By Robert Antelme
Rescued in 1945 from Dachau--where Fran?ois Mitterand, his onetime comrade within the resistance, famous him one of the hundreds of thousands of quarantined prisoners--Robert Antelme got down to do what appeared "unimaginable," to explain not just his adventure however the humanity of his captors. the outcome, The Human Race, was once known as by means of George Perec "the best instance in modern French writing of what literature can be."In this quantity, the extreme nature and quantity of Robert Antelme's accomplishment, and of the reverberations he set in movement in French lifestyles and literature, unearths eloquent expression. The items Antelme wrote for journals--including essays on "principles placed to the test," guy because the "basis of right," and the query of revenge--appear right here along appreciations of The Human Race by way of authors from Perec to Maurice Blanchot to Sarah Kofman. additionally incorporated are Antelme's own memories and interviews with, between others, Dionys Mascolo (who introduced Antelme again from Dachau), Marguerite Duras (Antelme's spouse, who tells of his go back from Germany), and Mitterand.Also on hand: Antelme's The Human Race
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Extra resources for On the Human Race: Essays and Commentary
Almost nothing's left," said the blind guy. He was sitting down heavily on his pallet, his cap pulled down around his head. He was turning his head to the right, then to the left. Dark glasses hid his eyes. "There're guys who say "A buddy's bread is sacred,' but I don't say that. " The blind guy spoke quietly, without anger. Nobody answered him. He was alone. He wasn't eating the bread he still had. He was still fingering it and didn't recognize it. He still had to hold it for a while in his hands, to be sure that there really wasn't more than that, that he shouldn't expect his piece to become again what he'd left there.
But men must not let themselves be buried in their bloody past. One day they will have to begin to talk; one day something different, something new and true, will have to be said on this planet. And in fact things today are new. That soldiers want to be recognized as citizens, as the basis of rights, is not the simple result of a crisis, of agitation. There are no ringleaders. Something is speaking and calling for freedom the world over, and from this who can suffer, except a few people grown sick with power, a few fanatical property owners, a few groups of bureaucrats?
At last he got down. That evening his soup wasn't given to him. For a few days, when the guys met him, he was Napoleon-who'dstolen-the-bread; he produced a wake behind him. But we saw Napoleon every day; some guys worked with him. When he was eating his bread, they were watching his piece with a different attention, maybe. And then, since he had the same bread, the same bony hands, the same striped outfit, since he'd taken as many blows as the rest of us, Napoleon became one of the bunch again.