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By Frieda W. Aaron

This ebook is a pioneering research of Yiddish and Polish-Jewish focus camp and ghetto poetry. It finds the influence of the immediacy of expertise as a formative impact on notion, reaction, and literary mind's eye, arguing that literature that's contemporaneous with unfolding occasions bargains perceptions diverse from these offered after the fact.

Documented here's the emergence of poetry because the dominant literary shape and fastest response to the atrocities. The authors exhibits that the venture of the poets used to be to supply testimony to their epoch, to talk for themselves and in case you perished. For the Jews within the condemned global, this poetry used to be a motor vehicle of cultural sustenance, a way of declaring conventional values, and an expression of ethical defiance that regularly stored the spirit of the readers from dying.
The explication of the poetry (which has been translated via the writer) supply not easy implications for the sphere of serious idea, together with shifts in literary practices--prompted via the becoming atrocities--that exhibit a spectrum of advanced experimental techniques.

"...this ebook has singular value as a research of poetry with regards to the Holocaust...[and] actual advantage as a source within the burgeoning box of severe conception as a rule, poetics in particular."--Terrence Des Pres

"...a distinct contribution to Holocaust scholarship."--Irving Halperin

"...it is likely one of the most sensible works I ever learn at the subject..."--Miriam Novitch

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Extra resources for Bearing the Unbearable: Yiddish and Polish Poetry in the Ghettos and Concentration Camps (SUNY Series in Modern Jewish Literature & Culture)

Example text

O Chapter Two The Great Chain of Being Although an avowed Jew, WJadysJaw Szlengel was not as deeply rooted in Jewish culture and its literature as was Abraham Sutzkever. Moreover, while Sutzkever sought an idiom within aesthetic structures, and while he fine tuned his own lyric voice, finding in art a source of redemption and a vehicle of immortalizing evanescent Jewish life, Szlengel intuitively, rather than programmatically, seemed to avoid the aesthetic, recoiling from traditional poetics, which he apparently regarded as inappropriate for ghetto reality.

Where personal hardships or individual grief are the center of the poems, they often belong to the author's early writings. W JadysJaw Szlengel: Initial Forms of Distancing Early attempts to grasp the significance of the unfolding events are exemplified in Whdyshw Szlengel's "Telefon" (Telephone). Not much is known about Szlengel or the other poets writing in the Holocaust, although some of their poetry was saved. Most of their biographical data is, therefore, conjectural; for, like other persons who knew them, the poets vanished.

11 The impact of the poet's perception of the hell into which he and his neighbors have been hurled is immediate, even if conveyed by a neighbor. The neighbor persona is a device that allows the poet to distance himself from and ultimately to take cognizance of the brutality with which the Nazis established the Vilna ghetto. The reign of terror was such that it caused the trapped Jews to experience a form of mental catalepsy, which oscillated between a clear perception of the truth and an inability to assimilate it.

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