Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

read more

The Totalized Object: An Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-14

The Holocaust Object as Text We associate the Holocaust with human tragedy. Hence, mounds of objects, looted from their murdered owners, seem much less important, their tales ignored. Over the course of time, however, the physical remains of human victims— their jewelry, shoes, clothes, and even their hair—have become the Holocaust’s dominant metonymy...

On jouissance

read more

1. A Dandy and Jewish Detritus

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 17-35

The Nazi war economy sustained itself not only through production, exploitation, or looting, but also through substitution and replacement, which took the form of a whole range of ersatz products, cheap fakes, and impermanent copies. For example, an inferior food product made from sugar beets replaced marmalade and its proverbially bad taste was long remembered after ...

read more

2. The Material Letter J

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 36-52

The semantic of property denotes both a character feature and material goods. In either case, property is something that belongs to and defines a subject or an object. In close relationship to it is propriety, which defines a more specific character trait such as decency as well as ownership, and generally refers to the human world. Thus, the meanings of property and propriety overlap...

On Waste and Matter

read more

3. Holocaust Soap and the Story of Its Production

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 55-70

Soap’s telos is to purify, to clean and then to disappear completely. Its semantics should be in conflict with its impure origins, in the same manner as its cleansing effect clashes with dirty hands. Contrary to Francis Ponge’s assessment in the inscription, which is concerned with soap’s phenomenological “whatness,” consumers have only a vague idea of the contents of the cosmetic (including its main ingredient, animal fat) or the chemical process required...

read more

4. The Guilty Afterlife of the Soma

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 71-92

One of the particularly intensive periods of hermeneutic and artistic preoccupation with apocalypticism, intermingled with forebodings of the looming historical catastrophe, occurred in the 1930s, when diverse forms of cultural and historical pessimism came to the fore across various disciplines. In 1930, D. H. Lawrence wrote his last book, Apocalypse (published posthumously in 1931),...

On Contact

read more

5. The Manuscript Lost in Warsaw

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 95-111

It has become a cultural ritual of sorts that prominent artists give or sell their archives, sometimes their only asset, to libraries and other institutions to make sure that their legacy exists in the public domain instead of as a burden to relatives. This gesture sacrifices the intimacy of connection that one devel-ops with his own artistic oeuvre and its material, tangible form;...

read more

6. Things, Touch, and Detachment in Auschwitz

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 112-128

The image of a homeless man carrying his earthly belongings in a bundle is a common feature of our urban experience. No one pays much attention to the fact that such bundles consist of damaged items that can no longer be put to use. If broken objects are not given to consumption, if their Heideggerian equipmentality is denied, what sort of connection still makes them essential for their owners?...

read more

Coda: The Post-Holocaust Object

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 129-136

By and large, the material world of the Holocaust lay in ruins when it was first encountered by the liberating forces of the Allies and the Red Army. Looting of the camps' infrastructure, incited by legends that spread about apparent riches buried in the grounds, led to further destruction which was facilitated by the inferior quality of construction materials used to build barracks ...

read more

Acknowledgments and Permissions

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 137-138

My heartfelt thanks go to Professor Harriet Murav for giving me an opportunity, in 2004, to present my then fledgling project to an inquisitive audience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I extend my gratitude to my colleagues Beth Holmgren, Madeline G. Levine, Agata Bielik Robson, and Ryszard Nycz, whose opinions I greatly value and whose ...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 139-162

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 163-174

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 175-181