Honors | Hitler and Anne Frank: Studies in the Representation of Good & Evil
H203 | 25515 | Alvin Rosenfeld


TuTh 2:30-3:45pm

Well known as historical figures, both Hitler and Anne Frank long
ago began to take on symbolic dimensions--he as the twentieth
century’s leading personification of evil, and she as girlhood
innocence despoiled by unspeakable anguish and condemned to an early
death. In novels, stories, poems, plays, films, and other media,
their images have evolved in interesting ways over time and in
different cultures. This course aims to encourage students to
critically examine these changes and, in so doing, to learn how
history is penetrated by the shaping powers of imagination and
transfigured into something like a modern mythology. Students in
this course will learn how to become critically engaged with a range
of literary and other artistic genres and to see how complex a
phenomenon the representation of the past can be. Finally, given the
two figures we will be focusing on—the first, a major perpetrator of
genocidal crimes, the second, the most celebrated and cherished of
teenage victims--they will be encouraged to think hard about
questions of good and evil.

Readings for the course will include historical materials on Hitler
and Anne Frank; fictional treatments of both figures, such as George
Steiner’s novel about Hitler, THE PORTAGE TO SAN CRISTOBAL OF A.H.,
and Philip Roth’s novel about Anne Frank, THE GHOST WRITER; Anne
Frank’s famous diary, THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL, as well as dramatic
and cinematic versions of the same; at least one movie about Hitler;
and more.

Writing assignments will include a mix of medium-length papers
written outside of class and in-class examinations.