Imre Kertész and Holocaust Literature
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: Purdue University Press
Series: Comparative Cultural Studies
Introduction to Imre Kert
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Imre Kertész received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2002, the first Nobel Prize for writing in Hungarian, a rather difficult language of a minor culture in Central Europe. More important is the fact that the Nobel Prize was awarded to an author who writes about the Holocaust—that single event that defines Europe in the twentieth...
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When the Swedish Academy announced the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2002, most people asked, “Who is Imre Kertész?” Of course, it could have been almost any Hungarian author and the reaction would have been the same. Still, Kertész is less well known in the United States than, for example, the novels...
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Imre Kertész was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in December 2002 for
“writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric
arbitrariness of history” (see Nobel Prize in Literature: Laureates :
The Aporia of Imre Kert
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Does Imre Kertész write testimony or fiction? Even his Nobel citation, “for writing
that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness
of history,” remains carefully neutral on this (Nobel Prize in Literature: Laureates
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Within the scope of the dominant philosophical and theological tradition of “the West,” the themes of forgiveness and reconciliation occupy a privileged place. The apotheosis of these themes occurs in the work of G.W.F. Hegel, for whom reconciliation is the process by which every sundering is repaired and overcome, every...
Identities of the Jew and the Hungarian
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Our concepts often present themselves as ready interpretations. Their casual use saves us much effort by making something appear “self-evident” that would otherwise demand an explanation. The word “Jew” is used as a more or less selfevident category of identity, even though the content it conveys has been just as much transformed by secularization, modernization, assimilation, and acculturation...
Representing the Holocaust, Kertész’s Fatelessness and Benigni’s La vita è bella
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Imre Kertész—Hungarian Jew, concentration camp survivor, and Nobel Laureate for his work on the spiritual and existential consequences of the Holocaust—has managed to depict the Holocaust in his novel Fatelessness in a way that can almost be called scandalous. From the protagonist’s own perspective, it tells the story of...
Imre Kertész’s Fatelessness asHistorical Fiction
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Although Imre Kertész’s novel Sorstalanság (Fatelessness) first appeared in 1975 and has been available in English—translated as Fateless in 1992 and as Fatelessness in 2004—it took the Nobel Prize to acquaint many English-speaking readers and scholars with Kertész’s contribution to Holocaust literature. In Germany, too—although comparably speaking Kertész’s work found more interest there than...
Galley Boat-Log (G
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...July: Two weeks in Germany. I visited Buchenwald and the factory at Zeitz. I recognized the sandy path. A young lad in worker’s overalls was cycling along it; he carefully mustered me. I must have struck him as foreign. It was narrower than I had remembered (the path, I mean). The factory sounded a greeting as well: the big...
Reading Imre Kert
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The work of Imre Kertész is rarely the subject of North American scholarship on the Holocaust. Although the canon of Holocaust literature discussed in North America includes many authors who do not write in English—writers such as Elie Wiesel, Primo Lévi, Aharon Appelfeld, Tadeusz Borowski, Ida Fink, and Charlotte...
Imre Kertész’s Fatelessness and the Myth about Auschwitz in Hungary
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The totalitarian system not only called for a certain grade of clarity and simplicity that bordered on one-sidedness; the very structures of its existence were characterized by simplification. Thus, one should not wonder that it was incapable of dealing with a book that, instead offering readily a “single” interpretation, had several...
The Historians’ Debate about the Holocaust in Hungary
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At the time of the first publication of Imre Kertész’s Sorstalanság (Fatelessness), the memory of the Holocaust in Hungary belonged mainly to the realm of private/ personal memory. After the Communist take-over in 1947–1949, the animated public discussions of the first post-war years on the uneasy questions of involvement, responsibility, moral and material re-compensation, etc., were adjourned...
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On the day when news agencies announced that the 2002 Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded this year to a Hungarian writer called Imre Kert
Imre Kertész’s Aesthetics of the Holocaust
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In his fiction, Imre Kertész sets himself the task of (re)presenting aesthetically both Nazi and Soviet and communist totalitarianism and he comments often on the fact that for him, as compared with other Auschwitz survivors, such as Paul Celan or Jean Améry, who committed suicide, the notion preventing him from committing suicide was his experience of disillusion with “freedom” and democracy in the...
The Dichotomy of Perspectives in the Work of Imre Kert
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What Imre Kert
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As we continue to celebrate Imre Kertész’s Sorstalanság (Fatelessness), the first Hungarian-language novel to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, we also commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary on the eve of the enlargement of the European Union in 2004. The confluence of these major events cannot fail to evoke the memory of the massacre of the country’s Jewish population...
Danilo Kiš, Imre Kertész, and the Myth of the Holocaust
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In this paper, I present an analysis of how two Central European authors, Imre Kertész and Danilo Kiš, relate to the Holocaust myth, what their reconsiderations about the myth are, and how they, with their work, become involved in the myth and inscribe themselves in it. I investigate what the points of reference in their different experiences and different literary interpretations of the...
Imre Kertész’s Jegyzőkönyv (Sworn Statement) and the Self Deprived of Itself
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The themes upon which existing analyses of Imre Kertész’s oeuvre have been built would suggest the central problem contained in the author’s works to be that of the constructability of personality and attendant questions regarding the nature and existence of freedom. It would be difficult to deny that the answers contained in...
Imre Kertész’s Kaddish for a Child Not Born
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Discussing the work of artist Jochen Gerz, Gérard Wajcman notes that its subject matter is memory, “much as others erect edifices in concrete or in iron” (187). In Gerz’s work, Wajcman claims, the material and the meaning, or substance and subject, are one and the same, and this oneness—albeit a oneness...
Imre Kertész’s 2002 Nobel Prize for Literaturein the Print Media
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In this paper, I discuss aspects of media coverage in German-, Hungarian-, and English-language newspapers and magazines of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to Imre Kert
Holocaust Literature and Imre Kert
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In order to place Imre Kertész’s novel Sorstalanság (Fatelessness) in a comparative cultural context, I discuss briefly representative Hungarian and foreign works dealing with the Holocaust. Anna Frank’s diary entry for Friday, 31 March 1944, reads: “Hungary is occupied by German troops...
The Novelness of Imre Kertész’s Sorstalanság (Fatelessness)
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Imre Kertész said that living in the West in a free society, he probably would have not been able to write Sorstalanság (Fatelessness) but would have tried to produce a “showier fiction,” by breaking up time and narrating only powerful scenes (see “Heureka!”; in this paper, while I quote from the Wilson and Wilson translation of Sorstalanság, Fateless, I am otherwise using the title of the correct...
The Media and Imre Kertész’sNobel Prize in Literature
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The Nobel Prize—the crowning achievement of a literary career—is an opportunity for the overall assessment or reassessment of a writer’s work and to situate him/her in a national or international literary and cultural context. Indeed, in the case of Imre Kertész, most international responses attempted to do exactly that...
Book Review Article: Jewish Identity and Anti-Semitism in Central European Culture
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As we know, Jewish thought and cultural production played over the centuries a significant role particularly in Central and Eastern European culture, and the Jews, a poly-lingual and culturally productive minority, often played the role of mediators. In the last few years a good amount of scholarship has been published...
A Bibliography of Imre Kertész’s Oeuvre and Publications about His Work
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Bioprofiles of Contributors
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Page Count: 344
Publication Year: 2005
Series Title: Comparative Cultural Studies