The Americanization of the Holocaust
"If the Holocaust, as image and symbol, seems to have sprung loose from its origins, it does not mean we should decry Americanization; rather, the pervasive presence of representations of the Holocaust in our culture demands responsible evaluation and interpretation."—from the Introduction
The Holocaust is everywhere in American cultural consciousness today—in movies, books, theater, and television, in college courses, museums, and public monuments. In The Americanization of the Holocaust, Hilene Flanzbaum presents a collection of essays on America's cultural appropriation of this central event in twentieth-century history. The authors discuss a broad range of topics and examples, from Schindler's List to Elie Wiesel's throwing out the first pitch at the Mets season opener in 1988, from the idealizations of Anne Frank to a cookbook of recipes from survivors of the Terezin concentration camp, from a look at Art Spiegelman's acclaimed comic book Maus to a contemporary faux pas at the Nike Corporation. While several authors draw directly from the testimony of survivors, the volume as a whole examines how much of our knowledge of the Holocaust comes to us through cultural filters—from editors and publishers, producers and directors, artists and advertising executives. Covering the more than fifty years since the end of the Holocaust, this rich and comprehensive overview spans a wide variety of critical approaches, media, and genres.
About the Author
Hilene Flanzbaum is an associate professor of English at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, and an editor of Jewish-American Literature: A Norton Anthology.
Hilene Flanzbaum accepts with a refreshing lack of dogma the notion that 'the imprint of a multicultural but predominantly Gentile America' will inevitably flatten—but also broaden—American Holocaust consciousness.
Delineates very well how much the perception of Holocaust survivors (and their descendants) and of Holocaust literature (in the broadest sense) have changed over the last forty years.
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