A still, small voice: Letter‐writing, testimony and the project of address in Etty Hillesum's letters from Westerbork

Cultural Values 5 (1):79-96 (2001)
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This paper derives from an exploration of the ways in which the letters of Holocaust writer Etty Hillesum, which are seemingly resistant to many of the interests of current trauma theory, can be read in relation to contemporary writing on testimonial. In particular, the three theorists I shall discuss here, Derrida, Caruth and Irigaray, directly address Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle, a central text in the current refiguring of trauma. This paper traces the ways in which Hillesum's letters can be read across the theoretical accounts. An interpretation of Hillesum's writing emerges in which the conventional emphasis on the mystical aspect of her texts is reinterpreted in terms of Caruth's emphasis on the life drive. Viewed as forging a creative language of departure, Hillesum's letters are situated in a central relation to the most recent developments in the theoretical discourse around testimony.



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Sexes and Geneologies.Luce Irigaray - 1993 - Columbia University Press.

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