A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction

Paperback | March 1, 2013

byRuth Franklin

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What is the difference between writing a novel about the Holocaust and fabricating a memoir? Do narratives about the Holocaust have a special obligation to be "truthful" - that is, faithful to the facts of history? In her provocative study, Ruth Franklin investigates these questions as they arise in the most significant works of Holocaust writing, from Tadeusz Borowski's Auschwitz stories to Jonathan Safran Foer's postmodernist family history. Franklin argues that the memory-obsessed culture of the last fewdecades has led to a mistaken focus on testimony as the only valid form of Holocaust writing. As even the most canonical texts have come under scrutiny for their fidelity to the facts, we have lost sight of the essential role that imagination plays in the creation of any literary work, including thememoir.Taking a fresh look at memoirs by Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi and examining novels by writers such as Piotr Rawicz, Jerzy Kosinski, W.G. Sebald, and Wolfgang Koeppen, Franklin makes a persuasive case for literature as an equally vital vehicle for understanding the Holocaust (and for memoir as anequally ambiguous form). The result is a study of immense depth and range that offers a lucid view of an often cloudy field.

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What is the difference between writing a novel about the Holocaust and fabricating a memoir? Do narratives about the Holocaust have a special obligation to be "truthful" - that is, faithful to the facts of history? In her provocative study, Ruth Franklin investigates these questions as they arise in the most significant works of Holoca...

Ruth Franklin is a contributing editor at The New Republic and a literary critic. Her writings have also appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, Granta, and other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:March 1, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199976007

ISBN - 13:9780199976003

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart One: The Witnesses1. Angry Young Man: Tadeusz Borowski2. The Alchemist: Primo Levi3. The Kabbalist in the Death Camps: Elie Wiesel4. The Anti-Witness: Piotr RawiczPart Two: The Winding Border5. The Art of the Self: Jerzy Kosinski6. Child of Auschwitz: Imre Kertesz7. Oskar Schindler and His List8. Wolfgang Koeppen9. W. G. SebaldPart Three: The Future10. Bernhard Schlink11. Identity Theft: The Second Generation12. The Third Generation?