„Je suis dedans et […] ils sont dehors“ - Traumatische Erinnerung und Raumzeit bei Jorge Semprún

  • Stefanie Ried (Autor/in)
    Heidelberg Center for American Studies, Universität Heidelberg


This essay provides a contribution to study of the aesthetic representation of traumatic experiences in literature. Jorge Semprún, survivor of the concentration camp in Buchenwald, – as one of the first authors telling their traumatic experience after Primo Levi – develops in his narrative, especially in L’écriture ou la vie, a wide meta-narrative space concerning the victims’ access to their own memory and their process of writing it down; at the same time the process of memory is reflected on a diegetic level. The author presents a narrator telling his past in different perspectives: leaping between different levels in the construction of discourses, thus between different times and spaces. These moments of time warp into the camp past will be the object of the following analysis which intends to reveal Semprún’s narrative strategies. The main focus will be on the constitution of space and time and its perception. Based on the concept of Bachtin’s chronotopos, the aim of this work is to postulate an own space-time for the literary perception of a traumatic moment in a narrator’s life.


Akademisches Fachgebiet und Untergebiete
traumatic experiences, concentration camp, Jorge Semprún, L'écriture ou la vie, meta-narration, narrative strategies, memory, constitution of space and time, Bachtin, Chronotopos