At the Mind's Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and its Realities

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9780253211736: At the Mind's Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and its Realities

These are pages that one reads with almost physical pain...all the way to its stoic conclusion." ―Primo Levi

The testimony of a profoundly serious man.... In its every turn and crease, it bears the marks of the true." ―Irving Howe, New Republic

This remarkable memoir...is the autobiography of an extraordinarily acute conscience. With the ear of a poet and the eye of a novelist, Amery vividly communicates the wonder of a philosopher―a wonder here aroused by the ‘dark riddle’ of the Nazi regime and its systematic sadism." ―Jim Miller, Newsweek

Whoever has succumbed to torture can no longer feel at home in the world. The shame of destruction cannot be erased. Trust in the world, which already collapsed in part at the first blow, but in the end, under torture, fully, will not be regained. That one’s fellow man was experienced as the antiman remains in the tortured person as accumulated horror. It blocks the view into a world in which the principle of hope rules. One who was martyred is a defenseless prisoner of fear. It is fear that henceforth reigns over him." ―Jean Amery

At the Mind’s Limits is the story of one man’s incredible struggle to understand the reality of horror. In five autobiographical essays, Amery describes his survival―mental, moral, and physical―through the enormity of the Holocaust. Above all, this masterful record of introspection tells of a young Viennese intellectual’s fervent vision of human nature and the betrayal of that vision.

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Review:

Because Auschwitz was among the most brutal of the concentration camps, ruled by capricious, pure force and not by any discernable political or social structure, the intellectual there "was alone with his intellect ... and there was no social reality that could support and confirm it." In other words, there was no place for the intellect to act, outside of the confines of a person's own skull. Jean Amery's At The Mind's Limits is a focused meditation on the position of the intellectual placed in "a borderline situation, where he has to confirm the reality and effectiveness of his intellect, or to declare its impotence: in Auschwitz." In the camp, Amery writes, "The intellect very abruptly lost its basic quality: its transcendence." Considering this loss, Amery describes his own experience of torture, his reactions of resentment, anger, and bitterness, his loss of any vital sense of metaphysical questions, and his search for some way to maintain moral character and Jewish identity in the absence of such consciousness. --Michael Joseph Gross

About the Author:

Jean Amery (1912-1978) was born in Vienna and in 1938 emigrated to Belgium, where he joined the Resistance Movement. He was caught by the Germans in 1943, tortured by the SS, and survived the next two years in the concentration camps. He was author of seven volumes of essays and two novels. He committed suicide in 1978.
Sidney Rosenfeld, Ph.D., Professor of German at Oberlin College, and Stella P. Rosenfeld, Ph.D., are cotranslators of Radical Humanism by Jean Amery and Jewish Life in Germany edited by M. Richarz.

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Book Description Indiana University Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. These are pages that one reads with almost physical pain.all the way to its stoic conclusion. -Primo LeviThe testimony of a profoundly serious man. In its every turn and crease, it bears the marks of the true. -Irving Howe, New RepublicThis remarkable memoir.is the autobiography of an extraordinarily acute conscience. With the ear of a poet and the eye of a novelist, Amery vividly communicates the wonder of a philosopher-a wonder here aroused by the `dark riddle of the Nazi regime and its systematic sadism. -Jim Miller, NewsweekWhoever has succumbed to torture can no longer feel at home in the world. The shame of destruction cannot be erased. Trust in the world, which already collapsed in part at the first blow, but in the end, under torture, fully, will not be regained. That one s fellow man was experienced as the antiman remains in the tortured person as accumulated horror. It blocks the view into a world in which the principle of hope rules. One who was martyred is a defenseless prisoner of fear. It is fear that henceforth reigns over him. -Jean AmeryAt the Mind s Limits is the story of one man s incredible struggle to understand the reality of horror. In five autobiographical essays, Amery describes his survival-mental, moral, and physical-through the enormity of the Holocaust. Above all, this masterful record of introspection tells of a young Viennese intellectual s fervent vision of human nature and the betrayal of that vision. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9780253211736

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Book Description Indiana University Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. These are pages that one reads with almost physical pain.all the way to its stoic conclusion. -Primo LeviThe testimony of a profoundly serious man. In its every turn and crease, it bears the marks of the true. -Irving Howe, New RepublicThis remarkable memoir.is the autobiography of an extraordinarily acute conscience. With the ear of a poet and the eye of a novelist, Amery vividly communicates the wonder of a philosopher-a wonder here aroused by the `dark riddle of the Nazi regime and its systematic sadism. -Jim Miller, NewsweekWhoever has succumbed to torture can no longer feel at home in the world. The shame of destruction cannot be erased. Trust in the world, which already collapsed in part at the first blow, but in the end, under torture, fully, will not be regained. That one s fellow man was experienced as the antiman remains in the tortured person as accumulated horror. It blocks the view into a world in which the principle of hope rules. One who was martyred is a defenseless prisoner of fear. It is fear that henceforth reigns over him. -Jean AmeryAt the Mind s Limits is the story of one man s incredible struggle to understand the reality of horror. In five autobiographical essays, Amery describes his survival-mental, moral, and physical-through the enormity of the Holocaust. Above all, this masterful record of introspection tells of a young Viennese intellectual s fervent vision of human nature and the betrayal of that vision. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9780253211736

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