By R. Clifton Spargo, R. Clifton Spargo, Robert M. Ehrenreich
After illustration? explores one of many significant concerns in Holocaust studies--the intersection of reminiscence and ethics in creative expression, fairly inside of literature.
As specialists within the examine of literature and tradition, the students during this assortment study the moving cultural contexts for Holocaust illustration and display how writers--whether they write as witnesses to the Holocaust or at an inventive distance from the Nazi genocide--articulate the shadowy borderline among truth and fiction, among occasion and expression, and among the situation of existence persisted in atrocity and the wish of a significant lifestyles. What inventive literature brings to the examine of the Holocaust is a capability to check the boundaries 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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Additional resources for After Representation?: The Holocaust, Literature, and Culture
Our regular meals place us as far from the victims of the Holocaust as does our poetry. There may even be something quasi-heretical in supposing that we could ever be there with them, even hypothetically. As we encounter Auschwitz through the mediations of culture, in which poetry (as the quintessential mode of literary speech) may enact a vicarious act of witness that expects a concentrated act of attentiveness, we need also to be honest about the extent to which, in venturing imaginatively unto such a realm, we are never really there and always instead fully situated in culture.
A constructive movement continually modiﬁes the quest for understanding and can be re- or de-constructed but not arrested. The challenge is to engage rather than deny such mediatedness. Though it remains true that because of sacralization the Holocaust, so far, is unable “to unite with the stream of time,” such non-union, as Lawrence L. Langer notes, derives principally from the expressive strength rather than GEOFFREY HARTMAN 32 impotence of the original eyewitness accounts, and should not be attributed to technical or even epistemological problems of portrayal.
Kovner introduces the narrator as a ﬁgure near the end to emphasize the point that the principle of narrative intelligence operative in the Scrolls is an act of listening to the stories of others. Although there is self-consciousness about what writing imparts to the events, this is still not quite the anxiety about writing or the reach of the literary that worries so many of our writers and critics when they approach the Holocaust imaginatively. The belated emotional relation to the events bespeaks such continuity, even as it proves supplementary to the original content of the story.