Semprun and Lukács: For a Marxist Reading of Le grand voyage

  • Antoine Bargel
Part of the Studies in European Culture and History book series (SECH)


Since its publication in 1963, Le grand voyage has primarily been read as a compelling personal account of the experience of deportation to the Buchenwald concentration camp, characterized by “strategies of narrative breakdown and traumatic memory” (Ferrán, “‘Cuanto más escribo’” 290). The author’s 20 years of involvement with the Spanish Communist Party (PCE), as both a leading activist and an intellectual figure, have not generally been considered relevant to his literary aesthetics. Indeed, some of the most notorious commentators of his work explicitly rejected any direct connection between Semprun’s political activity and his literary writing: Barbara Foley, in 1982, characterized Le grand voyage as an “irrealistic Holocaust novel,” in direct opposition to “the realistic social novel” (348), and Ofelia Ferrán, in 2001, has made the case that “Le grand voyage is not a social realist novel at all” (“‘Cuanto más escribo’” 290).


Literary Type Ethical Relationship Communist Ideology Moral Lesson Literary Writing 
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Copyright information

© Ofelia Ferrán and Gina Herrmann 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antoine Bargel

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