There are two articles today in Tablet Magazine concerning the Holocaust and literature. In one, columnist Shalom Auslander mimics the genre to satirize (and perhaps escape?) the anxiety of influence it exerts over his writing: “He knew, most of all,” it concludes, “that he was sick of writing about the goddamned Holocaust.”
In the other, I review a provocative new study of Holocaust literature by critic Ruth Franklin, and argue that it is of a piece with arguments she has made—concerning realism, concerning empathetic power—about contemporary novels about contemporary upper-middle-class America.
Though I can’t speak for Auslander, it seems to me that we would both like to see literature about the Holocaust graded on the same continuum as literature about, well, absolutely anything else. One day, maybe.