The Fantastic in Holocaust Literature and Film

Critical Perspectives


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About the Book

When reality becomes fantastic, what literary effects will render it credible or comprehensible? To respond meaningfully to the surreality of the Holocaust, writers must produce works of moral and emotional complexity. One way they have achieved this is through elements of fantasy. Covering a range of theoretical perspectives, this collection of essays explores the use of fantastic story-telling in Holocaust literature and film. Writers such as Jane Yolen and Art Spiegelman are discussed, as well as the sci-fi television series V (1983), Stephen King’s novella Apt Pupil (1982), Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and Martin Scorsese’s dark thriller Shutter Island (2010).

About the Author(s)

Judith B. Kerman, professor emerita of English at Saginaw Valley State University, has ten books or chapbooks of poetry and translations, including a seminal collection of scholarly articles about the film Blade Runner. She is publisher and editor of Mayapple Press in Woodstock, New York.

John Edgar Browning is a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at Georgia Tech and has over ten published and forthcoming books on Bram Stoker, vampires and horror.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Judith B. Kerman and John Edgar Browning

Series Editors Donald E. Palumbo and C.W. Sullivan III

Foreword by Jane Yolen

Introduction by Gary K. Wolfe

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: 6 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-5874-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1873-9
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Foreword: The Rumpelstiltskin Factor (Jane Yolen) 1
Editors’ Preface (Judith B. Kerman and John Edgar Browning) 3
Introduction: Fantasy as Testimony (Gary K. Wolfe) 7

Part I: Avenues of the Fantastic in Holocaust Literature
Uses of the Fantastic in Literature of the Holocaust (Judith B. Kerman) 13
The Fantastic in Holocaust Literature: Writing and Unwriting the Unbearable (Michael P. McCleary) 25
Surviving the Survivor: Art Spiegelman’s Maus (Joan Gordon) 37
The Fantastic Search for Hitler: The Führer’s Defense in His Own Words (Eric J. Sterling) 47
“Hidden in Plain Sight”: On Holocaust Fantasy in the ­Metaphysical Detective Story (Patricia Merivale) 65
The Summons of Freedom: Fantastic History in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated (Paul Eisenstein) 82

Part II: The Holocaust and Fantasy Literature
The Last of the Just: Lifting Moloch to Heave (Jules Zanger) 103
The Door to Lilith’s Cave: Memory and Imagination in Jane Yolen’s Holocaust Novels (Ellen R. Weil) 111
Mother Goose Tales: Intergenerational Storytelling and the Holocaust in Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose and Peter Rushforth’s Kindergarten (Vandana Saxena) 122
The Devil’s Arithmetic and Time Travel: Truth and Memory (Carol A. Senf) 137

Part III. (Re)Imagining the Holocaust Through Horror, Humor and Science Fiction
A Holocaust Education in Reverse: Stephen King’s “The Summer of Corruption: Apt Pupil” (Leon Stein) 149
Holocaust-as-Horror, Science Fiction and the “Look” of the “Real/Reel” in V (1983) (John Edgar Browning) 163
A Dishonest Reckoning: Play-“Acting Through” Personal Trauma and the Shoah in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island (2010) (Kristopher Mecholsky) 174
Going Beyond Horror: Fantasy, Humor and the Holocaust (Caroline Joan (Kay) S. Picart) 193

Bibliography 213
About the Contributors 223
Index 227