Lecture 'History and the detective: reading the stalinist past in Alexander Terekhov's novel Kamennyi most'

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Students, Employees
17-10-2018 from 19:30 to 21:00
Het Pand, Onderbergen 1, 9000 Gent
Rusland Platform
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Cerise lecture by Prof. Dr. Julie Hansen, University of Uppsala

Bio: Julie Hansen is Associate Professor of Slavic Languages at the Department of Modern Languages and Research Fellow at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University. She is a specialist in Slavic literatures (Czech and Russian) and comparative literature. She received her PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. Her research interests include memory studies, multilingual literature, translation theory and practice, and Russian and Czech modernism, on which she has published numerous articles. She is co-editor of the volumes Transcultural Identities in Contemporary Literature (Rodopi 2013) and Punishment as a Crime? Perspectives on Prison Experience in Russian Culture (Uppsala University 2014). She has recently guest-edited special issues of Translation Studies and Journal of World Literature (2018) and is currently completing a monograph on depictions of memory in recent fiction from post-Communist countries.

Abstract: This presentation examines how historical understandings of the Stalinist period are problematized in the novel Kamennyi most by Alexander Terekhov (2009; Eng. trans. The Stone Bridge). The narrative is based on an actual event in 1943, when the son of the Soviet Minister of Aviation is believed to have murdered his girlfriend—daughter to the Soviet ambassador to Mexico—because she refused to remain with him in Moscow. In the novel, this case is re-investigated by the narrator-detective, whose findings suggest alternative interpretations of the event. The novel can be described as a work of faction, in that it mixes documentary and fictional narrative modes. My analysis focuses on the functions of the sources used in novel, which include archives and a variety of literary and documentary texts. Drawing upon Linda Hutcheon’s concept of historiographic metafiction as a prominent feature of postmodern texts, I will examine how this novel functions as a site of negotiation between past and present, providing at the same time a commentary on broader questions of memory, history and silence in a totalitarian society.

Free online registration is required.


Poster Cerise lectures 2018 - 2019

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