Art After the Holocaust (1)

Art—at least that art that has been purified of all artifice and flashiness, all grandiloquence and gaudiness—can call us back from the sort of forgetting of ourselves that shames us, and into the sort of forgetting of ourselves that honors us. It can call us back from forgetting ourselves negatively and into forgetting ourselves positively—back into forgetting ourselves precisely by honoring our obligations, and paying what we owe.    

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Forgetting Ourselves (1)

“Those who have art before their eyes and on their minds [. . .] have forgotten themselves. Art draws away from the I. Art here demands a certain distance in a certain direction, on a certain path.”[1]

The poet Paul Celan made those remarks some fifty-six years ago in “The Meridian,” his acceptance speech for the Georg Büchner Prize for literature.

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