Writing the Holocaust – Past and Present
Given the wealth of memoirs, recorded testimony, trial documents, and communal forms of memorialization that appeared soon after World War II, scholars in recent years have begun to challenge the view that there was widespread “silence” about the Holocaust from 1945 until the early 1960s. In challenging this myth, it is necessary to more closley examine the extraordinary outpouring of writing, in multiple genres and forms, during and immediately after the Holocaust—writings that took into account many of the historical, psychological, theological, linguistic, and aesthetic issues that would arise in later years. Focusing on testimony written during and shortly after the war, but also comparing such work to late-twentieth-century works that recapitulated many of the same issues, Writing the Holocaust will present a wide-ranging view of work that was remarkable for candidly speaking of the unbearable with an equal measure of brute force and subtlety. The lecture, intended for a general as well as a scholarly audience, will address salient features of this topic.
The lecture will be given by Eric J. Sundquist, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. Professor Sundquist’s books include King’s Dream (2009), Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews, Post-Holocaust America (2005), which received the Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute Book Award, To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature (1992), which received the Christian Gauss Award from Phi Beta Kappa and the James Russell Lowell Award from the Modern Language Association, among others.
The lecture is part of the MESEA - The Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas 10th Biennial Conference “Cultural Palimpsests: Ethnic Watermarks, Surfacing Histories” (June 21–June 24, 2016).
June 23, 5:00 PM, free admission, in English.