Cover Osteuropa 1-2/2018

In Osteuropa 1-2/2018

Polyphonic counter-narratives
The experience and portrayal of war by Ales Adamovich, Daniil Granin and Svetlana Alexievich

Nina Weller

Deutsche Fassung


Svetlana Alexievich’s books, The Unwomanly Face of War and The Last Witnesses are among the most shattering literary accounts of the Second World War. They are the antithesis of the cult of victory that surrounds the “Great Patriotic War”. With her documentary prose, Alexievich is following in the footsteps of Ales Adamovich and Daniil Granin, who also turned the memories of contemporary witnesses into works of literature and in so doing, forced apart the ideological representation of war. Alexievich’s ethical-moral purpose is to tell the ‘whole truth’ about the war, with an orientation towards ‘living testimony’ and authenticity. The polyphonic documentary prose is a means to combat forgetting and suppression; the “chorus of testimony” is her poetological principle.

(Osteuropa 1-2/2018, pp. 165–182)