Voices of pain, cries of silence: Francophone Jewish poetry of the Shoah, 1939-2008

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In this groundbreaking study of Francophone Jewish poetry of the Shoah, Gary D. Mole engages with an extensive corpus of poetry by more than forty poets, all of whom were active after the war in France, Belgium, Switzerland, or Quebec but who came originally from Eastern Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East. Some were adolescents or adults during the war, either in hiding, interned or deported, first-hand witnesses to the Nazi persecution of European Jews. Others were hidden children, survivors writing of their buried traumatic experiences many years later. And a second-generation born after the war became postmemory proxy witnesses. Broadly chronological in approach, the book places the poetry in its various social, political, and historical contexts, underlines the specific geographical locations of the authors, and offers close thematic, formal, stylistic, and linguistic readings of the selected texts, highlighting some of the major aesthetic and ethical problems raised. Lucidly written, this book throws critical light, for scholars and nonspecialists, on a rich and unjustly neglected corpus, arguing convincingly for its inclusion in current debates on French-language literary representations of the Shoah and more widely in what is commonly referred to as "Holocaust Poetry." "Voices of Pain, Cries of Silence is a comprehensive, lucid, and erudite study of Francophone Jewish poetry of the Holocaust. Unlike the work of English-language Holocaust poets, French-language verse has been until now largely ignored. By ensuring that Francophone Jewish poets are finally heard, Voices of Pain, Cries of Silence constitutes an important scholarly intervention in the study of Holocaust literature." -Helena Duffy, Professor of French, University of Wrocław, Poland "An astonishing, comparative, comprehensive, and powerful scan of the various forms of poetic writing in French about the Shoah, never presented in this scope before, by authors belonging to a large variety of national and cultural backgrounds, providing the foundation of texts to be considered in future scholarship on poetry of the Shoah in other languages." -Thomas Nolden, Professor of Comparative Literary Studies, Wellesley College, Mass.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages307
ISBN (Electronic)9781636676159
StatePublished - 20 Mar 2024


  • Collaboration
  • Deportation
  • Francophone poetry
  • French poetry
  • Holocaust
  • Jewish history
  • Jewish poetry
  • Jewish studies
  • Occupation
  • Postmemory
  • Proxy witness
  • Shoah
  • Trauma
  • World War II

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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