A Thousand Darknesses
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A Thousand Darknesses : Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction

4.34 (38 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

What is the difference between writing a novel about the Holocaust and fabricating a memoir? Do narratives about the Holocaust have a special obligation to be 'truthful'-that is, faithful to the facts of history? Or is it okay to lie in such works? In her provocative study A Thousand Darknesses, Ruth Franklin investigates these questions as they arise in the most significant works of Holocaust fiction, from Tadeusz Borowski's Auschwitz stories to Jonathan Safran Foer's postmodernist family history. Franklin argues that the memory-obsessed culture of the last few decades has led us to mistakenly focus on testimony as the only valid form of Holocaust writing. As even the most canonical texts have come under scrutiny for their fidelity to the facts, we have lost sight of the essential role that imagination plays in the creation of any literary work, including the memoir. Taking a fresh look at memoirs by Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi, and examining novels by writers such as Piotr Rawicz, Jerzy Kosinski, W.G. Sebald, and Wolfgang Koeppen, Franklin makes a persuasive case for literature as an equally vital vehicle for understanding the Holocaust (and for memoir as an equally ambiguous form). The result is a study of immense depth and range that offers a lucid view of an often cloudy field.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 152.4 x 236.22 x 27.94mm | 521.63g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195313968
  • 9780195313963
  • 612,187

Review quote

A Thousand Darknesses succeeds in forming a coherent whole that makes a powerful argument for the propriety of treating the Holocaust as awellspring of literary art * Commentary Magazine * a brilliant, challenging and surprising work * Jewish Journal * Ruth Franklin's keen analysis makes a major contribution to the literary criticism of Shoah writers, and her humane perspective renders the nuances of a fraught subject newly comprehensible. * Jewish Book Council * Superb... by scrupulously defending the integrity of literature, Ms. Franklin has offered her own eloquent testimony. * Wall Street Journal * Ruth Franklin is a thoughtful guide to the problem of lies and truth in Holocaust fiction * New Statesman *show more

About Ruth Franklin

Ruth Franklin is a senior editor at The New Republic.show more

Table of contents

INTRODUCTION; PART ONE: THE WITNESSES; PART TWO: THE WINDING BORDER; PART THREE: THE FUTUREshow more

Rating details

38 ratings
4.34 out of 5 stars
5 53% (20)
4 34% (13)
3 8% (3)
2 5% (2)
1 0% (0)
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