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Encrypting the PastThe German-Jewish Holocaust novel of the first generation$
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Kirstin Gwyer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198709930

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198709930.001.0001

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What Comes ‘After’: The ‘Postmemory’ Holocaust Novel

(p.205) Conclusion
Encrypting the Past

Kirstin Gwyer

Oxford University Press

The Conclusion glances forward to where, depending on one’s point of view, literary scholarship either finally removes, or emphatically cements, the parenthesis around the German-Jewish Holocaust novel: in its attempt to catch up to the first-generation German-Jewish perspective through later, non-Jewish attempts to view the past through their eyes, most notably, perhaps, in the works of W. G. Sebald. Our response to Sebald exemplifies that, as suggested in Chapter 1, the most important single cause for the neglect experienced by the first-generation Holocaust novel—especially but by no means exclusively in German—may well be the way in which it clashes with our preoccupation, in the age of postmemory, with afterwardsness and belatedness, and our corresponding self-understanding as guardians of the past and keepers of the Holocaust legacy.

Keywords:   Sebald, postmemory, afterwardsness, belatedness, Holocaust legacy

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