The Holocaust Object in Polish and Polish-Jewish Culture the Holocaust Object in Polish and Polish-Jewish Culture

The Holocaust Object in Polish and Polish-Jewish Culture the Holocaust Object in Polish and Polish-Jewish Culture

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In stark contrast to the widespread preoccupation with the wartime looting of priceless works of art, Boaena Shallcross focuses on the meaning of ordinary objects -- pots, eyeglasses, shoes, clothing, kitchen utensils -- tangible vestiges of a once-lived reality, which she reads here as cultural texts. Shallcross delineates the ways in which Holocaust objects are represented in Polish and Polish-Jewish texts written during or shortly after World War II. These representational strategies are distilled from the writings of Zuzanna Ginczanka, Wa?adysa?aw Szlengel, Zofia Naa?kowska, Czesa?aw Mia?osz, Jerzy Andrzejewski, and Tadeusz Borowski. Combining close readings of selected texts with critical interrogations of a wide range of philosophical and theoretical approaches to the nature of matter, Shallcross's study broadens the current discourse on the Holocaust by embracing humble and overlooked material objects as they were perceived by writers of that time.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text | 195 pages
  • Indiana University Press
  • United States
  • English
  • 0253005094
  • 9780253005090

Review quote

As those who remember the personal trauma of the Nazi invasion and genocide are increasingly few, the only remaining traces of human suffering lie in objects that reify that suffering. Ordinary objects of Holocaust victims can reflect individual martyrdom, and Shallcross (Slavic languages and literature, Univ. of Chicago) looks at this in her meticulous, novel analysis of the writings of Zuzanna Ginczanka, Wladyslaw Szlengel, Elzbieta Nalkowska, CzeslawMilosz, Jerzy Andrzejewski, and Tadeusz Borowski. Applying Heidegger's notions of temporality and objective existence and Derrida's, Freud's, Lucan's, and Todorov's concepts of morality, the author tenderly elevates the ordinary objects--e.g., a penknife fabricated by a camp prisoner--pointing out how cradling such objects, in the face of deadly danger, gave hope to the dying of 'bearing witness... both on their behalf and against the perpetrators.' Here, as aptly as she has in her previous work, Shallcross looks at depictions of the depths of suffering through the 'dispossession' of belongings when a prisoner entered a concentration camp. This is a brilliant analysis. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. --ChoiceD. Hutchins, Buena Vista University, October 2011show more

About Bozena Shallcross

Bo ena Shallcross is Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago. She is author of Through the Poet's Eye: The Travels of Zagajewski, Herbert, and Brodsky and editor (with David L. Ransel) of Polish Encounters/Russian Identity (IUP, 2005)."show more

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