The primary goal of this essay is to introduce and situate the “anachronotope.” The anachronotope is an inversion of Mikhail Bakhtin’s “chronotope” (literally, “timespace”), which describes the fundamentally symbiotic and inextricable relations between time, space, and narrative in the novel. The anachronotope describes a novelistic condition in which the narrative and the timespace, or setting, are discordant—as the prefix ana- implies, the narrative works against place and against time. Disconnected thusly from the narrative, the anachronotopic setting becomes merely a container or reliquary for anxieties, fears, and desires that, in a sense, “belong” somewhere else. This will ultimately be explained and clarified in the treatment of Nathan Englander’s 2007 novel The Ministry of Special Cases, which takes place in Argentina in 1976 during and after the ouster of Juan Perón’s widow and successor President Isabel Martinez de Perón, a period of state terrorism euphemistically termed the “Proceso de Reorganización Nacional,” or more colloquially, the Dirty War. The article also explicates the Jewish-American anxieties produced by the so-called Holocaust “memory boom” of the 1990s and 2000s, reflections on that anxiety in sociology and literary studies, and Julian Levinson’s contention that contemporary Jewish literature should be read as “counterethnography.”

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