A Literary Analysis of Charlotte Delbo’s Concentration Camp Re-Presentations

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“In a ground-breaking new study, Nicole Thatcher takes the reader through the concentration-camp writings of a lesser-known survivor of the World War II deportations. She explores the poetry and prose in which Charlotte Delbo committed to writing the reality which she herself had lived through. Dr. Thatcher’s work highlights Charlotte Delbo’s unique approach to literature, in which Delbo uses and transforms literary genres in order to present a new face of the concentration-camp experience. This work enters into a thorough consideration of Delbo’s different levels of memory and recall, as well as the specificity of women’s experience as detainees. A novel aspect of Dr. Thatcher’s treatment is her study of the influences of the theatre both in Delbo’s perceptions of the experience and her recall and writing of it afterwards. Focusing on Delbo’s representation of the humanity and solidarity which existed among the detainees, Dr. Thatcher brings to life the tremendous courage and determination to survive evidenced by this extraordinary woman and writer.” – Ethel Tolansky

“Delbo’s writing, powerful, raw, poetic, uniquely lends lucidity in the face of tragic paradoxes and inventiveness in resolving them stylistically. Dr. Thatcher’s monograph, full of sagacity and empathy, engages with topics such as testimony, the status of memory and fiction, the discursive handling of spatial and temporal aspects, the constraints of genre and stylistic strategies, and shows her to be a remarkable exponent of an altogether remarkable author.” - Annett Lavers

“Thatcher’s study distinguishes itself from other discussions of her work by her methods of literary analyses. She provides close-readings of Delbo’s texts which show in great detail why Delbo’s work is so much more impressive than most other Holocaust testimonies. . . . .Especially, Thatcher’ discussions of genre of the theatrical and testimonial nature of Delbo’s texts, of forms of address, are pertinent and of great importance. Her knowledge of these literary concepts is thorough and she is able to use these concepts creatively and critically.” – Ernst van Alphen

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface; Introduction
1. the emergence of Testimony
2. Testimony and memory
3. The Forms of Testimony
4. The Shaping of the ‘Voice’: Gender, Theatre, Narrators and Readers
5. The Re-Creation of the Experience through the Discourse: Spatial and Temporal Aspects
6. The Writing of the Experience: Tone and Stylistic Strategies
Appendix I: Glossary
Appendix II: Charlotte Delbo’s bibliography and biographical outline
Bibliography, Index

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