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There are thousands of books that represent the Holocaust, but can, and should, the act of reading these works convey the events of genocide to those who did not experience it? In Textual Silence, literary scholar Jessica Lang asserts that language itself is a barrier between the author and the reader in Holocaust texts—and that this barrier is not a lack of substance, but a defining characteristic of the genre.  
 
Holocaust texts, which encompass works as diverse as memoirs, novels, poems, and diaries, are traditionally characterized by silences the authors place throughout the text, both deliberately and unconsciously. While a reader may have the desire and will to comprehend the Holocaust, the presence of “textual silence” is a force that removes the experience of genocide from the reader’s analysis and imaginative recourse. Lang defines silences as omissions that take many forms, including the use of italics and quotation marks, ellipses and blank pages in poetry, and the presence of unreliable narrators in fiction. While this limits the reader’s ability to read in any conventional sense, these silences are not flaws. They are instead a critical presence that forces readers to acknowledge how words and meaning can diverge in the face of events as unimaginable as those of the Holocaust.  
 

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication
  2. pp. i-v
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vi-ix
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-8
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  1. Chapter 1. Readability and Unreadability: A Fractured Dialogue
  2. pp. 9-32
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  1. Part I. Generational Differences in Holocaust Literature
  2. pp. 33-34
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  1. Chapter 2. Before, During, and After. Reading and the Eyewitness
  2. pp. 35-57
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  1. Chapter 3. Reading to Belong: Second-Generation and the Audience of Self
  2. pp. 58-86
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  1. Chapter 4. The Third Generation’s Holocaust: The Story of Time and Place
  2. pp. 87-116
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  1. Part II. Pushed to the Edges: The Holocaust in American Fiction
  2. pp. 117-118
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  1. Chapter 5. American Fiction and the Act of Genocide
  2. pp. 119-154
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  1. Chapter 6. Receding into the Distance: The Holocaust as Background
  2. pp. 155-174
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  1. Afterword. Reading the Fragments of Memory
  2. pp. 175-178
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 179-180
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 181-198
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 199-208
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 209-220
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  1. About the Author
  2. pp. 221-222
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813589947
Related ISBN
9780813589909
MARC Record
OCLC
1021173390
Pages
232
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Language
English
Open Access
No
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