Imagining the Holocaust / Edition 1

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In Imagining the Holocaust, Daniel R. Schwarz examines widely read Holocaust narratives which have shaped the way we understand and respond to the events of that time. He begins with first person narratives - Wiesel's Night and Levi's Survival at Auschwitz - and then turns to searingly realistic fictions such as Borowski's This Way to the Gas Chamber, Ladies and Gentlemen, before turning to the Kafkaesque parables of Appelfeld and the fantastic cartoons of Spiegleman's Maus books. Schwarz argues that as we move further away from the original events, the narratives authors use to render the Holocaust horror evolve to include fantasy and parable, and he shows how diverse audiences respond differently to these highly charged and emotional texts.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...[S]hould be considered essential reading....his literary analysis gives us new approaches to studying [the Holocaust]." —Holocaust
Library Journal
Schwarz (English, Cornell Univ.) divides his study of Holocaust literature into sections on memoir, realism, fantasy, and myth, parable, and fable. He describes the difference in techniques and philosophical ideas and covers questions of aesthetics and morals statements in the works by Primo Levi, Tadeusz Borowski, Aharon Appelfeld, Cynthia Ozick, and Bruno Schulz, among others. Jerzy Kosinski's life and work are poignantly explained, as are Art Spiegelman's graphic works. Schwarz is especially good in his discussion of the American popular realism of John Hersey's The Wall, Gerald Green's Holocaust, and William Styron's Sophie's Choice. A discussion of Claude Lanzmann's and Steven Spielberg's films on the Holocaust frame the overall discussion. Recommended for Jewish studies collections. Gene Shaw, NYPL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Noting that as the historical period recedes in time, it will be imaginative literature that keep it alive, Schwarz (English, Cornell U.) examines widely read Holocaust narratives that have shaped how people understand and respond to the events. He looks at first-person narratives, searingly realistic fictions, and Kafkaesque parables, showing how diverse audiences respond differently to the texts. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312233013
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel R. Schwarz is Professor of English at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. His books include Reconfiguring Modernism: Explorations in the Relationship Between Modern Art and Reading Joyce's Ulysses.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Ethics of Imagining the Holocaust: Representation, Responsibility, and Reading

Part I: Memoirs

• The Ethics of Reading Wiesel’s Night

• Painful Memories: The Agony of Primo Levi

• World Into Words: The Diary of Anne Frank and Sophie Goetzel-Leviathan’s The War from Within

Part II: Realism

• Tadeusz Borowski’s This Way to the Gas Chambers, Ladies and Gentlemen, and Other Stories

• John Hersey’s The Wall : Fiction as History in the First Generation of Holocaust Fiction

• Popular Fiction: Gerald Green’sHolocaust: A Novel of Survival and Triumph

• Beyond the Camps: Kosinski’s The Painted Bird

• The Ontological Problems of Docufiction: William Styron’s Sophie’s Choice/i

• Kineally’s and Spielberg’s Schindler’s List : Realistic Novel into Epic Film *Part III: Myth, Parable, and Fable

• Schwarz-Bart’s Mythopoeic and Historical Humanism: The Last of the Just

• Aharon Appelfeld’s Parables

• Illuminating Distortion and Historical Cartoon: Leslie Epstein’s King of the Jews

Part IV: Fantasy

• The Comic Grotesque of Spiegleman’s Maus

• Cynthia Ozick’s Fables: “The Shawl” and “Rosa”

• Bruno Schulz’s Nightmare in The Street of Crocodiles and Sanitarium Under the Sign of the Hourglass and Cynthia Ozick’s Response in The Messiah of Stockholm

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