Book Announcement: Memory Frictions in Contemporary Literature

María Jesús Martínez-Alfaro and Silvia Pellicer-Ortín (eds.), Memory Frictions in Contemporary Literature

Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.


ISBN: 978-3-319-61758-9,
ISBN (eBook): 978-3-319-61759-6


The essays that make up the collection delve into both the treatment of memory in literature and the view of literature as a medium of memory, paying special attention to major controversies attending the representation and (re)construction of individual, cultural and collective memories in literary narratives in English published from 1990 to the present. Focusing on texts written by authors from diverse backgrounds —Great Britain, South-Korea, the USA, Cuba, Australia, Burma, as well as Native-American Indian and African-American writers— this book attempts to explore the multifarious representational strategies used by contemporary writers so as to textualise memory and its friction areas through literary practices. The contributors to the collection analyse a good range of memory frictions —in connection with melancholic mourning, immigration, diaspora, genocide, perpetration and victimhood, dialogic witnessing, memorialisation practices, inherited traumatic memories, murder, sexual abuse, prostitution, etc.— by making use of various disciplines —such as psychoanalysis, ethics, politics, space theories, postcolonial studies, narratology, feminism and gender studies, critical studies in food and culture— resulting in a volume that is genuinely contemporary and committed to cross-cultural ethical engagement.


Introduction: Memory Frictions: Conflict-Negotiation-Politics. María Jesús Martínez-Alfaro and Silvia Pellicer-Ortín

Part I: Experimentation and Genre: Formal Memory Frictions

  • The Powers of Vulnerability: The Restorative Uses
of Elegy. Jean-Michel Ganteau
  • Narrative Form, Memory Frictions and the Revelation
of Traumatic Secrets in Toni Morrison’s Home. Susana Onega
  • The Zigzag Trajectory through Time of Colum
McCann’s TransAtlantic. Sandra Singer

Part II: Collective Tensions and the Politics of Remembrance

  • Public Art and Communal Space: The Politics of Commemoration in Amy Waldman’s The Submission. Paula Martín-Salván
  • A Korean “Apocryphal” Island, Once the Shore, by Paul
Yoon. Marc Amfreville
  • False Memories, False Foods: Eating, Cooking,
Remembering in Tastes like Cuba by Eduardo Machado. Nieves Pascual Soler

Part III: The Haunting Presence of the Holocaust: Multidirectional, Transgenerational and Memorial Struggles

  • The Holocaust in the Eye of the Beholder: Memory in
Carmel Bird’s The Bluebird Café. Bárbara Arizti
  • Lore, or the Implicated Witness: Rachel Seiffert’s
Postmemory Work. Susanne Baackmann
  • “No Redress but Memory”: Holocaust Representation
and Memorialization in E.L. Doctorow’s City of God. María Ferrández San Miguel

Part IV: Mapping Memories, Spatial F(r)ictions and Troubled Identities

  • Re-Mapping the Trauma Paradigm: The Politics
of Native American Grief in Louise Erdrich’s “Shamengwa”. Silvia Martínez-Falquina
  • Remembering the Way Back Home: The Role of Place
in Wendy Law-Yone’s The Road to Wanting. Dolores Herrero
  • Negotiating Traumatic Memories in Louise Erdrich’s
The Round House: White Man’s Law vs. Native Justice
and Tradition. Aitor Ibarrola-Armendariz

Conclusion. Robert Eaglestone


María Jesús Martínez-Alfaro is  Senior Lecturer at the Department of English and German Philology in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Zaragoza (Spain).

Silvia Pellicer-Ortín is Lecturer at the Department of English and German Philology in the Faculty of Education of the University of Zaragoza (Spain).

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