Research Project: History through the prism of memory: Post-communist novels from Central and Eastern Europe

Project leader
Julie Hansen
Project Members
Project Period
Project Status
This project examines depictions of memories of the Communist period in post-Communist novels and short stories from Central and Eastern Europe. The material for this study consists of prose fiction published since 1994 by fifteen authors from the Czech Republic, the former German Democratic Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Russia. The analysis draws upon previous research within the emerging interdisciplinary field of Memory Studies, applying in particular Paul Ricoeur’s theory concerning the relation between history, narrative and memory. Ricoeur argues that historical accounts are similar to narratives in that they are formed by language and require interpretation. Through an analysis of fictional depictions of historical events during the Communist period, as well as of daily life in a totalitarian society, the various modes of memory – ranging from nostalgic to critical – portrayed in the selected texts are identified. This study elucidates how the texts problematize memory and its relation to history and forgetting. The reception of these works in their countries of origin is also discussed. While a number of previous studies have examined cultural, political and social changes brought about by the end of Communism in Europe, only a few have focused exclusively on post-Communist literature. This study will be the first comprehensive comparative study of literature dealing with the theme of memory of the Communist past in post-Communist literature.
post-kommunism, Centraleuropa, Östeuropa, minne, litteratur, Ricoeur, post-Communist, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, memory, literature, Ricoeur
Research Profile
Intercultural Studies
Åke Wibergs Stiftelse
Birgit och Gad Rausings Stiftelse för Humanistisk Forskning
Högskolan Dalarna
Magnus Bergvalls stiftelse