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Translated into the language of trauma: transcultural patterns of memory observed in Estonian memoirs of the Gulag and deportation

Keywords: transcultural memory, transnational memory, trauma, Estonian memory culture, the Gulag, Imbi Paju

The article deals with a transformation in the ways of remembering the Soviet deportations and the Gulag in Estonia. Of particular interest is the new vocabulary of testimony and trauma that emerged in the Estonian memorial culture about those events in the mid-2000s, mainly in the aesthetic media of memory. While the first attempt to remember these aspects of Estonian history among expatriate Estonians in the 1970s and in Estonia at the end of the 1980s, in fiction, used the vocabulary of resistance and survival, the article shows how in the new millennium the rendering of those experiences is focused on the psychological traumas of the survivors. The article associates this transformation with the use of certain transcultural memorial patterns borrowed from the transnational memory of the Holocaust and discusses the advantages and problems of the use of those patterns.

 

Eneken Laanes (b. 1972), PhD in World Literature, Under and Tuglas Literary Centre, Senior Researcher; Tallinn University, Associate Professor of Comparative Literary Studies, eneken@utkk.ee

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