Europa als hologram
: Een onderzoek naar de doorwerking van het verleden bij de vormgeving van de Europese identiteit in drie romans

Translated title of the thesis: Europe as a hologram: A study on the impact of the past in shaping the European identity in three novels
  • C.L.M. van Gulick-van Buul

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Due to the rapid succession of various developments in Europe since the turn of the century, Europe has been facing an increasingly significant image problem. Citizens do not feel connected to Europe; Europe lacks an identity. Politically, the construction of a collective identity, sought in a shared past, is seen as one of the solutions. The art world also pays attention to bringing Europe closer. Europe is said to be in need of stories. This research selects three novels, all of which have a connection to European history, in order to give shape to that identity. The main question is therefore: In what way does the past play a role in articulating a European identity between 2001 and 2018 in Koen Peeters' Grote Europese Roman (2007), Robert Menasse's De Hoofdstad (2017/translated in 2018), and Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer's Grand Hotel Europa (2018)? The impact of the past is linked to the formation of cultural memories. To investigate this, Astrid Erll's three-step plan is used, which begins by examining the images of European history/memories actively presented to the reader within the stories (mediation). Next, the relationship between the three novels and previous texts/films is examined, as well as the extent to which there is repetition of those memories (remediation), which helps solidify those memories. Finally, strategies surrounding the novels (the public arena) are analyzed to understand how the novels are received as ‘memory-making’ stories. The answer to the main question is that the traumatic memory of the Holocaust and the fear of a (re)emerging nationalism and racism (in De Hoofdstad and Grote Europese Roman) have a significant influence on shaping Europe's identity. There is also the fear of losing identity due to the impending demise of a (mythical) Europe with a rich cultural-historical past due to mass ourism (in Grand Hotel Europa). Americanism also plays a role in this. The cultural memory and identity of Europe as a dynamic process are recognized in the attention given to these memories, but also in the call to safeguard the formation of Europe as a moral authority in all three novels. A reflective attitude of Europe is emphasized, allowing space for the memories of citizens from former communist countries in Eastern and Southern Europe, memories of immigrants, and criticism of misconduct within the church, classical antiquity, and colonialism. These novels, through their presence in the public sphere and their distribution across Europe, may bring Europe al little closer to the readers/citizens.
    Date of Award26 Sept 2023
    Original languageDutch
    SupervisorSusan Hogervorst (Supervisor) & Martijn van der Burg (Examiner)

    Master's Degree

    • Master Kunst en Cultuurwetenschappen

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