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Wed, 30 Jul 2014 06:44:53 EDT by admin, 86811 views
St Patrick's College, Dublin City University
Language and Literature paper by Faragó, Borbála (all papers)
Moving Silences: Holocaust Trauma Memory in Hungarian Women’s Poetry
The compulsion to speak about the unspeakable permeates Holocaust literature. But how can poetry be a medium that assists survivors in making sense of their life experience? Is poetry of any use for remembering, particularly in the manner in which it exposes an underlying problematic with a general privileging of life narratives, in which the ‘use-value’ of these texts is taken at face value? Often the remembering voice is exploited for its historical value, rather than allowed to take control of its own meaning. The main assumption that underpins the widespread use that researchers make of life-stories or survivor testimonies is that they are authentic (in terms of their sincerity in reflecting real life events and experiences) and that they have the capacity to give voice to the victims. Although literary outputs, including poetry, are most often valued because of their individuality and uniqueness, when it comes to Holocaust-literatures the authenticity of both the author and the content comes especially to the fore as political and/or ethical pressures are exerted on writers to produce meaning cognisant of their lived experiences.
In this context the question arises whether poetry could be read as an alternative to life-narrative or testimony, where the offered readings reveal, rather than exploit, what happens within the text. The works of the Hungarian women poets in this paper – Éva Láng, Stefánia Mándy, Zsófia Balla - explore the circuitous and indirect path from experience and memory to imagination, offering readers an opportunity to become sensitised to empathy and affect and look for meanings in the moving silences of trauma.
Brief Professional Bio:
Borbála Faragó currently lectures at St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra. Previously she held a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship in the Central European University Budapest, Department of Gender Studies. Dr Faragó holds a PhD from University College Dublin. Her research interests include literature and cultural studies, poetry, literary theory, gender, ecocriticism and discourses of migration and transnationalism. She is the author of a monograph on the work of Medbh McGuckian (Medbh McGuckian, Bucknell and Cork University P, 2014) a number of articles on contemporary Irish poetry and is also co-editor of a collection of essays, entitled Facing the Other: Interdisciplinary Studies on Race, Gender and Social Justice in Ireland (with M. Sullivan, 2008), an anthology of Irish immigrant poetry entitled Landing Places: Immigrant Poets in Ireland published by Dedalus Press (with Eva Bourke, 2010), and Animals in Irish Literature (with K. Kirkpatrick), which is forthcoming from Palgrave P.