Memory’s Long Voyage
As we have seen, memory truly acts as an overarching theme which runs through all of Semprún’s texts and forms their unifying principle. Memory is intrinsically linked to the author’s representation of the self and, at the same time, the vision of the self shapes the representation of his memories. A reading of the more testimonial works together with those texts that have hitherto largely been classified as novels has proven particularly enriching, since this integrated approach allowed us to trace memories that are particularly recurrent in the Semprunian oeuvre, as well as their variations, while also relating them to a specific context. The generic categorization of Semprún’s texts can be limiting in terms of their literary analysis and should perhaps be suspended wherever it is not absolutely necessary for their study. As the introductory remarks have shown, literature does not pertain to the realm of a truth of correspondence or agreement, but this does not destroy its ethical validity.
Semprún’s petite madeleine is, in a manner of speaking, the experience of Buchenwald. Imprisonment in a concentration camp led him at the beginning to seek a positive affirmation for his existence in his political activism. Having fought for a just cause, against the evils of Nazism, the fight had to continue until all other fascisms disappeared. When political activism is no longer available to him as a means of expression, because he is excluded from the Communist party and thus from the community...
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