The Holocaust and the Postmodern

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Overview

"The Holocaust and the Postmodern argues that postmodernism, especially understood in the light of the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, is a response to the Holocaust. This way of thinking offers new perspectives on Holocaust testimony, literature, historiography, and post-Holocaust philosophy. While postmodernism is often derided for being either playful and superficial or obscure and elitist, this book demonstrates its commitment to facing the past and to ethics." Weaving together theory and practice, testimony, literature, history, and philosophy, this interdisciplinary book is the first to explore in detail the significance of the Holocaust for postmodernism, and the significance of postmodernism for understanding the Holocaust.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A superb discussion of the metahistorical polarity between the work of Daniel Goldhagen and Christopher Browning... demonstrates the strengths of postmodernism and establishes Robert Eaglestone as one of its most accomplished practitioners. His book deserves to be read by sceptics and partisans of postmodernism alike."--David Cesarani, Times Literary Supplement

"There can be little doubt that Eaglestone is a fine literary critic, astutely addressing questions that other scholars, more constrained by disciplinary boundaries, have not succeeded in answering."--Efraim Sicher, European Legacy

"Eaglestone's book is surely the definitive work on this subject and it will remain so for a long time. The breadth and scope of his knowledge of literature on the Holocaust and of postmodern fiction and criticism, not to mention history and historiography, is truly staggering.... Scholars of the postmodern, Holocaust literature, and history will find this a gold mine. Essential."--CHOICE

"The book is a very wide-ranging examination of the place of the Holocaust in contemporary cultural discourse.... offers a fascinating typology of the genre of Holocaust testimony.... Eaglestone offers a new and literary view of testimony which he links with postmodernism through their shared concern with identity and self-construction."--Sue Vice, Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199265930
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/10/2005
  • Pages: 380
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

University of London
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Table of Contents

1 'Not read and consumed in the same way as other books' : identification and the genre of testimony 15
2 Traces of experience : the texts of testimony 42
3 'Faithful and doubtful, near and far' : memory, postmemory, and identity 72
4 Holocaust reading : memory and identification in Holocaust fiction, 1990-2003 101
5 Against historicism : history, memory, and truth 137
6 'Are footnotes less barbaric?' : history, memory, and the truth of the Holocaust in the work of Saul Friedlander 173
7 'What constitutes a historical explanation?' : metahistory and the limits of historical explanation in the Goldhagen/Browning controversy 194
8 The metahistory of denial : the Irving/Lipstadt libel case and Holocaust denial 224
9 Inexhaustible meaning, inextinguishable voices : Levinas and the Holocaust 249
10 Cinders of philosophy, philosophy of cinders : Derrida and the trace of the Holocaust 279
11 The limits of understanding : perpetrator philosophy and philosophical histories 300
12 The postmodern, the Holocaust, and the limits of the human 317
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