L375 1975-1976 ROSENFELD
Studies in Jewish Literature

2:30p- 3:45p TR (22) 3 cr.


Among the most compelling literatures of our day is that which records and seeks to interpret the Nazi war of genocide against the Jews. This course will introduce students to this literature and encourage them to reflect upon many of the profound questions it raises. Some of these questions will focus on literature's role in the shaping of historical memory. How the past is represented and comes to acquire a future in collective memory will be a preoccupying concern. Other questions will focus on issues of the most serious cultural, intellectual, moral, ethical, and religious kind. For instance, if it is true, as Elie Wiesel claims, that at Auschwitz not only man died but also the idea of man, how do we now conceive of the human? What does a person become when nothing is any longer forbidden him? Why did art, intellect, and religion not defend against political barbarism? Is idealism of any kind still possible after Auschwitz? These and related questions will preoccupy us over the course of the semester.

The list of required readings includes the following:
Chaim A. Kaplan, Scroll of Agony: The Warsaw Diary of Chaim A. Kaplan
Elie Wiesel, Night
Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
__________, The Drowned and the Saved
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
Simon Wiesenthal, The Sunflower
Bernhard Schlink, The Reader

In addition to the above, there will be some mimeographed handouts of poetry and other material, and at least one film will be shown. Also, you will be strongly encouraged to attend some important lectures on the Holocaust that will be presented this semester by visiting scholars.

Written work will include three examinations, which are mandatory for all students. In addition, there will be an optional final examination for those students who wish to write one.

Given the nature of the subject matter, this will be a demanding course. Students will be expected to do the assigned readings on time, attend all class meetings, and participate actively in class discussion. Repeated unexcused absences will lower your grade for the course.

Students are encouraged to see me during office hours, TR 3:45-4:30 (BH453), to discuss any aspect of their work in the course. If these times are not convenient, please call me (at 855- 8358) for a special appointment. You can also contact me over e-mail: .