Book Review: Eva Figes’ Writings: A Journey through Trauma

Since the 1990s, Trauma Studies have become an important tool of analysis for texts and other media produced after the atrocities of the Second World War. Starting with Adorno, who said that it was barbaric to have written poetry after Auschwitz ([1997] 2003), the question of representing the horror of the Shoah has been dealt with by many scholars and artists, such as Claude Lanzmann, Maurice Blanchot, Elie Wiesel and Arthur Cohen, among others (35). Most of these critics have arrived at the contentions that, first, the trauma caused by the Holocaust is irrepresentable in realist modes, and, second, that ethics and aesthetics must go together when representing such a traumatic event. The truth is, however, that many sufferers, including second and third-generation children of people affected by the Holocaust—what Marianne Hirsch coined “the generation of postmemory” (Hirsch 1992)—are still trying to come to terms with the horrors that they or their relatives suffered, and with how this has affected their present-day identities.

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Book Review: Macedonia: A Voyage through History (Vols. 1 & 2)

Macedonia: A Voyage through History from Michael Palairet offers a detailed, extensive overview of the history of Macedonia. In this rather ambitious project, Palairet attempts to discuss the historical developments on the territory of Macedonia covering the entire history staring from ancient times and the first organization of life on this territory to the Macedonian independence and the most contemporary developments. This makes the monograph a very important contribution to the state of art since it is one of the rare academic works in English which analyzes and discusses the historical developments on the territory of Macedonia.

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Book Review: Thrice a Stranger: Penelope’s Eastern Mediterranean Odyssey

“We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies” – Shirley Abbott

If the passing of time makes the Eastern Mediterranean more of a seething cauldron, one would do well to look at the decline of its cosmopolitan culture over the last century. And while cultural analysis is evidently insufficient to explain the totality of the political process, it is at the very least a good reflection of its moral and aesthetic deterioration. Birthplace and home to a multitude of religions, civilizations and races, the Eastern Mediterranean is today arguably the most volatile region in the world. Amidst a process of recoil and introversion, its once cosmopolitan cities, ports and junctions seem to have become mere shadows of their former selves. And while great power, perfidy and machinations have had no small share, intellectual and moral integrity require that one judges his family first.

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Book Review: Laughter and War: Humorous-Satirical Magazines in Britain, France, Germany and Russia 1914-1918

Lesley Milne’s Laughter and War: Humorous-Satirical Magazines in Britain, France, Germany and Russia 1914–1918, offers a well written overview of the humour of four nations during the Great War, and in turn, four satirical magazines that provoked laughter in these combatant countries. She has approached these journals critically and comparatively within a thematic framework, which she uses to illustrate the styles of humour they each express. There was always going to be the risk of trying to cover too much material when looking at the satire of four diverse nations, particularly when those nations fell on opposing sides of a major conflict. However, this is something that Milne has succeeded in doing. In places, broader detail has been lost when looking at the wider ‘multi-national’ picture of the war, yet even so, there is a vast amount of detail provided for the specific topics addressed within the book. Thus, as a qualitative overview rather than a vast quantitative one that would have easily lost value overall, this book achieves its aims.

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Book Review: Proceedings of the First International Colin Wilson Conference

The background to the landmark Colin Wilson Conference in 2016 – marking 60 years since publication of his first book The Outsider – is that when the Wilson archive was opened at the University of Nottingham, UK, in the summer of 2011, it was agreed among those attending that a conference should be arranged there to discuss his work.

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