Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Negotiating Space in Literary Representations of Holocaust Trauma: Jorge Semprún’s Le grand voyage and Antonio Muñoz Molina’s Sefarad

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2016), 93, (1), 45–62.

Abstract

This article examines the representation of travel in two Holocaust narratives: Jorge Semprún’s Le grand voyage (1963) and Antonio Muñoz Molina’s Sefarad (2001). It argues that train journeys in these two texts function as a metaphor for the therapeutic process by which witnesses of a catastrophic event undertake a psychic journey back to the root of their trauma through the construction of a narrative. The centrality of trains and movement in these texts points to the necessity of negotiating space in order to work through trauma. While focusing specifically on the texts by Semprún and Muñoz Molina, this article seeks, more generally, to put the mobility turn of cultural studies in dialogue with trauma studies by establishing a link between trauma and space in representations of the Holocaust. 

Este artículo estudia cómo se representa el viaje en dos narrativas del holocausto: Le grand voyage (1963), de Jorge Semprún, y Sefarad (2001), de Antonio Muñoz Molina. Se afirma que los viajes en tren en ambas obras son una metáfora de un proceso terapéutico: los testigos de un evento catastrófico emprenden un viaje psíquico para volver a la raíz de su trauma a través de la construcción de una narrativa. La importancia de los trenes y del movimiento en estos textos apunta a la necesidad de viajar en el espacio como proceso terapéutico. Aunque este artículo se centra específicamente en las obras de Semprún y Muñoz Molina, pretende también vincular dos campos de estudio distintos: el de la movilidad y el del trauma, al demostrar que existe un nexo entre el espacio y el trauma en obras que representan el holocausto.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Baer, Alejandro, 2011. ‘The Voids of Sepharad: The Memory of the Holocaust in Spain’, Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, 12: 95–120. he Voids of Sepharad: The Memory of the Holocaust in Spain Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 12 95 120 Google Scholar

Brodzki, Bella, 2007. Can These Bones Live? Translation, Survival, and Cultural Memory (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press). Can These Bones Live? Translation, Survival, and Cultural Memory Google Scholar

Caruth, Cathy, 1995. ‘Introduction’, in Trauma: Explorations in Memory, ed. Cathy Caruth (Baltimore, MD and London: Johns Hopkins University Press), pp. 3–12. Introduction Trauma: Explorations in Memory 3 12 Google Scholar

Caruth, Cathy, 1996. Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History (Baltimore, MD and London: Johns Hopkins University Press). Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History Google Scholar

Dosse, François, 1995. Histoire du structuralisme (Paris: Livre de poche), I. Histoire du structuralisme Google Scholar

Felman, Shoshana, and Dori Laub, 1992. Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis, and History (Abington, UK: Routledge). Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis, and History Google Scholar

Ferrán, Ofelia, 2007. Working through Memory: Writing and Remembrance in Contemporary Spanish Narrative (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press). Working through Memory: Writing and Remembrance in Contemporary Spanish Narrative Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel, 1994. Dits et écrits (Paris: Gallimard), IV. Dits et écrits Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund, 2001. ‘Beyond the Pleasure Principle’, in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. James Strachey (London: Vintage), XVIII. Beyond the Pleasure Principle The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud Google Scholar

Grohmann, Alexis, 2006. ‘Errant Text: Sefarad, by Antonio Muñoz Molina’, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, 12: 233–46. Errant Text: Sefarad, by Antonio Muñoz Molina Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies 12 233 46 Google Scholar

Grohmann, Alexis, 2011. Literatura y errabundia: Javier Marías, Antonio Muñoz Molina y Rosa Montero (Amsterdam: Rodopi). Literatura y errabundia: Javier Marías, Antonio Muñoz Molina y Rosa Montero Google Scholar

Herzberger, David, 2004. ‘Representing the Holocaust: Story and Experience in Antonio Muñoz Molina’s Sefarad’, Romance Quarterly, 51: 85–96. Representing the Holocaust: Story and Experience in Antonio Muñoz Molina’s Sefarad Romance Quarterly 51 85 96 Google Scholar

Hirsch, Marianne, 2008. ‘The Generation of Post-Memory’, Poetics Today, 29: 103–28. The Generation of Post-Memory Poetics Today 29 103 28 Google Scholar

Kaplan, Brett Ashley, 2007. Unwanted Beauty: Aesthetic Pleasure in Holocaust Representation (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press). Unwanted Beauty: Aesthetic Pleasure in Holocaust Representation Google Scholar

Lalieu, Olivier, 2012. La Résistance française à Buchenwald (Paris: Tallandier). Résistance française à Buchenwald Google Scholar

Langer, Lawrence, 1975. The Holocaust and the Literary Imagination (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press). The Holocaust and the Literary Imagination Google Scholar

Levi, Primo, 2005. Se questo è un uomo (Turin: Einaudi). Se questo è un uomo Google Scholar

Luckhurst, Roger, 2010. ‘Beyond Trauma: Tortuous Times’, European Journal of English Studies, 14: 11–21. Beyond Trauma: Tortuous Times European Journal of English Studies 14 11 21 Google Scholar

Massicotte, Claudie, 2012. ‘Mapping Memory Through the Railway Network: Reconsidering Freud’s Metaphors from the Project for a Scientific Psychology to Beyond the Pleasure Principle’, in Trains, Literature, and Culture: Reading/ Writing the Rails, ed. Steven Spalding and Benjamin Fraser (New York: Lexington Books), pp. 159–78. Mapping Memory Through the Railway Network: Reconsidering Freud’s Metaphors from the Project for a Scientific Psychology to Beyond the Pleasure Principle Trains, Literature, and Culture: Reading/ Writing the Rails 159 78 Google Scholar

Matus, Jill, 2001. ‘Trauma, Memory, and Railway Disaster: The Dickensian Connection’, Victorian Studies, 43: 413–36. Trauma, Memory, and Railway Disaster: The Dickensian Connection Victo-rian Studies 43 413 36 Google Scholar

Mora, Rosa, 2001. ‘Antonio Muñoz Molina: todos somos posibles condenados’, El País Babelia, 10 March. Available at: http://mensual.prensa.com/mensual/contenido/2001/03/18/hoy/mundo/69232.html [accessed 6 June 2014]. Google Scholar

Muñoz Molina, Antonio, 2013. Sefarad, ed. Pablo Valdivia (Madrid: Cátedra). Sefarad Google Scholar

Orti Camallonga, Salvador, 2012. ‘A “European Memory of the Jewish Extermination”? Spain as a Methodological Challenge’, European Review, 20: 475–91. A “European Memory of the Jewish Extermination”? Spain as a Methodological Challenge European Review 20 475 91 Google Scholar

Schivelbusch, Wolfgang, 1986. The Railway Journey: Trains and Travel in the Nineteenth Century (Oxford: Blackwell). The Railway Journey: Trains and Travel in the Nineteenth Century Google Scholar

Semilla Durán, María Angélica, 2005. Le Masque et le Masqué: Jorge Semprun et les abîmes de la mémoire (Toulouse, France: Presses Universitaires du Mirail). Le Masque et le Masqué: Jorge Semprun et les abîmes de la mémoire Google Scholar

Semprún, Jorge, 1963. Le grand voyage (Folio.) (Paris: Gallimard). Le grand voyage Google Scholar

Semprún, Jorge, 1994. L’écriture ou la vie (Folio.) (Paris: Gallimard). L’écriture ou la vie Google Scholar

Semprún, Jorge, 2001. Le mort qu’il faut (Folio.) (Paris: Gallimard). Le mort qu’il faut Google Scholar

Semprún, Jorge, and Elie Wiesel, 1995. Se taire est impossible (Paris: Mille et une nuits). Se taire est impossible Google Scholar

Silk, Sally, 1990. ‘The Dialogical Traveler: A Reading of Semprun’s Le grand voyage’, Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature, 14: 223–40. The Dialogical Traveler: A Reading of Semprun’s Le grand voyage Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature 14 223 40 Google Scholar

Spalding, Steven, 2012. ‘Killer Trains and Thrilling Travels: The Spectacle of Mobility in Zola and Proust’, in Trains, Literature, and Culture: Reading/Writing the Rails, ed. Steven Spalding and Benjamin Fraser (New York: Lexington Books), pp. 179–99. Killer Trains and Thrilling Travels: The Spectacle of Mobility in Zola and Proust Trains, Literature, and Culture: Reading/Writing the Rails 179 99 Google Scholar

Vernon, Kathleen, 1998. ‘The Trauma of History/The History of Trauma: Plotting Memory in Jorge Semprún’, in Cine-Lit III: Essays on Hispanic Film and Fiction, ed. George Cabello-Castelet, Jaume Martí-Olivella, and Guy Wood (Corvallis: Oregon State University), pp. 157–67. The Trauma of History/The History of Trauma: Plotting Memory in Jorge Semprún Cine-Lit III: Essays on Hispanic Film and Fiction 157 67 Google Scholar

West-Pavlov, Russell, 2009. Space in Theory: Kristeva, Foucault, Deleuze (Amsterdam: Rodopi). Space in Theory: Kristeva, Foucault, Deleuze Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

O’Donoghue, Samuel