By Gina Herrmann Ofelia Ferran
Proposing the 1st English-language selection of essays on Jorge Semprun, this quantity explores the existence and paintings of the Spanish Holocaust survivor, writer, and political activist. Essays discover his cultural creation in all its manifestations, together with the position of testimony and fiction in representations of the Holocaust.
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Additional info for A Critical Companion to Jorge Semprún: Buchenwald, Before and After
A French police inspector investigates the killing of his friend and second-hand goods dealer Joseph Katz, allegedly a Holocaust survivor. 2008. Ah, c’ était ça la vie. Screenplay with Franck Appréderis. Dir. Franck Appréderis. Two-part TV film, based on Semprún’s life. The story of Eduardo, a young Catalan communist exile in 1950s Paris, as he prepares a clandestine mission to Spain. 2011. Le temps du silence. Screenplay with Franck Appréderis. Dir. Franck Appréderis. TV film loosely based on L’ écriture ou la vie.
Together they aim to connect the European crisis of the 1940s to the present day, by paying tribute to Husserl, George Orwell, and March Bloch, three thinkers who, in the midst of the political turbulence of the 1930s and 1940s, employed critical reason to defend the values that eventually prevailed over the obscurantism and fanaticism that led to World War II. Drawing from the same set of premises that inform Semprún’s speeches and essays from the last two decades of his life, Le métier consolidates a carefully cultivated image of himself as a man of letters of the same degree of integrity and intellectual caliber as those whom these essays honor.
Platten (1993) outlines how Semprún’s “relative anonymity” in France (before the publication in 1994 of L’ écriture) can be explained by the fact that he marched out of step with the prominent French intellectuals of the 1960s and 1970s. Platten reads productively alongside Colin Davis and Elizabeth Fallaize’s study of La montagne blanche, a novel set against the politics of the Mitterrand government. 30 Three outstanding pieces by Colin Davis (1991, 2000), including his indispensable encyclopedia entry (2002), stand out not only for their clearly articulated distillations of Semprún’s themes and style, but also for their sweeping vision of the Buchenwald corpus and its relationship to his political development and the context of European communism.