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Bearing the Unbearable: Yiddish and Polish Poetry in the by Frieda W. Aaron

By Frieda W. Aaron

This e-book is a pioneering learn of Yiddish and Polish-Jewish focus camp and ghetto poetry. It unearths the impression of the immediacy of expertise as a formative effect on notion, reaction, and literary mind's eye, arguing that literature that's contemporaneous with unfolding occasions bargains perceptions various from these offered after the fact.

Documented this is the emergence of poetry because the dominant literary shape and fastest response to the atrocities. The authors indicates that the project of the poets was once to supply testimony to their epoch, to talk for themselves and when 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 frequently saved the spirit of the readers from dying.
The explication of the poetry (which has been translated via the writer) provide demanding implications for the sphere of serious idea, together with shifts in literary practices--prompted by way of the transforming into atrocities--that display a spectrum of complicated experimental techniques.

"...this booklet has singular value as a learn of poetry in terms of the Holocaust...[and] actual advantage as a source within the burgeoning box of serious conception quite often, poetics in particular."--Terrence Des Pres

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

"...it is without doubt one of the top works I ever learn at the subject..."--Miriam Novitch

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

Sample text

Above all, testimonial poetry was a day-to-day chronicle of the unfolding cataclysm. Rooted in Jewish literary tradition, some of the poetry-even that which was written in Polish-takes its analogue, form, and lexicon from such antecedents as elegaic liturgy, the iconography of pogroms, and the general Jewish literature of destruction. Nonetheless, many of the documentary as well as other poems show unmistakable modernistic influences. Not all the poetry, however, is marked by the same literary quality.

Although Szlengel probably had more than a passing familiarity with the Yiddish folk idiom, he is first and foremost grounded in the Polish literary tradition. His early ghetto poetry shares with the Skamander movement, popular in the first decade of the interwar period, a predilection for colloquial idioms, a lighthearted poetic voice, as well as satiric and ironic modes. " These writers divined from historical events not only the crisis of the individual and Western civilization but that of the entire world.

To remember the idealized past was to strain toward the future, toward the lifesustaining belief in the return of the prewar world. Hence, the evocative power of such simple, bittersweet poems as Szlengel's "Telephone" often had a cathartic and redemptive effect on the poet and reader alike. Discussing Hiroshima and Holocaust survivors, Robert Lifton observes that the loving ruminations on painful details of their "death immersions" is an attempt on the part of survivors to break out of their psychic numbing.

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