Abstract

Interconnections between fascism and colonialism and between antisemitism and colonial racism, perceived by post-war theorists of racialized violence such as Hannah Arendt and Aimé Césaire, have for a long time fascinated a number of writers and filmmakers in post-war France, yet their works are not often received from this point of view. This article considers Georges Perec's W ou le souvenir d'enfance (1975) and Patrick Modiano's Dora Bruder (1997) to show how these are not simply post-Holocaust works but contain an overlapping vocabulary, imagery and, ultimately, history of racism, dehumanization and apocalyptic violence which embraces the Holocaust and Empire. It also argues that the interconnections sought by the post-war generation of theorists of modern forms of violence can be more clearly exposed in imaginative works (rather than historical or sociological works) because these blur the frontiers between the literary imagination, memory and history. Repetitions, substitutions and transformations —the very substance of the literary imagination —open up an alternative history (though one announced by Arendt and others), which challenges the compartmentalization of metropolitan history, colonial history and the history of European genocide.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1468-2931
Print ISSN
0016-1128
Pages
pp. 417-428
Launched on MUSE
2008-11-09
Open Access
No
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