Elie Wiesel's Approach To Literature

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It happened two years ago as I lay sprawled out on the floor of the library lounge at the Universite de Grenoble in Grenoble,
France. I was working on an explication du texte of Guillaume Apollinaire' poem "La Loreley" for my Poemes et Proses du XXe
Siecle class when I suddenly put it together: this was my approach to literature. Close reading, formalism. Staying close, very close, to the text. I was certain.
Certainty, however, proved rather unstable. I knew it was important not to close myself off from other approaches to literature, so when I returned to Swarthmore from Grenoble, I took two courses which I knew would be highly theoretical-Women Writers
1790-1830 and Feminist Literary Criticism. These courses brought me around to a kind of hybrid approach to literature which I
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I am using this approach to literature in two major projects this year.
First, I received a $2,400 National Endowment for the Humanities Younger Scholars Summer Research Grant. I proposed to expand on a prior research project, looking at the use of silence in the novels of Elie Wiesel, and at the ways Wiesel both demonstrates and gets around the fact that conventional language simply breaks down when it is used to talk about the
Holocaust. I plan to expand on the same project for my senior English thesis. For this thesis I am studying the ways Wiesel uses silence in the literal content of his novels and in his writing technique, and am working toward explanations as to how he gives these silences meaning. My fluency in French from my semester of study in Grenoble has been invaluable since most of
Wiesel's works were written originally in French. My thesis involves close, formalist readings of Wiesel's novels, and is enriched by theoretical work. (This thesis appears as "Senior Essay" on my transcript; that designation will change next semester to "Thesis.")
My second major project this year is a self-designed research project which has just replaced comprehensive exams in
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