Abstract

ABSTRACT:

This article presents a theoretical formulation that names an experience that is common to many third-generation protagonists in the literature written by the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors: postnostalgia. Postnostalgia is an adopted "nostalgia"—though it not actually nostalgia—for a place and a time that descendants have never lived but long for as if they have. This almost-form of "nostalgia" is powerful because it is an affective and persistent response to the particular places to which they are connected, given how their families once occupied those milieus. This article treats Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated, which serves as a representation of how third-generation protagonists commonly attempt to discover pre-Shoah life by visiting the sites of family life in their family's native lands. This formulation of postnostalgia offers insight into how survivors' descendants in third-generation literature have responded to their inherited traumas, elucidating the common phenomenon of what is referred to as "pilgrimages" to sites of pre-Shoah family life.

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