The study analyses Kate Atkinson’s novel “A God in Ruins” (2015) in terms of the multidisciplinary field of memory studies. Among the tasks that were set by the author of the study there are: 1) tracking the correlation of individual memory and collective memory; 2) outlining the traumatic experience of the Todd family, namely the “wounds of time” caused to the family by World War II; 3) comprehending the moments of “crystallization” of collective memory, its “thickening” in “places of remembrance”; 4) outlining the boundaries of the cultural archive reproduced in the novel. The study discusses the main message of the novel, which is focused on the theme of World War II, on its understanding and reflection in the collective memory of the British people. Through the image of the main character Teddy Todd, a military pilot, specially created by the author to describe war events, the reader can feel and experience the burden of air battles. Teddy Todd is a survivor who survived to preserve the memory of his fallen comrades, to testify war crimes and to raise a new generation of British people (post-war generation of children and grandchildren). The character realises that a peaceful life is not the final happy-end, because in addition to the need to arrange his own existence, it is necessary to heal the “wounds of time”, as well as to fulfil the duty of remembrance towards the dead men. These surviving memories should be embodied in “places of remembrance” (monuments, museums, military burials, works of art, etc.). The study outlines a conditional cultural archive that correlates with the text of Kate Atkinson’s novel. This arrangement of memorable dates, memories, and events can be tentatively described in the form of a scheme (the scheme is attached hereto), where the central place is occupied by the most catastrophic experience of people during the World War II. Other “places of remembrance” in connection with the war may be related to its causes or consequences. The main points of the conditional archive: World War I, coinciding with the birth of Teddy Todd; interwar period, which includes the childhood and adolescence of the character; World War II, which involves Teddy Todd in the Battle for Britain and the bombing of Germany; postwar reconstruction of Britain; pacifist movements and youth subcultures in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s that shaped Viola Todd’s worldview; The Queen’s Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee, coinciding with the death of Teddy Todd. The conditional archive of the novel, and the “places of remembrance” recreated in it correlate with the collective memory of people in Britain, thus encouraging the understanding of the traumatic experience caused by the World War II.

Ключові слова

“place of remembrance”; “wound of time”; archive; collective memory; individual memory; trauma.

Повний текст:

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.34142/astraea.2021.2.1.01


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