Memory and Complicity: Migrations of Holocaust Remembrance (Hardback)
  • Memory and Complicity: Migrations of Holocaust Remembrance (Hardback)

Memory and Complicity: Migrations of Holocaust Remembrance (Hardback)

Hardback 352 Pages / Published: 02/03/2015
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Since World War II, French and Francophone literature and film have repeatedly sought not to singularize the Holocaust as the paradigm of historical trauma but rather to connect its memory with other memories of violence, namely that of colonialism. These works produced what Debarati Sanyal calls a "memory-in-complicity" attuned to the gray zones that implicate different regimes of violence across history as well as those of different subject positions such as victim, perpetrator, witness, and reader/spectator. Examining a range of works from Albert Camus, Primo Levi, Alain Resnais, and Jean-Paul Sartre to Jonathan Littell, Assia Djebar, Giorgio Agamben, and Boualem Sansal, Memory and Complicity develops an inquiry into the political force and ethical dangers of such implications, contrasting them with contemporary models for thinking about trauma and violence and offering an extended meditation on the role of aesthetic form, especially allegory, within acts of transhistorical remembrance. What are the political benefits and ethical risks of invoking the memory of one history in order to address another? What is the role of complicity in making these connections? How does complicity, rather than affect based discourses of trauma, shame and melancholy, open a critical engagement with the violence of history? What is it about literature and film that have made them such powerful vehicles for this kind of connective memory work?

As it offers new readings of some of the most celebrated and controversial novelists, filmmakers, and playwrights from the French-speaking world, Memory and Complicity addresses these questions in order to reframe the way we think about historical memory and its political uses today.

Publisher: Fordham University Press
ISBN: 9780823265473
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 576 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 25 mm

A superb example of a new critical memory studies, Memory and Complicity does not eschew the dark sides of remembering atrocity. Sanyal's exposure of complicity - using World War Two France as a telling example, but applicable beyond this one case - is neither accusatory nor guilt-inducing. Instead, the acknowledgment of complicity becomes an inspiring call to action, change and repair for the future. -- -Marianne Hirsch * author of The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust *
"Memory and Complicity offers a sophisticated, nuanced, and beautifully written account of the intersecting legacies of genocide and colonialism in postwar France. In this significant and much needed intervention, Sanyal illuminates both the possibilities and dangers of transcultural trauma and memory studies." -- -Michael Rothberg * Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization *
"Memory and Complicity is a very impressive book. Sanyal is unusually well acquainted with the relevant literature (which is extensive), her arguments are clear and compelling, her writing is unfailingly lucid and accessible, and her scholarship is beyond reproach." -- -Thomas Trezise * Princeton University *
While offering fresh insight on a number of canonical texts, Memory and Complicity is timely, provocative, and relevant well beyond the French example: the plasticity of Sanyal's framework, like the rhetorical figures she assesses, suggests the possibility of new crosspollinations across a range of linguistic and historical contexts. * French Review *

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