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Stories of chaos : the picaresque Holocaust novel / by Patricia Ann Kmieciak.

Publication | Library Call Number: PN56.H55 K55 2005

This dissertation identifies, defines, and explicates the genre of Holocaust novels as picaresque. As it addresses questions raised by Holocaust novels scholars regarding humanity's potential for evil, God's absence, and language's limits, this dissertation claims that seeing Holocaust novels through the picaresque genre resolves the critics concerns within a form that can express not only the Jew's condition within an anti-Semitic ideology but also humanity's essence within a Godless cosmos. Tracing the various interpretations of the picaresque genre from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, this dissertation reveals that the picaresque vision loses force to the Enlightenment's Bildungsroman but returns in Holocaust novels because the Holocaust's ontological morality makes the Jew the modern picaro. As it extends the arguments of Holocaust critics, this dissertation reveals the picaresque nature of ten major Holocaust novels: Aichinger's Herod's Children, Appelfeld's Tzili, Becker's Jacob the Liar, Fuks' Mr. Theodore Mundstock , Kosinski's The Painted Bird, Levi's Survival in Auschwitz, Lind's Landscape in Concrete, Rawicz's Blood from the Sky, Wallant's The Pawnbroker, and Wiesel's Night. Assimilating Miller's elemental outline of the picaresque novel with historical, narrative, and mythological perspectives of the genre, this dissertation concludes that Holocaust novels offer no hope for humanity as they tie their vision to the literary form that suggests a mythology of chaos—the picaresque.

Kmieciak, Patricia Ann, 1959-
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:19:00
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