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Beyond the Limit-Experience

French Poetry of the Deportation, 1940-1945

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Gary D. Mole

In this first critical study of the French-language poetry written in Nazi prisons, transit camps, and concentration camps, Gary D. Mole demonstrates how this poetry cannot simply be treated with reverence or as incidental historical documentation. Situating the poetry within the wider context of «concentration camp culture,» Mole engages in aesthetic and moral issues, offers extensive thematic readings – both of the reality transcribed by the poets and of spiritual and religious resistance to dehumanization – and submits the poetry to a stylistic and linguistic analysis under the joint rubric of memory and innovation. Lucidly written, this interdisciplinary book makes accessible to the specialist and nonspecialist reader an unjustly neglected corpus and argues persuasively for its reinsertion into the continuing process of the memorialization of the Nazi deportation from France.