Itimations of the holocaust from the recollections of early childhood : childhood memories, holocaust representation, and the uses of nostalgia in danilo kiš and christa wolf

Aleksandar STEVIĆ*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

Abstract

Nostalgia, we are told, is in the business of idealizing the past. Because nostalgia is routinely associated with the falsification and distortion of memory, any discussion about its role in Holocaust representation is fraught with ethical concerns. What purpose can nostalgic sentimentality serve in evoking the reality of the genocide? This essay argues that nostalgia's power to falsify, distort, and sentimentalize the past can be productively and self-consciously mobilized to explore the mechanisms of both remembrance and suppression of memory. As I demonstrate through the readings of Danilo Kiš's Family Circus and Christa Wolf 's Patterns of Childhood, because nostalgia raises questions about the possibility of recovering the past, about the dynamics of projection and recuperation, and about the continuity of the self, fictional texts stage nostalgic homecomings precisely in order to confront the realities of both Jewish persecution and Nazification. Nostalgia, in other words, serves not only as mechanism for working through traumatic memories, but as a catalyst for a critical examination of the past.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-465
Number of pages27
JournalComparative Literature Studies
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ashes
  • Christa Wolf
  • Danilo Kiš
  • Early Sorrows
  • Garden
  • Holocaust
  • Nostalgia
  • Patterns of Childhood

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Itimations of the holocaust from the recollections of early childhood : childhood memories, holocaust representation, and the uses of nostalgia in danilo kiš and christa wolf'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this