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Death in LifeSurvivors of Hiroshima$
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Robert Jay Lifton

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780807843444

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807882894_lifton

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Creative Response: 1) “A-Bomb Literature”

Creative Response: 1) “A-Bomb Literature”

(p.397) Ten Creative Response: 1) “A-Bomb Literature”
Death in Life

Robert Jay Lifton

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter argues that artistic recreation of an overwhelming historical experience has much to do with the question of mastery. Artists can apply to that experience their particular aesthetic traditions and individual talents to evolve new ways of “seeing” it and giving it form. In Hiroshima or elsewhere, the relationship between the quality or popularity of artistic works and the degree of collective mastery is imprecise and difficult to evaluate. However, an important relationship does exist. For these works are special distillations of group psychic response, and in their accomplishments and failures can both reflect that response and profoundly influence it. Since the most significant efforts—in quality, number, and general influence—have been made in literature and film, all of this chapter deals with the former.

Keywords:   artistic recreation, historical experience, mastery, aesthetic traditions, Hiroshima

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