• E|C Rivista dell’Associazione Italiana di Studi Semiotici

    Author(s):
    Marisa Verna (see profile)
    Date:
    2021
    Group(s):
    LLC 20th- and 21st-Century French
    Subject(s):
    Civil rights, Literature
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Proust Marcel, literature and survival, Literature and civil rights
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/61b2-9783
    Abstract:
    Thisarticleaims at a better comprehension of the series of lectures that Joseph Czapski gave in the Soviet camp of Grazovietzbetween 1940 and 1941. The case of Czapski is well known, but his exceptional performance (of memory, and critical inquiry) deserves further investigation. Not surprisingly, the Polish painter focuses on memory as a concept and as a possibility to save what seemed to be lost: life itself. Czapski’s reference to an apparently worn-out metaphor (“the river of memory”) hides in fact adeeper conception of literature and art, that are given the task (not metaphorical in the war and suffering context in which Czapski was speaking) of salvation. Art,in Proust’s noveland Czapski’s retrieval of it,is the “pearl”capable of giving life the meaning that seems annihilated. Czapski’s case recalls another one, as surprising and “miraculous”: Gustav Herling’s reading of Fyodor Dostoevsky’sHouse of the Deadin the Soviet forced labour camp ofYertsevo in 1942, in the same context of suffering and war. Although hardly comparable, Proust’s and Dostoevsky’s works seem to provoke an “essential” relation to life, in which memory plays a decisiverole.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    9 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
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