Myth and Its Discontents. Memory and Trauma in Central and Eastern European Literature

Mythos und Ernüchterung. Zu Trauma und (fraglicher) Erinnerung in Literaturen des zentralen und östlichen Europa
Szerk. Danijela Lugarić, Milka Car, Gábor Tamás Molnár
Praesens, Wien, 2017.

Intellectually, myth is understood as a traditional, fictional story (“a legend”, literary myth), a body of traditional beliefs of a particular subject (“mythology”, “tradition”, cultural myth), or any fictitious idea accepted as part of an ideology of a certain social group (“received idea”, Hobsbawm’s “invented tradition”; political myth). Syncretic and ahistorical by nature, myth is – paradoxically enough – something which is fictional (i.e. which never existed, except in a language), but is taken as the truth (i.e. which always existed / circulated as the final and unquestionable truth about the world). From the point of view of cultural history, mythical knowledge (literary, cultural or political) can be understood as a type of collective memory which operates as a shared repository of cultural identities, defines a certain social and national group and is sustained through a continuous production of representational forms. In this volume, our aim is to challenge and expand this understanding of myth by assuming that for their consumers (i.e. for the members of a society) mythical knowledge also represents a certain repository of feelings. Art and literature, analyzed in this volume, are therefore treated as the sensible distribution of sensible (Jacques Rancière, 2004, The Politics of Aesthetics: “The Distribution of the Sensible”).