The Relatedness of the Unrelatable”: The Holocaust as Trope in Caryl Phillips’s The Nature of Blood

  • Paule Lévy


This chapter reads Caryl Phillips’ The Nature of Blood in the light of Michael Rothberg’s concept of “multidirectional memory” and of Cathy Caruth’s insight that trauma may provide “the very link between cultures.” With its intricate structure, skillful juxtaposition of styles, and rich intertextuality, The Nature of Blood is a fascinating, yet somewhat perplexing textual experiment that cuts across genres, national contexts, periods and cultural traditions as it links Nazi Germany, fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy and contemporary Israel. While using the Holocaust as a central metaphor and endless source of analogies, it is a bold attempt to explore the intertwining of different historical traumas and hold together the disparate histories of blacks and Jews while simultaneously allowing for the re-articulation of their specificities.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paule Lévy
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VersaillesSaint-Quentin en YvelinesFrance

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