After Representation?: The Holocaust, Literature, and by R. Clifton Spargo, R. Clifton Spargo, Robert M. Ehrenreich

By R. Clifton Spargo, R. Clifton Spargo, Robert M. Ehrenreich

After illustration? explores one of many significant matters in Holocaust studies--the intersection of reminiscence and ethics in inventive expression, really inside of literature.

As specialists within the research of literature and tradition, the students during this assortment study the moving cultural contexts for Holocaust illustration and show how writers--whether they write as witnesses to the Holocaust or at an innovative distance from the Nazi genocide--articulate the shadowy borderline among truth and fiction, among occasion and expression, and among the of existence continued in atrocity and the desire of a significant lifestyles. What imaginitive literature brings to the learn of the Holocaust is a capability to check the bounds of language and its conventions. After illustration? strikes past the suspicion of illustration and explores the altering that means of the Holocaust for various generations, audiences, and contexts.

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This search for continuity, or quest for permanence, remains separate from the question of whether the literary work is finally a highly valued text by the oft-contested and oft-revised standards of aesthetic taste. ” in Other People’s Trades, trans. Raymond Rosenthal (New York: Summit Books, [] ), . . Remembering Dante, even imperfectly, serves symbolically as a self-preserving act in the memoir. Of course no act he might have taken had any real determinative effect on survival, which depended on contingencies that could not be predicted or controlled, most important among which was the simple fact of when an inmate entered the camp (almost all who stayed for more than a year were starved to death or killed by direct violence).

The growing perception, moreover, that remembrance of the Shoah is endangered when appropriated for other causes confirms that a canon is being formed and that both historical and literary treatments circle a dangerous truth, in the manner of legomena (stories or ritual mediations) that at once point to and shield the dromenon (the core spectacle).  Historians are not, he says, physicians of memory. Healing, however, is indeed an imperative of the collective memory. Up to the time of the Shoah, this memory managed to encompass or even assimilate the catastrophes marking Jewish history.

Contemporary history writing insists on a maximum of factual exposition, but in other respects Roseman’s book resembles W. G. Sebald’s The Emigrants and Patrick Modiano’s Dora Bruder. In brief, the historian is never simply an improved chronicler but always a situated interpreter who reads the events through an already developed series of narratives.  Since the Holocaust breached the most basic norms of European civilization, and perhaps of all civilized life, a decision has to be made concerning those norms, or the narratives that invigorate them.

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