Returning to Exile?: The Retrieving and Rejecting of Jewishness in French Shoah Narrative

by Suskey, Ryan Eric

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis explores the intertwining (and often competing) identities of Jew and Frenchman that play out across the landscape of Shoah (Holocaust) literature in France. The study seeks to tease out aspects of individual identity and to explore the nature of Jewishness in the context of trauma. This is achieved through a reading of survivor narratives written in French and (primarily) for a French audience. Because the narratives studied are all first-hand accounts, the portrait that is analyzed is that which the author chooses to present to his audience (for better and worse). The texts which will inform this study are Charlotte Delbos trilogy Auschwitz et apr├Ęs, David Roussets lUnivers concentrationnaire, Paul Steinbergs Chroniques dailleurs, and Joseph Joffos Un sac de billes. By reading a diverse group of French authors, both Jewish and non-Jewish, this project attempts to study the relationship between ones Jewishness and their environment, both hostile and welcoming, in order to develop a better understanding of an individuals concept of self. The last section will be an exploration of the continued impact of the Shoah on French Jewish identity and post-memory, as explored through Claude Lanzmanns film SHOAH. The readings of all of these texts will be grounded in a consideration of the unique historical factors that contributed to the formation of French Jewish identity (i.e. the French Revolution, the emancipation of French Jewry, the secularization of the state, etc.).
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dr. Alan Astro; Dr. Giuseppina Mecchia; Dr. Alex Orbach; Dr. Lina Insana

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:04/16/2009

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