Encountering the Holocaust through Literature

This one-mod course offers students engagement with the Holocaust through multi-genre literary readings (diary, memoir, poetry, short fiction, and drama). In it, students gain a broader awareness of the complex multiplicities of perspective and experiences gathered under the catch-all term “the Holocaust.” Additionally, they gain an understanding of the power and necessity of literary expression, as well as literary expression’s potential practical and ethical limitations. We will engage with texts composed by women and men, Jewish and non-Jewish writers, witnesses and non-witnesses, victims, bystanders, and perpetrators. Taken chronologically, our course texts offer glimpses into various phases of the Nazi terror: political beginnings, deportation, ghettoization, the concentration camp, and, finally, a reckoning with Nazism’s aftermath. Additionally, we examine the aesthetic maneuvers employed in these texts and consider how they vary based on the author’s relation to the catastrophe. Major assessments will include a reading journal (sustained for the duration of the module), weekly discussion board posts, and an analytical/literary synthesis essay and corresponding class presentation delivered during the last week of class.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0