This article elaborates a close reading of Leyb Goldin’s “Chronicle of a Single Day” (Khronik fun a mes-les), an experimental and densely intertextual autobiographical text written in the Warsaw ghetto in August 1941 and preserved in Emanuel Ringelblum’s Oyneg Shabes archive. Goldin’s text self-consciously sifts the resources of European literature—and above all of modernist prose—in search of models for interpreting and articulating the extreme experience of the ghetto. By using the resources of Jewish and European literature as a lens through which to interpret the related experiences of human consciousness at its breaking point precipitated by starvation and of radical exclusion from the cosmopolitan cultural community that many eastern European Jews had embraced, Goldin’s text highlights the importance of attending to the literary dimension of Holocaust literature rather than approaching it merely as empirical documentation. This reading of Goldin aims to underscore the historical importance of Holocaust literature as literature, that is, how literary reading can afford a fuller and more complex appreciation of the ways Holocaust victims interpreted and lent meanings to their experiences.


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pp. 29-63
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