Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History
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Cathy Caruth: After the End: Psychoanalysis in the Ashes of History
Poetics Today 1 June ; 27 2 : — The essay focuses on the relationship between memory and history, which has changed in many ways under the impact of the Holocaust. Memory that had been discarded by historians as an unreliable and distorting source came to be acknowledged as an important factor in the reconstruction of past events, thus advancing from a rival to a partner of historiography. The question to be asked is no longer merely what has happened? The new mnemo-historical genre of video testimony is analyzed as an archive of trauma stories and set off against other forms of autobiographical discourse, on the one hand, and legal testimonies, on the other. It is argued that its specific value lies in forging a transgenerational link between the faces and voices of victims and those who listen to them, thus transcending the frame of family memory that, as a rule, fades after three generations. Sign In or Create an Account.