Can it be ever possible to write about war in a work of fiction? asks a protagonist of one of Makine’s strongly metafictional and intensely historical novels. Helena Duffy’s
World War II in Andreï Makine’s Historiographic Metafiction redirects this question at the Franco-Russian author’s fiction itself by investigating its portrayal of Soviet involvement in the struggle against Hitler. To write back into the history of the Great Fatherland War its unmourned victims — invalids, Jews, POWs, women or starving Leningraders — is the self-acknowledged ambition of a novelist committed to the postmodern empowerment of those hitherto silenced by dominant historiographies. Whether Makine succeeds at giving voice to those whose suffering jarred with the triumphalist narrative of the war concocted by Soviet authorities is the central concern of Duffy’s book.
Helena Duffy, MSt (Oxon), PhD (Oxford Brookes), is Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Wrocław in Poland. She has published widely on non-native French novelists, contemporary cinema and cultural representations of the Holocaust.
Table of contents
Preface Acknowledgments Author’s Note Abbreviations of the Titles of Andreï Makine’s Novels
Introduction: Andreï Makine, the Great Fatherland War, the Historical Novel and (Russian) Postmodernism 1
Andreï Makine’s Novels as Historiographic Metafictions Introduction: from Architecture to Metafiction The Orphans of History: The Good German, the Kind Ivan and the Virtuous ‘Mobile Field Wife’ Historicity, Rewriting and Nostalgia Can It Ever Be Possible to Write about War in a Novel? Veracity vs. Verisimilitude The Textuality of Knowledge, the Limits of Cognition and the Role of Documents in Historical Inquiry ‘The Presence of the Past’ The Politics of Andreï Makine’s Fiction 2
The Hero of the Soviet Union: From Victor to Victim Introduction The Soviet Union Is No More — Its Heroes Live On The Intelligible Body Ivan’s Childhood Fathers, Mothers and Sons Ivan in the Mirror Ivan’s War(s) Speak, Memory From Berlin to Beriozhka Conclusions 3
The War Invalid: The Samovar, the Kommunalka and the Docile Body, or the Dialectic of Fragmentation and Plenitude Introduction: ‘The Heroic Flotsam and Jetsam of History’ Written on the Body The ‘Ugly Vestiges of the War’: Sasha Semyonov and Pyotr Evdokimov The Amputee and the Fragmented Narrative The Poetics of Fragment: Archaeology and Fresco Painting The Common Places: The Communal Apartment and Courtyard Charlotte, Put the Samovar on Requiem for the Lost Empire Conclusions 4
The Jew: Between Victimhood and Complicity, or How an Army-Dodger and Rootless Cosmopolitan Has Become a Saintly Ogre Introduction The Holocaust as a Non-Event and Russian/Soviet Anti-Semitism The Jew as the Postmodern Other There Are Jews in Makine’s Oeuvre but There Is No Jewish Question The Kholokaust and the Grey Zone ‘Jews Are Fighting the War in Tashkent’ The Jew’s Redemptive Phoria From Superfluous Man to Homo Sovieticus Conclusions 5
The Blokadnik: A Saintly Prostitute or a Heroic Defender of Leningrad? Introduction Taking the Piss out of the Blockade The Homo Sacer: Steadfastness, Solidarity, Sacrifice, Sostradanie and Serenity Leningrad’s Saintly Prostitutes The Siege as a Gendered Experience: Heroic Fighters and Holy Blockade Women ‘All for One and One for All’ The City of Culture or the Uncanny City No One Is Forgotten Conclusions
Conclusions. Writing History of World War II as a ProphetBibliographyIndex
All interested in contemporary French literature, World War II, Russian history, the Soviet Union, the Holocaust, postmodernism, contemporary philosophy of history, and historiographic metafiction.