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FuturityContemporary Literature and the Quest for the Past$
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Amir Eshel

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226924953

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226924960.001.0001

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Between Retrospection and Prospection

Between Retrospection and Prospection

(p.27) 1 Between Retrospection and Prospection

Amir Eshel

University of Chicago Press

This chapter challenges the notion that the literary interest in the past reflects the ideological convictions, mental states, and moral standing of the author and his or her community. It traces the way which the fictional evocation of Nazism in German letters brought about a new vocabulary to address that past. The works here do not merely reflect memories, ideologies, perceptions, and the like but also create new ways to address that era. These works also perform the so-called “world-making” role of imaginatively redescribing the past in ways that open new horizons of thinking and feeling about that past.

Keywords:   Nazism, Germany, German letters, world-making, past, German literature, Holocaust, German history

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