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Title: From testimony to the culture industry : representations of the Holocaust in popular culture
Author: Marshman, Sophia Francesca.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3619 7958
Awarding Body: University of Portsmouth
Current Institution: University of Portsmouth
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis addresses the issue of how the Holocaust has been represented in popular culture in recent decades. The starting point of my research relates to the question of whether, though the Holocaust appears to be firmly imprinted upon the public imagination, this engagement can be regarded as superficial. This thesis also examines how survivor testimony has been increasingly marginalised as the Holocaust has entered the sphere of popular culture and entertainment, and how this affects memory. In terms of methodology, I have adopted a case study approach, with each chapter of the thesis addressing a different form of Holocaust representation. Chapter One examines the importance of survivor testimony and its unique ability to convey the full horror of the Holocaust. This chapter also sets up the central debate which drives my research: the question of how we can hope to understand the Holocaust if we ignore the wealth of testimony in favour of the comforting inventions of popular culture. Chapter Two addresses the problems inherent in the genre of Holocaust fiction, and the ethical implications of literature which introduces elements of distortion, falsification and sexualisation to the `story' of the Holocaust. Chapter Three looks at the Americanisation of the Holocaust, with particular reference to the film Schindler's List. Chapter Four by contrast looks at the different approach of European Holocaust films and documentaries which are less entertainment-focused and therefore believed to represent the Holocaust more accurately. Chapter Five examines the growth in the number of museums devoted to the Holocaust, and the question of whether a heavy reliance on artefacts and images from the Holocaust/liberation era further dehumanises victims and encourages voyeurism. Chapter Six appraises the phenomenon of Holocaust tourism and the kind of memory communicated by authentic sites which are now essentially `empty', compromised by decay, reconstruction, and the commercialism which tourism inevitably encourages. Within the conclusion I offer an evaluation of the different approaches to the Holocaust with regard to their merits and shortcomings. In terms of a contribution to knowledge, my thesis draws together many different forms of Holocaust representation to evaluate which accurately represent the Holocaust, and which shield us from its harsher realities, indulge in sentimentalism and encourage consumption. i
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available