How Long the Night : A Novel ; followed by an essay ‘The Ghosts of Muranów: Confronting Poland’s Jewish Past’

Ilowska, Izabela (2016) How Long the Night : A Novel ; followed by an essay ‘The Ghosts of Muranów: Confronting Poland’s Jewish Past’. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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My novel, 'How Long the Night,' and my essay, ‘The Ghosts of Muranów: Confronting Poland’s Jewish Past,’ focus on the relationship between urban space, memory and identity. Before the Second World War Muranów was one of the largest Jewish districts in Europe. In August 1939 Poland’s capital was home to 380,000 Jews, which accounted for about 30 percent of the city’s total population. During the war the district was the central part of the Warsaw Ghetto located near the Umschlagplatz, the place from which Jews were transported to concentration camps. After the failed uprising in 1943 the Nazis burnt the entire quarter to the ground. There was nothing left, except for heaps of rubble. The debris was to be the foundation on which the new socialist realist residential district would stand. The new Muranów, erected on the ashes of the former ghetto, is a space of absence, emptiness and repressed guilt. There are no physical traces of the Jewish presence in the area, except for commemorative plaques, monuments or obelisks. Former tenement houses, shops, synagogues are gone; street names and their layout are different as well. Nevertheless, the former Jewish district is present in images, dreams (or nightmares), in fantasies, memories and stories. My novel and my essay explore the connection between place, history, memory and trauma. The space of Muranów becomes a symbolic trigger for investigation and re-examination of the forgotten or suppressed past. What is more, the novel examines the way a foreign language serves as a tool through which painful and repressed stories can be (re)told.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available after any embargo period has expired.
Keywords: postmemory, urban space, Muranów, Polish-Jewish relations, memory, trauma, ghost stories, repressed guilt, self-translation
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Strachan, Ms Zoe and Reeder, Dr. Elizabeth
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Izabela Ilowska
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7413
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2016 13:14
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2020 05:50

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