Memory and self-representation in the works of Jorge Semprún
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Jorge Semprún’s work is the fruit of an incarceration in the concentration camp of Buchenwald as a resistance fighter and his expulsion from the Partido Comunista Español in 1964. Due to these biographical circumstances, many critical literary studies to date limit the discussion of his works to the autobiographical and the realm of Holocaust studies. Together with the texts that do not fit adequately into this categories, his self-identification as a Spanish exile has up to now been neglected. The present thesis aims to provide a more global view of his oeuvre by extending the literary analyses to texts that have deserved little critical attention. In order to achieve this, it investigates the role played by memory and self-representation in a variety of works by Semprún. Aspects connected to memory such as exile and nostalgia, the Holocaust, the interplay between memory and writing, politics and collective memory, postmemory and identity are examined by means of a detailed analysis of the selected works and are discussed thematically. Differences in genre are discarded for the discussion and interconnections between the various narratives are highlighted. With the help of memory and trauma theories, we come to the conclusion that memory is the overarching principle of Semprún’s writing and that he invests it with an aesthetic and ethical value which is interpreted as the justification for his devotion to writing.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Electronic version restricted until 1st March 2021
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations
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