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Plenary lecture/comunicación plenaria: “History and Poetry: Re-telling History Poetically and ‘from below’ in Alterglobalisation Literature”

Tuesday, April 26
Plenary lecture by Cornelia Gräbner (Lancaster University) on
“History and Poetry: 
Re-telling History Poetically and ‘from below’ in Alterglobalisation Literature”

This paper explores the interaction of historical and poetic discourses in literary rewritings of History in literature, within the context of alterglobalization literature. The analysis presented here forms part of a wider research project on the role of poetic language in the literary articulation of imaginaries of alternative globalization. The re-invention of political language through poetic language is crucial to the work of many writers and musicians who have an affinity with the so-called ‘alter-globalization movement’, for example José Saramago, Eduardo Galeano, or Subcomandante Marcos. Literature and also journalism here come to replace the - ethically compromised - political arena as the location of this re-invention. The re-writing of History is one important component of this overall project, because the way in which it is done contests the teleology and linearity of historical narratives that  are tied in with notions of modernization and neoliberal globalization. As a concrete example, I will focus on texts by Eduardo Galeano, José Saramago, and the Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos. Stylistically, these texts are characterized by the use of bricolage, through the combination of stylistic elements taken from historiography, journalism, and storytelling; and filtered through poetic language. Their use of bricolage reflects the multiplicity of experiences and realities that form the basis for a poetic telling of ‘History’ which highlights the experience of ‘those from below’ and which filters narrativity through poetic language.

Cornelia Gräbner is Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at the Department of European Languages and Cultures of Lancaster University. She recently edited (together with David M.J. Wood) the special issue of Cosmos & History on "The Poetics of Resistance" (Vol. 6, No 2). Other recent publications are:   
 (2011) Performing poetry : body, rhythm and place in the poetry performance. Thamyris . Rodopi, Amsterdam. (In Press)
 (2010) Four paths five destinations : constructing imaginaries of alter-globalization through literary texts. Cosmos and History : the Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Specia. ISSN 1832-9101
 (2009) Lenguaje, Resistencia y Sociedad Global Civil. Confines: Arte y Cultura desde la Patagonia, 19. pp. 4-5.
 (2009) Paco Ignacio Taibo II. The Literary Encyclopaedia.
 (2008) The Poetics of Performance Poetry. World Literature Today, 82 (1).
 (2007) Here to Stay : the performance of accents in the work of Linton Kwesi Johnson and Lemn Sissay. In: Constellations of the transnational : modernity, culture, critique. Rodopi, Amsterdam, pp. 51-68. ISBN 9789042021198

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