Modern memoirs dealing with the events and aftermath of World War II are among the most accepted information sources which form our future textual memory. The aim of this paper is to study the role of language in describing traumatic events, the relation between facts and fiction, as well as ethical issues associated with publishing life narratives. An analysis of the works written by Inese Veide and Verners Liguts let to the conclusion that language is an instrument for shaping a story, but that so-called unconscious language (dreams, expressions of emotion) is also essential for revealing what the author experienced at a given time. Significant events in the author's life are indicated by shifts from the past to the present tense, the use of direct discourse and distancing himself from actual events through the stories of contemporaries. Publication of one's experience marks the border between an accusatory and documented, open and credible narrative. The paper concludes with the acknowledgement that a similar interpretation of events depicted in other autobiographies testifies of the general character of the experience in which individual lives are described against the background of specific historical events and geopolitical changes. Autobiographies also demonstrate the ability of the World War II generation to break its long silence and end period of mourning.
S. Buhanovska, University of Latvia, Faculty of Modern Languages, 4a Visvalza iela, Riga, LV-1050, Latvia
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