The Fragility of Empathy after the Holocaust by Carolyn J. DeanThe Fragility of Empathy after the Holocaust by Carolyn J. Dean

The Fragility of Empathy after the Holocaust

byCarolyn J. Dean

Paperback | October 1, 2004

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When we are confronted with images of and memoirs from the Holocaust and subsequent cases of vast cruelty and suffering, is our impulse to empathize put at risk by the possibility of becoming numb to horror? Carolyn J. Dean's provocative new book addresses the ways we evade our failures of empathy in the face of massive suffering: Has exposure (or overexposure) to representations of pain damaged our ability to feel? Do the frequent claims that artistic representations of extreme cruelty are pornographic allow us to dodge the real issues that we must confront in attempting to come to terms with suffering? Does an excess of terror place constraints on compassion?Dean examines the very different representations of suffering found in visual media, history writing, cultural criticism, and journalism that grapple with the assumption that Americans and Western Europeans have been rendered numb and their appropriate human responses blunted by the events of the past century. The Fragility of Empathy after the Holocaust will be of interest to all readers concerned with contemporary "victim culture," Holocaust representation, and humanism.

Carolyn J. Dean is Charles J. Stille Professor of History and French at Yale University. She is the author of several books, including The Fragility of Empathy after the Holocaust and Aversion and Erasure: The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust, both from Cornell, and The Frail Social Body: Pornography, Homosexuality, and Other Fan...
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Title:The Fragility of Empathy after the HolocaustFormat:PaperbackDimensions:216 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.49 inPublished:October 1, 2004Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:080148944X

ISBN - 13:9780801489440

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Editorial Reviews

"In her important new book, Carolyn J. Dean explores the complex relations between perceptions of a diminished modern capacity for empathy and a constellation of associated themes, including the so-called pornography of violence, the status of indifference as an often invoked category calling for critical historical investigation, and the search for an appropriate ethic of response to the Holocaust and other extreme events. Her thought-provoking, cross-disciplinary analysis should be of widespread interest." - Dominick LaCapra, Cornell University, author of History in Transit: Experience, Identity, Critical Theory