Volume 17, Issue 65 (2024)                   LCQ 2024, 17(65): 49-91 | Back to browse issues page

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Teymouri T. Heterotopian Spaces in Shahriar Mandanipour’s Fiction: A Spatial Study. LCQ 2024; 17 (65) :49-91
URL: http://lcq.modares.ac.ir/article-29-73334-en.html
University of Zanjan , tohidrohiteymouri@gmail.com
Abstract:   (729 Views)
Shahriar Mandanipour is one of the contemporary writers who was experimental in structure and form. For this reason, the reader is challenged with spaces in his stories that are essentially an arrangement of mixed and various spaces. Dealing with this type of space in a theoretical and sometimes practical way can be observed in Michel Foucault's approach, which he calls it heterotopian or other spaces. In this regard, this study first describes these types of spaces through writings of Foucault and other thinkers who have explored in this field. Then, it analyzes these spaces in the fiction of Mandanipour including Mummy and Honey, Midday Moon, Violet Orient, and Ultramarine Blue. This study concludes that Mandanipour, by bringing up such spaces in his stories, points to the hidden truth behind the homogenous structure of one space. Moreover, introducing a new way and knowledge beyond the limitations in homogeneous spaces, heterotopian spaces help the characters from the limitations not only in understanding themselves but also the world.
Extended Abstract
The different narrative language of Shahriar Mandanipour is perhaps the most characteristic of his story writing that calls attention to the first reading. This feature is due to his interest in structure and form, which is often expected from modern storytellers because they attempt to free themselves from established structures so as to mix a new structure with the old one for their new experiences. Assuming that their type of vision cannot be offered in traditional structures, he has developed a language in storytelling that distinguishes him from any other writer and creates a unique story space in the range of this language, as the author himself points out: “Language is the purpose of writing. Therefore, it is not a means for writing stories, and the author must be able to create a range of different languages” (conversation with Shahriar Mandanipour, 2012). This convergence of different languages makes his prose complicated and sometimes unrealistic, but at the same time, it allows the author to bring almost disparate worlds together. For this reason, in his stories, the border between reality and fantasy merges, and the reader's entry into the story is like entering a labyrinth of uncertain boundaries, and this is the result of the author's experimentalism in writing stories. Now, as Mir Abedini (1998, p. 74) emphasizes: “From his very first stories, he showed that he has a thought and tries to find a suitable structure and tone for this thought, and through experiencing the form, he reaches a new understanding of reality”. The world that Shahryar Mandanipour creates in his fictional works is sometimes derived from dreams and is hyper-realistic and sometimes from myth, folklore and Iranian culture, which is special in its way and plays a significant role in the development of Iranian fiction literature. The mixing of apparently dissimilar worlds can be considered one of the most basic narrative features of this storyteller. This study attempts to shed light on space and place in the stories of Mandanipur. In so doing, this study relies on the methodology of geocriticim or spatial studies. Then, heterotopias or other spaces are described, which are influenced by Michel Foucault, in order to explain and discuss the appearance of such spaces in Mandanipour's stories. Michel Foucault's heterotopian spaces have had an important impact on space-place studies. Introducing heterotopia versus utopia as a space that challenges the knowledge of homogeneous spaces. Placing these spaces together and revealing their internal contradictions can be considered a critical reading. This is Foucault's approach in continuation of his discussion about the opposition of power and resistance, which according to him, in every discourse of power, a conflicting and challenging discourse is formed, even though it is on the sidelines. Shahriar Mandanipour, a contemporary Iranian writer makes literary use of these spaces in his stories, which is a result of his new approach to modern and experimental writing. Desert, prison, library, book and literary space, cemetery, cinema, theater, cafe, hotel, park, table, and so forth are examples of heterotopian spaces in his stores. In these spaces, the characters of his stories seek to overcome life's crises, which are often tied to death, love, tradition, politics and power. These spaces help them to challenge the homogenous spaces because they already have limited their understanding of self and the world. These heterotopian spaces in his stories are sometimes of a critical and sacred type; sometimes of the type of spaces that are for those who do not follow the rules of society and are deviant in a way; sometimes the functions of these spaces undergo changes in the form of context and time; sometimes they challenge time; sometimes it is an illusion and to cover the lack of homogenous spaces; and sometimes it is of the type of space of literature, all of which have significant impact on the lives and thoughts of the characters in the stories. The use of these spaces in the writings reviewed in this article is in line with Mandanipour's desire to create a new style in writing, and somehow these spaces help Mandanipour to have a special and different style. Mandanipour's other writings, such as The Courage of Love (1998), Censoring an Iranian Love Story (2009), Moon Brow (2018), and Seasons of Purgatory (2022) also contain heterotopian spaces that can be the subject of further studies.
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Article Type: Original Research | Subject: Contemporary Contemporary Criticism
Received: 2024/01/9 | Accepted: 2024/05/20 | Published: 2024/04/29

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