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Between excess and subtraction: Scenographic violence in Howard Barker’s Found in the GroundThe article examines the violence produced by the scenography of Howard Barker's Found in the Ground, which emerges out of the play’s formal experimentation. Thematically, the play is rife with violence, such as former Nuremberg judge Toonelhuis’ consumption of the remains of high-ranking Nazis he sentenced to death, the continuous burning of books and the retelling of various murders by the war criminal Knox. Found in the Ground re-visions the collective European memory of the Holocaust; this thematic violence is expanded and subverted by scenographic means, radically reimagining the historical context. The particularity of the spatio-temporal, audio-visual rendering of violence in Barker’s text is the focus of this article. The article relates the play to Artaud’s conception of cruelty and to Lyotard’s thinking on the sublime. It contextualises the play through Barker’s theoretical writings, Lingis’ notion of catastrophic time (2000) and Aronson’s proposition of the stage as an abyss (2005).
Making meaning and meaning making: memory, postmemory and narrative in Holocaust literatureThis paper explores links between narration and memory in Holocaust literature and examines ways in which individuals construct memory and postmemory. Based on the premise that ‘All authors mediate reality through their writing...’ and taking into consideration that what we remember and how we remember is likely to have a significant impact on the narratives that we construct, this article considers the reliability of memory. It argues that whilst there is, at times, a blurring of boundaries between fact and fiction in Holocaust literature, this has little or no impact on the validity and authenticity of the narratives. In an attempt to address these issues more fully, this paper explores the notions of making meaning and meaning making, whilst considering the effects of positionality, time and trauma on memory. Key texts referred to in this discussion include Night (1958) by Elie Wiesel, All Rivers Run to the Sea (1996) by Elie Wiesel, In My Brother’s Shadow (2005) by Uwe Timm and The Dark Room (2001) by Rachel Seiffert. These texts have been chosen in order to highlight the subjectivity of memory and postmemory and to demonstrate the role that narrative plays in their construction and representation.
Primo Levi as storyteller: The uses of fiction, creative non-fiction and the hard to classify in Levi’s narrative of the Holocaust.The varied forms of short prose writing used by Primo Levi in his continued narrative of the Holocaust allows a reconsideration of him as not merely its witness, but also as its storyteller. Taking The Periodic Table ( 1986) as a conscious shift in Levi’s writing direction this article examines where the fictional developments and memory collide, and attempts to assess if this produces a more memorable format in order to reveal a difficult history. Do we continue to read Levi because his honesty is greater than the bare facts, and is there such a thing as a Holocaust aesthetic?