Matthias Schwartz, Nina Weller, Heike Winkel (ed./eds.)

After Memory
World War II in Contemporary Eastern European Literatures

Media and Cultural Memory / Medien und kulturelle Erinnerung vol. 29
de Gruyter, Berlin 2021, 479 pages
ISBN 978-3-1107-1373-2 (Print); 978-3-1107-1383-1 (E-Book)

Even seventy-five years after the end of World War II, the commemorative cultures surrounding the War and the Holocaust in Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe are anything but fixed. The fierce debates on how to deal with the past among the newly constituted nation states in these regions have already received much attention by scholars in cultural and memory studies. The present volume posits that literature as a medium can help us understand the shifting attitudes towards World War II and the Holocaust in post-Communist Europe in recent years. These shifts point to new commemorative cultures shaping up ‘after memory.’ Contemporary literary representations of World War II and the Holocaust in Eastern Europe do not merely extend or replace older practices of remembrance and testimony, but reflect on these now defunct or superseded narratives. New narratives of remembrance are conditioned by a fundamentally new social and political context, one that emerged from the devaluation of socialist commemorative rituals and as a response to the loss of private and family memory narratives. The volume offers insights into the diverse literatures of Eastern Europe and their ways of depicting the area’s contested heritage.


“Working with some of the most recent theoretical impulses and mapping new literary production from across postsocialist Europe, including experimental postmodern genres such as the graphic novel, speculative fiction, fantasy, and ‘spectral’ or ‘phantom’ narratives, complemented by illustrations, the volume brings fresh insights into cultural memory studies, trauma studies and the study of the postmodern historical novel.”
Dobrota Pucherová, World Literature Studies 15.1 (2023)

Bücher im Gespräch

Episode 16: Nach der Erinnerung

For our podcast, Heike Winkel and Matthias Schwartz talked about their edited volume. (in German)


International Conference
06 Nov 2015 – 08 Nov 2015

After Memory. Conflicting Claims to World War Two in Contemporary Eastern European Literatures

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et.

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Media Response

30 Mar 2023
After Memory: World War II in Contemporary Eastern European Literatures

Review by Dobrota Pucherová, in: World Literature Studies 15.1 (2023), 114–116