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Re/Locating Transcultural Memory: Engaging with Place-based Memory as a Form of Worldliness in Contemporary German-language Literature

Lawson, Jade Marie (2018) Re/Locating Transcultural Memory: Engaging with Place-based Memory as a Form of Worldliness in Contemporary German-language Literature. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis examines five examples of contemporary German-language literature written by authors who have migrated to Germany from countries in the former Soviet Union and explores how these texts reconfigure the relationship between place and world through their recreation of transcultural memory narratives. It demonstrates how the focus in contemporary Memory Studies on how memories travel in our interconnected globe has resulted in insufficient attention being paid to memory’s rootedness and to the facilitating role of ‘place’ in the reception, adaption and recreation of transcultural memory. In response, this thesis develops an original theory of place-based memory which marries theories of memory with concepts of place as developed in Human Geography scholarship. This thesis consists of six chapters. Chapter one provides an introduction to the thesis and a literature review of the theoretical fields that have inspired this research, whilst chapter two explores the role played by literature in the reproduction of cultural memory. The first chapter of close reading, chapter three considers how place-based memory is mobilised in two novels by Olga Grjasnowa in order to highlight the need for new forms of political cosmopolitanism focused on individual rights within and beyond the state. The fourth chapter explores how in Katja Petrowskaja’s Vielleicht Esther the protagonist’s engagement with place-based memory can be seen as enacting a form of rooted, ethical cosmopolitanism. Chapter five shifts the focus from anthropocentric to planetary forms of cosmopolitanism in exploring how, in Nellja Veremej’s novels, the excavation of place-based memory represents the simultaneous excavation of (world-)ecological or ultimately planetary memory. In chapter six, this thesis concludes with a discussion of how, in their imagination and attempted enactment of more worldly forms of consciousness, the selected novels can be seen as examples of a new world-making literature that is written in the German language.  

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: German; contemporary literature; transcultural memory; traumatic memory; memory studies; human geography; place; world literature; cosmopolitanism; Grjasnowa; Petrowskaja; Veremej
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds) > German (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.770068
Depositing User: Mrs Jade Marie Lawson
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2019 13:16
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23191

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