Designing Peripeties: Storytelling about Revolutions and Revolutions in Storytelling
Probably like all the others, Latvia is a nation and a society built on stories; the ideas about one’s self, one’s historical identity and one’s place in the world are encoded in them. A very popular and ubiquitous perspective in research on Latvian literature is the paradigm of national identity. However, much less has been said about the narratives themselves: how they are chosen, constructed, and presented to the readers and – being read. When thinking about history, more or less every historian in the world thinks about the same fatal points. However, the question is – do we build the same narratives upon them?
The historical novel may be a productive context to expand the understanding of the representation and textualisation of historical reality in various ways, starting from the choosing (how is a particular narrative selected, what is the personal relationship between the narrative and the author) to the making of a particular narrative (sculpting the narrative to the needs, understanding of a particular society, and taking into consideration the aesthetic tendencies and tradition).
Proposing the problem of narrative design, I will provide an analysis of two prominent works of Latvian literature: Māra Zālīte’s “Pilna Māras istabiņa” (1987) and Inga Gaile’s “Stikli” (2016). Through the subtle process of breaking down the two narratives I believe to be able to provide new insights into the ways Latvian authors and humans in general produce meanings.