By adopting Nie Zhenzhao’s conception of brain text, this paper explicates the generation of traumatic postmemories as represented in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, a third-generation descendant of Holocaust witnesses. The authors argue that the traumatic effects of great catastrophic events, such as the Holocaust during the Second World War and the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, can be transformed into brain texts of horror and trauma of the survivors, which, with time passing by, become the traumatic postmemories of the survivors’ descendants who have not experienced these events. As far as this novel is concerned, by applying language texts, simulated images, and the Jewish consciousness characteristic of Jewish literature, Foer attempts to reveal the generative process of brain texts and postmemories of the survivors’ descendants about the two catastrophic events, and also that of the novelist himself, which serves as a catalyst for his writing of postmemory fiction. In this sense, Foer’s literary text helps to construct contemporary people’s postmemories, demonstrating the complexity and continuity of the trauma suffered by the descendants of the victims of World War II and terrorist attacks.


Brain text, Jewish consciousness, Jonathan Safran Foer, post-memory

Please login first to access subscription form of article

Read Full text in PDF

Browse By

Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)