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The Historical UncannyDisability, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Holocaust Memory$
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Susanne C. Knittel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262786

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262786.001.0001

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Bridging the Silence, Part III

Bridging the Silence, Part III

Trieste and the Language of Belonging

Chapter:
(p.250) Chapter Seven Bridging the Silence, Part III
Source:
The Historical Uncanny
Author(s):

Susanne C. Knittel

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823262786.003.0008

Chapter 7 focuses on the works of Boris Pahor, Fulvio Tomizza, and Carolus Cergoly, all of whom perform the role of vicarious witnesses. In contrast to the simplistic and homogenizing mainstream depictions of twentieth century Italian history, these authors are concerned with the problem of establishing an “authentic” connection to the past and preserving the diverse and silenced memories of different groups of victims (particularly the Slovenes and Croats). Like the vicarious witnesses discussed in chapter 3, these authors foreground the historiographic process through which these stories are brought to light and emphasize the continuities between the past and the present. Furthermore, the question of language plays a vital role in the recovery of these minority memories. Pahor's decision to write exclusively in Slovene constitutes a political statement directed against the dominant Italian paradigm. The same is true of Cergoly's dialect poetry and Tomizza's hybrid Italian. All of these authors inhabit what postcolonial theorist Homi Bhabha calls the “third space,” the site of liminality between different ethnic and national groups, which, Bhabha argues, is where culture is articulated and continually renegotiated.

Keywords:   Vicarious witnessing, Homi Bhabha, Third space, Literature, Liminality

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