Remembering Late Socialism

Remembering Late Socialism in Autobiographical Novels and Autofictions from Central and Eastern Europe: Introduction




autobiographical novel, autofiction, Central and Eastern Europe, late socialism


Since the fall of communism in 1989 and 1990/91 literature has dealt with this epochal societal change, trying to come to terms with the past and assessing its influence on the present. In the last years the focus has turned towards the era of late socialism, that is the 1970s and 1980s. Many writers who attempt to present and reevaluate these decades and their ongoing influence on biographies and societies today grew up or came of age in this era. Our main contention is that different forms of life-writing, especially autofictions and autobiographical novels, have become the dominant narrative device for addressing and narrating the socialist past. Accordingly, the contributions to this cluster explore the era of late socialism, examining its different and often contested meanings not only from the perspective of the past but also from the perspective of today. Thus, we explore the role of autobiographical writing in commemorating the past as well as in demonstrating the demise of socialism, as represented in contemporary literatures in Czech, Polish, Romanian, and Russian.

Author Biographies

Agnieszka Mrozik, Polish Academy of Sciences

Agnieszka Mrozik is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. She is affiliated with two research teams, The Centre for Cultural and Literary Studies of Communism, and the Archives of Women. Her main research interests are communism and gender studies, cultural history of women and women’s movements in Central and Eastern Europe, women’s life writing and literature, critical analysis of media discourse and popular culture. Among her recent publications are: Katarzyna Chmielewska, Agnieszka Mrozik and Grzegorz Wołowiec (eds.), Reassessing Communism: Concepts, Culture, and Society in Poland, 1944–1989 (CEU Press, 2021); Anna Artwińska and Agnieszka Mrozik (eds.), Gender, Generations, and Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and Beyond (Routledge, 2020); Agnieszka Mrozik and Stanislav Holubec (eds.), Historical Memory of Central and East European Communism (Routledge, 2018).

Anja Tippner, University of Hamburg

Anja Tippner is Professor of Slavic Literatures at Hamburg University. She studied German, Comparative, English and Slavic Literature in Frankfurt/M., Hamburg and St. Petersburg. She has held positions at Prague University, Kiel University, and Salzburg University. Fields of interest: concepts of documentation, auto/biography and life-writing; representations and memorialization of catastrophes and the Shoah; Jewish literatures in Eastern Europe; Russian, Czech, and Polish literature. Among her latest publications are: Anja Tippner and Anna Artwińska (eds.), Narratives of Confinement, Annihilation, and Survival: Camp Literature in a Comparative Perspective (De Gruyter, 2019); Doerte Bischoff and Anja Tippner (eds.), Figurations of Mobile Identities in Contemporary European Jewish Literature. Yearbook for European Jewish Literature Studies 5 (2018); Christopher F. Laferl and Anja Tippner (eds.), Texte zur Theorie der Biographie und Autobiographie (Reclam, 2016).





Remembering Late Socialism