Cover image for Witness through the imagination : Ozick, Elman, Cohen, Potok, Singer, Epstein, Bellow, Steiner, Wallant, Malamud : Jewish-American Holocaust literature
Title:
Witness through the imagination : Ozick, Elman, Cohen, Potok, Singer, Epstein, Bellow, Steiner, Wallant, Malamud : Jewish-American Holocaust literature
Author:
Kremer, S. Lillian, 1939-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Detroit : Wayne State University Press, 1989.
Physical Description:
392 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780814321164

9780814321171
Format :
Book

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PS374.H56 K7 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Criticism of Holocaust literature is an emerging field of inquiry, and as might be expected, the most innovative work has been concentrated on the vanguard of European and Israeli Holocaust literature. Now that American fiction has amassed an impressive and provocative Holocaust canon, the time is propitious for its evaluation. Witness through the Imagination presents a critical reading of themes and stylistic strategies of major American Holocaust fiction to determine its capacity to render the prelude, progress, and aftermath of the Holocaust.
The unifying critical approach is the textual explication of themes and literary method, occasional comparative references to international Holocaust literature, and a discussion of extra-literary Holocaust sources that have influenced the creative writers' treatment of the Holocaust universe.


Summary

Criticism of Holocaust literature is an emerging field of inquiry, and as might be expected, the most innovative work has been concentrated on the vanguard of European and Israeli Holocaust literature. Now that American fiction has amassed an impressive and provocative Holocaust canon, the time is propitious for its evaluation. Witness through the Imagination presents a critical reading of themes and stylistic strategies of major American Holocaust fiction to determine its capacity to render the prelude, progress, and aftermath of the Holocaust.
The unifying critical approach is the textual explication of themes and literary method, occasional comparative references to international Holocaust literature, and a discussion of extra-literary Holocaust sources that have influenced the creative writers' treatment of the Holocaust universe.


Author Notes

S. Lilian Kremer obtained her Ph.D. from Kansas State University where she is currently an instructor in the English Department. Her articles on contemporary Jewish literature have appeared in the Saul Bellow Journal, Studies in American Jewish Literature, Holocaust Studies Annual, Dictionary of Literary, Biography, and Modern Jewish Studies Annual. This is her first book.


S. Lilian Kremer obtained her Ph.D. from Kansas State University where she is currently an instructor in the English Department. Her articles on contemporary Jewish literature have appeared in the Saul Bellow Journal, Studies in American Jewish Literature, Holocaust Studies Annual, Dictionary of Literary, Biography, and Modern Jewish Studies Annual. This is her first book.


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

After an introductory chapter imparting an overview of the complexities of American Holocaust literature, Kremer addresses the fiction of Saul Bellow, Edward Wallant, Bernard Malamud, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Leslie Epstein, Richard Elman, Cynthia Ozick, Chaim Potok, Arthur A. Cohen, and George Steiner. Among the subjects and themes explored are the connections between historic anti-Semitism and Nazi genocide; dehumanization of the victims; survival strategies; postwar survivor syndrome; and the theological, social, and psychological implications of the Holocaust. Fully half of the works focus on the preservation of Jewish cultural and religious identity, incorporating references to sacred studies and liturgies. This scholarly work is somewhat esoteric but still indispensable to any Holocaust collection. Index. --George Cohen


Choice Review

American Jews were spared the violence and destruction of the European Holocaust, but it has profoundly effected the psychological, theological, and political dimensions of their personal and communal existence. In her close-knit study of ten American authors who have represented aspects of the Holocaust experience in their fiction, Kremer provides an interpretive and exegetical examination of the variety of perspectives, meanings, and narrative methods they have employed to render the unspeakable into communicable language. The valuable introduction, which summarizes the post-Auschwitz attempts to reconstruct a viable Judaism from the ashes (Rubenstein, Fackenheim, Greenberg), is followed by detailed readings of selected fiction by Bellow, Malamud, Wallant, Richard Elman, Leslie Epstein, Potok, Arthur Cohen, Cynthia Ozick, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and George Steiner. Each essay treats the author's literary strategy in establishing point of view and in determining the particular historic circumstances to be depicted in his or her fiction. Especially valuable are the essays on the lesser-known writers Epstein, Elman, and Cohen. These move beyond the familiar major writers to demonstrate how keenly the Holocaust impinges on the American imagination, emerging, ironically, near the end of our blood-soaked century as one of the positive touchstones for Jewish identity. For academic libraries, all levels. M. Butovsky Concordia University


Booklist Review

After an introductory chapter imparting an overview of the complexities of American Holocaust literature, Kremer addresses the fiction of Saul Bellow, Edward Wallant, Bernard Malamud, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Leslie Epstein, Richard Elman, Cynthia Ozick, Chaim Potok, Arthur A. Cohen, and George Steiner. Among the subjects and themes explored are the connections between historic anti-Semitism and Nazi genocide; dehumanization of the victims; survival strategies; postwar survivor syndrome; and the theological, social, and psychological implications of the Holocaust. Fully half of the works focus on the preservation of Jewish cultural and religious identity, incorporating references to sacred studies and liturgies. This scholarly work is somewhat esoteric but still indispensable to any Holocaust collection. Index. --George Cohen


Choice Review

American Jews were spared the violence and destruction of the European Holocaust, but it has profoundly effected the psychological, theological, and political dimensions of their personal and communal existence. In her close-knit study of ten American authors who have represented aspects of the Holocaust experience in their fiction, Kremer provides an interpretive and exegetical examination of the variety of perspectives, meanings, and narrative methods they have employed to render the unspeakable into communicable language. The valuable introduction, which summarizes the post-Auschwitz attempts to reconstruct a viable Judaism from the ashes (Rubenstein, Fackenheim, Greenberg), is followed by detailed readings of selected fiction by Bellow, Malamud, Wallant, Richard Elman, Leslie Epstein, Potok, Arthur Cohen, Cynthia Ozick, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and George Steiner. Each essay treats the author's literary strategy in establishing point of view and in determining the particular historic circumstances to be depicted in his or her fiction. Especially valuable are the essays on the lesser-known writers Epstein, Elman, and Cohen. These move beyond the familiar major writers to demonstrate how keenly the Holocaust impinges on the American imagination, emerging, ironically, near the end of our blood-soaked century as one of the positive touchstones for Jewish identity. For academic libraries, all levels. M. Butovsky Concordia University