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Writing As Resistance: Four Women Confronting the Holocaust: Edith Stein, Simone Weil, Anne Frank, and Etty Hillesum Paperback – October 30, 2003

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Editorial Reviews


“This is a book of great poignancy. Brenner catches the feminist, humanistic, and cultural milieu of the time and places it in the context of the Holocaust. She accomplishes this with such creativity that we are able to see the lives of her subjects with rare historical vividness.”
—Michael Phayer, Marquette University

“Rachel Feldhay Brenner has written a stunning work of Holocaust hermeneutics, combining insights from a variety of disciplines including feminist thought, theology, ethics, and literature. Brenner's fresh and original insights reveal the essential connection between writing, resistance, and dedication to life in the face of absolute evil. Analyzing the writings of Edith Stein, Simone Weil, Anne Frank, and Etty Hillesum, Brenner skillfully reveals how each of these women chose to bear witness to an ethic of compassion amidst a nightmare of brutality and doom.”
—Alan L. Berger, Chair of Holocaust Studies and Director of Judaic Studies, Florida Atlantic University

“Brenner writes a compelling book that is both informative and engaging. . . . Writing as Resistance is exactly what good work in the humanities should be: accessible yet challenging.”
—Maurice Hamington, National Catholic Reporter

“This book is an engaging and, indeed, riveting account of how each of these women affirmed values of empathy, caring, and connectedness in her real-life choices as well as in her writings. Rachel Brenner succeeds wonderfully in penetrating the personal and ethical dilemmas of the women and in explaining how their prose grew out of and answered the overlapping crises in their own lives and their contemporary world. Writing about what Edith Stein called ‘empathy,’ Brenner has achieved just such an intimate comprehension of her subjects, and she effectively communicates her insights to her reader.”
—Anne Carver Rose, Penn State University

“Writing by women victims and survivors of Nazi persecution is discussed by scholars—if at all—largely as testimony, rarely as thought. . . . By looking at the thinking of Stein, Weil, Frank, and Hillesum, Brenner has helped to reverse this.”
—Sara R. Horowitz, Modern Fiction Studies

From the Publisher

A new reading of the autobiographical works of four Jewish women victims of the Holocaust. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press (October 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 027102285X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271022857
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,170,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anna Aresi on February 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I am very interested in Etty Hillesum and know a little bit of Simone Weil, and a friend recommended Brenner's work. This book was helpful to me. First of all because, being my knowledge of the other two writers she examines (Edith Stein and Anne Frank) quite superficial, it provided a frame in which to locate them. I found Brenner's discussion on Weil particularly informative, as it helped me piece together elements I'd found in her writing which I considered puzzling, to say the least. Thank to this book, I gained a deeper appreciation of the complexity of Weil's thought, including the more problematic aspects of it. There is also a section on womanhood which I enjoyed, where Brenner compares the four women's views on being a woman and on issues regarding women. Brenner's writing flows smoothly and transparently, accompanying the reader through the thoughts and lives of these four thinkers and providing an interpretation through the lens of "writing as resistance" which is at the same time clearly formulated but never imposing.
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