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A Voice Still HeardSelected Essays of Irving Howe$
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Irving Howe and Nina Howe

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300203660

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300203660.001.0001

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Writing and the Holocaust {1986}

Writing and the Holocaust {1986}

(p.277) Writing and the Holocaust {1986}
A Voice Still Heard

Irving Howe

Yale University Press

This chapter presents Irving Howe's 1986 essay “Writing and the Holocaust,” in which he argues that it is a grave error to “elevate” the Holocaust into an occurrence outside of history. Howe begins by emphasizing how Holocaust “resists the usual capacities of the mind,” and that dealing with this subject raises a number of difficult problems. He then describes the endless quantity of sadism in the concentration camps set up by the Nazis, such as those at Dachau and Buchenwald. He also discusses Theodor Adorno's statement that, “After Auschwitz [...]to write a poem is barbaric.” Howe believes that Adorno was stating the sheer difficulty of writing after the Holocaust, and has opened up the entire question of the validity of an “aesthetic” response to Holocaust literature.

Keywords:   history, Irving Howe, Holocaust, concentration camps, Nazis, Theodor Adorno, Holocaust literature

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