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Preempting the Holocaust
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0300082681, Paperback)Lawrence Langer is the world's preeminent critic of holocaust literature. His Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory, which won the National Books Critics Circle Award in Criticism, is considered by many to be the best, most unflinching account of Jewish oral histories of the holocaust.
Preempting the Holocaust is a collection of Langer's essays about literary and artistic treatments of holocaust experience, such as Art Spiegelman's Maus books and Cynthia Ozick's Rosa stories. Major themes in this collection include comparisons of women's and men's experiences of the Holocaust, and warnings against interpreting Nazi atrocities as the work of an coldly efficient bureaucracy (because, Langer argues, using metaphors of "killing machines" mitigates one's awareness of the killers' evil). As a whole, "The purpose of these essays is to contribute to the incessant anxious dialogue about how our civilization may absorb into its reasonable hopes for the future the disabling outburst of unreason we name the Holocaust, as it continues to assault memory and imagination with immeasurable sorrow and undiminished force." Langer's writing is spare, his thinking is forceful, and his refusal to draw simple lessons from his literary analyses is appropriately and productively disorienting. --Michael Joseph Gross
(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 15 Jan 2013 04:26:08 -0500)
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Two editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.
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