Title

Escape words: From solitary confinement to female solidarity in lena constante’s post-communist prison memoirs

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Szidonia Haragos, Zayed University

Document Type

Article

Source of Publication

Discourses on Nations and Identities

Publication Date

1-18-2021

Abstract

This article argues that the representative post-Communist autobiographical texts by Romanian writer Lena Constante, based on the author’s personal experience of twelve years of incarceration in Communist Romania’s notorious political prisons, trace a gradual transformation from solitary confinement to female solidarity. While the first of the two memoirs, The Silent Escape, invokes the power of the literary and creative imagination in surviving eight years of solitary confinement, the second part, The Impossible Escape, reveals the growing sense of community among the imprisoned women, their shared sense of suffering that was often induced by torture and frequently endured as a hardship marked by gender (for instance, the misery menstruating women undergo in the absence of the most basic sanitary equipment, with one of them barely surviving a haemorrhage). Recalling her memories years afterwards, Constante composes an autobiography that testifies to the difficulty of writing about the enormity of the atrocities she experienced. Often recording sheer rows of numbers on the page and struggling with silence because words seem to betray reality, her two-part memoir bears witness to a repressed collective past and thus offers a powerful countermemory and alternative history of Romanian totalitarianism.

ISBN

9783110642018,9783110641479

Publisher

De Gruyter

First Page

581

Last Page

590

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities

Keywords

Memoirs, Post-communist autobiography, Women writers

Scopus ID

85109223262

Indexed in Scopus

yes

Open Access

no

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