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Diasporas of the MindJewish and Postcolonial Writing and the Nightmare of History$
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Bryan Cheyette

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300093186

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300093186.001.0001

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Diaspora and the Holocaust

Diaspora and the Holocaust

Primo Levi, Jean Améry and the Art of Returning the Blow

(p.78) 3 Diaspora and the Holocaust
Diasporas of the Mind

Bryan Cheyette

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on Auschwitz survivors Primo Levi and Jean Améry. It argues that the differences between Levi and Améry are precisely to do with Levi’s good fortune in returning to his family home and, conversely, Améry’s sense of exile from home, language, and culture. In other words, Levi enacted a rather conservative version of diaspora (exile and return), and Améry was forced into an uncompromisingly permanent, and unremitting, exile. Their material circumstances shaped their contrasting characters, with one on the side of diasporic return, the other on the side of unremitting exile.

Keywords:   diasporic imagination, Auschwitz, Holocaust survivors, diaspora

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