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Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History
Testimony draws on survivors of the Holocaust's accounts to present the first theory of testimony: a radically new conception of the relationship between art and culture and the witnessing of historical events.
Paperback, 294 pages
Published December 13th 1991 by Routledge
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lucid prose and excellent analysis. the title tells you exactly what you're going to get. felman rarely lapses into uber-scholar-speak, so her arguments are convincing and easy to follow. recommended for lovers of camus, WWII history, and questions of human rights, witnessing, and art.
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“The absence of an empathetic listener, or more radically, the absence of an addressable other, an other who can hear the anguish of one's memories and thus affirm and recognize their realness, annihilates the story”
“The traumatic event, although real, took place outside the parameters of “normal” reality, such as causality, sequence, place, and time. The trauma is thus an event that has no beginning, no ending, no before, no during and no after. This absence of categories that define it lends it to a quality of “otherness”, a salience, a timelessness and a ubiquity that puts it outside the range of associatively linked experiences, outside the range of comprehension, of recounting and of mastery. Trauma survivors live not with memories of the past, but with an event that could not and did not proceed through to its completion, has no ending, attained no closure, and therefore, as far as its survivors are concerned, continues into the present and is current in every respect.”More quotes…