Emanuela Piga

Biographies of Desire and Cartographies of Memory: Anne Michael's Fugitive Pieces

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Memory, Trauma, History, Desire, Literature.

In the wake of the contemporary debate on the relationship between literature and history, recalling and going beyond Frederic Jameson and Linda Hutcheon, the American theorist Amy Elias says: «For the postmodernist imagination, history is desire, the desire for the space of History that it finds is always deferred [...] The desire for history is the fabulatory, romance element of the metahistorical romance, the desire for the always receding, always beckoning Other [...]» (2001: 67). This paper is focused to the novel "Fugitive Pieces" (1996) by the Canadian writer and poet Anne Michaels (1958 - ). In this novel, the story of Jacob Beer (a child who escaped from the Nazi slaughters in Poland and emigrated to Canada), who becomes a character in that time-frame, condenses at a fictional level the painful themes of exile and of post-memory, and the search for the reparation of the traumatic past through love, the care of people, objects and places marked by memorial and sentimental value, and literature. Aim of this paper is to investigate - through the evolution of the characters and the common use of metaphors - how this work relates to questions which are hard to verbalize such as the longing of a lost past and the desire for missing «futures past» (Kosellack 1979) in the difficult path of re-elaboration of a traumatic past.

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