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Women, Consumption and Popular Culture (Vol. 4 No. 1); Life, Community, and Ethics (Vol. 4. No. 2)

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Transatlantic Literary and Cultural Relations, 1776 to the Present (Vol. 11 No. 2). 


The following essay examines how literary images can transmit the historical memories and aesthetic emotions related to the famine experience of the people of both Ukraine and Ireland, as illustrated in five contemporary novels: Ulas Samchuk’s Maria: A Chronicle of a Life (1934); Vasyl Barka’s The Yellow Prince ( 1963); Yevhen Hutsalo’s Holodomor (1990); Mary Pat Kelly’s Galway Bay (2009); and Alexander J. Motyl’s Sweet Snow: A Novel of the Ukrainian Famine of 1933 (2013). The selected novels show that famine fiction may be an instrument contributing to the memorialization of national identity, for these literary works describe similar emotional reactions to state-induced famines, and all have powerful moral and emotional functions. The famine fiction here discussed, relating to the Irish An Gorta Mór and the Ukrainian Holodomor, fulfills the purpose of catharsis.

KEYWORDS: An Gorta Mór, Holodomor, literary image, contemporary famine fiction, historical memory, aesthetic emotions

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