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The fifth issue of Tiresias, “Systole to Diastole: Interventions in Fluid Spaces,” emerged from a reflection on the spaces in between sides, between the systole and the diastole or in the areas in which we can observe the mediation of fluid tension. The topic surfaced from a brainstorming session about the relationships between the local and the global, the individual and the community, intellectual practices and political practices. The sides are not necessarily the split halves of a binary, but rather deal with the relationships, interruptions, redistributions, and miscommunications between constituted and sometimes inherently conflicting parties. The topic proved very timely, as the recent political interventions regarding the distribution of space emerged in upheaval in Tunisia and Egypt, the so-called indignados in Spain, and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States. These interventions contest the extant relationships of the individual to the community, and leave us with the possibility of reflecting on the concrete ways in which this tension is constituted today.
The topic also reflects a change in generation, from the older to the younger generation of our own graduate student community. This issue marks a transition point for the review, since very few of the members of the editorial team that drafted the issue’s Call for Papers remained for the edition and compilation. We are, however, pleased to continue the publication of Tiresias because of our commitment to the forum for intellectual and artistic exchange that it seeks to create for graduate students, scholars, and artists from around the world.
We begin the issue with a special contribution from Professor Samuel Weber, who visited the University of Michigan in 2011. His essay “The Singularity of Literary Cognition” deals with the literary process: the ways in which literature works through, not just meaning, but also “ways of meaning.” It reads the characters of Tristram Shandy as singularities, through a fragmented lens. His contribution calls us to consider the place of literature and its ways of constructing narrative, which pushes those of us in the field of literary studies to reexamine our approach to our object of study.
The responses we received to the Call for Papers reveal that the intellectual forum that Tiresias seeks to create is capable of challenging and stimulating reflection on the topic of “Interventions in Fluid Spaces.” Because of the Call for Papers’s focus on the tensions between sides, many of this issue’s contributions deal with borders and disputed frontiers; one of these disputed frontiers is that between intellectual, artistic, and political practices. As a consequence, this issue mixes these practices together into a single section, placing poetry next to literary criticism, with the aim of setting our contributors into conversation with each other. One of the contributions that challenges these boundaries between the creative, academic, and political is Hugo García Manríquez’s creative reading of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a reading which challenges the language through which this fluid North American space has been created via a reflection on the meaning of community. Shifting to the disputed frontiers of Europe, David Spieser-Landes writes about the literary and linguistic negotiations of the Franco-German border, while Kyrstin Mallon Andrews reflects on the literary portrayal of borders as spaces that redefine cognitive practices while challenging exoticizing readings of magical realism. Lídice Alemán brings these reflections into a meditation on the language of the memory, selfhood, and disintegration amid disputed frontiers within a single voice. Shifting to fluid movements within geographical spaces already defined by their borders, Javier Ferrer Calle deals with media coverage of the Basque separatist group ETA in Spain, accentuating the language in which communication occurs. Similarly, Nick Phillips reads a novel’s challenge to the constitution of urban space in Barcelona under the Franco regime. Stephen Cruikshank pushes these reflections toward the realm of poetry in a series of reflections on space and spatiality. Lucía Gómez Lvoff likewise incorporates space into her poetry, all the while playing with the sounds of places that bring them into contact with other non-spatial words. Kristy Nieto meanwhile deals with tensions in representation in Sor Juana’s poetry, presenting them as a way of reading an epistemological confrontation with alterity at the end of Sor Juana’s life. Mattia Beghelli, meanwhile, analyzes two literary portrayals of the constitution of the border between life and death and how meaning is forged in relation to this elusive yet crucial distinction, bringing us back to the vital, biological metaphor that links the issue’s topic to the heartbeat.
We are very grateful to all of our contributors for their work on this topic, yet we realize that the topic is far from exhausted. We hope that these articles pose challenges and points of entry to our readers, so that in their varied approaches to the topic of “Systole to Diastole: Interventions in Fluid Spaces,” these critical works might lead us to deeper reflection on many types of fluid spaces.
The Singularity of Literary Cognition (pdf)
Samuel Weber / 2
Dossier: Systole to Diastole: Interventions in Fluid Spaces
Anti-Humboldt: Una Lectura del Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte, firmado por Canadá, Estados Unidos y México (pdf)
Hugo García Manríquez / 32
The Magic of Perception: Literature in the Borderlands (pdf)
Kyrstin Mallon Andrews / 65
Últimos Apuntes (pdf)
Lídice Alemán / 95
El Terror de las Palabras: el Comunicado de ETA del 20 de octubre de 2011 en la Prensa Española y Latinoamericana (pdf)
Javier Ferrer Calle / 98
Space & Spatiality: A Poetic Endeavor of Space (Poems Represented in Both English & Spanish) (pdf)
Stephen Cruikshank / 146
Capicúas: sólo polos (pdf)
Lucía Gómez Lvoff / 153
La Musa y los Indios: la Ética de la Distancia en el “Romance 51” de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (pdf)
Kristy E. Nieto / 155
Vita e Morte in Gesualdo Bufalino: Due Concetti Capovolti (pdf)
Mattia Beghelli / 181