Memory’s Long Voyage
Introduction - Memory, Literature and the Self
Introduction – Memory, Literature and the Self Memory, literature and the self are three notions that are intimately inter- twined in the writing of Jorge Semprún. Much of the timeless value of his narratives stems from this fact and yet the mutual dependence of all three makes their discussion dif ficult. Semprún, a prolific writer of novels and film scripts, wrote both in French and Spanish. He was also a politi- cian, first as an active Communist and then as the independent Minister of Culture in the Socialist cabinet of Felipe González from 1988 to 1991. Born in Madrid in 1923, he was the son of José María de Semprún y Gurrea and Susana Maura y Gamazo, the fourth of seven children. His mother was the daughter of Antonio Maura y Montaner, a statesman and several times Prime Minister during the Restoration monarchy of Alfonso XIII at the beginning of the twentieth century, who died in 1925. Miguel Maura Gamazo, the first Minister of the Interior for the Second Republic in 1931, was Semprún’s uncle. His father, a liberal Catholic lawyer, was first made civil governor of Toledo by Maura Gamazo, before he was transferred to Santander. Breaking with his more moderate brother-in-law Semprún Gurrea supported the Popular Front government elected in 1936. The death of his mother in January 1932 represented the first experience of bereavement in Semprún’s life, soon to be followed by the experience of exile. The outbreak of the...
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