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Stylised configurations of trauma: faking identity in Holocaust memoirs

Miller, Alyson 2014, Stylised configurations of trauma: faking identity in Holocaust memoirs, Arcadia, vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 229-253, doi: 10.1515/arcadia-2014-0022.

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Title Stylised configurations of trauma: faking identity in Holocaust memoirs
Author(s) Miller, Alyson
Journal name Arcadia
Volume number 49
Issue number 2
Start page 229
End page 253
Total pages 35
Publisher Walter de Gruyter GmbH
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2014-11-01
ISSN 0003-7982
1613-0642
Keyword(s) Fakes
history
Holocaust
identity
literary culture
memoirs
performance
testimony
Summary Exploring a series of fraudulent Holocaust memoirs-Herman Rosenblat's Angel at the Fence, Misha Defonseca's Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust, Binjamin Wilkomirski's Fragments and Helen Demidenko's The Hand That Signed the Paper-, this paper argues that fakes are not some 'bogus Other' (Ruthven 3) of 'genuine' literature but in fact parodic works that reflect on the tenuous nature of both the past and the notion of self. Indeed, the revelation of a fraudulent memoir exposes the investments of a public culture in notions of the real-firstly, in terms of an authentic identity and secondly, in relation to a genuine literary experience. The Holocaust frauds perpetuated by Rosenblat, Defonseca, Demidenko and Wilkomirski, in exploiting an historical phenomena regarded as sacrosanct, highlight and utilise the commodification of trauma in both public and literary arenas, manipulating discourses of victimhood and authenticity in order to interrogate the boundaries of the real and the unreal and, indeed, to reveal the faultlines in literary culture per se. Less interested in literary classifications, however, than in notions of history and identity, this paper contends that the scandals surrounding fakes are fundamental to understanding anxieties about the connection between word and world, and the strange expectation that literature is able to provide access to something 'true'.
Language eng
DOI 10.1515/arcadia-2014-0022
Field of Research 200524 Comparative Literature Studies
Socio Economic Objective 950203 Languages and Literature
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, Walter de Gruyter GmbH
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30068233

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.