From heroism to grotesque
The invisibility of border-related trauma narratives in the Finnish–Russian borderlands
in Border images, border narratives
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This chapter addresses the concept of in/visibility in border-related trauma narratives through a discussion of the representation and reception of border crossers’ traumas in literature dealing with Finnish–Russian borderlands in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries by writers including Boris Cederholm, Kirsti Huurre, Arvi Perttu (Finland), Nikolai Jaakkola and Antti Timonen (Karelia, Soviet Union). The chapter reveals how historical and political discourses related to border crossers and their experiences have influenced the discourses on migrants and their traumatic experiences up to the current day. The public reception of these narratives both in Finland and the Soviet Union/Russia has tended to evaluate them according to their truth-value and documentary value, and ignored the affective and emotional aspects of the narratives, i.e., their role as trauma literature. More recent trauma narratives by border-crossers apply elements of fictional genres, such as Russian postmodernism and grotesque, and are increasingly intertextual and layered. Since affects, personal experiences and inner reflections play a central role in these texts, aesthetic strategies play an important role in mediating the trauma of the border. The chapter shows that the marginalised experience of the border trauma gains gradual visibility, and the public perception of the past is gradually transforming.

Border images, border narratives

The political aesthetics of boundaries and crossings

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