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Abstract

In her "Introduction to and Bibliography of Central European Women's Holocaust Life Writing in English," Louise O. Vasvári discusses aspects and perspectives of women's life writing, including her criteria of selection, the problematics of sourcing, issues of translation, and processes of publication. While the authors listed in the bibliography are overwhelmingly Jewish and from Central and East Europe, there are works listed by others whose experiences also offer important testimony not only on the camps but also on other aspects of the Holocaust. The bibliography suggests that women have written as much and, especially during the last decades, more than men about the Holocaust. Vasvári postulates that life writing -- a term utilized mostly in gender studies but useful for other types of texts -- is a useful designation for the texts at hand because it elides generic boundaries between history, fiction, documentary, and literature. It also raises questions about issues much debated in Holocaust scholarship, including author versus narrator, witness, history, memory, interpretation, culture, identity, and canon versus social perspectives of literature. Finally, life writing also elides the often valorized judgment on the literary merit of individual works.

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