Forgetful Memory: Representation and Remembrance in the Wake of the Holocaust


Examines the role of forgetfulness in our understanding of the Holocaust.
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Forgetful Memory: Representation and Remembrance in the Wake of the Holocaust

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Examines the role of forgetfulness in our understanding of the Holocaust.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Forgetful Memory makes a major contribution to the growing literature on remembrance, and will be of interest to all who work in the fields of Holocaust, Memory and Trauma Studies.— The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

"...Bernard-Donals has produced an insightful and broadly reaching work that demonstrates that not everything has already been said on the role of memory and its component of forgetting in Holocaust studies."— H-Net Reviews

"Drawing on established work in trauma and Holocaust studies, philosophy, literary theory, and Jewish studies, each of the three major sections of Forgetful Memory addresses a different aspect of the relationship between history and memory ... [its] limitations are counterbalanced by Bernard-Donals's intensive and illuminating efforts to bridge a vast array of disciplinary idioms and conceptual vocabularies."— Clio

"This is a lucid and eloquent and consistently perceptive book. Exploring the vexed relationship between memory and forgetting, Bernard-Donals makes a powerfully persuasive case that the memory texts of the Holocaust are not-and cannot ever be-entirely credible. For some in Holocaust Studies today, to claim that memory texts have something necessarily figurative or false about them is to open the worrisome floodgates to Holocaust denial. Forgetful Memory refuses to give in to such worries. Yes, testimony necessarily fails to forge a transparent or seamless relation to the events to which testimony bears witness. But if we embrace the forgetful void at the heart of memory, we thus enable spontaneous acts of remembering that testify not to the certainties of a traumatic past but to the complexities involved in our memorial encounters with traumatic events themselves. What Forgetful Memory makes plain is that the future of such events-their lessons-are bound up ineluctably with these complexities."— Paul Eisenstein, author of Traumatic Encounters: Holocaust Representation and the Hegelian Subject
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791476727
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Bernard-Donals is Nancy Hoefs Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He has written and edited several books, including (with Richard Glejzer) Between Witness and Testimony: The Holocaust and the Limits of Representation, also published by SUNY Press, and An Introduction to Holocaust Studies.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures


1. On the Verge of History and Memory

2. Ethics, the Immemorial, and Writing


3. “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem”: The Poetry of Forgetful Memory in Palestine

4. Memory and the Image in Visual Representations of the Holocaust

5. “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness”: Witnessand Testimony in the FragmentsControversy


6. Denials of Memory

7. Conflations of Memory; or, What They Saw at the Holocaust Museum after 9/11

8. “Difficult Freedom”: Levinas, Memory, and Politics

9. Conclusion: Forgetful Memory and the Disaster


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