The Holocaust of Texts: Genocide, Literature, and Personification

The Holocaust of Texts Genocide Literature and Personification Why do we so often speak of books as living flourishing and dying And what is at stake when we do so This habit of treating books as people or personifying texts is rampant in postwar American cul

  • Title: The Holocaust of Texts: Genocide, Literature, and Personification
  • Author: Amy Hungerford
  • ISBN: 9780226360768
  • Page: 300
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Why do we so often speak of books as living, flourishing, and dying And what is at stake when we do so This habit of treating books as people, or personifying texts, is rampant in postwar American culture In this bracing study, Amy Hungerford argues that such personification has become pivotal to our contemporary understanding of both literature and genocide PersonifieWhy do we so often speak of books as living, flourishing, and dying And what is at stake when we do so This habit of treating books as people, or personifying texts, is rampant in postwar American culture In this bracing study, Amy Hungerford argues that such personification has become pivotal to our contemporary understanding of both literature and genocide Personified texts, she contends, play a particularly powerful role in works where the systematic destruction of entire ethnic groups is at issue.Hungerford examines the implications of conflating texts with people in a broad range of texts Art Spiegelman s Maus Ray Bradbury s Fahrenheit 451 the poetry of Sylvia Plath Binjamin Wilkomirski s fake Holocaust memoir Fragments and the fiction of Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, and Don DeLillo She considers the ethical consequences of this trend in the work of recent and contemporary theorists and literary critics as well, including Cathy Caruth, Jacqueline Rose, Jacques Derrida, and Paul de Man What she uncovers are fundamentally flawed ideas about representation that underwrite and thus undermine powerful and commonly accepted claims about literature and identity According to Hungerford, the personification of texts is ethically corrosive and theoretically unsound When we exalt the literary as personal and construe genocide as less a destruction of human life than of culture, we esteem memory over learning, short circuit debates about cultural change, lend credence to the illusion or metaphysics of presence, and limit our conception of literature and its purpose.Ultimately, The Holocaust of Texts asks us to think deeply about the relationship between reading, experience, and memorialization Why, for instance, is it important to remember acts of genocide than simply to learn about them If literary works are truly the bearers of ontology, then what must be our conduct toward them Considering difficult questions such as these with fresh logic, Hungerford offers us an invigorating work, one that will not only interest scholars of American and postwar literature, but students of the Holocaust and critical theory as well.

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      300 Amy Hungerford
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      Published :2018-08-13T18:30:37+00:00

    1 thought on “The Holocaust of Texts: Genocide, Literature, and Personification”

    1. This work of literary criticism aims to invigorate and pioneer a new dimension in postwar literary discourse. Hungerford uses the historical event of the Holocaust and the subsequent academic movements of the New Criticism and deconstruction theory to show how the concept of personification (specifically the conflation of author and text, leading the text to be spoken of as the author) has taken on a new level of meaning in the collective consciousness, given that the genocide of WWII has made t [...]

    2. The major problem I have with this work is that it often oversimplifies the criticism and writers it argues against. For instance, Hungerford argues that "the very autonomy of the text in de Man's account threatens to replace, or rather to erase, not only the writer, then, but also the text's own existence as writing" (65). However, in his work on autobiography, de Man argues not that the text replaces the writer, but that it determines the writer just as much as the writer determines the text. [...]

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