The poetics of elusive history: Marguerite Duras, war traumas, and the dilemmas of literary representation
Modern Language Review
Modern Humanities Research Association (M H R A)
1064 - 1081
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(German, American, Japanese, and French), Hiroshima mon amour does not offer a positive counter-memory, since that, in its axiological design, would reproduce historical violence. Instead, the story's minimalist technique and critique of the measuring eye lay bare the violent consequences of the position of strength, identity, and concreteness. With its critique of representation and closure, Hiroshima mon amour envisages a mode of storytelling that abandons representation as ethically and politically inadmissible because of its tendency to reduce difference to sameness, and history of this difference to either an ahistorical present or a particular perspective on difference. Challenging all appeals to a distinct and positively defined identity, whether personal or national, founded on a unifying memory and common history, Hiroshima mon amour promotes a purely negative unity and commonality based on difference. In Hiroshima mon amour the openness to the fragments of the past that resist being incorporated into memory is ethical and political because, by challenging both personal identity and a collective identity of uniform groups defined by their history, it introduces a less exclusive and antagonistic type of cohabitation. © Modern Humanities Research Association 2012.