Worlding in Georgi Gospodinov’s There, where we are not
This article proposes that rather than a concern with safeguarding a national identity, Georgi Gospodinov’s poetry collection There, where we are not (2016) exposes the relationship of self and world as coextensive and mutually constitutive. His poems undertake the remaking of the world as they reconfigure the self with language at the heart of this undertaking—words and meanings in flux, at play in bringing forth selves through a plurality of multitemporal, decentered worlds. Heeding Pheng Cheah’s critique that the “world” in world literature discourse has received little attention, I take up Jean-Luc Nancy’s notion of the “singular plural” to illuminate and further the argument that Gospodinov’s collection worlds by juggling a multiplicity of specific geographic locations and attending to the plural singularity of a moment, of an event or rather of a non-event. In a section titled, The Sundays of the world, “there where we are not” becomes a plurality of worlds, singular and shared, uninhabited and teeming with life, worlds observed and observing, worlds that have familiar names—Berlin, Vienna, Ljubljana, Paris, Rome, Kraków, Sofia—and yet each makes up “a world crammed full of absences.” Ultimately, the collection neither recedes into the national nor dissipates into the global but seeks out a path in-between through which to world laterally, anew. © 2022, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.