Chapter 9 Politics, Memory, and Grief in Contemporary Albanian Autobiographic Writing

Live to Tell; A True Story of Religious Persecution in Communist Albania by Fr Zef Pllumi

In: Grief, Identity, and the Arts
Author:
Bavjola Shatro
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Abstract

This contribution focuses on a seminal work in contemporary autobiographic writing in Albanian literature, Live to Tell by Fr Zef Pllumi, an Albanian Catholic priest who suffered long imprisonment and harsh persecution by the communist regime. In the 1990s after surviving the horrors of the communist camps he wrote autobiographic texts providing testimony about the suffering of numerous people, intellectuals, and clergyman in the communist prisons. Pllumi offers a monument of grief for the lost human lives, for the wasted intellectual potential of a nation, and for the responsibility to remember as the ultimate civilizing act of the society toward victims of violence. Through text analysis and a cultural approach, this chapter first gives a synthesized view of the establishing of communism in Albania and of the persecution of intellectuals and clergy, especially of the Catholic Church. Secondly, this contribution addresses the role of Pllumi’s memoir in the context of Albanian literature as a representative of autobiographic writing, whose narrative builds on topics of memory and moral debt in times of extreme politics. Thirdly, there will follow an analysis of the concept of grief in Live to Tell in relation to memory and agony.

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Grief, Identity, and the Arts

A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Expressions of Grief

Series:  Death in History, Culture, and Society, Volume: 1

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