Born into a Jewish family in Łódź, Zenia Larsson (1922-2007) arrived in Sweden in 1945 as a refugee after surviving Nazi concentration camps. In her new country, she started her career as a writer in the late 1950s choosing Swedish as her literary language. The autobiographical inspiration is at the core of her production, a considerable part of which is connected to her experience of antisemitism before and after the war. In fact, even though she comes from a non-religious family, she is compelled to reconsider her identity by the circumstances she lives in and the expectations and perspectives other people project on her. The construction of a new identity is therefore a process that goes through the memory of her personal experience as well as the history of the people her destiniy is inextricably linked with. The individual sphere is explored in both novelistic works, such as her debut trilogy (1960-1962) featuring the fictional Paula as an alter-ego of the writer, and in a number of non-fictional contributions including articles and a book on her journey to Israel (“Morfars kopparslantar”, 1970). Silence is also a key strategy in this literary project – quite as eloquent as words themselves – since she never writes explicitly about her life in the concentration camps, but focuses on the time before and after this. While evoking her own and her family’s past, especially during her journey through Israel, she feels the need to enlarge her scope in order to encompass the Jewish people since she acknowledges that her own memory is part of a wider collective memory. The aim of this paper is to trace the steps of this process through the author’s own literary witness and study the narrative techniques used to reconstruct it.

Memory and identity construction in Zenia Larsson's works / A. Meregalli. ((Intervento presentato al 33. convegno Mindekultur i nordiske studier / Memory culture in Scandinavian Studies tenutosi a Vilnius nel 2021.

Memory and identity construction in Zenia Larsson's works

A. Meregalli
2021-08-06

Abstract

Born into a Jewish family in Łódź, Zenia Larsson (1922-2007) arrived in Sweden in 1945 as a refugee after surviving Nazi concentration camps. In her new country, she started her career as a writer in the late 1950s choosing Swedish as her literary language. The autobiographical inspiration is at the core of her production, a considerable part of which is connected to her experience of antisemitism before and after the war. In fact, even though she comes from a non-religious family, she is compelled to reconsider her identity by the circumstances she lives in and the expectations and perspectives other people project on her. The construction of a new identity is therefore a process that goes through the memory of her personal experience as well as the history of the people her destiniy is inextricably linked with. The individual sphere is explored in both novelistic works, such as her debut trilogy (1960-1962) featuring the fictional Paula as an alter-ego of the writer, and in a number of non-fictional contributions including articles and a book on her journey to Israel (“Morfars kopparslantar”, 1970). Silence is also a key strategy in this literary project – quite as eloquent as words themselves – since she never writes explicitly about her life in the concentration camps, but focuses on the time before and after this. While evoking her own and her family’s past, especially during her journey through Israel, she feels the need to enlarge her scope in order to encompass the Jewish people since she acknowledges that her own memory is part of a wider collective memory. The aim of this paper is to trace the steps of this process through the author’s own literary witness and study the narrative techniques used to reconstruct it.
Memory studies; Shoah literature; Migration literature; Swedish literature
Settore L-LIN/15 - Lingue e Letterature Nordiche
Memory and identity construction in Zenia Larsson's works / A. Meregalli. ((Intervento presentato al 33. convegno Mindekultur i nordiske studier / Memory culture in Scandinavian Studies tenutosi a Vilnius nel 2021.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/861594
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