Odessity: in Search of Transnational Odessa

(or "Odessa the best city in the world: All about Odessa and a great many jokes")

This article presents a research into, and a very personal approach to, the “Odessa myth.” It races the emergence and development of an idea – that Odessa is different from all other cities. One main element of this mythical or legendary representation is the multi-cultural and transnational character of the city: Not only does Odessa have a Greek, an Armenian, a Jewish, a French and an Italian history, in addition to the more obvious Russian, Ukrainian, Soviet, and post-Soviet narratives, it also finds itself in more than just one place – wherever “Odessity” as a state of mind, a memory, a literary image is being celebrated and constructed.1

issue 02 / October 2011 by Joachim Schlor