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The consolations of writing : literary strategies of resistance from Boethius to Primo Levi / Rivkah Zim.

By: Zim, Rivkah [author.].
Material type: TextTextSeries: JSTOR eBooks.Publisher: Princeton : Princeton University Press, [2014]Copyright date: ©2014Description: 1 online resource (viii, 323 pages).Content type: text Media type: computer Carrier type: online resourceISBN: 9781400852093; 1400852099.Subject(s): Politics and literature | Underground literature -- History and criticism | Protest literature -- History and criticism | Prisoners' writings -- History and criticism | Autobiography | Politics in literature | Psychic trauma in literatureAdditional physical formats: Print version:: Consolations of writingDDC classification: 809/.93353 LOC classification: PN51 | .Z485 2014Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Introduction -- In defence of civilization. The disciplines of reason and lyric poetry: Anicius Boethius, of the consolation of philosophy (c. 524-5): the foundations of resistance in dialogue and lyric -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, letters and papers from prison (1943-45): Christian More, a dialogue of comfort against tribulation: a political guide to the dilemmas of religious conscience (1934-35) -- Antonio Gramsci, Prison letters (1926-37): dialogue in dialectic -- Preservation of self. Memory and the prisoner: self-justification in images of grace and disgrace abounding: John Bunyan, grace abounding to the chief of sinners (1666): writing the eternally present self -- Oscar Wilde, De profundis (1897): a pastoral letter of disgrace abounding -- Memorial narratives as salvation for the feminine self. Marie-Jeanne Roland, Memoirs (1793): writing history herself -- Anne Frank, The diary and tales from the secret annexe (1942-44): life writing -- The consolations of imagination and lyric poetry. Jean Cassou, trente-trois sonnets composes au secret (1943) -- Irina Ratushinskaya, Pencil letter and No I'm not afraid (1982-86): Preserving the conviction of a poet. Testimony for mankind with hindsight and beyond resistance: Primo Levi, If this is a man (1947) and Ad ora incerta (1947-86): resisting the demolition of a man -- Primo Levi, Moments of reprieve (1981): in defence of a civilization -- Conclusions: beyond testimony .
Summary: "Boethius wrote The Consolation of Philosophy as a prisoner condemned to death for treason, circumstances that are reflected in the themes and concerns of its evocative poetry and dialogue between the prisoner and his mentor, Lady Philosophy. This classic philosophical statement of late antiquity has had an enduring influence on Western thought. It is also the earliest example of what Rivkah Zim identifies as a distinctive and vitally important medium of literary resistance: writing in captivity by prisoners of conscience and persecuted minorities. The Consolations of Writing reveals why the great contributors to this tradition of prison writing are among the most crucial figures in Western literature. Zim pairs writers from different periods and cultural settings, carefully examining the rhetorical strategies they used in captivity, often under the threat of death. She looks at Boethius and Dietrich Bonhoeffer as philosophers and theologians writing in defense of their ideas, and Thomas More and Antonio Gramsci as politicians in dialogue with established concepts of church and state. Different ideas of grace and disgrace occupied John Bunyan and Oscar Wilde in prison; Madame Roland and Anne Frank wrote themselves into history in various forms of memoir; and Jean Cassou and Irina Ratushinskaya voiced their resistance to totalitarianism through lyric poetry that saved their lives and inspired others. Finally, Primo Levi's writing after his release from Auschwitz recalls and decodes the obscenity of systematic genocide and its aftermath. A moving and powerful testament, The Consolations of Writing speaks to some of the most profound questions about life, enriching our understanding of what it is to be human"--Provided by publisher.
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PN51 .Z485 2014 (Browse shelf) https://ezproxy.uttyler.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/j.ctt6wq0m7 Available ocn889813326

"Boethius wrote The Consolation of Philosophy as a prisoner condemned to death for treason, circumstances that are reflected in the themes and concerns of its evocative poetry and dialogue between the prisoner and his mentor, Lady Philosophy. This classic philosophical statement of late antiquity has had an enduring influence on Western thought. It is also the earliest example of what Rivkah Zim identifies as a distinctive and vitally important medium of literary resistance: writing in captivity by prisoners of conscience and persecuted minorities. The Consolations of Writing reveals why the great contributors to this tradition of prison writing are among the most crucial figures in Western literature. Zim pairs writers from different periods and cultural settings, carefully examining the rhetorical strategies they used in captivity, often under the threat of death. She looks at Boethius and Dietrich Bonhoeffer as philosophers and theologians writing in defense of their ideas, and Thomas More and Antonio Gramsci as politicians in dialogue with established concepts of church and state. Different ideas of grace and disgrace occupied John Bunyan and Oscar Wilde in prison; Madame Roland and Anne Frank wrote themselves into history in various forms of memoir; and Jean Cassou and Irina Ratushinskaya voiced their resistance to totalitarianism through lyric poetry that saved their lives and inspired others. Finally, Primo Levi's writing after his release from Auschwitz recalls and decodes the obscenity of systematic genocide and its aftermath. A moving and powerful testament, The Consolations of Writing speaks to some of the most profound questions about life, enriching our understanding of what it is to be human"--Provided by publisher.

Introduction -- In defence of civilization. The disciplines of reason and lyric poetry: Anicius Boethius, of the consolation of philosophy (c. 524-5): the foundations of resistance in dialogue and lyric -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, letters and papers from prison (1943-45): Christian More, a dialogue of comfort against tribulation: a political guide to the dilemmas of religious conscience (1934-35) -- Antonio Gramsci, Prison letters (1926-37): dialogue in dialectic -- Preservation of self. Memory and the prisoner: self-justification in images of grace and disgrace abounding: John Bunyan, grace abounding to the chief of sinners (1666): writing the eternally present self -- Oscar Wilde, De profundis (1897): a pastoral letter of disgrace abounding -- Memorial narratives as salvation for the feminine self. Marie-Jeanne Roland, Memoirs (1793): writing history herself -- Anne Frank, The diary and tales from the secret annexe (1942-44): life writing -- The consolations of imagination and lyric poetry. Jean Cassou, trente-trois sonnets composes au secret (1943) -- Irina Ratushinskaya, Pencil letter and No I'm not afraid (1982-86): Preserving the conviction of a poet. Testimony for mankind with hindsight and beyond resistance: Primo Levi, If this is a man (1947) and Ad ora incerta (1947-86): resisting the demolition of a man -- Primo Levi, Moments of reprieve (1981): in defence of a civilization -- Conclusions: beyond testimony .

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Print version record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

"From Boethius to Primo Levi," according to Zim (King's College, London) in this revelatory study, prisoners of conscience and detained members of persecuted minorities have employed a variety of literary strategies to resist the injustice of coerced confinement, probe the meaning of existence, and salve the anguish of deracinated selves. By creatively juxtaposing pairs of victimized individuals across cultural and temporal lines, Zim demonstrates convincingly that prison narratives constitute a distinctive, though difficult to define, genre of expression that manifests itself through characteristic forms, themes, and functions. Collectively, these writings in extremis, be they letters, poems, journal entries, philosophical treatises, theological musings, analytical essays, or personal confessions, testify eloquently to the resiliency of besieged human beings as they struggle courageously against the ravages of unwarranted deprivations to maintain mind and body and preserve the core civilizing values that have sustained people through the ages. Zim's close readings of these in-tandem texts bear haunting witness to enduring conditions in the world that ought not to be but unfathomably are, despite all the vociferous protestations that decry inhumane treatment of the other. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. --Howard Ira Einsohn, Middlesex Community College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Rivkah Zim teaches early modern English and comparative literature at King's College London. She is the author of English Metrical Psalms: Poetry as Praise and Prayer, 1535-1601.

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