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Remembering the HolocaustA Debate$
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Jeffrey C. Alexander

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195326222

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326222.001.0001

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Allegories of Evil: A Response to Jeffrey Alexander

Allegories of Evil: A Response to Jeffrey Alexander

Chapter:
(p.105) Allegories of Evil: A Response to Jeffrey Alexander
Source:
Remembering the Holocaust
Author(s):

Martin Jay

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326222.003.0002

Allegorization, it has long been recognized, is an inevitable feature of all history writing. No matter how disinterested and neutral the historian tries to be, the very act of writing a meaningful narrative fashioned out of an infinity of potentially relevant texts and contexts compels him or her to create a gap between what happened in an unrecoverable past and what is represented of that past in the present. Perhaps no candidate for allegorization has been riper for multiple interpretations in modern history, as Jeffrey Alexander clearly shows, than the bewildering mixture of acts, events, and incomprehensible suffering that has come to be called the Holocaust. This chapter examines the hard questions about the transferability of vicarious trauma from one culture to another, from one historical memory to another.

Keywords:   history writing, allegorization, Holocaust, historical memory

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