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Document Details :

Title: De postume stem herzien
Subtitle: Necrodialogen en mediatie in Malva en Een lege plek
Author(s): GHYSELINCK, Zoë
Journal: Spiegel der Letteren
Volume: 64    Issue: 3   Date: 2022   
Pages: 227-255
DOI: 10.2143/SDL.64.3.3291495

Abstract :
This article studies contemporary Dutch literary representations of communicating with the dead. In Hagar Peeter’s novel Malva (2015) and Maartje Wortel’s radio play Een lege plek (2015), two dead child character-narrators, Malva and Pelle, posthumously try to restore their voices which have been oppressed by authoritarian fathers. This contribution aims at deepening our understanding of the emancipatory potential of the children’s (literary) voice and the complexity of the intergenerational relationship, by approaching the concept of mediation in these – what I call – ‘necrodialogues’. To this end, the article connects recent approaches from post-classical narratology on ‘unnatural’ narrators to a literary tradition of communicating with the dead by linking them to insights into the intersections between spiritualist, especially mediumistic discourse on the one hand and media development on the other. Drawing upon a comparative analysis, I argue that the uses of human and technical forms of mediation not only help Malva and Pelle to create and communicate their stories. Mediation of ‘dead’ voices simultaneously lays bare a complex and constant interaction between authorship and mediumship and inherently denies its own possibility.

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