MEMORY, TRANSFERENCE AND
RECONSTRUCTION: READER'S PARTICIPATION IN CHARLOTTE DELBO'S AUSCHWITZ ET
APRÈS (AUSCHWITZ AND AFTER)
A.H. Linchet, Ph.D.
In her last work titled “La mémoire et les jours”—Days and Memory--, French writer and Auschwitz survivor, Charlotte Delbo, speaks of two selves: the “me” of now—the post-Auschwitz self--, living under the control of what she calls mémoire ordinaire—common memory--, and the “me” of then, the Auschwitz “me”, living under the dominion of mémoire profonde, or deep memory.
In this article and through an analysis of Delbo’s first volume of her trilogy Auschwitz et après—Auschwitz and After--, I demonstrate how the French writer re-unifies her split self and reconstructs her shattered identity. A return to literature after Auschwitz, provides a venue for re-experience and a bridge between what she was—an intellectual—before the war, and what she reclaims after the return. I contend that the transferrential nature of her writing—a literary venue for re-experience--as well as effective communication with her reader, which calls for active participation, allow her to reconcile both paths to remembrance, both selves.
© Dominique A.H. Linchet.