The Language of Silence: West German Literature and the Holocaust

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9780415922203: The Language of Silence: West German Literature and the Holocaust

Focusing on individual authors from Heinrich Boll to Gunther Grass, Hermann Lenz to Peter Schneider, The Language of Silence offers an analysis of West German literature as it tries to come to terms with the Holocaust and its impact on postwar West German society. Exploring postwar literature as the barometer of Germany's unconsciously held values as well as of its professed conscience, Ernestine Schlant demonstrates that the confrontation with the Holocaust has shifted over the decades from repression, circumvention, and omission to an open acknowledgement of the crimes. Yet even today a 'language of silence' remains since the victims and their suffering are still overlooked and ignored. Learned and exacting, Schlant's study makes an important contribution to our understanding of postwar German culture.

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Review:

"As Ernestine Schlant's fascinating new book makes abundantly clear, postwar German literature may serve as a gauge--or what she prefers to call a 'seismograph'--for examining the repeated attempts over the past five decades to address the legacy of National Socialism."-"Forward "Schlant's book is thorough; its insightful analyses reveal a talent for delicate, close reading, and her ability to place literature in a social context makes the work useful as a reference on the cultural history of West Germany. ["The Language of Silence] will surely find a secure place among the best studies of Holocaust literature. Highly recommended to all readers."-"Choice, Sept. 1999 "The book is thoughtful and innovative, riveting in its narrative, analysis, and details."-"Booklist, 4/99 "Ernestine Schlant's critique of West German literature is fascinating for her acute perceptions and alertness to blind spots."-Reform Judaism Magazine, Spring 2000 "Schlant's book is thorough; its insightful analyses reveal a talent for delicate, close reading, and her ability to place literature in a social context makes the work useful as a reference on the cultural history of West Germany. ["The Language of Silence] will surely find a secure place among the best studies of Holocaust literature. Highly recommended to all readers."-"Choice, Sept. 1999

About the Author:

Ernestine Schlant is Professor of German at Montclair State University. She is author of Hermann Broch (1978) and editor of Legacies and Ambiguities: Postwar Fiction and Culture in West Germany and Japan (1986).

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