Witnessing, Memory, Poetics

August 2014
6 black and white illustrations
332 pages
9x6 in
Dialogue and Disjunction: Studies in Jewish German Literature, Culture & Thought
ISBN: 9781571135896
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, HIS043000, HIS014000

Witnessing, Memory, Poetics

H. G. Adler and W. G. Sebald

Edited by Helen Finch, Lynn L. Wolff

Investigates the connections between German writers H.G. Adler and W.G. Sebald and reveals a new hybrid paradigm of writing about the Holocaust in light of the wider literary-political implications of Holocaust representation since 1945.

Since 1945, authors and scholars have intensely debated what form literary fiction about the Holocaust should take. The works of H. G. Adler (1910-1988) and W. G. Sebald (1944-2001), two modernist scholar-poets who settled in England but never met, present new ways of reconceptualizing the nature of witnessing, literary testimony, and the possibility of a "poetics" after Auschwitz. Adler, a Czech Jew who survived Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, was a prolific writer of prose and poetry, but his work remained little known until Sebald, possibly the most celebrated German writer of recent years, cited it in his 2001 work, Austerlitz. Since then, a rediscovery of Adler has been under way. This volume of essays by international experts on Adler and Sebald investigates the connections between the two writers to reveal a new hybrid paradigm of writing about the Holocaust that advances our understanding of the relationship between literature, historiography, and autobiography. In doing so, the volume also reflects on the wider literary-political implications of Holocaust representation, demonstrating the shifting norms in German-language "Holocaust literature."

Contributors: Jeremy Adler, Jo Catling, Peter Filkins, Helen Finch, Frank Finlay, Kirstin Gwyer, Katrin Kohl, Michael Krüger, Martin Modlinger, Dora Osborne, Ruth Vogel-Klein, Lynn L. Wolff.

Helen Finch is Associate Professor in German at the University of Leeds. Lynn L. Wolff is assistant Professor at Michigan State University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Adler-Sebald Intertextual Relationship as Paradigm for Intergenerational Literary Testimony
The Connections between H. G. Adler and W. G. Sebald, from a Personal Perspective
Memory's Witness-Witnessing Memory
Writing the Medusa: A Documentation of H. G. Adler and Theresienstadt in W. G. Sebald's Library
Poetics of Bearing Witness: H. G. Adler and W. G. Sebald
"Schmerzensspuren der Geschichte(n)": Memory and Intertextuality in H. G. Adler and W. G. Sebald
"Der Autor zwischen Literatur und Politik": H. G. Adler's "Engagement" and W. G. Sebald's "Restitution"
Memory, Witness, and the (Holocaust) Museum in H. G. Adler and W. G. Sebald
History, Emotions, Literature: The Representation of Theresienstadt in H. G. Adler's Theresienstadt 1941-1945, Antlitz einer Zwangsgemeinschaft and W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz
The Kafkaesque in H. G. Adler's and W. G. Sebald's Literary Historiographies
Generational Conflicts, Generational Affinities: Broch, Adorno, Adler, Sebald
"Der verwerfliche Literaturbetrieb unserer Epoche": H. G. Adler and the Postwar West German "Literary Field"
Notes on the Contributors


In the most illuminating essays, the intertextual relationship that connects Adler to Sebald serves as a springboard to a more expansive, contextual discussion of universal issues of postwar German literature. . . . [A]ll the essays provide insightful analyses of the works of these two signi?cant writers. While this volume would be of particular interest to scholars of postwar literature, the essays in sections 2 and 3 are particularly appealing to those interested in broader themes such as the relationships between history and literature, the role of the artist in society, the nature of trauma narrative, and questions of authenticity. JOURNAL OF AUSTRIAN STUDIES

[C]ombine[s] in-depth investigations of [the two authors'] writings with several unique approaches to understanding their relationship within the context of Holocaust and post-war German literature. Although focused on Adler and Sebald, the volume will also be of interest to those working in Holocaust testimonial, historical, and ?ctional writing, both survivor and second-generation writers, and in particular the developing ?eld of German-language Holocaust literature. HOLOCAUST STUDIES

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