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Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife

Francine Prose.
Publisher Harper  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 8.5 x 5.75 x 1.15 inches
ISBN 9780061430794
Pages/Publication Date 322/2009
Daedalus Item Code 14050
This item is not available.
In June 1942, Anne Frank received a red-and-white checked diary for her 13th birthday, just weeks before she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic. For two years, with ever-increasing maturity, Frank crafted a memoir that has become one of the most compelling, intimate, and important documents of modern history. But the diary, argues Francine Prose, is as much a work of art as a historical record. In this examination of the work itself and its cultural impact, she addresses what few of the diary's millions of readers may know: during her last months in hiding, Frank furiously revised and edited her work, crafting a piece of literature that she hoped would be read by the public after the war.

"Among the thousands of stories written about World War II and the fate of the Jews, none is more widely known, or more cherished, than that of Anne Frank. The Diary of a Young Girl, first published in Dutch in 1947 as Het Achterhuis and since translated into more than 60 languages, is today an international literary classic.... The question is: Why? Prose believes the answer lies in the book's artistry.... An accomplished fiction writer herself, Prose appreciates Frank's observational powers and skill in developing memorable characters. As is well known, Frank not only wrote but rewrote her diary, substantially editing many entries with an eye to publishing her book as a novel after the war. Prose's commentaries on the changes wrought by these revisions are often illuminating.... To numbers of people, though, Frank's story probably acquires its most lasting impressions elsewhere—not from the pages of the diary but from the Goodrich and Hackett dramatization and George Stevens's Hollywood film.... Unfortunately, this thinner, more mindless version has come to prevail as the 'real' Anne Frank for many, who extract from her story sentimentalized notions of tolerance and understanding, caring and compassion. To some degree, Prose sympathizes with them. But she suggests that, admirable as these ideals are, to reduce Frank's life and death to facile 'messages' of goodness, hope and inspiration is to read her less than faithfully and, thus, to remain still at a distance from one of the 20th century's best known, but not yet fully understood, figures."—Washington Post Book World

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