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Hell in Contemporary LiteratureWestern Descent Narratives since 1945$
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Rachel Falconer

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780748617630

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617630.001.0001

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Auschwitz as Hell

Auschwitz as Hell

(p.63) Chapter 3 Auschwitz as Hell
Hell in Contemporary Literature

Rachel Falconer

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter takes a look at Primo Levi's classic testimony, If This is a Man, which it views as a descent narrative wherein Hell is represented as a combination of many chronotopes, each of which reveals a different image of the human subject. It explores the retrospective Levi, later reflections on the Holocaust, and people's own increasing distance from the historical event. The chapter views his writing as working against the sacralisation of Hell that occurs in some other examples of memorialisation and writing about the Holocaust.

Keywords:   Primo Levi, descent narrative, chronotopes, Holocaust, sacralisation, memorialisation

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