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Testimony on the margins: silence, innocence and the other in Vasilii Grossman's late fiction

Young, SJ; (2013) Testimony on the margins: silence, innocence and the other in Vasilii Grossman's late fiction. Journal of European Studies , 43 (4) 329 - 343. 10.1177/0047244113501756. Green and gold open access

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Abstract

The article examines the mode of testimony to trauma employed by Vasilii Grossman in his short, later works. Deflecting attention from his main subject, and focusing on peripheral figures and unusual viewpoints, Grossman explores the possibilities and limitations of representation, to question how those involved in historical events understand and testify to their experience. Focusing on the novella Everything Flows, in particular the encounter between Ivan, the Gulag returnee, and Anna, the former activist, that leads to her testimony of the famine, and comparing its approach to the adoption of marginal focalizers in the stories 'Mama' and 'The Road', recurring themes such as the absent mother figure, and the embodiment of testimony through reference to the senses, are examined. These become central to the construction of two modes of witnessing, the relational and the pure, that make testimony possible, but also define the difficulty of attaining it.

Type:Article
Title:Testimony on the margins: silence, innocence and the other in Vasilii Grossman's late fiction
Location:UK
Open access status:An open access publication. A version is also available from UCL Discovery.
DOI:10.1177/0047244113501756
Publisher version:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0047244113501756
Language:English
Additional information:© The Author(s) 2013. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page(http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/openaccess.htm).
Keywords:Russian literature, Gulag, Trauma, Testimony, Vasilii Grossman

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