Urban Frontiers and Veiled Faces. Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul and Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City
Objectives and scope
Analysing postmodern city, in the third millennium, means to study the main important space of contemporary imagination and creation, focusing on literary works characterized by a continuous oscillation on the border between novel and essay, with the result to refuse canons of both genres. Adding to those elements the autobiographic matrix, which is fundamental in Suketu Mehta and Orhan Pamuk, the description of the city become the unique centre of the narrative space, aiming to explore not only the various urban borders, but also the limits which divide different artistic languages and forms.
Methods and approaches
If Mehta inscribes many intertextual citations in Maximum City (2004) and Pamuk narrates Istanbul not only with words but also through many old family photos (Istanbul, 2003), they both create a plurivocal narration, functional to explain secular historical contradictions and dialectical elements, as for as linguistic, cultural, religious and ethnic borders. These topics need an approach that, overcoming cultural and postcolonial studies, tries to unite theory of genres and thematic criticism with anthropology, mythology and ethnic studies.
If Pamuk and Mehta incessantly move from one space to another, they become lost as their readers, seeking to follow many different lives: women hidden by veils or guerrillas protected by helmets, thousands of bodies signed with concrete scars of invisible borders. Those limits have been deeply explained focusing, in particular, on the topic of memory, the only one parameter that, united to writing, appears to destroy the multiple borders of urban space.
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