Herta Müller, the Aktionsgruppe Banat, and Literary Cartographies in Late 20th-Century Romanian Literature

Lecture | April 5 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 270 Stephens Hall

 Dana Bizuleanu, Lecturer, Department of Applied Languages, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania; Marius Conkan, Research Assistant, Department of Comparative Literature, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

 Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES), Center for German and European Studies

In Communist Romania one had freedom, as long as one took freedom. This is what the members of the Aktionsgruppe Banat believed when they started a literary circle in the 1970s and gradually broke with the tradition of Rumäniendeutsche Literatur. Protest, experiment, and the German village stand at the core of their literature. Having come into contact with members of the group, the writings of Nobel-prize winner Herta Müller depict destinies under totalitarianism and her representations are mapped out through body parts, objects, and distorted landscapes, as these elements seem to escape the ever-watching eye of power. Applying concepts such as literary cartography, narrative mapping, and geography of memory and post-memory, we can explore the spatial representations and the affective maps that recreate fragments of the communist period or describe the social conditions imposed by the transition into a capitalist world.

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