Non-human Displacements: Narrative Remediations of Autobiography and Postmemory in Herta Müller’s Writing

  • Mihaela Ursa
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Life Writing book series (PSLW)


In this chapter, Ursa explores multiple forms of displacement in Herta Müller’s prose. Identified as crucial ways of remediating the author’s autobiography and postmemory, linguistic estrangement, autobiographical mediation, and non-human displacement are central to the analysis. Based on two best-known novels by Müller, The Land of Green Plums and The Hunger Angel, the chapter shows how meaning is transferred throughout the narrative between speech, material objects, humanness, and animality. Focusing on the individual-collective interplay and on the human–non-human ambivalence, and dwelling on theoretical input from memory and postmemory studies, Ursa contends that the writer uses identity displacement to mediate and remediate different places of memory, where the non-human takes part in being human.


  1. Bauer, K. (2013). Gender and the Sexual Politics of Exchange in Herta Müller’s Prose. In B. Haines & L. Marven (Eds.), Herta Müller (pp. 153–171). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bican, B. (2012). O controversă nu doar literară. Ce este rumäniendeutsche Literatur. Vatra Literary Review, 1, 25–26.Google Scholar
  3. Bolter, J. D., & Grusin, R. (1999). Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  4. Brandt, B., & Glajar, V. (Eds.). (2013). Herta Müller: Politics and Aesthetics. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  5. Diaconu, M. (2018). Reading Microliterature: Language, Ethnicity, Polyterritoriality. In M. Martin, C. Moraru, & A. Terian (Eds.), Romanian Literature as World Literature (pp. 135–155). New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  6. Eakin, P. J. (2014). Fictions in Autobiography: Studies in the Art of Self-Invention. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Etkind, A. (2004). Hard and Soft in Cultural Memory: Political Mourning in Russia and Germany. Grey Room, 16, 36–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Grusin, R. (Ed.). (2015). The Nonhuman Turn. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  9. Hirsch, M. (2008). The Generation of Postmemory. Poetics Today, 29, 1. Retrieved July 13, 2016, from Scholar
  10. Huyssen, A. (2003). Present Pasts. Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Kadir, D. (2011). Memos from the Besieged City. Lifelines for Cultural Sustainability. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Müller, H. (2003). Romanian Language Takes Part in the German Language I Use in Writing—An Interview by Gabriela Adamesteanu. Revista 22, October 28, republished in ‘Bucureştiul Cultural’, October 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2017, from
  13. Pop, D. (2015). An Analysis of Romanians’ Self-Image in Contemporary Cinematographic Representations. Metacritic Journal for Comparative Studies and Theory, 1(1), 138–161.Google Scholar
  14. Predoiu, G. (2001). Faszination und Provokation bei Herta Müller. Peter Lang: Frankfurt am Main.Google Scholar
  15. Ursa, M. (2008). Women Imprisoned: History and (Her)story. Caietele Echinox, 15, 78–93.Google Scholar
  16. Ursa, M. (Ed.). (2010). Divanul scriitoarei. Cluj: Limes.Google Scholar
  17. Venuti, L. (1998). The Scandals of Translation: Towards an Ethics of Difference. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mihaela Ursa
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of LettersBabeş-Bolyai UniversityClujRomania

Personalised recommendations