Memoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) NUBS 4.23
Jul 04, 2023 11:30 - 13:00(Europe/London)
20230704T1130 20230704T1300 Europe/London 1.18. Literary memoryscapes NUBS 4.23 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023
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The «chalazea grip»: Witnessing, History, and Ekphrasis in Doireann Ní Ghríofa
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/04 22:00:00 UTC
The contemporary Irish writer Doireann Ní Ghríofa (b. 1981) is known for the way in which her texts reach back in time to witness in acts of historical solidarity, particularly in her award-winning, part-memoir and part-fiction A Ghost in the Throat. This paper will address her poem "In Albumen, In Pixels, In Bricks", published in To Star the Dark (Dedalus Press, 2021). The poem links the speaker's loss of her home in the recent housing crisis in Ireland with a photograph, accessed on the internet, of an evicted Irish family from the 1880s. The poem deploys motifs of childbirth and eggs to evoke a sense of organic togetherness across temporal division, in particular reaching out to a girl identified in the photograph. Yet while the poem affirms a sense of female communion in the face of dispossession, the tenuous and provisional nature of the connections made is also emphasized, as the speaker self-consciously states: "Her hand exists only in pixels now, this girl /who arrives by optic nerve to live a while / in my mind." 
This paper will contextualize Ní Ghríofa's poem in terms of the contemporary housing crisis in Ireland and the homelessness that was the result of the Land War of the 1880s. In addition, the text's generic specificity as a poem will also be addressed. This involves a negotiation with the precedent of Seamus Heaney's poem "Out of the Bag" (which similarly addresses healing, childbirth and poetry) and both the limitations and possibilities afforded by lyrical form. The poem's use of ekphrasis will be addressed, with special attention being given to not only the encounter between verbal and visual representations, but also the contemporary, digital context highlighted in the poem. Use will be made of Adam Hanna's online interview with the author, where two earlier draft versions of "In Albumen, in Pixels, In Bricks" are discussed, and implicit links are made between the poem's process of gestation and the process of recovering the historical past through literary witnessing. 
Presenters Charles Armstrong
Professor Of English Literature, University Of Agder
A Poetry Anthology as "a Sanctuary of National Memory”. A Politics of Place in Polish Poetry of Post-war Bieszczady
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/04 22:00:00 UTC
A politics of place, defined as totality of (symbolic) operations aimed at constructing an idea of territories and places (Rybicka), is a political and ideological instrument used by an authority (in varying degrees and in various forms) to model the image of the past of a given space (especially at the national and ethnic level). 
The post-war Polish Bieszczady are an excellent example of this. Before the War Bieszczady were mostly inhabited by the Ukrainian population (in a smaller percentage by the Polish and Jewish population), but after a prolonged Second World War (after Holocaust, a Polish-Ukrainian conflict, and a forced mass resettlement) were almost completely depopulated and destroyed. In such a situation the communist authority began to promote memory of Polish and communist soldiers (especially of a general Karol Świerczewski), systematically supplanting memory of former inhabitans (e.g. by changing the name of the villages).
The effectiveness of such politics of place is clearly visible in an anthology "Wiersze z Rzeszowskiego" (Poems from the Rzeszów voivodeship) from 1974. In this collection (both at the level of the poems and footnotes to them) the question of former inhabitants is almost completely remained silent, but at the same time the reader's attention is focused on communist "hero" Karol Świerczewski. In that sense, this anthology becomes the fulfilment of fantasies of Jan Gerhard, the commander of Polish troops and an author of very important novel about this region, of transforming Bieszczady into a "sanctuary of national memory" – a space of new martyrdom memory, tightly covering the past of the Ukrainian and Jewish population. 
Therefore in my presentation I will focus on a (poetic) anthology as a literary space for memory manipulation. Taking as an example "Wiersze z Rzeszowskiego", I will exhibit the mechanisms of implementing the politics of place, aimed at constructing and reinforcing the "new" memory, and displacing the memory of a given place in an ethnic context. 
Andrzej Lewicki
Master , University Of Warsaw
Between Distance and Proximity : Holocaust Memory in Contemporary French Literature
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/04 22:00:00 UTC
Published just before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a poll conducted among French adults in January 2020 revealed that a majority of French people (57%) did not know that six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust (Lemaignen, 2020). If those results, together with the rise in anti-Semitic crimes, paint a bleak picture of the current state of Holocaust memory in France, they also stand in contrast to the recent French literary production that has established the Holocaust as one of its major foci. Despite greater temporal distance, the traumatic imprint of the Holocaust thus still seems to be very much felt by contemporary French and Francophone writers, and more specifically by writers born after this traumatic event and whose connection is thus indirect.
This paper is concerned with the French memoryscape of the Holocaust and the role of literature in shaping it. It argues that, to understand the place of the Holocaust in contemporary French writing, it is critical to go beyond the binary position between distance and proximity that sees them as mutually exclusive. This in turn generates new ways of understanding the rich body of  works produced by postmemorial writers, especially as it relates to four key aspects that cut across generational and genre boundaries : the rejection of chronological time in favour of nonlinear time, the emphasis on the connective memory of nature, a reflection on the political and poetic dimension of the archive, and a consideration of the kind of  justice owed to the spectres of the past.
The memory mobilised in those texts through a complex, and at times ambivalent, dialectic of distance and proximity, to come to terms with a world profoundly transformed by the atrocities of the twentieth century.  
Lemaignen, Julien. 2020. Mémoire de la Shoah : « L'investissement sur la citoyenneté se fait parfois au détriment d'une connaissance historique précise ». Le Monde. 24 January.
Diane Otosaka
Postdoctoral Fellow, University Of Leeds
Investigating an Investigation: Patricio Pron's Oblique Generational Memory Duty
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/04 22:00:00 UTC
After decades of violent repression and state terrorism, the 1980s witnessed the fall of dictatorial regimes in the countries of the Southern Cone. By the early 2000s, a generation of writers who were children at the time of these traumatic events had started to publish and exist in the public
eye. The multifaceted and transnational productions of the hijes -sons and daughters of those who experienced as adults the traumatic dictatorships that shook their countries- are concerned with, and interrogate, a generational discomfort stemming from the fact that their childhood experience of the collective trauma is reflected back to them as unreliable and therefore dismissed as irrelevant. Between a shared understanding of the dictatorship -a hypermediatized narrative that came to be common knowledge- and the adult survivors' testimonies that occupied center stage, their own overlapping experience seems to be missing. This paper examines how Argentine writer Patricio Pron (hijo born in 1975), conscious of the latent suspicion looming on his generation's testimonies, and even, to a certain extent, having internalized it, metatextually problematizes the question of the hijes' status as regards national history and collective memory. In Pron's autobiographical novel El espíritu de mis padres sigue subiendo en la lluvia, the author-narrator operates a two-fold comeback, both in time and in space, to traumatic memories of the Argentine dictatorship (1976-83) he had attempted to escape by leaving his native country. The rushed and unexpected reunion with his homeland entails for him a diving back into a repressed national and familial traumatic past. At the core of the consistent double-pronged drive to remember and forget dramatized throughout the novel, the mise en abyme of an investigation process -a plot within the plot that reads like a detective novel whose codes have been subverted- exemplifies what Pron presents as his generation's  task to preserve and pass down memory.
Jeanne Devautour Choi
Columbia University
Professor of English literature
University of Agder
University of Warsaw
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Leeds
Columbia University
Dr Rehnuma Sazzad
Research Fellow and Associate Fellow
Institute of English Studies (IES) and Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICWS)
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