This is the first extended study I know of what the author calls a "Holocaust performative,"....[The author] asks what a "holocaust performative" might look like and how such a study might illuminate "events of this particular genocide that are unrepresentable and outside the parameters of representation itself"....[Patraka] contributes an important and possibly contentious dimension to Holocaust studies." —James Young
"Theater, always a medium of fragile bodies and intractable ideologies, meets its biggest challenge in the Holocaust. How represent the unrepresentable? Vivian Patraka brings postmodern paradoxes into the heart of Holocaust meanings. A superb critic of drama, Patraka analyzes a wide range of recent plays, helping us to decode fascism's insidious mutations even in the most earnest theatrical exposes. Richly researched, feelingly written Spectacular Suffering: Theatre, Fascism, and the Holocaust brings performance theory, feminism, history, and Jewish cultural studies into unique dialogue. There is material here to fill several course syllabi. A wonderful and important book."—Elin Diamond, Rutgers University
Spectacular Suffering: Theatre, Fascism and the Holocaust considers how we remember historical instances of suffering and atrocity, framing its central questions to reflect larger cultural shifts in how we position ourselves in relation to history, performance, and memory.
1. Shattered Cartographies: Fascism, the Holocaust, and Tropes about Representation
2. Reproduction, Appropriation, and Binary Machinery: Fascist Ideology and Theatricalization
3. Feminism and the Jewish Subject: Holocaust Theatre and the Politics of Difference and Identity
4. Realism, Gender, and Historical Crisis: Lillian Hellman's Watch on the Rhine and "Julia"
5. Theatre of Injury and Injustice: Staging the Body in Pain
6. Spectacular Suffering: Performing Presence, Absence, and Witness at U.S. Holocaust Museums