By Gina Herrmann Ofelia Ferran
Providing 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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Extra resources for A Critical Companion to Jorge Semprún: Buchenwald, Before and After
Using Lukács’s praise for the book as his point of departure, Bargel argues for the relevance of Semprún’s political trajectory for a new reading within the context of a Marxist, socialist realist aesthetics, and thus he rejects the perception that Marxist aesthetics and testimonial readings work at cross-purposes in the novel. Still, as Jaime Céspedes demonstrates, Semprún drew from German Marxist aesthetics until the very end of his career, writing commissioned plays that evince the influence of Brechtian dramaturgy and theater production.
If Semprún has written himself into literature, he has done so in a manner that constructs himself not merely as a subject, but as an agent responsive to historical crises. A review of Semprún’s cultural production would not be complete without mentioning the educational uses of his work. Gallimard, for example, has produced an educational, annotated edition of Le mort qu’ il faut (2003). A teaching guide to the play Gurs was prepared in 2006 by Services Culture Éditions Ressources Pour L’Éducation Nationale.
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. Manuel, Semprún’s alter-ego, deals with the difficulties of how to recount his recent experience in Buchenwald. Theater, Essays, and Other Texts Semprún was only an occasional dramatist, and aside from his unpublished Stalinist-inflected play Soledad (1947) about a strike in Bilbao, his other original introduction / 21 theater pieces were commissions: Le retour de Carola Neher (1998) and Gurs, une trágedie européene (2004), the second of which remains unpublished.