Third Generation Engagement with World War Two: Postmemory in Cole Moreton's 'My Father was a Hero'

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Abstract

Publication of Master's thesis examining how Cole Moreton's text operates within the framework of postmemory and principally aims to demonstrate that this concept may be broadened beyond its original contextual location of second generation Holocaust writings to the descendants of British ex-servicemen. A close reading of the narrative further hints at its inclusion into the emerging sub-genre of European post-väterliteratur, as Moreton's contemporary standpoint and generational distance allows new insights into the events of the war and a fresh understanding of its generation. Finally, this study of Moreton's work illustrates how this emerging sub-genre distinguishes itself from that of the Holocaust not only through its representation of the small human truths behind the grand historical events, but also how its writers necessarily and overtly articulate their archival research in order to subvert existing myths, further cultural memory of hitherto unknown histories and to discover the truths behind their family's post-war troubles. "My Father was a Hero: The True Story of a Man, a Boy and the Silence between them"(2004) is Cole Moreton's autobiographical account of his quest not only to uncover the untold stories of his grandfather's participation in World War Two and difficulties after demobilization, but also to trace the war's lingering effects through three generations of male family members. Furthermore, in a stylistic blend of history, fiction, self-conscious archival research and confessional memoir, Moreton explores the notions of heroism, the creation of collective mythologies surrounding World War Two and the reliability of memory.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Postmemory, World WarTwo, Cole Moreton,, Transgenerational Trauma

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