The German-Jewish philosopher Theodor Adorno famously pronounced that “to write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric.” This injunction notwithstanding, writers have been grappling with the Shoah since the catastrophe took place. And literary scholars have attempted for almost as long to make sense of the texts written in the shadow of the concentration campus. Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Professor at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is one of the world’s leading scholars of Holocaust literature. The author of the pioneering book By Words Alone: The Holocaust in Literature (1980), her lecture will relate the lessons she learned in her three decades of scholarship on the textual representations of the Shoah. In addition to By Words Alone, which was one of the first studies of Holocaust literature, DeKoven Ezrahi has published Booking Passage: Exile and Homecoming in the Modern Jewish Imagination (2000), along with countless articles. Sidra visited UIUC's campus in the Spring of 2011 through the Israel Studies Project.
To Write Poetry After Auschwitz is Barbaric: Three Decades Among Barbarians
Location: Music Room, Levis Faculty Center
Date: 1/31/2011, 7 pm