Central Europe Imagines Central Europe: The Construction of Regional Identity in the Works of Andrzej Stasiuk
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The identity of Central Europe, widely discussed throughout the twentieth century, after the fall of Communism in 1989 remains problematic. Andrzej Stasiuk, one of Polish most acclaimed and influential contemporary writers, focuses on Central Europe in the phase of transition. Stasiuk is commonly considered as the representative of the “second-rank” Europe and his various works, which include fiction, essays and travel-writing, deal not only with the idea of Central Europe but also with what it in fact means to be a Central European. The thesis proposes that Stasiuk not only reports, describes and analyses this “second dimension”, but that from his works it is possible to discern a coherent and thorough system that proposes a new approach to the region. This new way of understanding Central European identity presumes stepping aside from the role of geographical and historical victim, and instead seeing the clash between the East and the West as a powerful source for cultural diversity.