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Abstract

The article examines a symbolic photograph described in A Treatise on Shelling Beans, a novel by Wiesław Myśliwski. In my interpretation the picture, which may have never been taken, is a visual catachresis, a signifi er of war trauma. Its depiction of an encounter between the victim of a pacifi cation and the son of the perpetrator can be treated as a wish projection and discussed from the perspective of two interrelated and complementary approaches – trauma and memory studies and the philosophy of dialogue. In practice, the discussion makes use of Aleida Assman’s ‘strategy of keeping silence’ and the concept of encounter, formulated by Emmanuel Levinas and developed by his Polish follower Józef Tischner.
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