Ičvič's Travels: Representations of Identity in Petar Milošević's Novel London, Pomaz

  • Mladena Prelić Institute of Ethnography SASA, Belgrade
Keywords:
anthropology, literature, representation of identity, Serbs in Hungary, Petar Milošević, novel London Pomaz

Abstract

The paper offers a reading of the novel London, Pomaz by Petar Milošević (b. 1952 in Kalaz, Hungary) in the key of individual and collective identity positionings, from the aspect of sociocultural anthropology. The novel, published in 1993, is framed as a love story spanning the East and West, until recently divided by the Cold War, and the protagonists are Serbs from the area around Budapest, a community to which both the author and his main character Ičvič belong. The character's surname, which is actually non-existent, has been formed from the suffixes -ić and -vić characteristic of patronymic Serbian surnames, in the Hungarianized version of -ič and -vič. Through a series of sequences, the novel describes the protagonist's life cycle from Pomaz, a small town between Budapest and Szentendre, where Ičvič was born, and Budapest, to Slovakia, the former Yugoslavia, Venice and London, and finally back to Pomaz, from the 1950s to the 1990s. Ičvič encounters different people and situations, others' stereotypes and prejudices as well as his own, unfulfilled expectations and the illusion of freedom in a world that has supposedly risen above ideological divisions, while next door, his (former) country is riven by ethnic war, the small community to which he belongs by birth is gradually disappearing, and in the supposed democratization processes following the fall of the Berlin wall, power and control merely take new forms. The situations in which the protagonist finds himself provide the possibility of reading/reading into them the relationship we:others or I:others, in other words, of different identity formations and positionings, not only of Ičvič himself but also of other characters and the collectivities to which they actually or supposedly belong. The assumption is that, despite the significant differences between a literary text and ethnography, a literary work can be used, with due methodological caution, as a source in anthropological research.

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Published
2020-04-19
How to Cite
Prelić, Mladena. 2020. “Ičvič’s Travels: Representations of Identity in Petar Milošević’s Novel London, Pomaz”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 15 (1), 175–198. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v15i1.7.