"One Must Speak, One Cannot Speak" : Fiction, memory and genre hybridity

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"One Must Speak, One Cannot Speak" : Fiction, memory and genre hybridity

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Publication Conference Paper, peer reviewed
Title "One Must Speak, One Cannot Speak" : Fiction, memory and genre hybridity
Author(s) Hemer, Oscar
Date 2009
English abstract
The last decades have seen a proliferation of truth commissions, in Latin America, Eastern Europe and South Africa, whose Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is arguably the most ambitious to date. The post-modern philosophical angst about the pursuit of truth thus paradoxically coincides with a renewed political confidence in the same process as the panacea to break away from authoritarian and violent pasts. In South Africa, the typical mixed-genre literature of the post-apartheid transition (Hirson, Krog, Ndebele, Wicomb) mirrors the inter-disciplinary complexity of the TRC itself. Moreover it seems to provide a form in which to deal with the horrific past and take possession of history, in accordance with Lyotard’s suggestion that the liminal experiences of our time demand new genres adequate to their unspeakability. South Africa’s disputed reconciliation process stands in stark contrast to Argentina, whose latest and most murderous military regime (1976-82) remains largely unrevealed. It is only in the last years that writers have begun to look its holocaust in the face (Feijóo, Kohan, Pauls, Saccomanno), often through the experience of the children of the disappeared (Alcoba, Bruzzone). By a comparative reading of recent novels from the two countries, this paper will discuss the relation between truth and fiction, and the (potential) role of literature both as a means of truth-seeking and as a vehicle for advocacy that goes beyond merely memorial reconstruction. References: Herwitz, Daniel (2003) Race and Reconciliation. Essays from the New South Africa. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Lyotard, Jean-François & Thébaud, Jean-Loup (1979) Au juste: conversations. Paris: Bourgois. Martyniuk, Claudio (2004) ESMA. Fenomenología de la desaparición. Buenos Aires: Prometeo. Sanders, Mark (2007). Ambiguities of witnessing: law and literature in the time of a truth commission. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press Wilson, Richard A. (2001) The politics of truth and reconciliation in South Africa : Legitimizing the post-apartheid state. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Truth
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION::Aesthetic subjects::Literature
Research Subject Categories::LAW/JURISPRUDENCE::Other law
Note CODEX AND CODE : Aesthetics, Language and Politics in an Age of Digital Media. NorLit 2009, Stockholm 6-8 August 2009
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/9500 (link to this page)
Link http://www.norlit.org/ (external link to related web page)

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