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Third-Generation Holocaust Representation

Trauma, History, and Memory

Victoria Aarons and Alan L. Berger

Publication Year: 2017

Victoria Aarons and Alan L. Berger show that Holocaust literary representation has continued to flourish well into the twenty-first century—gaining increased momentum even as its perspective shifts, as a third generation adds its voice to the chorus of post-Holocaust writers. In negotiating the complex thematic imperatives and narrative conceits of the literature of third-generation writers, this bold new work examines those structures, tropes, patterns, ironies, disjunctions, and overall tensions that produce a literature that laments unrecoverable loss for a generation removed spatially and temporally from the extended trauma of the Holocaust. Aarons and Berger address evolving notions of “postmemory”; the intergenerational and ongoing transmission of trauma; issues of Jewish cultural identity; inherited memory; the psychological tensions of post-Holocaust Jewish identity; the characteristic tropes of memory and the personalized narrative voice; issues of generational dislocation and anxiety; the recurrent antagonisms of assimilation and historical alienation; the imaginative re-creation and reconstruction of the past; and the future of Holocaust memory and representation.

Published by: Northwestern University Press

Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Heartfelt thanks are due to Sarai Santos in the English Department at Trinity University and Bonnie Lander at Florida Atlantic University for their considerable help in preparing the manuscript for publication. We are also grateful for the generous support of both of our institutions, ...

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Chapter 1. On the Periphery: The “Tangled Roots” of Holocaust Remembrance for the Third Generation

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pp. 3-40

“The origin of a story is always an absence,” intones the narrator of third-generation writer Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel, Everything Is Illuminated, the story of a young man in search of his grandfather’s past.1 This search will take the narrator out of his familiar middle-class American life into the unknown and unstable territory of the Ukraine, ...

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Chapter 2. The Intergenerational Transmission of Memory and Trauma: From Survivor Writing to Post-Holocaust Representation

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pp. 41-66

The movement from survivor writing to second- and third-generation accounts of the Nazi genocide marks an important shift in the intergenerational transmission and expression of Holocaust memory, trauma, and representation. The passage from firsthand, eyewitness testimony to second- and thirdhand, ...

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Chapter 3. Third-Generation Memoirs: Metonymy and Representation in Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

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pp. 67-106

The geographic center of this story is the remote Ukrainian village of Bolechow, the village of Mendelsohn’s grandfather Abraham Jäger’s birth. While his grandfather fled to America before the war, his grandfather’s brother Shmiel, of whom he never spoke, along with his wife Ester and their four daughters, Bronia, Frydka, Lorka, and Ruchele, ...

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Chapter 4. Trauma and Tradition: Changing Classical Paradigms in Third-Generation Novelists

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pp. 107-146

The Jewish tradition assigns great theological weight to historical events. The covenant between God and the Jewish people invests history with a transcendent meaning and holds the people to account for any deviation from the covenantal path. From the biblically based assertion, “we are punished for our sins” (mipenei hataeinu), ...

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Chapter 5. Nicole Krauss: Inheriting the Burden of Holocaust Trauma

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pp. 147-170

A grandchild of Holocaust survivors and the author of three novels, Man Walks into a Room (2002), The History of Love (2005), and Great House (2010), Nicole Krauss admits that while the Holocaust is a manifest presence in her work, she cannot write her ancestors’ stories the way survivors or their children have written about the Shoah. ...

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Chapter 6. Refugee Writers and Holocaust Trauma

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pp. 171-196

Judith M. Gerson points to the fact that “there is no universal understanding of the terms refugee, survivor, and immigrant.” Nevertheless, the distinctions are important for several reasons: “First . . . [they] indicate the comparison that immigrants make when referring to themselves in contrast to refugees or survivors.” ...

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Chapter 7. “There Were Times When It Was Possible to Weigh Suffering”: Julie Orringer’s The Invisible Bridge and the Extended Trauma of the Holocaust

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pp. 197-230

At the close of Julie Orringer’s novel The Invisible Bridge, the American-born granddaughter of Holocaust survivors Andras and Klara Lévi recognizes not only her family’s fortuitous gains, but also their immeasurable loss. For all those who, like her grandparents, survived the war and succeeded in reassembling their lives, ...

Notes

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pp. 231-244

Bibliography

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pp. 245-254

Index

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pp. 255-263


E-ISBN-13: 9780810134119
E-ISBN-10: 081013411X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810134102
Print-ISBN-10: 0810134101

Page Count: 273
Publication Year: 2017

Edition: 1

OCLC Number: 964404280
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Third-Generation Holocaust Representation

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), in literature.
  • Grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Influence.
  • Psychic trauma in literature.
  • Memory in literature.
  • Literature, Modern -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
  • Literature, Modern -- 21st century -- History and criticism.
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