Memory frictions: negotiating cosmopolitanism and postcolonialism in three post-Cold War essays by Tomas Venclova

Larissa Allwork

Research output: Contribution to conference typesPaperResearch

Abstract

Lithuanian poet, literary critic and essayist, Tomas Venclova was a child during the Nazi occupation of Lithuania, an inhabitant of Vilnius in the period of high Stalinism and a Soviet dissident intellectual and member of the Lithuanian Helsinki group during the 1970s. Since his emigration from the Soviet Union to the West in 1979, Venclova has become a prominent diasporic thinker on the 'memory frictions' of Cold War and post-Soviet Europe and the Baltic States, particularly how the remembrance of past conflicts affects relations between Lithuanians and Jews, Lithuanians and Poles and Lithuanians and Russians. This paper will analyse four of Venclova’s literary and political essays, in particular his post-1989 works ‘Odo et Amo’ (1990) and ‘Poems Melted into Ice’ (1991) in order to explore Venclova’s response to Soviet colonialism and its aftermaths. Following Stef Craps, this analysis will suggest that through an attentiveness to Venclova’s essays, particularly in relation to language and history, a different aesthetic of bearing witness to trauma can be interpreted. This representational strategy rejects, “the modernist aesthetic of fragmentation and aporia” (Craps, Postcolonial Witnessing: Trauma Out of Bounds, 2012, p. 2) traditionally associated with a post-Caruth trauma theory orientated towards the theoretical and literary traditions of Western Europe and America. Instead, Venclova presents strategies of representation which are much more attuned to the specific post-Soviet cultural, linguistic and political experiences of the Baltic States, a specific set of experiences, which while reflecting on much discussed topics such as the Holocaust and Soviet oppression, remain nonetheless geographically marginalized in contemporary Anglophone trauma studies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2015
EventMemory Frictions: Conflict - Negotiation - Politics - University of Zaragoza, Spain
Duration: 7 May 2015 → …

Conference

ConferenceMemory Frictions: Conflict - Negotiation - Politics
Period7/05/15 → …

Fingerprint

Postcolonialism
Cosmopolitanism
Cold War
Friction
Trauma
Aesthetics
Post-Soviet
Remembrance
Language
Fragmentation
Jews
Poet
Literary Tradition
Oppression
Literary Critics
Colonialism
Aporia
Dissidents
Soviet Union
Lithuania

Cite this

Allwork, L. (2015). Memory frictions: negotiating cosmopolitanism and postcolonialism in three post-Cold War essays by Tomas Venclova. Paper presented at Memory Frictions: Conflict - Negotiation - Politics, .
Allwork, Larissa. / Memory frictions: negotiating cosmopolitanism and postcolonialism in three post-Cold War essays by Tomas Venclova. Paper presented at Memory Frictions: Conflict - Negotiation - Politics, .
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Allwork, L 2015, 'Memory frictions: negotiating cosmopolitanism and postcolonialism in three post-Cold War essays by Tomas Venclova' Paper presented at Memory Frictions: Conflict - Negotiation - Politics, 7/05/15, .

Memory frictions: negotiating cosmopolitanism and postcolonialism in three post-Cold War essays by Tomas Venclova. / Allwork, Larissa.

2015. Paper presented at Memory Frictions: Conflict - Negotiation - Politics, .

Research output: Contribution to conference typesPaperResearch

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Allwork L. Memory frictions: negotiating cosmopolitanism and postcolonialism in three post-Cold War essays by Tomas Venclova. 2015. Paper presented at Memory Frictions: Conflict - Negotiation - Politics, .