The Fragility of Empathy After the Holocaust (Paperback)

The Fragility of Empathy After the Holocaust By Carolyn J. Dean Cover Image

The Fragility of Empathy After the Holocaust (Paperback)


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When we are confronted with images of and memoirs from the Holocaust and subsequent cases of vast cruelty and suffering, is our impulse to empathize put at risk by the possibility of becoming numb to horror? Carolyn J. Dean's provocative new book addresses the ways we evade our failures of empathy in the face of massive suffering: Has exposure (or overexposure) to representations of pain damaged our ability to feel? Do the frequent claims that artistic representations of extreme cruelty are pornographic allow us to dodge the real issues that we must confront in attempting to come to terms with suffering? Does an excess of terror place constraints on compassion?Dean examines the very different representations of suffering found in visual media, history writing, cultural criticism, and journalism that grapple with the assumption that Americans and Western Europeans have been rendered numb and their appropriate human responses blunted by the events of the past century. The Fragility of Empathy after the Holocaust will be of interest to all readers concerned with contemporary "victim culture," Holocaust representation, and humanism.

Carolyn J. Dean is Professor of History and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. She is the author of The Frail Social Body: Pornography, Homosexuality, and Other Fantasies in Interwar France; Sexuality and Modern Western Culture; and The Self and Its Pleasures: Bataille, Lacan, and the History of the Decentered Subject.
Product Details ISBN: 9780801489440
ISBN-10: 080148944X
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication Date: October 1st, 2004
Pages: 216
Language: English