Persecution, Extermination, Literature

'Persecution, Extermination, Literature' is the most important study of the Holocaust as a theme in contemporary culture and literature to appear in the Netherlands. Erudite and committed it is universally regarded as an international standard work.

Original title
Vervolging, vernietiging, literatuur
Sem Dresden

Dresden examines the inevitable questions raised by the relation between the heinous persecution of the Jews and the way it is dealt with in literature and in ego documents.

How does one write about these events? How does one do justice to the shocking reality of the razzias, the trains, the camps, and the ‘Final Solution’? And what is the proper attitude for a reader delving into the fictional accounts and recollections devoted to this black page in the history of mankind? And finally, what should be the point of departure for the man of letters and the literary critic who, by virtue of their profession, must classify and analyze these works and, ultimately, pass judgement on them?

Dresden has written a moving book on these crucial questions, one in which a number of taboos about Holocaust literature are laid bare.

He ultimately concludes that this medium is the best way to insure that the Holocaust is never forgotten, but he is also critical of misusing and thereby trivializing the greatest tragedy of our century.

Jewish Book World
Sem Dresden
Sem Dresden (1914-2002) was professor of French Literature and Comparative Literature at Leiden University, and a president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Part ofNon-Fiction
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