Lecture 25 - Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated (cont)

The American Novel Since 1945


In her final lecture of the course, Professor Hungerford evaluates Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated with respect to one of her areas of expertise, American writing about the Holocaust. She points out how the novel takes on some of the questions of trauma theory in its examination of both the pain and the healing power of repetition. The most innovative characteristic of Foer's novel is, for Hungerford, the way it addresses the inheritance of the Holocaust for third-generation Jews in America. The novel finds new ways to provide witness for and connection to their grandparents' experiences in Europe, but also displaces a traditional Holocaust discovery narrative from the Jewish child of survivors to the Eastern European grandchild of those complicit in the destruction of shtetl life.