Representing the Holocaust: History, Theory, Trauma by Dominick LaCapraRepresenting the Holocaust: History, Theory, Trauma by Dominick LaCapra

Representing the Holocaust: History, Theory, Trauma

byDominick LaCapra

Paperback | December 12, 1996

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Defying comprehension, the tragic history of the Holocaust has been alternately repressed and canonized in postmodern Western culture. Recently our interpretation of the Holocaust has been the center of bitter controversies, from debates over Paul de Man's collaborationist journalism and Martin Heidegger’s Nazi past to attempts by some historians to downplay the Holocaust’s significance. A major voice in current historiographical discussions, Dominick LaCapra brings a new clarity to these issues as he examines the intersections between historical events and the theory through which we struggle to understand them.

In a series of essays—three published here for the first time—LaCapra explores the problems faced by historians, critics, and thinkers who attempt to grasp the Holocaust. He considers the role of canon formation and the dynamic of revisionist historiography, as well as critically analyzing responses to the discovery of de Man’s wartime writings. He also discusses Heidegger’s involvement with National Socialism, and he sheds light on postmodernist obsessions with such concepts as loss, agora, dispossession, deferred meaning, and the sublime. Throughout, LaCapra demonstrates that psychoanalysis is not merely a psychology of the individual but that its concepts have sociocultural dimensions and can help us perceive the relationship between the present and the past. Many of our efforts to comprehend the Holocaust, he shows, continue to suffer from the traumatizing effects of its events and require a "working through" of that trauma if we are to gain a more profound understanding of the meaning of the Holocaust.

Dominick LaCapra is Professor Emeritus of History atCornell University. He is the author of many books, includingHistory, Literature, Critical Theory;History and Its Limits: Human, Animal, Violence; andHistory in Transit: Experience, Identity, Critical Theory, all from Cornell.
Title:Representing the Holocaust: History, Theory, TraumaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.66 inPublished:December 12, 1996Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801481872

ISBN - 13:9780801481871

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Table of Contents

1. Canons, Texts, and Contexts
2. Reflections on the Historians' Debate
3. Historicizing the Holocaust
4. Paul de Man as Object of Transference
5. Heidegger's Nazi Tum
6. The Return of the Historically Repressed
Conclusion: Acting-Out and Working-Through

From Our Editors

'Dominick LaCapra's use of psychoanalytic concepts and critical theory for the historical representation of the Holocaust is intellectually brilliant and challenging as well as attuned to the very nature of the subject.'

Editorial Reviews

"Representing the Holocaust is an impressive book that will have a significant impact on the way historians think about the Holocaust and the writing of history. LaCapra's precise and probing study explores the ways that the traumatic event inevitably disrupts the relationship between representation and memory. He writes from the deep conviction that whatever historians might believe, theory is indispensable for them. Indeed, his work best exemplifies the value of theory, setting a standard for historiographical reflection that is not easily matched."—Anson Rabinbach, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art