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The Conflagration of CommunityFiction before and after Auschwitz$
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J. Hillis Miller

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226527215

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226527239.001.0001

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Imre Kertész’s Fatelessness: Fiction as Testimony

Imre Kertész’s Fatelessness: Fiction as Testimony

(p.177) 6 Imre Kertész’s Fatelessness: Fiction as Testimony
The Conflagration of Community

J. Hillis Miller

University of Chicago Press

This chapter exaimes Imre Kertész’s Fatelessness and its testimony of the Holocaust. Fatelessness being Kertész’s first novel was published some thirty years after his liberation from the concentration camps. The novel itself is not autobiographical, nor is it perceived by Kertész to even be a novel. Employing sophisticated novelistic techniques, the novel tells the story of a fifteen-year-old boy from Budapest who is transported and survives Auschwitz—bearing some resemblance to Kertész’s own experience. Fatelessness along with Black Dogs and Maus all share the same element of being narrated in the first person. This suggests that writings about the experience of the Holocaust hold more bearing when done in the form of testimony rather than in the third person. Thus the central question of this chapter relates to the possibility of a work of fiction as an illustration bearing witness to the Holocaust.

Keywords:   Imre Kertész, Fatelessness, Holocaust, Auschwitz, Black Dogs, Maus, bear witness to the Holocaust

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