Download e-book for iPad: Admitting the Holocaust Collected Essays by Lawrence L. Langer

By Lawrence L. Langer

ISBN-10: 0195093577

ISBN-13: 9780195093575

ISBN-10: 0195106482

ISBN-13: 9780195106480

Within the face of the Holocaust, writes Lawrence L. Langer, our age clings to the solid relics of pale eras, as though principles like typical innocence, innate dignity, the inviolable spirit, and the triumph of artwork over fact have been immured in a few form of immortal shrine, proof against the ravages of heritage and time. yet those rules were ravaged, and in Admitting the Holocaust. Langer provides a sequence of essays that symbolize his attempt, over approximately a decade, to combat with this rupture in human values--and to determine the Holocaust because it particularly was once. His imaginative and prescient is inevitably darkish, yet he doesn't see the Holocaust as a warrant for futility, or as a witness to the loss of life of wish. it's a summons to think again our values and reconsider what it capacity to be a human being.
those penetrating and sometimes gripping essays disguise a variety of matters, from the Holocaust's relation to time and reminiscence, to its portrayal in literature, to its use and abuse via tradition, to its function in reshaping our experience of history's legacy. in lots of, Langer examines the ways that money owed of the Holocaust--in background, literature, movie, and theology--have prolonged, and infrequently constrained, our perception into an occasion that's usually stated to defy figuring out itself. He singles out Cynthia Ozick as one of many few American writers who can meet the problem of imagining mass homicide with out flinching and who can distinguish among fantasy and fact. nevertheless, he unearths Bernard Malamud's literary therapy of the Holocaust by no means totally winning (it turns out to were a possibility to Malamud's imaginative and prescient of man's easy dignity) and he argues that William Styron's portrayal of the commandant of Auschwitz in Sophie's Choice driven Nazi violence to the outer edge of the radical, the place it disturbed neither the writer nor his readers. he's in particular acute in his dialogue of the language used to explain the Holocaust, arguing that a lot of it really is used to console instead of to confront. He notes that after we converse of the survivor rather than the sufferer, of martyrdom rather than homicide, regard being gassed as death with dignity, or evoke the redemptive instead of grevious energy of reminiscence, we draw on an arsenal of phrases that has a tendency to construct verbal fences among what we're mentally willing--or able--to face and the harrowing fact of the camps and ghettos.
A revered Holocaust student and writer of Holocaust stories: The Ruins of Memory, winner of the 1991 nationwide e-book Critics Circle Award for feedback, Langer bargains a view of this disaster that's candid and aggravating, and but hopeful in its trust that the testimony of witnesses--in diaries, journals, memoirs, and on videotape--and the unflinching mind's eye of literary artists can nonetheless supply us entry to at least one of the darkest episodes within the 20th century.

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After a minute I woke up and gave a look. It was a beautiful boy, a beautiful boy. [. ] INTERVIEWER So you were alone all that time? ANNA Yes. I was alone, and next to mine bed, mine crib, was a man dying, and I opened my eyes and I looked at him and he was dying—and I fall asleep. "6 For how could Anna's words reveal to us what that moment must have been for her, what it remains, not in conventional memory, since she is obviously not "remembering" a forgotten moment? Her uttering of details, naming the unthinkable, her enactment for us of the truth that at the same time this self is not that self—she has remarried, and had a new family—and is that self, our difficulty in finding a familiar context or designation for what she describes, our inability to detect through a sequence of events the presence of a guilty agent somewhere in the obscurity of the past—all of these together are gathered in a cornucopia of diverse causes, which in the end paralyze our capacity to judge, evaluate, or perhaps even respond.

The conflict leads us to consider the two planes on which the event we call the Holocaust takes place in human memory—the historical and the rhetorical, the way it was and its verbal reformation, or deformation, by later commentators. Since the Warsaw ghetto has become the emblem of Jewish resistance for many of those commentators, we need to balance the attitude based on a rhetoric of heroism with the testimony from those who were there. Probably the most important witness, in terms of the archive of documents he collected and buried, was the historian Emmanuel Ringelblum.

How tragic is our life, how humiliating. We are treated worse than pigs. We Jews of the ghetto, we work so hard, we help them in the war, making beautiful things from rags—military uniforms, rugs, everything a person needs. They treat us worse than slaves. And this is life. 3 This somber question is more than rhetorical. It sheds light on one of the issues we in our innocence continue to explore: Why didn't the victims do more to keep themselves alive? One answer we screen ourselves from hearing is that occasionally, because of the unbearable persecutions they were subject to, they preferred not to.

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Admitting the Holocaust Collected Essays by Lawrence L. Langer

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