Spring 2016 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Ozsvath, Zsuzsanna
Discipline and Number
HUSL 6378 Section 501
T Time 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Course Title
Literature and the Holocaust

Description of Course:

The constant pressure the Holocaust exerts on our contemporary world manifests itself in a variety of ways, among them, in persistent efforts to evoke, define, and explain this cataclysmic event and to incorporate it into our creative imagination. Besides ongoing evaluation and re-evaluation of the Shoah in the fields of historical research, moral philosophy, and social studies, there is a massive body of literature and art that has arisen in its wake, ranging from eyewitness accounts to novels, short stories, and poetry; from music to painting, sculpture, and film.

The purpose of this seminar is to consider the ways in which artists have reacted to the events of the Shoah, and study the psychological, moral, and aesthetic tensions this unprecedented genocide has imposed upon our contemporary consciousness. In addition, we will assess the role the Holocaust plays in our late twentieth-century-early twenty first-century literary imagination. Therefore, we will consider a number of texts revolving around this event and study not only their radically new aesthetic devices but also their portrayals of evil and moral survival. In addition, we will explore a wide-ranging set of critical responses the literature of the Holocaust has engendered.

Required Texts:

J. Becker, Jacob the Liar
T. Borowski, This Way to the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
P. Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
J. W. Mendelssohn Is on the Roof
E. Wiesel, Night
R. S. Wistrich, Hitler and the Holocaust
Saul Friedlaender, When Memory comes
Poetry by Paul Celan, Miklos Radnoti, Nelli Sachs, and poems from the collection Survivors, ed. Orszag-Lang.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Regular class attendance, participation in class discussions, two short reports, and one research paper (15-20 pages), which could be suitable for one of the portfolio essays.

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