"I argued, in an earlier article in this journal (JAOS 117.1) that in his travel writings Matsuo Basho reveals himself to be a participant in the process by which a central cultural regime makes claims on territory--poetic, geographical, and historical. The present paper goes on to consider the more specific way's in which Basho's Oku no hosomichi also figures in the specific discourse of haikai poetics. As one of the "foundation texts" of the Japanese canon, that travel record is today generally read as a document in the history of traditional aesthetics, which is, of course, one way it can be approached. Here it is contended, however, that the text may also be usefully read as a pedagogical guide to Basho's poetic practice intended specifically for students of the genre of haikai."
An appeal is made to the foot travels of Matsuo Basho, especially his 1689 journey to northern Japan, reflected in his Narrow Road to the Interior, as examples of wandering. It is suggested that while the travels of a poetwanderer such as Basho are notably distinct from shamanic travels in some respects, they are similar in other important ways, for example in their capacity to give perspective to our everyday experience. Based on Basho's example, three aspects of wandering are discussed that may be of aesthetic interest, and it is concluded that in the face of various technological and social developments in industrial societies that increasingly alienate us from our environment, wandering may help us to recover a sense of the depth of space, the real diversity of places, and our human lives in the larger context of nature.
Elie Wiesel's fiction is rooted in his experience as a survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. His work as a novelist has been accompanied by increasing involvement in human rights activities, for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Working through some of the ethical implications of literary interpretation, Colin Davis examines the consequences of taking a modern critical perspective on Holocaust literature. With the notion of narrative secrecy fundamental to his study, he suggests that Wiesel's fiction is more darkly ambiguous and deeply complex than his stance on human rights issues. Drawing on Wiesel's short stories, novels, and essays, Davis illustrates the disjunction between the uncertainties expressed in Wiesel's fiction and the polemical confidence of some of his nonliterary writing. He discusses tensions in the fiction in the context of the personal, theological, intellectual, and aesthetic traumas of the Holocaust. He analyzes important themes in Wiesel's writing, such as madness, language and silence, and the death of the father, and links them in an original manner to the ideas of storytelling and of the loss of meaning. He ends the book by drawing some tentative conclusions about secrecy and interpretation through a consideration of Wiesel's most recent novel, The Forgotten. Davis acknowledges the risks involved in approaching Holocaust literature from the standpoint of fictional form. He writes, "By concentrating on hesitations and indeterminacies in Wiesel's writing, I do not for a moment intend to deny the awful reality of the Holocaust, or to detract from Wiesel's remarkable work as a human rights activist." While Wiesel's fiction is disturbingly enigmatic, Davis says, the pain on every page is radiantly clear.
"The Nazi attempt to annihilate the Jewish communities of Europe placed Jewish families under tremendous strain. In their efforts to survive and to resist the Nazi threat, relations between family members changed, upsetting gender roles and power positions between mothers and fathers, parents and children. The survivors of the Holocaust, or Shoah, were primarily young adults whose formative years were spent in the grotesque world created by the Nazis. The selections and the inhumane conditions of the slave labor camps ensured that most of the concentration camp survivors would be between the ages of 18 and 45 at the war's end, (1) though some children and older adults survived the war years outside the camps--in hiding, passing as Aryans, or as refugees in the Soviet Union. Virtually all the survivors faced the world without grandparents, parents or older siblings. For the majority, their adolescence had been interrupted, depriving them of the opportunity to experiment with gender roles and courtship within the safety of their communities and families. It was these survivors who reestablished Jewish families in the displaced persons camps of postwar Europe and abroad. It was they who most intimately came to terms with the meanings of Jewish motherhood and fatherhood after Auschwitz."
In this paper I show that, from a philosophical perspective, in Elie Wiesel's work in general and in Night in particular, the relation between ethics and religion is based on complementarity. In order to achieve this, I have analysed the way in which memory is shown as an invitation to participation in a common set of meanings, values and actions. What I deem most significant is the way in which the memory of the Holocaust is constituted as a medium of action and of communion among humans in an act of mutual responsibility. Through this, the memory of the Holocaust obliges us to assume an ethics of responsibility and of action that rules out the possibility of a contemporary repetition of the events that took place in the death camps. I use Night to show how this narrative reveals several points that are important for understanding certain aspects of the relation between ethics, religion and the memory of the Holocaust. One of these is the understanding of memory as a way to bring man and God together in a relation of mutual communication, beginning with the experience of suffering of dehumanization and of God's absence from the death camp. Another is that the religious and cultural memory represented by Israel is the main target of extermination as a manifestation of radical evil. A third is that Israel's suffering has a paradigmatic value, and therefore the memory of the Holocaust becomes a special power that may be used as a tool to diminish the power of evil through the elimination of indifference and the assumption of responsibility.
This article challenges the widespread scholarly assumption that the term Muselmann, ubiquitous in Holocaust survivor accounts, denotes a fixed, silent, concentration-camp "type" of prisoner who, nearest to death, was fated to die. Rather, based on evidence from a range of oral testimonies and firsthand accounts, I show that by contrast, Muselmanner did not enter into a new ontological category or a different species. Rather, "Muselmannhood" was, surprisingly, a temporary condition for many who claimed to have been Muselmanner and yet survived. This implies that they were similar to other prisoners in kind, differing rather in degree, along a broad continuum of deprivation, starvation, and proximity to death. Their routinely designated status as ultimate "others" thus reflects a strategy among the living to fend off approaching death, and a renunciation of human solidarity that brought survivors great shame. Given this new, more fluid sense of the term, I link literary figurations of the Muselmann to other "death-in-life" metaphors in memoirs by Charlotte Delbo, Elie Wiesel, and Ruth Kluger, who struggle to translate the quotidian extremity of death-in-life without resorting to specious euphemism. These writers invoke the Muselmann as their own shadowy Auschwitz double, a mirror of the self-that-died for the self-that-lived, an "impossible metaphor" that yields meaning precisely through dissimilarity. This study contributes to Holocaust Studies an ethical mode of reading the Muselmann among a newly assembled constellation of such impossible metaphors. These failed comparisons, which demand our witness in the form of active interpretation, I argue, mark the "aesthetics of survival" as efforts to translate, however imperfectly, the impossibility of "surviving"--only half-alive, part victim, part witness, even part collaborator--a place from where, as Delbo puts it, "None of us was meant to return."
Ted Koppel and Elie Wiesel have been friends for many years. Only Ted can begin an interview with such a prominent figure by asking about the Super Bowl. After all, their conversation was taped this week at a synagogue in St. Petersburg, Florida, a community where it's not easy to escape the buzz about the Buccaneers. Somehow, Elie Wiesel has managed to shut out the Super Bowl hype in a town enveloped by it. Elie Wiesel was only 15 when he, his sisters and parents were forced from their Romanian village and put on trains destined for the Auschwitz and then Buchenwald concentration camps. His memoir of that terrifying experience, Night, is a riveting and haunting record of man’s potential for evil. He lost 100 members of his family in the death camps, including his parents and one of his sisters. Tonight, he tells Ted Koppel why he couldn't speak or write about the experience for a full decade after he was liberated. Wiesel also weighs in on the current debate about how the United States and its allies should deal with Saddam Hussein. And on Wiesel's need to speak on behalf of all victims of human rights violations, he says, “As a Jew, I have no right to ignore other people's pain.” And why has he taken on such an enormous task as the elimination of human rights violations? ”I am against silence, when other people s suffering is so total, so offensive, so penetrating.” (19:56)
In this video Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel reflects upon his life, work, and concerns for mankind's future. The celebrated author of Night reconstructed his life after surviving Auschwitz to write, teach, and campaign for human rights. As a journalist, prolific author, and human rights activist, Wiesel focuses on how human beings dehumanize others in order to kill with impunity, and reflects on the re-emergence of terrorism after 9/11. Distributed by PBS Distribution. (60 minutes)
Oprah Winfrey interviews author and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Oswiecim, Poland. Wiesel talks of his personal experiences at Auschwitz and the meaning of the Holocaust which he detailed in his book, Night. Includes historical documentary footage of the concentration camp. (60 mins)
Night is one of the masterpieces of Holocaust literature. First published in 1960, it is the autobiographical account of an adolescent boy and his father in Auschwitz. Wiesel writes of their battle for survival, and of his battle with God for a way to understand the wanton cruelty he witnesses each day.In the short novel Dawn (1961), a young man who has survived the Second World War and settled in Palestine is apprenticed to a Jewish terrorist gang. Command to execute a British officer who has been taken hostage, the former victim becomes an executioner.In The Accident, (1962), Wiesel again turns to fiction to question the limits of the spirit and the self: Can Holocaust survivors forge a new life without the memories of the old? As the author writes in his introduction, "In Night it is the 'I' who speaks; in the other two [narratives], it is the 'I' who listens and questions."Wiesel's trilogy offers meditations on mankind's attraction to violence and on temptation of self-destruction.A Hill & Wang Teacher's Guide is available for this title.
Presents a myriad of viewpoints, so that modern readers can begin to grasp the complexities of war and its impact. Such stories give voice to the individuals who fight and are fought against, who are injured, who suffer on the battlefield and at home, and who, inevitably, can no longer speak for themselves. Examines dominant and recurring subthemes in the literature of war; including survival, terrorism, leadership, and genocide.
By applying terminology from trauma theory and a methodological approach from comics scholarship, this essay discusses three graphic autobiographies of women. These are A Game for Swallows by Zeina Abirached (trans. Edward Gauvin, 2012), We are on our Own by Miriam Katin (2006), and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (trans. Anjali Singh, 2004). Two issues are at the centre of the investigation: the strategies by which these works engage in the much-debated issues of representing gendered violence, and the representation of the ways traumatized daughters and their mothers deal with the identity crises caused by war.
Presents literary criticism of the books "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" by Harriet Jacobs, "I, Rigoberta Menchú" by Rigoberta Menchú, and "Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood" by Marjane Satrapi. The authors discuss these works, all autobiographies, in light of the theme of girls in need of rescue in colonial histories. The authors address themes of race, girlhood, transnationalism, neoliberalism, and postcolonialism in the texts in light of feminist studies.
The article analyzes the rhetorical presentation of cultural, national, religious and personal identity negotiations in the books "Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood" and "Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return," by Marjane Satrapi. Readers were urged to examine their Western identity and perspective on Iranian identity in the identity negotiation portrayal. Satrapi left Iran after the 1978-1979 Revolution as a 14-year-old. Religion and politics were separated by Satrapi in her personal domain.
In Iran, even laughter is considered sinful by the nation’s strict Shiite regime. Yet after revolution and war, Iranians cherish hopes of a freer future. This program describes the impact of life in a modern fundamentalist society on Iran’s diverse population, which includes Muslims, Christians, and Jews. It also spotlights the joyful celebration of Sizdah Bedar, which welcomes the spring; the incomparable Iranian crown jewels; monuments such as the magnificent palace of Shah Abas the First, the huge Imam Mosque, the ruins of Persepolis, and the wind towers of Nain; and the lifestyles of artisans, craftspeople, laborers, and students. (49 minutes)
Rick explores "the most surprising and fascinating land he's ever visited:" Iran. This travel show host visits splendid monuments of Iran's past, explores the 20th century history of this nation, and encounters Iranian people and customs in everyday life. Visits contrast old and new as he visits the cities, villages, and tourist sites of Tehran, Abyaneh, Esfahan, Shiraz, and Persepolis. The one hour special is supplemented with special features assessing his experience through a lecture/slide presentation and an interview with his Iranian guide.
In Persepolis, heralded by the Los Angeles Times as "one of the freshest and most original memoirs of our day," Marjane Satrapi dazzled us with her heartrending graphic memoir about growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Here is the continuation of her fascinating story. In 1984, Marjane flees fundamentalism and the war with Iraq to begin a new life in Vienna. Once there, she faces the trials of adolescence far from her friends and family, and while she soon carves out a place for herself among a group of fellow outsiders, she continues to struggle for a sense of belonging. Finding that she misses her home more than she can stand, Marjane returns to Iran after graduation. Her difficult homecoming forces her to confront the changes both she and her country have undergone in her absence and her shame at what she perceives as her failure in Austria. Marjane allows her past to weigh heavily on her until she finds some like-minded friends, falls in love, and begins studying art at a university. However, the repression and state-sanctioned chauvinism eventually lead her to question whether she can have a future in Iran. As funny and poignant as its predecessor, Persepolis 2 is another clear-eyed and searing condemnation of the human cost of fundamentalism. In its depiction of the struggles of growing up--here compounded by Marjane's status as an outsider both abroad and at home--it is raw, honest, and incredibly illuminating.
An intelligent and outspoken only child, Satrapi--the daughter of radical Marxists and the great-granddaughter of Iran's last emperor--bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Originally published to wide critical acclaim in France, where it elicited comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran: of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and of the enormous toll repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit. Marjane's child's-eye-view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a stunning reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, through laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.
Critical discussions of prejudice in literature concerning race, religion, gender, ethnicity, social status, mental and physical health, and personal beliefs and behaviors. Includes concise synopses of plot, discussion of the story's cultural and historical significance, and excerpted criticism.
Ellen Bayuk Rosenman explores the myriad perceptions of a work whose famous title comes from one of its most basic and simple prescriptions: that to fare as a writer in the modern world a woman needs a room of her own and [pound]500 a year. In a broad sense, Rosenman points out, A Room of One's Own analyzes the constraints on women's achievement - the hostile environment in which they write - and the responses, both creative and self-defeating, that this environment provokes. This environment - the historically ordered patriarchy - Rosenman observes as Woolf observed it, from the place of the outsider. Rosenman follows the essay's analysis of what she considers two large and vague words: patriarchy and feminism.
Virginia Woolf's phrase, 'a room of one's own' has long since passed into popular parlance. Coined in response to talks requested by the women students of Newnham and Girton colleges in Cambridge on women and writing, Woolf's prescient phrase highlights an increasing awareness of the importance of spatial privacy to modern women and, in particular, to aspiring women writers. Yet there is nothing new about the idea of privacy for women. Though women through the centuries have not always enjoyed rooms of their own, they have had recourse to mental privacy, retreating to the internal spaces of their minds for refuge or silent critique. Patricia Meyer Spacks has noted with reference to Frances Burney's Evelina and Jane Austen's novels that privacy for women is often located in the internal spaces of silences snatched in the midst of more sociable moments or in the space that reading provides. As we move into the early twentieth century however, the terms of reference begin to shift. Where Austen's heroines understood 'that privacy [did] not altogether depend on physical situation' and located privacy instead within the inner and inviolable space of the mind, by the early twentieth century the demands from women were for rooms of their own, for physical privacy to accompany mental privacy. (1) Inner space was no longer entirely sufficient for female privacy. Sally Alexander, in considering the impulse expressed by diverse women in the twenties for rooms of their own, writes of this desire as a desire for inner space, 'a state of mind' to transform self and society. (2) I wish to argue however that it is not the push for inner space that is new but the asking for physical space to accompany the inner space of refuge. There needs to be physical solitude to make privacy complete.
"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." So spoke Virginia Woolf in 1929 as she discussed the problems of the writer and of women in general. Woolf’s talk represents perhaps the most persuasive of all her writings on liberty, literature, and the role of women in her society. Woolf spoke not only about writing, but about writing as a woman—speaking in an age when women were deprived of virtually every possibility of earning their own living. In this program, the actress Eileen Atkins re-creates her acclaimed one-woman stage show based on Woolf’s talk, in the original lecture hall at Girton College, Cambridge, where Woolf spoke, and amidst the background of Cambridge, with its distinguished colleges and elegant riverbanks that were the original inspiration for Woolf’s noble and exhilarating talk. (53 minutes)
This overview of Virginia Woolf's life and work from the Famous Authors series introduces the writer's upper-class family and their many literary friends who cultivated her talents and later inspired her characters. The film takes a look at Woolf's response to the early loss of her mother and sister and her mental health struggles thereafter. Woolf secured an important position in London literary circles, became part of the famous Bloomsbury group, and proceeded to write innovative fiction that changed the way women were represented in literature. (35 minutes)
Virginia Woolf's landmark inquiry into women's role in society In A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf imagines that Shakespeare had a sister--a sister equal to Shakespeare in talent, and equal in genius, but whose legacy is radically different. This imaginary woman never writes a word and dies by her own hand, her genius unexpressed. If only she had found the means to create, argues Woolf, she would have reached the same heights as her immortal sibling. In this classic essay, she takes on the establishment, using her gift of language to dissect the world around her and give voice to those who are without. Her message is a simple one: women must have a fixed income and a room of their own in order to have the freedom to create.
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