Memory’s Long Voyage
Chapter 2 The Importance of Guilt and Testimony for the Evocation of the Holocaust in Le Grand Voy
age, Quel beau dimanche! and Le Mort qu’il faut In the previous chapter, it should have become evident that what is por- trayed by Semprún as taking place before the trauma is actually imagined after the trauma, and is therefore imbued with a retroactive nostalgia and forebodings of the catastrophe to come that give this idyllic childhood a far-reaching meaning. Due to the recurrence of Buchenwald in Semprún’s writing, this chapter traces how memories of the concentration camp are assimilated into dif ferent types of texts, ranging from the more fictional to the autobiographical and testimonial. While Le Grand Voyage was partly inspired by a Marxist vision, Quel beau dimanche! employs memories of the concentration camp as a harsh critique of Communism and juxta- poses the concentrationary systems of Nazism and Stalinism. Le Mort qu’il faut interprets the concentrationary universe in a new light and acts as a response to interpretations such as that illustrated in Agamben’s Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive, a book which Semprún views as an attack on survivors like himself. Before concentrating on Voyage, Dimanche and Le Mort, however, some basic considerations concerning Holocaust literature need to be made. We should also note that, since L’Écriture and L’Évanouissement are more concerned with meta-literary ref lections than the three works discussed here and use a dif ferent take on Semprún’s Buchenwald experience, they deserve more detailed attention and will be dealt with separately in the next chapter. When...
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