Title

A Genre of Rupture: The Literary Language of the Holocaust

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

Holocaust narrative, in drawing from two vital traditions of Jewish expression, midrash and lamentation, constitutes a genre of rupture that creates, extends and responds to the trauma of the Shoah. In doing so, Holocaust texts call upon literary and cultural traditions as a framework for the ongoing response to the devastation of the Holocaust, all the while creating within this responsive framework an interpretative reconfiguration of conventional forms of expression. Such narratives, this chapter argues, produce the effects of disequilibrium and estrangement that represent the enormity of the trauma of the Holocaust, inviting the reader to participate in an ethical act of reading and bearing witness. Such literary modes of representation create a language and a landscape of rupture, of discursive disequilibrium, and of narrative disjunction in an attempt to enact the very conditions they evoke. The convergence of historiography and literary invention in Holocaust writing lends itself to wide-ranging texts that call upon diverse discursive strategies and forms that engage in the strategic performance of rhetorical destabilization.

Document Object Identifier (DOI)

10.5040/9781472593801.ch-001

Editor

Jenni Adams

Publisher

Bloomsbury Academic

City

London

ISBN

9781474296311, 9781441129086

Publication Information

The Bloomsbury Companion to Holocaust Literature

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