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The Generation of Postmemory


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The Generation of Postmemory a brilliant text that movingly examines the ineluctable abyss between reality as we find it now and trauma as it was lived by those who were forced to undergo the Holocaust. -- Brett Kaplan, author of Landscapes of Holocaust Postmemory

Table of Contents

Introduction I. Familial Postmemories and Beyond 1. The Generation of Postmemory 2. What's Wrong With This Picture? with Leo Spitzer 3. Marked by Memory II. Affiliation 4. Surviving Images 5. Nazi Photographs in Post-Holocaust Art 6. Projected Memory 7. Testimonial Objects with Leo Spitzer III. Connective Histories 8. Objects of Return 9. Postmemory's Archival Turn Notes Bibliography Acknowledgments Index

About the Author

Marianne Hirsch is a professor of comparative literature and gender studies at Columbia University. Her most recent books are, with Leo Spitzer, Ghosts of Home: The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory and, with Nancy K. Miller, Rites of Return: Diaspora Poetics and the Politics of Memory. Two of this book's chapters were written with Leo Spitzer, who is also the author of Hotel Bolivia: The Culture of Memory in a Refuge from Nazism and Lives in Between: Assimilation and Marginality in Austria, Brazil, and West Africa, 1780-1945.


Marianne Hirsch's writings provide us with a varied and complex vocabulary for thinking and writing about the long intergenerational legacy of the Holocaust. Her supple writing wrestles with ghosts, images, shadows, survival, loss and all that we project onto the empty canvas of the aftermath. Moving, urgent, and necessary, this book opens up new ways of thinking about family, relationality, kinship, inheritance, and survival in the wake of cataclysmic violence. -- Judith Halberstam, author of The Queer Art of Failure Marianne Hirsch explores the aftermath of genocide as few scholars have. She is both a brilliant reader of texts (photographs, artifacts, literature, and digital images) and an incisive theorist. As she clarifies the fractured forms of post-Holocaust art and literature, she demonstrates the value of imagination as restorative and as rich and layered in its inter-generational complexities. A groundbreaking book that has broad meaning for the study of traumatic memory and its creative aftermath. -- Peter Balakian, author of Black Dog of Fate: An American Son Uncovers His Armenian Past With her crucial distinction between 'familial' and 'affiliative' postmemory, Marianne Hirsch shows how the transmission of traumatic experiences occurs not only within families but also across a much wider social field. Her emphasis on the role of gender in this mediating process is illuminating. The Generation of Postmemory will be a major reference in Holocaust and genocide studies for years to come. -- Susan Rubin Suleiman, author of Crises of Memory and the Second World War The Generation of Postmemory is Marianne Hirsch's finest and fullest description of her paradigm-changing concept of postmemory. In dialogue with a dazzling array of writers and photographers as well as scholars across the humanities, it shows how the 'hinge generations' that have directly experienced or inherited the traumas of the holocaust and other twentieth-century genocides have sought to conceive and commemorate those staggering losses in the hope of a better future. It also traces Hirsch's own dialectical development as a literary, feminist, visual culture, and Holocaust studies scholar, an intellectual trajectory that she shares with many of the best critics of our time. This book is indispensable. -- Laura Wexler, author of Tender Violence: Domestic Visions in an Age of U.S. Imperialism And this is precisely where the heuristic value of postmemory comes in: it forces us to question, to mobilize the punctum that launches the relationship between history (with a capital H, of course) and memory, and its artistic representations... -- Sonia Combe La Quinzaine Litteraire significant contributions to Holocaust literature, women's and gender history, and memory studies. -- Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild Women's Review of Books

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