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Catastrophe, Memory, And Narrative: Teaching Japanese And Jewish Responses To Twentieth-Century Atrocity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the author's experience in the American university classroom teaching responses by twentieth-century Japanese and Jews to catastrophe. It raises concerns about the ethics of such a comparison even as it finally deems the comparison necessary for understanding the tangle of art, emotion, psychology, and history in which the response to catastrophe is enmeshed. The Nazi murder of the Jews and the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima have occupied the modern historical and literary imaginations of these two peoples, molding their cultural and political identities and generating profuse expressions of their responses.

Keywords: atrocity; catastrophe; twentieth-century Japanese responses; twentieth-century Jews responses



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