Speaking trauma and history : the collective voice of testimonial literature

Jensen, Meg (2019) Speaking trauma and history : the collective voice of testimonial literature. In: Hammond, Andrew, (ed.) The Palgrave Handbook of Cold War Literature. London, U.K. : Palgrave Macmillan. (In Press)

Abstract

The Cold War encompassed not only the division of Europe and the conflict between China and the West, but also proxy-conflicts fought between Central and Southern America and the African continent, and impacted too on lives in the non-aligned world. While traditional Western literary memoirs of the period tend to speaks to the private of an ego-centric “I,” testimonial literature from other affected regions tends towards a public spectacle, notably impersonal with political rather than private aims, challenging the dominant narratives of state propaganda. This chapter examines a range of such Cold War testimonial and reflects on the various forms of political agency they construct.

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