Event Title

Madness and Memory: Reading Collaboration as Trauma in Kim Sa-ryang’s “Tenma” and Patrick Modiano’s La Place de l’étoile

Presenter Information

Melissa Karp, Oberlin CollegeFollow

Location

King Building 123

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2018 5:30 PM

End Date

4-27-2018 6:50 PM

Abstract

This project explores a spectrum of traumatic experience in collaborator literatures from two texts: Patrick Modiano’s novel, La Place de l’étoile (1968) and Kim Sa-ryang’s short story, “Tenma” (1940). I argue that, in these texts, the paradoxical reality of the intellectual-collaborator sustains an inescapable experience of psycho-emotional, immaterial violence perpetrated against and by collaborators. Therefore, collaborators’ unique traumatic encounters defy categorization in a perpetrator-victim binary. By focusing on their experiences instead of their motivations, we can better understand the ways in which structures of occupation make collaborators enthusiastically complicit in their own destruction. This paper draws on a range of collaboration tropes, from sexual violence to self-hatred to suicide. The comparable use of these imageries and the prevalent irony in these texts written from and about disparate vantage points of collaboration—Late Colonial Korea (1937-45) and Occupied France (1940-44)—reveal consistent characteristics of intellectual-collaboration and its traumatic impact on its participants. I use theorizations of collaboration and memory, specifically those in Michael Rothberg’s Multidirectional Memory, to build a meaningful discursive space in which the hybridity of collaborators, their narratives, and memory artifacts can be read multidirectionally. In this way, collaboration gives us new tools to read shared postwar memory as a messy, overlapping record. Ultimately, the analysis of these texts as collaborator testimonies raises new questions about the ways in which we might incorporate hybrid memories into shared postwar and postcolonial narratives of violence, even if they make delineations of guilt and innocence ever more ambiguous.

Keywords:

collaboration, trauma, memory, postcolonial, hybridity, paradox

Notes

Session VII, Panel 18 - Narrative | Interjections
Moderator: Gillian Johns, Associate Professor of English

Major

Comparative Literature; East Asian Studies; French

Advisor(s)

Jed Deppman, Comparative Literature; English
Sheila Miyoshi Jager, East Asian Studies
Preeamvada Leelah, French

Project Mentor(s)

Sheila Miyoshi Jager, East Asian Studies
Leonard Smith, History

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Apr 27th, 5:30 PM Apr 27th, 6:50 PM

Madness and Memory: Reading Collaboration as Trauma in Kim Sa-ryang’s “Tenma” and Patrick Modiano’s La Place de l’étoile

King Building 123

This project explores a spectrum of traumatic experience in collaborator literatures from two texts: Patrick Modiano’s novel, La Place de l’étoile (1968) and Kim Sa-ryang’s short story, “Tenma” (1940). I argue that, in these texts, the paradoxical reality of the intellectual-collaborator sustains an inescapable experience of psycho-emotional, immaterial violence perpetrated against and by collaborators. Therefore, collaborators’ unique traumatic encounters defy categorization in a perpetrator-victim binary. By focusing on their experiences instead of their motivations, we can better understand the ways in which structures of occupation make collaborators enthusiastically complicit in their own destruction. This paper draws on a range of collaboration tropes, from sexual violence to self-hatred to suicide. The comparable use of these imageries and the prevalent irony in these texts written from and about disparate vantage points of collaboration—Late Colonial Korea (1937-45) and Occupied France (1940-44)—reveal consistent characteristics of intellectual-collaboration and its traumatic impact on its participants. I use theorizations of collaboration and memory, specifically those in Michael Rothberg’s Multidirectional Memory, to build a meaningful discursive space in which the hybridity of collaborators, their narratives, and memory artifacts can be read multidirectionally. In this way, collaboration gives us new tools to read shared postwar memory as a messy, overlapping record. Ultimately, the analysis of these texts as collaborator testimonies raises new questions about the ways in which we might incorporate hybrid memories into shared postwar and postcolonial narratives of violence, even if they make delineations of guilt and innocence ever more ambiguous.