THE SENSE OF BELONGING IN THE ESSAY WRITING OF ALEXANDER GENIS
Keywords:Aleksandar Genis, sense of belonging, identity, language
In this text, the author examines the sense of belonging in four collections of essay prose by Alexander Genis (1953). The collections in question include News from Eden (2003), Table set itself (2004), Food, blood and soil (2009) and Cosmopolite (2012) – all published by Geopoetika, a Belgrade publishing house. In the introductory part of the text, by highlighting the differences in studies of this phenomenon in strictly academic and literary genres, the author provides short theoretical clues on approaches to the sense of belonging in social studies and humanities. The second and the final part of the text are entirely focused on presentation and analysis of a specific viewpoint of Alexander Genis, who restores the elementary quality to this phenomenon/sense, while examining it through its relation to language, food, geography, family ties, but also through common myths of collective thematisation – patriotism and cosmopolitism. The fact that Alexander Genis emigrated from the Soviet Union to the USA (1977) makes a personal issue of belonging more complex, while his position contributes to understanding of the phenomenon itself in so far as it dispels both the abstractions of ideologised academic interpretations of this phenomenon and the totalising effects of its administrative usage, typical of any formal presentation.
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