Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History Reviews

Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History

Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History

In this unique collection, Yale literary critic Shoshana Felman and psychoanalyst Dori Laub examine the nature and function of memory and the act of witnessing, both in their general relation to the acts of writing and reading, and in their particular relation to the Holocaust. Moving from the literary to the visual, from the artistic to the autobiographical, and from the psychoanalytic to the historical, the book defines for the first time the trauma of the Holocaust as a radical crisis of witnessing “the unprecedented historical occurrence of…an event eliminating its own witness.” Through the alternation of a literary and clinical perspective, the authors focus on the henceforth modified relation between knowledge and event, literature and evidence, speech and survival, witnessing and ethics.

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3 Comments so far »

  1. alberta t. pelles said,

    Wrote on May 19, 2012 @ 3:14 am

    25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    One of the most important books for our times, July 6, 1997
    By A Customer
    This review is from: Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History (Paperback)

    Testimony a brilliant and profound book. Analysing stories from the Holocaust, Felman and Laub argue the importance for society of witnessing those who have lived beyond the boundaries of existing cultural systems, and therefore their own capacity for witnessing themselves. A compelling and understated book for anyone interested in the boundaries of our own history and epistemology, and the hazards of venturing beyond them

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  2. Anonymous said,

    Wrote on May 19, 2012 @ 3:52 am

    7 of 29 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    partially uncommitted, self involved thinking, November 18, 2000
    By 
    alberta t. pelles (Boston, Mass.) –

    This review is from: Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History (Paperback)

    I must agree with the reader who says there is more style than substance in this book. This applies particularly to S. Felman’s part of the book. D. Laub’s articles are straightforward and clear, Felman’s essays, however, are intellectually self involved, and convey a nervous kind of circular argumentation. This comes across as a very neurotic writing. But may be it’s a sign of the times that trauma becomes a pretext for the somewhat usual textual interpretations of academic authors. May be it’s also to be expected that most writers fail somewhat when they try to talk about personal or collective suffering. It is a difficult subject for sure. Read the book for its failures.

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  3. Anonymous said,

    Wrote on May 19, 2012 @ 4:38 am

    9 of 35 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    naive, furious and paranoid, July 10, 1999
    By A Customer
    This review is from: Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History (Paperback)

    Compared to most reflections on trauma and the holocaust (especially academic pig-headedness) this one stands out for its furious energy (often synonymous with intelligence), its naivete but also its paranoid intellectual evasiveness: in the end it doesn’t know what it wants to say, which may have to do with its often tenuous, or non existent personal relation to its topic. If you like style over substance this is a definite must: Its rage still beats most academic useless blabla.

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