2023: XXV

Sull’onomastica della (post-)memoria in Vielleicht Esther di Katja Petrowskaja

Francesca Boarini
Università di Cagliari

Pubblicato 2023-10-05

Parole chiave

  • Proper names,
  • postmemory,
  • transculturality,
  • Petrowskaja,
  • Vielleicht Esther. Geschichten


This paper delves into the significance of anthroponyms in Katja Petrowskaja’s literary debut, Vielleicht Esther. Geschichten. In this book, the Ukrainian novelist writes in German about her family’s history, engaging with postmemorial research that problematizes the processes of memory and identity construction. Proper names play a crucial role in Petrowskaja’s exploration as she seeks to uncover her ancestors’ history using scarce documents, fragmented recollections, and sparse notes. These proper names serve a primary documentary function, affirming the existence of individuals who have often been entirely erased from the annals of history. By analyzing Petrowskaja’s writing and considering her unique approach to postmemorial discourse, which embraces her diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, we observe how proper names assume a central position in her narrative journey through her family’s history. She endeavors to uncover what might have been, delving into the realm of possibilities rather than focusing solely on what actually transpired.