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Representations of the Holocaust

Module Code: FR252
Module Name: Representations of the Holocaust
Module Coordinator: Prof Seán Hand
Term 1 TBC; lectures online.
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

  • During the Second World War millions of people, very many of them Jews, were systematically murdered.
  • This massive and programmatic genocide, sometimes referred to as the Holocaust, continues to haunt today on a personal and a political level.
  • How could the Europe of the Enlightenment produce such a horror? More particularly, how could those who either witnessed the events first-hand, or lived with their consequences, recount their experiences? Would any account run the risk of normalising the events, by introducing narrative construction and even aesthetic pleasure?
  • In this module, we read French-language accounts, both first-hand and imaginative, of events connected to the Holocaust, including some occurring in France, and in particular Occupied Paris. The writers studied reflect the problems of memory and representation in a range of remarkable texts which span more than fifty years and use techniques of both testimony and fiction to convey some of the realities and continuing effects of the Holocaust.

Primary texts for 2022-23

Students should purchase and read the texts in their original French.


  • Elie Wiesel, La Nuit (1958), Minuit poche edition. (Weeks 2 and 3)
  • Helene Berr, Journal (2007), Points edition. (Weeks 4 and 5)
  • Patrick Modiano, Dora Bruder (1999), Folio edition. (Weeks 7 and 8)
  • Yannick Haenel, Jan Karski (2009), Folio edition. (Weeks 9 and 10)

Please see the further reading tab for detailed reading, including additional recommended reading, for each week.

Assessment Method 2022-23

1 x 4000-4500 word essay