Encrypting the Past: The German-Jewish Holocaust novel of the first generation

Hardcover | October 11, 2014

byKirstin Gwyer

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Encrypting the Past puts forward the interpretative category of the first-generation German-Jewish Holocaust novel and examines its representational strategies. With reference to works by H.G. Adler, Jenny Aloni, Elisabeth Augustin, Erich Fried, and Wolfgang Hildesheimer, and a concludingsection on W.G. Sebald, it shows how Holocaust literature was being written decades before postwar authors such as Sebald were credited with having found new ways of reflecting the unspeakable. It demonstrates that, before the theoretical debate over the fundamental representability of the Holocaustwas even fully under way, first-generation authors were already translating un-narratable trauma into a literary strategy of un-narrating: a strategy of encrypting the Holocaust into the form and structure of their texts.The implications of treating these writers as a set, and their body of work as a hitherto unacknowledged category of Holocaust fiction, go well beyond drawing attention to a number of important but critically neglected authors. This study frames the analysis of first-generation narrative strategiesin the broader debate on the ethics and aesthetics of Holocaust writing. In revealing how certain kinds of testimony have been privileged above others in international Holocaust studies, it raises questions of a more general nature concerning canon formation and our theoretical responses to theHolocaust. In considering foremost among these responses the theory of deconstruction and trauma theory, it finally invites a re-examination of the relationship between the (post-)modern and trauma.

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Encrypting the Past puts forward the interpretative category of the first-generation German-Jewish Holocaust novel and examines its representational strategies. With reference to works by H.G. Adler, Jenny Aloni, Elisabeth Augustin, Erich Fried, and Wolfgang Hildesheimer, and a concludingsection on W.G. Sebald, it shows how Holocaust l...

Kirstin Gwyer is Lecturer in German at St Hugh's College at the University of Oxford.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.1 inPublished:October 11, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198709935

ISBN - 13:9780198709930

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Mapping a blind spot: the German-Jewish Holocaust novel of the first generation1. An absence in context: Holocaust representation in testimony, scholarship, and literature2. Writing of broken time(s): H.G. Adler, Eine Reise, Die unsichtbare Wand3. The unhoused past: Elisabeth Augustin, Auswege; Jenny Aloni, Der Wartesaal4. The past encrypted: Erich Fried, Ein Soldat und ein Madchen5. Design from debris: Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Tynset, MasanteConclusion: What comes 'after': the 'postmemory' Holocaust novel