chapter  4
Nostalgic histories of war: refugees in Austria-Hungary, 1914–2014
Pages 14

I want to begin with an etymological claim, following the Irish philosopher and theologian, Noel O’Donoghue. If nostalgia can be defined as the remembrance of an irrecoverable past, from its etymological roots of the pain (algos) of returning home (nostos), then this form of remembering may be seen as an exploration of ‘that vast territory that is within us, the territory of loneliness’ (O’Donoghue 1979: 60-1). O’Donoghue describes the journey into this inner landscape of emptiness as both terrifying and human izing in which ‘there is, strangely, a special kind of happiness or joy mixed with the pain’ (ibid.).