After the Holocaust: The Book of Job, Primo Levi, and the by C. Fred Alford

By C. Fred Alford

The Holocaust marks a decisive second in glossy soreness during which it turns into nearly most unlikely to discover that means or redemption within the event. during this examine, C. Fred Alford deals a brand new and considerate exam of the adventure of agony. relocating from the publication of task, an account of significant ache in a God-drenched global, to the paintings of Primo Levi, who tried to discover which means within the Holocaust via absolute readability of perception, he concludes that neither approach works good in modern international. better are the daily coping practices of a few survivors. Drawing on tales of survivors from the Fortunoff Video documents, Alford additionally applies the paintings of Julia Kristeva and the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicot to his exam of a subject matter that has been and remains to be relevant to human adventure.

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Extra info for After the Holocaust: The Book of Job, Primo Levi, and the Path to Affliction

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4 Winnicott referred to experiences of separation, experiences that indeed may be experienced as a type of “immemorial violence,” in terms of the “I AM” moment, a raw moment in which: The new individual feels infinitely exposed. Only if someone has her arms around the infant at this time can the I AM moment be endured, or rather, perhaps, risked. (Winnicott 1965a, 148) Scheindlin’s point, with which Winnicott (1986, 36) would surely have agreed, is that for adults, cultural forms such as poetry can take on this holding function, containing the individual so that he or she does not feel infinitely exposed when confronted with a world not made for the human being.

Once again, I must caution the reader who may be appalled that anyone would be so presumptuous as to psychoanalyze God. Not God but rather the characters called God and Job in the Book of Job are my subjects. God of Abjection, God of Holding God does not frequently appear in the Old Testament, but neither is His appearance, what is called theophany, vanishingly rare. He speaks to Moses from a burning bush and from Mount Sinai (Exodus, 3:1– 6; 19:3–25; 24:9–11). God speaks to Elijah (or perhaps one should simply say that God is present to Elijah) in the silence that follows the wind, the earthquake, and the fire (1 Kings, 19:11–13).

In some ways, the most obvious connection is a disconnection. The experience of transcendence available to Job was Introduction 23 lost in the absurdity of the Holocaust, never to be found again. This argument is developed in the following two chapters. Fortunately, it is not nearly as simple as this one sentence suggests. Chapter 4 addresses the work of Primo Levi. For many, Levi was the man who kept his humanity through the most dreadful circumstances, thereby restoring our confidence in humankind.

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