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Aversion and ErasureThe Fate of the Victim After the Holocaust$
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Carolyn J. Dean

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449444

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449444.001.0001

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The Surfeit of Jewish Memory

The Surfeit of Jewish Memory

(p.31) 1 The Surfeit of Jewish Memory
Aversion and Erasure

Carolyn J. Dean

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the so-called surfeit of Jewish memory, which is articulated primarily as an argument about how Jewish memory exemplifies a pathological cultural attachment to having been or being a victim. It assesses the so-called surfeit in terms of the discrepancy between fantasmic concepts of “too much” and the right amount of identification with victims, an apparently rational calculus that has gone awry. Critics thus argue that Jewish memory voids the substance of history and the value of empathy in pursuit of identification with Holocaust victims that narcissistically appropriates victims' suffering and focuses on Jews' victimization at the expense of others.

Keywords:   Holocaust victims, Jews, victimhood, history, empathy, identification, Jewish memory

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