Poesis in Extremis: Literature Witnessing the Holocaust

Daniel Feldman, Efraim Sicher

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


How can genocide be witnessed through imaginative literature? How can the Holocaust affect readers who were not there? Reading the work of major figures such as Elie Wiesel, Paul Celan, Avrom Sutzkever, Ida Fink, Wladyslaw Szlengel, Itzhak Katzenelson, and Czeslaw Milosz, Poesis in Extremis poses fundamental questions about how prose and poetry are written under extreme conditions, either in real time or immediately after the Holocaust. Framed by discussion of literary testimony, with Wiesel's literary memoir Night as an entry point, this innovative study explores the blurred boundary of fact and fiction in Holocaust literature. It asks whether there is a poetics of the Holocaust and what might be the criteria for literary witnessing. Wartime writing in particular tests the limits of “poesis in extremis” when poets faced their own annihilation and wrote in the hope that their words, like a message in a bottle, would somehow reach readers. Through Poesis in Extremis, Daniel Feldman and Efraim Sicher probe the boundaries of Holocaust literature, as well as the limits of representation.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing Plc.
Number of pages260
ISBN (Electronic)9798765100202
ISBN (Print)9798765100189
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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