Elie Wiesel’s The Town Beyond the Wall

News Story: April 30, 2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007, 5:30PM—7:00PM, Room HC 202

Lecture by

Prof. em. Marc-Mathieu Münch, Ph.D.
University Paul Verlaine – Metz

Reading Elie Wiesel’s The Town Beyond the Wall:
A Study of the Literary Effect of Life

Analyzing Elie Wiesel’s well received and several times reprinted fourth masterpiece at the light of his aesthetic theory, Professor Münch will address the power literature has to confront the reader in a specific way with the issues the Holocaust raises.

In fact, Prof. Münch has managed to develop a universal description of literature. Comparing poetics, manifestos, and texts written by well-known artists from the five continents and from different times, he has found four anthropological invariants: literature is a text developing in the reader’s or listener’s mind an effect of life by the coherent game of words. Literature doesn’t produce only sense; it offers the reader the experience of a virtual world.

Professor Münch’s goal is to show what makes The Town Beyond the Wall a work of art and what capacity it has to make its reader experience the struggles it addresses. Wiesel’s novel traces the path of apathy as it turns to evil. In it a concentration camp survivor named Michael returns to his hometown in Hungary after war to confront and humiliate a man who had looked on with silent indifference while the Jews were being rounded up and deported, and whose face has haunted him throughout the years.

Born in 1934, Prof. Marc-Mathieu Münch has worked on the history of poetics for several decades. His publications include Le Pluriel du Beau. Genèse du relativisme esthétique en literature (The Plural of The Beautiful.Origin of The Aesthetitc Relativism in Literature.) (Centre de Recherche en Littérature et Spiritualité, Metz, 1991.) and L’Effet de vie ou Le Singulier de l’art littéraire (The Effect of Life or The Singular Of Literary Art) (Honoré Champion, Bibliothèque de Littérature Générale et Comparée, vol. 46, Paris, 2004.). More information can be found on his website www.effet-de-vie.org. He has been professor of Comparative Literature at the University Paul Verlaine – Metz and is a member of its Center for Research "Écritures".

He will be introduced by Jean Ehret, Ph.D, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Sacred Heart University and member of two distinguished European Centers for Research, the "Centre de Recherche en Littérature Comparée" at the University Paris IV – Sorbonne and the Centre for Research "Écritures" of the University Paul Verlaine – Metz. His latest article "Bible and Myth: From Theological Antagonism to Literary Coherence" is to be published in French in 2007.