Claudio Magris is one of the most authoritative voices on the question of the literary and cultural re-mapping of modern Europe. From his early work of literary criticism Il mito asburgico nella letteratura austriaca moderna (1963; Engl. The Habsburg Myth in Modern Austrian Literature) to the recent novel Alla cieca (2005; Blindly – forthcoming in English by Penguin Canada in 2010), Magris’s texts have addressed the unstable ground from which history and memory can evaluate the recent European past, just as they have examined the ambivalence and often ephemeral existence of every frontier in its political, cultural, social, and personal dimension. His pursuit as a writer and as a literary critic is the understanding and the crossing of boundaries between history and time, between apparently opposite and irreconcilable views of the world, between memory and loss. After the success of best-sellers like Danubio (1986; Danube) and Microcosmi (1996; Microcosms), Magris’s recent narratives and plays – La Mostra (2001; The Exibit), Alla cieca, Lei dunque capirà (2006; You Will Finally Understand) – continue to break new ground in the direction of formal experimentation and the re-addressing of literary genres.
This collection of essays in English aims to explore Magris’s narratives and plays, and to contextualize them within the current literary and cultural debates on European identity, history, and memory. The University of Toronto Press (http://www.utpress.utoronto.ca/) has expressed a keen interest in the project.