Literature and Culture of Nations of the World

SAMPARK Journal of Global Understanding is a series on literature and culture of nations of the world. We have had extremely knowledgeable guest editors and we have been fortunate in getting support from a host of national literature foundations of various countries. Each volume is about 200 printed pages and focuses entirely on a particular nation, giving readers a comprehensive introduction to the contemporary world of that nation. It contains the nation's literature in translation and also essays on themes such as politics, history, national identity' minority issues, environment' women's issues, economy, international relations, literature and arts.
 

BANGLADESH

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Bengalis in Bangladesh: A Search For CivilisationalRoots Towards A Redefinition of Identity: The Case of the Bengali Language in East Bengal, 1947-71 " Man Is A Big Tree, We Have Made It A Bonsai" The Sampark Interview with Prof. Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank Literature in Bangladesh: Over the last 25 yearsChittagong Hill Tracts: Peace In A Troubled Land Charisma, Legitimacy and Crisis: Reflections in A Bengali Novel Bangladesh: A view from the other Bengal Looking Back at Bangladesh: 1971 and After. Fiction of Hasan Azizul Haque & Akhtaruzzaman Ilyas Poetry of Syed Shamsul Haque, Al Mahmud, Shamsur Rahman, Mahadeb Saha and Rafique Azad .


ITALY

Tradition and Modernity
Italy has, like India where this volume of SAMPARK was put together, been, in different periods, crossroads, for civilisations. The land has witnessed many encounters, being at the heart of the Mediterranean world. That has left deep traces in its social and cultural organisation. Today it offers an amazing amount of internal cultural differentiation and also varied and unique cultural heritage. Essays presented in this issue will touch upon subjects that we consider central for an understanding of today's Italian society. Most contributors have a critical spirit that would offer a challenging and triggering perspective on today´s Italy.


SLOVENIA

A nation of writers
A Portrait of Slovenia — Matjaz Kmecl / on Slovene history — Peter Vodopivec / on theatre — Vesna Jurca Tadel / on cinema — Igor Korsic Round Table of Slovene women writers Potery of Dane Zajc / Tomaz Salamun / Jure Detela / Vladimir Menon / Iztok Osojnik / Uros Zupan / Peter Semolic Short Stories by Andrej Blatnik / Evald Flisar Play by Drago Jancar Focus on Young Writers Taja Kramberger / Primoz Cucnik / Ales Steger / Jurij Hudolin / Miklavz Komeli / Gregor Podlogar / Ales Car/ Nina Kokelj / Polona Glavan Photo Essay A Photographic portrait of Ljubljana



SWEDEN

Children´s world in a Scandinavian nation
Wildflowers, Nationalism and the Swedish Law of Commons — Gudrun Dahl / Swedish Juvenile Books:Living in the Present — Birgitta Franson / Swedish Research on Literature for Children and Young Adults — Ulf Boethius /Children´s Book As A Mirror of Society — Kajsa Oberg Lindsten / Dramatic Art for Children — Pia Huss /Modernism in Swedish Children´s Literature: Draft of a Study of Swedish Children´s Books in the 1980s — Lena Kareland / Astrid Lindgren — Eva-Maria Metcalf /Children´s Literature in Swedish Pre-School Education — Maj Asplund Carlsson and Ingrid Pramling / The concept of Mischief in Some Swedish and Palestinian Children´s Books — Sameh Abboushi West Bank and Gaza — Alfie and Pippi in Arabic


PAKISTAN

An age of violence
On Violence — Beena Sarwar On Madrassas — Tariq Rahman On a Kashmiri solution for Kashmir — Eqbal Ahmed on Lahore´s redlight district — Fouzia Saeed On a Leftwing newspaper — Saneeya Hussain On tribal world — Umer Afridi I am Pakistan: Six Artists in conversation with Farjad Nabi Independence Day : Notes from a diary — Zeenat Hisam on Karachi´s inner city — Arif Hasan Images Violence — A Visual Essay curated by Imran Qureshi Short Stories by Fahmida Riaz / Nadir Ali / Vali Ram Vallabh Poetry of Afzal Ahmed Syed / Sarwat Hussain



SAUDI ARABIA

Tradition and modernity
The essays included here discuss political regime of the Kingdom, the position of Islam in the Saudi community, Islam in the eyes of the West, media, as also literature and cultural life in the country. Other articles are about local architecture, economy and higher education.




FINLAND

Women´s writing from the frontiers of equality
Cruellest Politics, Benin, Märta Tikkanen Poetry of Saila Susiluoto, Karti Vala, Sirkka Turkka, Eira Stenberg, Mirkka Recola, Sanna Karlstrom, Anne Hanninen, Eva — Stina Byggmastar, Mejra Virolainen, Kirsti Simonsuuri Fiction by Veronica Pimenoff, Anja Snellman, Monica Fagerholm, Ulla — Lena Lundberg, Kristina Carlson, Mindele London, Birgitta Boucht, Eeva Tikka, Maria Jotuni, Raija Siekkinen, Sari Malkamaki, Susanne Ringell, Tuuve Aro, Sisko Istanmaki


SERBIA

Literature and Society
Serbia is an old nation with its orthodox church. In the recent past Serbia has gone through troubled times. Still the difficulties of the nation have not impacted the arts in any adverse way. To the contrary literature and arts flourishes and the cafes of Belgrade. This volume enlightens this spirit of Serbia with the penstrokes of eminent writers. This volume also includes an article about the trip of Rabindranath Tagore to Belgrade in 1927.



ISRAEL

Modern Hebrew Literature
Fifty Years of Culture in Israel From "Melting Pot" to "Bouillabaise" A Nation Like Any Other, The Literature of the Generation of the State Broadening the Base of Israel's Sources of Strategic Support "Israel is not West,Israel is not East, it is some place else" The Sampark Interview with Amoz Oz Letter to an Arab Friend Fiction of Etgar Keret, Nurit Zarchi, Savyon Liebrecht and S.Yizhar Poetry of Tamir Greenberg Yitzak Laor Orly Bernstein Ronny Someck Yosef Sharon Mordechai Geldman Agi Mishol Maya Bejerano Dahlia Ravikovitch Asher Reich


SCOTLAND

The edge is everywhere
Essays on Scottish History, Scotland´s Universities, Publishing and Bookselling in Scotland. Fiction by Des Dillon, Chris Dolan, Anne Donovan, Janice Galloway, Alasdair Gray, James Kelman, Joan Lingard, Bernard Mac Laverty. Poetry of Robert Crawford / Tessa Ransford / Ken Cockburn / Matthew Fitt / Janice Galloway / Rody Gorman / Andrew Greig / David Kinloch / Tom Leonard/Brian McCabe / James McGonigal/ Hamish Whyte /Anne Macleod and others.


NORWAY

Literature in a globalizing world
Essays Breakfast with Strangers, The Saladin-Provocation, Via The Local to The Global, A White Wooden City on the North Sea Poetry by Inger Hagerup, Geir Gulliksen, yvind Rimbereid, Torild Wardener, Ragnar Hovland, Ragnar Hovland Short Fiction by Hans Herbjrnsrud, Roy Jacobsen, Tor Ulven, Tor Age Bringsverd, Kjartan Flogstad, Gro Dahle, yvind Rimbereid, Einar O.Risa, Finn Iunker



SINGAPORE

Literature in a new nation
It features contributions from thirty-four living Singaporean writers, who represent but a sampling of some of the fine creative talent at work in the 4 major literary languages in Singapore today, i.e. Chinese, Malay, Tamil and English. Their work appears here in English. Some of the work has appeared elsewhere, but much of it is unpublished and most only available in English for the first time.




DENMARK

Literature from a Nordic Nation
Literature of Nordic countries as its modern day lives is special. All societies in the Nordic countries have a high quality of life, a dynamic economic climate, a social welfare state that gives life´s care and its opportunities to almost every single inhabitant. Editing this number on Denmark is a wonderful learning experience.

Poetry included in this volume is particularly striking. Its form is charming but more than that oneness with nature´s beauty in a modern clinical world is an intense experience. Such poetic worlds are for every soul in the world. Fiction is clinically modern. In an extract from a novel, the ´clash´ of worlds between European sensibility and African setting is explored. The phrase ´personal is political´ reverberates through most of this volume.


 

European Literature /Translations

 

MY FATHER´S DREAMS

Evald Flisar
translated from the Slovene Precisely and sharply, with an enviable economy of stylistic devices, Flisar presents the reader with a half-dreamlike world of fourteen-year-old Adam ... This topsy-turvy world of illusions and hopes, in which Flisar plays with the function of dreaming, is spiced with unusual and original grotesque overtones ... With masterful strokes, Flisar weaves the episodes of his story into an eccentric bildungsroman-in-reverse, moves the action from one mental or emotional state to another, and resolves it with a dream vision ... My Father's Dreams is thus a fascinatingly multi-layered tale, which, with its many meanings, explores different themes and resolves them with unusual silences and telling digressions ...


ON THE GOLD COAST

Evald Flisar translated from the Slovene
On the Gold Coast, short-listed for kresnik (Best Novel of the Year) award in 2012, is a complex and multilayered novel set in West Africa in 1980. Six Europeans - a young man in search of his missing father, two couples in search of a solution to their marital problems, and a mysterious young woman who keeps changing her identity — follow the trail described in the famous travel memoir White Rider, Black Horse. Its author, Igor Hladnik, has mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind only the unfinished manuscript of his last African journey (also undertaken along the trail of his previous journey). Mysteries pile up as the travellers´ paths cross and re-cross, with none of them suspecting that the mysterious Adriana is playing with their lives and weaving the threads of their experiences into a fateful tapestry to escape her inner emptiness ...


Evald Flisar (1945, Slovenia). Novelist, playwright, essayist, editor, globe-trotter. Since 1998 editor of the oldest Slovenian literary journal Sodobnost (Contemporary Review). Author of eleven novels, two collections of short stories, three travelogues (regarded as the best in Slovenian travel writing), and fifteen stage plays (three won Best Play of the Year Award)
 

Literature / City / Translation

GHOSTS OF CALCUTTA

Sebastien Ortiz Translated from the French
Ten years after he lived there, a man returns to Calcutta to write a book on ghosts. He meets up with old friends. He is confronted with the time that has passed and with his first ghost: the ghost of the man he once was and is no more, the ghosts of vanished things. He wanders through the oldest places of the decayed city, he rediscovers old colonial architectures, he visits cemeteries. He collects some data in the libraries, he meets people who tell him ghost stories, he reads fantastic short stories by Tagore or Satyajit Ray : he becomes impregnated with the principle of spectrality which is everywhere in the city as the nagging echo of the past in the present.

He attends a hindustani musical festival, the Dover Lane Festival, focussed on raga Malkauns, a midnight raga which supposedly attracts spirits when played perfectly during seven consecutive nights. The unbelievable happens and the narrator slightly slips into a spectral dimension and ends up in a pandemonium where all the ghost inhabitating the city (mainly British) start speaking up and telling their story, as if the British had left the city in 1947 but left their ghosts behind : the ghost of the spouse of a British officer in the 1820's ; the ghost of a witness at the duel between Governor Hastings & Philip Francis in 1780 ; the ghost of a former intendant of the Botanical Garden caught in the lianas of the giant banyan tree etc.

The narrator is literally overwhelmed by all these faded slices of life which mix in his conscience with his own memories, pounding like the beat of the tablas in raga Malkauns; which will give its structure and tonality to the novel (alap, jod, jhala etc.)

Sebastien Ortiz is a French writer. A professional diplomat, he writes under this pen name. He has published three other novels.