Can the story be told? Jorge Semprun asked after his liberation from Buchenwald. The question is addressed from many angles in this volume of essays on teaching about the Holocaust. In their introduction, Marianne Hirsch and Irene Kacandes argue that Semprun's question is as vital now, and as difficult and complex, as it was for the survivors in 1945.
The thirty-eight contributors to Teaching the Representation of the Holocaust come from various disciplines (history, literary criticism, psychology, film studies) and address a wide range of issues pertinent to the teaching of a subject that many teachers and students feel is an essential part of a liberal arts education.
This volume offers approaches to such works as Jurek Becker's Jacob the Liar, Roberto Benigni's Life Is Beautiful, Anne Frank's diary, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners, Claude Lanzmann's Shoah, Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz, Cynthia Ozick's The Shawl, Dan Pagis's "Written in Pencil in the Sealed Railway Car," Art Spiegelman's Maus, Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, Elie Wiesel's Night, and Abraham Yehoshua's Mr. Mani.
To the challenge "How do we transmit so hurtful an image of our own species without killing hope and breeding indifference?" posed by Geoffrey Hartman in this volume, the editors respond, "Only in the very human context of classroom interaction can we hope to avoid either false redemption or unending despair."
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Marianne Hirsch is professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. She is the author of Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory and articles on Holocaust memory, visuality, and gender.
Irene Kacandes, associate professor of German studies and comparative literature at Dartmouth College, is the author of Talk Fiction: Literature and the Talk Explosion and Daddy’s War: Greek American Storytelling, Family Memory, and Trauma. A Paramemoir. She is coeditor (with Scott Denham and Jonathan Petropoulos) of A User’s Guide to German Cultural Studies.
”This is an excellent and important book. It will be helpful to many teachers in the field of literary and cultural studies who would like to teach a course on the Holocaust.” ―Liliane Weissberg, University of Pennsylvania
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