By Harold Bloom
From the best tragedy of the twentieth century rose a iteration of writers decided to inform their tales and keep it up the legacy of these who perished. This name offers a serious viewpoint at the works that captured this somber interval in Western background.
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Additional info for Literature of the Holocaust (Bloom's Period Studies)
9 Older criticisms of whatever orientation or variety—Freudian, Marxist, formalist, structuralist, or linguistic—will not do here for any number of reasons. The largest is that the conception of man, or world view, embodied in psychoanalysis or dialectical theory or theories of aesthetic autonomy had almost no place in the ghettos and camps, which were governed by forces of an altogether different and far less reﬁned nature. As a result, it would seem a radical misapplication of method and intentions to search through literary accounts The Problematics of Holocaust Literature 29 of Auschwitz or the Warsaw ghetto for covert Oedipal symbols, class struggle, revealing patterns of imagery and symbolism, mythic analogies, or deep grammatical structures.
If all Holocaust writers are in some sense one-eyed seers, what is the extent and what are the forms of impairment in the writings of Elie Wiesel? And how well does he cope with it? The ﬁrst of these questions is answered readily enough: virtually all of Wiesel’s writings are shadowed by silence and madness, the twin terrors of a childhood experience so monstrous as to be hardly accessible to language or to reason. Read almost anywhere in the succession of books from Night to Zalmen and you will ﬁnd words struggling to express a pain that, the author insistently believes, may best be indicated by acts of deliberate silence.
Silence has not prevailed—to let it do so would be tantamount to granting Hitler one more posthumous victory—just as night has been refused its dominion. If it is a blasphemy, then, to attempt to write about the Holocaust, and an injustice against the victims, how much greater the injustice and more terrible the blasphemy to remain silent. What really is involved here is the deep anguish and immense frustration of the writer who confronts a subject that belittles and threatens to overwhelm the resources of his language.