1st Edition

Cultures and Literatures in Dialogue The Narrative Construction of Russian Cultural Memory

By Elena Bollinger Copyright 2023
    222 Pages
    by Routledge

    222 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book addresses the narrative construction of Russian cultural memory in the work of Julian Barnes. It investigates how Barnes's texts tend to display a memory process as a transcultural mode of the creation of English and Russian national identities. Examining a need to revisit Russian canonical works, the detailed discursive analysis of the selected English texts exposes an intertextual remembering by duplication, thus contributing to the prevention of forgetting through the recuperation of still misrecollected cultural meanings. By creatively incorporating Russian intertextual elements into his work as a novelist, the author seems to insist on sweeping across and beyond national boundaries, revealing how frail the invention of tradition is when leading to the illusion of a solid collective memory and its political legitimation. The book considers not only a constructive dialogue between Barnes’s fiction and Russian classical literature, but also this writer’s interpretative, mostly imaginative, integration of Russian literature and culture into his work as a novelist. Exploring the double meaning of a literary metaphor as a mnemonic image of memory and a product of imagination, it offers a comprehensive analysis of Barnes’s texts which play with intertextuality as an efficient tool of displacement of official memory, providing a deeper understanding of historical and cultural processes related to the constantly moving architecture of transcultural memory.

    Introduction: Rethinking literature through memory

    Chapter 1: Cultural dimension of literary memory

    Chapter 2: Narrative and memory in Julian Barnes

    Chapter 3: Patterning transcultural readings of memory

    Conclusion: Narrative irresolvability of memory


    Elena Bollinger holds a PhD in English and American Studies from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Lisbon. She is currently a researcher at the University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies, and a member of the interdisciplinary project entitled ‘Shared Memories: Literatures and Cultures in English and Portuguese’. Close to both the Centre for Slavic Languages and Cultures and the Centre for Comparative Studies, she has been working on intercultural research involving memory, history and (trans)national identity within the scope of literary representations. She is also a member of Memory Studies Association.