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07 Dec 2011
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£56.00
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9780230231955
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

Holocaust Impiety in Literature, Popular Music and Film is an account of provocative and controversial representations of the Holocaust. Many well-known artists have attracted criticism for approaching the Nazi genocide in ways that have been deemed ill-conceived or offensive. Examples include Sylvia Plath's notorious claim that 'Every woman adores a Fascist' in her poem 'Daddy' and songs such as 'Belsen Was a Gas' by the Sex Pistols. The Holocaust has even provided material for stand-up comedy and gory Hollywood blockbusters such as Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. In this book, MatthewBoswell argues that while such works are often shocking, the value of shock should not be lightly dismissed in the context of the Holocaust. Drawing on the philosopher Gillian Rose's criticisms of what she termed 'Holocaust piety' and its claim that the only possible response to the Holocaust is a respectful silence, this book considers how irreverent works of fiction play an important role in shaping our contemporary understanding of the Nazi genocide and also of ourselves, prompting us to reflect on what it means to be human in light of the tragic events that they reference.


Description

Holocaust Impiety in Literature, Popular Music and Film is an account of provocative and controversial representations of the Holocaust. Many well-known artists have attracted criticism for approaching the Nazi genocide in ways that have been deemed ill-conceived or offensive. Examples include Sylvia Plath's notorious claim that 'Every woman adores a Fascist' in her poem 'Daddy' and songs such as 'Belsen Was a Gas' by the Sex Pistols. The Holocaust has even provided material for stand-up comedy and gory Hollywood blockbusters such as Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. In this book, MatthewBoswell argues that while such works are often shocking, the value of shock should not be lightly dismissed in the context of the Holocaust. Drawing on the philosopher Gillian Rose's criticisms of what she termed 'Holocaust piety' and its claim that the only possible response to the Holocaust is a respectful silence, this book considers how irreverent works of fiction play an important role in shaping our contemporary understanding of the Nazi genocide and also of ourselves, prompting us to reflect on what it means to be human in light of the tragic events that they reference.


Reviews

"'Holocaust piety' is the urge to be silenced by the genocide, to mystify it. In contrast, Boswell, one of a new generation of Holocaust scholars, writes about how the Holocaust has been used (and possibly misused) in culture from avant-garde poetry to the Ramones and Joy Division to Quentin Tarantino. These insightful 'impieties' tell us about the Holocaust and ourselves." -Robert Eaglestone, Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought, Royal Holloway, Times Higher Education
 
'This book is highly recommended for those interested in the most recent developments in the discussion about Holocaust representability. The thesis of Holocaust impiety proposed by Boswell brings an important contribution to the field of Holocaust memory and representation, and situates this author within a new generation of scholars who are unafraid to pose challenging and worthwhile questions.' - Diana Popescu, University of Southampton, Journal of History and Cultures


Contents

Introduction
PART I: POETRY
Sylvia Plath, Ariel (1965) and Other Poems
W. D. Snodgrass, The Fuehrer Bunker (1995)
PART II: POPULAR MUSIC
American Punk: Ramones, Ramones (1976)
English Punk: Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (1977) and The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1979)
Post-Punk: Joy Division, Closer (1980)
Post-Punk Rock: Manic Street Preachers, The Holy Bible (1994)
PART III: FILM
Night and Fog (Alain Resnais, 1955)
Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985)
The Grey Zone (Tim Blake Nelson, 2001)
Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009)
Index


Authors


Matthew Boswell is a Research Fellow in the School of English at the University of Leeds, UK