Partial Answers - Homepage Journal of Literature and The History of Ideas The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
 Publications

 Volume 17/1, includes forum "Narrative Selves"
 January 2019

 Volume 16/2, includes forum on Monika Fludernik's Towards a 'Natural' Narratology
 June 2018

 Volume 16/1 includes forum "Modernity and Mobility: Victorian Women Traveling"
 January 2018

 Volume 15/2
 June 2017

 Volume 15/1: includes forum "Audionarratology"
 January 2017

 Volume 14/2: includes forum "Modern Jewish Spaces"
 June 2016

 Volume 14/1: includes forum "Saul Bellow as a Novelist of Ideas"
 January 2016

 Volume 13/2: includes forum "Comics and the Canon"
 June 2015

 Volume 13/1: includes forum "TheGhetto as a Victorian Text"
 January 2015

 Volume 12/2: includes forum "The Novel and Theories of Love"
 June 2014

 Volume 12/1
 January 2014

 Volume 11/2: includes forum "Translating Philip Roth"
 June 2013

 Volume 11/1
 January 2013

 Volume 10/2: includes forum "Bildung and the State"
 June 2012

 Volume 10/1: includes forum "Fernando Pessoa and the Issue of Heteronymy
 January 2012

 Volume 9/2: Dickens: Uneasy Pleasures
 June 2011

 Volume 9/1
 January 2011

 Volume 8/2: British Women Writers
 June 2010

 Volume 8/1 includes forum "The Ethics of Temporality"
 January 2010

 Volume 7/2: Eyewitness Narratives
 June 2009

 Volume 7/1
 January 2009

 Volume 6/2: Narrative Knowing, Living, Telling
 June 2008

 Volume 6/1
 January 2008

 Volume 5/2
 June 2007

 Volume 5/1
 January 2007

 Volume 4/2: Narrative as a Way of Thinking
 June 2006

 Volume 4/1
 January 2006

 Volume 3/2
 June 2005

 Volume 3/1
 January 2005

 Volume 2/2
 June 2004

 Volume 2/1
 January 2004

 Volume 1/2
 June 2003

 Volume 1/1
 January 2003

 Quick Article Search

   Newest Articles

 Response Essay
 Monika Fludernik

 Experience, Affect, and Literary Lists
 Eva von Contzen

 Posthuman Narration as a Test Bed for Experientiality
 Marco Caracciolo

 The Curse of Realism
 Karin Kukkonen

 More than Minds
 Jonas Grethlein

 Toward the Non-Natural
 Maria Mäkelä

 Two Conceptions of Experientiality and Narrativity
 Dan Shen

 Against Nature
 Brian McHale

Get Adobe Reader

Updated Up To 26/06/2018
Volume 7, Number 2 (June 2009) : 319--42
The Illiterate Reader
Aphasia after Auschwitz
Sarah Liu
Rubric A: Eyewitness Narratives

Abstract

On the bases of discussions of Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, as well as of Charlotte Delbo’s, Jean Améry’s, and Primo Levi’s memoirs, Fred Wander’s The Seventh Well, John Felstiner’s translation of Celan’s Todesfuge, and Bernhard Schlink’s novel The Reader, this paper presents a model for reading the Holocaust structured around the ideas of “illiteracy” and “aphasia,” the opportunity to transform linguistic disability into a means of access to what seems “beyond the word.” Rather than precluding insight, verbal insufficiency serves as a form of “negative capability,” the potential to dwell in a space with no complete answers, no security, respecting the terms upon which victims of the event had to read their own experience. Using specifically language-related terms emphasizes the difference between knowing about an event through representation and knowledge from direct personal exposure, not to detract from the limits of understanding outlined by trauma theory but to decouple the experience of trauma itself from reading about it. Our belatedness, reading “after Auschwitz,” carries the ethical obligation to recognize the distinction between then and now, between illiteracy as inability to derive meaning from an event without context and a willful blindness that chooses to deny, between aphasia from immediate injury and aphasia from posthumous grief. The Nazi genocide of the Jews leaves a legacy of semantic abuse, yet the voice of the witness also persists, allowing us to turn linguistic breakdown into insight. To read with insightful illiteracy, to recognize our aphasic limitations, is not merely a strategy for coming to terms with the Holocaust but an ethical necessity.


 All Rights Reserved to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem- Partial Answers © 2004. Powered By Priza

The Johns Hopkins University Press