Sara R. Horowitz

in The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199211869
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology


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This article discusses the development of literature of the Holocaust since World War II and endorses a broad definition of Holocaust literature that embraces a range of genres, subject positions, and literary traditions. It argues that such works both resist and embrace integration into the continuum of Jewish and western thought and expression. Holocaust literature mediates life and death, survival and memory, during and after the war, through indirection, fragmentary narratives, and other literary strategies. Self-reflexively ambivalent about literary representation, works of Holocaust literature negotiate the inherent contradictions between historical and imaginative discourses, paradoxically insisting on the need to narrate the events and inner experiences of the Nazi genocide and the impossibility of doing so adequately. As Holocaust imagery increasingly permeates western culture, literature offers not only an ethical discourse of mourning and commemoration but also metaphors for psychological states, social and political issues, and contemporary evil.

Keywords: Holocaust literature; contemporary evil; genocide; Holocaust imagery; Jewish thought; western thought

Article.  7216 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Judaism and Jewish Studies

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