Cover Osteuropa 1-2/2018

In Osteuropa 1-2/2018

Closer to the trauma
Svetlana Alexievich’s evolving testimony

Johanna Lindbladh

Deutsche Fassung


The editing process to which Svetlana Alexievich subjects her texts has repeatedly been cause for criticism. Her treatment of the documentary material does not stand up to a critical assessment of her sources. However, this approach is closely linked to the core of the message in her books: memories and feelings demand forms other than objective facts. Alexievich’s successive re-workings reduce the documentary aspect and intensify the literary nature of her texts. As a result, the individual message also becomes a universal one, and is brought closer to the reader. While reading her work, the function of the “ethical subject” involved in the testimony is transferred from the author to the reader.

(Osteuropa 1-2/2018, pp. 183–195)