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This is the first comparative study in English of two German-Jewish women poets who survived the Nazi genocide but did not escape its effects. The study begins with a reading of Sachs's and Ausländer's poetry in the context of the wider scope of 'Holocaust literature.' Focusing on the poet as witness bearing the double burden of survival and remembrance, the work argues that 'work of memory'achieved by Ausländer and Sachs exemplifies the complexity of poetic reflection on trauma and history.
In addition to aesthetic considerations, the book concentrates on the implications of Sachs's and Ausländer's poetic engagement for an 'ethics of remembrance'. The poetic dialogue with memory exemplified in these poets' works offers a model for 'working through' the trauma of the past with significance not only for Holocaust studies, but also for investigations of memory and trauma. As conscientious yet troubled efforts at representing the diversity of individual and collective suffering embracing both 'Jewish' experience and the human condition, Sachs's and Ausländer's poems can be read as at once subjective and universal injunctions to an awareness of the connections, divisions, and tensions that memory brings to bear on social relations.
Nelly Sachs and Rose Auslander poetry, Holocaust literature, ethics of remembrance
School of Arts and Sciences
Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Bower, Kathrin M. Ethics and Remembrance in the Poetry of Nelly Sachs and Rose Auslander. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2000.