Abstract

Abstract:

In the past three decades, as writers have grappled with the legacy of the Holocaust and its aftermath, figures of the uncanny—such as ghosts, monsters, and mythic beings—have consistently appeared as salient metaphors in Holocaust fiction. As symbols of the vexed relationship between Jewish past and present, monstrous creatures demand that readers examine what it means to be human in a post-Holocaust universe, a universe that has exhibited an extreme capacity for inhumanity. This essay examines David Grossman’s See Under: Love—especially its renowned first chapter, “Momik”—as one of the most effective Holocaust narratives to employ a monster motif. The “Nazi Beast” and eerie survivors in the novel self-consciously call into question the strategies writers and readers use when wrestling with ideas about postwar trauma. By exploring the ethical and aesthetic implications of Momik’s “Beast” this essay also asks what is gained or lost by using such an overdetermined symbol as the monster to grapple with the equally problematic constructions of both perpetrators and traumatized survivors.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3311
Print ISSN
0272-9601
Pages
pp. 25-36
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-19
Open Access
No
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