From Library Journal
The sheer volume of firsthand Holocaust literature seems to render postwar English-language poetry on the Holocaust redundant, if not hubristic. In this subtly argued and thoughtful book, influential feminist scholar Gubar (English, Indiana Univ.), coeditor of a classic anthology of women's writing, The Madwoman in the Attic, shows how such poetry can permit a kind of witnessing by proxy. The risks of such poetry are a lapse into moral sensationalism, the poet's narcissistic fear of irrelevance in light of earlier suffering, or a ghoulish fascination with horror devoid of intellectual substance. Gubar explains how poets avoid these risks and speak on behalf of the dead without usurping their place. A reading of Adrienne Rich's use of Holocaust metaphors is particularly astute, and Gubar's commentary on Jacqueline Osherow, Anthony Hecht, and Irving Feldman shows how the aesthetic can be used to intensify "moral, intellectual, and sensory awareness" of an event that continues to haunt contemporary politics, culture, and art. For research collections in Holocaust studies, postwar poetry, and Jewish studies.Ulrich Baer, New York Univ.
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"It is hard to imagine [Susan Gubar] bettering her previous work, but this is a culmination... It will become a classic for the way it is written, for its sense of what poetry in general can do, and for its comprehensive focus on Holocaust representation." -Geoffrey Hartman