Sem. in 20th-Century Literature: Between Transmission and Transgression - Representing the Holocaust


As the Holocaust recedes into the historical past, our knowledge of the event becomes increasingly dominated by literary and cinematic representations of it. This course will investigate artistic mediations of the Holocaust, focusing in particular on questions of ethics, aesthetics and history and concentrating on two objectives. First, we will examine the various debates and controversies surrounding the issue of artistic representation of the Holocaust and discuss some of the theoretical and philosophical texts that have formed the core of Holocaust Studies. Second, we will explore the ways in which literature and film, both fictional and documentary/testimonial, have attempted to narrate the events of the Holocaust. Central to our exploration of these texts will be issues of representation, the role of memory, the problems and limits of language, questions of trauma, the phenomena of postmemory and multidirectional memory, and the notion that a "master narrative" of the Holocaust has emerged in public discourse. Readings in German and English for graduate students in German; readings in English for graduate students of Comparative Literature or other programs/departments. Discussions in English.
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