Using and Abusing the Holocaust

Using and Abusing the Holocaust

Lawrence L. Langer
Distribution: World
Publication date: 6/21/2006
ISBN: 978-0-253-02351-3
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“Langer, by the force of scholarship and literary precision rather than dogmatic affirmation and pathos, is one of the few writers, with the exception of significant poets and novelists, who unsettles both our customary language and conceptual instruments. His book is a moral as well as an intellectual act of a very high order.” —Geoffrey Hartman, author of The Longest Shadow

In this new volume, Langer—one of the most distinguished scholars writing on Holocaust literature and representation—assesses various literary efforts to establish a place in modern consciousness for the ordeal of those victimized by Nazi Germany’s crimes against humanity. Essays discuss the film
Life Is Beautiful, the uncritical acclaim of Fragments, the fake memoir by Benjamin Wilkomirski, reasons for the exaggerated importance still given to Anne Frank’s Diary, and a recent cycle of paintings on the Old Testament by Holocaust artist Samuel Bak.

Author Bio

Lawrence L. Langer is Professor of English Emeritus at Simmons College, Boston. Among his numerous books are Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; Preempting the Holocaust; and The Game Continues: Chess in the Art of Samuel Bak (IUP, 1999). He lives in West Newton, Massachusetts.


"Recommended. Large graduate and research collections." —Choice

". . . Lawrence L. Langer provides a stimulating and thoughtful analysis of intellectual and personal responses to the Holocaust in literature, film, and art. . . . taken together, the essays present a coherent critique of the ways in which writers, artists, filmmakers, and the members of the broader public use, and at times misuse, the Holocaust. Langer is a perceptive guide to many of the important issues in the burgeoning literature on memory and the Holocaust, and his fluid writing makes this collection a pleasure to read." —Journal of Genocide Research

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Table of Contents


1. The Pursuit of Death in Holocaust Narrative
2. Anne Frank Revisited
3. Life Is Not Beautiful
4. Fragments of Memory: A Myth of Past Time
5. Wounded Families in Holocaust Discourse
6. Memory and Justice after the Holocaust and Apartheid
7. Witnessing Atrocity: The Testimonial Evidence
8. Moralizing and Demoralizing the Holocaust
9. Representing the Holocaust
10. The Book of Genesis in the Art of Samuel Bak