Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj, Faculty of Letters
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Memory and Fiction: Trauma in Contemporary Romanian Literature
Abstract: The studies of memory (memory studies) have developed a connection to the concept of trauma (trauma studies) and its manifestations. The literary field became a proper medium of evocation and testimony of past traumatic events. Therefore, social manifestations, traumatic measures of political regimes have all been integrated into literary works as a manner of attesting both their physical and psychological implications. Talking about the traumatic events of the Holocaust, James E. Young views such literary works as “documentary narrative” or, more specific, literature of testimony. Literary (and artistic) works related to the Holocaust are also object of Marianne Hirsch’s studies. In her view, evoking and narrating traumatic events implies the usage of postmemory. Past could also be evoked, as Michel Foucault considers, through literature on the basis of counter-memory. Taking into consideration different manifestations of memory in literature, the present study aims to analyse some of the Romanian contemporary works tackling on the remembrance of the traumatic ideological intervention on the female body that the prohibition of abortions represented during the communist regime. Corporal and psychological traumas that the 770 Decree caused are related in Corina Sabău’s novel And the Crickets Were Heard and also in the testimonial collective volumes Comrades of journey. The Feminine Experience in Communism (edited by Radu Pavel Gheo and Dan Lungu) and Mihaela Miroiu’s (ed.) The Birth. Lived Stories. Thus, literary materialisations of memory would be observed, in order for the contemporary reader to understand the severe traumatic implications of an abusive ideological prohibition of abortion.
Keywords: postmemory, counter-memory, literature of testimony, documentary narrative, ideological interventions, communist regime.
Citation suggestion: Prodan, Larisa. “Memory and Fiction: Trauma in Contemporary Romanian Literature.” Transilvania, no. 11-12 (2021): 74-80.