Anne Frank is a legend.
But is she a historical legend or a literary legend? That’s the question literary expert Francine Prose tackles in her book entitled Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife. Literary Traveler writer Hannah May takes it one step further as she examines Prose’s conclusions of Frank combined with her own feelings about the young Holocaust victim, including her visit to The Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam.
In this installment of “Behind The Article”, we asked Hannah May her opinions about Frank’s literary and historical impact:
Literary Traveler: Since Holocaust survivors will soon start dying out, how will The Diary of Anne Frank serve to carry on history? Will it become an even more important historical document?
Hannah May: Most definitely. As both a first-person account of the Holocaust and influential piece of literature, it delves into the historical moment and the psyche of the people in it. As less people are able to testify and tell their story, it will immortalise both the time and people, suspending their voices in modern consciousness for years to come.
LT: Did anything strike you as shocking when researching this article esp. reading Francine Prose?
HM: I hadn’t realised how people were so polarised and vehemently either opposed or celebrated the book to such extreme levels. Despite the controversies, claims of fraud and various ways it has been reworked and interpreted, it continues to endure as millions still return to the original text that so beautifully conveys the resilience, strength and vulnerability of the human spirit.
Francine’s analytical reading of the book unveils proof of its intended literary and artistic nature, making it all the more tragic and shocking: Anne wanted people to know her story, whatever the consequences.
LT: Is there anywhere else worth noting for our literary travelers to visit around The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam? (i.e. restaurant, bar, bookshop, other tourist attraction, park, etc.)
HM: I would always recommend the nearby Museum Plein for the vast collections of internationally renowned art, especially the Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh. Cobra is a cool cafe-meets-gallery situated in the middle of the Plein with excellent coffee. Theater Carré is nearby as is the picturesque Vondelpark; both striking. Noordermarkt is a younger, hip area of the city where you can dine at Finch. And the bustling Leidseplein (or Red Light District) is always worth a visit.
Please continue onto the article entitled Anne Frank’s Lasting Literary Impact.