„Listen to my story…” Bohumil Hrabal’s I Served the King of England– literary fiction and oral history  Cover Image

„Słuchajcie, co wam teraz powiem…” Obsługiwałem angielskiego króla Bohumila Hrabala – fikcja literacka a „historia opowiadana”
„Listen to my story…” Bohumil Hrabal’s I Served the King of England– literary fiction and oral history

Author(s): Katarzyna Uczkiewicz
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Ośrodek »Pamięć i Przyszłość«
Keywords: Bohumil Hrabal; I Served the King of England; oral history

Summary/Abstract: Oral history accounts area natural object of research for anthropologists, sociologists, researchers of cultural studies, ethnologists, as well as psychologists engaged in memory studies. As narratives of experience they became the antipositivist rebellion against the monopoly of major historical narratives that, according to the reflection of the second half of the 20th century, were supposed to lead to the catastrophes of war and genocide. In historiographic research the questioned positivist discourse based on the corresponding theory of the truth has become counterbalanced by the discourse of memory. As a consequence, also in historical research there is noticeable appreciation for other, non-classic, forms of historical narratives which include oral history accounts. What can a researcher of literary fiction contribute to reflections on oral history whose greatest value should be authenticity, this “truth of experience”? To what extent can literary texts in the convention of a narrative of appeal, first-person narrative, monologue (in which crucial roles are played by dialogue, orality and rhetoric of the text) be read in the perspective of oral history? When analyzing I Served the King of England novel by Bohumil Hrabal – author who by default rejects ‘the macrocosm’, the world of great politics, historical necessities, social processes, for the world of microcosm, i.e. a life of each person and what is more, he rejects any need for psychological or sociological (or any other) analysis of this microcosm – one can notice that the dichotomy of literary fiction and the authentic experience of oral history is not that obvious as it may seem. Categories of text, narration and memory, although analyzed from different research perspectives, are common for both forms.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 02
  • Page Range: 73-100
  • Page Count: 28
  • Language: Polish