Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Comparative Literature


Blankenship, Janelle S.


This thesis investigates how “voids” are used as a poetic lens in German and Uruguayan literature, film, music, museum spaces and memory places to excavate traumatic events of the twentieth-century and represent them in collective memory, further promoting a new understanding of historical experiences. These voids are used to symbolize gaping wounds left in Uruguayan culture after the military dictatorship of 1973-1985, the sense of absence and emptiness left in German-Jewish culture after the Holocaust and the breaks, ruptures and divisions in Germany post-WWII. Case studies include the architectural “Voids” in Libeskind’s Jewish Museum Berlin, “empty tombs” and installations on the “Disappeared” in the Museum of Memory in Montevideo and the powerful gaps, voids, wastelands and absences in literary texts by Peter Weiss, W.G. Sebald, Mauricio Rosencof, poetry by Mario Benedetti musicalized by Daniel Viglietti, and films by Wim Wenders, Richard Copan and Stan Neuman and Enrique Buchichio.