Narratives of sense memory in Holocaust survival literature / Amira Bojadzija.
This dissertation argues that "sense memory" is key to the encounter between readers and Holocaust literature produced by the survivors. Embodied reading practices frame the dissertation's examination of narratives of trauma, the ethics of remembrance and the politics of memory. It addresses principal theoretical assumptions in current literature about affect, the transmission of embodied forms of memory and trauma. Part One focuses on the literary context of the encounter between readers, writers and narratives of sense memory in Holocaust literature. It presents an account of the theoretical underpinnings of the ways in which the demands of the literary structure produce the narratorial voice and the reader. This part assesses Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of heteroglossia in a discussion about the narratorial instances of "I" and "you" that characterize writing of the self in a context provided by the narratives of sense memory. Part Two traces the points of intersection between affect, memory and trauma in contemporary scientific and philosophical discourse. A discussion of embodied memory as an affective phenomenon with a specific focus on the theoretical projects of Gilles Deleuze and Maurice Merleau-Ponty provides the background for an exploration of the ways in which Holocaust literature produced by survivors circulates memory and affect. Part Three focuses on the phenomenology of embodied memory. It examines the specific literary and cinematographic spaces of sense memory which locate Merleau-Ponty's concept of "intercorporeality" in the heart of the contemporary cultural practices dedicated to the Holocaust. The effects of the narratives of sense memory in Holocaust survival literature on their readers are analyzed within this theoretical framework. Feminist critique ofMerleau-Ponty's idea is used to suggest a possibility of modification of this concept in order to make it more inclusive of the otherness of narratives of sense memory. Part Four takes up the theme of ethics of memory within the specific spaces of Holocaust literature as key category to definition of sense memory. A close reading of H.G. Adler's The Journey focuses on the mechanisms of formation of a particular kind of reader – one who is attentive to the demands of the memory of suffering. Placing Émile Benveniste and Emmanuel Lévinas in a dialogue, it develops the concept of affective deixis as the most important characteristic of the narratives of sense memory, its meaning being double: the responsibility of the reader towards the text, and construction of an ethical reader by the way of calling upon the passions and values that drive his or her life.
Record last modified: 2018-05-25 09:44:00
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