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TitelNeMLA-Panel: The Presence of Absence: Coming to Terms with the Holocaust in Contemporary European Literature
BeschreibungCall for Papers

The Presence of Absence: Coming to Terms with the Holocaust in
Contemporary European Literature

40th Anniversary Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association
(NeMLA) Feb. 26-March 1, 2009 Hyatt Regency - Boston, Massachusetts

"To keep silent is forbidden, to speak is impossible." This quote by
Elie Wiesel contains the paradox that the survivors face after an
atrocity such as the Holocaust. It is necessary and impossible to talk
or write about the event. Impossible, because language eludes the
reality that was experienced and at the same time necessary, as it seems
to be the only possibility to remember, witness and survive. The
witness, the writer, must talk and write even though he knows it will be
disappointing. Language cannot encapsulate and retrace the reality of
the event but language has to convey the memory, the witnessing. The
necessity prevails and one must speak and write knowing that language is
not adequate, knowing that it is impossible.

Maurice Blanchot also reflects on the possibility of writing after the
Holocaust. A quote from The writing of the disaster, clearly articulates
this impossibility which carries a necessity: "And how, in fact, can one
accept not to know? We read books on Auschwitz. The wish of all, in the
camps, the last wish: know what has happened, do not forget, and at the
same time never will you know." It is necessary to know and it is
impossible to know. Writing seems to contain the impossible memory;
fiction indeed allows this impossible retranscription. Fiction, by the
way it functions, gives presence to absence. Fiction thus seems the most
adequate of inadequate mediums to convey the necessary impossibility

This panel seeks to explore the different ways in which writers in
contemporary Europe address, directly or indirectly the paradox, the
impossible necessity, the necessary impossibility to witness, to talk
and write about the Holocaust.

Deadline: September 15, 2008

Please include with your abstract:

Name and Affiliation
Email address
Postal address
Telephone number
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee)

Please send your abstract to both panel chairs.

Emmanuelle Vanborre, Ph.D. and Gregor Thuswaldner, Ph.D.
Department of Foreign Languages & Linguistics
Gordon College
255 Grapevine Road
Wenham, MA 01984
Fax (978) 867 3300

Quelle der BeschreibungInformation des Anbieters
PersonName: Vanborre, Emmanuelle, Thuswaldner, Gregor  
KontaktdatenName/Institution: Department of Foreign Languages & Linguistics, Gordon College 
Strasse/Postfach: 255 Grapevine Road 
Stadt: Wenham, MA 01984 
LandVereinigte Staaten von Amerika
SchlüsselbegriffeLiteratur nach 1945; Literatur- u. Kulturgeschichte
Klassifikation04.00.00 Allgemeine Literaturgeschichte > 04.03.00 Vergleichende Literaturgeschichte; 18.00.00 20. Jahrhundert (1945-1989) > 18.09.00 Stoffe. Motive. Themen; 19.00.00 1990 bis zur Gegenwart > 19.09.00 Stoffe. Motive. Themen
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