Individuální a kolektivní paměť ve dvou středoevropských románech (Kunderova Kniha smíchu a zapomnění a Spoluviník Györgyho Konráda)
INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE MEMORY IN TWO CENTRAL EUROPEAN NOVELS: KUNDERA’S BOOK OF LAUGHTER AND FORGETTING AND KONRAD’S THE LOSER
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This article is concerned with memory in two important central European novels, Milan Kundera’s the Book of Laughter and Forgetting (Kniha smíchu a zapomnění, 1978) and György Konrád’s The Loser (A cinkos, 1980). It follows on thematically from a 1995 work by Richard Esbenshad, who devoted himself to these novels, though putting them in the wider historical contexts of the central European region. The article endeavours to interpret and comprehend collective and individual memory, which are essential to the two novels. Using different methods the same conclusion is reached: the memory of the individual and of the collective is unreliable, unstable, and manipulatable. Furthermore, it is also influenced by state institutions. Central Europe is a space in which memory was rewritten several times in the twentieth century, a process that did not of course stop with the Changes of late 1989. That is also why it pays to read these novels again and to contemplate their relevancy to the present day.
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