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New Perspectives on Contemporary Austrian Literature and Culture

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Edited By Katya Krylova

This volume brings together contributions arising from papers originally presented at the Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film and Culture International Conference held at the University of Nottingham in April 2015. It examines trends in contemporary Austrian literature, film and culture, predominantly over the past thirty years. This period has been one of great transformation in Austrian society, with the Waldheim affair of 1986–1988 marking the beginning of a belated process of confronting the country’s National Socialist past. The sixteen chapters of the volume analyse literary texts, films, memorial projects and Austria’s musical heritage, considering works by cultural practitioners operating both within and outside of Austria. The collection offers a multi-perspectival view on how contemporary Austria sees itself and how it is, in turn, seen by others from various vantage points.

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14 ‘Farben, die es auf dieser Welt nicht gibt’: Remembering Reality in Lenka Reinerová’s Late Prose (Traci S. O’Brien)

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TRACI S. O’BRIEN

14 ‘Farben, die es auf dieser Welt nicht gibt’: Remembering Reality in Lenka Reinerová’s Late Prose

ABSTRACT

Lenka Reinerová used postmodern associational and nonlinear narrative strategies in her later prose (1985–2000) in order to breathe life into history and certain traditions. In finding ways to maintain respect for the humanist tradition, Reinerová seeks to bring the human, the lived human life, back into consciousness – the consciousness of the reader. Reinerová proves that the rage and the epistemological uncertainty that dominate in a post-Holocaust world do not necessarily lead to the destruction of all traditional forms of meaning. The impetus underlying her prose is to honour and mark the lives of those who have passed away as well as the knowledge and wisdom they had gathered. Against the backdrop of the twentieth century, Reinerová’s prose brings the reader to reflect not only on the worst of what humanity has had to offer but also on what makes us human despite these things.

Born a Prague German Jew in 1916 who then lived into the first years of the twenty-first century, Lenka Reinerová is a writer with a noteworthy perspective on literature and lived experience. During her long life, she experienced some of the worst that human history has had to offer. She spent the Second World War in exile, lost her entire family in the Shoah, returned to Prague (via Yugoslavia) after the war,...

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