultural history, and it revitalizes the rich variety and multiplicity of written records of Istria, which has always been multilingual and multicultural. The writers presented give a voice to Istrians and, by doing so, in a certain way return to the dialogue between the Slovenians and Italians that have lived here and reestablish an exchange between cultures and nations that were divided for decades by turbulent historical events. Many of the authors that bring to life the history of Italian literature are also well-known representatives of European culture; for example, Pier Paolo Vergerio, Gian Rinaldo Carli, and Pier Antonio Quarantotti Gambini. Italian literature in Istria is not only ethnic literature, but also has a classical nature. It tells about the past and future of Istrian towns and society: about unrest and uncertainty, and about global issues such as the environment, development, poverty and wealth, violence, power, freedom, and multicultural societies. An intercultural view of literature makes it possible to approach cultures that are different from our own in a new way: literary works create a privileged space where readers have more time to react in comparison to situations in which one accidentally encounters a different culture’s testimonies in towns (e.g., bilingual inscriptions, a Venetian Gothic building, Italian schools, or a dish with a Venetian name). Perhaps only in this protected “reserve” is one able to take initiative and explore, to try to learn without fear. Reading literature cultivates the feeling that everyone (an individual, culture, or nation) has the right to express his or her own voice and stories. There are a myriad of such stories, and not one of them has more or less value. This promotes identification with the characters and events, as well as changes in the narrative perspective, and in turn generates new stories that readers can pass on either to themselves or to others. 41
ROUND TABLE / OKROGLA MIZA / ROUND TABLE Perspektiven transnationaler Literaturgeschichte(n) / Perspektive transnacionalnih literarnih zgod(b)ovin) Diskussionsteilnehmer_innen / Diskutanti / Discussants: Klaus KASTBERGER, Österreich / Avstrija / Austria Marko JUVAN, Slowenien / Slovenija / Slovenia Sandra VLASTA, Österreich, Deutschland / Avstrija, Nemčija / Austria, Germany Moderator / Moderator / Moderator Andreas LEBEN 42
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