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History and Memory After Auschwitz [Paperback]

Dominick L. LaCapra

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History and Memory After Auschwitz + Representing the Holocaust: History, Theory, Trauma + Writing History, Writing Trauma (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society)
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Synopsis

The relations between memory and history have recently become a subject of contention, and the implications of that debate are particularly troubling for aesthetic, ethical and political issues. Dominick LaCapra focuses on the interactions among history, memory and ethicopolitical concerns as they emerge in the aftermath of the Shoah. Particularly notable are his analyses of Albert Camus's novella "The Fall", Claude Lanzmann's film "Shoah" and Art Spiegelman's "comic book" "Maus". LaCapra also considers the Historian's Debate in the aftermath of German reunification and the role of psychoanalysis in historical understanding and critical theory. In six essays, LaCapra addresses a series of related questions. Are there experiences whose traumatic nature blocks understanding and disrupts memory while producing belated effects that have an impact on attempts to address the past? Do some events present moral and representational issues even for groups or individuals not directly involved in them? Do those more directly involved have special responsibilities to the past and the way it is remembered in the present?

Can or should historiography define itself in a purely scholarly and professional way that distances it from public memory and its ethical implications? Does art itself have a special responsibility with respect to traumatic events that remain invested with value and emotion?


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First Sentence
Recently the concern with the problem of memory has become so widespread and intense that one is tempted to take a suspicious view and refer to fixation. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good entry for your bibliography or home library. 30 May 2000
By Kathryn L Schnaible - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you are in academia, this is a book you will find as a useful addition to your bibliography. If you are simply interested in the theme, you will also enjoy this book.
Dominick LaCapra is one of the best-known critics of literature and art that is engaged with the Holocaust and of the Holocaust and post-Holocaust eras.
This book is not a book of history, though it is bound up with a historical event, nor is it a literary work. Instead, it is analysis of some major works of literature and art of the Holocaust and post-Holocaust eras. LaCapra provides concise and well thought-out analysis of The Fall, by French philosopher Albert Camus, Claude Lanzmann's unforgettable must-see documentary about the Holocaust (you will never forget it, and you MUST see it if you wish to understand something about the Holocaust, or Shoah, in Hebrew), and Art Spiegelman's Maus, a unique cartoon-art chronicle about his own father's life and experiences in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
A useful companion title is Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History, by Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub. Felman also has an article on Camus' The Fall, and one on Lanzmann's Shoah. For another article on Maus, see Marianne Hirsch's article in Discourse 15:2, Winter 1992-1993 pp.3-29 entitled,"Family Pictures: Maus, Mourning and Post-Memory."
LaCapra's first two chapters in this book are especially useful, as is his introduction and excellent discussion of the Historikerstreit in Representing the Holocaust: History, Theory, Trauma. This particular work is not a book to skip, even if you ultimately don't agree with all its conclusions.
For more on the Holocaust and literature on and of the Holocaust, see authors such as Sidra Ezrahi, Lawrence Kritzman, Berel Lang, Pierre Nora, and Geoffrey Hartman.
2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars History and memory after Auscwitch 4 April 2000
By Unnur Sturlaugsdottir - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found this book very complimentary to other books I have read about the Holocoust. The index was excellent and suggestions for further reading. In chapter one the dealing with the trauma of the survivors and the long term affects of having to watch their fellow victims die and the survivals guilt they had to deal with for as long as they lived and the memories also. Chapter two dealt with the ongoing debate amongst historians wich has been going on almost as soon as the World War Two ended, from Bullock to Goldhagen and all those in between (not to mentione those who have seen reason to take the road to fill the small group of apolagisers). Many controversial others quite tradisional but there has been many points of views and I did not think that this aspect was very well done in the book. Genocide was on the National socialists agenda, ie Nazis, under the direct rule of the Dictator Adolf Hitler.Mourning was mostly done by those Germans and who look the other way or actively helped in making the genocide possible even just as burocrats.Other nations under Nazi occupation were also far from blameless. France, Lithuania, Czekoslovakia, Polland (which was the location of Auswitch among other horrible exterminations camps), Hungary (wich to the credit of their leader tried to stand up to Hitler even if he did not succseed), all the Balkan states, Rumania and more. Some of them have shown remorse but many of them have not dealt with their past in any meaningfull way. Chapter three. That chapter did not make a lot of sense to me mostly because though there might be similarities to France experiance in World War Two and what the behaviour of the French in Algeria i had did not find the the author making a very good case and it was not backed by convincing arguments. In Chapter four there is an attempt to show the debate about the Holocaust wich the the Israelis call Shoah. In this there the author discusses Lanzmann's Shoah and Lanzmann's assertion that there was no reason. The "Here there is no why". The authors rendering of the work of Lanzmann is only adiquit but there is another book that did a far superior work on that subject wich is "Explaining the origins of Hitlers evil" Chapter five was downright incomprehensible, and the less that's said about that chapter the better. Chapter six was slightly better. The conclusions part were not that far off the mark. The psycoanalysis part a little worse, the memory part quite good and the ethical turn even better. The Index was very good and actually the best part of the book.
3 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars History and memory after Auscwitch 4 April 2000
By Unnur Sturlaugsdottir - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found this book very complimentary to other books I have read about the Holocoust. The index was excellent and suggestions for further reading. In chapter one the dealing with the trauma of the survivors and the long term affects of having to watch their fellow victims die and the survivals guilt they had to deal with for as long as they lived and the memories also. Chapter two dealt with the ongoing debate amongst historians wich has been going on almost as soon as the World War Two ended, from Bullock to Goldhagen and all those in between (not to mentione those who have seen reason to take the road to fill the small group of apolagisers). Many controversial others quite tradisional but there has been many points of views and I did not think that this aspect was very well done in the book. Genocide was on the National socialists agenda, ie Nazis, under the direct rule of the Dictator Adolf Hitler.Mourning was mostly done by those Germans and who look the other way or actively helped in making the genocide possible even just as burocrats.Other nations under Nazi occupation were also far from blameless. France, Lithuania, Czekoslovakia, Polland (which was the location of Auswitch among other horrible exterminations camps), Hungary (wich to the credit of their leader tried to stand up to Hitler even if he did not succseed), all the Balkan states, Rumania and more. Some of them have shown remorse but many of them have not dealt with their past in any meaningfull way. Chapter three. That chapter did not make a lot of sense to me mostly because though there might be similarities to France experiance in World War Two and what the behaviour of the French in Algeria i had did not find the the author making a very good case and it was not backed by convincing arguments. In Chapter four there is an attempt to show the debate about the Holocaust wich the the Israelis call Shoah. In this there the author discusses Lanzmann's Shoah and Lanzmann's assertion that there was no reason. The "Here there is no why". The authors rendering of the work of Lanzmann is only adiquit but there is another book that did a far superior work on that subject wich is "Explaining the origins of Hitlers evil" Chapter five was downright incomprehensible, and the less that's said about that chapter the better. Chapter six was slightly better. The conclusions part were not that far off the mark. The psycoanalysis part a little worse, the memory part quite good and the ethical turn even better. The Index was very good and actually the best part of the book.
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