Ústav pro českou literaturu AV ČR Institute of Czech literature of the CAS
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Team for the Study of Memory and Trauma in Literature

This team brings together researchers at the ICL who work on issues concerning memory. The main objectives of the team were established in connection with the prestigious J. E. Purkyně Fellowship, awarded by the CAS, carried out by Alexander Kratochvil in 2012–2015. Under his leadership, the team put together the comparative annotated anthology Memory and Trauma from the Perspective of the Humanities; Kratochvil also published his own monograph under the title Post-Traumatic Storytelling: Trauma – Literature – Memory (Posttraumatisches Erzählen: Trauma – Literatur – Erinnerung, 2019). The team is currently focusing on what it calls ‘The Poetics of Conspiracy’, based on the premise that there has been a dialogue between literature and conspiracy thinking since the beginning of modern times, one not limited to a reflection of its topics (Masonic, Jesuit, Jewish, etc.), but also sharing common motives (hiding, ‘reading’ signs in seemingly insignificant events and facts, the initiation of chosen individuals, secret communities), and the abductive logic that reveals a rational order behind every detail of an otherwise insignificant life. The aim of the project is first to describe this poetics, then to map it onto selected investigations into literary works of Czech and Czech-German provenance from the Enlightenment to the present, and finally to define it in relation to a poetics based on concepts of order and chaos (in works by Michal Ajvaz and Jáchym Topol, for example, and concepts of a hidden order that arise in magic realism). The specific aim is to explore the thesis that the poetics of conspiracy thinking arises in times of crisis and is connected with the disintegration of ideological frameworks of shared values.

PhDr. Lucie Antošíková, Ph.D.
543 211 868
Mgr. Stefan Segi, Ph.D.
222 828 145
Mgr. Václav Smyčka, Ph.D. et Ph.D.
222 828 205
Publication department