Traumatic Realism

Published: August 24, 2016

Analyzes the impact of historical trauma on contemporary culture.

Drawing on a wide range of texts, Michael Rothberg puts forth an overarching framework for understanding representations of the Holocaust. Through close readings of such writers and thinkers as Theodor Adorno, Maurice Blanchot, Ruth Klüger, Charlotte Delbo, Art Spiegelman, and Philip Roth and an examination of films by Steven Spielberg and Claude Lanzmann, Rothberg demonstrates how the Holocaust as a traumatic event makes three fundamental demands on representation: a demand for documentation, a demand for reflection on the limits of representation, and a demand for engagement with the public sphere and commodity culture.

Rothberg’s Traumatic Realism makes a crucial, albeit controversial, foray into the questions of representation that are central within Holocaust discourse.

College Literature