Poetry After Auschwitz

Poetry After Auschwitz

Remembering What One Never Knew
Susan Gubar
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/18/2006
Format: Paperback 20 b&w photos, 1 color photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-21887-2
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Description

It is hard to imagine [Susan Gubar] bettering her previous work, but this is a culmination.... It will become a classic for the way it is written, for its sense of what poetry in general can do, and for its comprehensive focus on Holocaust representation." —Geoffrey Hartman

In this pathbreaking study, Susan Gubar demonstrates that Theodor Adorno’s famous injunction against writing poetry after Auschwitz paradoxically inspired an ongoing literary tradition. From the 1960s to the present, as the Shoah receded into a more remote European past, North American and British writers struggled to keep its memory alive.

Many contemporary writers, among them Anthony Hecht, Gerald Stern, Sylvia Plath, William Heyen, Michael Hamburger, Irena Klepfisz, Adrienne Rich, Jorie Graham, Jacqueline Osherow, and Anne Michaels, grappled with personal and political, ethical and aesthetic consequences of the disaster. Through confessional verse and reinventions of the elegy, as well as documentary poems about photographs and trials, poets serve as proxy-witnesses of events that they did not experience firsthand. By speaking about or even as the dead, these men and women of letters elucidate what it means to cite, reconfigure, consume, or envy the traumatic memories of an earlier generation. As the testimonies of eyewitnesses come to a close, this moving meditation by a major feminist critic finds in poetry a stimulant to empathy that can help us take to heart what we forget at our own peril.

Author Bio

Susan Gubar is Distinguished Professor of English at Indiana University. She has co-authored and co-edited a number of books with Sandra M. Gilbert, including The Madwoman in the Attic and its three-volume sequel, No Man's Land: The Place of the Woman Writer in the Twentieth Century. Her most recent publication is Critical Condition: Feminism at the Turn of the Century.

Reviews

“"In this subtly argued and thoughtful book, influential feminist scholar Gubar . . . shows how such poetry can permit a kind of witnessing by proxy. . . . Gubar explains how poets . . . speak on behalf of the dead without usurping their place." —Library Journal "It is hard to imagine [Susan Gubar] bettering her previous work, but this is a culmination. . . . It will become a classic." —Geoffrey Hartman In this pioneering study Susan Gubar demonstrates that Adorno's famous injunction against the barbarism of writing poetry after Auschwitz paradoxically inspired an on-going literary tradition.”

“"In this subtly argued and thoughtful book, influential feminist scholar Gubar . . . shows how such poetry can permit a kind of witnessing by proxy. . . . Gubar explains how poets . . . speak on behalf of the dead without usurping their place." —Library Journal "It is hard to imagine [Susan Gubar] bettering her previous work, but this is a culmination. . . . It will become a classic." —Geoffrey Hartman In this pioneering study Susan Gubar demonstrates that Adorno's famous injunction against the barbarism of writing poetry after Auschwitz paradoxically inspired an on-going literary tradition.”

“A sensitive and superb treatment of Holocaust literature; the author . . . treats Holocaust art with sensitivity, introspection, respect, and humanity in a clear, readable, and elegant prose. Gubar's book will prove to be a seminal work in Holocaust studies.”
 — H-Holocaust

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Table of Contents

The Holocaust Is Dying
Masters of Disaster
Suckled by Panic
About Pictures out of Focus
Documentary Verse Bears Witness
The Dead Speak
"Could You Have Made an Elegy for Every One?"
Poetry and Survival