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Adano: Sicily, Occupation Literature and the American Century

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Gordon, RSC 


  1. Refractions. My aim here is to explore a case-study of what we might call the ‘cultural refraction’ of history. The notion of ‘cultural refraction’ is intended to imply something different from the perhaps more conventional, linear idea of cultural reflection, by which, at given distance of time and/or space, cultural forms mirror preceding experiences of history and its vicissitudes, and thus event moves steadily and sequentially towards representation and retrospection in memory and history. Refraction rather suggests both contact between voices and cultures, at an interface of near simultaneity in time and space, and also a displacement or even distortion, a sort of trans-culturation, at the point of contact, bringing a new optical spectrum, a plural or prismatic set of perspectives on history as it is being enacted and as it becomes history. Refraction of this kind is a near-live processing of history – ‘live-texting’, we might call it today – and therefore often offers partial, provisional, not yet coherent, but also sensitive and open accounts. It has something of the ‘first rough draft of history’; and indeed it is is no coincidence that the particular case in question here has its origins in journalism, as we shall see.



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Italian Studies Library Group Bulletin

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Volume Title

17 (2018)