The Odyssey of Communism: Visual Narratives, Memory and Culture
This volume looks into the ways in which film has contaminated and re-shaped culture(s) and the collective unconscious, at both local and global levels, arguing that our lives have been impacted by the ‘then’ that we keep revisiting, lest we forget. It takes the reader from the Berlin Wall to China, and from the terror of communist political prisons and labour camps to the rosy image promoted by propaganda. A key point throughout the text is its interdisciplinary nature, as it brings together literature and film scholars, directors, sociologists and philosophers, whose overall conclusion is that communism, lingering in mentalities, still needs interrogation.
Structured along four parts which trace a Homeric (or rather Joycean) journey to a home metonymysed by the long-awaited freedom, this book sets out from the gloomiest aspects of totalitarianism in the Romanian, Serbian and Soviet ‘Hades(es)’ of traumatic psychological and physical experiences and of imposed silencing. The second part gathers together case studies of films illustrating more optimistic views of communism as ‘spring’ (in the USSR) or as a ‘golden age’ (in Romania), thus narcotising the communist ‘subjects’ and preventing them from seeing the actual inferno. The third section offers filmic accounts of the aftermaths of communism, engaging the readers in a nostalgic process that revisits, questions, reflects on and remembers communism on a larger, world stage. The coda rounds up the volume (and the journey therein) by crossing genre frontiers to written narratives with a cinematic component.
Michaela Praisler is a tenured Professor of Anglophone Literatures at the Faculty of Letters, “Dunarea de Jos” University of Galați, Romania. A Doctor of Philosophy since 1998, she has authored more than 80 books and articles, and has led international projects in the area of cultural studies. Her research interests concern Modernism, Postmodernism, literary theory, feminist criticism, metafiction and film studies, and she is General Editor of the journal Cultural Intertexts.
Oana-Celia Gheorghiu is a Senior Lecturer at “Dunarea de Jos” University of Galați, Romania, and holds a doctorate in English and American Literature. She is the author of British and American Representations of 9/11. Literature, Politics and the Media (2018) and From 19th-Century Femininity in Literature to 20th-Century Feminism on Film. Discourse Translation and Adaptation (2015), and has edited the volume Shifting Twenty-First-Century Discourses, Borders and Identities (2020).
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