The linguistic homelands of Elazar Benyoetz
Abstract: One aspect of Elazar Benyoëtz’s poetry is his bold attempt to treat the catastrophe of Auschwitz through a linguistic prism. In this essay, I would like to shed light on his way of inhabiting the German language as an outsider by considering the ethical implications of his bifurcated linguistic soul. To do so, I will first analyze the general representation of language that appears in Benyoëtz’s work. In particular, I will point to the dynamics of language and how its movement shapes a land and a language beyond all constraints of ownership, while providing an alternative way of inhabiting it. I will then examine possible interpretations of Benyoëtz’s bifurcated linguistic soul along with its ethical implications, including not only a coming to terms with the end of German-Jewish symbiosis, but also a utopian way of repairing it.