This is a survey of the vast literature that has arisen in response to the Holocaust. We will begin with excerpts from ghetto and camp diaries, writing that grapples with events as they are happening. We will spend the bulk of the course, however, reading a small selection of the fiction and poetry written over the six decades since the Holocaust. In 1949, the philosopher Theodor Adorno declared that “to write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric.” We will look at how writers in English, French, Polish, Yiddish and Hebrew, Jewish and non-Jewish, have nevertheless tried to hurl their words against this most unyielding of subjects. All readings will be in English.
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