European Memories of the Second World War

European Memories of the Second World War

European Memories of the Second World War

European Memories of the Second World War

Synopsis

During the fifty years since the end of hostilities, European literary memories of the war have undergone considerable change, influenced by the personal experiences of writers as well as changing political, social, and cultural factors. This volume examines changing ways of remembering the war in the literatures of France, Germany, and Italy; changes in the subject of memory, and in the relations between fiction, autobiography, and documentary, with a focus on the extent' to which shared European memories of the war have been constructed.

Excerpt

The fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War in 1995 brought with it a series of commemorative ceremonies in France, Germany and Italy. At such ceremonies, survivors, veterans, politicians and writers came together to remember the war. the anniversary of the end of the conflict also served to focus attention on the ways in which events from the war had been remembered in the three European countries, literary texts forming one of the main vectors for the dissemination of images of the period. As well as representing the private face of history, literary texts have indicated some of the ways in which group memories have been constructed and have changed in the five decades since the war.

The aim of this volume is to present a study of how certain memories of the war have developed in the literatures of France, Germany and Italy. the essays in the collection do not claim to provide an exhaustive analysis of any one country's relationship to the memory of the Second World War in literature. the essays do, however, seek to provide an indication of research which is currently being undertaken into the question of remembering the war. There are essays on writers who have achieved canonical status, such as Primo Levi and Heinrich Böll, but there are also essays on relatively unknown writers, such as Marie Chaix or Giovanna Zangrandi. All of the essays discuss themes or point to areas which are central to any understanding of the relationship between literature and the history of the Second World War.

The ways in which personal memory intersects with public history create models for remembering and writing about the war. the present volume is divided into sections, each of which looks at dif-

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