Woe17Okt201819:30Het Pand, Onderbergen 1, Gent
Cerise lecture: History and the Detective: Reading the Stalinist Past in Alexander Terekhov's Novel Kamennyi most
Prof. Dr. Julie Hansen (University of Uppsala)
This presentation examines how historical understandings of the Stalinist period are problematized in the novel Kamennyi most by Alexander Terekhov (2009; Eng. trans. The Stone Bridge). The narrative is based on an actual event in 1943, when the son of the Soviet Minister of Aviation is believed to have murdered his girlfriend—daughter to the Soviet ambassador to Mexico—because she refused to remain with him in Moscow. In the novel, this case is re-investigated by the narrator-detective, whose findings suggest alternative interpretations of the event. The novel can be described as a work of faction, in that it mixes documentary and fictional narrative modes. My analysis focuses on the functions of the sources used in novel, which include archives and a variety of literary and documentary texts. Drawing upon Linda Hutcheon’s concept of historiographic metafiction as a prominent feature of postmodern texts, I will examine how this novel functions as a site of negotiation between past and present, providing at the same time a commentary on broader questions of memory, history and silence in a totalitarian society.