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Title:Gedächtnis und Trauma im zeitgenössischen österreichischen Familienroman
Author(s):Hamidouche, Martina K.
Director of Research:Niekerk, Carl
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Niekerk, Carl
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bunzl, Matti; Johnson, Laurie R.; Pinkert, Anke; Wade, Mara R.; Yildiz, Yasemin
Department / Program:Germanic Languages & Literatures
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Austrian literature
21st century
family novel
Abstract:This dissertation examines four contemporary Austrian family novels: Eva Menasse’s Vienna (2005), Robert Menasse’s Die Vertreibung aus der Hölle (2001), Josef Haslinger’s Das Vaterspiel (2000), and Marlene Streeruwitz’s Nachwelt. Ein Reisebericht (1999). In this work, which analyzes the texts of second-generation Austrian authors of both Jewish and non-Jewish descent, I largely rely on memory theory from Social and Cultural Studies as well as on concepts of trauma and postmemory, both of which have been highly influenced by psychoanalysis. I consider the family novel that has flourished since the end of the 1990s to be a variation of the traditional family novel that was particularly common in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. I also argue that the Austrian family novel should not be lumped together with its German counterpart because of the different cultural heritage of these two countries. At the core of this dissertation is the study of how the members of the three generations represented in these novels handle their family history. The “first generation” encompasses the victims, perpetrators, and bystanders, the “second generation” their children who were either born during World War II or after, and the “third generation” the grandchildren and children respectively, who were born after 1945. The lack of communication about the family’s past has a negative impact on the intergenerational relationships, and thus affects the current lives of all characters. The temporal, spatial, and emotional distance from the Holocaust and the Era of National Socialism allows the second-generation authors a critical look at their family history, which, at the same time, represents a piece of the history of the Austrian nation. This work shows that the authors represent the challenge of memory and postmemory not only at the content levels of their text, but also at their narrative levels. Instead of focusing on what is or, sometimes even more important, what is not remembered, these writers are rather interested in how and why memory is maintained and/or repressed in the dialogue between the different generations of a family. In addition to the topic of the Nazi past, the works analyzed in this dissertation include severe criticism of various socio-political ills in Austria. The Menasses, Haslinger, and Streeruwitz do not merely limit their critique to the conditions in Austria, though: they also draw the readers’ attention to other countries, integrating settings outside of Austria into their plots. Embedding Austrian conditions in a global context can be seen as one of the biggest innovations of the contemporary Austrian family novel.
Issue Date:2011-08-26
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Martina Katrin Hamidouche
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-27
Date Deposited:2011-08

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