The Holocaust and the Postmodern

Paperback | April 7, 2008

byRobert Eaglestone

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Robert Eaglestone argues that postmodernism, especially understood in the light of the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, is a response to the Holocaust. This way of thinking offers new perspectives on Holocaust testimony, literature, historiography, and post-Holocaust philosophy.While postmodernism is often derided for being either playful and superficial or obscure and elitist, Eaglestone argues and demonstrates its commitment both to the past and to ethics. Dealing with Holocaust testimony, including the work of Primo Levi and Eli Wiesel, with the memoirs of 'second generation' survivors and with recent Holocaust literature, including Anne Michael's Fugitive Pieces, Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated and the false memoir of BenjaminWilkomirski, The Holocaust and the Postmodern proposes a new way of reading both Holocaust testimony and Holocaust fiction. Through an exploration of Holocaust historiography, the book offers a new approach to debates over truth and memory. Eaglestone argues for the central importance of theHolocaust in understanding the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, and goes on to explore what the Holocaust means for rationality, ethics, and for the idea of what it is to be human. Weaving together theory and practice, testimony, literature, history, philosophy, and Holocaust studies,this interdisciplinary book is the first to explore in detail the significance of the Holocaust for postmodernism, and the significance of postmodernism for understanding the Holocaust.

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Robert Eaglestone argues that postmodernism, especially understood in the light of the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, is a response to the Holocaust. This way of thinking offers new perspectives on Holocaust testimony, literature, historiography, and post-Holocaust philosophy.While postmodernism is often derided for bein...

Robert Eaglestone is a Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought at Royal Holloway at the University of London.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.87 inPublished:April 7, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199239371

ISBN - 13:9780199239375

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Table of Contents

Reading and the Holocaust1. 'Not read and consumed in the same way as other books': Identification and the Genre of Testimony2. Traces of Experience: The Texts of Testimony3. 'Faithful and doubtful, near and far': Memory, Postmemory, and Identity4. Holocaust Reading: Memory and Identification in Holocaust Fiction 1990-2003Holocaust Metahistories5. Against Historicism: History, Memory, and Truth6. 'Are Footnotes Less Barbaric?': History, Memory, and the Truth of the Holocaust in the Work of Saul Friedlander7. ' What Constitutes a Historical Explanation?': Metahistory and the Limits of Historical Explanation in the Goldhagen/Browning Controversy8. The Metahistory of Denial: The Irving/Lipstadt Libel Case and Holocaust DenialThe Trace of the Holocaust9. Inexhaustible Meaning, Inextinguishable Voices: Levinas and the Holocaust10. Cinders of Philosophy, Philosophy of Cinders: Derrida and the Trace of the Holocaust11. The Limits of Understanding: Perpetrator Philosophy and Philosophical Histories12. The Postmodern, the Holocaust, and the Limits of the Human

Editorial Reviews

`The book is a very wide-ranging examination of the place of the Holocaust in contemporary cultural discourse. . . . offers a fascinating typology of the genre of Holocaust testimony. . . . Eaglestone offers a new and literary view of testimony which he links with postmodernism through theirshared concern with identity and self-construction.'Sue Vice, Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History