One of the many research interests of Sue Vice, who teaches contemporary literature, literary theory, culture, and film at the University of Sheffield, is the representation of the Holocaust. As this year’s Holocaust Memorial Lecturer, Vice will draw on her extensive knowledge of the varied forms of Holocaust literature and film that have entered the public realm, and discuss what the most recent examples suggest about Holocaust memory today.
Her talk, “The Holocaust in Literature and Film: Revisiting Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah,” will be held Nov. 5 at 5 PM in Umrath Lounge.
Lanzmann’s documentary masterpiece debuted in 1985. More than nine hours long, featuring interviews with survivors, witnesses and perpetrators, and filmed at actual Holocaust sites throughout Poland, it is widely considered one of the most comprehensive and authentic accounts of the Nazi Holocaust.
Lanzmann, who recently died at the age of 92, devoted 11 years of his life to the project: the first six were spent tracking down and recording interviews with individuals spanning 14 countries; that was followed by a gargantuan editing process that sifted through 350 hours of footage.
Fortunately, Lanzmann didn’t let that rich archive go to waste; it has spawned several films, including a recently-released quartet featuring female survivors.
Using “Shoah” as the central example, Vice will showcase Lanzmann’s landmark film, pointing out its persistent influence and importance, and suggest that “Shoah” and the films that have followed offer a striking and unusual way to bridge what is often seen as a gap between historical and aesthetic approaches to uncovering the events of the Holocaust era. She will also talk about the remaining hours of film which Lanzmann did not include in the final version, what they consist of and their value to viewers today.
Published works by Vice on the subject include “Holocaust Fiction” and “Children Writing the Holocaust,” as well as “Representing the Holocaust: Essays in Honour of Bryan Burns.” She published a British Film Institute Modern Film Classics volume on “Shoah” in 2011, and a co-edited volume of essays on fiction and film about Holocaust perpetrators in 2013.
In addition to Holocaust representations, Vice teaches and conducts research on psychoanalytic criticism and addiction studies. Her most recent book is “Textual Deceptions: False Memoirs and Literary Hoaxes in the Contemporary Era,” and a co-written study of the writer Barry Hines.
For more on “Shoah” visit The New York Times: ON PBS, ‘SHOAH,’ A 9 1/2-HOUR FILM ON HOLOCAUST