Jewish American and Holocaust Literature: Representation in the Postmodern World

SUNY Press
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 Deepens and enriches our understanding of the Jewish literary tradition and the implications of the Shoah.
Challenging the notion that Jewish American and Holocaust literature have exhausted their limits, this volume reexamines these closely linked traditions in light of recent postmodern theory. Composed against the tumultuous background of great cultural transition and unprecedented state-sponsored systematic murder, Jewish American and Holocaust literature both address the concerns of postmodern human existence in extremis. In addition to exploring how various mythic and literary themes are deconstructed in the lurid light of Auschwitz, this book provides critical reassessments of Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, and Philip Roth, as well as contemporary Jewish American writers who are extending this vibrant tradition into the new millennium. These essays deepen and enrich our understanding of the Jewish literary tradition and the implications of the Shoah.
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About the author

Alan L. Berger is the Raddock Eminent Scholar Chair of Holocaust Studies and directs the Holocaust and Judaic Studies program and the Center for the Study of Values and Violence after Auschwitz at Florida Atlantic University. His previous books include Children of Job: American Second-Generation Witnesses to the Holocaust, also published by SUNY Press, and the Encyclopedia of Holocaust Literature (coedited with David Patterson and Sarita Cargas). Gloria L. Cronin is Professor of English at Brigham Young University and has written and edited numerous books, including A Room of His Own: In Search of the Feminine in the Novels of Saul Bellow.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Jan 1, 2004
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Pages
266
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ISBN
9780791484449
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Language
English
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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You are holding in your hand one of the most remarkable and unforgettable personal narratives to emerge from the Hitler holocaust in Europe.

While there have been literally thousands of books written about and by the life of the Jews during the years when six million Jews were wiped out in concentration and extermination camps, few volumes are as authentic and as stark as Out of the Ashes; Rabbi Thorne not only possesses total recall; he owns a literary style which brings to life a period which shall forever be remembered as one of the most dramatic eras in human existence. But this is more than a personal document. It represents the agony of an entire people and even the reader who thinks he knows what happened under Hitler will gasp in amazement at this story of a man who, deeply religious and faithful to the precepts of Orthodox Judaism, manages to retell the tale of a handful of years which saw men, women and children subjected to atrocities beyond human imagination.

You will read in this book of moments of heroism, self-sacrifice and destruction which you will always remember. You will be convinced that this is exactly how it was and you will marvel at how the author managed to survive scores of “Actions” and pogroms. You will wonder how he survived. But at the same time, you will understand how, in surviving, Rabbi Thorne held fast to his belief in the ultimate triumph of the Jewish people.

Although Out of the Ashes is full of sadness, it is also replete with stories of the victory of the human spirit. It is a valuable historical document; it is, for sheer story-telling, unsurpassed by any other writer who lived through these years. It is the story of one man, of an entire people and of a history which all mankind would do well to ponder.

Out of the Ashes is a major book, a great contribution to the literature of our time.— Print Ed.
Can we remember other people's memories? The Generation of Postmemory argues we can: that memories of traumatic events live on to mark the lives of those who were not there to experience them. Children of survivors and their contemporaries inherit catastrophic histories not through direct recollection but through haunting postmemories multiply mediated images, objects, stories, behaviors, and affects passed down within the family and the culture at large.

In these new and revised critical readings of the literary and visual legacies of the Holocaust and other, related sites of memory, Marianne Hirsch builds on her influential concept of postmemory. The book's chapters, two of which were written collaboratively with the historian Leo Spitzer, engage the work of postgeneration artists and writers such as Art Spiegelman, W.G. Sebald, Eva Hoffman, Tatana Kellner, Muriel Hasbun, Anne Karpff, Lily Brett, Lorie Novak, David Levinthal, Nancy Spero and Susan Meiselas. Grappling with the ethics of empathy and identification, these artists attempt to forge a creative postmemorial aesthetic that reanimates the past without appropriating it. In her analyses of their fractured texts, Hirsch locates the roots of the familial and affiliative practices of postmemory in feminism and other movements for social change. Using feminist critical strategies to connect past and present, words and images, and memory and gender, she brings the entangled strands of disparate traumatic histories into more intimate contact. With more than fifty illustrations, her text enables a multifaceted encounter with foundational and cutting edge theories in memory, trauma, gender, and visual culture, eliciting a new understanding of history and our place in it.
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