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Geography and Fragility

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Abstract:

This article introduces the topic and offers an overview of the issue. The author argues that despite the dismantling of the Iron Curtain in 1989 there is still a gap of indifference (which sometimes translates into suspicion and misunderstanding) that separates Western from Eastern Europe when it comes to the exchange of ideas and the dissemination of knowledge. While East European intellectuals most often feed themselves on West European authors, intellectual fashions and cultural products, their Western counterparts pay comparatively little attention to what comes, intellectually, from the East - as though the traffic of ideas between Eastern and Western Europe is only one way. On closer inspection, however, this may be due in part to a sense of existential fragility, insecurity and dislocation that characterizes the “East European mind” itself. The author traces briefly this characteristic in the works and opinions of such authors as Czesław Miłosz, Arthur Koestler, Milan Kundera, Krzysztof Kieslowski and Mircea Eliade.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0969725X.2010.536006

Affiliations: Texas Tech University The Honors College, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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