In the Middle – Introduction to an International Transposition (Fiction)

Over the last three years we have collected texts by international authors on a range of topics that define our time.

In 2017, the topic was instability; during 2018 we looked at uncertainty; and throughout 2019 we published essays, documentaries and short (in part) fictional stories on polarization and extremes.

As regular readers or participants in the perypatetik community know, the international writers come from every part of the globe: from South Africa to America, from Argentina to Mongolia. For the most part, they are also non-native speakers of English, although generally work with the language as translators or in other creative capacities.

Besides learning about the international nature of modern-day phenomena, we have also witnessed a type of transposition.

In literature, transposition involves retaining the form of an original work (usually each sentence) and altering the content on the basis of the change in context. For example, a story by Jane Austen in eighteenth century England is transposed to America today by retaining (fundamentally) all of the sentences, but shifting the content so that it is consistent with our contemporary environment: Rather then travelling to London by horse and buggy, the characters will drive or fly.

The transposition of instability, uncertainty, polarization and extremes was similar. The topic itself (instability, uncertainty, etc.) assumed the place of the independent variable “form,” while the content varied from context to context.

Now we will begin with a literary transposition set entirely in the present-day world. This international transposition will initially consist of independent, unrelated stories similar to what you can find in various other publications (albeit written by non-native speakers in our case). These core stories will then be effectively serialized, with future parts containing parallels across narratives. For example, it is likely that each fictional piece will continue in 2021 with a derivative centering on or involving childhood. As such, each story currently isolated will become a transposition in 2021 when they all depict, examine, reflect… on childhood in their respective countries. Although not yet conclusively determined, this will continue in 2022 with a text involving the same characters as in the first two years, but in relation to some plot involving e.g. relationships or suffering or, perhaps, simply the next stage of life after childhood.

To start, however, we will experience these authors’ views of life in their respective countries. More of their work can be found at our website http://www.perypatetik.net, where their contributions, along with others, have shaped our understanding of the contemporary, neobaroque age.

Provisionally collected under the title of !¡! In the Middle !¡!, these stories will appear in weekly installments like the transposing emblems in recent years, but with one author featured each month.

Here is what’s ahead:

January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan
February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asyran
March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez
April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Sarah Leah Pimentel
May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko
June: A Girl Pedaling up the Road of Life – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas
July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk
August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido
September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández
October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino
November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake
December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

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