Post-Shoah identity between languages / by Rosana Kohl Bines.
My dissertation analyses the stakes of post-Shoah writing, in view of delineating an entangled place of discursive address, caught between the loss of illusions about the humanist tradition, and the ethical imperative to imagine new intellectual models of solidarity and dialogue between peoples, against the violence of dehumanizing discourses and practices. I first pursue this double-bind in the realm of theory, through the elucidation of two dominant operative paradigms for contemporary critical activity: diaspora and translation. I evaluate how effective these two paradigms are in articulating an ethics for negotiating cultural differences within a horizon of dialogue and solidarity. I claim that the paradigms of diaspora and translation loose the potential for constituting such an ethics, as they are transfigured into purified models of radical displacement, which have very little bearing on the complex entanglements that burden those living and writing “in-between.” Since Jewish experience is often appropriated as selective site for claiming a condition of essential homelessness, in both life and letter, I further probe these paradigms in the realm of literature, through the works of three post-Shoah writers, bound to diaspora and to translation. All write from a place that is not home, and in a language that is not the mother-tongue. Samuel Rawet, Eva Hoffman and Elias Canetti write respectively in Portuguese, English and German, and provide very distinct postwar accounts of lives in-between places and languages. In their dissonant narratives of “betweeness,” I Pursue a sense of aggravation of the impasses of post-Shoah writing, against the grain of homogenous and pure models of radical wandering and writing.
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