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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 83 | volume XV | March-April, 2012



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 83March-April, 2012

The Body and Institutions

(on Pirey, Nebeska Timjanovna and The Tunnel by Petre M. Andreevski)

p. 1
Magdalena Dimčevska

On Space[1]:

    Researchers in narratology believe that setting, location or ambiance is a reserved, hidden or independent character. Namely, that space determines human relations, and can qualify the literary character: “Space is a place or places where situations and events (surrounding, story, place) and the action of the narrative instance(s) are presented”.[2] In The Poetics of Space[3], Gaston Bachelard differentiates two types of spaces, those that are wanted (desirable), and those that are feared, i.e., spaces of violence, hatred and struggle. Elizabeth A. Grosz writes something similar in Volatile Bodies[4], adding that violence is demonstrated in social institutions when re-educating or training, in hospitals and in psychiatric institutions. In Petre M. Andreevski’s novels, those three which are the subject of my interest (Pirey, Nebeska Timjanovna and The Tunnel) there are images of the ‘happy spaces’ – family homes. On the other hand, there are also spaces of violence, hatred and struggle. These are images when bodies find themselves in war, on the battlefield, in prisons, in camps, hospitals and institutions for the treatment of addictions.

The Imprisoned Body

    According to French philosopher Michel Foucault, prison as a disciplinary apparatus has an effect over the body that is trapped in a system of force and deprivation, commitments and restraints. He reviews the correctional system, starting from the annulment of the death penalty and public torture, explaining that death needs to last for a moment and no torture should precede or follow on the corpse, since it is an “execution that affects life rather than the body”.[5]
     In Andreevski’s novels there are no specific examples of the death penalty, i.e. Nebeska and her friends are sentenced to death in Nebeska Timjanovna, but still serve out their sentences in several camps in the USSR. Moreover, the death penalty of Mirce and his friends in Pirey is later exchanged for a penalty on the first line of the front.
     Foucault says that annulment of the death penalty is a humane act in the history of criminal law, because “it marks a slackening of the hold on the body.”[6] The executioner, who is the direct connoisseur of the body during the suffering, is later replaced by an army of technical staff: supervisors, doctors, priests, psychiatrists, psychologists or educators. This occurs because “Physical pain, the pain of the body itself, is no longer the constituent element of the penalty. From being an art of unbearable sensations punishment has become an economy


1. For the purposes of this paper only, I have translated into English (my own translation) the excerpts from Prince, Bachelard and Grosz in reference, by relying on the published Macedonian translations of their respective works. (translator's note)
2. Dzerald Prins. Recnik na naratologija (Skopje: Sigmapres, 2001), 104.
3. Gaston Bashlar. Poetika na prostorot (Skopje: Tabernakul, 2002).
4. Elizabet Gros. Nedofatni tela: za telesniot feminizam. (Skopje: Makedonska Kniga 2002, 2003).
5. Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Vintage, 1995), 12.
6. Foucault, 1995, 9.

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